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Spinner And Osteo-Decision Time


Guest SusanP
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Guest SusanP

Haven't posted here in years, but our 11-year old Spinner has osteo, and I'm having a hard time deciding when to take action...

 

He began having grand mal seizures a few weeks ago. After x-rays and bloodwork the vets concluded he likely has a brain tumor...Phenobarbital stopped the seizures, but last week he developed a tumor on his left foreleg, just above the "wrist". Xrays look like osteo to our vet.

 

The trouble is, Spinner doesn't know he's sick. He wants to go for 3 mile walks and run and play soccer in the yard and jump up on the bed and spin and bark. I'm afraid the leg is going to break with all his physical activity.

 

With an active dog like Spinner, would it be safer to put him down before he begins showing signs of pain, limping, etc? When our old girl, Zena, had osteo in her shoulder, we waited until pain meds weren't helping, but she was not an active dog, and location of the cancer made it less likely she would suddenly break a bone.

 

It's so hard to think of putting a dog who doesn't *appear* ill down, but that is part of the tragedy of osteo, isn't it?

 

I'm wondering what those who have been there would recommend in Spinner's case? Keeping him quiet would not be a good option for his quality of life. He lives for physical activity. Your thoughts?

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I tend to go for amputation. I did it for my very active 12 yr old. She had a terrific 6 months before OS hit another leg. But those 6 mos were worth every penny of the $3000 bill.

 

I took Diamond from NJ to OSU just so that Dr Couto could help me decided if 12 was or was not too old. He said age is just a number. He absolutely said that she could be a tripod.

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I had the same situation with my 13 year old girl Peace. Other than a limp on one leg she acted fine. No panting, great appetite and would go out to the dog run to go out. So I used an animal communicator that I know and asked her what she wanted. She knew she had cancer before the doctor. She was willing to wait until Friday of the week we got the official diagnosis to let her go. She was ready to go and even though she didn't act like she was in pain she was. Pain meds can't fully take away the pain of osteo.

You don't want to want until a bone breaks. I didn't want my girl's last minutes to be in terrible pain if her leg had broken.

Better a day early than a day late.

This will be one of the hardest things you will have to do. But releasing them of their pain is the last gift you can give them.

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Guest SusanP

We don't want to put Spinner through the neuro exam or amputation. The fact that he's having two kinds of major health issues, possibly connected if the seizures are caused by the osteo metastisizing, along with his age, is enough to convince us that we should let him go soon. Sadly, I'm in agreement that we don't want to wait until a bone breaks. I just wish there were some clear sign of the exact right moment...Sigh...I know there seldom is. Still struggling, but I'm going to talk with our vets today.

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If you're definitely not doing the amp/chemo route, you'll at least need to look into some palliative care options to control his pain (radiation, medication, or a combination of both). Osteo is the most painful type of cancer there is. It's likely that every step is causing him excruciating pain, even if he isn't necessarily acting like it is. There are some types of cancers that you can take a "wait and see" approach... osteo unfortunately isn't one of them. FWIW, my vet discovered Henry's osteolytic bone lesions on a Friday. They made an appointment for him on Monday morning and gave us the weekend to decide-amputate the leg or put him down. Due to the pain and the huge risk for catastrophic break, our vets were not willing to let us take him home and let him naturally decline and pass away on his own.

 

I know this is going to come off as harsh (trust me, I don't mean it to be), but it's almost inhumane to let the dog suffer through that kind of agony. At best, you'll get a few more weeks/months. Given your boy's age and his seizure history, you're probably best to have him PTS now while he's still having some good days.

 

:grouphug

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I am sorry you are going through this. I hope your vets can give you some guidance. I agree with the others that you will need to make the decision sooner rather than later. I would be concerned about controlling pain from both the leg & his brain tumor. FWIW, I wouldn't even consider an amputation on a dog with a brain tumor.

Rebecca
with Atlas the borzoi, Luna the pyr, and Madison the cat, always missing Sahara(Flyin Tara Lyn) and Coltrane(Blue on By) the greyhounds

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I'm so sorry--

 

But if he has a brain tumor as well, for me there would be no big decision to be made. I would put him to sleep sooner rather than later.

 

But only you know what is right for you and him and your family.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest SusanP

Honestly, there is no sign this dog is in pain. He's active, eating and happy, raring to go on walks, running, etc. Just talked with our vet, and she feels that, since we have pain meds on hand to use if needed, we might want to wait until there is some sort of sign that he isn't comfortable before putting him down. She said there are enough "pockets" in the bone that a break could happen at any time, but she still felt that just walking him wouldn't be too risky. His other behaviors, however, would be risky. And since Spinner is a dog who doesn't like anyone telling what he can and can't do and is not a "lie around the house dog", I'm leaning toward putting him down before he shows signs of pain. I have one more vet to consult with, but of course I value the perspective of folks who have walked this road with their hounds before. It helps to talk to you guys.

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If he were my boy, I would plan a day for him in the very near future, where he gets to do his favorite activity, such as a nice long leisurely walk in a favorite place, give him all his favorite treats, and while he is happy, content, tired and relaxed, arrange to let him go peacefully on his way. So, so sorry he has this terrible disease. My heart goes out to you.

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I am so sorry this is happening, but I have to agree with the sooner rather than later. He could break his leg just standing up or turning around. I have been through a dog breaking a leg from osteo twice, and the screams are the worst sound in the world. Especially since he has a possible brain tumor, if it were my dog I would let him go while he is still happy and not in obvious pain.

 

Again, so very sorry :bighug

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Guest normaandburrell

With our dog Brassy we didn't even know it was osteo until the break. He would limp a little now and then, we had him on pain meds, and were limiting his activity, because our vet, who we both love, thought it was a pinched nerve (xrays were negative). Then I made the mistake of giving him a bath and he jumped with excitement at the end of the bath and broke his hip. He was gone within 3 hours. And the only reason it took that long is because, once we got him comfortable on his bed at the e-vet, they took other dogs before they took him, thinking he wasn't that bad off. At first we both agonized over how much pain he had to endure for those 3 hours. But then we remembered how even at the e- vet, he was still gobbling down treats and wanting to follow us when we left the room. We also remembered how one day during the few days of his life, he was lying on his bed wide awake just wagging his tail, happy to be alive. So if you decide he is not in that much pain, and is enjoying his life, I think it's okay to wait until you are both ready. You know your dog best. Spoil him all you want between now and then, limit his activities as much as you can, but if he jumps out and breaks the leg, take comfort in knowing that he lived his life the way he wanted.

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If he were my boy, I would plan a day for him in the very near future, where he gets to do his favorite activity, such as a nice long leisurely walk in a favorite place, give him all his favorite treats, and while he is happy, content, tired and relaxed, arrange to let him go peacefully on his way. So, so sorry he has this terrible disease. My heart goes out to you.

 

This.

 

I had to let my girl go the day I found out last October. She was 11 1/2 and I was getting ready to move across country. I had planned to have a pet service move us and the possibility of having her leg break getting in/out of the car, or just moving around in the car when we were in the middle of nowhere, and knew no vets, made it the only possible decision and simultaneously even more heartbreaking. If you have the opportunity to give him a wonderful, memorable day, then that seems the kindest. I know that I was able to plan my first girl's final day so that everyone she loved best came to see her, she had a last walk in "her" park, and we were both surrounded with love at the last moment. For an experience that stinks, that has been the best by far.

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If he were my boy, I would plan a day for him in the very near future, where he gets to do his favorite activity, such as a nice long leisurely walk in a favorite place, give him all his favorite treats, and while he is happy, content, tired and relaxed, arrange to let him go peacefully on his way. So, so sorry he has this terrible disease. My heart goes out to you.

This.

Our dogs can be so darned stoic and not show us their pain. When I made the decision to let Pal go before he got into crisis, he had a brilliant last day and those good memories have helped tremendously with the healing. While it is still a profound loss, there wasn't the crisis scene that would have overridden the good and loving memories that are the first to come to mind. I am so sorry you are faced with this with Spinner (what a fabulous name for your good boy!). :grouphug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Guest PiagetsMom

When Piaget broke her leg playing here at the house and we had to let her go, it took us by complete surprise. I tried to console myself by telling myself she lived her life to the very fullest right up to that morning, with a walk that morning and playing with Mirage when it happened. But, I have to tell you that you never forget that awful moment of crisis, and Jan's right, it sometimes overrides the good and loving memories you would rather come to mind.

 

We did not know, but knowing what you do for Spinner, I'd agree with those who've gently suggested picking a day in the near future, and let him go peacefully on his way. :grouphug to you.

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Guest SusanP

Thanks, Everyone. I think you've helpled a lot in our decision making process. We will probably schedule a home visit from our vet very soon. I don't want Spinner to die in crisis. In the meantime, we'll continue to do all his favorite things as often as possible. Thank you again.

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Susan, if his vet isn't available 24 hours a day, Google in-home pet euthanasia, add your zip code, and see what you get. Or ask your vet's office if they have someone they recommend in an emergency. Then stick that number in your cellphone and don't worry about it.

 

Knowing who you can call takes some of the pressure off you. If Spinner's having an off day, you don't have to worry about the weekend coming up and feel as if you need to make a rushed decision so you can catch your vet while the office is open. Also, a friend had a dog take a turn for the worse on a Saturday night, and she had to get someone out on Sunday morning; she had to put out a request for help on our local Yahoo board. I haven't needed in-home euthanasia for any of my dogs, but I've had the number for Sweet Dreams-Atlanta in my phone for years.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Jet limped for a few days, but we attributed it to being knocked into and falling down on our tile floor. She would still run around like a crazy girl and run laps around the garden with Tavarish and Abby. She did that on Mother's Day 2 years ago. That night I laid her on the couch to ice where she fell. She was done, jumped off the couch and broke her leg. We never had a clue.

 

If it has spread to his brain already and he has a visible tumor on his leg, it isn't if there will be a break, but when.

Good luck with your decision. It sucks.

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Guest SusanP

The vet is coming to put Spinner down at home Friday afternoon. That means we get a couple of days to treat him to the things he loves and try hard to keep him from hurting himself. I feel like crud after making the call, but after hearing what many of you had to say and talking with some other dear GH friends, I think it's for the best. My goal is to keep my dogs safe and happy through this life, and if I can prevent Spinner's going through the trauma of a leg break, I have to. The vet says from the amount of bone loss--She described the bone as looking "moth eaten"-- it could break at any time. Visible tumor is walnut-sized. Hoping it doesn't happen before the vet comes. I love how our vet does euthanasia, gently, with love, and in our home, and I want that for my boy now that his time is ending. I'd want it for myself. Thank you for all your help, GT Friends!

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:grouphug x a boatload

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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