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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Osteosarcoma ~ Bone Cancer ??

       I know that this Blog is supposed to be a place, where people can come to talk or get help or advice from other people about Bone Cancer. I also wanted this Blog to be where you can find out tip's for coping, or just have somewhere to just rant and scream without Judgement or Complicated Scientific Information.

     But I have decided that for everyone of you who has not gone through this awful illness, that I would try to explain the basic's to you . So that you would have an idea of what Bone Cancer is and how it show's itself  in Dog's etc.

     For those who don't know, I was a Microbiologist and worked in a hospital, before I became a mother or an owner of a Seriously Gorgeous Rottweiler named Fizz, So when Fizz was diagnosed I did have a inkling into what Bone Cancer entails well ~ with people anyway ?? So I was in an advantage or maybe a disadvantage when it came to knowing what this prognosis would mean for My Fizzly !

     As I have said before, when I first heard that Fizz had an Osteosarcoma or Bone Cancer I went onto my computer and started looking for everything and anything about Dog's and Bone Cancer and even with a Scientific background I still found it totally daunting ........

           Osteosarcoma is the scientific name for Bone Cancer which starts mainly in the Long Bones so in Dog's the legs are the normal starting place. It seems that Pedigree Dog's are more likely to get Cancer of any type ?  But bigger Dog Breeds seem to get Bone Cancer a lot more than smaller ones ........

           Bone Cancer is started when the Cells in the middle of the Bones called Osteoblasts these are basically the immature cells that are the building blocks for the mature bone. When a dog has bone cancer these cells begin make more than is needed and they do this very aggressively and very quickly. So your dog will begin to show symptoms suddenly, in Fizz's case her back leg started limping, in the beginning it looks like arthritis and nothing else.
Fizz and Ruby when my Fizzly was younger.
           So it is not normally found until it's very obvious and after an X~ray has been done  ........... by this time your dog is very ill and in a lot of pain ?? Bone Cancer is one of the most aggressive form's of Cancer that a Dog can get. Not only does it get larger very quickly it makes the bone grow out of shape, which means it's one of the most painful Cancers. But not only that, but it is a Cancer that METASTASISE'S quickly, this mean's that it is a Cancer that moves to other parts of the body VERY QUICKLY.

          Dog's with Bone Cancer of the long bones, the Cancer normally passes to the CHEST or LUNGS very quickly, so dogs that are treated for Bone Cancer get treated for Lung Cancer straight away....... as it's assumed by the time you know that your dog has Bone Cancer it will have PROBABLY already started to infect the dogs LUNGS. 

          This is because 90% of all dogs who have Bone Cancer that Cancer has spread quickly to the Lung's. So Dogs suffering from Bone Cancer, the first thing done is an Chest X~ray to find out if it has spread to the lungs already ?? If it has then normally Pain relief is given and no other treatment is offered.

          But if the Chest X~rays are clear or look Clear ? 
          Then the AMPUTATION of the Limb is recommended this is because of the Pain that is felt from this Aggressive Cancer is so severe that without it, your dog would be in so much pain it would be unfair to keep him / her with us. Once they have recovered from the Amputation they are treated with Chemotherapy. This will slow down the spreading of  the Cancer to the LUNGS. It will not stop the Cancer Spreading but it will slow it down.

        In Fizz's case her femur in her Back leg had only about 1 to 2 Inches left of NORMAL BONE  left top and bottom of the entire bone. The rest of the bone had grown out to the size of a large GRAPEFRUIT !! 

        This is why pain relief should be top of your list when it come's to the dealing of Bone Cancer in your dog. I will be dealing with the choice of Amputation in my next posting, but I wanted to explain to people who haven't dealt with this nightmare situation of  Bone Cancer. Which I would not wish this on my worst enemy as it's one of the cruellest diseases that can be found. Mainly because you can have a perfectly all right and healthy dog one minute. Then after one X~ray you can be told, that if I did nothing ......  My Fizzly would have been dead in 4 weeks time.

Fizz had an x~ray on the 24th September and her leg was removed on 13th October with a Biopsy in between.
          Some Breeds seem to get it more than others, I have a Link to a Bone Cancer Veterinary Paper that I will put under this paragraph. It Claims that Rottweiler's have a 1 in 8 chance in getting Bone Cancer ?? Though I don't know the actual  % rates, but it seem's that most Bone Cancer Pages seem to have their major share of Rottweiler's with this horrible disease.
           It also says that Great Danes and many other Breeds have the likelihood that they may develop Bone Cancer. But I myself have had some of these other Breeds and they lived perfectly long and healthy lives. So as normal it's a case of the Luck in the Draw and There for the Grace of God go I ........ and any other platitudes that you can think of ??

            The Link to the VCA Animal Hospital Paper on Bone Cancer  

     The Link above is a good one and is well worth a look as it explains the Scientific process of Bone Cancer, and it does it in simple language which is easiest for everyone !!

     My Vet was crying when she phoned me to tell me that Fizz had Bone Cancer, and if I had done nothing she would have been dead in 4 weeks ........... at 6 years old I felt this was not an option ???

     Her Chest X~ray was CLEAR so we decided to Amputate the leg and try Chemotherapy. I was told that with Chemo she would live for about 6 Months ................ My Fizzly lived for over a year !!

     Not long enough for me but passed all Vet's predictions, Fizz past when she was ready and not before. 

But the time she was alive SHE LIVED her life with Zest, Bravery and more than anything LOVE ........... It's this love that kept her with me longer and my Love in turn kept her with me .......... and this is all a dog can do for you and all that your dog needs from you ................ LOVE.

The Love of MY LIFE .... Miss Fizzles.

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