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Osteosarcoma-Just Diagnosed


Guest ktarantino
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Guest ktarantino

Hi All,

I am new to this site and just looking to talk and get feedback. Yesterday one of my greyhounds (we have 2) was diagnosed with cancer. He has a limp that developed two days ago and we took him in to see if he had a break or sprang and were shocked to find out he is bone cancer. Freddy is 7 years old. The doctor told us our options...amputate and chemo or pain management. It is his front left leg that would have to be amputated. We did not have further xrays done to see if the cancer has spread. We are just in shock right now. Anyway, just looking to communicate with anyone that has gone through this or is going through this.

Thanks

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I am so sorry that your first post to GT is under these circumstances, but welcome. You will find a wealth of information and wonderful GTers who will offer advice based on their experiences. Please feel free to take advantage and keep us updated. We're here to help. I have no personal experience with osteo, but will keep you and your boy tucked in my prayers. Regardless of your decision, please discuss pain management with your Vet - keeping ahead of the pain is paramount.grouphug.gifgrouphug.gif

 

 

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Guest TeddysMom

I am so sorry to learn that yet another greyhound family is having to face this horrible disease. No matter what you decide to do, please know that the gh comunity will support you through this. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and Freddy. :hope:candle

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Guest MnMDogs

I'm sorry for the horrible diagnosis. We lost our first to bone cancer at 9 years old, and my sister's 9 year old was just diagnosed. She's chosen palliative care only (we did also) with deramax, tramadol and fosamax daily. I'd never heard of fosamax being used, but her vet recommended it as it may help counteract the bone loss from cancer. You may want to check with your vet about that.

 

She also gives her 100 mg (I think) of artemisinin a day. You'll likely get a lot of advice since far too many of us have gone through this.

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Guest ktarantino

Thank you, it has been a rough 24 hours.We are leaning towards pain management, but want to meet with another vet to get a second opinion. We just moved to Virginia so we do not have a long history with the vet here. It is just so hard to think about either option..i can't imagine amputation and chemo and I can't imagine pain management and then eventually euthanasia..

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Guest azlorenz

There are several of us dealing with the very same issue at the moment. We are keeping a thread going to keep in touch. You might find some helpful info, hints, etc.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/258306-osteo-diagnosis/

 

Some of us have amputated and are going through chemo, others haven't had that option. There are several other threads going that have wonderful information as well.

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Virginia isn't too far from Ohio. Have you considered making an appointment with Dr Couto at Ohio State University. I know it's a bit of a drive but, many folks here have driven much further to have our pets under his care. Worth the trip IMO ;)

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hi kelly - welcome to gt -- sorry your first post involved os! my rivie is one of the "july 5" - that grew from five to what seven, eight, nine??? anyway please see the current on-going os threads here, there are quite a few going....seems to come in waves here on gt. i know the "shock" factor you speak of - been there, done that. rivie's tumor is on her rib - so we have a bit different path, but her biopsy was july 7 with results coming in july 14 - we are "pain management" - surgery was not an option. gt has saved me this month - you will find lots of shoulders to cry on that totally know what you are going through, cause they are going through almost the same thing. there is a lot of help/advice and big shoulders here -- so welcome - and we are so so sorry that your baby is in our (*&(*^&%^&%% os club.

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I am sorry to hear about Freddy's diagnosis. Our Charlie is 7 and was diagnosed 3 weeks ago and we chose amputation and chemo. As Shannon (aka azlonrenz) and Teri (aka teri_d) mentioned we all have pups diagnosed very close to one another and are keeping in touch via the link Shannon provided. If you have any questions at all please ask as we have started on this path before you and can provide information that we have already found out. Also if you prefer, please feel free to e-mail me at kyle241_2000@yahoo.com, I'll try to help in any way I can.

 

Kyle

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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Guest ChasesMum

lots of hugs, its so shocking. One of our greys had osteo, we chose amputation and no chemo. he lasted 4 months but he had a good 4 months. i would chose that route again if the pain was severe or if there was a break involved. George's pain was so bad it was amputate or euth within days (he was already on a fentanyl pain patch and codeine at that point). So there is a third option - middle of the road where you do some treatment but not remortgage the house to pay for it.

 

We just lost our other grey a week ago to some form of diffuse infiltrative cancer, but I am in that osteo thread that teri posted the link to. Please take a read through there, and join in (not that we want anyone to have to join out little group, but you are more than welcome to vent there as well. :( )

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I am sorry.

 

Been there, done that. We opted for amp and chemo and got 5 fabulous months with our sweet angel Polli.

 

I am so sorry you have to make this decision.

 

 

 

 

ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

Waiting at the bridge Angel Polli Bohemian Ocean , Rocky, Blue,Sasha & Zoobie & Bobbi

Greyhound Angels Adoption (GAA) The Lexus Project

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I'm sorry that you're joining the group under these circumstances, but welcome to GT. My girl Neyla was dx'ed about 3 months ago with osteo. We've chosen not to amputate and are using holistic methods and palliative care. There are a good number of options for the latter if you decide not to amputate and I'm happy to share what I know in more detail later (little pressed for time right now): palliative radiation, IV bisphosphonates, artemisinin, etc. in addition to your typical pain medications.

 

This site is an excellent resource to get started on researching your treatment options.

 

Where in VA are you, are you near the DC metro area? My oncologist is considered the best of the best and he practices in Friendship Heights, but I believe he also sees patients in a VA hospital. I can give you his info if you are interested. Dr. Couto is also an excellent resource and will typically do a phone consult free of charge (although his program will happily accept donations as well). Some people do chose to drive to OSU to have the surgery done if they pursue amputation, but given the level of qualified oncologists in the DC area, I probably would not have if I had made that choice - although you'll probably pay double with said oncologists here. :rolleyes:

 

You might also want to consider joining the circleofgrey or bonecancerdogs yahoo groups for more support, or the artemisinin_and_cancer group if you want to investigate that option.

 

 

Sorry you're going through this. :grouphug

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I am so sorry. This is such a horrible disease.

 

I had already made the decision for my Joe before he was diagnosed. I have been exposed to osteo in other dogs for a number of years now. This caused me to plan for the worst. My Joe just turned 7, is a very happy go lucky dog, and absolutely loved going to Ohio State University to give blood. I am lucky enough to live close to Dr. Couto and his team of greyhound oncology experts. So my decision was to amputate and do chemo. Having made this decision already, it was just 2 days after diagnosis to the actual amputation. Although there have been times when I questioned if this was the right decision, and times when I felt great despair, I think I have made the right decision for Joe.

 

My Joey is 10 days post-amputation and beginning to return to his normal self. I think his pain level now is about what it was before the amputation, although it is hard to judge. He has been able to take the 3 steps in and out of the house on his own for about 3 days now. Yesterday, he jumped into the backseat of my car on his own.

 

According to Dr. Couto, survival statistics for greyhounds with osteosarcoma are a bit better than other dogs. I thought you might like to read what I have learned from him (at least as best as I can remember):

 

Osteosarcoma is by far the most common bone cancer in greyhounds; about 1 in 4 greyhounds will get this type of cancer. It is very, very painful. It will weaken the bone so the bone is prone to breaking. This cancer will spread (metastasize) to other bones and the lungs if not treated. In more than 90 percent of the cases there are small mets (metastases) that are not visible on xray. This means that it will spread even when it is treated, but there is a longer survival time with a much better quality of life. There are a couple of bone cancers that do not metastasize. This means that if the affected bones are removed, the dog is essentially cured. Unfortunately, these are not as common as osteosarcoma.

 

Here are some statistics on typical survival times with various treatment options for OS (osteosarcoma) with no visible tumors in the lungs:

 

Amputation, then chemotherapy: 50-60 percent are still living at one year post-amputation. This period has the same or almost the same quality of life as before the cancer. Removal of the cancerous bone eliminates the horrible pain from bone cancer. 10-20 percent are still living at 2 years post amputation. I personally know of a few who have lived 3 years or more. One of my friends has a greyhound that is more than 3 years post amp and is still going strong. However, 40 to 50 percent do not make it to the 1 year point. Try to remember that to a greyhound, one year is 1/12th to 1/14th of their normal life. In other words, a year to us is really 7 years to a greyhound. This treatment is fairly expensive. At Ohio State University, the amputation is typically $3000 to $3500, inclusive of surgery, a 4 day hospital stay, and medications while in the hospital. Administration of the chemo at OSU is relatively inexpensive. The 5 treatments, inclusive of blood work and a lung xray usually totals about $500. I have heard quotes as high as $2500 from other parts of the country.

 

Amputation, but no chemotherapy -- I'm not sure on this one. I would guess 3 to 4 months. Removing the leg eliminates the pain from the bone cancer. However any lung mets that were too small to see on the x-ray would grow. Eventually this would impact the breathing and other functions. It is also possible that there are undetected mets in her other bones (spine, other leg, etc.). In this case, the pain would become uncontrollable.

 

No treatment, except for pain management -- 2 to 3 months after initial diagnosis.

 

Unlike in humans, chemotherapy in dogs is generally very well tolerated. Most greyhounds have few side affects. Typical side affects are some lethargy and queasiness for a day or two after the chemo treatment. This often doesn't start until midway through the course of treatment. Ohio State University will provide certain chemotherapy drugs at no charge to retired racing greyhounds. However you would still need to pay for the administration.

 

Typical chemotherapy for OS is 5 separate administrations of an IV chemotherapy agent given 2 weeks apart. After that it is often suggested to provide some herbal supplementation (such as artemisinin) and perhaps the oral cancer drug, Palladia.

 

You may be asking how do I know all this. No I am not a veterinarian or a vet tech. I live near the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. This hospital is home to Dr. Guillermo Couto, widely regarded as one of the best greyhound experts in the world. He is the section chair for oncology (cancer), hematology (blood), and greyhound medicine. He runs a greyhound clinic and supervises three veterinarians who are almost totally dedicated to greyhound medicine. He also has a staff of roughly 12 oncologists. I help people who choose to come to OSU from far away. A group of local greyhound owners can provide reservation assistance, moral support, or even have owners and their dogs as guests in their home. So I have sat in on a lot of osteo consults and been there with owners as they wait for the amputation surgery to be completed.

 

Dr. Couto's team will provide free phone or email consultations.

 

If you decide on amputation, I suggest that your vet contact OSU for information on the surgical and post-care protocol Dr. Couto has developed. This includes administration of Amicar for all Greyhound amputations. Greyhounds have a tendency to bleed significantly. Amicar increases the bonding strength of blood clots, significantly reducing post-op bruising and guarding against death from bleeding out. It also includes a cocktail of fentanyl, ketamine, and lidocaine post-op to help keep the greyhound relax. Greyhounds tend to get quite nervous in a hospital environment. Keeping them calm helps promote healing.

 

It is important to have the amputation surgery at a hospital that provides 24 hour care. By this I mean that the hospital should have a veterinarian present 24 hours a day. Preferably, they should keep the dog for 3 to 5 days after amputation.

 

Feel free to email me at finewhipador-drool@yahoo.com

 

Here is complete information on how to contact Dr. Couto and OSU.

 

Greyhound Health and Wellness Program

Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine

601 Vernon Tharp Street

Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: (614) 247-6757 or (614) 247-8490

Email: greyosu@osu.edu

Website: http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/GHWP.htm (registration and fee now required to get full access to this site)

 

This email goes to the team. If Dr. Couto is traveling, you may get a quicker answer from one of his team members. Drs. Marin and Zaldivar typically respond to greyhound owners. The consult is free but if you can afford to support the program please do so. You can sign up for full access to the website ($99 per calendar year) or donate through the giving page on the website. If you decide to donate, you can double your money by giving through the Greyhound Project. Just go to this website and scroll down to the appropriate donation button: http://www.adopt-a-greyhound.org/donate.shtml. They will match the funds that you donate.

 

The Team:

 

Dr. Couto, Department Head, Greyhound Medicine, Oncology and Hematology

Dr. Lili Marin, Greyhound Health and Oncology

Dr. Sara Zaldivar, Greyhound Health and Oncology

Dr. William Kisselberth, Oncology

Dr. Cheryl London, Oncology

Dr. Cristina Iazbik, Blood Bank Director and Hematologist

Dr. Bridget Urie, Oncology Resident

Dr. Matt Sherger, Oncology Resident

Dr. Joelle Fenger, Oncology Resident

Dawn Hudson, Vet Tech

Ashley DeFelice, Vet Tech

Stacey Gallant, Vet Tech

 

Drs Marin and Zaldivar are originally from Spanish speaking countries. If you have trouble understanding them over the phone, you might ask for one of the other vets or vet techs to “translate”.

 

Dr. Couto's direct email is:

couto.1@osu.edu

His phone number is also 614-247-6757. If he is in town, he typically returns emails in the early hours of the morning.

 

You should know that (in my humble opinion) they need more staff. Unfortunately finances do not permit it at this time. They do 20 to 30 greyhound consults a day along with all of their "in canine" patients. Depending on their workload there may be a wait for the consultation. If you are contacting them on an emergency basis, please let them know.

If you want to make an appointment to be seen in person/canine, you can call the main number to set up a date/time. The main number for the veterinary hospital is 614-292-3551.

 

If you decide to visit OSU please contact me. I may be able to put you up in a local home, provide moral support, or just help with logistics:

 

Finewhipador-drool@yahoo.com

 

Jane

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Guest bigorangedog

So very sorry to hear of your pup's diagnosis. We've had 5 greys with osteo recently in our family. Please check out the "what to expect" page link in my signature, perhaps you might find it helpful. If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to ask!! Sending best wishes.

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K, so sorry to hear that you are going through this too.

 

Our Arathorn (who turned 7 on July 21, 2010) was confirmed today to have bone cancer. It's been a horrific shock for everyone who knows him. We've decided to provide him with pallative care with no amputation or chemo. This was not an easy decision but one we've been wrestling with since his biopsy procedure this past Monday.

 

I've lost two prior Greyhounds to cancer (one at 11 with a brain tumor and one at 12 with osteo in his shoulder) in addition to losing a 14-year-old broodie to old age. It never gets easy but we have to love him and spoil him for whatever time we have left together and then love him enough to let him go to the Bridge to run free.

 

You'll find some excellent resources, advice and comfort on Greytalk.

 

Lois

Edited by AndysMom

Mom to Palm City Roxie ("Roxie"). Remembering Heizer Jordan ("Jordan"), DB's PickedtoWin ("Andy"), CB Ectasy ("Ecstasy"), Oshkosh Unafraid ("Tribute"), Arathorn, WV's Imperial ("Abby") and her brother WV's Institute ("Mojo") and KB's Gameboy ("Game Boy"), who've all gone to the Bridge. Working with Austin Greyhound Adoption <austingreyhounds.org>.

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K, so sorry to hear that you are going through this too.

 

Our Arathorn (who turned 7 on July 21, 2010) was confirmed today to have bone cancer. It's been a horrific shock for everyone who knows him. We've decided to provide him with pallative care with no amputation or chemo. This was not an easy decision but one we've been wrestling with since his biopsy procedure this past Monday.

 

I've lost two prior Greyhounds to cancer (one at 11 with a brain tumor and one at 12 with osteo in his shoulder) in addition to losing a 14-year-old broodie to old age. It never gets easy but we have to love him and spoil him for whatever time we have left together and then love him enough to let him go to the Bridge to run free.

 

You'll find some excellent resources, advice and comfort on Greytalk.

 

Lois

 

I am very sorry to hear of Arathorn's diagnosis. I hope you have as much as time as possible with him and they are are all happy ones. Give him a hug from me.

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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  • 4 weeks later...

We're approaching the one-month anniversary of the confirmation of our Arathorn's osteo diagnosis (August 8, 2010). A week prior we discovered the lump on his right front ankle, which was biopsied a day or two later. We've chosen for a variety of reasons to address his cancer only through palliative care.

 

We went to the vet on Thursday, September 2nd, with 7-year-old Arathorn and 12-year-old Tribute, full of dread, fully expecting to come home with "two empty leashes". Arathorn's tumor had increased in size only slightly, but it had changed in appearance. Tribute has Lumbar Stenosis, corns on both front feet and what I firmly believed was a massive gum infection. The vet told us that she felt it was premature to let Arathorn go; he still seems happy (licking the vet's face, wagging his tail, doing a M&G in the waiting room), has a good appetite and getting around quite well (still wants to run and jump and play). She hulled Trib's corns, gave him two injections for his LS and told us that he needs his teeth cleaned but that he doesn't have a gum infection, just "thickening" of the gums.

 

Frankly, we were pleasantly surprised by the news that both dogs are doing better than we'd feared. Every extra day we're given with these boys is a blessing. We know the time is coming soon when we'll have to make the decision to let each of them go, but I'm so grateful that we didn't lose both of them simultaneously. That would just been too much to bear.

 

Thanks for the support from our friends at Greytalk.

 

Lois

Mom to Palm City Roxie ("Roxie"). Remembering Heizer Jordan ("Jordan"), DB's PickedtoWin ("Andy"), CB Ectasy ("Ecstasy"), Oshkosh Unafraid ("Tribute"), Arathorn, WV's Imperial ("Abby") and her brother WV's Institute ("Mojo") and KB's Gameboy ("Game Boy"), who've all gone to the Bridge. Working with Austin Greyhound Adoption <austingreyhounds.org>.

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Guest EmbersDad

I am sorry.

 

Been there, done that. We opted for amp and chemo and got 5 fabulous months with our sweet angel Polli.

 

I am so sorry you have to make this decision.

 

robin and i walk down that road together. ember was diagnosed at 11, and i chose amputation and chemo, sadly, the cancer returned before the 5th treatment, but she rallied and we had a couple of great months together.

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I am so very sorry you and Freddy are going through this. Having lost two to osteo this year, I understand how awful this experience is. As someone who opted for amp with our first grey that was diagnosed and just pain mgmt. with the second, I am happy to share with you about our experiences. Feel free to email or PM me anytime. And welcome to Greytalk-you've found a great place to communicate with others about this disease. Another great resource is Circle of Grey-this is a Yahoo group that is for those who have recently lost a greyhound or for those whose greyhounds are ill. It's a great group of people-very supportive.

 

Also, OSU's Greyhound Health & Wellness program and specifically Dr. Couto, are a wealth of knowledge. They do provide free phone consults if you'd like another opinion, feedback or information.

 

Many hugs to you and Freddy as you go through this!

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This is not a club I wish to welcome you to. But welcome anyway.

 

I drove from NJ to OSU for both Diamond and Pearl. My sisters. In Oct 09, Diamond was diagnosed with OS. She was 12. I wanted Dr. Couto's opinion on if she could handle being a tripod. That was going to make my decision. He said she had the body of a 7 yr old and that she would do fine. Just maybe have a longer recovery from the amp surgery.

 

Well she surprised everyone and was ready to go home within 4 days. (normal stay at OSU for that type of surgery).

 

In Jan I went to OSU because my very beloved Pearl had fibrosarcoma of the spleen. Unfortunately that cancer didn't respond to chemo and I lost her 2 weeks later.

 

In April, her sister Diamond lost her battle with OS when it showed up in another leg.

 

But, Diamond had a wonderful, pain free 6 months.

 

It's a hard decision to make. But remember, what ever decision you make is the right one because you're making it with love.

 

Mary Pat

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I'm sorry to hear of your pup's diagnosis :grouphug

 

My Sutra, who is 12 years old, was diagnosed almost 5 months ago. At the time I decided not to pursue amputation or chemo for him - his system is so sensitive that I don't think he'd have done well with chemo, and I was also concerned about how he'd do as an amputee since his tumor is in the right front shoulder.

 

He takes Deramaxx as needed and gets around just fine. His attitude is great and he eats like a horse. He does have a slight limp but does not seem to really have much pain with it. The deramaxx keeps him comfortable.

 

He takes 200mg artemisinin every morning on an empty tummy, and goes to our vet every 28 days for a pamidronate infusion. It is similar to Fosamax as it encourages new bone growth, but it is given via IV as opposed to a pill.

 

If I had thought that he would do well with amputation, that is definitely an option I would have considered. If your pup is only 7, amputation might be a good option for you :nod

 

Wishing you all the best...unfortunately osteo is such a crapshoot. Some are diagnosed and slip away very quickly, some are diagnosed and have amputation and chemo and do great, others don't do so well, and then some are "lucky" enough to have a slow growing tumor like Sutra's, so palliative care keeps them comfortable and you get a lot of quality time.

 

I know that our days together are numbered, but he gets whatever he wants and is always making me smile. I'm thankful for every day :wub:

Kristin in Moline, IL USA with Ozzie (MRL Crusin Clem), Clarice (Clarice McBones), Latte and Sage the IGs, and the kitties: Violet and Rose
Lovingly Remembered: Sutra (Fliowa Sutra) 12/02/97-10/12/10, Pinky (Pick Me) 04/20/03-11/19/12, Fritz (Fritz Fire) 02/05/01 - 05/20/13, Ace (Fantastic Ace) 02/05/01 - 07/05/13, and Carrie (Takin the Crumbs) 05/08/99 - 09/04/13.

A cure for cancer can't come soon enough.--

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Guest handpicked

Hello! I am so sorry for your osteo diagnosis for Charlie. My name is Shelley Lake, and I am doing a study on greyhound cancer and I am hoping that you will give me Charlie's racing name as I am currently doing a study on greyhound cancer using greyhound bloodlines. As osteo is genetic in greys, I may be able to help you understand why you are facing this now. I have had two that I have lost to osteo: Boston and Boy Friend. Boston, I did just pain management and Boy Friend we did amp and chemo. I do not regret either choice I took, Boston we only had two weeks and Boy Friend we had 5 months. If I can help in any way, please ask. Hugs to you and Charlie and we will support you whatever choice you make.

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