I'm new to the board, mainly looking for other lab owners and their successes and struggles with cancer. I've also looked on a forum: bone cancer dogs.
One of my yellow labs was just diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her jaw. It is pretty rare and I've only found two or three cases on other forums that are similar. We are going to get a second surgical consult this week, but should we go the standard route (surgery, radiation and/or chemo) we are looking at up to and over 15K in costs. Sierra is 12.5 years old, but no one would ever know it. The struggle is trying to find the balance of what we can afford and wanting to do everything we can to keep our sweet girl with us.
Sierra and her sister have been with us since they were both adopted from lab rescue at 2 years old. Plus we have a third dog that I have had since she was a puppy and is now 13 yrs old. Every minute I think of her not being around ends up with me being a wreck and then I think of all my dogs slowly going one at a time. I try everyday to enjoy as much time with them as possible and at this point have completely indulged them more than I even did before.
Has anyone else had to determine financially what they could do?
Is your second consult with a veterinary medical university? They are quite often more reasonable in prices of services than other 'independent' veterinary specialists.
One question to ask is 'what is the average survival time for osteosarcoma of the jaw with just surgery as opposed to surgery and/or chemo.' At 12.5 , as important as financial considerations are, even more important is Sierra's quality of life. Perhaps surgery alone along with appropriate pain management would give her more 'quality time' as opposed to just 'time'.
I can empathize with you on these questions because my Auggie (f., 11y4mo) is currently living with hepatocellular carsinoma. After exploratory abdominal surgery we were informed that the survival rate was the same for all three protocols; so we have chosen to forgo the radiation and/or chemo with her since the 'mother' tumor and her spleen had already been removed.
Perhaps someone else will 'chime in' here with more thoughts or information.
My thoughts and good wishes are with you and Sierra.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." author Will Rogers
Auggie 12/29/95 ~ 01/15/09
I have no advice for you, just wanted to add, good wishes. Sidney my 11 yr old was diagnosed with bone cancer in her leg a couple of months ago. The only thing to do for that is to amputate the leg but with her age and also in her other leg she has what they call football injury so that wouldnt be an option anyways. We have been giving her meds to keep her comfortable, she is doing really good with that. I know how you feel, when I think of her not being around it kills me. I dont know how my 1 yr old lab Ruger is gonna do when she isnt with us. Im just praying we have many goods days ahead. I will keep you in my prayers....
<br /><br />RUGER, JUST CHILLIN
I am so sorry.
My dog Kassa died 2 years ago from O.S. of the jaw. .
I live in N.Z. so vets don't as up to date things as they do in the U.S.A.
Can I come back to you again. I have been clearing out papers and found her vet bills and stuff so not thinking clearly. I am sorry to do this as I know how I wanted info there and then.
You can read her web site. It will save me rambling
Thanks Judy for the pm and I am sorry Auggie has cancer.
My thoughts are with both Auggie and Sidney. I'm hoping we can make a better decision when we go for a surgical consult. I've actually heard that OS in the jaw is pretty slow growing and Sierra, other than the cancer, is in very good health. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be as much info about OS of the jaw as there is about OS in the limbs. There are two great stories on the Bone Cancer Dogs forum, like Kassa's Sierra is actually the most fit of the three dogs. She just keeps getting these blood blister like tumors and they are continuously seeping. Part of one actually fell off the other day in the Vet's office, but has grown again in just a couple short days.
Unfortunately, I believe the closest Vet Univ is in N. CA and we are in S. CA, so about 9 hours away. I may research more, I can't believe there is nothing in LA.
I read about Kassa and I have to say it's such a beautiful story for you to share. The webpage created has great information, thank you.
It's hard being the one who has to make the decisions, but I know that is part of caring and loving our girls.
I think it's even more difficult b/c they are all about the same age and in the past year I've really seen their age creep up on them. The one thing that makes me smile and warms my heart is when they run around the yard like puppies or come over and prop their heads on the couch and look at me w/ those big brown eyes. I never thought Sierra would be the first one in which these problems would start, she truly does look like she's still about 3 years old.
Thanks to you all for your kind words. The support means so much. It's hard to explain what is going on to friends. Unless you are bonded so closely with your pets so that they are no longer pets but family, you just don't get it. These girls truly are our children.
Here's a couple of pics of Sierra
awww, Sierra is a cutie pie. I will keep her in my prayers. I know what you mean about being a part of your family. I have no children so Sidney and Ruger are my Children and only people that have dogs can understand that. This is the perfect place to talk, talk , talk.....so when you feel the need, just come back here and have at it.....Take care.
<br /><br />RUGER, JUST CHILLIN
Gee 2 years after and I still have those days when I wonder if I did the right thing. today being one.
Yes it is hard to make the decisions and live with the black cloud hanging over you.
There is no right or wrong decision.
AS to determining finacially what to do. I decided on one course of chemo for Kass. If it took the cancer away then I would revisit it, but didn't think so. I was prepared to pay almost anything.
Is it the top or bottom of her jaw?
Jasmine (there is a link in Kassa web page) was 12 when she was diagnosed with upper jaw cancer. She had a large part of the jaw removed and lived ( I think) 2 years or more after. She beat the cancer but unfortunately died from old age. Erin her owner would be more than happy to answer your questions. she lives in cheyenne Colorado. I will get her email for you.
The bone cancer forum is amazing. Anna and Cindy have the latest up to date information and a new web site.
You are right there isn't a lot of information on jaw O.S. I have some more on my computer that may help. I have been meaning to update my web page and also the cancer forum, but Ernie takes up a lot of time.
Here is Jasmines story. Ernie may have her email address in there. http://mindbuilders.net/jasmine/
I will also email someone who I think lives in L.A. or C.A. and see if she is up to helping you.
Sorry I am rambling here and all over the place. Before i go to bed or tomorrow morning I will try and get as much info as I can for you and pm it to you.
Here is the bone cancer site I still belong to.ttp://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/bonecancerdogs
Bone cancers web site.http://bonecancerdogs.org/main/heroes
It is Jasmine and Kassa the dogs they talk about there, but you will find some usefull information on O.S. in general.
I am sorry to hear of what you are going through. My Bubba had to have two surgeries on his jaw, ultimately loosing the bottom left side totally. He did not have OSC though, but a form of invasive Epulis. He is getting along quite well with only half a jaw and I am very happy with my decision.
OSC is a different beast though. Ultimately you have to look at quality of life. If you gain a year by doing all the treatments, but the dog is sick or in pain or asleep the entire time, then my thought is you have only done this for yourself and not to improve the life of your beloved companion. Keep in mind that I am not directing this at you, yourself, but owners of dogs with cancer in general. The final decision must be yours alone, because only you know how your dog can handle treatments and surgeries. I surely do not envy the choices you are being forced to make.
The Chris and Kassa website and posts here are a wealth of info on OSC, but as she said, she lives in New Zealand so they do things a bit different over there. Still, Kassa is the only case of OSC in the jaw that I am aware of.
Another great resource is the Orthodogs yahoo group. There are a LOT of people going through similar issues as the one you are and they are happy to help in any way they can. A lot of excellent info is available there and I suggest you join if you have the time available.
Best of luck with Sierra. We will all be here pulling for her as well as sending our prayers.
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I'm very sorry. This is a difficult time but you will make the correct decisions.
My old pal was diagnosed with cancer several years back - no OS, but hemangiosarcoma. Following surgery, we had to make a decisions regarding chemo.
We opted not to do the chemo and instead did lots of online research and went with a holistic diet and vitamins. This was new territory for us and we were skeptical. But I just couldn't load her 12-year-old body with chemicals, just to gain a few months with her. The holistic route worked well and we actually had another year with her - and it was a good year. She went on hikes in the mtns, ate well and enjoyed a wonderful summer until we had to say goodbye.
You have options...and ultimately you will make the best decision for your pal. I agree with the post saying that some people put their dogs through too much....I think perhaps paying more attention to their grief than to their pet's well-being. I'm not judging anyone, and I know it's horribly difficult to let go. I hope I'll keep the proper perspective when I have to make a decisions about my 'ole Bessie.
You are in my thoughts.
<br /><br />"My little dog -- a heartbeat at my feet." --Edith Wharton