Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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My Dog Has Osteosarcoma: Should I Allow Amputation?

Hi Everyone.

Osteosarcoma is a common cancer in the dog.  Most of the time it occurs on the long bones of the legs in large breed dogs.  And most of the time a veterinarian or veterinary oncologist will recommend amputation of the affected leg.

You will likely have some strong feelings about it, as one who loves a living, breathing being facing the removal of a limb.

This is a heavy duty question.  Since it has a lot of emotional charge for those interested in preventing pain and suffering, it can be a hard choice.  The choice warrants careful contemplation to make sure you are able to cope with the situation.

At least two factors should be  considered. The first is life quantity, which is also life expectancy.  The second is life quality, which of course is how good  life is.

Let’s look at life quantity first, or life expectancy.

First, get an idea of the average life expectancy of your dog.  Be careful with this.  These numbers are just averages, just like they are for people.  There is an excellent review of dog life expectancy  here.

Once you have ascertained what a dog’s potential life expectancy is, you need to weigh how much more time are we looking at for your dog.  Your vet can help with this by discussing the impact of your pet’s individual health problems.

We want to see whether, at the time of diagnosis, your dog has already reached the expected life length for most dogs like yours.

If your dog is close to what one would expect for average life length, the motivation or payoff for the surgery should be considered carefully. If your dog is not yet there, one might consider going ahead with the surgery.

It should be noted that most dogs with this kind of cancer do not survive beyond a year, with amputation alone (read more here).

However, this does not mean that your dog will pass away within a year, as you have access to continued treatment from your vet, oncologist, and the information contained here.  There will be more in upcoming publications being edited right now.

For the time being, I will point out that some clients have had benefit with modification of diet, lifestyle, life quality boosting and addition of supplements or comfort care medications.  Common examples of these can be found in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, but I feel that the supplement I use has helped some dogs under my care (of course I am biased in this since I was the one that put Apocaps together).

One last intangible is your particular dog’s personality.  Some dogs just have this will to live, and sometimes one can perceive this pretty clearly.  They just want to keep going.  They are driven.  This will to live, a tenacity, boosts lifespans.   Remember to consider this factor too.

That’s life quantity.

This is the first step. Next we look at life quality on three legs.  We will look a little at the surgery itself, some issues that affect life quality on three legs, and more.

I will post more on this issue in the next entry.

Regards,

Dr Dressler

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://www.DogCancerBlog.com.

  • http://www.tripawds.com Jerry

    Thanks so much for such an honest and professional opinion about amputation for dogs. I also had osteosarcoma, and lived a wonderful life on three legs from 11/06 to 10/08, almost a full two years. My parents and I encourage anyone who finds themselves in the unfortunate situation of coping with this disease, to consider amputation as the best way to immediately end the pain of bone cancer, and allow for even a shorter period of time together with their furry family member.

  • http://www.tripawds.com Jerry

    Oops, I meant to say, “allow for even just a little while longer together….”

  • Paul Gast

    Gasoline, Petroleum and the plastics made from it are the single largest cause of cancer in the world. This is a known fact, verified by thousands of studies which the oil industry counters by paying pundits to say: “Well, we just are not sure yet”. Now are are sure. The TPH array in petroleum and petroleum products exists as microscopic particles which leach off of plastic materials, (ie: the plastic in water and baby bottles) and float in the air as vapor, (ie: the fumes around gas stations). These particles are absorbed into the body and broken down to a cellular level and then to a DNA level. As the DNA replicates, a constant process, these TPH materials cause the replication process to make mistakes and create genetic mutations. TPH is a very particular array of items so the “mistakes” that it causes occur as the same thing over and over. We call this repeating mistake: “cancer”. Other materials in our environment cause other kinds of genetic mutations that do not manifest as onerous, or extremely negative, or obvious things. TPH manifests cancer.

    The TPH chemical array has killed more Americans than every terrorist since the beginning of time.

    The petrochemical bisphenol-a, or BPA, causes precancerous tumors and urinary tract problems and made babies reach puberty early.

    Every gas pump has a label on it that oil and gas causes cancer and a host of lethal medical problems.

    Archeologicial digs show that ancient peoples living near tar pits got cancer.

    When there is an oil spill, you are not allowed on the beach because most agencies classify oil as toxic.

    A study of childhook leukemia in England mapped every child with the diserase and found they all occurred in a circle, in the center of which was a gas station.

    Alberta’s oil sands are one of the world’s biggest deposits of oil, but the cost of extracting that oil may be the health of the people living around them. High levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens have been found in the water, soil, and fish downstream of the oil sands. The local health authority of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta comissioned the study in response to locals’ claims that the oil extraction projects upstream were damaging the health of citizens. Petrochemicals and their byproducts, such as dioxin, are known to cause an array of serious health problems, including cancers and endocrine disruption.Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) is a term used to describe a large family of several hundred chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil. Crude oil is used to make petroleum products, which can contaminate the environment. Because there are so many different chemicals in crude oil and in other petroleum products, it is not practical to measure each one separately. However, it is useful to measure the total amount of TPH at a site.TPH is a mixture of chemicals, but they are all made mainly from hydrogen and carbon, called hydrocarbons. Scientists divide TPH into groups of petroleum hydrocarbons that act alike in soil or water. These groups are called petroleum hydrocarbon fractions. Each fraction contains many individual chemicals.

    Some chemicals that may be found in TPH are hexane, jet fuels, mineral oils, benzene, toluene, xylenes, naphthalene, and fluorene, as well as other petroleum products and gasoline components. However, it is likely that samples of TPH will contain only some, or a mixture, of these chemicals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that one TPH compound (benzene) is carcinogenic to humans. IARC has determined that other TPH compounds (benzo[a]pyrene and gasoline) are carcinogenic to humans.

    Benzene causes leukemia. Benzene as a cause of leukemia had documented since 1928 (1 p. 7-9). In 1948, the American Petroleum Institute officially reported a link between this solvent used in many of their industries used and cases of leukemia in their workers. Their findings concluded that the only safe level of benzene exposure is no exposure at all (2).

    The largest breast cancer incidents are in Marin County, California which is tied to the air, water and ecosphere of the Chevron Oil refinery right next door.

    The oil industries spend tens of millions of dollars on fake pundits and disinformation to make sure the above information is never known by the public. Cure Cancer: Stop oil. It is a national security need in more ways than one.

    • Leandra

      Dear All

      Thank you for all you post’s it is a great help, Gracey (7 year old Lab) has been diagnosed just over a month ago. Osteosarcoma in the front left leg, she is swimming to get rid of a few extra kg then we will discuss the option of amputation. Thank you for the reassurance that this is possible with wonderful results. She is on Homeopathic-therapy treatment and natural chemo will start this week, with acupuncture and magnetic therapy. She is a real fighter and her spirit is still high, we have had a few bad days but mostly good.

      Please keep talking about your success stories it is really encouraging

  • Mavis Palmer

    My rotweiller has osteosarcoma in the mouth. I refused the surgery. I have him on tetracycline (14 pills per day) as I found in my research that it shrinks tumors in dogs. It is working so far and with the K9 Immunity and Raterdex for pain. His tumor has shrunk and he is running around like a puppy again.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Great news!
      Keep up the good work,
      D

  • Brandon

    My dog was recently diagnosed with Osteosarcoma a few weeks back. I went with the difficult decision of amputation of the limb (right front leg). Since then I am happy to report that she has adjusted very quickly to running around on 3 legs and has has even started wrestling with my other dog again. I had a VERY rough time going with the amputation because of my own pshycological thoughts. If anyone has any questions about this terrible disease and or the surgery please don’t hesistate to shoot me an email. BrandonKofer@hotmail.com

    • Dr. Dressler

      Brandon,
      great news and great input. Thanks!
      Dr D

  • D Winter

    We went ahead with amputation for our dog with Osteosarcoma. We’re now deciding on whether to pursue chemotherapy treatments? Anyone with a success story either way?

    • Maureen

      Dr. Dressler,

      My 10-yr-old, 70-lb. mixed-breed dog has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the upper bone (femur?) of the hind leg. X-rays of the chest did not show that it had spread. Our amputation scenario is complicated by the fact that we believe she already has torn cartilage in her other knee. I fear that after amputation she will blow the single back leg out and be crippled. She loves to go for walks and runs in the yard. Any thoughts would be appreciated. (She may have Akita or German Shepherd in her, perhaps some Lab, but amazingly, it’s obvious she has Basenji in her also!)

    • Phil

      My dog was just diagnosed w/ cancer. German shephard/chow, 11 years old. He’ still lively on the 3 legs and in minimum pain w/ the pain meds. His leg is swollen to 2x it’s normal size. Swelled that fast in 2 days I think from the vet moving it around during the exam. Should we amputate? And, when is the time to conisder putting him down? I can’t put him down now as he still loves to go get the paper for me and still has his personality. I’m going to miss him terribly!!

  • Tania

    My dog Charlie is a 2 1/2 yr old Bernese Mountain dog. He was just diagnosed with bone cancer about a month ago in his right hind leg. The tumour characteristics are so rare (as confirmed by a bone biopsy) that the vets have been unable to clearly classify the cancer as osteosarcoma…all they have been able to tell us is that it is a very agressive cancer and is being classified as terminal. Let me also mention that a little over a year ago, Charlie underwent total hip replacement surgery to correct displaysia due to a fractured pelvis when he was just 1 month old. Needless to say, Charlie has been through so much in his short lifespan this far and has had to live with a very high threshold for pain for most of his life. My husband and I are not financially able to provide Chemo to Charlie but we were struggling with the thought of amputating him. We are just so concerned, with what he has go through so far until now, whether or not putting him through another surgery is the best for his ‘quality of life’. The vets have estimated that Charlie would have approximately 4 months left but that his leg, due to the size of the tumor and the biopsy, is at risk of a pathalogic fracture at any time…we don’t know what to do. We are faced with the possibility of euthanizing to prevent further pain and discomfort in Charlie before anything worse happens. I do have to mention though that Charlie has a love for life like I’ve never seen before and he is a fighter. Any advice anyone has to offer would be so very appreciated. Thank you, Tania

    • Dr. Dressler

      Tanya,
      This sounds very, very hard for everyone involved. Here may be a solution:

      Touch base with your vet, have them fill it out and fax it in so you can get started. You can combine it with k-9 immunity and transfer factor.
      best,
      Dr D

  • Kat Meyer

    Thank you for responding to a question about Jake, my rottweiler, a few wks ago. Sadly I had to euthanize him yesterday, but I want to share w/ you & your readers some 20/20 hindsight. I’m so glad I amputated his front leg & humerus–he obviously felt better within 2 days & adjusted easily to 3 legs. But I very much regret doing the 4 trmts of chemo. The oncologist said he’d probably live 6 mos without it & possibly 18 mos if we did it. He only lived 4 mos., and that was w/ a clear x-ray of the lungs & no lymph node involvement from the day we did the amputation. Yesterday both lungs were full of cancer, to the point his breathing was labored, & the surgeon said he maybe had 2 wks left. The chemo bill was $2600, and I truly believe w/ your diet, supplements, K-9 Immunity from Aloha Medicinals, & pure water, all of which he had, he would have lived longer with no chemo AND his quality of life would have been better. And if I were going to ever do chemo again(which I won’t), I would only allow one treatment each of the 2 drugs, instead of 2 each, which they alternated. Do you know of any real cases where these chemo drugs have actually helped a dog w/ osteosarcoma? I’m so glad you’re sharing the ill-effects of too-early spaying & neutering. We wouldn’t want to sterilize a child at age 5. Jake had already been neutered at a young age when I rescued him off the streets around age 1, and he only made it to age 5. Please also share w/ people how harmful the Rabies vaccine is to German Shepards, in particular, and to always request a killed vaccine only. My holistic vet, Dr. Norman Ralston, practiced 57 yrs. & taught me to only give one type of vaccine at a time, a month apart, & ONLY when they’re healthy. He said most will last a lifetime–he was not a big fan of vaccines. They are an insult to the immune system, & can cause cancer at the injection site, especially in cats. I had never given Jake one, but someone probably did when he was neutered. Thank you, Dr. Dressler, for writing this much-needed book & all that you’ve been doing for the animals. We absolutely have to be educated in order to stand up to some of the vets that are misguided in order to be our pets’ best advocate. Kat Meyer

    • Dr. Dressler

      Kat,
      I am so sorry for your Jake. Sending you all my best in this sad time of departures.
      Remember there is a part of Jake that is indestructible, and that part of you will be with that part of him…again.
      Thinking of you
      Dr D

  • Brian

    My dog was diagnosed yesterday with osteosarcoma in her front leg. Is there anything I can do or any information someone can help me with in making her quality of life better? Shes 10.5 years old and I dont want to see her suffer.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Brian,
      this is a huge, massive question…I do not know where to start.
      I’ve got to refer you to the book
      http

    • http://www.dogcancerblog.com jennifer

      I have a very active 9 yr old Great Dane that just got diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Because of his age should i consider only doing the radiation and not the amputation? I’m just not sure. Like I said he is very active still. 3 long walks a day and based on x-rays and ultrasounds he is perfectly healthy on the inside. so I am wondering if I should pursue radiation or amputation and chemo.

      Thanks Doc,
      Jen

  • pallavi

    Dr Dressler
    my dog was just 2 weeks back diagonosed of bone cancer inhis front right hind leg
    the vets as usuall suggested amputation or chemo
    after reading your articles,feel there is a treatment besides the above
    treatments
    all thanks to you…there is hope for my dog and i am praying that god sees us thru this
    i have enrolled for functional nutriments
    pls can ou tell me if k9 immunity and transfer factor will be good for him and where can i get them
    pallavi
    india

    • Katie

      TO: those considering amputation
      We adopted a Doberman, Token a little over a year ago. He is about 7 years old, 70 lbs and on 3 legs. We adopted him 14 months ago which was 4 months after his amputation & chemo for bone cancer. He is a LOVE and quite a fast runner on 3 legs. He never ceases to amaze us as well as all the neighborhood kids. I’ve never known him with 4 legs and don’t see him having any problems with his missing leg – in fact, we don’t even notice he is missing his leg. I write this for a couple reasons- I am sure it was a traumatic decision for the original owner to remove the leg – the concern was her as he is one happy dog! The other is to offer hope -as he is 18 months out from his surgery & chemo.
      All the best

  • pallavi

    Dr Dressler
    i have enrolled for functional nutriments
    pls can ou tell me if k9 immunity and transfer factor will be good for him and where can i get them
    pallavi
    india

    • Maureen

      This week my 10 year old English Mastiff has been diagnosed ( the vet says he is 90% sure) with osteosarcoma. I am devastated. There is just so much to consider. My husband and I want to obviously do whatever we can to keep her with us as long as we can, but I am so concerned about what amputation and chemo will do to her. If I knew that it may be a couple of difficult weeks for her, then she would be ok I think the decision would be clear. I am so afraid of making the wrong choice for her. She had surgery in June to remove an abscess and it took her a while to really recover from being put under. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks

      Maureen

      • Dr. Dressler

        Maureen, I am so sorry your Mastiff has to go through this. As you pointed out, this is a very open-ended question. Surgery, chemo, diet, pain control, life quality enhancement, immune stimulation, supplements, personal philosophy and more are all part of the equation. As it turns out, this weeks webinar (www.mydogvet.com) is on OSA, and you might find it useful.
        Best,
        Dr D

  • Deborah

    My rottweiler/husky mix was diagnosed with possible osteosarcoma 3 weeks ago and underwent amputation of his left front leg and shoulder almost one week ago. He’s still recovering from the major surgery but is getting around on 3 weeks and trying to chase buses. He just turned 6 years old, 88 lbs. I’m inclined to not pursue chemo and he’s been on a totally allergy/holistic diet for the past 3 years. Any thoughts/suggestions etc. Am I making the right choice. He’s also on thyroid medication and hates his periodic blood tests. We hae to sadate him for those and I’m concerned that the remaining time will be spent in vet offices and stressed out. Thanks.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Deborah, this is a complex question. You need to become confident in your decision making. As I talk about in the book, osteosarc usually has spread by the time amputation is done. This means it will likely be present later, in your dog’s chest often. This is not a guarantee, just a probability. It sounds like life quality for your dog is a big factor, and you should pay attention to this. If his last 6 months is absolutely miserable due to stress, what is the point of treatment after all?
      I will answer your question in more detail in the webinar:
      http://dogcancervet.com
      Best,
      D

  • Deborah Morera

    My 6yr, 170# St Bernard, Simon has just been diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I have scheduled a chest xray for Monday. My question is simply this: do you or anyone on this forum have experience with an extra large breed dog front leg amputation? I am ready to do it if only to eliminate his pain (I am not pursuing chemo). Any advice or things to consider would be so helpful at this point. I am considering K9 immunity and transfactor, but at 170# it will be pretty expensive.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Carol

      My 6 yr old Newfie was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma — right front leg. A follow up chest x-ray the next day showed no metastasis. Bone samples were taken to confirm but the report is not back yet. I am most concerned about whether she will be able to carry herself on 3 legs if we allow amputation. She had medial patellar luxation surgery when she was just a year old, and her other kneecap is “loose”. If we don’t amputate, is there any point in chemo? It’s been suggested to us that chemo can hold off the cancer spreading for a while. But is there really any adequate pain control? How do we know she is not in agony now? Also, does anyone have even a ballpark figure of what chemo would cost on a dog this size? (139 pounds)

      • Dr. Dressler

        Carol,
        short story: I would consider the amputation. This is a very good question that I would like to answer on this month’s webinar:
        http://www.mydogvet,com
        Chemo does indeed help and doubles expected life length after surgery.
        Dr D

  • Kathleen

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    I found this blog for osteosarcoma and do not find anything for liposarcoma. I have this message under Do Numbers Really Matter Blog.

    I thought to try this blog.

    I have learned as of May 29th, my Jack Russell, Abby has liposarcoma in her right foot below her so called wrist. It is between her toes and removal of middle toes would make her imbalanced and no guarantee they could get it all. I have had a 2nd opinion by the University of Wisconsin Veterninary Science School with an Oncologist and finalized the diagnosis after roundtabling with their pathologists.

    Originally, the diagnosis leaned toward liposarcoma with Abby’s vet and the biopsy was read by a different lab. UW wanted a definite diagnosis and consider it now at this time soft tissue low-grade. My options, I am told are amputation as early as possible for full recovery. This is including her shoulder. She is otherwise healthy and 10 1/2 years old. There has been lymph node testing to rule out melanoma prior to the final diagnosis and a lung xray. Those are negative.

    Abby is a very athletic dog and I am told that radiation could be an option but a portion of the paw would need to be radiation free to keep the support of the foot. They would run the risk of not radiating all the cancerous tissue and destruction of the foot. Also, chemo does not affect this type of cancer.

    She does have 2 lipomas 1 on her right side by her chest and an area closer to her hind leg below her ribs on the other side. The apirations confirmed this.

    I am having a very hard time comprehending that her whole right leg and shoulder will be amputated in the next 2-3 weeks to have full recovery. At this point it is slow growing but told that if I wait another month they would need to have another chest xray to determine if it metastisized.

    I am interested in learning all I can about this cancer and so far I have learned that it is rare, for Abby it is in a difficult spot and if there is amputation now, she will live to be her normal age intended and die of something else.

    I am interested in obtaining thoughts on this and not finding how to have contact with you. I would be interested in alternative treatment and diet changes to insure the rest of her life be cancer free and if you think amputation is the only option. I am told dogs do well on 3 legs but the thought bothers me. I would be interested in downloading your book and need to understand if there is more than amputation available for recovery.

    I have read some of the comments and not finding any relating to my situation. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
    Kathleen

    • Michelle

      My 3 year old Choc. Lab was just diagnosed with a poorly differentiated sarcoma. It is in her knee area. A chest xray was done and showed no spread of the cancer. She was lame on the same leg a year and half ago. We had xrays done and it did show something, but so minor, that the vet didn’t biopsy it at that time. He wants to amputate her leg. I have two questions. Will she be able to play ball again? She lives to play and plays very hard. Secondly, being that this has obviously been going on for over a year, is it possible that it could have spread anywhere other than her lungs. The vet said that the cancer could be microscopic in her lungs and not picked up on an xray. Is there any other way to find out if it is in her lungs?

  • Kathleen

    This is Kathleen again and I have not yet found anything regarding Liposarcoma nutritionally or alternatively to amputation. My dog is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday. All notes seem to be for Osteo sarcoma. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance. Kathleen

  • Charri

    Now I am feeling guilty…..Corona was diagnosed with cancer in her foot. She is a 13 year old boxer and they said she could have her foot removed….but I thought not going through all that and keep her happy and comfy for the rest of her life would be better…I see people saying their dogs are doing well with three legs…the Vet even said I made the right choice, but it’s hard……when do you know you’ve made the right choice? Her foot now is really bothering her she is biting at it and is not walking on it and it is swollen and leaking fluid and blood…when is it too much for her to handle…Dogs are so giving and waggily taily it’s hard to know…;0(

  • Dave

    My dog is a spayed lab/mix, about 50 pounds, and has just turned 12. Despite some arthritis in her legs, she still loves life…loves to play tug-of-war and likes swimming to fetch frisbees. She has recently been diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the front of her lower jaw. She also has a spot on one of her lungs, however a biopsy can’t be done, as it’s in a dangerous area. The vet recommends a mandible removal operation, plus an operation to remove one/third of one lung, followed by 4 rounds of chemo.
    Even with all these procedures, the vet expects her to live for less than a year. I took her to a homeopathic vet for a second opinion, however the homeopath says that nothing can be done until the cancer is removed. However, if the cancer is removed, the homeopath is optimistic that with the right supplements, my dog could live for another 2 or 3 years…which would be fantastic, providing she isn’t in pain. I realize we’re near the end of the road, but my dog seems too full of life to throw in the towel. My questions are these…will the mandible removal and lung chamber removal operations cause long term pain? Or will she get over it, and enjoy the rest of her life?
    Dave

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Dave, assuming no complications, the procedures would normally produce pain-free life after recovery. I would also consider cisplatin-impregnated beads made by Royer. Have your vet check it out. Good for implantation at the cancer site, with or without removal of the cancer.
      Good luck
      D

  • Brandi

    I have a 6 year old great pryanise/new foundland/pit mix. 6 weeks ago he started limping on his right rear leg. 4 weeks ago the vet did x rays and said there was a tumor in his leg just below his knee. We had the biopsy done, but they were unable to get any of the tumor cells. He said they tested for infection and a couple other things and with all that being ruled out it was cancer. Austin doesn’t use his leg at all now. He gets around pretty good for a 95 lb guy who was already a little over weight. I believe that his weight is ok now, because he was 105 before this and the vet wanted him to lose 10 lbs. I have him scheduled for amputation on Tuesday 11-10. I am so worried, but reading about others situation I’m feeling a little better about recovery. I’m not sure how to take it being cancer/terminal with no actual proof. My vet said he is 95% sure, and he is probably right, but I just can’t put a sentence on Austin like that. He was ok up until the last couple of days where he is laying around alot, and whinning a little. (he is extrememly talkative) Is there any chance that they could be wrong about the terminal diagnosis? Could removing his leg actually end the problem? Will he need any other treatment after the amputation or is that all up to us? I’m sorry if I’m rambling I’m just so torn as I sure many others facing this decision were. I guess I just don’t know what to expect after the surgery.

    • Maureen

      Tami,
      That is so great! So with SRS there is no surgery?? I did not come across that when I was looking at treatments for our dog with osteosarcoma. We live near Cornell University, they specialize in cancer treatments for dogs, but the only thing suggested was amputation and chemo. That is such a great story to share. It gives people hope at a time when they could really use it :)

      Maureen

  • Angela

    My mixed breed rescue (some kind of lab/newfoundland mix suspected) was tentatively diagnosed with Osteosarcoma today after xrays following a 3 week period of increasing limping. He is sending xrays off to Auburn Univ. Vet radiology to see if they confirm his diagnosis. He did tell me the various options, but didn’t seem too keen on any of them in terms of the benefit derived at the expense to the dog. I have been researching internet for hours, in search of a glimmer of hope. I am a school teacher, so finances are somewhat a factor, but if there were real hope I would find a way. To me, the question is how worth it would it be to put him through some serious sounding procedures? Vet didn’t even sound like he was in favor of amputation, due to his size (down to 103 from 115). How do these large dogs fare with amputation (front right)? And how much time does it get them? Am I just postponing the inevitable?? He is putting no weight on that leg as of today, hobbling on 3. Any advice would be tremendously appreciated.

    • Jake

      My black lab mix has bone cancer which started in his front leg. I made the decision not to amputate because he is 12 yrs old. He was diagnosed 4 mo ago now his leg is extremely swollen. Xrays showed that the cancer has destroyed one of his leg bones. The cancer has not spread to hs lungs. He still alert, hungry and strong but is in horrible pain. Amputation and chemo ranges between $5,000 to $10,000. It does not buy the dog that much time. Should I put an old dog through this? What a tough decision.
      Since he is in pain and I have him on morphine,. We have to come to the hard reality that it is time to say goodbye.

  • Brandi

    Angela,
    I am going through something very similar. My name is Brandi, I posted on 11-6. Yesterday we had Austins right rear leg amputated. We went and saw him last night and he was a lot better than I had expected. He was trying to stand already. Of course with the pain meds he was pretty shakey. They were going to keep him until friday, but when the vet examined him today he said he was recovering remarkably and he could come home today. It is a scarey wound, but very clean. Everything I found in my research said we would have a more difficult time than our pootch as far as recovery goes.–as it seems. I don’t have a lot of information but I can let you know after this weekend how things are going. Your story and ours are so similar that I was drawn to try to help. We were given the same diagnosis, but when they sent the biopsy of the bone to the lab they were unable to confirm. Our vet said they were unable to pull any of the cells from the actual tumor. I was having a very difficult time with accepting with out proof. From what I understand Austin is terminal, but it sure feels like a second chance for him to be himself again. We have spent approx. $1800.00 so far including the amputation. Maybe your vet will be will to let you make payments if you decide to go forward. I truely wish the best for you and your dog. One other thing I was told is that there isn’t a wrong decision at this point just do what you think is best for you and your pet.

    • Kristy

      Maria, So Sorry to hear your news. As you may have seen in the post just before yours, we are newly dealing with the same thing in our 6yo Dane’s right humerus. If any additional thought processes will help you (although I know from personal experience that it almost makes things more overwhelming), I was also initially considering the amp (with or without chemo) just for her pain, as she hasn’t been using the limb for nearly 2 mos – even before the OSA was detectable. But our family situation (we have a 1yo son & would like to start thinking about expanding our human family; additionally we both work full time & live in an area where the general cost of living is a bit high), as well as some other factors shared with me by the oncologist & a few others has swayed me into just going with palliative treatments (possibly radiation, but otherwise just pain meds) & letting her go when the time comes – likely sooner than later. Some of these ‘other’ factors included: a) I guess it is fairly common, even when followed by chemo (& even if bone/CT scans, x-rays & blood tests come back ‘clean’ before the amp), that the growth of micrometastatic tumors (lungs, other bones, etc.) can/will be accelerated – meaning that even tha amp with chemo may not prolong the dog’s life beyond that of palliative treatments; b) front limb amps are harder for the dog to adapt to as they carry more weight in the front, so it is possible, that even with the pain gone, the dog may not adapt well to functioning well on 3 legs – many of the stories online seem positive in this aspect, but there is still a chance; c) the ultimate prognosis is not changed by any treatment – just maybe extended slightly (if at all). Good luck with the decisions ahead; Every case is different, but I wanted to share some additional insight that I didn’t find much of online… Sorry to hear your sad news…

  • Angela

    Brandi,
    Thank you. It is an odd kinship you feel with someone else experiencing the same struggle, isn’t it? I adopted Eagle, and his kennel mate Brooke, from a no-kill shelter where the pair had lived for 3 years. No one wanted to adopt the big black dogs. They have enriched my life to a degree I could not have imagined. The thought of losing Eagle feels like losing a friend. Other than the limp, he is frisky, great appetite, acts like old self- so it’s hard to accept that he has this horrible cancer. I will say a prayer for you that this weekend goes well- do keep me posted! I guess we are in “wait” mode until they get confirmation on diagnosis based on the xray (we are in Florida; they sent xray off to Auburn Univ. Vet Hosp). I wish you well- thank you for responding. I cried all day & night yesterday and just feel sad. Nice to be able to talk to someone who understands. You hang in there, too!

  • Brandi

    Angela,
    Good afternoon. I just had a couple minutes and wanted to touch base with you. How is Eagle doing? Did you get the results back yet? We are on our 6th day and all seems to be going well. On saturday he slipped on the carpet, yelped, and then started bleeding a little. (maybe a shot glass through out the night) We found out that he popped a stitch, but no biggie. Austins vet said he is doing remarkable. I am a nervous wreck but trying to be tough. The second biopsy did come back as cancer so now we are just hoping to live out the rest of his life as full and happy as possible. Try to be strong.

  • Angela

    Hi Brandi- I’m glad Austin is recovering well- that makes me hopeful! Well, today the local vet had received a fax from the University vet out of state- I guess they still suspect osteosarcoma, but don’t necessarily rec. a biopsy. It is looking like the best consideration at this time is amputation (front leg- tumor is at wrist), then sending it out for biopsy to determine specific type of cancer/prognosis. Our local vet can do it & send to them for biopsy. Or we can go out of state (about 4 hrs) to the univ. vet (they can do biopsy on site during the amputation surgery). Did your local vet do the amputation for Austin? That’s the direction I’m leaning, just b/c i feel comfortable with him and the logistics make it easier. So was it just a few days Austin stayed at vet post-op? Thanks Brandi!

  • Brandi

    Angela,
    Austin stayed over night after his surgery. We did have our local vet do the amputation. We also did the biopsy on his leg prior to amputation, but it was inconclusive. When they did the amputation they sent in his leg and they redid the biopsy and found the cancer for sure. He told us that it had not reached his lymph nodes and that meant that the cancer had not attacked any of his other organs yet. He said that it would travel through his blood so when we were at the end it would be fast. We are 8 days post op and he is 95% back to himself. When do you have Eagle schedualed for surgery. We will say a prayer for you and Eagle. Let me know how things go. I am truely glad that we made the decision to amputate. He has so much life in him now with out the pain of the bone cancer. On the lighter side, he tries to scratch with is phantom leg and it is pretty funny. Also, I don’t know if you found it but there is a web site called Tripawds that I was able to get a lot of information from. Take care.
    Brandi

    • Allison

      My husband and I adopted Savage, a Rottweiler/German Shepphard mix in 1999 and yesterday had to put him down because of Bone Cancer. Savage was our baby, the first puppy we ever owned together. He was the smartest dog I ever met as well. In January of 2010, he started limping out of nowhere and upon taking him to the vet, he was diagnosed. The doctors/specialists said we could amputate but with Savage being 138lbs and us living on a second floor, we thought it would cruel to say the least. Our vet gave him 4-6 months and prescribed Deramaxx for pain. He was doing excellent and then on Good Friday started limping heavily again and wouldn’t eat. By Easter Sunday, he couldn’t walk and had heavy amounts of fluid pooling by his elbow. Turns out the tumor got so big it started cutting off circulation to the leg, causing ademia. The cancer had also spread to his lungs.

      This was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do! We lost our other dog, Bear, a chow, 3 years to the day from Lyphoma. I wish there was a way to stop this cancer in dogs!!! I just lost my bestfriend of 12 years! My house will never be the same.

  • Kat Meyer

    Hi Brandi & Angela, I will say prayers for you & your dogs. I had to have my Rottweiler’s front leg amputated a year ago because of osteosarcoma in the elbow joint. It made him feel so much better, almost immediately, & he got around great within a week. My friend & I folded a beach towel, put it under his stomach to support him as we each held one end to take some of the weight off as he learned to hop around. I didn’t know dogs could be so stoic, until I saw how much better he did after afterwards. He had been losing some muscle weight prior to the diagnosis, due to too many carbs in his diet. I changed him to Taste of the Wild kibble,along w/ steamed green vegetables, Vital Choice salmon oil, K-9 Immunity, & either turkey, chicken or grass-fed beef, Curcumin & a few other nutrients suggested by Dr. D, & he gained 7 lbs. of muscle & seemed to be the picture of health, until I listened to a less-than-ethical oncologist & allowed 4 rounds of chemo,started about a week after amputation. He had clear margins on his biopsy & they amputated the shoulder blade, as well, to go a joint above the tumor, but also to help w/ balance. It traveled to his lungs in 4 mos. & was causing him to breathe differently–that’s when I knew it was time to end the battle & make it easy for him. I like the idea of the implanted beads(I didn’t know about those until now), but I think Jake would have actually lived a little longer had I not done the chemo treatments & proably felt better & had a more vital body. Cutting out the carbs in his diet & giving those nutrients made a HUGE difference. He was only 5 & had always had a better than average diet, but it was lamb & white rice(not so good). He was a rescue & had been neutered too young(which is one of the biggest contributing factors). Please tell your friends to wait until 12-18 months to spay or neuter, in order to let their bodies & immune systems develop fully. We wouldn’t sterilize a child @ age 5! I have a 15 yr young GermanShep/Lab male that I waited until he was about 1 before I neutered, & he’s very vital & healthy. Blessings, Kat

  • Angela

    Hi Brandi, hi Kat! Well, it has been a hard week emotionally. I drove my big boy Eagle 5 hours Monday to Univ. of Florida vet hospital, where my local vet referred me. They did their own evaluation & were certain it was textbook osteosarcoma (right front wrist tumor). He stayed overnight & they amputated the following day (Tuesday). Meanwhile, I was feeling terrible about having to leave him & drive back home. That was a lousy feeling. As of yesterday, he had gotten up some but still not urinated. So they kept him another day & my husband will make the drive back to pick him up tomorrow. I don’t know how I feel about chemo yet, but right now we are planning on it. I think I’m desperate to try whatever they suggest. They did place a port during surgery, for ease in administering the chemo (vs. hitting a vein each time). We’ll see how it goes- I just cannot wait to have him home! I have heard that diet changes will be beneficial, so i’m def. willing to do that. And we may try the chemo & just see. I love having people like you guys to talk to about all of this. It’s great support. Brandi, how is Austin faring?

    • Maria

      PLEASE HELP — front leg amputation???

      I found out last week that my 7 year old Rottie has OSA. We took him to a specialist and he gave us our options. The only two I am considering, are amputation plus chemo, or keeping him comfortable and have him live out his life. He has a bone tumor in his front left leg, and the leg would need to be amputated just under the shoulder blade. I’ve read a lot of comments on here, and most of the amputations are of back legs. He is very tall for a Rott and he weighs about 130 pounds. He limps pretty bad, and once in a while I will see him do a little hop and not even use that bad leg. This dog seriously means everything to me. At first I wanted to do the amputation, but then I spoke with some family members and they all thought his quality of life would be poor because he wouldn’t be able to get around that well on one front leg. So in the past couple of days I thought I had made my decision to not amputate. Now that I am reading everyone’s comments, I am even more lost.

      Almost 2 years ago I lost my 48 year old mother to non hodgkins lymphoma. She was given 12-18 months to live or to try a bone marrow transplant. Well basically we went for the transplant, and it was a slow and painful 6 months until she died. I don’t want to go for the amputation and have him be miserable and it be unsuccessful. THe oncologist said by the looks of the x-ray, his bad leg will probably break within a month, and at that point we will need to put him down. Other than a little bit of grumpiness due to the pain, he is still himself! I can’t imagine putting him down like that.

      Two factors I must consider (besides how incredibly expensive this will all be) is that last summer he had a toe amputated because of carcinoma. The vet said his OSA is unrelated. I don’t want to go through all of this for him to only get a 3rd cancer in a couple of months. Also, he hates going to the vet’s office. He gets anxious and nervous, and he basically hates being away from home, so I can only imagine how stressful being in the hospital and then the chemo visits will be for him.

      Basically I need some advice on how his quality of life will be with 1 front leg. I need to make my final decision pretty soon!

      • Dr. Dressler

        Dear Maria
        I believe you are saying that your dog has a bone tumor of the left forelimb and you are wondering about life quality on three limbs?
        Assuming there are no serious issues with the other three limbs, most dogs who are not overweight can get around pretty well. You should get a thorough orthopedic assessment done to make sure the rest of the bones, tendons and ligaments can take the extra load.
        Here is an example of a best outcome:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXfcOBU58ko
        As to the question of yet another cancer developing, nobody sadly can say if this will happen or not.
        Hope this helps
        Dr D

  • Angela

    Kat, can you tell me more about your experience with chemo? That is what they are recommending post-amputation for Eagle- would start in a week or so at time of suture removal. I keep reading pros & cons and just don’t know.

  • Brandi

    Angela,
    Hopefully Eagle is back home now. The next couple weeks may be kinda tough on you emotionally try to be every where for him. They told us to try and treat him as normal as possible to keep the depression down. Austin had a few days of moping around day 8. He went back to the vet Wednesday 11-25 and they took out the stiches and gave us the all clear on him going full throttle. Everything looks bright right now. We won’t be going chemo, I would rather not put him through that. I just wanted to improve the quality of life he has left, and face the inevitable when the time comes. Do keep me posted on Eagle’s progress. We will continue to pray for yall.

  • Jeannette

    I’m crying as I write this message. Our collie cross Buffy is likely to have to be euthanised tomorrow as she has suddenly lost the ability to use her back legs.

    Almost a year ago she was walking across our garden when her left front leg just broke with no warning and no injury having caused it. You can’t imagine the awful noise she made. The vet couldn’t repair it and referred her to a specialist who confirmed it was likely to be bone cancer and amputation was possible but costly and they couldn’t guarantee she would live more than a few months without chemo. She isn’t insured, but we went for the amputation and no chemo/radiotherapy. We also obviously had tests performed to ensure they were right with their diagnosis.

    She adapted very quickly to having just one front leg and charged around with our cocker spaniel like nothing had changed. She continued to go upstairs until we used a stairgate to stop her for fear of her falling. Up until last week she continued to hop up onto the sofa to sleep. She just had a fun and pretty active weekend at Centerparcs a week ago. By Friday just gone she could barely walk. The vet has stated that he feels we will not get her back up and walking again, and she needs us to lift her to walk anywhere. He’s taken her off of Metacam and put her onto something call Tramadol but wants to see her tomorrow as he feels it won’t have any affect. We are heartbroken and don’t want to lose her but have to put her first.

    This is doubly heartbreaking as our previous dog, also a collie cross, developed a tumour on her front left leg and also had an amputation. Again, we had blood tests, xrays, second opinions, etc.

    She too lived a year without chemo and made the most of it, but I just wonder how it can happen twice? Although our other dog is of a smaller breed, I’m now worried if something has caused this in both our dogs and if she’s at risk too.

    I really feel for all of you going through this. We never regretted amputation with either dog, strangely the same leg on both, and they lived full and active lives without missing out on anything. We also found that regular visits to a hydrotherapy pool are beneficial and they love it!

    We’re really going to miss Buffy and are afraid of buying a large breed of dog again in the future for fear of this happening to another.

    Sorry to ramble, but needed to say it all. Good luck to you all with your loved ones x

  • Deborah

    Dr. D. I wrote you back in April, 2009 re: my rottie/husky with osteosarcoma in his right front leg. My indecision was regarding chemo after the amputation. Went with amputation – no chemo. Major is still alive and doing wonderfully. He runs and plays like a puppy again. I have him on a raw high protein/low carb “cancer diet” but because he’s also allergic to just about everything the diet is mainly fish. Just wanted you to know that I have no regrets about forgoing chemo and Major’s quality of life couldn’t be better. I don’t think he even knows he’s missing a limb. 9 months and counting.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Deborah,
      I am very pleased to hear that Major is doing so well! Great news.
      Best,
      Dr D

      • Maureen

        Reina,
        Our 9 year old mastiff also had osteosarcoma. When she began to feel bad we knew immediately. She began to limp, a very hard limp. We chose to put her on pain meds which helped her for a while, and even elimanted her limp. Unfortunately, something irrated her stomach, so the meds were stopped. Our vet (and myhusband and I) did not feel as though she could handle the chemo and amputation. I think you will just know when she is in pain, with our dog her personality really just changed. She remained stoic for a while (big strong mastiff), but there came a time when she just wasn’t herself. Ryker sounds like an amazing dog-they are really humans with fur :) Thinking good thoughts for you!

    • Kristy

      We just found out today that our 6yo Great Dane, Zoey, has osteosarcoma in her right front (upper) leg. It has been a 2-month-long process in coming to a diagnosis of her pain, as her initial x-rays were normal. The vet re-did x-rays today which showed the beginnings of the tumor; No obvious metastasis to the lungs yet. She has been in obvious pain/discomfort, even when on pain meds, and has not been using the limb at all for the last 2 weeks. As with many of the posts we have read online, we are beside ourselves with the decision in front of us. We don’t want to give up on our girl, who still seems to be herself & has the energy for walks/etc. And the vet & others have explained that the surgery takes the pain of the tumor away & the benefits to the dog ‘outweigh’ the trauma of the surgery (she has already been walking on only 3 limbs anyway!); But we also know there is no way to know how she would fare after the surgery/chemo. I just don’t want her to be in pain & she deserves to have some ‘normal/happy’ days left… I love Zoey, as she was my first ‘baby’ (we now also have a 1yo son), but I can’t say that the financial aspect is also not part of my decision (of course coupled with the prognosis) – my repsonsibility lies first with my child (even if my heart can’t make that distinction). Zoey is in otherwise very good health for her age, which makes this decision even harder. And it will be unbearable to see her lose her battle with this disease – whether sooner or later. I am still torn, but I value everyone sharing their stories. Either way, my heart will ache when we lose our girl and I am even sad that my son won’t really get to know her as he grows – they would be best buds, I’m sure of it!

      • Dr. Dressler

        Dear Kristy,
        I am so sorry to hear this. It is heartbreaking. See my reply to your other post too for some specifics.
        Best,
        Dr D

  • Angela

    Well, Tuesday will be 4 weeks post-op for Eagle. I was really nervous when we first brought him home- he’s a big boy at over 100#. First day home he slipped coming in house & I was so worried. But, it seemed like after that first day he quickly “understood” to go slowly going in/out door and on certain surfaces. I did go buy some large area rugs for our non-carpeted areas, which seemed to help him with traction and give him confidence. He was up to speed in no time. The biggest difference I noticed was when the stitches finally came out 2 weeks later- I think he was healing very well and it also probably felt better not to have stitches “pulling.” He seemed very frisky & much like his old self. We haven’t taken him on walks- just letting him out in our fenced yard. But today, we were taking our other dog for a walk & when Eagle saw us getting the leash out, he came hopping over, tail wagging, begging to go. It was like the old Eagle. I could barely keep up & was a nervous wreck. We intentionally took him on a deserted path where we knew we would not encounter other dogs/people/cars- he was literally galloping on 3 legs. It did my heart good to see him so full of vigor. We kept it very short, much to his protest, as we didn’t want him to overdo. But he was very happy and I’m so glad he gets some of these moments. We did do round 1 of chemo 2 weeks ago- he did amazingly well. Never sick, never once acted like it bothered him in any way whatsoever. I think we will continue the treatments as long as it stays that way. If he ever gets sick or seems to experience ill effects, we will stop. I do not want him in agony anymore. So, for now, that’s the plan. His appetite is voracious and he seems very happy & healthy right now. I have no regrets about the amputation whatsoever- it has given him the opportunity to be pain-free and have some good days. We are ready to stop all of this, however, at the point it seems to be doing him more harm than good. Right now, it’s been good.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Angela,
      This is great news. Keep up the good work!
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Brandi

    Angela,
    That is so great to hear!!! They are amazing creatures!
    Brandi

    • Mike

      Hi All
      This past Tuesday I elected to have my Golden Retriever’s R front leg amputated due to bone cancer
      He is 11.6 years old
      I choose to have the surgery because of his high energy spirit !!!!! He still thinks he is a puppy
      + the x-rays showed that it has not gone to his longs YET
      & the blood marker for bone cancer was normal
      I am a cancer survivor 7 years, two stage III simultaneous tumors colon & rectal & my dear friend is an
      amputee so these two factors played into my decision
      Against him is his weight 110lbs & age
      but I took the gamble I know I can get his weight down
      He is a extremely athletic dog who up until Thanksgiving of 09 was running & playing hard everyday @ the dog park
      Today he made it up two stairs without help, it was a small victory that had my soul smiling
      Thanks for allowing me to discuss my thought process
      Mike

      • Dr. Dressler

        Dear Mike,
        So glad to hear your Golden is up and about!
        Best
        Dr D

  • Kathy

    My vet has recommended artemisinin for a osteosarcoma treatment for my 86 lb. labrador retriever.

    Is artimisia annua the same herb?

  • Luanne

    My 11 yr old retriever/husky mix is facing amputation in 2 days . She has chondrosarcoma in her rt rear upper leg, very close to her pelvis. They can’t tell my 100% that there is no osteosarcoma from the biopsy. I am so afraid If i am making the right decision. I know alot of dogs get by well on 3 legs, but I dont want to put her through this and have her die in a few months. Her xrays of her lung and heart look good and all of her blood work. She is a very active dog otherwise but clearly is not feeling well lately. They said without surgery we are looking at only a few months. I even have her on vitamins and herbs to help her immune system. Amy comments or suggestions please let me know. JNLMCGILL@GMAIL>COm

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Luanne,
      One of the aspects of medicine is that you are contracting (paying) a veterinary professional to help guide your decisions. Implicit in this agreement is a leap of faith that has to be made on your part that you are being given good advice. If you have any doubts, before you accept a recommendation, get a second opinion. This is one of the first steps I write about in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. There is very little harm that is done in getting two opinions which is my best advice to you.
      Good luck
      Dr D

    • http://samakabigbrown.blogspot.com/ Nichole

      Our 10 year old chocolate lab was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma back in December. We decided not to amputate. I have told our story on my blog so that other dog owners would see what we went through. http://samakabigbrown.blogspot.com/

      He has passed on now but we had a good couple of months with him. We miss him dearly everyday but regardless of whether we amputated or not, Osteosarcoma is so agressive it would have taken him from us anyways.

      • Dr. Dressler

        Thanks for the useful link for others Nichole,
        Best,
        Dr D

  • Martina

    Dear Dr.Dressler,
    I am awaiting biopsy results for my dear dog Ida Mae, whose doctor believes she has Osteosarcoma in her front right leg. I have had a difficult weekend, needless to say, but have done as much research as possible to educate myself in preparation of receiving bad news. One of the things that I have read said that younger dogs (those younger than 7) usually have a shorter survival time than older dogs. I found this information to be alarming and frightening, since my Ida is about to turn 4. I also spoke with her doctor tonight to go over some questions that I had about the disease and what exactly I may be facing in terms of treatment and it was an overwhelming discussion to say the least… she tells me that in the ‘best case scenario’ Ida would live 1 to 2 years post amputation, but more than likely it would be 4 to 10 months. I am writing to hear your take, as I saw your video in which you stated that canine cancer was not a death sentence. I will do anything in my power to help my sweet Ida live as long and as comfortably as possible. Chemotherapy was recommended as a first step after surgery. Then what? My hope is that this tumor is benign, but in the case of cancer, I hope that the tumor has not spread to the lungs and that it can be caught. Can you tell me how fast these tumors grow and what I should look for in my dog to indicate possible spread?
    Thank you for all that you do,
    Martina

  • Maureen

    Martina,
    I know it must be hard for you right now. I posted a message back in October about my 10 year old mastiff with osteosarcoma. I did a lot of research as well, it was mentally exhausting because you just want to do the right thing. I believe that every case is different when considering osteosarcoma. I found many many success stories through my research. My husband and I were given so many conflicting opinions that we just didn’t know what to do. We had 2nd and 3rd opinions. One of the vets said why would you even consider doing surgery on a 10 year old dog, and that we were basically hospice. Needless to say, just that attitude pushed my husband and I to the point of sobbing. Angel, our beautiful English Mastiff, was 130 pounds, so we were concerned with amputation and chemo. We spoke with people that had 90 pound dogs that had the surgery and did very well. I think every case is different and finding a vet that you trust is a huge help in this situation. Every dog takes chemo differently and adapts to amputation differently. So try not to get caught up in the negative portrayl of osteosarcoma (if that is what it is). The best thing you can do is to take all the information presented to you, and do what you think is best for Ida Mae. The best news will be that it is not osteosarcoma!! Good Luck

  • http://www.dogster.com/dogs/657674 Tami

    Glad to have found this site. My heart goes out to all of you who have dogs diagnosed with cancer. Our Benny (about 10, a 35 lb. unknown mix) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his upper left front leg in October, 2009. We’re lucky to live within commuting distance of Colorado State University, one of the few places in the US that has stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as an available treatment. We opted to go with it, and Benny was determined to be a good candidate. Within 1 week of the SRS, his limp had diminished substantially, and soon afterwards, went away altogether. He’s also receiving chemo every 3 weeks (Carboplatin), and we are doing some supplements per Dr. Dressler’s book. Benny’s back to being a happy, active dog (the chemo treatments cause him to be a bit under the weather for a few days), and we are very, very glad we went with the SRS. It’s not indicated for all osteosarcomas, it’s expensive, and it’s available in only a few areas, but I would urge you to explore it as an alternative to amputation.

  • Della

    Robin, I too just got the bad news that my 9 yr old Rottie has got Osteosarcoma in her back leg, I thought she had pulled a muscle as she had been not putting a lot of pressure when standing still on her back leg. only 3 weeks earlier I had had blood tests done to make sure I caught anything early as I know the average age for Rotties is around 10 yrs old. she was not even limping at that time. Well bone cancer does not show up on blood test! I now have her on pain killers, the vet said there is only a 40% chance that if we take her leg the cancer is not already in another part of her body, chemo is not pleasent for humans or dogs, as she is 9 yrs old and I don’t have $1800 as some people have stated the cost would be for surgrey, chemo, meds, I have made the choice to just keep her comfortable and on the first sign of true discomfort I will let her go, I would not want to go thru it, the amputation does not concern me as I already have a 3 legged dog, it the afterwards that concerns me, so I will not make her do it, just so I can be loved for a couple of months longer. She has had a great life. Doggie heaven is great and she will be there when I leave this world too. I will cry for weeks, but keeping her alive because I can’t stand the thought of being with out her is just selfish. I am a dog trainer so dogs mean more to me than most humans. Think of the dog and not you when you make your choice . All the best, Della

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Della,
      you have done a very good job of thorough treatment plan analysis. Thank you for your help,
      Dr D

  • Reina

    This is all so overwhelming and heartbreaking! My 9 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback Ryker was in to get his teeth cleaned Monday, and they found a lump on his front leg. It showed up about a month ago, but I thought he just bumped his wrist on something. They did a needle aspiration of it because of where it was, and how hard it was. The vet is 90% sure that it is Ostesarcoma, but can’t be 100% without putting him under anesthesia again and doing a biopsy. He gave us two days to decide to do the biopsy because he said it was so fast growing. After my research, and a very heartbreaking talk with my husband, we have decided to not put our poor baby through anymore. He gets lumps often, and has had all but one come back as fatty tissue. He had that one “golf ball sized” tumor removed last June. The recovery was horrible, and it is starting to grow back already. My research has determined that amputation, chemo, and radiation only prolongs their life by a few months, so we have made the choice (and it wasn’t easy) to watch him closely for any signs of pain. Our vet agrees that we have made the right decision for him, and will prescribe pain meds to keep Ryker as comfortable as possible. He has been the most amazing dog and friend! He rings a bell to go potty, and shakes a mans hands and brings a lady’s hand to his lips and kisses it. I just can’t imagine our lives without him. We have no children, so for 9 years, he has been our child. Currently, he is not lame and seems so healthy. Anyone that’s made the same “no amputation”, “no chemo or radiation” decision…please tell me the tell-tale signs that he is in pain that you may have noticed in your own dog. I know dogs naturally hide illnesses in fear of being pushed from the pack, so I need to know the signs to look for. He trusts us to do what’s right for him, and we NEVER want him to suffer. One thing Ryker does with us is “all for one, one for all” where I’ll put my hand down, my husband puts his hand on top of mine, and then Ryker puts his paw on ours…yes, we are in this together my friend.

    • Reina

      Maureen,

      Thanks so much for responding to my post about Ryker and sharing your story about your Mastiff. A Mastiff is my second favorite breed…my first being my Rhodesian Ridgeback of course :) Everyday, I worry that we have made the right decision, so I really appreciate being able to read others experiences, and talking with people like yourself about my concerns. Everyday I search in his eyes, and watch him like a mother-hen for any signs of pain . I’m also watching for any signs of limping. He does act restless/uncomfortable while he is sleeping, but while awake, he’s so happy and playful. He’s 100 lbs, and runs what seems like 40 miles an hour around our 2 1/2 acres, and to try and stop him from doing that would not only be impossible, but since he’s always done it…mean. I am really concerned the hard running will weaken the bone around the tumor even further though. All we can do is allow him to be a dog, happy, and loved by so many. I agree with you that we will know when he’s acting different because we spend so much time with him. Thanks again Maureen for making me believe we will just know when it’s time. Our fear was obviously that he would be in pain, and the other that we would medicate or euthanize too soon. Yes, I absolutely agree…humans with fur.

  • Cindy

    Zeus, my five-year old Rottie was recently diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. I thought I was going to the vet to get a sprain or break diagnosis, but I was not prepared to hear that he had cancer. I rescued him when he was approximately two years old, so I don’t know any of his family history. Other than his limp when he walks, he’s full of energy and appears to be very healthy. He still runs and wants to play tug-of-war with me constantly. I guess he just ignores the pain when he’s having fun. I only notice the limp when he’s walking. A chest x-ray indicated that it has not spread into is lungs. Our family has been devastated by this news. He is such a kind, gentle dog and brings so much happiness to our family. He’s scheduled to have his leg amputated next Tuesday , but I just want to make him comfortable for as long as possible. Do you have any words of advice for me? I want to explore every option available. Thank you.

  • gail

    Our 9 l/2 year irish setter has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the front leg. We are looking at radiation plus chemo as a way to reduce pain. Leg amputation is not an option with remaining legs weak from other causes. Has anyone gone thru radiation and chemo to reduce pain? Any advice. We live in oregon and it appears that we have to travel to Seattle for the radiation.

  • http://deborahknaack@hotmail.com Deborah

    My golden/mastiff (?) mix (approx. 9 years old) was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma two days ago. I know that this is a very common type of cancer in larger breeds, but she is very puppy like and playful. She was sent home from the vet with pain meds to control her pain; a chest x-ray indicated that it has not spread into her lungs. I am devastated by this diagnosis and have cried for two days. She is such a happy, loving dog that I want to give her quality of life…not just quantity. I made a vow after my previous “baby” went through surgeries and pain (liver cancer) that I would not prolong and let my pet linger just because I was not ready to let go. I would opt for the amputation and chemo, but my Aspen has had previous hip surgery for a torn ACL ligament, she also has arthritis and hip dysplasia. I fear her back legs do not have the strength to hold her for the length of time that would provide a quality of life for her. She is a large, semi-active dog that I do not want unable to get her up or walk due to her other legs unable to sustain her. Am I correct with this assumption? I am investigating diets that may prolong her time with me and would not be as invasive as surgery. Do you have any words of advice for me? I want to explore every option available. Thank you

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Deborah,
      there are many questions buried in your post. I know you are devastated. If you have not taken the time to read the Guide, it would be a really wise investment. It would also be wise for you to work with your vet to see if you can create a sling to support the leg with the cancer. This is not to address the cancer, but to see if your dog can hop around on three legs or not. You need to give your dog enough time to get used to the sling before making a decision that she cannot withstand the weight load on the other three limbs.
      I hope this helps.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • devin

    we just found out about a month ago that my 3 year old, 65 Ib., Australian Shepard has osteosarcoma. the moment you meet him he just pulls on your heart strings! he loves to play, run and just smile at you! we have taken him to several different vets and finally ended up taking him to VRCC were we finally had a biopsy done and found out he actually did have cancer!so we took him to a homeopathic doctor were she tried acupuncture and gave him several different vitamins. we dont want to amputate in fear that it will spread quicker. what im concerned about right now is after we had the biopsy done he will not walk on his leg anymore and it is now really swollen. is there anything i can do that would help bring the swelling down?

    • Jill

      My 9 year old slobber bucket has been diagnosed with bone cancer. Is in a front leg. At 135 lbs (down from 165), and average years of a saint bernard being 8 to 10, arthritis in his back legs, etc… the vet said amputation probly was not a good option. Chemo was discussed. I thought I had time. We got him on medicine and changed his diet. It seems is just too aggressive of a cancer for him.

      It has been 2 weeks since diagnosed. I am overseas working and my mother has been dog sitting him. He will not make it until I get back in a weeks time. :( It is such a horrible thing to have happen. Thoughts out to all those suffering through this.

      • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

        Thinking of you Jill. Might consider under veterinary supervision: apoptogens, pamidronate, maybe palliative radiation if feasible…some ideas. You will find more info in the Guide, and you can use the search bar in this blog too.
        Best
        Dr D

  • Jasey Jas

    Hi my name is Jason. My 11.9 year old blonde Lab named Ally was limping and had arthritis in her elbow and right leg. We took her to the Vet and we did the Adequan injections and her leg was much better. About 2- weeks ago her shoulder started puffing out really big and she was limping a little bit. We thought it was from her arthritis then this past weekend her foot was so swollen it looks like a Lions paw. She could not walk and put any pressure on it. On Tuesday morning we took her to the Vet and he did two xrays and also bloodwork on her. She had lost 4 pounds in a month and she was eating very good. We were told that she had a very aggressive and bad case of Osteosarcoma in her shoulder and that she had a pathological fracture and the fracture is what caused her swelling. We were told our options about amputation and possible radiation at U of Tennessee’s vet school but our other option was to put her to sleep. It was the hardest decision that we have ever made but we put her to sleep on May 25, 2010. We took her home to spend time with our other dog, get a great meal, snacks, lay out in the sun and relax on her bed. She seemed so full of life but you could tell she was in so much pain. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make and she will be truly missed. It is so much harder after letting one go and knowing how much they impact your life. Our other dog is so lost and so lonely without her and it breaks my heart to no end seeing her things in the house and seeing our other dog so lost and heart broken also. If your dog is diagnosed with this please look at all treatment options and weigh their age and quality of life. We were told that even with amputation and radiation that her survival rate would have been very slim and that it had probably spread to alot of other places in her body. Our house seems so empty without her and it is so quiet. Just wanted to post this and let other dog owners be aware of this aggressive and deadly cancer!

  • Jeff

    My 7 year old Rottweiler Willie has only been limping around for about a week now and has been to the vet twice. His X-Rays are with the radiologist and we are supposed to get his opinion tomorrow. After talking the vet, it seems the likely diagnosis will be Osteosarcoma of his front leg. Willie’s problem is that he already has a deformed front paw, that he’s had since birth and already hops around on 3 legs. He often walks on his deformed paw, but would rather hop if he can.

    Is Willie a candidate for amputation? I can’t seem to find any information on this or other similar cases.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Jeff,
      this is going to be a difficult choice, but it sounds like the honest and brutal truth is that you will likely need him to use his bad paw to support weight and remove the affected leg.
      Keep him as lean as possible, consider a sling from Tripawds, supplement him with Apocaps, Cosequin/Adequan, SAM-e/Denamarin/Denosyl, and make sure his pain is controlled. Work with your vet on all of these things. Try to keep him on soft surfaces if you can.
      For more information on life quality analysis, you may want to get the Guide.
      I hope this helps,
      Dr D

  • Marlene

    A question for you. I have 1 9/12 greyhound that had an injury and limped on the front leg there were 2 incidents close together. After the 2nd i noticed the swelling at the wrist and more limping. I caled for a vet appt., gave her rimydl and iced it. She was better in the am except swelling there. Vet took xrays and said there was a very small concerning spot possible osteosarcoma but could not be sure. He said that even doing a biopsy at this time more than likely would not give answer. He gave me more pain meds said to come back after our vacation and he would check again. I dont know if I should wait 3rd day there is still swellilng but no limping. She eats very well weight and all are good. I have been keeping her quite. Do you think I can wait the 2 weeks. If it is cancer I cant afford the chemo/radiation treatments so dont know if I should amputate. Any suggestions

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Marlene,
      this is no fun. I would not wait. Get the radiographs to a board certified radiologist as quickly as possible for an official radiologist report. This is not the type of thing to sit on if it is indeed bone cancer. You need more information as soon as possible as a first step. Meanwhile, if this were my patient, I would start Apocaps now.
      Stay in touch,
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Tammy

    Hello,

    My dog Jazzmine is approx. 14 years old, she has some issues with arthritis. My dilemma is she has a tumor on her back paw that has burst and is open. It bleeds, my veternarian said he would not put her to sleep but I am starting to think he don’t want me to put her to sleep because everytime I take her to the vet it costs me $200.00 or more. She has been taking steriods, antifungals, pain killers, and antibiotics for almost a year now. I am just stumped as to what to do, Jazzmine was my mom’s dog and I inherited her when my mom passed away back in 2003. My vet says she don’t seem to be suffering, but I think she may be. He said she couldn’t stand amputation because of her arthritis. Please let me know what you would do. I don’t want her to suffer and it is a full time job keeping her foot from bleeding everywhere. I have been putting baby socks on the wound and that keeps her from licking it so much, she figured out how to take the socks off, so I started using vet wrap to keep Jazzie from pulling the socks off. Now she is licking through the socks, needless to say the open wound never heals because it can’t scab up. I am at a loss as to what to do at this point. I hope you can give me some good advice. thanks!

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Tammy,
      This sounds hard. Do you have a diagnosis? It sounds a bit like it is not clear what the growth is. Infection? Cancer? The product of scar tissue from licking? I cannot say of course.
      Step 1: get a diagnosis. The stage in problem solving is to know the problem.
      Step 2: if you cannot get a diagnosis, get a second opinion.
      Sep 3: deal with the issue.
      You need to define what you are talking about. If it turns out to be cancer, you might consider Apocaps and topical Neoplasene with veterinary supervision.
      Best,
      Dr D

      • Jo Ridley

        I have been advised my little maltesex has bone cancer. She is 11months old and has been limping for about 5months. When she first started limping we took her to the Vet and he said she had a torn ligament in her shoulder and seeing as we have another dog it could take months to heal. she seemed ok and got used to walking around on 3 legs so just assumed it would get better eventually. We went overseas for a month and my sister in law looked after our pooches but when we came back she advised us that she had on occasion started crying if her leg was knocked. I still, naively thought back to the vet saying torn ligament and thought maybe it was just painful when touched and it didn’t help I had no money to go to the vet and they don’t do accounts there so I left it a bit longer. Then recently I was laying down with Leela trying to work out whether it was the shoulder as her leg was starting to look thinner then the other but it seemed the wrist joint was larger than the other side. I realized something was not right about that so I took her to the vet and they had to do an Xray. The vet said basically that she has bone cancer and we should look at letting her go! I was devastated the worst news you could hear and she is so young and small! We decided to get a 2nd opinion and another Xray including the chest to see if it had spread. That was yesterday it was not apparent on the Xray of the chest so the only option is to amputate and give our pup a painless life. However, due to it being so rare in a dog her age and size we are getting the tumor sent away for biopsy we decided to do this after as we know she will be ok on3 legs she is used to it now and apparently biopsy can make it spread quicker so she is there now and I’m hoping she will be ok, I just noticed no one has been in my situation with a young small dog so thought I would post.

    • Brian

      Hi all, just found this site. My 6 yr old black lab Brutus was diagnosed today with bone cancer. He started limping about a week ago, and thought he tore his ACL. I wish he did. This has hit me like a ton of bricks and am still in shock. Going to the Ohio State Vet School tomorrow to see am oncologist and discuss my options. I’m torn on whether to take the leg or make him as comfortable as possible and prepare myself for the loss of my best friend. This is so hard and I dont wish this on anyone. F cancer.

      • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

        Dear Brian,
        you are not alone in this, although it may be little consolation. You may use this site easily using the search bar on the upper right. It sounds like you are ready for treatment plan analysis, which is step one. Be sure to get the treatment data you need like gained life expectancy and side effect odds and what they look like. Start to pay attention to diet, apoptogens, immune support, and deliberate steps to increase life quality. Might be time to read the Guide.
        Thinking of you
        D

  • Sherri

    Hello, my 12 year old boarder collie mix just had front shoulder and leg amputation and everything looked good no spots on her lungs. I have been researching options on how to feed her to give her the best chance at beating this. I am confused about all the info out there…is a barf or raw food diet the best?

    • http://www.dogcancerblog.com Demian Dressler

      Dear Sherri,
      Yes, these questions can be a bit overwhelming!! So much to consider. Not only is diet important, but also supplementation, stress reduction, appropriate exercise, physical therapies like massage, boosting natural levels of melatonin by providing a good night’s sleep in complete darkness, immune stimulation, and steps to slow cancer spread.
      As you can see, this is a very big topic!
      All of this is discussed very clearly and systematically in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
      Here is an answer to your diet question, and more here, and here too.
      Finally, the place to start with the supplements is Apocaps.
      Best to you and your border collie and stay in touch!
      Dr D

      • http://buxton62@hotmail.co.uk k buxton

        i took my rottie Blade to the vets 5 weeks ago after noticing a limp and a lump on the top of his left leg they xrayed and they gave us the bad news,ostersarcoma, 2 weeks later he collapsed twice and could hardly walk, we thought that it was time to let him go, took him to the vets who suggested more painkillers now he is on carprieve and tramadol but this weekend the lump the size of a tennis ball has disappeared , he is limping less, going for walks and even running my question is could the vets be wrong or is this the norm please help

        • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

          So sorry to hear about Blade.
          The first bit of advise in the Guide is to consider a second opinion. I would follow this advice-
          I would also be considering some of the other steps like diet, apoptogens, immune support, artimisinin, and conventional steps like surgery and chemotherapy, if the diagnosis is confirmed.

    • Eileen

      Has anyone had cyberknife done?

  • Jean

    Hello. I read your entire book last weekend and it’s been a wonderful resource. I cannot thank you enough for writing it. My 11 1/2 year old flat-coated retriever was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on June 1st. Her left leg was amputated on June 7th and we started chemo with Carboplatin on June 16th. I purchased K9 Immunity & Transfer Factor, Apocaps, Fish Oil, a multi-vitamin and dietary enzymes for her. My vet has prescribed another product called Veterinary Immune Tabs. We felt that there was duplication between the Veterinary Immune Tabs and K9 Immunity and Transfer Factor and the multi-vitamin and perhaps even the fish oil because the Veterinary Immune Tabs seems to have all of those things. We want to make sure we don’t over-supplement her. My vet called the manufacturer of the Immune Tabs and he said that his product has all of things and there’s no need for anything else. Are you familar with this product? I can’t seem to find much information on it outside of the manufacturer’s information. So, I’m a little nervous about how it compares. I want her to have the very best. What about the Apocaps? I’m not sure if she can have the Apocaps along with the Veterinary Immune Tabs either. My vet forget to ask him about that and will need to call him back. But, I have a feeling that he’ll say his product is all she needs. From what I can tell, there is at least some overlap. Both have curcumin. But, I think the overlap ends there. I would like to start her on the Apocaps as soon as her stitches come out as long as I have some assurance that it’s okay for her to have both. if it’s not okay for her to have both, then I’m not sure which to choose. Can one product really do it all? I look forward to your response. Thanks so much for your help!

  • Franklin

    Dr Dressler, What is your rerommendation on dosing Apocaps with anti-inflammatories and painkillers. Our dog, recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, is on gabapentin, tramadol, amantadine and aspirin. We are already using K-9 Immunity and Transfer Factors. Apocaps are on the way. Thanks for your help.

  • Marcela

    Our almost 14 year old lab had an amputation of his left hind, on March 23rd due to osteosarcoma ( he has had radiation therapy in this same leg aome years ago due to mast cell tumor) , and the x-rays showed some nodules in his lungs.
    We started to give him organic asparagus and parsley juice before breakfast and at night, bed time ( fresh made in a juicer)
    On June he presented pnemonia. He was hospitalized, IV liquids, Baytril Inj 100 mg/mo for 3 days, Nebulization with Mucomyst, Famotidine, Amipicilin Injection 200 mg/ml and Previcox.
    After a week, the FU x-rays didn’t show the nodules.
    An August x-ray didnt show the nodules either.
    We are very happy.
    I hope this information could be usuful for other dogs.

    Marcela

  • Marlene

    I have a 9 yr old greyhound Gail with osteosarcoma. I was told that it had spread to her lungs and she was not a good candidate for amputation. She had 5 treatments of radiation and 3 of pamidronate and on pain meds. I could not afford to continue the pamidronate treatments but she remains on pain meds. I dont want her to suffer. She is limping and get more tired. She isnt eating as much but she still has her active times and she is the old Gail. When do you know when to say good bye. I surely dont want to but i do not want to be selfish and I also dont want to give up on her is she wants to continue. The UW vet hospital has precribed all the pain meds available for her. I just cant afford anymore radiation or pamidronate. Is there any thing eles I can do?

    • Michelle

      Dr. D, Buddy is still walking ok but limping a bit. Can I take him for walks until we decide to amputate or is this extra pressure on the bone that could potentially cause more damage?

      Michelle

      • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

        Dear Michelle,
        be very cautious- use your vet’s advice on this too- but they can get what is called a pathologic fracture in the weakened bone due to the cancer. So, very slow and steady, on leash, and get your vet’s input from the X-ray findings to assess bone stability.
        Best,
        Dr D

  • Mary

    I have a 9-10 yr old golden retriever. We rescued him 5 yrs ago. He had been limping for some time and we thought it was arthritis. Took him to the vet and he has been diagnosed with bone cancer. His lump is in his shoulder and he also has a few spots in his lungs. We have not had his other organs xrayed. He is on Metacam in the morning & Tramadol (

  • Mary

    Sorry – finger hit the wrong key. He is on 1 Tramadol at night. He is still eating with some enticing with cheese & turkey. He groans when he lays down and for about 3-5 minutes until he falls asleep. Does it sound like the cancer is spreading? Should I give him more Tramadol or some other pain drug that is stronger? When will I know that the pain is too much for him. I don’t want him to suffer. He is a wonderful and gentle dog.

    • Michelle

      I’m in tears reading these posts! I recently lost my beloved “Nisa” to Kidney disiese in April of 2011. She was 16 yrs 3 Months old. A month later I was dogsitting “Buddy” a 97.5lb Golden Retriever mix, who is a rescue dog from New Mexico, while his mom was in Europe for a month. 2 weeks after Buddy came into my home he started to limp on his front right leg. So we made our first trip to the vet. 2 Xrays later they were unable to determine if it is a fungal infection in the bone, or if it is cancer. the Fungal blood test came back negative. 1 week later I took him back to the vet for a chest X-Ray which came back clear. After spending $900.00, still no definative answers. After our visit to the vet, i checked my email and there was an email from Buddy’s mom saying that she could no longer care for Buddy and was looking for a permanant home for him, so I have decided to take Buddy into my home. I am making an appointment with a specialist for a bone biopsy this next week. Praying that it is not cancer, after all Buddy and I are just getting to know eachother and I just love him so much. After reading about the expense of treatment/amputation I find myself very concerned. I am just recovering from the expenses of the last 2 years of treating my “Nisa”. I’m worried about the tough choices that are ahead and I am absolutely devistated that I may possibly be facing losing another furry friend. If it is cancer, even with amputation my vet said he would only have 6 months, at Buddys size i can’t imagine that he would be OK with only 3 legs. I cannot imagine putting him through that pain, only to survive 6 months. I’m praying for the fungal infection, my vet said even though the blood work came back negative, that it is not definative. Hopefully the bone biopsy will tell me something, and we are not in the same boat of not knowing anything definative after I do this. Will post back when I know more. I wish their were better diagnostic tools out there!!! It just seems you keep spending and spending only to learn nothing :o(. Dogs are the greatest friends and they are worth every penny, I just wish that finding definitive diagnosis was easier!!!

      • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

        Dear Michelle,
        hang in there and keep us posted,
        Best,
        Dr D

  • diane

    My dog lexington she is 6 years old and nine months ago she was diagnosed with bone cancer. We first noticed when we came back from vacation and she was limping and leg was swollen. Took her to vet and was told had bone cancer. I was told to amputate but still have not maily because she loves to run and play with other three dogs and money. We kept wondering if we should put her down but she is a fighter and has this stong will to live. A month after we were told I stopped the pain killers and changed her diet and she began walking on it I also gave her supplements and she is now able to run and play just fine is it possible that it went into remission or could it have been valley fever I live in phoenix so I heard this could have been possible very confused. She does not act like she has cancer still eats is a very healthy weight and coat is shiny not shedding or anything

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Diane,
      did the swelling go down? Very rarely bone cancers can get smaller, but they usually then return bigger again. The only way to know is with more testing for fungal infections (blood testing) to help rule that out, or a bone biopsy to rule in cancer.
      I hope this helps,
      D

  • Edie

    I hope this never happens to our pooches , but I am thankful there is dog lovers out there like us… Cancer is such a sad disease and I pray so much for a cure.

    God Bless to all, Edie

  • Lisa Duryea

    Hi I have a very large ,beautiful,friendly,loyal 5 year old German Shephard. He is VERY active and love’s playing wour mini horse’s,goat’s,chicken’s and Jack Russell on our small farm.He is my constant companion. He recently was diagnosed wbone cancer. He has a small lump the size of 12 a gulf ball on his front rt.wrist. He has no other other symptom’s. That was 6 week’s a ago.He had 3 core biopospy’s that were negative,yet 3 specialist’s still say it’s cancer……He is still happy ,eating and being crazy. .My Vet and I decided not to amputate wchemo at this time. It’s hard to think of him being so sick wno symptom’s ???? I am slowly putting him on a Raw diet to see how that goes…Anyone have any idea’s or info. I would love to hear from you …..

  • Lisa Duryea

    My Samson woke up Monday on 3 leg’s and in terrible pain ??? We never saw it coming .Just the night before he was out in the barn wme completely normal …Not even the slighest limp ????? We decided to forgo the operation and chemo and did what we had to do to for him to be happy……I will miss my constant companion……It’s gonna be strange living my like wout constantly tripping over him !!!!!!! RIP my FRIEND !!!!!!!!!!! xxxxxooooo

    • Laurie

      No, instead try Kim Rockshaw, an amazing homeopath in California. My Pit Bull was given a month to live three years and I was told to amputate and give her chemo. Instead I contacted Kim by chance and she has given me three more years with my amazing dog. Plus Kim is about 10% the cost of a vet.

      Kimrockshaw.com
      Good luck,
      Laurie

  • Tammie

    I have a Rotty that is turning 10. He started limping without an injury about a month ago. It was first diagnosed as arthritis or tendonitis. He was put on a diet and given Rymadil to help. No response other than he seemed to have enough will to go out and relieve himself and eat. I brought him back,because he has shown little improvement to hear this is most likely his diagnosis. Amputation is not an option because he is arthritic in his rear hips. I don’t want to put him through the pain of fractures or breaks, nor do I want to incur the expense of chemo or radiation to buy the dog a few weeks or months of painful life. My kids are looking to me to fix this, and I don’t think I can! Any advice?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Tammie,
      you might want to find a practice that accepts Care Credit or barter (exchange service for service). I hope you are taking advantage of the dog cancer diet download (free, top of this blog), Apocaps, and other supplements that may be more affordable. Make sure you do each step under veterinary supervision, and use 1/4 to 1/2 the labeled dose of Apocaps, with food, if your dog is on Rimadyl.
      Best,
      Dr D

      • Kay Andrews

        Dear Dr, D.,

        Our almost 8 year old Saint Bernard, Samantha, started limping on her front left leg…after 3 days with no improvement, I took her to our vet. X-rays revealed a possible bone tumor(on Friday) and she had a bone aspiration/biopsy yesterday…we didn’t get the results we wanted….osteosarcoma…our vet did not recommend amputation due to her size and age…he didn’t think she would do well. So, she is on rimadyl and tramadol…my question is this: I am terrified that her leg will break and she will be in excrutiating pain, which our vet said could be a possibility dur to the weakening bone….is there a way to support her leg…by wrapping or a brace of some kind that you know of? Also, what would be your guess of life expectancy? We will never let our sweet girl suffer…hoping she will let us know when it is time….

        • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

          Dear Kay,
          So sorry to read about Samantha. There are braces but I am sorry to say they will not bear the load of the leg. They protect other movements but do not support weight down the axis of the limb. Amputation is the best way to relieve the pain of this problem and prevent pathologic fractures. The median life expectancy with only this treatment is several months, but this does not mean that it will be the case with your dog. You are opposed to chemo? Diet change? Apoptogens? Artemisinin? I would use one of the newer anti inflammatory drugs like Metacam (meloxicam) as opposed to Rimadyl and beef up the pain control with added gabapentin, under veterinary supervision of course. I would suggest you gather a bit more data, perhaps from the Guide as you are in the middle of decisions where self education can help you and your dog.
          I hope this helps
          Dr D

  • Leftylee

    My little girl Lefty was just diagnosed today, with bone cancer. My heart is broken for her and for me that there is not a better solution to this. She is a Beautiful Rotty. So sweet, so loving. Cant imagine life without her.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      I am so sorry. But you are not alone in this. I would strongly suggest getting a copy of the Guide to help you in this journey. It is an easy read and you will find it very useful.
      Thinking of you
      Dr D

  • sadhana

    thankyou for your book which i am getting through now & will show my vet.
    i have a 10.5 yr old golden who has osteosarcoma in front left ‘wrist’. i have her on tramadol, homeopathic drops, mushroom extract, half adult doses daily of fish oil, shark cartilage, multivitamins, digestive enzymes, do you recommmend apocaps as well as all that?
    i heard honey & cinnamon will also help, but you say cancer feeds on sugar, so does this mean honey is contraindicated?
    i dont really want to amputate, is there a way of helping her to learn to hop without the surgery?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Sadhana,
      It might be prudent to consider the supplements in the Guide under the “big gun” section. I would consider Apocaps and artemisinin as some useful steps (under veterinary supervision), along with the diet. I would not do cinnamon and honey.
      Best,
      Dr D

      • Jennifer

        IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ANYONE WHO’S DOG HAS BONE CANCER!
        My Belgium Shephard was diagnosed in January of ’11. She had a slight limp and a small lump on her front wrist area. FAST FORWARD to 5/27/11 I rushed her to the vet, she was bleeding profusely from her now 10-20 lbs cancerous tumor which had an open wound, and we couldnt get to stop bleeding. I was told to put her down. I am spending this last weekend to say goodbye and feed her all her favorite treats. I had seen a specialist and was given my option to amputate, which I declined. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER! Amputation is nothing but pain management, there is NO CURE for Bone cancer. But given what I know now…It is 100% worth it. There is nothing but positives from the decision to amputate. The decision to NOT amputate is a DEATH sentence. You will suffer, the dog will suffer. Her tumor grew at such a rapid rate, and they open up and bleed. I have watched my dog lose weight, I watched a small lump grow into a HUGE tumor that renders the leg useless and she can do nothing but drag it behind her, and its so heavy and uncomfortable she barely moves, I had to change bandages constantly and watch her bleed, so much it looked like I killed someone, She had to wear a cone to keep her from licking and chewing the tumor. WHICH THEY WILL!!! My advise for anyone who is faced with this decision…ALWAYS AMPUTATE! They can live a normal life after. My dog hasnt been the same since, and I have nothing but regret. Dont make the same mistake I did!!

  • 2tails

    My heart goes out to everyone who has dealt with canine cancer. My 11 year old yellow lab was diagnosed 4 weeks ago with osteosarcoma, but the symptoms of lameness have come and gone since aprox. October 2010. I have also decided not to treat and opted for comfort care only. I have moments when I am not sure of the decision not to amputate or have chemo, but I know deep inside that the prognosis isn’t good anyway even with treatment so I don’t want part of our last moments together to be about him recovering from an amputation. As all of you here have stated, I will miss him, but right now for me (and for all of us I am sure), it’s about making the most of the time we have left with our canine companions. I wish you all the best. I know it’s a difficult time right now.

    • Denise

      My Max is a 10 yr old boxer with a cantelope size tumor on his hind leg. It is now open and bleeding more each day. He is happy, gets around ok, sleeps alot, he is pretty much his normal self. He is very proud so he quickly begins to clean where his boo boo has dripped, i have it covered now to keep it from bleeding all over and he seems to be having just some discomfort. He isnt able to reach it so I cant tell if it hurts or itches because he really has never shown pain even when he was injured in the past. I wish I knew what to do with the open lesion that is just getting larger, about size of half dollar now. Just keeping neosporine cream w pain relief and a bandage on it. He shows little sign of pain when i put peroxide on it. He has been taking tylenol in the morning and one at night for I fear he may hurt and I dont know it. Amputation at his age is not a great outcome, bless his heart. When is it time? How do I know if he is hurting since he has always been so proud and loyal? Im not sure Max will ever let me know, If i could relive this tumor growth all over again, there is nothing i would do different, i couldnt even love him anymore than i do.

  • Jennifer

    Last night I found a large lump on my dog’s left front leg, up near his chest. I called my vet right away and went in today. My doggie is having surgery tomorrow to get the tumor removed and sent out for biopsy. I’m so hopeful it’ll be benign but the vet told me to prepare for the worst, being leg amputation or chemo, depending on the labs. I have a mixed breed, terrier and maybe basset (who knows!), he’s only 6 and is in perfect health otherwise. He has skin allergies so I bathe him once or twice a week and his fur gets so long that I’m constantly cutting it, so it seems this tumor just appeared overnight. I’m so worried as he’s my best friend. I’d love to know what you think – are there some other questions I should ask when I get the diagnosis? Is there something else I can do to help him? I’d hate to resort to amputation but I’ll do whatever he needs as long as he’s happy and not in too much pain. Thanks for the advice.

  • dave

    i have a 2 year old male black lab that started with a bad limp in his front leg so i took him to the vet and they gave me some pain pills and something else for his leg. after that was done there was no differance so they did some x rays. they said they didnt see anything and gave me the same pills. after that there was still no change so we brought him to a specialist and they said he has bone cancer. this is on moday 3/21 and they said they can take the leg and maybe get six months out of him or put him down. tonight we are going for a second opinion and i hope it is better. i feel so bad for him but besides the bad limp you wouldnt know the differance he is eating good still is happy to see me and doesnt seem to be in any pain. i feel so bad for anyone having to go through this. i just pray that everything will be ok

    • RJ Gryz

      Hello to all,
      My mother passed this site on to me and all I would like to do is comment on our experience with bone cancer. October 14, 2010, Bella was diagnosed with bone cancer in the left rear leg. At that time lungs were clear. We removed the leg. Our loved ones have a tremendous amount of spirit. You would never have known Bella was only on three legs. She could outrun the other two dogs we had on those three legs. Four months ago she started limping, my worse fear was the cancer had returned to the other leg. Initial diagnosis was not cancer but severe arthritis. So I treated with supplements. But what the foot started to do was swell, so back I went. Our vet took another x-ray of it and said I am not familiar with this sort of thing but it looks like cancer to me. She advised us to go to our teaching college. We did and there we viewed cancer of the back leg, front legs as well as three large tumors in the lungs. Yes, when the first leg was removed the cancer had already gone to the lungs but was so microscopic it didn’t appear on the x-rays. Our course of treatment was pimadirate..which in my heart I believe did nothing and 50mg of Trammadol every 8 hours. She is a 6 year old Lab and her rear leg has filled with fluid and is about five times bigger than her front legs. It’s like a water balloon and if only we could empty it. She can still void, but we have to carry her outside where she hobbles, does her business and we carry her back in unless the sun is shining and warm then she likes to lay out there for a while. She eats like a horse. But all she can do is lay and watch. This may sound terrible to some. But I feel God gives us life and God takes life from us. If Bella was a human and I put her down I would be a criminal, sent to jail for life. I do not condemn anyone if they choose that path for their animal…it is all our own personal decision. I don’t enjoy watching her suffer, I watched my 9 year old Golden die with lymphoma this past June. What I will say is this…do not hesitate to make a dog a three legged animal. It does not phase them. Yes, you will be shocked and scared…feeling like you are destroying their spirit…but you aren’t. They adapt so well. I am glad we chose to have the leg removed. It gave us one additional year of being with her. But now it’s time for her to move on and there is nothing to help her other than pain medicine. She beat the odds. Lived one year after removal of the leg with no chemo. Sometimes we need to realize that quality of life to a dog is just being next to us. Best of luck to you all and the decisions you are going to have to make in the future.
      God Bless you and your loved ones.
      RJ

  • dave

    we went for a second opinion on 3/22 and it was the same. we dont want to put him through the amputation process to have him live less than a year. if i could i would put my self in debt for the rest of my life to help him but its not fair to him. this is bar none the saddest thing i have ever seen in my life and i wish no one will ever have to go through it. im going to wait until he lets me know its time. until then he is going to be loved and spoiled rotten. i love you harley and i dont want you to go.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Dave,
      sending you my best thoughts in this sad time. Thinking of you.
      Dr D

    • Suzie

      Dr. D
      I have a Rottie puppy who is just over a year old. Recently I saw him slightly limping but as crazy and energetic as he is I thought it was a mild sprain. Then the limping started to get worse and it was hard to tell if it was his back left or right leg. Then he started to look like both legs were bothering him. I schedueled a doctors appointment once it started getting worse and he is in for testing now as I am writing you. As i got to the vet he then was holding his front right paw up like that leg was bothering him now as well. The limping is spreading through all of his legs and this has only been going on a week. Please tell me what you think it could be. I am so upset and terrified because he is my best friend and he is such a young energetic and playful puppy I never would think he would be unhealthy. Please tell me what your thoughts are! Thanks so much

  • Nicoleskm

    I have an 8 year old large breed (greater swiss mtn dog) that was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last month. The tumor on his front left leg has been grown aggressively week after week. It is now the size of a grapefruit and it has become so painful to watch him walk. The tumor has turned very purple and it almost seems like it will burst. When do you know it’s time? He still has spirit and is still himself despite this terrible tumor on his leg. I am just heartbroken over it all. I feel helpless in making a decision.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Nicole,
      here is a post that I think will help you:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/i-can-see-the-end-but-i-am-not-ready/
      Also there is a lot on life quality analysis in the Guide.
      So sorry to hear this tough news. Thinking of you in this hard time,
      Dr D

    • Shannon Baum

      Our dog, Max , was diagnosed with bone cancer today. He has been such a loyal dog, and so intelligent. He is a dobie mix. All I can say is my heart is broken and I don’t want to let him go, but I know I have to. I couldn’t live with myself if this gets into his lungs. I am so sad I could die.

  • Jeff

    I have a 4-year old rottweiler called Buster and have recently been told he has osteosarcoma on his front left wrist.

    I have taken him to a specialist who is seen as one of the top vets in cutting edge procedures in the country (Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick) and according to his MRI scan there are no visible signs of spread to his organs….although I do know that in 90% of cases the cancer had spread on a cellular level which is undetectable.

    Anyway, for me 10% chance is better than no chance at all, and because he is a big dog and would struggle to live on three legs, I have decided to go with a limb sparing procedure with chemotherapy. They will take a part of his leg, and replace with a titanium rod. I have been told he will be able to walk fairly normally, and should’nt be in any pain, although it’s never going to be the same as it was before.

    This was such a hard decision for me, and the cost is enormous as I don’t have any pet insurance. Have been told it’s going to cost me somewhere in the region of £6000-£8000 which for me really is a huge amount of money……but if it means I can have at least one more year with him, and he’s relatively pain-free, then it will be worth it.

    I love him to bits, and my heart goes out to any other pet owner who has a pet suffering from this cruel disease.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Jeff,
      thinking of you in this difficult time.
      Best,
      dr D

  • http://www.wrightperspectives.com Bethani Wright

    My beautiful Dane was just diagnosed yesterday. She’s only 5. Our first Dane had osteosarcoma, too. She was 7. We are devastated. Shelby Comin’ Around the Mountain is the best dog ever with the best quirks. Because it appears the cancer has spread, amputation does not seem like a viable option. She’s on strong pain meds and not herself. :( Our hearts are so broken. My heart goes out to all of you here. Not only are we devastated with human cancer but our beloved pets having cancer, too, offers quite the blow, as well.

  • Jackie

    Last Mon. noticed a half ping-pong ball sized knot on front lower leg of 8 yr. old St. Bernard. She started limping. Thought it might me a bite of some kind. Took her to vet only to find out ( after having 5 previous Saints) that bone cancer is common in this breed. She did blood test to rule out fungal infection. Got results today that it is cancer. I take “Bonnie” in tomorrow for chest X-ray. If clear of signs of cancer, the vet will amputate. If the chest is not clear we won’t amputate and bring her home to let her life out the rest of her precious. As all of you well know, it’s hard. It is far better to have had the love this gentle giant has given our family than not to have had to experience this pain we are going through now.

  • Ruth

    I already submitted my story but I believe it belongs to this blog.
    Sorry it is very long but I think I have to get our story out and hopefully I can at least help one dog with bone cancer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. canecorsolv@gmail.com

    Dear Dr.Dressler,
    First of all thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful guide. You helped me from the moment I started reading your book. Please excuse my English. I will try my best. I am born and raised in Germany so English is not my home language.

    Let me tell you my story about my 3 year old Italian Mastiff girl Jasmine. I have six of them but Jasmine is my angel. I rescued Jasmine with the age of 4 month. From day one she was my shadow. Jasmine got parvo with the age of 7 month( even though she was fully vaccinated) . She spend 5 days in the hospital ( I did not leave her side) and she made it. A couple of month later she got giardia…so she had a really ruff start.
    Jasmine hurt her self really bad on her left front leg beginning of March while playing in our back yard. She run full speed against a spotlight….. she screamed out loud and from this day on she didn’t want to use her front left leg anymore. We went to see the vet and she gave her some rimadyl……a couple of days later she got better. On April 12 I took her in (she was still limping) x-rays were taken. As soon as our vet walked through the door I knew something was wrong. She said I have bad news. It looks like Jasmine has bone cancer. My husband and I broke into pieces. She said she wanted to get a second opinion and referred us to a cancer specialist. Let me tell you some vets are cold and heartless. He told me that Jasmine has 6 weeks to 6 month to live to prepare myself to put her down (Excuse me I said who are you to tell me how long my dog has to live…..oh these are statistics he said. Statistics what are the chances on killing the cancer??? He said no chance. I hope I can walk in his clinic one day and show him the results.) ……. if he amputates her leg right away and if I decide on chemo and radiation she may live a year longer. Most likely it already has spread to her lungs.I felt sick to my stomach when I was done talking to him.
    I have health insurance for all my dogs money was not an issue, The vet said to be 100% sure we should do a biopsy. I was totally against it but my husband said lets do it so we know for sure. The biopsy came back and confirmed bone cancer. Here we go. I was in denial and didn’t believe that my girl has cancer. I started searching the internet and here I found your guide. I didn’t hesitate…. the minute I got your guide I started reading and I didn’t stop until I finished the book. My head was spinning and I said to myself wow I have a lot to do. I am fortunate that I work from home and I can be with her 24/7 what ever it takes I will do for my girl.
    I looked at her and said……Jasmine let’s fight this monster……. she looked at me and wagged her tail like she wanted to tell me that’s not the first time mom let’s do it.

    The first thing I changed was her diet. Thank you Dr. Dressler.
    I ordered Apocaps and a lot of supplements you have suggested in your guide. I also put her on a natural pain management. Jasmine was in a lot of pain because of the biopsy and injury of course and maybe because of the cancer as well……she had a lot of fluids where the biopsy was performed. She wasn’t using her leg at all. I took her to my vet to make sure that it wasn’t the cancer already growing rapidly. She said no but she has a lot of fluids around the wound….. my vet wanted to drain the fluids to release the pain but I decided not to do it. No more needles no more vets. I had a hard time getting Jasmine through the vet’s door after the biopsy. She refused and it took us over an hour to get her in for the second x-rays.

    I am a form believer that we all can heal our bodies if we support him with the right supplements.
    First I had to take care of the fluids. Every 5 hours she got a bandage around her leg with Morinda Tahitian Noni Juice.The fluid in her leg was gone in two days. I also gave her 2 ounce a day orally.

    The second x-rays were taken on June 8 ( two month later) and my vet said. What ever you are doing keep doing it, her body is fighting the cancer. Her lungs are still clear. as well.
    My best friend is a Oncologist for human she gave me a lot of advice as well…. she only believes in natural remedies like I do. She told me of some other products she gives to her patients with amazing results………… I started Jasmine on these supplements and I believe the combination she is on right now that we beat the cancer. My friend looked at her second x-rays and said that the bone is healing already and she is in remission.
    Jasmine went from not using her leg, to a severe limp to a light limp and now for six weeks no more limping at all. I still don’t allow her to play with my other Mastiffs even though in her mind she is ready to play again. She does go on very long walks every day.

    Today after 4 month she is doing wonderful no swelling no limping and as healthy as she can be. She never looked as good.

    Next x-ray will be taken in September five month after diagnosis.I have to use a different vet because next time she is not going through my vet’s door without tranquilizer. I hope and pray by than that the cancer is all gone.

    The supplements she is on right now are not cheap but much cheaper than amputation and chemo that’s for sure.
    If I had followed the vet’s advice the insurance would have paid for all of this…….I didn’t so I have to pay for the supplements because insurance do not pay for supplements or vitamins….. but she is worth every penny.

    Thank you so much it felt like you were with us 24/7….. without your guide, I believe Jasmine’s outcome so far would be different.
    I will post an update as soon as I get the third x-ray done.

    God bless
    Ruth and Jasmine

    • rand

      4-weeks ago, bull halsey, jumped out of our jeep and fell. a first. he is a 120 lb. lab mix that i have had since he was a 4-wk old rescue. he is now 9 years old. we thought he had a sprain and took him to his vet for an x-ray. it was not a sprain – osteosarcoma on his front right foreleg. we are obviously, devistated. we lost our 13 yr lab, covey isle last year.
      our vet gave him 3wks to 6 mths. we are now carefully monitoring his movement, treating him with previcox, gabapentin and tremedol. he is hanging in there, but bored out of his mind.
      Any ideas of how to keep his spirits up? We are with him 24/7 – work at home. we keep constant watch – but, want him to have some fun. (we have a 2yr kitten and a 7yr shitzu thing!)

      Any ideas for my bell boy? thks! rand

  • Ken

    Rocky’s story. I wanted to share with those dealing with Osteosarcoma to cast out your feelings about amputation. Clearly amputation is not appropriate for all dogs. Older arthritic dogs will likely have issues with fewer legs, as potentially heavier dogs might too. So this isn’t advice but rather what I’ve learned after going through the experience.

    Rocky is a large Shetland Sheepdog – large by standard, not large as in Mastiff large. Rocky weighed 45 pounds when diagnosed in early January. As many others, the vet first felt that Rocky’s limp was caused by either tendonitis or arthritis. He was put on Rymadyl initially, which did give him some relief, but never completely disappeared. At his second visit an xray appeared to be Osteosarcoma and it was verified with biopsy.

    The vet recommended amputation and chemo. I chose to take Rocky to a veterinary oncologist and I’m very happy I did. I struggled with his recommendation for amputation and chemo, as well as putting him through such a drastic treatment with an average lifespan of 1 year. Yet I also knew, through research, that some dogs that have amputation and chemo can live much longer – not the rule, but who is to judge whether their dog might be? I knew Rocky had a great zest for life and even at 10 years, his natural lifespan was 13 or 14 years.

    I finally decided to give Rocky the opportunity to beat the odds after speaking with others that had been through the amputation. Rocky’s amputation was his front left leg at the shoulder. I won’t lie to you, the first week to 10 days is no picnic, but it was way far dramatic for him than me. He was up and hopping around the day after surgery and home the next day. Dogs instinctively learn to move about and balance almost immediately – I’m sure the nature survival instinct kicks in and they just deal with the situation. Within a week keeping him from doing too much was the biggest concern as he was moving about almost as well as before the surgery.

    One week later we started chemo. In Rocky’s case it too was more problematic for me than Rocky. Each time he had a day to day and a half of feeling rather lethargic, a reduced appetite for about a week, but other than that it was rather routine. Each 3 weeks, for 5 sessions Rocky had Carboplatin and I supplemented him with Canine immunity Plus and changed his diet to low-carb high protein. When he completed his chemo protocol he was put on Apocaps and has continued the Canine Immunity.

    Nearly 8 months later Rocky has no signs of matastisis and his quality of life is in every way what it was before his diagnosis. He can run every bit as fast as before, is a happy playful dog and I thank God I did the amputation and chemo. I know that being in remission is only a momentary status and could change at any time, but I also know that Rocky would very likely either not be with me now or his quality of life would be much worse if not for the steps we have taken.

    As I said earlier, this is neither a recommendation for anyone else, only the story of Rocky. God willing he’ll still be the happy healthy dog he is today for a long time to come and if not I’ll never regret the wonderful months I’ve had with when the time comes. I would do everything I’ve done again without question.

    If your dog physical condition is conducive to an amputation, please don’t think that you’re putting them through something horrible. They are not humans, do not feel “less than a dog,” they deal with the cards dealt them and go forward. Rocky chases the other dogs around the backyard, jumps up on the sofa (given up breaking him of that habit,) does stairs (both up and down) and can still drag me around when going for walks.

    For us, the combination of what I’ve learned from Dr. Dressler, a great oncologist and a great veterinary surgeon gave Rocky the best start to his journey. The right choice for you and your friend is a personal choice and I wish you all the best whatever you feel is the right path to take. I only say, that I believe the pain-free months of play and loving has been well worth a couple difficult weeks…for Rocky and me anyway.

    Ken

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Thanks for this wonderful story Ken.
      Best
      D

  • Amy

    We just lost of family dog yesterday from bone cancer. :( We thought he had arthritis the whole time since May when my parents took him to the vet. It was a vet nurse or something that they talked to. The vet wasn’t in that day. He was limping and they were told that he has arthritis. But there were no other options that were given or try to figure out the differential diagnosis. The dog was almost 8 years old Siberian Husky. He was a big dog. For past few months, things are slowly getting worse and up to this week, it was really bad. We just thought his arthritis was getting bad. This past Wednesday, he couldnt use his back legs to get up. His left leg was gone, right was 50%. He could only stand with left front leg. He decided to lie down and couldn’t eat. Pooping blood and peeing on himself. It’s such a tragedy to see him like this. He passed and went to heaven yesterday. It is so heartbreaking. I wish we were know about this sooner. After seeing what was going on, we realized that he has bone cancer. :(.

    • Shelia Nance

      Today I had my sweet girl Dottie put to sleep because of osteosarcoma. I was told a month ago that this was probably what was wrong with her. She developed a limp in her back leg and then a swollen paw which continued to get worse. Treated with soaks and antibiotics. She was a abused stray that I’ve had for three years. I decided to put her out of misery instead of taking her leg off. She was in pain and not eating which she never had a problem with before. I was not expecting this and my heart goes out to all who have animals that get this horrible bone cancer. She will be missed daily but I know in my heart that I did the right thing.

  • Rocky

    My 7 year old, 80lb golden was just diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his back leg.
    I don’t see cost mentioned anywhere here, but what is an average cost for amputation and chemo? I love my dog, but cost (along with pain and quality of life) is a BIG factor in our life. Can people share what their costs were?
    Thanks

  • donna robinson

    we just put our 11 yr old lab down due to osteosarcoma the cancer spread to much to do any treatment it was the hardest thing i ever had to do but he was in such pain i had to do what was right for him he was the best dog ever and i miss him lots after creamation he is home with us

  • andrea

    My Brookie Bear, an 8 yr old Great and I mean GREAT Dane suffered from a degenerative spine and pancreatic disease, but you would never know it. We would hike twice a week for six to eight miles in the Metropark trails and take our daily two mile walks. She is my best friend and my parents “grand-dogger”.

    In the past year or so, she started to drag her left rear paw at the end of our walks: the vet said it was neurological. Well, on Tuesday Brooke took off after the leaf blower (after chasing the squirrels up the tree) slid and went down. She began to yelp like I’ve never heard before…I was terrified! Her spine was curved and she couldn’t stand on her own. I rushed her to the vet, they took x-rays and told me she fractured her knee. They also told me they saw signs of bone cancer in her leg. I was DEVASTATED. They bandaged her paw of that leg as she seemed to have no control over it, only to drag it along. I tried to sling her to help her move about that night & the next day, but my Brookie wanted no part of it; she was determined to “do it on her own” and she did! She hobbled around the house, dragging that limb. Fearing she might hurt herself even further, I made another trip to the vet on Wednesday only to hear they couldn’t bandage, wrap or cast it and sent us home again. On Thursday, she developed a sack-like pouch of liquid under her knee…back to the vet I went. I was told to soak it in luke warn water 10 minutes, three times a day, but while I was there my vet told me to contact a local surgeon regarding amputation. Oh my gosh…what? amputation??? It scared me…it terrified me, but I called and spoke with the surgeon when I got home. Our initial conversation was not promising, due to Brookes spinal issues he wasn’t sure she’d be a candidate for amputation…he went further to say, very frankly, “you have two options….bone cancer is a terribly painful disease for your pet, you must decide & I mean soon, not two weeks from now, to amputate or put her down.” I couldn’t believe my ears…I made an appointment for the following day, Friday at 10:30 am to meet and discuss our options, Brookes and mine.

    Prior to the fracture (Tuesday), Brooke lead a normal, active, fun-filled life. She traveled everywhere with my daughter, mother and myself. She loves going to drop off & pick up Sam, my daughter from school, rides through our metropark, ate heathly, chased squirrels, etc., she was no candidate for euthinizing, She is full of life!

    At our appointment Friday with the surgeon, after reviewing existing films of Brookes legs, chest and spine he was right in the middle of recommending amputation. I wanted Brooke to be painless, and the only way to guarantee that was to remove her leg. She deserved a chance to continue her life, a life she truely enjoys,

    Brooke had her surgery yesterday, Friday at 4:30 p.m., yes, I left her there. I couldn’t take a chance of her injuring herself worse. We had to try it.

    It was the hardest emotional decision of my life thus far; I’ve been criticized by many in the last few days, and that’s ok. I visited Brooke earlier today and it was wonderful to see her; she won’t be released until Monday or Tuesday and the doctor said she’s doing as well as could be expected.

    I made my 7 pm call to the vet to check on Brooke only to hear she’s not eatting :( what does that mean?. I’m hoping it’s because we’re only 24 hours out of surgery, etc. :( :(

    I’m still scared, but have faith that all will be well. Thank you and God Bless…

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Andrea,
      you are doing the right thing! Don’t let anyone criticize you for your choices concerning your dog!
      Also, don’t forget that in addition to surgery and chemotherapy, there are additional tools in our cancer toolbox (diet, apoptogens, immune support, artemisinin, and so on…). More in the Guide if you want detailed info on this stuff.
      Best to you and good work being your dogs number one health care advocate!
      D

    • Karolina Linck

      My dog Ashley 5y/o German sheperd has osteosarcoma. The placement of the tumor doesn’t leave us with many options. Should I say none. Anything I could do will improve quality of her life. I did see oncologist. The best I could in NYC in AMC.
      Her chest xrays are clear for now. She seems very happy and pain free for now. She is my best friend and mine 19 month old daughter’s everything. It is the first thing she calls in the morning when she wakes up “Ash” and won’t go to bed without giving her a kiss. They spent all day together.
      We have 3 dogs and all of them are special. But nothing compares to Ashley. She is the best dog ever.
      It is very heartbreaking to know our days will be cut short. I will do anything to save my dog. I know I can’t. So we just spending every minute together. And I will remember these days for rest of my life:)

      • Dr. Demian Dressler

        Dear Karonlina,
        I am so sorry. This sounds devastating.
        I’m wondering if you have looked at some of the other options for this tumor to extend life and keep it at good quality?
        Palliative radiation? Pamidronate? Pain control (later)? Diet? Apoptogens? Other supplements? Metronomic or other chemo?
        There are still a lot of tools in our toolbox to make things better, even for this cancer. I think you might want to read the Guide as it outlines these steps clearly. Please be sure to always have veterinary input on your pets care too.
        Best,
        Dr D

  • Annie

    Almost four weeks ago my beautiful greyhound boy developed a limp overnight. I took him to the vet a couple of days later as I was aware there was a strong link to osteosarcoma in his lines. He was initially treated with antibiotics and rimadyl as he had a slightly raised temperature and lymphs. Unfortunately the limp didn’t go away so I booked him in for x rays. These were taken and my vet informed me that he was pretty sure it was the dreaded osteosarcoma. He made an urgent referal for my dog to see a specialist who is considered to be one of the best. He looked at the x rays and confirmed his suspicions. He told me I should prepare myself for having weeks rather than months with my boy.

    My problem is that now I’ve been reading these posts that I can’t help but think that I should have gone ahead with the amputation – that I wanted him to have but was advised against. The growth on my dog’s leg was not visible when I dropped him off for his x ray but was obvious when I collected him. That confuses me somewhat. Also I do worry about the rate of growth of the lump. In less than two weeks it’s the size of a tennis ball.

    Is it conceivable that this isn’t osteosarcoma but something else? He hasn’t had any biopsies.

    He’s currently being treated for pain with tramadol.

    I absolutely adore this boy and want so desperately to do what’s best by him. Am I too late to be thinking about amputation for him?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Annie,
      Well, it is true that it could be other things, but it sure sounds likely that this is unfortunately osteosarcoma.
      At this stage, in the absence of biopsy, I would go ahead with treatment. by the way, weeks’ median survival time is inaccurate if one reads the published data concerning this cancer if treatment is started- more like 10 months or so, depending on which paper you read.
      Use the conventional care as well as diet, immune support, apoptogens, anti metastatics, and brain chemistry modifications we discuss in the Guide for best results. Cancer is not an immediate death sentence!
      Best
      D

  • Morgan Hammond

    Just learned today that my 6 y.o. greyhound/lab mix pound puppy Damian was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his front right wrist. I’m still in shock. He is a very energetic dog with a kind heart that has never had any medical issues in the past. I noticed him limping a little bit last week and thought it was a sprain (common among greyhounds). So I wrapped it with an ace bandage for 2 days, iced it, and it seemed to help. He was his old self with no limp. Last night, I let him out to go to the bathroom. He spotted a cat and took off after it. By the time I got him back in the house, he wouldn’t put any weight on his right leg. I then took a close look at his paw pad to make sure he didn’t step on anything. Then I notice his wrist was swollen. I was then worried that it was a bad sprain or at the worst it was broken. We took him to the vet today. She wanted to take x-rays to see if it was in fact broken. After waiting 3 hours for the results, she called me in to tell me the news. When I walked in I immediately asked if it was broken. She said no. I then asked if it was a bad sprain. She said no. She went on to say it was much worse. Then she proceeded to show me his x-ray. Telling me he has osteosarcoma a cancer of the bones. I nearly fell to the ground not even thinking of that possibility. When the doctor told me when she originally saw his x-ray, she started to cry. I knew it was bad. I then asked , how do we fix this. She said amputation followed by chemo would be his best chance for him to feel better and improve his quality of life. The thought of amputation scared the hell out of me. I then asked her if this was your dog what would you do. She said amputation followed by chemo would give him the best odds. I then left the vet with the information for a surgeon, some reading material about this cancer , and a very heavy heart.

    I got Damian into the car and headed to the nearest restaurant to grab him a huge burger. I know it sounds funny, but I thought it would make him feel better.

    Needless to say, I cried , then cried some more, and am currently still crying. I am so grateful to have found this post soo soon after I got this heart breaking news. Thank you to all that have shared your stories. Some of have made me cry and some have given me hope. It’s too soon to say definitely what plan of action we are going to take, but I am seriously considering the amputation followed by treatment. My puppy is in great spirits , has a will to thrive, and I will do what I have to to make sure he lives as pain free as possible.

    Best wishes to all !

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Morgan,
      I am so sorry to hear this story. As you know, neither you nor Damian is alone in this journey. I feel you are doing the right thing. Many many dog lovers have a lot of life with their dog after discovery of what you have discovered. Don’t forget the complete, full spectrum treatment so you use all the tools at your disposal. There is a free diet pdf on the top of this blog. Also focus on apoptogens, immune support, anti-metastatic supplements, and brain chemistry modification by deliberately increasing your dog’s life quality daily! These are discussed in the Guide and on this blog.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Kim

    Dr D it’s been 1 1/2 weeks since my 8 yr old Dane broke her front leg. Xrays showed what was believed to be osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma so I agreed to a bone biopsy, which confirmed osteosarcoma. 3 chest xray views show promise with no visible sign it’s in her lungs. The biopsy reports a mitotic index of 1 per high power field. I asked for a splint and her dressing has been changed once since the biopsy. She is on 4 tramadol twice a day and 1 1/2 piroxicam a day. Her appetite is voracious, she sleeps/rests about the same. At her age with the low numbers should I still aggressively remove the limb? Since the break is thru the tumor, is it safe to assume the bone will never heal? With osteosarcoma, does removal of the limb simply remove the source of pain, or will it aid in slowing the spread of this terminal disease? I have read numerous stories on this site and I am struggling with this decision. My deepest sympathy for those that have experienced this pain and confusion I am feeling.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear kim,
      my feeling on this is yes, you should proceed with the amputation, assuming your veterinarian is in agreement. With proper care, dogs with osteosarcoma have median survival time of about 10 months or more, depending on which paper you read. I would definitely start educating yourself about all the tools you have at your disposal for this problem. Remember that when we are talking about median survival, we mean half the dogs lived longer than that while the other half less, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. You should research diets, apoptogens, immune support, antimetastatics, and brain chemistry boosts with deliberate life quality steps daily to take advantage of all your tools. All of this is discussed in detail in the Guide, which I feel would be beneficial for you right now. Do everything with your veterinarian’s advice.
      Best,
      Dr D

    • Ruth

      Thank you Dr. Dressler,
      I still can’t believe it. She never locked as good. I wish I could attach a picture of her. I guess all the good stuff she is getting and of course the love. I am going to keep her on the K9 Immunity and the Apocaps and the raw diet. Should I cut back on the protein? I am a little worried that she is getting to much protein in her food. I already added more veggies. She never got bloat again since I have her on this diet. She had a lot of problems before, no matter what she ate she got a lot of gas.

      God Bless
      Ruth and Jasmine ;-)

      • Dr. Demian Dressler

        Dear Ruth,
        if the kidneys are healthy dogs can tolerate a lot of protein- easily 2/3 of their diet (but be sure you are consulting with your vet).
        Glad she is doing well!!!
        D

  • Vince

    Best of luck Morgan ! I can feel for what you are going through ! My dog had cancer that spread everywhere ! was 13 1/2 however !

  • robin

    Took my 6 year old (115 lb) goldendoodle to the vet for a limp and tapeworms (we live in the hills, and he liked to find deer carcasses) one month ago. Doc (who was new to me as my regular vet died) did an x-ray and told me it may be a bone tumor. Took dog and some prednisone home and cried for a couple of days. After two weeks, limp was virtually gone. One week after that (off prednisone), limp was back. Called the vet and requested some doggie advil. Called twice on a Monday and heard nothing back. Took dog to new vet on Thursday. Limp was there, but very mild. Doc did another x-ray and said that the dog’s humerus was 70% involved–osteosarcoma. I was worried about fracture and pain, so I had my perfect puppy euthanized. Old vet called the next day about request for pain meds. A-hole! I am devastated. Should I have tried something else? I feel sooo guilty and sick. He was my best friend and was still really happy (eating, drinking, etc), although a bit lame. I was just too scared to see him in pain. My heart is broken, Robin

    • Demian Dressler

      Dear Robin
      All of our hearts go out to you during this difficult time.
      Just remember that the dogs (in my opinion) have a spirit which is not harmed by cancer, and is indestructible.
      Thinking of you
      Dr D

  • Claudia

    My dog Curly a bedlington terrier passed away from osteosarcoma 3 weeks ago. He was 15 years old and cancer was discovered when already methastasized in the lungs( although e month ago he had his physical exam with detailed blood work and everything was fine?!). It was the most difficult moment to go through, he died in my arms 2 weeks after diagnosis…DEVASTATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have Apocaps( open, about 80 capsules), K-9 imunity(open, about 75 capsule)s, Hepalin100plus( open, about 50 capsules), K-9 imunity plus with transfer factor for dogs under 30 lb.( unopen , 30 chewables).
    I want to give them to others that need them and go through cancer treatment or survival. Please e-mail me. I am more than happy to ship them ti whoever needs them and can use them.Thank you Claudia

    • Demian Dressler

      Dear Claudia
      I am very sorry. This sounds horrible. I am sending you all my best and thinking of you in this difficult time-
      with sympathy
      Dr D

  • Ruth

    Update on Jasmine. Jasmine was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on her front leg on April 12. Our vet and oncologist gave her 6 weeks to 6 month to live, if I don’t agree on getting her leg amputated and chemo. I refused….. Instate, for the next 4 month I dedicated all my time to fight the cancer. Every test she got done was also sent to Tuffs University in Boston, to get a second opinion. Yes she got a Biopsy done as well. It came back Osteosarcoma. Six month later Jasmine has no more signs of cancer. You tell me, was it luck? Was it the food, vitamins, the natural remedies I gave her? I don’t know. The only thing I know is I am the happiest person on earth……… she did it again. She fought for her life.
    Thank you Dr. Dressler for pointing me in the right direction. Without your guide I believe, the outcome would have been different.

    Ruth and Jasmine ;-)

    • Demian Dressler

      Dear Ruth,
      so happy to hear this news!!! :)
      All my best
      D

  • Dee

    Well, my 8 year old rottie, Gunnar was diagnosed last week with bone cancer. His rear leg. He had been limping and bearing no weight on it and was fearing the worse. Hubby brought him in and my vet wanted to put him down this week sometime due to the damage to his leg. He is eating, drinking and going potty outside. The vet had expressed he was worried he would break it and would be in extreme pain. What should I/we do? Very, very sad.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Dee,
      I am very sorry to hear about this.
      Step one is to educate yourself in being your dog’s number one health care advocate and guardian, so you are armed with information for decisions. Next, do a treatmetn plan analysis (what the dog gets for what cost to you and your Gunnar?) This is found in the Guide. You need to find out what your treatment philosophy is (what your priorities are in treating cancer). You need to define a budget (money and time). Euthanasia seems early right off the bad. What about removing the leg after making sure there are no obvious signs of cancer spread? Diet changes? Apoptogens? Chemotherapy? Pain control? Immune support? Pamindronate? These are all things one would normally be discussing with your vet (and are described in the book).

  • anis

    Dear Dr
    I am in shock to know my 3 years old Labrador has malignant tumor diagnosed after non complete removal of the tumor ,as Fibrosarcoma grade 3 in his inside back right leg. ontologist recommend amputation of the whole leg to prevent future metastasis .my dog is the star of the family ,strong ,beautiful and healthy. i am real confused and do not know what to do to amputate or stage type of treatment.

    I need your advice

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Anis,
      see my other answer to your question-
      best
      D

      • Carolyn

        My 10 1/2 year old dog has been diagnosed with bone cancer of the lower part of her left leg. We decided on starting her on a raw holistic diet; giving her pain meds to keep her comfortable (hopefully we can gauge that). She is limping and seldom puts weight on the leg; she is sleeping a little more, but is enjoying the new died to the point of turning down the Wild Kibble. She goes out side to bark at the mailman; drinks water, goes potty, and plays with her empty toilet paper rolls and her toys in her toy basket. Since I told our vet what we are doing the vet no longer returns our emails. I have found a veterinarian who will come to the house when it is time to let my dog go. We don’t want her to experience pain either from the cancer (although I know she is [but how DO you tell when it is too much?]) or from an amputation or the discomfort of chemo or radiation.
        I have read articles, websites, and there is so much information…you can’t help but feel guilty about not doing all the major medical procedures . She is laying at my feet right now, tail wagging, eyes bright, and “smile” on her face. I asked her if she is ready for me to “cook” and she is standing here with me waiting for me to stop typing.

  • anis

    our three year old male lab has been diagnosed with fibrosarcoma, apparently a rare form of cancer for younger dogs. we had the initial lump removed, but it was incomplete. we are told to either amputate, without much reassurance about reoccurence or spreading, and another doctor told us to go for staging and perhaps additional surgical removal. we are very upset and confused. we also do not have insurance. we are changing our lab’s diet and keep up his spirit but we are not sure what is the right thing for him. we are concerned to put him through unnecessary pain if his life span is short, especially when looking at the supposed option of an amputation. our kids are also very upset. advice welcome!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Anis,
      I am sorry to hear this news.
      it is important to get data so you know what to do. These have about 25-30% chance of spreading to distant sites. This means that amputation will cure it about 70-75% of the time. Chemo can help increase survival (doxorubicin can help) if it spreads. Acemannan can be tried and can help as well. You should be discussing Apocaps, radiation, and dietary changes with your vet or oncologist. Please be sure to read the Guide as this is essential for this journey, and also discuss the options with your veterinarian.
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

    • http://www.photobucket.com/kimbaroogirl DLMS

      Dear Dr Dressler,

      Our dear 9 yr old Kimba Roo was diagnosed with osteo sarcoma in her knee on 11/21 after a biopsy. The biopsy incision got infected (she licked the hell out of it) and this past Tuesday her rear limb was amputated. The first few days were sketchy…she wouldn’t eat, was lethargic…I was worried sick! Thursday morning she had 2 tblspns of wet food and by the evening she was full bore eating. We brought her home Thurs night(last night), worried but so happy to have her home. She has continued to want food, thank god. Today her Daddy had to watch her. We borrowed a belly band to help her up and around. He fed her, grabbed the belly band, she got up and put her head in the corner and wouldn’t look at him. He said ok…we’ll do it your way and tossed the belly band away. She stood up, he scooped her up, took her outside (down 4 steps), set her down and she just started walking..found a spot and did her business and came back to the stairs. He carried her up the stairs and she walked to her bed and took a breather. He did this with her every 2 hours or so. I came home tonight and was in total shock. To think just literally a few days ago I thought the worst.

      Now though…I know I will have to decide what to do next. What is the best option with her age and the fact that she has (*choke) cancer. :( Is chemo her best option? She did have an xray and her chest is clear. The first and second xrays of her knee didn’t clearly show cancer but did show something questionable. Which lead to the biopsy. I do know that she is a wonderful girl, I adopted her from my brother who is in the service and was away in Iraq 3 years ago. She has changed my life. I can’t really explain it. Do you know of any groups or anything that can help financially? Are there any supplements that will help? Any advice would be eagerly welcomed. Also, could you let Claudia know that I would be interested in her vitamins if you feel they would help our Roo?

      Thank you very much for your time.

      DesRae

  • J & M

    My 11 year old lab has had arthritis for about a year now. She takes daily supplements and does well with them. However, a couple of days ago she began to limp and I noticed some swelling in her hind leg. I took her to the vet today and they did an X-ray with the conclusion that it is probably osteosarcoma. I am really not sure what to do next. The thought of amputating her leg makes me worrisome of her arthritis and making her not be able to hold herself up with just 3 legs. Besides the fact that her other leg has already had surgery, a TPLO when she was 4. So that leg isn’t as strong as it should be. If I choose not to amputate, what would be the next best course of action? Chemotherapy drugs and pain killers?

    • Stephanie

      I have a 15 year old lab/pitt mix that has been limping slightly for weeks. Took him to the vet two weeks ago and was told that it was just muscle deterioration and arthritis. He gave pain meds and said to advise them if he wasn’t doing better, which he wasn’t. A week later and he could hardly stand on his right front paw and kept falling down. Took him back, saw another doctor, who took an xray, and they found a large mass, which they are fairly certain is cancer. He has had elevated liver levels for years, which he takes meds for. He also just fought back from a sudden onset of pancreatitis 1 1/2 months ago, but lost a lot of weight and is now literally skin and bones. He still has a pretty good appetite, loves to just be pet and loved on, but is barely moving with his pain. He is on gabapentin and tramadol, which seem to be doing little to nothing to help with the pain. With his age and other conditions, I am so torn as to what to do. Should I get the chest xray to see if it has spread? But assuming it hasn’t spread yet, would amputation even really be an option with his age and health condition? The vet said she isn’t sure if he could even survive the surgery. I just hate the idea of sitting around not trying to do anything, but I don’t want to put him through anything that won’t help him anyway…. Any thoughts would be appreciated. thanks.

  • Barney’s Dad

    Reading many of your stories brings back the feelings of uncertainty, sadness, and confusion that I was feeling earlier this year. I hope my story can help some of you make the tough decision for the proper treatment for your dog. In May, my 11 year old male Lab mix had a limp which got progressively worse and did not respond to any conventional treatments. X-rays, a CT, and a biopsy confirmed that Barney was suffering from Osteosarcoma in his left clavicle (collar bone). I was given three basic options: 1) Do nothing and treat him for the pain, then put him down in a few weeks when it was time 2) Palliative radiation treatments which might shrink the tumor a bit and buy some time, but he would still be in pain and most likely the tumor would remain. 3) Amputation of the clavicle and entire left front limb with the option of chemotherapy afterwards.

    I couldn’t imagine my very active, fit and playful Barney hobbling around on three legs. It horrified me to think that he would be mutilated and not able to be his playful, fun-loving self anymore. I was trying to prepare myself for the difficult decision to have him put down. Two things made me reconsider: 1) A nurse at the veterinary hospital told me to go home and Google “three legged dogs” and I would be amazed at how they can not just cope, but run, jump, and play. 2) My sister said to me “so if you were diagnosed with bone cancer you wouldn’t have your leg amputated to save your life?”

    To make a long story short, Barney had surgery in mid-June and he came home three days later. He was no longer feeling the pain in his bones from the tumor. I was amazed how well he was getting around but I won’t lie and say the first two weeks were not difficult, they were. He started the first of 6 chemotherapy treatments about 4 weeks after his surgery. We stopped at 5 treatments because he was getting very sick and wasn’t eating. Lung X-rays taken in October showed no signs of tumors (the lungs are often the first place that Osteosarcoma will spread). Now six months out and counting, Barney runs as fast as he ever did, he is playful, and a very happy boy. I know every dog is different and may not be able to tolerate all that Barney did. It wasn’t easy for any of us. but I know if was definately the right decision for us. Good luck!

    • Wendy Preston

      Missy, my dane cross developed a sudden limp in her front leg. The X rays confirmed osteosarcoma. My vet said she would not amuptate Missy was too big and the amputation would not buy much time. Missy was a rescue dog we have had for 3 yrs, she was senior citizen at 13yrs old however a very fit and happy girl. The vet sent us home with pain killers and said she had 2 – 4 weeks at most.
      At 3 weeks from diagonosis we had to let her go. This is a horrible thing to happen to our pets. Here in Australia we have vet care at a reasonable cost and yet we could not save her. I stayed with her when she was put to sleep and I feel I did the right thing.

  • Karyn

    Lost my 10 yr old male Rotti 6 months ago to osteosarcoma =( The vet and I managed the pain as best we could but when it got to much I had to stop being selfish and let him go. Still cry over him a lot, was my best friends and i miss him so much but it really was the best thing i could do for him.

  • George

    My partner and I decided 16 months ago to have our 10 year old greyhound, Rio’s, back leg removed due to osteosarcoma. Within a week, he had adjusted to the 3 legs, was no longer in pain, demanded to go for his daily walks and his personality totally returned. We knew the cancer would return which this week we did find out that it is now in both shoulders and we are dealing with a hospice situation at this point. However, for us and for Rio, removing the back leg and following up with 6 chemo treatments was the best decision for him. We both enjoyed another healthy 16 months of quality time. I would recommned having the amputation and if you can afford it, do the chemo. Dogs we learned handle chemo much better with less side affects than humans!!!….best of luck….

    • Michelle Marsh

      What should one do if they cannot afford amputation? My poor 2 year old chow mix puppy has cancer in her hind knee. I’m not even sure what type although we suspect Osteo because I cannot afford to pay the 400 plus dollars to find out what kind of cancer it is and if it is Osteo, I am told it usually goes to the lungs so even if we amputate she might not live that long. I am all for beating the odds, but I just don’t know what to do. We have tried Marine Plankton, and Nu Vet supplements. Her knee is getting huge and it’s hard as a rock and I don’t know what to do! Do you think I should try Morinda Tahitian Noni Juice and your supplements? I can’t even afford to buy your book but I really could use some help. She has so much life in her and right now we just have her on pain medication. I just wonder if there is anything we can do for the leg besides amputating it? Can you please help me?

  • dANIEL

    I have an * yr old Doberman name roxy who was at the vet and he noticed her leg was slightly swollen and only asked me is she had been limping, which I replied no. I watched her a few weeks and noticed that there was noticable swelling and she was sometimes losing her footing when running. My vet took xray, which does show some growth on the bone and the bacteria test and synovial fliud came back negative so I took her to a bone specialist who said we are probably dealing with cancer rather than any joint issues. I refused the test to comfirm the type of cancer because my fear of all that I read and how metastisic oseteosarcoma is and I’m afraid to put her thru all these procedures only to cause her more pain when most what I read says that most dogs still don’t survive past a year. The thought of lost is so hard but causing her more pain is unthinkable and I constantly question if I’m doing enough….am I doing the right thing and then why her…. : (

  • Nick

    Dr. Demian Dressler
    My 8yr old Presa Canario ‘Bella’ has recently had a mammary mass removed, over this period of rest she developed a limp and was obviously having pain on her front right forelimb at the lower joint. A X-ray has indicated she has bone cancer. I’m truly confused on what to do, she is such a brilliant family dog and takes pride in guarding the family and is happy is sit looking out across the garden from dawn til dusk until I call her in. I really don’t know how she will cope, the breed has a huge head and long feline body. If I were to put her through amputation, would she live to her expected age and could a presa’s body shape be a problem for 3 limbs (1 front)? Please help me make the best decision.
    Regards, Nick

    • Mike

      Dr D – The most amazing Westie the world has ever seen, my Westie Barney had a diagnosis of Osteosarcoma last month. Based on the way we are both acting it appears I am the sick one.

      A tumor was removed from his jaw, this tumor shook loose three of his teeth and removed as well. I’ve made the very difficult choice to not put him through chemo or radiation. For this reason I did not get his x-rays for his lungs. His treatment is K9 Immunity, ApoCaps, Fish oil, transfer factor and a high protein diet. Because of this diet I sense he loves me a lot more now.

      Barney is ten and a half and still acts like a puppy but listens well. He plays constantly and when I try to stop playing he makes me keep playing. The next time he hears a squeaky ball he will act as though it is the first time he has heard it. His quality of life is extremely high and has made my quality higher simply by being Barney.

      His tumor has grown back already and obviously surgery every month is not an option for many reasons. One of my fears is that this tumor keeps getting larger and larger and larger. The thought of having to euthanize Barney under any condition gets me sick be even more so knowing his will of life and zest of it. Can you imagine this happening to a pup that would if given the chance that pup would jump to the floor wagging the tail and ready to play a game of fetch with a squeaky ball for the next hour? I say this because sadly a Sheltie named Lady from many years ago was euthanize, while it sucked big time it was easier to accept because her quality of life was not existent.

      Since traditional chemo and radiation is not an option for me or Barney and the thought of ending a life of such a happy pup simply can’t happen I seek options. One such option I’ve found is called Matrix III Cisplatin Beads, reading about his has given me hope Barney can stick around for a few (dozen) years. At this point I still don’t want the x-rays and simply deal what I know is there. I’ve felt every part of his body I can reach and luckily I’ve not found any other problem areas.

      I’ve not found any recent information on how this procedure is done and I don’t have any clue as to what the expected cost should be. Can you in providing some expectations? I’ve read some good things about this procedure as far as dealing with a single tumor and wonder if you have seen first hand the same experiences.

      Thank you very much!

  • Shelley

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    I found out today that my dear, sweet Maddie (a 12-year-old Border Collie) has osteosarcoma. Tomorrow, she will undergo additional x-rays to see if the cancer has spread to her lungs. At this point, our vet has said that there is really not much we can do for her. Although he feels that Maddie would successfully come through amputation surgery, he doubts that she would be able to adapt to life without her front leg. I feel that she has lived a good life and would hate to see her suffer and from what I have read, this is an aggressive cancer. I am in no way considering euthanasia, but I’m wondering what I can do to make her last days with us more comfortable given the situation. Any suggestions would be help.

    Thanks,
    Shelley

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Shelly,
      Sorry to hear about your Maddie. just a little question as to why she could not walk on three legs?
      At any rate, palliative care to consider would be:
      palliative radiation
      pain control meds
      apocaps
      pamidronate
      diet
      antimetastics
      Acupuncture
      (all in the Guide)
      Matrix 3 cisplatin beads

      Please discuss these with your vet and I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • Redhedy

    To all those considering amputation: i only wish we would have done it sooner. It bought us 1.5 yrs before nasal sarcoma. I can’t imagine why anyone would hesitate?

    • Kellygirl

      My Golden Retriever Bailey was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in late May 2011, at nearly 10 years old. The vet had suspected an ACL injury, and I was about to start him on laser therapy treatment for that, and an x-ray was taken of his right hind leg first, and to my surprise the vet called me in to look at the x-ray and tell me her suspicion of osteosarcoma. The shock of the diagnosis, the aggressiveness of this cancer, and choosing the best of a bunch of terrible options had me reeling. I quickly started to research information, and luckily, I found Dr. Demian’s books and information fairly early on after not finding quite what I sought in the way of alternative medicine options. I shared Dr. Dressler’s info. with my vet, and she found value and credibility in his information. I chose to get amputation, done on June 15, 2011, but not chemo. To me, it made more sense to build up my dog’s immune system with a home-cooked anti-cancer diet and a regimen of immune and nutritional supplements than to do chemo. I pored through information to design a diet and nutritional plan that my vet worked on with me. I used a lot of Dr. Demian’s information and some other sources. It was not easy right after the surgery. I live up a flight of stairs and bought a harness from RuffWear so that I could carry most of his weight. This was a great and indispensible tool. After surgery, he was confused and drugged up, and it took a few days and a good bit of encouragement to really eat and drink much and have a first bowel movement. He wasn’t sure how to get around into his favorite corners or places, and I wasn’t sure how to help him. He has a raised feeder, but I think for a good couple months he couldn’t stand that long and so he ate laying down. But he healed well in about two weeks, and over a bit of time built up enough strength in his front legs that I don’t need to use a harness to go up stairs anymore (unless they are on the steep and dangerous side). This all happened during one of the hottest summers on record, which made it even tougher on Bailey. I still use his harness to get him in the car or for walks on slippery surfaces (ice outside), but he gets around amazingly well, and people we meet on the street usually don’t realize he’s down a leg. He learned how to adapt so well that he is an inspiration to me. He is not in pain like he was when he had a painful bad leg and seemed so down. His personality came back after the surgery. I was given a life expectancy of 4-6 months with just surgery, and maybe a year with chemo. But when someone gives out a number, it’s an average, and no one really knows. My objective was to give my dog the best quality of life for the amount of time he has left. I hope it might encourage others to know that Bailey continues to thrive to this day 14 1/2 months since his surgery and is now 11 years old. I have to believe that the diet and supplements are making a difference. I am so grateful for every day I have with my buddy, and I hope this curve-breaker continues to break all the expectations for a long time to come. I wish the best to all who have to live through the experience of an osteosarcoma diagnosis.

      • Dr. Susan Ettinger

        Kelly, thanks for sharing your story. I always tell my clients that I am overjoyed when I am wrong and the dog is livng longer than the published statistics. Break that curve!
        All my best, Dr Sue

  • jeff

    I just want to strongly emphasize that life expectancy is not the same thing as the expected life of your dog given the dogs age. Look at actuarial life tables and you can see what I mean. If the life expectancy for a dog is 11 years old and the dog is 11 years old, then the life expectancy for this dog given its age will be > than 11 years old.

  • Chris

    Just found out today that my seven year old, 115lb dobbie ( ajax) has Osterosarcoma. Needless to say his condition is very dire. Our vet is a honest man and gave it to us straight. Having his leg removed is an option but the cancer more than likely has already spread. He is having trouble getting up and he hurts when he does. The doc said about two months for him to live. We don’t plan to drug him up or make him any worse. He has already had an operation and that alone was enough. He has changed my family and shown us what love can do to a heart:) We are going to make sure his last months with us are the most comfortable and pleasurable. We will all be there when we put him down( as we do with all our pups). He is lovable, never ever been aggressive or mean. Always loyal and protective of everyone in the family, even our other two dobbies. I think we will donate his body for research. In doing that we hope that someday our Ajax will help save another dogs life. He is still happy and active. I don’t believe cancer dampens the spirit of dogs. I know he will live happy and ever so loving until the final day comes. I send my best wishes to all of you out there dealing with the same issue. Love your babies and treat them with honor:)

    • Netti

      My greyhound was 6 when he was diagnosed
      With osteosarcoma. Options were amputation with 3 month prognosis, amputation
      With chemotherapy for 6-12 month prognosis or euthanasia. He had amputation and 2 out of the 5 rounds if chemotherapy. (we couldn’t afford more) and he’s still here 5 yrs later. We took him off kibble for a while, cooked for him, we have him a few bottles worth of artimism. Then we basically forgot about him ever being sick and let him live his life. He still ran and gets around ok on 3 legs.

      • Dr. Demian Dressler

        :) That is the best outcome possible, Netti!
        Dr D

  • Karen

    It’s always devastating news – osteo sarcoma. About 8 months ago we got the news that our greyhound Peaches had osteo sarcoma, front right leg. We had only adopted her 7 months before (with her litter mate, Gracie) and she was not quite 3 years old. Because of her age it was an easy decision to proceed with amputation and chemo. We have never regretted this decision. She finished her chemo in December (7 treatments). Her recovery from the surgery is nothing short of remarkable and she tolerated the chemo very well. To say that her quality of life is excellent is an understatement. I do have to say that her age was a major consideration in determining treatment and I am hopeful but grateful every day for the joy she brings us but more importantly the happy life she is living.

  • Tony cole

    Hi, our rescue Rottie, Bruno, has been diagnosed with cancer in his front left leg. He is only 18 months old, and such a handsome, fit, and gorgeous fellow. We are devastated, having lost our 12 year old Rottie, Nicco, to the same condition in December 2011. Is there anything we cando other than make him as comfortable as possible? He is still very active and shows no signs of limping or being in any pain. We do not want to consider amputation. Thanks. Tony and Bruno

  • toni

    My two year old champion standard poodle started limping in November 2011. My holistic vet thought it was osteosarcoma and sent me to my regular vet for x-rays. My regular vet and a radiologist confirmed osteosarcoma in his stifle. Amputation was recommended, but I elected to keep him comfortable on Tramadol and an anti-inflamatory until it was time to euthanize him. He was given one month to live. I researched both the disease and how dog foods are manufacturered in the US. I developed a basic understanding about the significance of “bone meal” and “fish meal” in dog food and swore I would never again feed my dogs anything with those ingredients unless the manufactuer guaranteed that those ingredients were free from carcinogins. I also started him on a raw diet, as he had lost a lot of weight and was rather debilitated, and a raw diet is all that he would eat. He started putting on weight and was feeling good. I told my vet about his improvement, and he insisted that it was the Tramadol. However, I noticed that the tumor, which was the size of an apple was not getting larger, in fact, over a three month period, I thought it seemed smaller. Last week I could not detect the tumor at all. I called my vet, who I am sure thought I was flakey, and advised him that I could no longer feel the tumor. He suggested we re-x-ray. The x-rays revealed that “There is an improved appearance to the proximal tibia – a small area of mixed lucency and sclerosis (with sclerosis predominating) remains in the metaphysis. The proliferative response on the caudal margin of the tibia has resolved. Joint effusion and thickening of the soft tissues along the cranial surface of the joint has resolved. Conclusions: Resolving osseous lesion of the right proximal tibia. Resolution of regional soft tissue inflammation.” That is a far cry from the original radiology report that stated, “There is aggressive bone disease within the right proximal tibial epiphysis and metaphysis. Unfortunately, an osteosarcoma is suspect. Differentials include other primary bone tumors (chondrosarcoma, fibrosarcome, hemangiosarcoma, etc.) Osteomyelitis is unlikely.”

    The vets are scratching their heads. My vet said he has never seen anything like this in 25 years that he has been practicing veterinary medicine. Aside from the anti-inflamatory and the Tramadol, the only thing that changed was his diet.

    I am not suggesting that every dog can be cured with a raw diet. But osteosarcoma is a death sentence for most dogs, even when amputation and chemotherapy is the course of treatment.

    We are going to continue to monitor his leg and will x-ray again in three months. I really hope that this helps someone. I know how devestated I was when I got that diagnosis and I certainly don’t want to give anyone a false sense of hope, but what is the harm in trying a raw diet. The raw diet that I feed contained just meat, either lamb, bison, or chicken with vegetables and fruit. No grains, no added fish meal, and no added bone meal. Good luck.

    • Linda Johnson

      Hi my lovely 11 year old baby girl rottweiler Chelsea has just been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and im so gutted, she had a fall I thought it was sprained slept downstairs with her that night but still no better next day so took her to vets for x ray and was diagnosed with it, now she on tramadol and cant walk she looks sad, I am just spoling her with chicken and will put her to sleep on Tues and will be there to hold het when we say goodbye, she was a loyal friend tome and I will be a loyal friend to her but will miss her always xx goodnight Chelsea xx love you with all my heart xxx

  • Liz

    In November my 2yr old lab mix Lucy slid into my back door, she limped on her back left leg for about then minutes then was back running around playing with my other two dogs. On Christmas Eve morning she was limping with no improvement for a week so I took her to the first vet I could find that was open. He looked at her leg and said he though it was a slight tear to her ACL and gave me anti inflamatory and pain meds. They worked wonders, two days later she was putting her leg down and back to her self again. One week later she lost her footing and slid into our marble coffee table. Her leg was back up with swelling right above her ankle. Finally we took her back to our normal vet. He did an X-ray and blood tests which turned out to show that it was bone cancer. He believed in homeopathic remidies so we began with that and heavy pain meds, he said that shes young and very healthy that she will have a good recovery. We continued to do as the vet said and the little lump she had got bigger. It has been two months since she began her therapy and the leg is so swollen that her toes no longer touch each other, her paw is bigger than my 100 lb golden retrievers (Lucy is only 40lbs). I took her to the vet two days ago and he told me to put her down or amputation, but amputation only gives her 4-6 months. Well i decided that 4-6 months with my crazy, life loving dog is better than a few days. She still meets me at the door when I come home, she still puts toys in her mouth and talks to me, still eats every meal and still chews on her favorite bones. If my best friend showed none of these signs still and just pain I would let her go right now. I have faith in my dog, shes strong, healthy and seems very determined to live. She has functioned on 3 legs for 3 months now and has no problem with stairs, beds, or floors. This web site http://www.bonecancerdogs.org/ is what gave me hope to not give up. I feel for all of you who have gone through what I am starting and those who are just like me in the beginning stages. I cried alot when I found out and I continue to cry, especially when I read every ones stories. I have faith in this and I am determined to see my dog live to her third birthday. Hopefully we can get her surgery done very soon so we can begin her new recovery to a better pain free life.

  • Katherine

    My 8-9 year old rescued Redbone Coon Hound was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma Oct. 27 and had amputation of her scapula and leg Nov. 1. She had no signs of tumors in her lungs and when I took her to a Veternary College Nov. 10 to begin chemotherapy, she had no indicators in her blood, x-rays and MRIs came back good. She had four treatments, tolerated them well, but when we went yesterday, I told the fourth-year student that Clarabell had not been feeling well the past couple of days. They did a chest x-ray and she has severe metatasis. They sent us home with pain medicine and estimated that she has two-four weeks. I don’t understand how the cancer spread so rapidly while she was on chemotherapy. I am not dealing very well well with the news.

    • Joanne Bernier

      Kelly, that made me cry… please let me know how Bailey is doing… I care.

  • daniel

    In reading the stories, I hope people understand that osteosarcoma is very aggressive in dogs and it most likely has already spread and it cant be seen in xrays because cells are small. Chemo is also not giving in the same strength or dosage that humans recieve which means that you arent always killing all the cells. I wont amputate my dogs leg because I wont put her thru thing that wont cure her….they only buy her her a few mths at best. Its a hard call but for me I want her to be as comfortable as long as she can be ..she will die from this very aggressive cancer….I pray for all who is going thru this because its hard….

    • Jacqui

      My 10 year old great dane was put down today. She got excited about going for a ride, did a hell mary off my landing, and broke her leg. Ran her into the vets and come to find out she had bone cancer (which is incidentally why the bone broke). They gave me 4 options…1 I could put her in surgery and have the bone pinned, but though the healing the cancer would spread to her lungs and they gave her 4-6 months…2 fix her leg and put her in kemo, causing her much pain and unneccesary suffering for best esimate a year, 3 amputate the leg and hope the other one didnt have cancer (since one was broken they didnt want her to lay on that side to xray the other) along with her being able to support herself on 3 legs (she could stand on 3, but because of her size she couldnt get up from sitting or lying positions)…and the 4th…put her to sleep. We opted for the humane choice and put her to sleep. At 10 years young she took her last breath today at 3:52pm today and fell into the deep sleep. Hope to see her again when my journey here is over…untill then may she forever rest well.

  • Cindy

    My standard poodle has been limping, licking his foot, whimpering in pain even though the vet prescribed 2 pain meds. I am going to pick up his x-rays and take them to another vet. She said she didn’t see anything and 300.00 later sent us home with nothing more than pain meds. Is it possible she missed cancer on the x-ray. He is 6 years old. Anyway I am taking him to another vet hoping for some answers. The vet I used to go to by my home retired and someone else examined him and she was very flippant about the whole thing, kept ordering more x-rays, even on his stomach.
    4 years ago my other standard poodle had osteosarcoma and I did have her foot amputated. But she was 14 and they didn’t give me any other treatment options. She was OK for about 6 months, but then became ill again. I chose to keep her as comfortable as posible, she actually was unable too walk and had went from 40 pounds down to 21. DogGone pain herbal medicine helped her tremendously.

  • shelli

    Today my 5 year old Great Dane was diagnosed with bone cancer of her front left leg. The vet has given me the option of amputation. After reading different articles I am confused on what to do. I do not have the money for chemo and radiation. If I do get her leg amputated how long will she be able to live without any further treatment?

  • shelli

    I am debating on getting her leg amputated since she has only had cancer noticeable for a month. She is very healthy and I have never had any medical problems with her. I am just scared to put her through the pain of amputation and then me having to put her down soon after she heels because of the cancer spreading. I am very confused and heartbroken. I don’t want to loose my precious Dottie but I don’t want her to be in any pain either.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Shell
      I am sorry to hear about this.
      Once month is a long time for a dog to have a cancer. Cancer in dogs can and does kill them, make no mistake, and I would encourage you to act quickly and take action if you are going to. These cancers spread internally without you being able to tell as most dogs appear healthy (“act fine”) and then they don’t. There are steps to take after the procedure to help with remaining cancer cells in the body. I would educate yourself on the statistics concerning your dog’s cancer with surgery, with chemo, and with any other steps the vet or oncologist brings up. The treatment plan analysis section of the Guide will help you-you should read it. Here is a short version:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/what-is-treatment-plan-analysis/
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Monique

    My Great Dane is about 7.5yrs and is 160lbs. With the cancer in her back paw we can no way remove her leg since she isn’t the type of dog that can walk on 3 legs. We she was first diagnosed she could barely walk. It was so aggressive to start. The lump went from a pea to an egg size in a couple of weeks and it was in her chest when we took the X-rays. We thought she had a sprain toe when we brought her in since she was running around two days earlier. They didn’t think she would make it more then a couple of weeks. They put her on an anti-inflammatory and she is like a new puppy. Rough playing with the other dog and doing wonderful. That was three months ago. I’m so glad we didn’t do the treatment in our circumstance since she is truly enjoying her life playing, we did it different we would have 6 month recovery with the surgery trying to walk on 3 legs and chemo. She would be in much more pain. I think everyone has a different outlook on what is best for their dog. She loves to travel in the RV and just came back from another trip, loving her life. We are lucky for every good day she has. She is an amazing dog that someone left in the shelter for us to find.

  • Michelle Marsh

    Is there anything we can do besides amputation? My poor 2 year old chow mix puppy has Osteo, we think. I cannot even afford the 400 plus dollars to verify the type of cancer. It’s in her rear knee bone and her leg is getting huge and it’s hard as a rock! Right now we have her on pain medication, but I wonder if there is anything else we can do. I can’t even afford to buy your book used! Do you think I should try Morinda Tahitian Noni Juice and your supplements? Is there anything that will hep the swelling go down some? I am all for beating the odds, I just need some answers. Can you please help me?

  • Barbarajean

    My 9 yr old rottwieller slipped on a rug 3 months ago and her rear elbow instantly swelled. tookk her to the vet immediatlly. took xrays. bone looked cloudy above the joint suspect of osteosarcoma. needle biopsy done. inconclusive. decided that we were not going to put her through another. began treating her w/ rimadyl 100mg bid. 1 1/2 months later take her back to the vet. her joint is now the size of a grapefruit. xray shows no change in the bone. Doc claimes that the “mass” is cartalidge. says that its not “acting” like cancer but is treating it as such. outside of “licking wounds” which I am now doing wound care and put a tubbie grip over the wound ( which is stoping the licking) she appears to be compfortable and in no pain. have tramadol 100-125mg prn q 8-12 hrs. am not currently useing because she leads w/ the leg while going up or down stairs. also puts all wieght on that leg when peeing on trees. should I get a second opinion. could it be something else? I may be grasping at straws but I hate to think that it could be something treatable and I just dont know about it. Please help Im despirate for answers.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Barbarjean,
      I am sorry to hear about your lady Rott.
      You need to get a biopsy of this to know how to handle it. what it is determines what you do to deal with it properly.
      Best
      DR D

  • Greg

    My 4 1/2 year old Yellow Lab was just diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her left rear leg. Xray’s were taken and there is no sign of it spreading to her other limbs or lungs. The doctor has given us several options:

    1. do nothing and she will live 4-6 months
    2. Amputate the leg and she will live maybe 6 months
    3. Amputate the leg and do Chemo and she could live 6 months to 3 years
    4. Put her to sleep

    The amputation would cost us $1500, we have already paid $500 for the xrays and tests, the Chemo would cost around $2000. We really don’t have the money to do this although could make it happen if necessary. My thoughts are if we did do the amputation and chemo what would her quality of life be. I understand that dogs do well with only 3 legs but I have read that the chemo is hard on them. It sounds like she would be sick for several month after the amputation and checmo treatments to only them MAYBE survive a few more months to a couple of years. We love our dog very much and this decision is a very hard one but we are leaning towards puting her to sleep as we feel it is the best and most humane thing for her. Does anyone have any other thoughts that mights change our minds?

    Thank you

  • Bev

    My beautiful 5 year old Great Dane was diagnosed with cancer in his right leg 6 weeks ago.
    There were no signs at all until a limp on the Tuesday, tennis ball size swelling by Wednesday, Vet on Thursday, XRay and diagnosis on the Friday.
    Merlin weighs 95kg and amputation is not an option and our Vet recommended pain killers and anti inflammatories and a prognosis of 3 to 6 months.
    He will not dring water since we started the tablets only milk.
    We have tried the lactose free milk but he wont touch that I figure what the hell and he has full cream milk.
    He is also very fussy about his food and will only eat raw meat or cooked mince.
    He is not limping and seems happy but sleeps a lot.
    I am so scared of him breaking his leg when I am not at home (12cm of bone had been destroyed on original xray).
    I am not going to get any more xrays as he has to go under to get any taken.
    I just hope I get the timing right on this one as there is no way I want him to suffer.
    Thinking about all of us going through the same thing and sending love.

  • Michelle

    Our dog (a husky/sheppard mix) was diagnosed over 4 months ago with osteosarcoma in his front leg. We opted to just do pain management. He is currently on 4 meds, a total of 16 pills a day – when he’ll take them. He too has become incredibly picky about his food and somedays refuses to eat. He’s also had a few bouts of diarrhea. It is getting very painful for him to even get up to eat or go outside. I would recommend amputation to anyone who is at the early stages and given the options. It’s been so hard to watch my dear friend in such pain. It’s also very scary to know that at any moment, your dog could take a step and fracture their leg. I worry about this every day….. I just hope we can let him go peacefully, before something traumatic happens…… Good luck to everyone else. No matter what we all chose to do, it won’t be easy to lose the pets we love so much.

  • Heather

    Daniel, I have to respond to your grim comment. I have an 8 year old standard poodle who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma almost 1 year ago (Will be on June 29th) and had an amputation of one of her back legs. We are celebrating her one year anniversary and amputation this month. There is no doubt that amputation can help to extend the life of a dog, even without chemotherapy, BUT it is not the sole purpose in doing it. The reason is, is that the amputation stops the excruciating pain of the cancer. My dog was smiling, yes smiling, the day after her amputation. She was trotting by day three and was not even using the ramp my husband made her to get off and on the deck. You could tell she was already feeling better that the leg was off! She has no metastasis as of March (crossing our fingers). We will get another X-ray soon but she is loving her life and is happy. There are no guarantees about length of life for any dog whether they have cancer or not, but the point is to make them pain free and comfortable. I would have chosen to amputate all over again if I had to because bone cancer is painful and aggressive and her quality of life is better now that the sick leg is gone. We opted for chemo also, which she did great on. Yes some dogs get sick, but you do have an option to stop the chemo and just use supplements and other types of immune support. Like Dr. Dressler said, cancer is not an immediate death sentence. Daniel, how do you know your dog would only have a few months. Look at my poodle, 12 months post diagnosis. If we would have put her to sleep thinking that she only had a few months, look at the time we would have been missing out on. It is hard, but with the right support and education about the options, you can make the most out of the situation. The most important thing is to remain positive for your dog and be a strong pack leader. If anyone has any questions about my dog or just needs to talk, please respond to this post with your email and I would be happy to talk to you.

    H.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Heather,
      Thanks for sharing your expereinces. So great to hear she is doing well. Wishing her continued happy days!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • andrea theriault

    Our 12 YO St. Poodle was a bit lame last month. He has been then picture of health all his life, despite a Nov.’11 bout with Bloat and surgery that he came back full force from. The vet did some manipulation to see where he was hurting, (hind femur) gave me her suspicions and we x-rayed. It looks very suspicious of Osteo sarcoma, but possibly in the early stages. We decided to just make what time he has left as fun and pain free as possible…He is taking 25 mg Tramadol and 50 mg Rimadyl twice a day. He doesn’t seem to be in much pain, a bit of weakness. Jumps in and out of car, wants to play with other dog at night, and seems generally very happy. It has been 3 1/2 weeks this way…is this par for the course of OS???? Should he be x rayed again, second opinion??? We are always hopeful.
    A

  • Jessica

    Our pittbull will be 8 in November, his names Paco and he’s my daughters best friend, she’s only two and a half and just doesn’t understand. He doesn’t like things with wheels, cars bikes you name it. Hubby was taking him out and he jumped at a car passing by. The worst cry I ever heard from him. His leg hadn’t been the same since, we kept thinking it would heal but he would keep jumping at things. So we thought since he was older it was just taking him longer we finally took him in 2 weeks later and the cancer was so bad his shoulder is completey gone. We can’t let him go and the dr said his eye sight is next. How long until he stops eating, that’s where we draw the line for his pain, we are all so devastated and at a loss what to do. It’s so far gone amputation isn’t necessary, just let it run it’s course, if we decide. Please tell me what to do and what is best for him..

  • Pam and Jeff and our Jadey

    We have a very determined and beautiful 9 year old German Wirehaired Pointer, Jade. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in the front limb 4 days ago. It has been heart wrenching to say the least. We saw the oncologist right away and found that the cancer was moving very slow. With many nights of thinking, we decided to amputate her limb. We just brought her back from the hospital yesterday. She is having issues eating and seems depressed. We are encouraging her to get up and reinforcing her with praise. I would like to know if they are any herbal diets or immune boosting foods that can help in her recovery and treatment. Any advice would be so appreciated as we have a long and hard road ahead of us.

  • zena

    Hi Everyone I myself had a Rottweiler Fizz who though her short life had to deal with way more than any dog should go through !
    At 8 months she has a twisted gut and almost died, then at 15 months her left hind leg Cruciate ligaments went and she had to have major surgery she had the Top of the bone removed then 2 plates put either side ! The Specialist claimed she was the 1st Rottweiler who had returned to him after surgery with the same temperament they had before !! In Fact she lay on his lap giving him kisses !!!
    Then by 6 she had started limping and the vet and I would poke and prod her and she didn’t blink she was given anti inflammatories and we thought she had developed Arthritis due to the op ??? her limping got worse and we decided to have her xrayed just to be safe My vet rang me up crying and said they had found a huge mass and yep my fizzly had bone cancer !! I looked all over the web for a place to go to where I could talk to someone who had lived through it and what did they recommend or how had they coped ???? I found lots of Medical Sites but nothing from a Personal / normal person’s point of view !
    We had Fizz’s leg removed and she was walking the next day in fact she walked the entire outside of the surgery being cheered on by Firemen who were doing a training session !!!! She then had 3 bouts of Chemotherapy and she in fact would stay lying down on a table unsedated and lie there for 2 hours with 2 lines in each front leg and did not move once !!!
    She flew through the chemo and never looked ill once, but her front opposing leg became painful and she was having more and more painkillers and in the end my Fizzly was staying alive just for me ………….. We had her put down a little bit over a year after diagnosis and as my family and friends know it almost killed me, I have decided to write her lifes story as she was an incredible dog ………But when thinking about the book I decided I would try to be that Place where when you are at that dark time in your life, you can come to my blog and have that place that I was looking for when I got the awful new’s that Fizz had Cancer and it will be a place where you can ask questions talk to others or just have a place to scream and vent …………… So I have started a Blog which runs along side my other blog and facebook page the Link to the Bone Cancer in Dogs is http://bonecancer-dogs-fizz.blogspot.co.uk/ so I hope that people will come and talk to like minded people and just have a place to come to be a helping hand or listening ear that I myself was looking for, and on a personal front May be by helping others I in turn may start healing xxxxxxx

  • Mankomal

    My 9year old Dalmation has recently been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma after I got Xray done literally “forcefully” as all the Vets(in total 5 that I had been going to) reported this as a Arthritis. The Vet I am going to now has told me that he has only 6 months left and its going to become painful for him and e suggested me to rest him sooner rather than later. He is like a baby to me and was a shocker for me that the Vet said that he can but will not operate on him as he is not sure how bad it has already spread. I am in a dilemma what to do, I cannot come over the fact that I will have to put him to sleep just without a fight and him being a fighter who when my dad died 7 years ago fought off epilepsy just by lot of care from us. Then also Vet said to put him to sleep as he will get brain tumor or something but we fought it off and he had been a playful and full of life. I am faced with same Question again, please help me and guide me what I should do.

  • lila

    Our 9-month old lab Murphey, yes 9-months, was diagnosed this week with osteosarcoma in his right front leg. The tumor is in the lower ulna, and we did do a bone biopsy to confirm + got a second opinion since we were so shocked. We too were presented with the option to amputate, but since the tumor is in the smaller bone that doesn’t carry much weight we’ve decided to do limb-sparing by taking out the cancerous ulna bone only (the Vet poked around the adjacent radial bone during biopsy and he said it appeared totally healthy), then follow up with chemo. A chest xray last week, before the biopsy, was clear. Murph goes in on Tuesday to have the bone removed – they’ll do another chest/full-body xray to make sure there are no visible signs of another tumor. We’re positive because we have to be. We’re aware that the cancer can pop up somewhere else in his body, but we’re also wanting to give him the best quality of life while still doing everything we can to fight it. Stupid cancer.

  • Stacey

    Kellygirl – would you mind posting more information about the diet and supplements you used for your Bailey? Our dog was just diagnosed today with Osteosarcoma in his back left leg. We had taken him in last week after he broke his leg slipping on the bathroom floor. We had to have two metal plates and a metal rod inserted into his bone but the Vet found a suspicious place on the Xray so did a histogram and it came back positive for Osteosarcoma. We have a meeting with the Oncologist tomorrow. We are willing to do amputation if it is viable but I do not want to go the Chemo route. I would love to get more details on your regimen so we can get started on it as soon as possible.

  • Sad day

    Well, our 6 year old Rottiegirl came out of surgery just fine. She passed away sometime during the night. We were so ready to fight this wicked disease.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.
      With sympathy, Dr Sue

  • Nicole

    My 8 1/2 year old male (neutered) American Staffordshire Terrier was diagnosed 4 weeks ago with oral Osteosarcoma. Removal of the tumor and chemo was not an option from our vet. She gave us 3-5 months with him. Immediately, I took him off the prescription food and put him on organic raw veggie diet and cooked organic chicken (put into a food processor). I also incorporated the Budwig diet (organic low fat cottage cheese w/ flaxseed oil) twice per day with Essiac Tea capsules. He has been devouring his meals. He is currently on Metacam for Arthritis and Tramadol for his pain. Thus far, the tumor has not increased in size and he is still acting like his crazy self. I am new to this and seeking out as much information as possible to provide my boy with the best quality of life. Any suggestions or advice would be helpful!

    Thank you.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Nicole,
      Sorry for the delay. We have been hit quite hard with Hurricaine Sandy and I am displaced from home and without power.
      I am sorry about your dog. It’s hard to make specific recommendations through the blog. I am not sure why surgery and chemo are not an options. In general, if surgery is not an option, radiation can be used for local control – either CyberKnife RadioSurgery, maybe conventional radiation, or palliative radiation for pain control. Chemo can also help in conjunction withsurgery or radiation to delay the spread/metastasis. Have you consulted with an oncologist or a surgeon? A CT scan is the best to determine if surgery is an option. Plus there are pain meds – both oral and injectable like pamidronate that can help. There is also a whole chapter on osteosarcoma and another on oral tumors in the Guide.
      Good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • zena

    Mankomal
    I’m so sorry to hear about you dalmation, as in the post a few above yours I told that I had a Rottweiler who had this disease and at 6 I like you wanted to fight this condition and give myself more time with my beloved pet :)

    I have always told everyone who has a problem like Cancer that YOU have the biggest advantage over any specialist and any expert ………. Which is NO~ONE knows you dog like YOU DO !!!

    This is something that I have known with all of my dogs or animals its this advantage which will allow you to know if your dog wants to fight this and when they have had enough !

    Always go with your heart and if your heart say’s your dog could cope with the amputation and is ready for this heroic Battle then NEVER let anyone even a VET tell you otherwise

    I want you to know that I knew Fizz was a fighter and it looks to me like your Dalmation is made of exactly the same stuff :)

    So all I can say is good luck and if you want any other question answered then please get back to me

    good luck and you and your Dalmation are in my prayers
    love zena xoxox

  • Linda

    We just today received the sickening news that our beloved 1/2 german shepherd and 1/2 black lab has bone cancer in her left front leg. We have had her at the vet three times for a limp. The last time was mid October and the doctor informed us then no bone cancer, and it was a case of arthritis and presecribed anti inflamatory and pain meds. Now today, brought Emily in and was told this shocking news. We have an appointment in less than a half an hour to go over the options for us. We are all heartbroken. She is ten years old, but has been the best and most loveable dog ever. We are just devastated.

  • Salvador

    I have a Golden Retriever named Goldie. She is about 6 years old and she has something growing on her right paw. I took her to the vet and he told me that he could try to cut it off. After he cut it off, I went to get her and he told me to bring her back in a week. Whenever she takes the bandage off, she licks it. A week later, I took her to the vet. The vet told me what it was called but unfortunately, I forgot. I think it was osteosarcoma. But I’m not sure. He told me that Goldie licking it made it worse. It is now bigger than before. He said i either had to amputate her leg up to her shoulder or put her to sleep. Goldie doesn’t seem to be in pain and she doesn’t limp. All she does is lick it. I would like to know what it is that’s growing. Can just her paw be amputated? Is it a tumor? I should be asking these questions to the vet but they’re closed. I have the weekend to think about this and I hope I make a good decision. I would not want Goldie to be in pain.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Salvador,
      I am sorry but I am unable to diagnose this over the internet without having hands on your Goldie. Talk to your vet about some options like the use of an elizabethan collar, medications for pain, inflammation, or infection. You should find out the tumor type and that will help guide your decision further since different types of growths behave differently.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisontoon/sets/72157630577326710/ Alison

    My beautiful great dane, Bella, has osteosarcoma. We are not amputating. We are just giving her as much love, and comfort, as possible, knowing that our time together now will be very short.

    It seems that everyone I talk to, or read about, whose dog has suffered this terrible disease, wishes they had done the opposite of what they chose to do, thinking that maybe a miracle would have happened. Please don’t torture yourselves like that; if you’ve researched and listened and calculated costs and time and everything else, and know your dog’s character, I’m convinced you made the right decision for you and your pet. We have to trust we are doing the right thing, and it’s a very very hard situation.

    My Bella is proving to be exceptionally brave… quite a turnaround from the scared and fearful dog I adopted a few years ago.

  • Kimberly

    Our 3 1/2 yr old Weimaraner was diagnosed on Monday with Osteosarcoma in his back leg. After many tears we decided to amputate and chose to take the entire leg out from the hip joint. Xrays of his lungs and other legs look good right now. Picking him up yesterday was quite emotional, but today he seems happy and is walking on a leash. I like the suggestion others have of a halter and will get one to make balancing easier for him, but he is doing well. We are not choosing chemo, but instead plan to use Neoplasene. I have read the diet recommended by them of 50% meat, 25% white rice, and 25% vegetables. The reason they say this is to make the Neoplasene easier on the system. Since his dosage is more of a maintenance one to keep the potential metastasis at bay, what are your thoughts of a more substantial anti-cancer diet combined with the Neoplasene?

  • Jessica

    Our 9 year old lab/rot mix was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on Friday.
    I took her in thinking it was a hurt toe that was causing her to limp.
    The X-ray showed that awful disease around her right knee area.
    I am sickened and don’t want to lose my special baby. The limp
    Is pretty severe, and I can tell it hurts her bad. We are giving her pain meds
    as well as anti inflammatory meds. How will I know
    when it is time to let her go? I love her so much!

  • Erin

    Hi,

    My 7 year old beagle had his spleen removed a few weeks ago because of a large fluid filled tumor. They determined it to be extraskeletal osteosarcoma as he doesn’t have the cancer anywhere else (that they can find). We have been to Auburn University’s oncology department and started him on chemo. From talking to the oncologist, this type of cancer is very rare to find in an organ like that so there really isn’t much that we know about what to expect. Just curious if you have any experience with this type/location of cancer.

    Erin

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Erin,
      This is rare indeed, but I am treating and just celebrated the 1 year anniversary for a patient, Daisy Mae. She also received chemo. The prognosis is poor, but that is not a sentence or guarantee. So keep the faith!
      Check out Daisy Mae (post Jan 9th)
      https://www.facebook.com/DrSueCancerVet
      All my best, Dr Sue

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Erin,
      there is not a huge amount of info on these, but in general they are more aggressive than the osteosarcomas that occur within existing bone. I don’t have specific survival data on these in the spleen however, I am sorry. A link that may help as well for other ideas on what you can do:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/an-overview-of-what-else-can-i-do/
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • Erin

    Thanks, Dr. Sue. Rocky has only had one treatment so far, Carboplatin. They recommended alternating between that and doxorubicin every three weeks for six treatments. It’s been two weeks since his first treatment and aside from a few days of feeling a little crummy and some excessive drinking/urination he’s been feeling great. I look forward to reading Daisy Mae’s story and I hope that we can have the same time with our boy! I downloaded your cancer diet and am looking into that and supplements that may help him along. He is currently eating Orijen dog food.

    Thanks for responding so quickly!
    Erin

  • Kathy

    My beautiful golden retriever boy Max, age 7, started limping two weeks ago. We thought it was a sprain, since apparently he is a stoic guy, the vet to X-rays and is now sending us to a specialist. Our appt is Wednesday which seems like a year from now. I know you can’t diagnose from a blog, but while the X-ray of his leg looked bad, she said she didn’t see anything on the chest X-ray, but reminded us she isn’t a specialist. My question is… I keep hoping this means it hasn’t spread yet. How will they check to see if it has spread aside from the X-ray? The whole thing is such a shock! He doesn’t look sick. He is eating. He was misbehaving before the pain meds, can this really go down hill as fast as it seems? Also, she put him antibiotics incase it is a fungal infection. Would a fungal infection present the same way? Augh. So confused.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Kathy, I am sorry but we need a bit more info to make a call on this one. Yes, fungal infections in certain areas in the US can mimic bone cancer, so let’s be sure that is ruled out…
      Best
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Kathy,
      Fungal infections can be in bone, so it is important to ask your vet if fungal infections are common in your region. For example, in NY where I preactive, the fungal infections that affect bone are very rare. Also sometimes location (which bone, where in that bone) can help. I agree with your vet, you should see a specialist. Also check out my recent blog, and more to come soon.
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/osteosarcoma-part-one/
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • amy

    Just before Christmas my 9 1/2 year old lab mix, that weighs about 50 lbs, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in one of her outer toes/knuckle on her front paw. Because of the size of the mass, the vet feared that if it were to get any larger because of where it was located she might fracture her foot, so we had the area removed. They were able to remove it up through the wrist, the edges were clean, and chest x-rays were clear. For about 2 or 3 weeks after the surgery she seemed to be doing fine: although her food intake was not as much as normal (I blamed this on the surgery, since my dog has always eaten every meal put in front of her), we had her last bandage change on her foot done about 2 weeks ago and after this she went to eating one meal every day or 2 and was laying around a lot. Took her back into the vet and he did bloodwork, which showed she was anemic to the point that she was close to needing a blood transfusion and the numbers in her liver and spleen function didn’t look right, she was given a b vitamin shot and we were refered immediately to the hospital. Went to the hospital, where they gave her fluids and antibiotics to stabilize her, and then they did an ultrasound of her abdomen. I was told she had fluid in her abdomen and that the ultrasound confirmed their suspicions of cancer in both the spleen and the liver (to be exact multiple tumors in both) and that coupled with the sever anemia the best course of action was euthanasia. I left the hospital fully expecting to come home and have my dog pass away that night, needless to say it has now been 3 days since her diagnosis and she is still with us. She has eaten a little more than she had been, seems to be more active, but I am just wondering if this is false hope due to the antibiotics, fluids and vitamins they gave her the other day. I’m so confused. This is a dog that prior to her surgery, a month ago, was still eating 1 1/2 cups of food twice a day, was chasing squirrels in the back yard and was ready to go on a walk if you even got near the front door. She seems to have the will to live, but am I just making her suffering last longer, I just don’t want her to die alone or make the wrong decision. Realistically what are her chances if chemo and radiation, in conjunction with dietary changes, are not an option?

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com Vicki

    Our Old English Sheepdog (8 years old) was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma the day after Christmas. The following day we decided to have her right leg amputated. Two weeks after amputation Bella started a chemo treatment plan with Carboplatin. She has had 2 treatments without any problems. Five days following chemo we give her Pepcid 1/2 hour before she eats. She is her same playful self that can’t get enough attention. We are praying that we caught the cancer early and that she is in the 20% for 2 years and then cancer free. Bella is a beautiful sheepdog that does therapy in nursing homes. : )

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Vicki,
      I always say, I love when dogs make liars out of me and the statistics. I hope Bella does the same!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Tara Mo

    shelli,
    Look into universities that have vet schools. Alot of times they have trials for medications or studies which reduce the cost. I wish this was a option for us but because of our danes size it wasn’t. Look at the statistics as well. They are unfortunately not very favorable for danes. Where we live it was going to cost us 6000 for just the surgery then another 10,000 for chemo and radiation. With the research i did it would maybe give them a year more and thats if the cancer has not. spread. Do your research and do what’s best foryour dog, you and your family. Even if our boy was a good candidate for the procedures we couldn’t afford 16,000. I feel so bad that you have to go through this. We lost our 12 year old dane 2 weeks before our Axle who is 4 was diagnosed. Its so hard to watch him fade away from us….but we are blessed for every day we have with him and how he has blessed our family. So sorry for the diagnosis.

  • Judi Caldwell

    My dog is a 6 1/2 year old Boxer (Bandit) and has been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma which is located on his left front paw. He has a large nodule behind the pad on his foot as well as a nodule on the top of his paw. We had it removed about a year ago and it has returned. During that time we did chemotherapy, etc. but it has returned. The doctor is recommending amputation due to the fact that there is no “activity” in his lymph nodes. We are so torn as to what to do for our dog. We want him to have a good quality of life and understand that most Boxer’s do not live a very long life. Please provide your opinion.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Judi,
      there is a chart in the Guide discussing the different normal life expectancies of dogs by breed and by weight.
      I would check out these links…but the short story is that many Boxers live a lot longer than 6.5 years and most guardians would want to see if they could get that time using the treatments that seemed right for them and their dog.
      Please see these:
      http://users.pullman.com/lostriver/breeddata.htm
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/an-overview-of-what-else-can-i-do/
      i hope this helps
      Best
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Judi,
      Sorry about Bandit. I hope you can understand that I am not comfortable making a recommendation like that on a patient I have not personally examined or reviewed the medical records. Maybe see a surgeon or an oncologist for a second opinion?
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • http://www.dogster.com/dogs/657674 Tami

    Thanks, Maureen! We don’t know his long term prognosis(we may have a better idea of his progress next week, when they’re planning to do another bone scan or CAT scan, not sure which). But we’re certainly delighted with the results so far. SRS involves a very strong and focused beam of radiation, so you’re right – no cutting. The only side effect was that a small patch of fur fell out at the entry point. I was describing SRS to a friend who recently had the “Cyberknife” procedure for his prostate cancer, and he said his procedure sounded very similar to SRS. :)

    I think the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, NY is another place where SRS is available, and someplace in Florida may be another. CSU helps with accommodations for those coming in from long distances for treatment.

    From what I can tell in terms of criteria, the dog needs to be otherwise healthy (several aspects of the treatment require general anesthesia), no biopsy or other treatment methods should have been done, and there must be no spread of the cancer to other areas. The configuration of the cancer within the bone is also important, because the limb is forever weakened following treatment. They’re able to assess from the configuration whether the dog will be at high risk of limb fracture afterwards. The survival rate of SRS + chemo seems to be equivalent to amputation + chemo.

    I haven’t really figured out whether our choice to go with SRS was motivated purely by concerns about Benny, or whether our own feelings about amputation colored our decision. I do feel now, from reading the stories posted here and elsewhere, that most dogs will do just fine with 3 limbs. If Benny hadn’t qualified for the SRS, we absolutely would have gone with amputation + chemo.

    Maureen, best wishes to you and to every person/everydoggie going through this.

  • Martina

    Maureen,
    Thank you for replying. I am really having a horrible time with this. My vet’s colleague, a surgeon at our animal hospital, called me on Tuesday evening to discuss the results of the biopsy. It actually came back clear, but she was still suspicious and trying to rule out any trauma or fungal infection that may have looked like a tumor on the x-rays. I felt relieved at first, but the doctor continued saying that she was very suspicious and would have to give the x-rays and the biopsy results to a oncology specialist at a special clinic about an hour away from us. Last night I finally heard back and the news was grim. My vet said that I had one of two choices – go ahead and amputate now or do a second biopsy. I don’t know what to do yet, although I am leaning towards the amputation surgery since I know that the longer I wait the more aggressive the tumor will become.
    With all of the research I am doing, I am seeing most dogs 8-11 years of age when diagnosed with cancer. My dog is about to turn 4. She is also a mix breed dog – pitbull and something else – and I never in the time that I’ve had her (since she was about 2 weeks old) have had a medical problem. Needless to say, I am devastated by the possibility of my dog having cancer and all that my doctors are telling me — that with amputation I will buy her some time and with chemotherapy and radiation (which I have NO idea how I’ll ever be able to afford) her ”best case scenario” is only 1 to 2 years. Is this always true? Is there no such thing as a cure, or taking all of the cancer out with the amputation?
    I am so completely overwhelmed with everything right now and to make matters worse I need to decide what to do this morning. We will most likely do a second x-ray, but as it stands 4 doctors have said it is osteosarcoma. I think I will go ahead and amputate and hope for the best…
    I want to hold onto some hope that my dog will be okay. I certainly need more time with her. Several months is not enough and it is not something that I am prepared to hear ever. My dear, sweet Ida Mae means so much to me and it just breaks my heart to think of what I am going to put her through, but at the same time she LOVES life and is such a strong, spirited dog. It has been difficult for myself and our doctors to diagnose her even because she never cries, but the limp she showed last week was clear. Now the limp is gone and she seems fine, but it makes me worry… what if the cancer has already spread? What if this is the first of ”intermittent limping” episodes? What if we don’t catch the cancer soon enough and I lose her within months of the surgery? It’s too much to bare…
    I have so many questions and so many concerns. I want to do what is best for Ida Mae, of course, and I am glad that I found this site to help educate myself and make decisions.

  • Maureen

    Martina,
    I know, it is so absolutely overwhelming. I had the exact same questions and worries. There is so much to consider, and you just want to do the right thing. I just ached for my mastiff. I have to say, it is confusing how Ida Mae’s biospy was clear and yet those vets are saying osteosarcoma. Our vet had mentioned the fungal thing, but we did not live in an area where it was possible. He had mentioned that they are so close in characteristics, that it was hard to be sure without the biopsy. I kept praying that it was that, just antibiotics, what a dream!!!! I would think the biopsy is a plus. I know it is hard right now, and I am so sorry. There are dogs that do well with amputation and chemo if that is what yiu decide. Has Ida Mae had a chest x-ray? With osteosarcoma, it likes to go to the lungs. Our vet did that first and it was clear, so that was good. Not a sure thing, but good that it had not spread. How about blood work? Our vet knew right away that it was osteosarcoma, without a biopsy because of the change in the x-ray after one week. Have you come across the arthritis that mimics osteosarcoma as well? Do they have her on the heavy hitters for pain? Once my dog started limping, they gave her pain medicines and pills for swelling. Is Ida Mae on meds? Hang in there, and don’t make yourself crazy. I know how you feel with wanting to amputate and try to get it before it goes any farther, if it is osteosarcoma. I have my fingers crossed for you- take care

  • Robin

    Looking for advice. My 9 year old Rottie has been limping for a month now. When we first noticed the limp, we took her to the vet, and they figured it was an ACL tear. They had us keep her restrained, and put her on some pain meds. We have been doing that for 1 month now, and took her back last night for a second set of X-rays, and complete (sedated) exam of the knee. The vet (and several other Dr’s at the practice) seem to think now that it is Osteosarcoma. They sent her x-rays off to a radiologist for confirmation. The vet talked with us for a long time about the next steps, and the options…
    It sounds like the next step is a very invasive procedure to take a bone sample for testing? Is that the only way to truly diagnose this? So it sounds like we are putting her through this now, and then possibly an amputation too? This is horrible! We lost our 15 year old Lab mix exactly 2 months ago, and were just now begining to get over that, and now this. I have done a lot of crying in the past 24 hours.
    Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!