I am so, so sorry for the OP, and for all of us in this community who have lost beloved dogs to this awful disease.
I love Dobes, so athletic, intuitive, and empathetic!
I lost my first wolfhound, forty two years ago, to bone cancer, and since then, have lost five to bone cancer. I have chosen not to amputate in my situation with a pack living environment of giant dogs, just manage pain until it is time. With one, I did palliative radiation for pain control along with the painkilling drugs.
I had one fracture (not the radiation one which can increase the chances of that) but had lots of powerful drugs on hand so he did not suffer as much as he could have. I have learned, I hope, that we sometimes prolong their lives for our benefit, not theirs, and I hope I am brave enough to choose "better days too soon than an hour too late".
Our dogs are so optimistic, and can enjoy quality of life after the diagnosis with drugs, and what precious time this is, when you know you must let go and send them on their way before they suffer.
Houndhill - The wolfhound has been on my shortlist of breeds to own (or be owned by!) someday. I guess what's held me back is their short lifespan. How long do your dogs live, on average?
Originally Posted by Houndhill
I'm so sorry OP. DH and I were given a red Doberman a year ago and I remember you posting on the thread I made about how much you loved your Dobermans. They really are great dogs.
Sorry to get Off Topic, keeping Jake in our hearts and minds, but since you are his owner I will beg indulgence to go OT and answer your question.
Originally Posted by StGermain
According to a very good study done in the 1970s, and several other good large studies since, the mean age of death for Irish Wolfhounds is about six and a half years.
I know that sounds awful, but many other breeds have a much shorter lifespan than you may imagine, when the data is actually analyzed.
We have had quite a few over the years that have lived to be ten years old, in excellent health. They do not tend to linger in poor or compromised health.
The leading three causes of death are heart disease (which can be selected against, all breeding stock is now echoed, at least from the responsible breeders), bloat (at least partly management), and cancer (of which osteosarcoma is the most common).
There are several studies now being conducted about the genetics of bone and other cancers...perhaps someday we will have some information that will help us select against this too.
I think Dobes and wolfhounds are similar in some ways, as dissimilar as they might seem at first glance. The athleticism, intelligence, character, and empathy are characteristics that they share, and a surprising number of people have both breeds.
Nor I ... Four Dobermanns over 25 years. A Dobermann & I, till my last breath.
Originally Posted by StGermain
We are Dobe people, have had 7 over the last 20 years. I lost my heart dog Lazarus a red rescue boy to osteosarcoma at age 7 1/2. His cancer started in the hip joint and had metastasized (sp) before diagnosis so amputation was not an option. He was at the U of FL sm. animal hospital and they are state of the art. The veterinarian in charge of his case said that she would not have recommended amputation due to the very poor prognosis longer term. I have heard many stories about people amputating only to have the cancer return short months later. Please be aware that with this cancer an internal bleed out is possible, so a day too soon really does apply. Nobody told me this until after we euthanized Lazzie.
My heart goes out to you and Jake, I know too well what a horrible disease this is. Wishing both you and Squish some quality time with your Dobes.
So sorry :(
I think my best recommendation would to be to talk to an oncologist - not necessarily to "treat" with chemo, or to treat at all, but they can give you all the updated treatments, palliative care and the inbetweens out there.
If you do not want to persue amputation, there are other options available. The cyberknife, conventional radiation, chemotherapy (high dose), chemotherapy/antiiflammatory (oral), holistic and a combination of all the above. There really are so so many options suited to your own beliefs, your dogs situation, finances etc.
Consults with the oncologist are often worth it just for the discussion alone. They can answer all the questions you can possibly think of. My only suggestion is to go in with an open mind, but keep your budget in mind.
Sorry to both of you, and I wish you many happy months with your pups.
(On a sidenote - we had one patient that I remember so well. Amputation at age 7 due to a low grade osteosarcoma. He competed 3 legge'd in agility, and was euthanized just before age 14. He completed his chemotherapy protocol, of 7 carboplatin doses. This is ABSOLUTLEY NOT normal survival time, but leave it to a BC to pull off nearly 7 years post amputation!) Here's hoping your dogs both get some BC luck.
Thanks. Doing better today (me not the dog). She is quite vibrant, to the point I think I need to teach her a "walk" command! She seems to be doing well on the deramaxx (stomach-wise). I wish it wasn't a once-a-day dosage however. I think she was more off on Tuesday because my hubby and I were having constant melt-downs.
Originally Posted by StGermain
Random, and I know people look for reasons or something to blame when faced with terminal illness, but one thing I found yesterday is that there is a statistical link between early neuter/spay and osteosarcoma. She is incontinent and has had bladder issues, which I also have found statistics link to early spay (I think she was four or five months--done at my now-retired vet's advice). I know that other forms of cancer are linked to not spaying, and I'm not advocating people don't spay or neuter their pets AT ALL, but I just found this to be interesting information for large breed dog owners to be aware of. Sorry if that's too off topic.
What are you using for pain killers? Are you doing anything for potential stomach upset? I thought about feeding her pepcid or something just in case--although it might be overkill.
So sorry to hear about your dog. Another pain control option would be pamidronate. This medication is given IV every 21-28 days. It is expensive, but I do believe , and have seen, that it helps a lot of dogs with skeletal pain from osteosarcoma.
Pepcid would be fine to give with the NSAID (deramaxx).
In female dogs, spaying before the first heat cycle can significantly decrease the chance of mammary carcinoma. You are correct, there is some new evidence that spay/neuter after a year of age may reduce risk of other types of cancer or ligament injury, but this is still pretty new info and I am not certain if they have exact statistics yet.
Yes true, recent studies have shown that the longer a female keeps her ovaries, the longer her lifespan is...spay/neuter definitely increases the chances of osteosarcoma, and the earlier the more the risk increases (in addition to urinary incontenence, 20% incidence in spayed bitches of medium or large size, plus increased risk of hypothyroidism).
Spaying a bitch before her first heat does decrease the chance of mammary cancer, though increases the chances of the problems I've mentioned.
And, spaying (ovariohysterectomy) does eliminate the possibility of pyometra.
What is being done with increasing frequency in the UK and Europe is hysterectomy (just removing the uterus, leaving the ovaries). That way, you eliminate the risk of pyometra, while having no increased risk of osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, or urinary incontinence. You would have the same risk of mammary cancer you would have in an intact bitch, but this is often treatable (just as with humans, we would not typically do ovariohysterectomies or mastectomies prophylacticly).
However, with a simple hysterectomy, you would still have signs of estrus, males would be attracted, etc, so you still could not show at obedience trials, etc.
So sorry for everyone here who is dealing with this.
Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn
I lost my Rottie to osteosarc about 2 1/2 years ago at age 9. She got an inoperable axial tumour, on her rib. I was able to keep her comfortable until it she was done with the help of a fabulous pain management specialist at Angell Memorial. She was my favorite, best dog.
She was on Deramaxx (low dose because of sensitive stomach), adequan and legend, gabapentin, misoprostal (for her stomach), tramadol and fentayl patches. I had made an appointment for palliative radiation, but I had to put her down.
The long story- I bought this great dog as a puppy from the municipal pound, and she was not the best conformed, she developed / born with-whatever- hip and elbow displasia. She also had a sensitive to NSAIDs / glucosamine stomach. She developed pretty serious arthritis at a fairly young age, started doing adequan and legend at home on her.
Fast forward a few years, started seeing the pain management specialist, Dr. Moses. Able to put together a drug regimen that worked for her and her stomach. Because all 4 of her legs were bad, and she was a big girl, 120 lbs and her withers were at almost 3', she really needed all 4 legs to work, and if she couldn't walk, I couldn't carry her, it was a real emergency.
One day she went dead lame. I knew she had bone cancer, these damn dogs are so prone to it. I took her though the emergency department and they knocked her out and took films, and saw nothing. Took her to my regular vet, ran blood, saw she had a non-regenerative anemia.
Went back to Dr. Moses and went fishing. Took survey films of her chest looking for mets, saw a big ass bone tumour on her rib.
Dr. Moses said that she went dead lame because bone cancer changes the way the body copes with pain, even though the cancer was not in her leg.
Sadly, she only lived less than two months after going lame. She was always a trier, reminded me of my TBs. I kept trying because she kept trying, and then one day she was done, and I took her to be PTS. I think the anemia got her, the cancer ate her ability to make new red cells.
Osteosarc sucks. Sorry this was so long, but I hope it helps someone.
That kind of cancer is blessedly quick, as are some types of lymphoma. I'm afraid (as you are) that your time is more than limited, it is finite. My collie went from 'gee what's that lump under her throat?' to euthanasia in just one month. I'm sorry you are going through this, sorrier even that there seems little to do and maybe not even enough pain relief. Enjoy each day, take lots of pictures. Hugs to you.
Ahh crap StG. Love , love , love my dobies, though I dont have one for the first time in 20 years. THey are very special. So sorry to hear about Jake, hugs to you. Osteocarc is a bad one, and I think you are making the best choices for Jake that you possibly can through this, and I know youll do right by him when the time comes.
How's Jake doing?
We added Tramadol (on top of the Deramax) 2x a day this Monday. I may start giving it at lunch today. I can definitely see the tumor now--sucker is growing fast. It's been about two weeks since diagnosis, three since the symptoms started, and I can't believe how quickly it is progressing. My husband is sleeping on the guest bed now with our other dobe, so Z can stay in the big bed with me (she's such a momma's baby--I feel bad about it because my husband loves her to death too) but this way no one will bump her bad leg.
It is supposed to be in the 50's this weekend and I'm going to try to dig a hole before the ground freezes. I had them mark utilities when we bought the place for a dog fence, so at least I know where I can dig. I'm kind of a wimp, so we will see how it goes. I guess that is an advantage of living on the farm now. I still haven't decided on the right spot. I'd like to plant a little memorial garden next spring.
I hope Jake is doing much better than Zelda. I have read about dogs going a lot longer than Z seems to be. Knowing her and after seeing her x-ray, I think she was sick for a long time and it just started showing, however. When my husband is ready we will put her down. She still wants to run and play and use me as her human body pillow and salt lick. She is still eating like a pig.
Thinking about you OP.
I can see the leg wasting and the tumerous growth (I think). Jake also has a large (4" X4") growth come up on his side, that the vet stuck a needle in and said was solid mass. We didn't do a biopsy, because what's the point? Jake so far hasn't shown many signs of pain, except when I took him back to the vet because of the tumor on his side - he was riding in the back of my SUV. I was going very slowly around a curve and he lost his balance. He cried. I worried that he broke the leg, but the vet said no.
Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn
He's being more cautious around the other dogs, going out with them, but not playing because they roughhouse too much. I'm medicating as needed for pain, but not too much. In the last 3 days his appetite has begun to decrease. He's leaning on me more, just wanting to be near me.
I will have him cremated. It's too rocky here to dig very deep.
So sorry, StG and anyone else dealing with this situation. It just sucks. Hugs and lots and lots of jingles for your dogs.
So sorry for what you are going through with Jake, and Zelda, and all who are going though this. It Sucks The Big One!!!!
It's nearing the end for Jake. He's been doing okay until yesterday, when he was a little slow to eat his dinner. He ate breakfast today, but tonight when I came home he was coughing when excited, and depressed. I think the cancer has moved to his heart or lungs. I'll call the vet tomorrow and get him in. If it's as I fear, it'll be his last trip. 4 months since diagnosis.
And last Friday I picked up a Disposable Dobe off Craigslist. The wife had a baby so the 2 year old dobe has to go. He's just the product of a backyard breeder, most kept outside by his previous owner, but he's very sweet. I felt guilty getting another dobe while Jake was alive, but I liked the look of this guy and thought I could give him a better life. I guess I could tell that Jake's time was short. Is it bad to have already picked up another one?
The throwaway one needed a home and you were a wise dobie home. Give Jake all the attention he needs, but give yourself a break.
I don't think you are bad to go ahead and rescue your next dobie. Jake knows you love him.
Jingles for you and your family.