I have read countless times that people were caught blindsided that their dogs had cancer, and even more so that it was a intensely aggressive cancer. I am absolutely in that group. I took Ellie to the vet on March 9, 2023 95% confident that she had just strained something in her front leg. She had been favoring it for about 2 weeks, but was still full of energy and had a veracious appetite. She was her same happy self, but just tweaked something…or so I thought.
The vet was pretty confident that it was osteosarcoma based on xrays alone, and we chose not to do a needle aspiration since the bone had deteriorated so much she was worried about causing more damage. Ellie was put on pain meds (Rimadyl and Gabapentin) and put on strict exercise restrictions since she was at a large risk of fracture. We also got chest xrays that thankfully showed no signs of metastasis and her blood work came back looking good.
I reached out to 4 oncologists to try to get an appointment as soon as possible, I also am very lucky in the respect that I live in the same town as CSU which has one of the best Veterinary Schools in the nation. I reached out to them to see about possible clinical trials for Ellie.
On Monday the 20th and 21st I met with 2 different oncologists and received very similar news about Ellie’s condition. From their explanations I opted to proceed with Ellie getting her leg amputated ASAP. This would eliminate the main source of her pain, and allow her to be a dog again since currently she is not allowed off leash outside due to the fracture risk. Thankfully, there was also a trial she qualified for that I am very comfortable with and thankful that it will allow me to do all I can for her without going into debt.
Her amputation is scheduled for Tuesday March 28, 2023. I am extremely anxious about it since it is a front leg, and she is a giant breed. I have always been a quality of quantity animal owner and even though I know *most* dogs handle the surgery well, there are plenty of horror stories and I’m terrified of being in that group. With that said, she deserves the chance to have more time.
I have been preparing for her recovery. I don’t have any steps she needs to go up or down to go potty, I do have concrete floors but they are mostly covered in rugs. When I get anxious I try to focus on what I can control so I went out and bought a comfy cone, a sling, and a ramp for my Xterra. I’m most anxious about her having to get in and out of the Xterra, it’s not like I can easily pick her up. I might need to rely on friends and family to help me out in the beginning (bless all of you who have already volunteered to help!), but hopefully she’ll adjust to the ramp- I got an extra long one to hopefully make it manageable for her.
Any advice is welcome on things that could help her moving forward, I’ll give an update when I can!