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Osteo - Question

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Ok, I am posting this question because I am paranoid and to be honest scared. My two boys are 4 & 5 and I have reviewed the studies by Dr. Coutu and his staff and understand the odds are good one of my two boys will likely get cancer. While I am new to Greys, I am not new to this dreaded disease that affects far too many dogs and humans and can only wish we spent more of our 'money' on finding a cure rather than many of the things our governments do spend on (this is not a rant). I had to make the decision of letting my German Short-Haired Pointer go when we found out he had cancer of the spleen, it was very sudden, he was a puppy at 11yrs and then gone. Also when growing up our family dog got Osteo and it was my Mum's decision not to amputate. So having these experiences that I believe pale to many of you that have and are struggling now with your Greys and cancer (my heart goes out to all of you, give them all a hug from me), what if anything can be done from a proactive standpoint? Specifically for Osteo, does it make sense to have x-rays every 6mths or less? Is there any supplement that has proven to be helpful in delaying the onset of cancer? The x-rays I was thinking may identify the cancer early enough that it hasn't spread? (just thinking out loud because I know it's almost impossible to beat it).


I guess I am asking for advice or anything that may help identify it early enough that one stands a chance of fighting and giving your Grey as long a life as possible without trying to 'play god'. Also if anyone has any good reading concerning Osteo because I am one of those people who likes to be prepared and needs to know, it helps to settle my mind as I should just enjoy my big boys now (which I do) and just hope the future holds good things.


Tks for any input.

Edited by Charlies_Dad

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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You asked for any input, so here goes. Enjoy your boys for every minute you have them. Don't torture them with unnecessary tests or overshadow your time with them by being afraid of something that may not happen. After I lost Diplomat, I watched every step Em took with fear....and realized I was doing nothing but wasting our time together and making him nervous.


If a limp shows up, take him to the vet, get the x-rays right away if you can afford it, and make treatment decisions based on the circumstances. But don't live in fear of this happening. You will just be robbing yourself of good times. Osteo appears to be inherited and is not a preventable disease.


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Your best bet is to get x-rays if you have a limp that has no obvious cause or that doesn't resolve with brief treatment, and have those x-rays evaluated by an orthopedic specialist if there is anything of interest on them. And check out any assorted lumps/bumps that you can't explain on your dog.


Doubt that prophylactic x-rays would do you any good. Most (tho not all) of these cancers in dogs move pretty quickly, and by the time you can see anything on the x-ray, you've already got metastasis if it's the type of cancer to do that. Also don't know what effects a lot of x-raying would have on a dog -- could be that is not something you really want to do .....


There are no supplements that have been shown to delay or prevent cancer onset.


FWIW, I don't worry about it. I enjoy my dogs and check out any physical oddities and leave it at that. So far, I and my family have lost only older dogs (including non-greys) to cancer, none of those cancers were osteo, and none of them were treatable regardless of when we might have discovered them.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I agree with both Batmom and Redpack. After I lost Scarlett, every time that Morgaine limped I had a panic attack and had the vet come see her (homecare vet). Even when he told me I should give it a day that she was a crazy girl and had probably pulled something. I agreed that the visits were primarily for me but I still had him see her. That ended after the first year. Then, my walker called me in a panic 5 days before Christmas 2 years ago. My girl was in massive status epilepticus seizures and I lost her within hours.


The lesson for me, try not to panic if I hear Aquitaine's toenails seeming to "skip" a beat on the ground. Get them cut. Love every minute of every day I get to spend with her. Cuddle with her every morning before I leave, no matter how late it makes me and remind her how much I love her. We live with the knowledge every day that cancer could take our fur kids. We can't let it take the wonderful times too. When the x-ray showed the cancer on Scarlett and I was crying my eyes out and talking to my vet, he reminded me that at her age (we thought she was nearly 15, turns out she was 19) we lose as many dogs to arthritis. At the time that was of no help to me at all. After a while I realized that to them, pain is pain. They don't know they have cancer.


I live with a simple goal. I want to give Aquitaine the happiest, healthiest life I possibly can. And, if I am lucky enough, she too will live to be 15...or 19!

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There are two or three things you could conceivably do, all of which are controversial and lack good data to support.


The first is to feed your dogs water that is free of fluoridation. If your water supply isn't fluoridated, you're set. If it is, get a reverse osmosis unit. Of course, there's a very good chance that since your dogs have been provided water all their lives- quite probably with fluoride in it- any damage would already have been done. Still, the body constantly turns over its molecular composition- even bone, as we know from anti-osteoporosis drugs- and it is conceivable that fluorine is leached from the body when fed water that has been depleted of fluoride. Search the forum for "fluorine" or "fluoride" to see some of the comments that have been made in the past.


The second is to reduce the concentration of carbohydrates in the diet. There are some weak assertions that have been made, indicating there is some suspicion that tumors may be caused- or encouraged- due to insulin-like hormones that are released with ingestion of carbohydrates. Bagged food that is high in starchy carbohydrates (corn, wheat, potato, etc.) cause an insulin surge, and (it has been proposed) may encourage the formation or growth of malignant cells. This assertion is entirely unsupported (to the best of my knowledge) in the literature, so YMMV.


Magnesium has also been proposed as an anti-cancer agent in the wacko community. Most diets are deficient in magnesium; it is unclear as to the requirement of magnesium in the canine, and whether deficiency may promote the formation and/or growth of tumors.


So- three very fringe concepts. It is possible none of the three may have any positive influence.


I do feed ours water from the RO tap, although not specifically for the purpose of reducing dietary fluoride although I am happy that component is all but eliminated via that route. We also feed our two "regular" greyhounds raw food, although (again) not specifically to ward off cancer. They simply do better on raw food- no more "pudding poo," among other things. I do not supplement with magnesium as I have not finished my research on the topic.

Coco (Maze Cocodrillo)

Minerva (Kid's Snipper)

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Guest longdogs

Nobody knows if the risks can be reduced. The only strong linkage is with the size and weight of the dog as it's mostly a disease of larger breeds. St Bernards may have a genetic predisposition but there does not seem to be a similar propensity in other breeds. To get things into perspective, greyhounds probably aren't any more prone to the disease than other similar sized dogs, although it sometimes seems that way to us. Unfortunately being good at spotting the symptoms doesn't help as much as we might wish. In something like 80% of cases (from memory) the cancer has already spread before any symptoms are seen. I lost one of mine to osteo and it was a harrowing experience, but these things happen. Chances are a cancer will kill us too in time.

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The only thing I wonder about is that some people connect cancer with TBDs (they lower the immune system), so I would do a full tick panel. I also treat if platelets are under 150,000 as there is at least one TBD that isn't showing up (yes, Dr. Feeman and Dr. Couto and I disagree on the platelets :rolleyes: however, I have seen platelets come up in each dog we've treated).


Other than that, I am anti pestiside. I use Frontline when I have to and have treated the yard when there was a tick problem. I don't use pestisides in the house either (I am really sensitive to them).


You cannot waste quality time worrying about cancer. There is no crystal ball: the ones you think will live almost forever don't, and the ones you think won't, do, or at least go much longer than you thought :)

Diane & The Senior Gang

Burpdog Biscuits

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