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Bone tumour - horrid decisions

(20 Posts)
mistlethrush Tue 25-Sep-12 20:35:29

Our lovely dog started limping on Friday - so we took her to the vet on Saturday and got some pain killers and told to come back for an xray on Monday.

Monday we got the call that there was some fuzzyness and shadow - clearly shows up on the xray. We've got stronger painkillers for her now.

We could have a biopsy done next week.

But she's nearly 12 and is suffering a bit from arthritis - and muscle problems in her back end a bit.

I don't know whether we should put her through the biopsy which will hurt her - because we're not going to be able to cope with any major surgery for her, she's too old and arthritic. But if we could have her on some chemo or something (which would clearly require the biopsy to tell whether it would work or not) to keep her quality of life up for a bit longer, or simply go for palliative care.

Its such a hard decision to make for our wonderful dog - she should have had another couple of years of pootling about and occasionally woofing at cats...

beancurd Tue 25-Sep-12 21:02:17

Sorry to hear thissad

Google torteval wolfhounds and there is a detailed account of brannigan's experience with osteo sarcoma, he couldn't have an amputation due to lameness so might be comparable.

everybodywalkthedinosaur Tue 25-Sep-12 21:08:16

My basset has Panosteitis, his x-rays always show up shadows which are the lesions. Thankfully he seems to be growing out of it, and the lesions go. Could it simply be lesions on her bones? What painkillers is she on? If she can manage with pain relief do you think that's better than the risk of anesthetic? So sorry to hear about it.

mistlethrush Tue 25-Sep-12 21:16:50

beancurd, thanks for the link. If it was definitely that, I would certainly opt for something like that without the biopsy.

Scuttlebutter Tue 25-Sep-12 22:35:04

Firstly, I'm so sorry. sad

If it is bone cancer, this is one of the very few illnesses that greyhounds and other long legged breeds can be prone to, so sadly I know a few people who have had to face it, and we ourselves did earlier this year when our darling old boy showed very similar symptoms to yours. We never got to the X ray stage which would have confirmed the diagnosis since he was in so much pain, and at his age we would never have put him through an amputation.

Please be aware that if it is bone cancer the pain is extreme and very sudden, and there is a risk of the tumour leading to sudden bone breakages. I would discuss this with your vet asap and ensure you have access at all times to heavy duty painkillers for him.

I can't comment on the pros and cons of the biopsy, but it is worth asking yourself what you will do if it comes back positive, and also what are the options if it isn't bone cancer? You may very well find that events overtake you with this - things can change very, very rapidly with cancer in dogs.

I've just made the mistake of clicking on the link mentioned above and am now sitting here with tears streaming down my face after reading about Brann's story. sad

I think this is one of those occasions when you have to be in close and regular contact with your vet and have some very honest discussions with them. We've always been lucky in that we've experienced nothing but great professionalism and thoughtful, honest advice from vets when faced with this heartache.

Wishing you all the best at a very difficult time.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 25-Sep-12 23:07:14

My parents adopted retired guidedog (rather laid back female yellow lab) was about 11yo when she started limping, then had to be carried outside to use the garden.
She was sedated for a scan with the understanding that if it was bad news, they wouldn't wake her.

So she went happily to the vet (she didn't mind the vets ,lots of fuss) , then my parents got the phonecall.
My brother drove there to be with her, but she didn't know what was going on.

sad decision to make, but for the dog, it was the only one.

Good Luck, whatever your decision, but go with your head rather than your heart IYSWIM

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 26-Sep-12 11:45:14

As Scuttlebuttle has said bone cancer is a very rapid and aggressive disease in dogs. In most cases the tumour has spread before x-rays signs are visible in the bones. The vast majority of veterinary Oncologists say that chemotherapy is ineffective I know there are a few that say different I have yet to find one that can give me a case with a positive outcome beyond 6 months.
As a vet have seen a good number of these over the years if it was my own dog I would not have a biopsy I would use good quality pain meds till there were a good number of bad days and then make the decision.
There are dogs who haven't read the books I had one dog with a haemangiosarcoma (mean survival post surgery 6 weeks) who we adopted this policy with she lived 18 months on the day we euthanased her her own told me it was the best 18 months with any dog as they took everyday as if it was her last.

mistlethrush Wed 26-Sep-12 11:54:58

thanks lonecat

beancurd Wed 26-Sep-12 13:23:29

It is hard. We have had three who have had this. Got around twelve months with two of them after amputation and chemo but we knew there were no promises for the outcome.

One of my current dogs limped the other day... hopefully nothing but for this one I would just choose pain meds and careful judgement as chemo/surgery wouldn't suit his needs.

It's a horrid decision but even having had good outcomes with surgery and chemo I wouldn't choose it everytime. The dogs I picked this for were young, fit, laid back. Palliative care would be increasingly attractive to me for an older dog.

Hope you find your answers.

mistlethrush Wed 03-Oct-12 10:08:02

We were meant to take her for a biopsy today - but she's gone downhill so much in the last week we cancelled it on Monday. DH is ringing the vet - we either need more pain killers for her or have to say that her current quality of life is not good enough to continue.

We're all heartbroken.

beancurd Wed 03-Oct-12 16:03:50

Poor you all, it is so sudden and horrid. hope your vet is helpful, so hard to know...

mistlethrush Wed 03-Oct-12 17:54:54

DH has gone to get some alternative pain killers - if those don't improve things she'll be coming to the house so that we don't have take her into the vets and make things worse...

beancurd Wed 03-Oct-12 18:48:09


Well I hope the painkillers work. Sorry it is so miserable.

mistlethrush Wed 03-Oct-12 19:31:35

She's had a bit of a better day today - and is fast asleep on her memory foam mattress (moved into the sitting room) having a wonderful dream. Have some stronger painkillers to try for her.

Principality Thu 04-Oct-12 11:48:49

Glad to hear pain meds are helping.

<non mumsnet-y hug>

mistlethrush Fri 12-Oct-12 05:27:07

Vet will be calling later today. I can't believe how quick this has been from having a slight limp to this sad

Oh I am sorry Mistlethrush. Our older dog is 11 and I dread her getting poorly.
Thinking of you.

LtEveDallas Fri 12-Oct-12 06:08:47

Oh mistle, I am sorry. We are going through the same thing, same timeframe. It's so quick isn't it. Bad day yesterday, so I think this is the last weekend. Going to take her swimming today - one last good day - and see what tomorrow brings sad

Thinking of you.

mistlethrush Fri 12-Oct-12 08:09:09

LteEve we've had some syringes of stuff to stick in her mouth which have helped a lot - zonked her out, but at least not so painful (or keeping her awake). But yesterday she didn't enjoy her little trip out and she's finding it increasingly difficult to get down the garden - and is starting to slip on the kitchen floor. She's not eating normally - still interested if its treats but not otherwise. DS (7.5) doesn't want it to happen - but at the same time he understands why its got to be now.

DesperatelySeekingPerfection Fri 12-Oct-12 08:35:58

I am very sorry to hear this sad. I had my 13 yr old JRT put to sleep in January after discovering she had a brain tumour. After finding out I took her home and couldn't stop thinking about how her behaviour had changed in such a shirt period - she was confused, got lost on walks therefore only lead walking, not enjoying walks.

There was a moment that we looked at me and it was like we had come to an understanding. Sorry if that sounds silly. I took her back to the vets that afternoon where she lay in the waiting room and for the first time ever didn't try and escape the vets, or shake with fear.

I stayed with her and knew it was the right decision. She was no longer enjoying life and this was the one thing I could do for her. I cried, the nurse cried and even the vet cried!

Not much help I know, but I guess what I am trying to say is do you think she wants to carry on like this? If her enjoyment in life is gone? (I also had a 7 year old who was very upset but understood Lucy was no longer enjoying her life)

Love to you. X

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