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Osteo--When To Let Go


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My 8 year old girl has been diagnosed with osteo, front leg, top of the humerus. Began limping beginning of May. Since then 3 sets of rads, a second opinion, an outside radiologist reading to confirm. She is now on gabapentin, metacam, and Tylenol with codeine. It is still a bad limp and she stands as little as possible. Still eating and now with meds sleeping through the night. She gets excited when it is the usual walk time but those walks are now twice a day for a block. She can't do the things she has always loved , running in the yard, chasing squirrels, and long walks. My question to those of you who have gone down this awful road--what, or when, did you decide to let them go? What was the biggest factor in your decision? I'm just trying to gather as much input as I can to help make the best decision for her. Thanks for your thoughts.

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your up early writing, it looks like your at the point where you want to make a decision. it's always a difficult one.

 

it's a personal choice, most people wait until the meds are no longer working. out of 3 gh i have lost 2 to osteo. the first dog was let go when meds no longer worked. i wanted to euthanize her when the diagnosis was first made and not bring her out of anesthesia. the vet refused to. to this day i'm still angry that i didn't go ahead with finding another vet but after plunking down $600 for diagnosis, x-rays, meds i just went home and cried. the second dog had a horrific break to her rear leg jumping off the bed. no limp, no signs of osteo what so ever. she was euthanized at the e-vet as soon as the diagnosis came in. they had to send the x-rays out since the vets couldn't confirm the diagnosis. extra $$ and extra time for poor annie. personally, i feel any less time suffering is a gift to your beloved animal. are they going to recover, will it go into remission? no, my dogs all ate until the very end. it's kidney and other diseases that affect their appetite.

 

your decision will be the right one since you are making it. :grouphug:grouphug

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I went the amp route for both my girls. Age 9 and 12. At that point it wasn't hard because both had it return to another bone. Three legged dogs can't live long at all when that happens.

I lost them both within a week of knowing OS came back.

 

But those were the best 14 and 6 months respectively that I had with them.

Amputation removes the pain.

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I lost all three of my greyhounds to osteo. I let the last one go as soon as she was diagnosed as it had already spread to her lungs. In my opinion, and I know many will disagree with me, I wouldn't wait for the meds to stop working nor would I wait for the quality of life to go down. It's a very painful disease and why put them through that at all? Our job is to keep them happy and pain free.

Edited by robinw

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Xavi the galgo and Peter 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, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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This probably oversimplifies what were arduous, thoroughly thought out decisions, but for both of mine it was basically when I could no longer easily control the pain with Gabapentin, Tramadol, and an NSAID. With Neyla, my first, the tumor was also clearly progressing on her x-ray after being stable for 5 months and I didn't want to risk a fracture. With Zuri we were using Pamidronate, which helped, but when he was due for another treatment we couldn't do it because his kidney values were starting to creep up, at which point I knew it wouldn't be long.

 

I don't know what doses you have your girl on, but I would say that's a pretty hefty cocktail of meds and her pain is definitely not controlled from your description. Unless you can get her comfortable (no limp, can get up and down without issue, sleeps comfortably) then I would really consider her quality of life. Unfortunately this is a painful, terminal disease that often progresses quickly once diagnosed.

 

Very sorry you're going through this. Its so hard. There is an osteo thread in this forum. It may help you to read through it or any of the one olds.

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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'm so sorry you and your girl are facing this.

 

My girl, MoMo, was diagnosed in early May of 2017 and was put to sleep on 11/11/17. Her tumor was in the left rear foot and, while there were no clear mets, there were cancer cells in her lymphatic system so spread was just a matter of time. Knowing when to let go is such a hard decision. Mo's pain was pretty well managed with Tramadol & Gabepentin for most of that time. She took monthly cemo to strengthen her bones and managed to walk without breaking bones even as that ghastly tumor on her foot grew. She'd never liked being helped or "fussed over". I still remember the stinkeye she gave me when I tried to loop a towel under her tummy to help her down the deck stairs. She glared at me, turned around and went straight back in the house. :lol The tipping point for me came when the light just seemed to go out of her. She began to skip meals and not to get up much. She'd always been full of life and joy but the light was dimming. Mo had always gotten very stressed at the vet's office so my wonderful vet came out to the house to put Mo to sleep. She got off her bed and wagged herself over to the door to greet the vet and vet tech. I tried to let her go before she was miserable--who wants that for a beloved hound? She'd always loved sunbathing and we had the most blissful final afternoon on a blanket in the back yard, snuggled together in the sunshine. I am so grateful that we had that experience.

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Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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It's a personal choice. We lost two to osteo.

 

Faye Oops was diagnosed in October with osteo at the top of her humerus. We let her go about six weeks later. The same for Beatrix. We never got a clear diagnosis for her (she was a galgo and it has her pelvis, not a long bone), but we knew she was hurting. We were scheduled for a CT scan, but made the call the day before that was scheduled. One restless night in which we could no longer control the pain with meds was all it took for both of them.

 

You can never err on the side of a day too early. It's a painful disease for which there is no cure.


I'm very sorry you're going through this.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Tigger had been misdiagnosed with a soft tissue injury. But he fell at home, screaming, and couldn't get back up without help. I took him to the ER, and the x-rays showed osteo just above his knee. We euthanized him that night. The ER vet said, "But we can increase the pain meds." Why? He wouldn't get better. He'd already fallen and hurt himself. What would happen if he fell when I wasn't home? Or, if I crated him when I left the house, what would happen if the leg broke while he was in the crate? He had been a therapy dog, but you don't do therapy with a dog on pain meds, so that was over. And having once driven a broken-legged dog (Oreo) to the ER, with her screaming every time I turned a corner and her weight shifted, I knew that wasn't an experience I wanted to repeat or something I wanted to have happen to my boy. After Oreo, I think the fear of a final crisis at home will always be what pushes my decision.

With Silver, who had hemangiosarcoma, not osteo, we euthanized her the same day we got the diagnosis. The doctor doing the ultrasound said he thought she might have only a day or two left. Should I take her home--uncomfortable as she was--and keep her drugged while we waited for a growth to rupture and hemorrhage? The day we got the diagnosis was the first day Silver was unable to get into the car without my help. Silver and I shared a cheeseburger before the vet put her to sleep.

With Sam, it was just old age and kidneys failing. He had arthritis and was taking gabapentin, methocarbamol, and tramadol. But after a day when we'd been harassed by a neighbor's off-leash dog, Sam spent the whole night stressed and panting and didn't sleep. I sat up with him and told him he wouldn't have to spend another night like that. In the morning, we stopped at McDonald's for sausage-egg biscuits on the way to the vet.

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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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This is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make, but whatever you decide, it will be right, because you are doing what you think is best for your girl. Remember that in the days to come, because, again, whatever you decide, you will probably second guess yourself.

 

I haven't read all the responses, brought back too many memories. My first experience with osteo, my girl broke her leg jumping off the couch. The evet confirmed the diagnosis, he showed me on the x-rays that there was osteo in her back leg and in her hip, I let her go that same day. My second time was a nightmare. Another broken leg, which the vet misdiagnosed, told me there was no osteo. My vet, another radiologist, and Dr Couto all identified osteo in her front leg. I should have let her go then, but didn't (long story) A few weeks later, when we couldn't control the pain, I let her go.

 

The sound of a greyhound screaming in pain from a broken leg is one of the worst sounds I have ever heard, I hope I never hear it again.

 

:bighug whatever you decide

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Neither of my boys lasted a week past diagnosis. Lucius shattered his shoulder the day after diagnosis and had to be put down in the middle of the night. It was the most horrifying thing I have seen as a pet owner. It has been a couple years and I still see it in my mind. The x rays showed that it was the early stages but that didn't matter. My heart dog, Timmy, had a crooked right back leg and permanent limp from a racing injury that never healed right. I got it x-rayed every year and arthritis ate that leg up. His osteo developed in his right front leg. With only one functioning side he couldn't walk, wasn't a candidate for amputation, and he was miserable and in pain. Within the same six month span of losing my boys to Osteo, Lucius' littermate also developed it. She had the amputation and chemo and lived another year. They lost her to heart failure.

 

As a pet owner, we get some of the greatest joys and the most painful decisions. I have never known anyone, including myself, that regretted letting a dog go just a little early while they still had some quality of life. Everyone I know, including myself, that let a dog go too late regretted it.

Edited by GreytHoundPoet
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IMO, when you're wondering if it's time, it's probably time.

 

Is your dog happy?

Is your dog comfortable?

Can your dog do habits of daily life without pain (walk, potty, eat)?

 

A "no" answer to any of these means it's time, for me.

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

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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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My Bruno came to me with a limp and was diagnosed very shortly thereafter. He was just over 10 years old and we were together less than four months when his limp and pain could no longer be managed and I had to let him go. It was one of the worst correct decisions to have to make. With Sorella/TPGIT, while we didn't have a definitive diagnosis for her we knew it was osteo and she was comfortable for just three months before I had to let her go. When it is possible I would rather help them leave a day or week early, on a good day, when the last thing to recall won't be trauma and a crisis situation. I say when it is possible; on more than one occasion I have come home to find one of the seniors in crisis and had to make that awful decision on the spot. Quality of life, pain management, both are significant markers as to when.

 

I am terribly sorry you are faced with a decision. If your girl is already not doing the things she loves to do, you may have answered your question. My heart goes out to you. :bighug

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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:bighug

 

As others have said ... 'better a day too early than a minute too late'.

 

Nixons (12 1/2) osteo was in the same place as your girlies.

We kept him very comfy for 6 weeks but with all the nasty ice we had this winter I could not have lived with myself if he had slipped and broken his leg.

 

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

 

 

SKMwinter.jpg

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The only way I can answer; our vet in New Jersey once told me, better a day too early than a day too late.

 

Joy, managing pain is not a way of life. I am so sorry that this has happened, again, to your family. Bakin is a lovely girl.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul, Fuzzy and Shine
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

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Two of my dogs that had osteo had the leg amputated and had some great months after - the pain was gone with the amp. If you are not considering amputation, then the pain can get very bad very quickly - it seems about 6 weeks (maybe 8) by about when greyhounds seem to max out the pain meds (but that is just my opinion) and they no longer control the pain. The osteo leg is also prone to fracture which adds another concern. There are other options like radiation and infusions to strengthen the bone that may also help with the pain but, you still have the issue of a possible fracture.

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Why risk her suffering any pain + the risk of a major break while you are “considering” the options when you know in your heart what the outcome must be?

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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We let our girl go a day or two after the diagnosis was confirmed. If I had to do it again, I'd let the dog go the same day. We couldn't control her pain.

 

I'm sorry you're facing this.

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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We let our girl go a day or two after the diagnosis was confirmed. If I had to do it again, I'd let the dog go the same day. We couldn't control her pain.I'm sorry you're facing this.

Sooner, rather than later. One, I let go at diagnosis, but we had been dealing with an on/off limp for months. The exray looked bad.

The next one, I took home with strong drugs, but let her go within three days. I tried again with the next one. She did ok on meds for a few days, but I let her go within ten days. Wish I had done it sooner. I kept thinking (just hoping I guess) that I could get the pain under control. As someone else said, if you are thinking and asking about it, it may be time. I’m so sorry that you are facing this. Hugs and peace!

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I am so very sorry. It is so difficult to take their pain away by putting it on yourself. I have lost two to osteo and both were diagnosed by a traumatic break - no signs prior. I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy.

 

I wish you and Bakin peace and comfort as she takes this last turn in her journey. We will look for her star tonight.

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Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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Thank you all for your advice and concern. The greyhound community is like no other and I am thankful for it. Pls have a thought for Bakin at 11 this morning when she runs free.

I'm so sorry

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Peter 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, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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:grouphug x a million

 

Safe and peaceful journey Bakin. You are so loved.

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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