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Pheebs

Osteosarcoma In Giant Breeds

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Pheebs   

Hi all,

Lucy is a 5.5 year old Great Dane.

I had noticed for a couple of weeks that Lucy was a bit 'off colour'. At the time I hadn't thought much about it as we'd moved house and thought she was just making the transition to the new house. During the moving process we kenneled them and usually when we bring them home it's not uncommon for them to sleep for days and days undisturbed.

Anyway Saturday before last I started to notice the slightest limp in her front left leg. At the time I thought hubby had just been overzealous with the nail clippers as we have floorboards now. Slowly it got worse so we took her to the vet the following Wednesday who expressed concerns about possible osteosarcoma. He said there was a very real chance it may not be and put her on 'Prolet' for pain management for a week in case it was a muscular issue. She responded really well to the meds initially in the first day or two but then plateaued and eventually regressed.

The vet is of the belief that it's probably Osteosarcoma - as far as we can tell (she's very stoic) the pain is between her shoulder and elbow and not isolated to a joint.

We've booked her in for X-rays this coming Tuesday for an official diagnosis.

I'm a expect-the-worst-hope-for-the-best kinda gal so assuming the worst and it is osteosarcoma, the facts are as follows:

- Husband and I both agree not to go down the route of amputation

- The vet has been very matter-of-fact with me and has said even with amputation we probably won't have more than 12mths with her.

I'm selfishly having great trouble in trying to make a balanced decision on what's best for Lucy. She's had 3 bloat episodes (gas bloat never proceeded to torsion thankfully), she has a long and complex history of behavioural issues and husband and I are planning a family and I'm not convinced if she lives long enough to see us have children that they would be safe in her presence.

The vet has suggested that PTS is an option whilst she's sedated for the X-rays but I feel like this is very much giving up on her and it breaks my heart. I don't know how I can in good conscience put to sleep a dog that is still so enthusiastically seeking ear rubs. :cry:

It goes without saying I'm hoping beyond hope she's just given us a horrible fright and Tuesday's appointment shows nothing sinister, but in the event that it does I want to be mentally prepared.

I'd love your guidance and stories please :(

Edited by Pheebs

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ish   

I had a GSD with it in her back leg, and if I had my time with her again I would have PTS at diagnosis. Hers was apparently exceptionally fast growing and she was PTS 11 days after diagnosis anyway but she was uncomfortable during the last week. I was under prepared given the vet said she would have more time and feel guilty I didn't act sooner.

That's not the norm and hopefully you have better luck. There are lots of stories in the palatiive care section

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Pheebs   

Thanks for your input, ish - sorry for your loss :(

It's a hard one. If it gets to that stage part of me wants to let her go now (she's crying, not whining/moping but part of me wants to say it's cause she's bored silly in her crate but I know that's not the case).

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Rebanne   

I had a greyhound with it in his shoulder, PTS 3 weeks after diagnosis. If it ever strikes again I would PTS same day.

Sam's Story

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*kirty*   

I'm really sorry to hear this Pheebs and I'll keep everything crossed for you that it turns out to be nothing.

I would take it day by day. A friend went through amputation and chemo with her dog and it was awful. After watching that, I completely agree with your thoughts on the matter. But if she seems bright enough I see no reason to rush and PTS.

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OSoSwift   

So sorry to hear that your girl is unwell :(

I have not had this in nnay of my own dogs but have seen it many times with clients of the vet hospitals I worked in. I made the decision long ago that should my dog be diagnosed with this they would be euthed straight away. I aahve seen many have amputations - mainly on big dogs as you would expect - and they really don't cope very well. Then it comes back anyway. Such a horrible disease

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raineth   

Oh Pheebs I am so sorry :hug:

I have no experience with Osteosarcoma.

But I just wanted to say, how about you really spoil her until her appointment on Tuesday. Then even if it is bad news, and you choose to pts while she is under, you will know that the last few days for her has been filled with happiness and good things.

Give your gorgeous girl some ear-rubs from me, and I will be thinking of you guys :grouphug:

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My old Rottie girl was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 8 years of age. We did not amputate and managed her with palliative care - she was with us for around another 8 months before PTS. Looking back I don't regret waiting that long - she was still bright and happy and was not in severe pain before she was euthanized, so I was glad to be able to let her go before it got too bad.

However if I ever had to face the same decision again with another dog I might handle it differently. I think now I would PTS much earlier - maybe a few days after diagnosis if the outcome is not looking good. That said I have heard of many dogs doing well with chemo.

I think when the time comes, you will know. Big hugs to you.

If you are interested our osteo thread is here in the Palliative care forum. http://www.dolforums.com.au/topic/239708-our-battle-with-osteosarcoma/

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sas   

I say do what's right for her regardless of your emotions and any guilt you wrongly or rightly feel for whatever reason. If you don't know what is right for her then let your Vet whom I presume you trust and respect be the one to guide you through this with their experience of dogs with this condition.

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SwaY   

I have had a Dane put down due to Osteosarcoma.

Suspected it for a week, we then x-rayed, PTS sleep same day.

Asked vet what he would do, we PTS.

It's never easy, but I dare say it's even harder looking back on it wishing you had of PTS earlier.

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Danois   

I know another Dane owner who PTS on diagnosis. I think it is what I'd do - I would not want the risk of the break when he was left alone.

My thoughts are with you as I hope for the best news.

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Pheebs   

Thanks all for your advice and thoughts. So sorry to those who have gone through it - it's just horrible.

Will keep you posted after Tuesday :(

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Pheebs   

So there's no real need for x-rays, the vet can already feel thickening in the bone :'( Please tell me what I should do - I don't know whether to bring her home or not :'(

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I'm so so sorry Pheebs :hug:

I can only tell you what I did when I made the decision to put my dearest Brontë to sleep just over 12 months ago. I made the decision at the vet in the morning, then brought her home for one last special day. I cuddled her and told her how much she was loved. I carried her outside to sit in the sunshine, visit the chooks and pick pink roses for her. After all her illness we had a "normal" feeding time with Brontë trying to pinch the chicken I prepared for her and telling me off for being too slow. It's one of my favourite memories. Later I cuddled her quietly and administered a sedative. We had the last appointment at our vet at 7pm. We were given all the time we needed to say goodbye. No regrets.

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sas   

So there's no real need for x-rays, the vet can already feel thickening in the bone :'( Please tell me what I should do - I don't know whether to bring her home or not :'(

I think for your own good you would want to xray because otherwise you could feel concern that maybe it wasn't Cancer?

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Pheebs   

So there's no real need for x-rays, the vet can already feel thickening in the bone :'( Please tell me what I should do - I don't know whether to bring her home or not :'(

I think for your own good you would want to xray because otherwise you could feel concern that maybe it wasn't Cancer?

Sorry, should have clarified - we're getting x-rays anyway.

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Danois   

Pheebs - I am with Sas - I would still xray - just so I had that certainty. Not questioning your vet but I would want the hard facts.

If I was in your shoes (and I know it is all very easy to say this when I am not dealing with the same emotions as you) then I would spend the most awesome-est day with my dog doing everything they loved, feeding ice cream etc and saying my goodbyes and then have the xray and if it is confirmed, let them go then.

It is always better to be a day too soon than a day too late.

You are in my thoughts though as I know it is a shitty situation to be in and it hurts like crazy :(

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Pheebs   

Our baby girl was given her wings this afternoon. The cancer was well into her shoulder cavity and the bone had already been compromised to the point where if we brought her home she would have sustained a pathological fracture. My heart is in a million pieces.

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