To chemo or not to chemo

Fawn greyhound


When Pete started to limp just before Thanksgiving, our greatest hope was for anything, a pulled muscle, split pad, corns… anything but our worst nightmare, osteosarcoma.

After the first x-ray we continued to hold out hope, but the limp continued. We have never taken decisive measures with osteosarcoma in the past and it is always a game of time. It seems once the diagnosis is made, we don’t have enough time, we don’t have much time. We don’t have any time.

For hours we sat at the dining room table wondering what we should do. Time was our enemy.

If we did nothing, just did palliative treatment, we would have six weeks maybe even eight, best case scenario this would have been his last week with us. That just wasn’t enough time. We all wanted more for Pete and his bright eyes told us he did too.

If we only did the amputation, that would remove the pain he was experiencing. He had been carrying the leg for a few weeks, we were pretty certain he wouldn’t miss the leg and I had heard rumors that dogs were born with three legs and a spare.

Amputation would take away the pain and the survival rate for most dogs is four to five months, less that 10% of the dogs make it one year post-amputation. That would get us until April or May if he had an average run.

That still did not seem like a lot of time especially since we have watched many greyhounds live to 14 plus years and he isn’t even 7 years old yet.

They estimate that 90% of dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma have microscopic spread of the disease.

We were so sure that we didn’t want to do chemo. We didn’t want to put Pete through that.

But, what if we got even more time? What if just like every thing else Pete tolerated the chemo? Through Facebook I met someone that had a greyhound live three years after amputation and chemo. Her dog was not the norm, but we think Pete is exceptional and not the norm too. We passed her veterinarian’s info onto our vet and the plan was set in motion.

Three weeks after amputation Pete’s chemo therapy began. He’s getting a combination of carboplatin and doxorubicin delivered to him on the same day at different times.

He did amazingly well after his first treatment, in fact he never missed a beat. Ate dinner that night and we never experienced any vomiting or diarrhea. His white blood cell count dropped slightly, but not enough to sound off any alarms. We are also supporting him with weekly acupuncture treatments.

Treatment number two happens next week.

We don’t expect a cure. We live, enjoy, laugh and cry one day at a time.

We are already beyond what our normal experience with osteosarcoma has been.

To everyone that has donated to the Go Fund Me page “For the Love of Pete” set up by our friend Terri Ellen from Nature’s Pet Salem we thank you. It is with your help that we are getting more time with Pete.

Osteosarcoma in dogs article.

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