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Here we go again

December 12, 2013

Since the “What to Expect with a Leg Amputation” still gets a very depressing number of hits and comments, I thought I would take y’all along with us as we go through it yet again.

Our black staghound, Kevin, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the distal femur (knee) this morning. I’ve known it for about a week and a half, so this was just confirmation. And in the vet’s words, “There is no doubt.”

He started limping about 2 weeks ago, but even though he is about 9 years old, he does careen around like a crazy man so I thought there was some chance of a soft tissue injury. But he gave me a definite pain response when I pressed on his knee so I pretty much knew. Gave him a week to get better, just in case, but instead he got worse. The past 2 days he has been carrying the leg entirely.

So off for x-rays we went this morning. He was scared and it was pretty unpleasant getting all the rads done. I wanted to be damn sure that he was a good candidate for an amp, so we shot all 4 legs, a few views of his lungs, and his spine. The vet thought everything else looked normal, but we will have the radiologist look at it too of course. His heart and lungs sounded okay.

We already have our appointment for Monday at the referral clinic for an oncology and surgery consult. Possibly surgery that same day.

OSU still does the free chemo drugs for ex-racers, but Kevin is not an ex-racer (he is half greyhound, half deerhound) so it probably does not apply to us but I am planning to check. (NOTE: Now that Dr Couto is no longer with OSU, we suspect that the Greyhound Wellness Program might not be long for this world, and funding for free chemo drugs is limited. If you have a greyhound in this situation, contact them ASAP.)

The University of Pennsylvania has been doing research on an osteosarcoma vaccine, and there are clinic trials going on, so we will also be checking to see if Kevin might qualify for that. They want a particular kind of tumor, so we won’t know for sure until the pathology report comes back after surgery. (Then we will need to see if it is feasible for me to drive Kevin to Penn for the treatment, given the other 20 dogs and 4 kids I have to take care of. I will do this if it is at all possible, because the vaccine results are very promising.) Here’s a link to the study website: http://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-initiatives/canine-cancer-studies

Poor Kevs. He is one of my “young” dogs. (I currently have four 12-yr-olds and an almost-14-yr-old in my pack.) I thought he would be around for a long time. I hope he still will be. He’s tripawding really well right now, so I am hopeful that his mobility after surgery will be good. But unfortunately these things ALWAYS seem to happen during snow-and-ice season. I just hate it. I hate osteo.

Kevin caught stealing an apple and lying on it.

Kevin caught stealing an apple and lying on it.

Kevin loves frosting containers.

Kevin loves frosting containers.

Kevin, right after we got him in Summer 2012.

Kevin, right after we got him in Summer 2012.

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