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Dave K.
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, All:
I know it's tough to "diagnose" online, but here's our story:
We fostered and then adopted Zoey (age 7) in July. She's had recurrences of severe limping associated with her right/front leg. Especially bad after lots of exercise. Big lump on scapula (shoulder blade). MD fears osteosarcoma: Xrays inconclusive, but MD doesn't like the feel of the mass.
On his suggestion we've got her scheduled for surgery late this week to get a piece of bone for biopsy. Wife is now balking: she feels that since we won't put her through amputation/chemo (MD says it would only buy her a year), why bother putting her through this painful procedure. I'm thinking it's best to know, and we may find it's something else that's fixable. Tonight I've been reading about OCD and thinking that's a possibility?
Appreciate any thoughts about this upcoming procedure. Worthwhile? She's a sweetie, and we really want to do right by her. Thanks.
Dave K.
 

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They get it
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4,446 Posts
I have had two dogs with OCD. Both started limping by the age of 2. (Trip at 4 months and Tucker 18 months). I know this probably doesn't help, but OCD is usually a young dogs disease as it has to do with the formulation of the bone. Sorry your going through this.
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Dave, being one who can't stand not having an answer, I would do the biopsy. Even if you get the dreaded news that your girl's got osteosarcoma, you're under no obligation to treat with chemo or any other treatment. People who love their dogs look at what's best for the dog, the family, their wallets and most importantly, the quality of their pup's life. I understand your wife's position, but sometimes more tests are necessary to figure out what is specifically going on. You can't really make an informed decision based on guesswork. That's just my two cents....
 

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New Mommy
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6,139 Posts
I don't think you would have a mass with OCD. But I have to tell you, I have had lumps biopsied when the Vet was telling me there was nothing else it could be but cancer and it wasn't, so I believe there is always hope. Good luck with what ever you decide.
 

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Dave K.
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses. My gut tells me to do the procedure so we know what we're dealing with. She's scheduled for Friday, 10/30. I'll keep y'all posted. Thanks again for your support.
 

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Missing Tasha, Sky, & Ral
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So sorry you are going through this. The only advice I have is to follow your heart. You know what is best for your pup and your family. We will keep you all in our prayers. Please let us know how Zoey makes out.
 

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Misty & Holly's Mom :)
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I have no advice...I just want you to know that I am thinking of you all and please let us know what it is when you find out. mY prayers are with your sweet pup.
 

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Here's to STRONGLY hoping it is not osteosarcoma, I just lost mine two weeks ago to that.

Get the biopsy. Until you have the results you don't know what it is, and the biopsy is the only way. There are many forms of a lot of things, and it could be treatable the biopsy would tell you.

If god forbid it did turn out to be osteosarcoma, you would at least know what you are dealing with and can make the most of it for your dog. Even not choosing heroics, there are drug cocktails (as I like to call them) that can make your dog comfortable for at least a while. That was the road we chose. We had some good time left with Maxine, and the drugs kept her happy and comfortable for as long as they could.

This is a tough place to be the biopsy should not be a large expense for a piece of mind. It was also no issue for my dog. In our case they did a "punch biopsy" got a small sample of the tissue, and sent it in. The results in our case was far more painful. A bone biopsy I have no experience with, but still should not be to awful of an ordeal I would think.

Good Luck I will check back for what you decide to do. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Please hug your dog for me.

:crossfing
 

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I pray that it is not the dreaded "C" word. Just a thought, my boy Beau that passed away this year had a large lump that was about the size of a baseball. It was on his shoulder area under the skin and caused him to limp. The vet removed it not sure of what it was, it came back to be a normal fatty tumor. He had some all his life but that one was huge and was messing with the muscle. Not saying that is what your pup has but you never know.
I would get the surgery done to see what it is and go from there. My toughts and prayers will be with you on Friday.
 

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Coley - my cuddle bug
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2,336 Posts
Hey, Dave

Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you & your girl today. Please let us know as soon as you know anything about Zoey and the DX.

Cindy
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Hi Dave,

Any news on Zoey yet? Is the procedure over?

Just wanted you to know that I (and certainly many others here) are thinking of you & your girl.

Please post an update when you have one.

Crossing fingers & paws here in AZ!
Trids!
 

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Dave K.
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. It means a lot. She came through the procedure OK, but it doesn't look good. While nothing's official 'til the biopsy comes back next week, he sees the mass as pretty deeply involved in the bone and pretty well into the surrounding muscle, as well. So, we take things one step at a time, now.

We adopted Zoey in late July from a family member that just couldn't afford to take proper care of her. She had this lump on her shoulder and a recurring limp. She had hookworm and two ear infections. We cleared her up really well and the timing was good...she got to experience travel and two weeks on the Michigan shore which she absolutely loved. She's a real "beach dog." She never got walks before, just yard time, and now she just itches to get out with her step-brother Clancy for walks. We feel we've given her a real nice change in life, and we'll continue to do so for as long as we can.

Thank you all again for your thoughts and kindness. I chat more soon...gotta give my wife the news when she gets home in a bit.

Dave, Kelly, Clancy and Zoey
 

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We are thinking of you. Know that you have given her more love and attention in the short time so she will have the best memories down the road. Enjoy every day that you have her no matter how long it will be. ((((HUGS))))
 

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Dave K.
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, Carol. She'll be getting lots of outings and forest hikes and bunny-chasing and everything else we can do. We're hoping she can do a return visit to her beloved beach next summer. We'll keep all of you informed on this journey.
 

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Super mom! ;)
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129 Posts
Dave,
I'm so sorry you are going through this right now. I just wanted to tell you our story. McGwire is 8 and started limping in mid-July. After about a week, when we noticed a significant hard lump on his wrist, we took him to the vet. They did x-rays and it was pretty conclusively osteosarcoma. We thought long and hard about our options, which were to amputate and put him out of pain, or wait until he broke his leg, then amputate or put him down. He's only 8, and while he's had a lot of health issues throughout his life, his only source of pain was the leg. We chose to do amputation without doing chemo. It was a hard decision, to cut off his leg, sounds so drastic, but he already wasn't using it and it would eventually end up in a pathologic break when it would be an emergent situation. The first two weeks after surgery were particularly hard, but in the last 2.5 months he's actually enjoyed a great life. He's almost become the neighborhood mascot, I mean who wouldn't pet a three legged dog?! He has gone swimming, eaten ice cream often, and so much more.

If the biopsy does come back osteosarcoma, there are options. The metronomic protocol (google it) is a low-dose chemotherapy that is done in pill form. Also, have the vet do lung x-ray and determine whether or not it has metastisized to the lungs (usually 90% have at a microscopic level, but if there are already nodules than it's that much worse.) McGwire's been 'met' free so far, knock on wood. We are taking one day at a time. I encourage you to google tripawds to get some more info on cancers and life with three legged dogs. ((HUGS))
 

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Dave K.
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71 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks so much for the info, Amy. Here's what the doc has told us:
Amputating a front limb, he says, is far harder on a dog than a rear limb. He says amputation plus chemo would only buy her 12-18 months max. He seems to think it hasn't gone into the lungs, yet, but suspects that's where it'll head next. He's very reluctant to recommend the amputation/chemo as, in his opinion, it's a lot of trauma for Zoey with very little payback. She's 7 years old, by the way. Thoughts, anyone?
Dave K.
 

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Super mom! ;)
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129 Posts
Dave, is she limping or using the leg at all? It really depends on the dog as to which is 'better' front or rear amputation. McGwire is a front amp and his gait is definitely weird. He bounces because the other front leg does so much of the work. (Rear amps often have problems getting up from laying down and going to the bathroom.) However, it really doesn't slow him down at all! Two days after surgery, he walked up 17 steep stairs to come upstairs with us. Three days after surgery, he snuck out the dog door and down the deck stairs when we didn't even think to block that because we didn't think he could do it. He gets up on the couch. He even hops into our Suburban, though we've since gotten him a ramp. The bottom line for us was that if we waited to do the amputation, he'd still be in a lot of pain, it would break eventually, though his was on the wrist, not on the scapula. I hated to see him in so much pain!!! Now he is in no pain, and if we only have him for another day, he's a happy, pain free boy.

Some vets may not have much experience with amputation. We were lucky. Our local vet just hired someone who dealt with a lot of cancer and had experience with amputations. We also went to a specialist for a consult, and they were right in line. There were 3 dogs who came into our vet in a 2 week period that had cancer. Obviously there were all different circumstances, but one family chose to do nothing, and their dog was gone in about 6 weeks. The other family, whose dog was 13 and had kidney and liver involvement, had hemangiosarcoma, which is far worse. Their dog lived about 2 months. Like I said, McGwire is doing really well, but you have to look at all information, which is why you need to see the lung x-rays.

I really encourage you to google tripawds. There's a website that will give you a ton of prospective about life with a three legged dog and with tons of info on dealing with dogs with cancer. Tons of detailed information!!!

What I would do is spend the next few days until you get the results of the biopsy back doing lots of research on osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and veterinary oncologists or specialists in the area. Also, take care of yourselves now. It's so hard to see your dog in pain. Remember to treat her spirit too. ((HUGS))
 
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