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bone cancer in dogs

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  • bone cancer in dogs

    I'm driving myself crazy. My greyhound is very, very lame in her shoulder and has been for about two weeks. It seemed probably that in speeding around the yard she pulled something - her and her greyhound buddy run together and often get a little banged up or tweak something....seems part of what they do.

    But the vet has given her pain killers and a/b's as she is running a bit of a fever and he wants to see her next week. Upon pressuring him, he said it may be bone cancer. At first I told myself it was much more likely to be a pulled muscle, but now I'm worrying more and more.

    He gave her two shots, too, but she's not any better.

    Any experience, knowledge to pass on? How common is it in dogs (greyhounds?)
    He is a wise old guy, this vet.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

  • #2
    First, I would go see an Oncologist.

    When my cat, Chester, was diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma, they had the latest up to date information, diagnostic tools and treatment (Chemo/Radiation) that Pet Vets might not have access to.

    If it is bone cancer, I think it would depend where it was. High or low on the bone.

    We were up at the Oncology Clinic quite often and I saw many three legged dogs who looked great! Many owners opted for amputation and said the dogs were up and running within a week or so of the surgery.

    Yahoo has many pet cancer support groups that can offer information, IF your dog does have bone cancer.

    From what I understood by joining these groups, it can be easily treated by amputation and the dogs/cats are not any worse off from it.

    Again, I don't want to worry you...only if your guy is diagnosed with it.

    But, my major suggestion is to find an Oncologist.

    Good luck!

    Edited to add: What is your Vet's next step to verify this?
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      Hugs to you and your hound. Hopefully it is just a sprain, but Unfortunately Osteosarcoma is very common in greyhounds. Ohio state has a fantastic program with greyhounds and they will even do a free consult and review of xrays and any other tests that you or your vet can email to them.


      One thing, if you think there is a chance that your hound has bone cancer, be very careful about limiting activity. They can be very fragile and prone to fracture at any of the affected sites. Within the rescue that I work with, they recommend hand walking and restricted activity. There are also some supplements and such that may help slow the growth if there is a tumor and its not operable. Feel free to PM me if you want some more info. Hope its just a muscle injury.


      • #4
        Sudden onset severe lamenes, esp in an older dog always raises the suspicion of bone cancer. I would do radiographs, and if there's cancer on the leg you need to check the chest too. If it's really in the shoulder the prognosis is going to be poor, you're going to have a hard time amputating that high up and getting all of it. Osteosarcoma is more common on the long bones, so if it's farther down on the leg the prognosis goes up. It spreads quickly, so if you're going to pursue treatment I would decide quickly. Once it spreads the life expectancy decreses rapidly. I know a mastiff that died at home 2 weeks after diagnosis with no evidence of spread, and a saint bernard that went 6-8 months. Neither owner treated, other than to manage pain. For most osteosarc their death is usually euthanasia due to not being able to manage the pain anymore.

        It also tends to be extremely painful to the touch, so if your dog didn't give much reaction to palpation of the limb(esp being a greyhound ) I would think less about osteosarc.

        Vet Tech
        You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


        • #5
          We had a lab who had cancer above his elbow. He was older and we didn't think he'd do well with amputation, which was the option the vet felt would have the best chance for success in his case. We had him put down very shortly after diagnosis.

          I'm so sorry your dog is hurting and I'll be jingling that it's something easily treated.
          Y'all ain't right!


          • #6
            Another thought, with fever and lameness I would check for tick-borne illnesses

            Vet Tech
            You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


            • Original Poster

              I do appreciate your concerns and comments. Unlikely to be ticks up here.
              She is not tender to the touch, per se, but cannot even put a toenail on the ground.

              She is just lying around and not doing anything energetic. But it came on so suddenly I was sure it would be a yanked shoulder since the teo greys do zoom around a lot and are always giving themselves some little ding. For now, I will go with that until next week when she goes back and I can report on how the meds affected her. She is on Amoxi and Metacam. She is seven years old and very special to me.

              She cries when she has to move so I know she is in a lot of pain. Surely cancer would come on gradually and increase with time.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


              • #8
                I am hopping it isn't bone cancer, but sudden onset of pain can be cancer. My 8yo lab had his leg removed about 3 months ago and is doing really well (now). Please, please, please PM me if it is cancer, if you need to amputate and if you are thinking of doing chemotherapy. I am happy to talk you through the after care etc.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                  For now, I will go with that until next week when she goes back and I can report on how the meds affected her.

                  She cries when she has to move so I know she is in a lot of pain. Surely cancer would come on gradually and increase with time.
                  Please don't wait. She is in pain- and there are stronger drugs- and it sounds like she needs something.

                  I rescued an old shelter dog that we found had osteo in his skull (confirmed with rads). He slipped, so minor, on our deck stairs while playing- and I was there to catch him, but that was it. It was the osteo and he was very lame and very painful very quickly (not gradual at all). His shoulder was shattered. The old stray dog loved his new life so much (we only had him 6 weeks) it was so hard to let him go, as he was tough and kept eating right until the very last moment. We gave him some very strong drugs until the vet could make it to our house to let him go.

                  I will cross my fingers and toes for you, but please don't leave her in pain. There are ER clinics and universities that are open 24/7.


                  • Original Poster

                    She is under a vet's care and I am under instructions to not give her more, or less, of the stuff. She only started them less then 24 hours ago, so I am going with the vet's advice. I can phone him anytime. He has his reasons and she will go back next week.

                    I'm hanging in with her and hoping for the best and that it is not cancer.
                    Thanks for your knowledge, everyone, and for your concern. Especially the links were very informative. I'm trying to think positive.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • #11
                      I lost my previous lab, Watson, to osteosarcoma. He would not have been a candidate for amputation. The cancer was in the long bone on a front leg and he also had hip dysplasia. He stopped breathing 3 weeks after he started limping. It had already spread to his lungs.

                      Our vet had us go get it ultrasounded. With Watson that was as slim possibility of it being a bone cyst.

                      Jingles that it isn't cancer.
                      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                      • #12
                        Very common in greyhounds! get some Xrays and sent them to Dr. Couto in OH www.greytalk.com will have his contact info and tons of other info. ((HUGS)))
                        - The hardest thing about learning to ride is the ground!
                        - You can love horse and ride it and a horse can love you and squash you
                        - In football, basketball and soccer they provide you with your own balls......in eventing you bring your own balls!


                        • #13
                          I hope it is as simple as a pulled ligament.

                          We are in the process of adopting a Greyhound and all the research I have done indicates that they do not have a lot of health issues, but that they are prone to cancer.


                          • Original Poster

                            Mallard - I love this dog and she loves me. You will love your greyhound and probably end up getting another, as we did, just so they can run together - a sight to behold, like birds on the wing, and they keep fit and exercised.

                            Right now she is spending her days lying down, except to go outside for a quick break for chores. She's very waggy and feels well in herself. I'm still thinking of a pulled shoulder although the above has been enlightening.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                            • #15
                              Here's another link for you, it's from my favorite website for pet owners, can find answers to almost any medical question there.


                              Personally if the cost of the radiographs isn't a concern I would have them done on Monday if at all possible. If it is osteosarc you really don't want to wait, and she's going to need a whole lot stronger meds. Most dogs need narcotics to keep them remotely comfortable, and the earlier you can get the pain level down the better and longer you'll be able to manage it. There are TONS of options that can be added to Metacam to give added pain relief, and it sounds like she needs it.

                              Vet Tech
                              You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                              • #16
                                I would wait to see what the radiographs show before getting all upset and worried. But, that said, osteosarc is always a concern in older large dogs.

                                Your dog may have had a bone lesion that had a hairline fracture (pathologic fracture due to weakness of the bone from the cancer). That may be why the lameness is so severe and sudden. Yes, cancer takes a while to grow, but osteosarcoma is also one of the most aggressive and fast-growing cancers.
                                There still are other possibilities besides osteosarcoma. Tumors in bones can be metastases from other sites (plasma cell tumor, lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma), or they can be primary sites of other tumors (fibrosarcoma, chondrosarcoma).

                                The first step is to get good radiographs and imaging of the affected leg, and then go from there.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post

                                  From what I understood by joining these groups, it can be easily treated by amputation and the dogs/cats are not any worse off from it.
                                  You don't understand.
                                  Osteosarcoma in the dog has a lousy prognosis.Amputation is a means of decreasing the pain.

                                  Here's hoping the OP's dog does not have that.
                                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                                  • #18
                                    I lost my last greyhound to OS. Amputation, chemo and radiation are only palliative in nature and help reduce the intense pain from this form of cancer. Unfortunately by the time OS is suspected, it has generally spread. It does not have a good prognosis. Jingles to the OP and her special dog that this is just a nice sprain and will be easily fixed with rest and meds. Please keep us updated. Lots of fellow greyhound lovers out here.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      This morning she is very waggy and animated, although still three-legged lame.
                                      I appreciate ALL the comments and while hoping for the best, am preparing for the worst, with emphasis on the best. If you saw these two peeling around our large yard and the field, you would be thinking of a pulled shoulder, too Idiots.

                                      I have had two shoulder injuries and they took two years to get better, although I'm two legged and don't need to use my shoulder to get up or lie down!
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                      • #20
                                        Deep breath, don't want to freak you out, but,

                                        My then-9yo Doberman was romping just as you describe with his beagle mix buddy, when they both wiped out around a corner. Dobie yelped and and came up limping. I dismissed it at first, figuring he just banged himself a bit. Next day was lamer, though pretty chipper. Made an appointment with my vet for the next morning.

                                        By the next morning, he had a small lump over the hock (hind leg). Vet examined him, asked to do rads, and I agreed. I remember her coming back in with a box of hankies and telling me to sit down, as she had some bad news. I honestly had no clue, and figured she was about to tell me he needed a big dollar surgery to repair something. She told me he had osteosarcoma (a bone cancer that can affect any dog, but is most common in Dobies and Greyhounds, I'm afraid to tell you). I simply didn't believe her for a good ten minutes. Then I broke down.

                                        I said all the things you are saying, how can it be this sudden, I saw him get hurt while playing, etc, etc. But there it was. In fact, injuries while playing is apparently the first sign the the bone has been degraded by the tumor.

                                        We went to an oncologist, and they recommended either euthanasia or amputation. The oncology appointment was 2 days after the initial diagnosis, and the small lump had grown to the size of a golf ball. We elected to do surgery (he was my heart dog, and I couldn't let go yet), and by the time we went in for the surgery, 5 days after that, the lump was the size of a baseball. It is that aggressive, nasty, and fast. He was on major painkillers for that week.

                                        Leaving him for the surgery is the hardest thing I have ever done, I sat in my care in the parking lot and bawled, and my DH had to leave work to come pick me up as I was too shattered to drive. I knew it was my only option, but I wanted to just run back in and take him back. I couldn't imagine him on three legs.

                                        So here's the good news: He did amazing! He was up and about in record time, and was so much more comfortable and happy. He went to his first horse show 8 weeks post surgery, and was back to his old self in about 12 weeks. He lived another three years, when on Xmas Eve 2006 he laid down in the sun and never woke up. I had been warned that the osteo almost always comes back and gets them eventually, so I was grateful to have him pass so peacefully from something else.

                                        Anyway, the point of my long story is that I would get rads now. Don't wait. You need to know. Period. Every day counts, and if, god forbid, it's the oseto, his pain is terrible and will only get more so. Please, for your peace of mind and his, get the rads.
                                        Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                                        Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
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