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Thread: Leg Amputation Costs

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    Kalacreek you are correct. You base your decision on the staging and grading of the tumour ie how far it has gone and other factors such as general health of the dog. Age really is irrelevant if the dog is otherwise in good health. I share plenty of stories on FB that highlight that age is not a factor.

    Dogman the reason prognosis is not often good is this...........The dog gets a limp and owner promplty takes to the vet and the normal course of action would be anti inflamatory. Dog comes good for a bit then the limp is back so off to the vet again to be given more anti inflam. If it is osteosarcoma to start with this cancer can be spreading to the lungs. This is the killer of dogs with osteosarcoma not the amputation. By the time the dog is diagnosed in 90% of cases it is already in the lungs but it cant be detected on scans. This is the killer. Chemo is normally the follow up course of treatment following amputation.

    In Australia we are trialing a drug Auranofin to potentially stop the spread to the lungs. Given that it is being trialed at the same time in Brisbane human hospitals there must be something in its potential. Mouse models looked good. Australian

    As for oncologists knowing how long a dog has you are also incorrect in this assertion. Once staging and grading has been done the best and most honest an oncologist can be is to say at this stage of the disease some dogs have survived this long and some have survived this long. My dog had a 30% chance with his cancer and I gave him that chance and I got 4.5yrs and he was one of the happiest dogs you would ever come across. Loved other dogs and had no ill effect whatsoever whilst on chemo. Make your own conculsions if you think this is a happy dog. The play ones were taken mostly while on chemo Vinca

    It seems breaking this down you have two medical issues with osteosarcoma. One is the amputation itself. You only have to go to the tripawds forums to see hundreds of happy dogs loving life after amputations. Not all of them as a result of osteosarcoma. Dogs adapt and dogs can be happy on 3 legs. Once you have amputation for cancer that stops the pain once recovreed from the surgery. Amputation takes care of the pain. Ask most people on the tripawds forums if they would amputate if faced with that decision with another dog and most would absolutely do it again.

    The second medical issue appears to be the chemo. Again so much misinformation out there on chemo. We have all heard countless disaster stories of chemo. I will stack money on the fact that almost every disaster you have ever heard about was not under the treatment of an oncologist. We rely and expect our local vets to have expert knowledge in this field as well. It is a specialised field with changes happening on a weekly basis and that is what we pay an oncologist for to be up to date on the latest info. If I had cancer I surely woud not want my GP to treat me. I would want and oncologist wouldnt you? Also as a point of information and learning the next time you hear a disaster story on chemo as these questions. 1. Did you have pathology done 2. Did you have radiology done 3 Did you use an oncologist. 4. Did you do all the tests that the vet recommended prior to treatment. If they cant answer yes to those questions that is precisely what has gone wrong. If people have horror stories and these points have not been done it is not the fault of the chemotherapy causiing the disaster. It is a series of differet drugs used in many combinations for the different cancers and stages and grades they are at. Would I do the chemo thing again if I was in that situation...Absolutely without blinking

    I quoted my own dog Frodo as living 4.5 yrs after treatment and there are loads of stories of similar that I share on my FB. One just the other night 7yrs and treated at BVSC

    As for it being free.....Well I wont go to work and not be paid. Not sure about anyone else. If it was all about money how is it I have got oncologists on my forum answering questions as volunteers for dog owners? How is it I have got them giving me their time to put the website together, check material, provide material, mentor me? I sure as hell dont pay them. Like anything if you want to get the best it costs money. Pets cost money especially vet fees. If you dont have pet insurance or cant afford a pet you dont have one. We are all our pets have and they rely on us to look after them. Part of that "looking after them" is being able to make health decisions on their behalf based on facts not stuff you read that was not done properly to start with. The other part of "looking after them" is being able to pay all costs associated with that whether it be vet fees, food, bedding and other necessary needs.
    http://www.caninecancer.org.au
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    Quote Originally Posted by frodofromaus View Post
    Kalacreek you are correct. You base your decision on the staging and grading of the tumour ie how far it has gone and other factors such as general health of the dog. Age really is irrelevant if the dog is otherwise in good health. I share plenty of stories on FB that highlight that age is not a factor.
    For me age can definitely be a factor in amputation and other scenarios. An old dog is in most cases is less able to cope with the loss of particularly a front leg due to arthritis and loss of strength that happens with old dogs. To extend an old dogs life by say a few months while recovering from an amputation to me is fairly pointless.

    I would not have done that to my old dog. In fact my old 14 yo dog was diagnosed with a pleural effusion caused by cancer. There was no way I was subjecting her to continual drainage, tube feeding and being hospitilised while they took endless tests to work out what cancer and the prognosis, it would have been much too stressful for her. I let her go even though I loved that dog more than anything. Money wasnt the deciding factor, it was all about quality of life and the fact that she hated being separated from me and left in a vets cage alone at night. I could think of nothing worse for this lovely old dog, she would have been confused and frightened and really, to what end. The vet told me she could well die during it all, I could not even bare to thing of her dying alone. The vet agreed with me.

    On the other hand my mother's old dog had a large low grade soft tissue sarcoma removed from the front leg of her nearly 14 yo dog. The leg was left intact and the dog went on to live till nearly 16. The dog was fit but I doubt if she could have sustained the loss of a front leg at her age and size. A younger dog is a different story.

    There are many factors.

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    To me arthritis is definately one reason you may not be able to amputate. If it is a front leg and the back legs are full of arthritis that changes the decision you might make. Its a case of ALL the facts and age alone is not a reason to discard any possible treatment options. Your mum clearly made her deicision based on facts as well and for that she should be commended. She did not say NO based on age. She weighed all the correct information up, the general health of the dog and decided yes we will go with this. There is one thing people seem to also forget. Chemotherapy can be stopped at any time. Just because your intent at the begining is to complete the treatment course, the options is always there to stop. I also know of people with soft tissue sarcoma that have had surgery and remained on metronomic chemotherapy and the dog has done well. Radiation seems to get success with STS as well based on the stories I share from BVSC
    http://www.caninecancer.org.au
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  4. #14

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    Thank you all for your replies. I have a lot to think about in the next few weeks. Appreciate your advice.

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    Anchorman

    If you are interested in helping research into osteosarcoma and decide to have the leg amputated, you would be able to help all future dogs if you were able to ask the surgeon if he/she could cut a slither off the tumour and put it into their freezer. I assume you would send the rest of the tumour for pathology as there is more than one type of bone cancer and followup treatments may vary between cancer types. The AHT UK would be able to send the vet who does the surgery a preservative to put the tumour in and post back to the AHT. You would need to sign their consent prior to any planned surgery and give it to your vet. If you choose to use PVS they already have the preservative on hand as it must be a certain type of preservative. The tissue sample is the "Gold" in collection terms. See this information United Kingdom The information sheet for vets down at the bottom explains what they have to do
    http://www.caninecancer.org.au
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    As best I can tell - not being a canine oncologist - from Dr Google

    If the dog is between 7 and 10 years old and the cancer is limited to a leg that can be amputated removing all the cancer, they have a good chance of a long happy life eg living to around 12 to 15 years.

    The National Canine Cancer Foundation - Osteosarcoma

    But if the cancer is anywhere else - then it can't be stopped from spreading by amputating eg in the ribs or spine...

    Cancer treatment for animals and humans has improved immensely in just the last 10 years. Computer guided radiation can target the cancer and spare the good tissue. And there is much better chemo with less side effects than before and - the new tech is usually available for vets and their patients first - because - guess what gets to try out new medications before humans...

    hopefully anyone reading this thread - will read the whole thread and get two oncologists opinions before they decide the best option for their dog. It's always a personal decision between the owner and the vet.

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    Anyone reading this thread who has any questions about amputation or chemotherapy for osteosarcoma (or any other cancer questions) please post for the oncologists to answer for free. Cancer Forum

    I find it quite disturbing when I read ill informed comments. I have put the time into (and a lot of it) to try to help dog owners get better informed and have the facts on cancer. One they have the correct facts it is up to them whether or not they decide to proceed with treatments. It is sad when a dog owner is already distressed due to finding out their dog has cancer, they have all sorts of emotions going through their head and they need to hear the facts not ill informed comment.

    If anyone has had a bad experience with chemo would they be willing to answer the questions I have? I would love to get to the bottom of why they had such a bad experience. Based on the 200 or so people I asked questions of over the last five years once my own dog was diagnosed I think I have a good idea why so many people have had negative experiences. So if anyone would like the share those bad experiences and respond to my questions I would be happy to find out why. My forum is also available for such discussion if need be.
    http://www.caninecancer.org.au
    Dedicated To Canine Cancer Awareness

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    hopefully anyone reading this thread - will read the whole thread and get two oncologists opinions before they decide the best option for their dog. It's always a personal decision between the owner and the vet.
    Yes although I think there is only one specialist oncologist in WA and I would pretty much trust him based on feedback from experienced dog people and how he dealt with mums dog.

    So many factors including type and stage of cancer, dogs age and general health, quality of life. Budget is also a big factor regardless of what people think. I know someone who could afford to and was willing to spend the $18,000 vet bill to try everything to give their dog an extra 2 years of life some of which was great quality, some not so much. For many people this is simply not an option.

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    Right again. Dr Ken Wyatt is the only one in Perth

    All the things you mention come into it and as for the money well that is a personal decision as some people may not be able to afford it. Sometimes people that can't really afford it try and often corners are cut ie no proper testing but they get chemo handed to them (and I hear things like this frequently). If insufficient testing is done and it is a stab in the dark or an educated guess and the wrong chemo is used (as there are many, many combinations dependant on the cancer) dogs can get very sick and the treatment does not have the desired effect. Dog has a hell of a time and dies sooner than it would have done had the right treatment been given to start with. Cancer is something you dont cut corners with. Hopefully one day there will be a magic pill and neither dogs or humans get cancer to start with.
    http://www.caninecancer.org.au
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    It's not just vets but also human GPs that are sometimes not as helpful as they can be when it comes to getting help with whatever problems you might have.

    They have a whole bunch of terms for "I don't know" what the problem is eg "irritable bowel syndrome" - just means ongoing unexplained tummy upsets. And the patient really needs to be so persistent to get more useful information. And this usually means spending money.

    So I go into the vet or the doctor with a list and some questions eg what else could it be? and what else can I do? In some cases it's taken 30 years to get good answers and sometimes that is because when I first got the problem - they didn't know how to diagnose it or wouldn't recognise it if they did see the problem in front of them. Very frustrating.

    It may also be a bit like this forum when you've answered the question before - and you forget you haven't told the person you're talking to now - the stuff that everyone needs to know.

    There is a really scary story on the ABC Radio National Health Report website about a woman who got a lump - and it was diagnosed as breast cancer and she was started on very expensive and invasive therapy without getting any of the tests done first to see what was really going on or how much dose was required. And she was a nurse but she panicked and didn't start asking questions until months and months into her personal hell.

    So bad diagnosis and inappropriate treatment can happen to anyone and it's more likely to happen if you go to someone who is not a specialist in the area eg vet vs oncologist...

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