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Osteosarcoma in elderly lab

(21 Posts)
Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sat 30-May-20 17:54:24

My ‘young’ lab (13) was dx on Thursday after a week of limping a bit (assumed arthritis). Previously no sign of age at all and acted like a 6yo. Vet has given him oxycodone and obv suggested due to his age that he wouldn’t recommend amputation/ chemo, so treat palliatively. He also suggested that it was likely it had already spread, as that what they tend to see, but didn’t recommend further investigation. Said statistically 6 weeks untreated, 6 months treated, but treatment not being pursued.
Any experience? His big sis (14) has bloody awful arthritis and we’ve long been expecting her to go first, so it’s a bit of a bugger. Might end up losing two in short order and the kids are in bits.
He’s ok right now - eating, hobbling a bit. Might be useful to know other people’s experiences with timelines. Dd has OCD and anxiety and it’s going to be pretty gruelling.

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villainousbroodmare Sat 30-May-20 18:07:25

So sorry to hear that. I'm a vet. It's not good news at all for your dog.
Osteosarcomas are painful and dramatically weaken the bone so a pathological fracture is a very possible consequence (where the bone breaks with very little stress).
If my own dog had an osteosarc, I would put him to sleep very soon.
I'm always also wary with labradors because they are so stoic and goodhumoured that ime people tend to very much underestimate their discomfort. I would also be looking very hard at the quality of life of the 14 year old with "bloody awful arthritis" - it's not going to kill her in and of itself, so you are likely to have to step in and have her put to sleep sooner rather than later.
In short you are going to lose both of your dogs in the near future, which is so very sad for you and your children, but from the animals' point of view, it's likely that sooner is better. Heartbreaking. flowers

Topseyt Sat 30-May-20 18:21:19

I can't advise, but I just wanted to offer you some support.

A 13 year old labrador is definitely getting elderly. It is about the average age for them to live to. Once my old labrador got to that age I knew that I would not put him through major surgery any more because I couldn't be confident that he would be have enough time left to make it through the recovery period and then still have some good quality life afterwards. It is something you have to weigh up carefully, especially as they age. Sadly, just because something can be done doesn't always mean that it should be.

My labrador didn't have any cancers that I was aware of, but the lower end of his spine did begin deteriorating from about that age onwards and his back legs became more creaky and less stable.

I went for the palliative care route. He took full doses of first of all carprieve and later on gabapentin. We were lucky. They helped him and he was able to go on for another two years fairly comfortably.

We finally had to say goodbye to him last November, having had a good extra couple of years of borrowed time, for which I will always be grateful.

I wish you the very best. It is so hard as they become elderly, and it is very different from caring for an exuberant young labrador with endless energy.

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sat 30-May-20 18:54:32

Thanks both. He is so good natured (has been an absolute pudding his entire life) and I don’t want him to suffer. He’s just very quiet right now but seems... okay. Am hoping I can tell when it’s time.
Point taken about the older one - that said, she’s bizarrely happy and appears not to care one jot that she walks as though she has wooden legs - she still spends most of the day scavenging in case we have dropped a crumb anywhere, wagging her tail. grin She had a vestibular disease episode about six months ago where I thought she was a goner for sure, but she follows us around with a wee head tilt, scavenges constantly and always appears totally amazed and ecstatic that we are here. A bit like a really good tempered and positive dementia patient (which sounds weird - she’s deaf as a post and I’m pretty sure she can’t see very well, so life is pretty much a series of amazing surprises - oh my god! You’re here! I love you! Can I have cheese?’ grin
I don’t want either of them to suffer, but equally don’t want to make decisions too early because they are old/ sick. Dd has cerebral palsy and with all the mental health stuff I don’t want her to connect being old/ frail with being disposable or too much trouble. She’s uber sensitive and has already cried solidly for two days. The other two are fine - upset but will be ok.

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villainousbroodmare Sat 30-May-20 19:03:23

Gosh, that's so hard. How old is your daughter? I mean, obviously a different set of rules apply to frail/ old/ ill animals as opposed to people - does she understand that? If she's already so devastated, could it be better to just bite the bullet v soon and get it over with? I would not normally recommend a "replacement" animal but... maybe something different like a kitten?

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sat 30-May-20 19:19:49

She’s 16, not a tiny - and understands and overthinks everything, hence all the mental health stuff. She can’t remember not having him (well, either of them). We’ve been talking a lot about the girl dog as it’s pretty obvious she’s not going to last forever - and she was doing really well with processing that (had already had a little cry and said she thought last Christmas would be girl dog’s last one) but not making a meal about it. So boy dog has totally thrown us all for a loop as we were more worried how he would cope without her. You wouldn’t have known there was only a year between them - they are like chalk and cheese grin granny with a dodgy hip and a big grin and a sappy teenage boy, so we were lulled into a false sense of security.
We’d mused a bit about getting another dog once girl dog goes so that boy dog had a friend.
Dh is not a cat person lol. grin She’ll be ok. I’m just juggling the timing thing. The longer ddog is okay, the longer dd won’t be. FML. Parenting is the pits confused

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villainousbroodmare Sat 30-May-20 19:27:37

flowers

pumpkinpie01 Sat 30-May-20 19:35:40

I really feel for you , I don't know when you will know she is in pain thou , it's so hard to tell.our lab cross was put to sleep last month she was 12 , she had walked miles the day before. Started breathing funny the next day took her to the vets at 1.30 and she was pts at 4 , turned out she had cancer and her lungs were being completely crushed by all the fluid and we had no idea🙁. We were offered palliative care and we just couldn't put her through it.Big hugs, it's such a tough decision and do crap for you all .

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sat 30-May-20 19:52:46

So sorry for all of you that have had to deal with similar. We’ll get through it. (())

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pumpkinpie01 Sat 30-May-20 20:00:36

You will get through it as you have no choice , enjoy the time you have with her lots of extra cuddles and treats. ( we had 2 hours notice from diagnosis to pts it was horrible , such a shock, no time at all to prepare ourselves ) x

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sat 30-May-20 20:05:41

Losing them is always rough, pumpkin. So sorry. Our last two were very fast (one went in for an exploratory surgery and it was v obvious she wouldn’t make it, so we had to decide whether to wake her up to say goodbye and take her back the next day - we chose not to, as it felt we would be doing it for us, not her) and the other had a sudden bowel contorsion. All too sad, however it goes. Doesn’t seem like 15/ 20 years ago, and I shed a wee tear for them too yesterday. Hugs for you too.

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pumpkinpie01 Sat 30-May-20 20:14:22

It is rough , got me crying again now ! Hope you make the decision that's best for your family especially your daughter

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 31-May-20 08:51:49

Losing a dog is always tough. And so is parenting DC at difficult times.
flowersflowers

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Sun 31-May-20 17:01:00

Thanks grumpy. It’s good we are all at home at the moment.

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Dumpyandabdabs Sun 31-May-20 21:28:17

Ah blackdog, you have all my sympathy, I hope you get as much time with your lovely boy as possible. We lost our doberman in 2018 to osteosarcoma. She was 9 years old and had always been as fit as a fiddle. She had lost a little weight over the summer but was just her normal self. Until one night when she suffered from a life threatening twisted gut. Amazingly she survived this and seemed to be back to her usual self only to start limping about 6 weeks later on her back leg. We thought she had pulled a muscle so sent her to the vets to have a scan. Turned out to be a large tumour in her hip. We took the extremely hard decision not to wake her up from sedation as we just could not put her through anymore. My daughter was 8 at the time and she was devastated for a good few days. It helped her to look at photographs, talk a lot about her and to paint a memorial stone to put on her grave.

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Tue 02-Jun-20 02:11:53

Aww thanks dumpy. Sorry about your girl too. He’s just quiet but I think we’ll have to make plans for the end of the week. I don’t want him to be in unbearable pain. Poor chap.

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Nat6999 Tue 02-Jun-20 02:28:11

My ex husband's lab had bone cancer, only found when his leg snapped after climbing down off the sofa, he was 15 & another vet had just diagnosed arthritis. He had been sedated for the Xray & was put to sleep before he came round.

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Tue 02-Jun-20 02:54:56

The possibility of a fracture does worry me - we’re keeping the clonky dog from dropping on him with her full weight and carrying him up and down the stairs and trying to be super careful. I haven’t really heard about it too much before but it does seem very common.

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ProfessorHasturLaVista Tue 02-Jun-20 06:40:42

Our Lab was 11 and her stiffness was put down to arthritis as it was very mild and didn’t really trouble her. The end came very quickly (2 days from severe discomfort to not eating, not ‘with it’ diagnosis and pts). She was in excellent condition, optimum weight and full of life and energy until then.
It’s absolutely horrendous and all I can say is be guided by your vet flowers

Blackdoggotmytonguestill Wed 03-Jun-20 21:49:06

Aww thank you prof. It’s hard as in all other respects you wouldn’t believe his age. I need to chat to the vet again as I haven’t heard anything since last Thursday and he was going to email me the x rays etc. I think we’re going to have to make the appointment for Friday. Just hoping it doesn’t precipitate a massive decline in the other one, but whatever will be, will be. Cross that bridge when we get to it.

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StillMedusa Thu 04-Jun-20 07:48:08

My Main Coon cat had osteosarcoma and I kept him too long. Please don't. He was the love of my life (before I had a dog) and he hid his pain too well...in hindsight I should have had him PTS much earlier before he showed signs of pain.. he was still eating and purring until a day or so before he was PTS...but he should have gone way earlier and I feel guilty still 6 years on. I also had a disabled teen with MH problems (still have but he's 23 now!) who had never really known life without him, but in the end it's what is kindest for the animal that matters. Please don't wait too long .xx

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