Hi! first time poster, long time lurker.
This week I was told it is highly likely my 8 year old dog has Osteosarcoma in his shoulder. I don’t know what I am hoping to achieve from this post, but I’d love to hear from others who have been through a similar situation.
He pulled up lame out of no where a couple of weeks ago and I thought he had just been playing too rough so I put him on crate rest for a week. There was no improvement so off to the vet. They happened to have an osteo specialist visiting the clinic that day so he had a feel and suspected something sinister due to the swelling he could feel on the bone. We went ahead and booked him in for xrays, they showed the bone in his shoulder was rotting (black) and around the joint looked moth eaten. Due to his symptoms and the results of the X-ray, I was told that all signs point to Osteosarcoma. There is a small chance that it could be cysts or a bone infection but not likely and they didn’t want to give me false hope.
The options from here are to do a bone biopsy to confirm cancer, followed by a CT scan to see if it has spread, and then amputation of the leg and shoulder followed by chemo, or (given how aggressive bone cancer is and the high chance that it has already spread) start palliative care with pain relief to keep him comfortable. Life expectancy is a few months. Treating with chemo could extend that but the end result would be the same and he would eventually be put to sleep.
Given that it is Osteosarcoma we are talking about here, and not a less aggressive cancer, I wouldn’t put him through amputation only to lose him in the end. I don’t want him living out his last days recovering from such a huge surgery and adjusting to life on 3 legs. I would also personally never put a dog through chemo.
Honestly, we are having a shocking year and are not in the financial position to proceed with surgery and CT scans, and the vets are not hopeful for a great outcome even if we were to go ahead because there is a high chance that it has already spread.
We have decided rather than do the bone biopsy and confirm Osteosarcoma, because the vets are so certain already, we will start palliative care now and let him enjoy his remaining weeks or months free from surgery recovery (the bone biopsy itself has a long recovery period - around 4 weeks of minimal exercise and crate rest). When he is ready to go, we will do what we need to do.
Can anyone else share their experience with Osteosarcoma? Do you think I am doing the right thing by skipping the bone biopsy? It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is, but I feel that I would be putting him through it all for nothing. If they were hopeful that it could just as easily be something else then I would find the money somehow for the biopsy, but all signs point to the big C.
Its also hard to know when the right time to let him go is, at the moment apart from his limp, he is his happy self and is very stoic. I don’t want him to get so sick that I am forced to make that decision on the spot one day, and I don’t want to watch him decline in health. He has been an amazing dog and I don’t want him to experience unnecessary pain. Am I being selfish by keeping him around?
Sorry for rambling, I just needed to vent to doggy people who I know will understand my sadness.