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Ernie has osteo


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I have a lot of questions and I need help. Ernie had xrays and it was determined he has osteo in his left wrist area. He turned 10 in June. He's currently being managed on 75 mg x2 a day of rimadyl. No visible pain, very minimal limping. Walks are being capped at 10 minutes and no zoomies in the backyard. 

Background info: Ernie has a slight limp at the beginning of September that I assumed was because he did zoomies too hard (this has happened a few times before) as I went back to work Sept 2/3. He spent the weekend of Sept 11 with a friend who pointed out his lumpy wrist, and we couldn't get in to see the vet for x rays until 9/20. Vet and radiologist confirmed its osteo. 
 

My questions have no order:

  • If you had your hound amputated, how did that work post op? 
    • Who stayed home with your hound, for how long? 
    • Did you use sick time? personal time? 
    • has anyone who teaches done this before? 
  • If you didn't amputate, what did you do?
  • How do I figure out how much time I have? 
  • How do I know when its time for him to go? 

I know a few things very clearly: I don't want him to be in pain or as minimally as possible. I want his death and passing to be peaceful and calm (if possible at home where he is most comfortable). 

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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I'm so sorry to hear about Ernie.  No experience with this, but there is a long-running Osteo thread in the Health and Medical section here. Hopefully those posts will give you some answers until someone else responds.  Sending good vibes to you and Ernie! 

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and Gracie Kiowa Safe Joan.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia, Diva Astar Dashindiva, and LaVida I've Got Life

 

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:bighug

It is such a personal decision and really comes down to how well you think your dog can manage as a tripod. 

As Don has mentioned, there is so much excellent info on the Osteo thread here on GT.

Nixon was 12.5 when he was diagnosed in his upper left humerus.  We did not amputate, mostly due to his age.

He did very well on Medicam and Gabapentin for several weeks.  I can't remember the dosages.

It was winter here in Ontario and every time he went outside in the snow and ice we worried that he would slip and fracture his leg so we made the decision to euthanize 2 months after the diagnosis.

 

We just adopted a SalukiX tripod from Qatar at the end of June. 

He had spindle cell sarcoma in his left front and the vets in Qatar wisely made the decision to amputate the leg before it advanced to the bone.  He came to Canada and us 6 weeks after the amp.  He is an amazing little fellow and gets along just fine on 3 legs.  

I think that front leg tripods have bit more difficult time, as they have to hop. All their weight is put onto the remaining leg. There is a great FB page called   'Hounds That Hop' .

 

 

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

 

 

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Here is a link to the most recent Osteo Thread.  Just be aware that this was started in 2016, and some of the medical information and links to other pages and forums may be out of date or non functional.  It should still give you some guidance in the questions you asked above.

Osteo Thread #9

Someone will need to be home with the dog for at least two weeks post amp, if you go that route, or until his stitches are taken out.  Those first two weeks are the hardest and you will second guess yourself constantly.   After they start to heal up and learn how to get around and manage on their own they would probably be ok to be left (though I would be absolutely freaking out!).  Each dog is different, and you'd have to evaluate your own dogs recovery and ability to be by themself.

Both of us were retired when our dog had his surgery, so there wasn't any question for us about him being home without people.

There is literally no way of knowing how long your dog will have, whether you amputate or not.  In general, amputation followed by chemo gives the longest survival time and palliative care only the shortest, but that's certainly not a given and there's no way to judge how his quality of life will unfold either way.  The one thing - the only thing - that's certain, is that the end is coming.

If you choose palliative care the biggest thing to remember is that you don't have to worry about long term side effects, or being conservative with dosing, because your one and only goal is for him to be as pain free as possible for as long as possible.  Osteo is hideously painful, and Greyhounds are very stoic, so if your dog is limping, whining, restless, panting or exhibiting other signs of pain, it's probably pretty bad.

When deciding about surgery it's important to understand how your dog reacts in a clinical setting.  He will spend A LOT of time in a clinic or hospital, and a dog who freaks out at the vet may not be a good candidate.  Front leg amps do seem to have a bit of a harder time learning how to get around post surgery.  Greyhounds carry most of their weight in their front half, so they need to learn how to navigate completely differently.  Many helper harnesses also don't work as well on front leg amps as most of them use the front legs to anchor to the body.

Choosing a time to end the pain and send him on his journey across the Bridge is a personal and individual decision only you can make.  You know him best, and will most likely know when he's telling you he's had enough.  Better a day too early than a day too late.

I'm so sorry you're joining this club with so many of us.  {{{hugs}}}

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

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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I'm so sorry for Ernie's diagnosis. I have been though this *very* recently (we are one month post-amp). Sweep's situation is a bit odd because she broke her leg (back right) in March, but it took a few months for the cancer to show up on x-rays. Her fracture wasn't healing properly and that's how we found out. We didn't know what kind of cancer we were dealing with, but we started chemo in late June. When she rebroke the leg last month, we had no choice but to amp or euthanize, and we firmly believed she was not ready to go. A biopsy on her amputated leg confirmed osteo. Speaking of stoic, she yelped once for the first break, and she made no sound at all the second break. Unbelievable. Panting and trembling were the only signs she gave. She has not whined or yelped once post-amp.

Sweep will be 12 in 3 weeks but is a relatively young 12. She gets quite nervous at the vet, but she has a strong will and is hopping around like a kangaroo these days. I think the toughest thing is that as seniors they need time to build up stamina, so that is something to keep in mind. She can't do more than a 5-minute walk yet before her remaining back leg starts buckling. My husband and I both work from home and frankly I am not sure how we would have managed that first 7-10 days otherwise. We didn't take time off, but let's just say my head was not in the work game a few of those days. Week one was terrible; the drugs made her loopy and she needed help doing everything. She also did not want to eat. Week two was better. Once the stitches came out and she was off the opioids, it was pretty smooth sailing. We also are able to keep her confined to one level, which is another consideration. We bought yoga mats and made her a path to the back door so she doesn't have to do stairs or slippery floors.

She is only on Previcox now (we've weaned her from gabapentin and tramadol) and seems comfortable. Amputation gets rid of the pain, and chemo adds time to the prognosis. You know Ernie best and there are no right answers, but I can honestly say that I have no regrets about amputation. Even if we only get another month or two, she's not in pain and her quality of life is good. She is so happy it's fall.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions since this is all very fresh for us. The osteo thread and the tripawds site (https://tripawds.com) are both great resources.

Sending hugs and best wishes to you and Ernie.

Edited by ramonaghan

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Rachel with littermates Doolin and Willa, boss cat Tootie, and feline squatters Crumpet and Fezziwig.
Missing gentlemen kitties MudHenry, and Richard and our beautiful, feisty, silly
 Sweep:heart

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11 hours ago, greysmom said:

Here is a link to the most recent Osteo Thread.  

thank you. i've been trying to read it but it is beyond overwhelming. i'm overwhelmed. i'm a teacher, we're back in school 5 days a week and i dont know how i would amp his leg and take two weeks off, or more if he needs it. i don't have vacation time and i can't work from home. 

 

10 hours ago, ramonaghan said:

I'm so sorry for Ernie's diagnosis. I have been though this *very* recently (we are one month post-amp).

i was reading through Sweep's journey, she's a love. i'm glad she's doing okay. thank you for sharing your WFH situation, that's been my main question about amp. it feels like a door is shutting on him and that feels so sad. 

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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I just noticed Ernie is a Kiowa Sweet Trey kiddo just like Sweep. :heart 

Do you have a Fall Break coming up? Perhaps you could schedule the surgery around the school calendar and/or pay to have him stay extra days in the hospital if he's okay in that environment. Then the hospital is dealing with those really challenging early days, not you. Any friends or neighbors who could watch him for a couple of days after that? They sleep a lot, even by greyhound standards, as they're recovering, but he'll need help getting out to potty. You might be able to start chemo right away (you can drop him off before school and pick him up after); that's usually every 3 weeks for 5 treatments total. 

None of this is easy or cheap. My heart goes out to you facing these terrible decisions. :grouphug 

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Rachel with littermates Doolin and Willa, boss cat Tootie, and feline squatters Crumpet and Fezziwig.
Missing gentlemen kitties MudHenry, and Richard and our beautiful, feisty, silly
 Sweep:heart

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I had a dog who limped for several months with increasing pain medication because of a misdiagnosis.  When osteo was finally confirmed, I had him put down immediately because of the pain and because as a single person with a modest job, I did not feel I had the resources of time, money, or strength to help hm through it.  He was 11, and had other orthopedic problems.  

I still wake up in a sweat some nights with overwhelming guilt.  Not so much for the euthanasia, but because I was not a good enough advocate for him in dealing with the original missed diagnosis. 

Hugs to you and Ernie.  

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Just wanted to add there's no shame in choosing any of the options open to you.  It's a highly personal and individual decision that has to be right for your dog and situation. 

Also, I wanted to say that the amp/chemo route is not cheap, even if you have insurance.   Ten years ago we looked at nearly $20 thousand for Dude's hospitalization, amp surgery, follow up care (including two further surgeries), drugs, chemo.  He broke his leg the last week of January and we lost him to metastitization in his spine at the end of October.  Just to give you an idea - vet costs do vary a lot with your geographic area.  So, unfortunately, cost does have to factor in your decision.

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

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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I can't really give advice. When my Tigger had osteo just below his knee, we euthanized him as soon as the diagnosis was clear. He already was unsteady on his feet--that's why we went to the ER on a Friday night after he fell in the living room and couldn't get back up without help. I had a therapy dog visit with my other dog scheduled for Saturday, and I had a horror of Tigger hurting himself while he was home alone. (I had to drive my first greyhound to the ER when she broke her leg, and she screamed in the car all the way. I intend to avoid ever doing that again.)

But I saw a suggestion on Facebook: A vet said no dog should have to leave without ever having tasted chocolate. (Their vet's office has a jar of Hershey's kisses labeled "Goodbye kisses.") Ernie will let you know when it's time. Give him a yummy Reese's peanut butter cup and a kiss before you say goodbye.

I wish I'd done that for Tigger. I did feed Sam (sausage-egg biscuits from McDonald's) and Silver (cheese burgers; she spat out the pickles). Oreo died in surgery (embolism) and Jacey was enormously sick at the end.

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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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I'm so sorry.

I've lost several to OS. I have never chosen amputation, primarily because I lean against it, but also because all were older or had other health concerns that made it an unappealing choice.

The time we had after diagnosis varied tremendously. The longest was about 3 months. I made the decision based on the hound's apparent level of pain--serious limping, yelping, flatness... I think I've said goodbye a little earlier each time because I know how much worse it can get. 

Standard Poodle Daisy (12/13), Grey Toodles (BL Toodles 7/09)
Missing Cora (RL Nevada 5/99-10/09), Piper (Cee Bar Easy 2/99-1/10), Tally (Thunder La La 9/99-3/10), Edie (Daring Reva 9/99-10/12), Dixie (Kiowa Secret Sue 11/01-1/13), Jessie (P's Real Time 11/98-3/13), token boy Graham (Zydeco Dancer 9/00-5/13), Cal (Back Already 12/99-11/13), Betsy (Back Kick Beth 11/98-12/13), Standard Poodles Minnie (1/99-1/14) + Perry (9/98-2/14), Annie (Do Marcia 9/03-10/14), Pink (Miss Pinky Baker 1/02-6/15), Poppy (Cmon Err Not 8/05-1/16), Kat (Jax Candy 5/05-5/17), Ivy (Jax Isis 10/07-7/21), Hildy (Braska Hildy 7/10-12/22), Opal (Jax Opal 7/08-4/23)

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That's very sad. :( 

Standard Poodle Daisy (12/13), Grey Toodles (BL Toodles 7/09)
Missing Cora (RL Nevada 5/99-10/09), Piper (Cee Bar Easy 2/99-1/10), Tally (Thunder La La 9/99-3/10), Edie (Daring Reva 9/99-10/12), Dixie (Kiowa Secret Sue 11/01-1/13), Jessie (P's Real Time 11/98-3/13), token boy Graham (Zydeco Dancer 9/00-5/13), Cal (Back Already 12/99-11/13), Betsy (Back Kick Beth 11/98-12/13), Standard Poodles Minnie (1/99-1/14) + Perry (9/98-2/14), Annie (Do Marcia 9/03-10/14), Pink (Miss Pinky Baker 1/02-6/15), Poppy (Cmon Err Not 8/05-1/16), Kat (Jax Candy 5/05-5/17), Ivy (Jax Isis 10/07-7/21), Hildy (Braska Hildy 7/10-12/22), Opal (Jax Opal 7/08-4/23)

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we were trying to make it to an oct 11th CT scan to make a more informed decision. Sunday Oct 3rd, we were all doing our normal stuff, and my husband and I had just come home from food shopping. Ernie greeted me at the door like he always does (he gives you his nose to kiss and then runs away) he ran back to his slumberball to get mr giraffe when he broke his leg. he screamed, it was **ing terrible. he was in so much pain and that has really bothered me so i'm trying not to focus on it. 

 

we lost Walter Sept 2020 and now Ernie a year later. The house is way too quiet. mornings and evenings are the hardest because no one is  poking me to go out or eat dinner or cough up something. last night (friday) i took my husband to a knit night so that neither of us would have to be home alone 

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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