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Knowing when to put dog with osteosarcoma down

3022 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  TiggerBounce
My dog Shakey has osteosarcoma in his maxilla. He was diagnosed 7 months ago when we found a lump on his gums and it was biopsied. He initially didn't show any signs of pain, and we were just giving him some immunity support with glucosamine for his arthritis. About a month ago, the vet put him on Tramadol (50 mg) - 2 pills every 12 hours. That seemed to do the trick for a while, but then the medication didn't seem to be working as well, and the vet told me that we can give him up to 4 pills every 8 hours. We've been doing 3 pills every 12 hours, but Shakey seems very tender and will wince his lip and make a little cry. It's heartbreaking.

Shakey also had a little bit of bleeding over the weekend. He was licking his feet and they were turning pink! I thought he cut his foot, but it was the tumor in his mouth bleeding. That only happened on Saturday.

My husband visits the vet today to get more Tramadol for Shakey. My real question is for those who've had to make this decision, when is enough enough? I do not want to put Shakey through unnecessary pain, and we know he will not get better. He will only get worse. He still eats his food, enjoys treats, runs around with his Kong ball in his mouth (showing off, we call it), and hangs out with us. It's just sometimes you can tell he feels junky and will just sleep or want to be petted and cuddled.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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I had a Rottie that had mouth cancer. I drew the line when she would no longer eat.
She loved her food and I was sure it was time when eating was no longer enjoyable.
If your dog still seems happy I would let him tell you when its time. I am sure you will see something that will let you know for sure its time.
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I'm really sorry. This part about having dogs really sucks. For me, as long as the dog is feeling better more often than not I'd say it's not time. He still sounds like a happy dog with some down times. He's eating and playing. When he no longer does things he loves to do then you'll know it's time. Really, I'm very sorry.
I am so sorry for Shakey and you. Do not be afraid to give the tramadol every 4 hours. It can improve Shakey's quality of life.
That's the worst time in a dog owner's life - knowing when to call it a day. My heart goes out to you.

To me, when he is obviously in pain, when he loses interest in what he used to like doing, or not interested in what's going on around him, not wanting to eat or drink, difficulty going to the loo, then's when I would feel he was telling me he's had enough. Some people hope and wait for the dog to fall asleep naturally and peacefully. Doesn't always happen.

Hope he will let you know when he needs your help the most.
Thanks for the replies. The vet also prescribed Vetprofen (Carprofen - basically generic Rimadyl) for Shakey yesterday. I am worried about the side effects since I have heard bad things about Rimadyl, but seeing that he has cancer, we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep him pain free for as long as possible.

My husband and I have gone back and forth about when we will draw the line, but I am also in agreement that if he can't eat, it is definitely time. I know people say make a list of things the dogs likes, but if he can't eat, that's pretty much it.

I agree that this is the crummy part of having dogs. That being said, he's been my buddy for over 8 years now, and he's helped me through a lot, including the death of my other dog, Growlie, last year.
I think for me, it would be if he got to the point he couldn't eat, was losing weight because he couldn't eat enough, and/or the bad days started to outweigh the good.

Don't worry about the side effects of the drugs. Give him whatever he needs to keep him comfortable. Yes, it's going to be hard on his liver and kidneys. But he's terminal. The bone cancer is going to kill him faster than side effects from the drugs.

You might want to look into turmeric paste. Supposedly it can help with inflammation quite a bit.
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