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Greyhound X Diagnosed With Bone Cancer, What To Do?

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Guest harleyandme

Hello,

 

I've been a lurker for awhile and a lover of greyhounds for years now.

 

Today I unfortunately found out my dog, Harley (10 y/o Greyhound x Lab mix) has bone cancer. In the summer she injured her right shoulder running off of our deck, it healed (so we thought), about a month ago she had a limp but the vet thought it had to due with arthritis. A couple of weeks ago she re injured the shoulder going off the deck again (those pesky squirrels). Since then she hasn't been using her right leg.

 

I live in Canada, and 1 of the 3 oncology specialists in BC has told me her cancer is quite severe (whole humerous looks moth eaten) and has most likely gone into her lungs (small mass detected).

 

She's quite happy, will even play occasionally still eating and drinking, so it makes it tough to decide, I wouldn't say she looks like shes ready to go...

 

Unfortunately she also has severe hip displysia, previous cruciate surgery on her right hind leg and overall arthritis.

 

The vet has warned me she is at risk of breaking her leg unless we amputate, but I can't decide if that would be too much for a 83lb dog with already has mobility issues to remove a front leg. And if we do amputate I'm not sure how much time we'd truly have. I've been quoted $4,500CDN for amputation and $800 x 4 for Chemo.

 

As of right now she is on metacam and tramadol, the vet has prescribed another pain killer.

 

I've only had her for about 4 years so it makes it a bit bittersweet.

 

Any suggestions or opinions?

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She's quite happy, will even play occasionally still eating and drinking, so it makes it tough to decide, I wouldn't say she looks like shes ready to go...

 

 

 

My Jet was 14 when she jumped off the couch and broke her leg. Xray wasn't super clear that it was osteo. Did a quick lung xray which confirmed it had moved.

Short of the screaming when she broke her leg, she was never ready to go. The girl was tearing around the garden chasing our great dane earlier that day.

 

Personally, I'm glad she broke it inside while we were with her. I can't imagine what it would have been like had she been out in our yard while we were out and she broke it then.

 

If that bone is already moth eaten, she will break the bone given the time. The question is if you want to amputate, wait until she breaks it or take a few days and then let her go. That's entirely a personal decision.

 

If you decide to wait or amp, you will want more pain meds. Osteo is painful. And if you aren't going to amp, you don't have to worry about the long term side effects.

 

 

good luck making your decision

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We let our other dogs go too long and regretted it after the fact. When our grey Joe was diagnosed with bone cancer we swore we wouldn't let him suffer and we didn't. When the pain medications didn't keep him comfortable and able to enjoy life, we let him go. It was terribly hard but no regrets.

 

It's a very personal decision and you will know in your heart when the time is right. Just listen to it and ask yourself what you would want if you were Harley.

 

Not really an answer but just do what you think is best.

 

Anne

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I went the amp route on a 12 yr old. She had a great 6 mos before OS was discovered in another leg.

 

However she didn't have the back leg issues yours does, nor did she have spots on her lungs.

If you fear a break that much make sure she goes thru a rigorous exam by doctors to make sure she can handle being a tripod. My Diamond spent a whole day at OSU being examined to make sure a 12 yr old could handle the stress at her age.

 

The decision is very difficult. But please remember whatever decision you make it is because you love her.

 

I want to wish you the very best, whatever happens.

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Only you can decide what's best for your situation.

 

Though, given what you have described, you won't gain much time from an amp. If the cancer has already spread to her lungs (and other organs) it's quite progressed. Her leg is in serious danger of breaking, even with a minor incidents such as jumping off a couch. And given her other mobility issues, it's going to be extra hard for her to get around with three legs.

 

If you need to take a few days to decide, or spoil her and say goodbye, get the maximum pain meds you can from your vet. As stated above, do NOT be conservative with them. There's no need to be worried about long term effects. The most effective combination we've found is an nsaid (like rimadyl, or whatever is tolerated), an opiate pain med like Tramadol, and a drug for nerve pain called Gabapentin. This is a human drug used for seizures mostly, and many vets aren't familiar with it, though an oncologist should be.

 

I've bumped up the current Osteo Thread for you. There is a lot of info, and links to more info in the first post of that thread.

 

Good luck.


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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All three of my greyhounds had bone cancer. My vet stressed that it is an extremely painful disease, and that our dogs are very stoic. She said that if they are limping, they are most likely in severe pain. It's been my experience that once it gets to the point that the cancer is observable on an X-ray, it's pretty far advanced.

 

You'll find many opinions about what to do next. Some hounds, like Charlie and Twiggy, have done really well with amp and chemo. I sent all three of mine to the bridge without amp or chemo. Sometimes I wonder if I waited too long with all of them.

 

Here's the link for the osteo thread that greysmom mentioned.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/305786-osteo-thread-part-8/

 

Im sorry for your news. Do what is best for your dog.

Edited by robinw

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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I'm very sad to read about your grey cross. There are good suggestions above, and I tend to side with greysmom, but only you can make that decision for yourself. Love her up as much as you can and make her very comfortable. And of course it is always easier on the outside looking in. It just sounds like there are several issues, some of them severe, that are not in your favour.

 

My Kasey had a cancerous tumour very high up on his hind leg and there was a suggestion of amputation, and I immediately knew that was just not something I want to put my 12 year old through that was also battling LS (essentially a pinched nerve in his back that prevented signal being sent to his legs to give the order to stand up). Given he was already shakey on his back end, it would not have been fair to take one bad leg away and him having to learn how to operate an already weakening and compromised body that was also going through chemo. He also was extremely happy and incredibly stoic right until the very very end, and had a very high tolerance for pain. The fact that the front part wasn't ready to go, but that the back end was already gone, that's what was the worst and hardest for me. That's the best example I can explain to try to offer a suggestion knowing that she is just as compromised as he, or perhaps even more so.

 

Thinking of you during this very difficult time.


Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Guest harleyandme

Thank you for all the replies so far.

 

I've been reading the Osteo thread, I'm just trying to decide if I'll regret giving up and not trying more.

 

The ortho specialist and vet tech both commented today on her 'crunchy' hips.

 

I do have a prescription for Gabapentin, just about to go pick it up!

 

She's not very comfortable right now (lack of pain meds from fasting and manipulation today) but still sparky enough to bark at the door bell.

 

But she's doing better than me! I've lost one dog before but this time it's very different.

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Remember that they live in the moment. They know how they feel right now. They don't anticipate for the future. It's up to us to decide what's best.


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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It's not giving up, it's doing what's kind for your dog. She's not going to get better from this and it's a painful disease. If she breaks her leg she will spend her last moments in terrible pain, and it doesn't sound like she's a good candidate for amputation. I can't tell you what to do and I certainly understand needing to take time to process and think through a decision, but if I were in your shoes, I would feel the kindest thing to do is let her go sooner than later. Until you reach a decision, get her on a good dose of pain meds and have a plan in place (and stronger pain meds than the ones you've mentioned) in case she does break her leg. In terms of what a good dose of pain meds is, max dosage of anti-inflammatory plus Tramadol and Gabapentin 3x/day (and don't be stingy with dosing if she is favoring the leg at all or struggling to get up or down).

 

I'm very sorry you're facing this. Osteo is a horrible disease and honestly I don't know if there's anyone on here who hasn't been touched by it in some way. I said goodbye to my heart dog - it will be 5 years on the day before Christmas Eve - because of it. So I have some idea of what you're facing.


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 just had to put down my nine year old earlier this week. the osteo was in her shoulder. Her X-ray didn't look too bad yet, so I brought her home with serious drugs. She was in so much pain this weekend, even all drugged up, that I had to let her go. I thought my main worry would be the chance of a break, was not expecting the quick increase in pain. I had another dog that I put down at diagnosis. He had been limping off and on for months, but there was an initial injury from chasing a bird. We kept treating him for a sprain. His shoulder looked like Swiss cheese, and my vet was amazed that he hadn't suffered a break. I had four other active dogs, a doggie door, and a small house. I didn't want to come home from work to a dog in more pain from a broken leg.

Looks like amputation is not a good option for you. Please start the Gabapentin soon. Love your baby, but be ready for a break or a spike in pain. It is hard to walk on three legs with shoulder pain. They need the shoulder to move. Most dogs limp, then hold the paw up, and later just let it hang down due to the pain of holding it up. Then the paw drags on the ground, causing even more pain.

Whatever you decide is the right decision. Decide, do it, and don't look back. There should be no regrets. You are doing what you need to do to prevent your dog from living with serious pain. Your dog doesn't know that there could have been a few more good days. That is the agony we put ourselves through. Hug your dog and hug yourself! It's never easy. It hurts Sooo much to do the right thing!

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I am so sorry to hear this. I let my greyhound Peace go 4 days after her cancer was confirmed. bone cancer pain is the worst and the drugs can only take the edge off.

Spoil her, make a bucket list, let her eat anything she wants. My greatest fear was of her breaking her wrist so I could not ask her to stay any longer.

 

I talked to Peace thru an animal communicator- Latifa at Animals Can Talk. Gave me great comfort and I was able to send her off as she wished, with the vet tech of her choice in the room.

You know you hound and you know your heart. Whatever you do will be in her best interest.

Sending gentle hugs,

Jan, Luka and Carter

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It's not giving up, it's doing what's kind for your dog. She's not going to get better from this and it's a painful disease. If she breaks her leg she will spend her last moments in terrible pain, and it doesn't sound like she's a good candidate for amputation. I can't tell you what to do and I certainly understand needing to take time to process and think through a decision, but if I were in your shoes, I would feel the kindest thing to do is let her go sooner than later. Until you reach a decision, get her on a good dose of pain meds and have a plan in place (and stronger pain meds than the ones you've mentioned) in case she does break her leg. In terms of what a good dose of pain meds is, max dosage of anti-inflammatory plus Tramadol and Gabapentin 3x/day (and don't be stingy with dosing if she is favoring the leg at all or struggling to get up or down).

 

I'm very sorry you're facing this. Osteo is a horrible disease and honestly I don't know if there's anyone on here who hasn't been touched by it in some way. I said goodbye to my heart dog - it will be 5 years on the day before Christmas Eve - because of it. So I have some idea of what you're facing.

This. She is not going to get better. Almost every one of us on here has faced this decision. It stinks beyond all possible measure and comprehension but you are her advocate. Big hugs to you both. Make lots of fabulous and silly memories with her. She is living in the moment so some steak, or chicken nuggets, or ice cream, anything out of the ordinary will make her giddy.

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Guest harleyandme

I barely slept last night, I could tell Harley wasn't comfortable as she was whining laying down. This morning she was great though, zooming around on 3 legs, vibrating with excitement for her food.

As the day went on she got more listless. We decided to take her for McDonald's ice cream and chicken nuggets (she loved them!) and down to her favorite park.

 

Getting her up the ramp into the car was a disaster, she fell off half way up and squealed in pain. My boyfriend had to lift her up (picking her up has always been painful for her, when they sedate her for xrays and picked her up she yelped at both ends...poor girl) and she stumbled into the car. Walking in the park was a chore, we could tell it was exhausting.

 

On the way home we drove around our neighborhood with the windows open letting her sniff the air. I sat with her to stabilize her and there even a couple missteps where she tripped on her good front leg. She was panting and drooling from the effort.

 

We got her home and she layed down. A couple hours later I did a toy test with a new squeakie, at first she was very interested and grabbed it once...until I realized her interest was mainly because it had been in a bag with a bully stick. Then she layed on her side with her head far away from the toy.

 

The oncologist called back and said her prognosis wasn't good, as it had definitely spread and it was visible in a large clump in her lungs. The ortho specialist didn't think Harley would manage well with an amputation. The vet told me 'some people are willing to do anything' which made me feel pretty bad, like I was giving up, but she did agree to the decision to put Harley to sleep was the best I could make for her.

 

She is on the max pain medications we can give her and still seems to be experiencing pain.

 

Lots of tears and being put to voicemail for my regular vet made me think, 'Is this a sign? Do I not do it...?' But no, Harley is in too much pain. I scheduled an in-home euthanasia for tomorrow @11:30am...just enough time to give her an awesome dinner, cuddly sleepy times and a great breakfast.

 

I feel horrible but my Harley has had a great life...how many dogs get collars from etsy, custom portraits, a full wardrobe of coats, a dog tent(!). I always said it wouldn't matter how long I had her for, it was the fact I got to have her for 4 wonderful years. And I'd do it all again knowing the outcome.

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It's so difficult, I can hear it in the words you type. I too had it done in home. Spoil her rotten tonight. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Thank you for the update. She is so lucky to have you!

Edited by XTRAWLD

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Guest harleyandme

To those who'd like to see a photo album and captians of Harley....http://imgur.com/a/z40IP

 

xPOZ5Hc.jpg

 

She doesn't look much like a greyhound here, but I guarantee you she was always getting compliments on how beautiful she was. This picture was taken a year ago when we moved back to Victoria, BC. One of her favorite parks.

 

I feel a bit bad, I haven't been sitting with Harley, but we are in the same room and she is peacefully resting on her bed wondering whats cooking upstairs.

Edited by harleyandme

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I'm so very sorry. I've been there three times and I know how much it hurts. She is a beautiful girl and it seems like she's lead a fantastic life with you.


siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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She is stunning.

 

I'm so very sorry, my heart breaks for you reching that decision, but you are doing the kind thing. Please take some comfort from that. It is so so painful for us, but not keeping them with us when they are in pain is the best gift we can give them for all of the unconditional love they've given us. I'm so sorry you are having to say goodbye so soon. Good thoughts for a peaceful day for both you and your girl tomorrow.


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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Hugs.


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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Sending hugs across the miles to you and Harley. :grouphug


gus-rainy-1.jpg?1449508527184&1449508632
CORY and CRICKET - Solitary Tremble & CASPER - Pj's Mia Farrow
* With CAPT. GUS - Solitary Trigger, RAINY - Peach Rain, PUP - Red Zepher, DOC - CTW Fort Sumpter
and MAX - Shiowa's Silver Maxamillion / Afghan .... all waiting at the bridge

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I see you've made a decision--thank you for doing the kind thing.

 

 

I hope her journey is swift and peaceful, and that you know you did everything you could.



Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Remember that they live in the moment. They know how they feel right now. They don't anticipate for the future. It's up to us to decide what's best.

 

:nod

 

'Better a minute too early, than a day too late' has always been my motto.

 

:bighug


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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Peace & love to you & Harley this morning. We're thinking of you.


Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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