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By: Amy Drake

WEEK ONE. Our dearly loved 6 1/2 year old male Golden Retriever, Koda, starting limping and licking his distal carpus (wrist) and laying down more frequently on walks/runs/bike rides.  Then noticed a few days later there was swelling.  Thought he had arthritis or a sprain/ strain front left carpus (wrist), so we ordered Dasuquin online and administered 2x day, he thought they were treats.  Also ordered Foster & Smith ramp for vehicle and home stairs, they great prices
Also gave baby aspirin for some pain management.

WEEK TWO. Koda was still limping and the swelling would not reduce, even with an ice pack.  Needed x-ray’s to see if he broke something.  Also in greater need of prescribed pain management. Vet immediately looked at x-rays and diagnosed osteosarcoma (shocked!)  Time to process and research.  Good site and research studies shows breed predispositions to cancer, median age, download full PDF, you’ll find it super informative, we sure did.

Koda Left Front Limb 4 24 13
Day 1.  Time to get a second opinion, #2 Vet also diagnosed osteosarcoma or fungal myelitis (, and did LOTS of research! Good case study
Ordered cancer kit
Started Budwig 2x daily (flax oil puréed in organic low fat/ low sugar cottage cheese, also started a vet prescribed pain management cocktail: Vetprofen, Tramadol and Gabapentin, Read Three Legs & A Spare , informative site                                                                              

Day 2. After a night of research learned we need a stat radiology report; which determined same as second opinion looked mostly like osteosarcoma with likeness of fungal myelitis. Another night spent researching opinions. Titanium implant vs. whole limb amputation.  Started a raw/whole food diet (dehydrated holistic food from Honest Kitchen

Day 3. Third opinion and consultation with primary Vet (since I rushed to get him in to get x-rays).  Cancer thankfully did not show it traveled to lungs (note that there could still be cancerous cells there, also in kidneys or liver).  Vet recommended a bone aspirate to determine fungal vs. cancer.

Day 4. Bone aspirate/ biopsy was done with blood tests, researching outcomes of each disease and watched LOTS of informative videos from vet techs and D.V.M online.

Day 5. More research and youtube watching of amputees and options.  Also, ordered ruff ware web master harness from amazon prime, check it out Harness_2  you’ll need it, especially for the first three days.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Day 6. Pathology report rendered Osteosarcoma.  Another meeting with primary vet to review report and determine next steps.  Amputation is the best option for a pain-free life as cancerous cells could be up his aim, scapular disarticulation was scheduled in two days!  Take time for rest and research. is great too!  You’ll question amputation or euthanasia.  Ask: What is my pets life expectancy?  Is he/she full of energy?  Are they in their prime?  How is their mental/physical state?

WEEK THREE. Amputation (first night should be spent with your vet, then expect to be close-by for at least two weeks till staples come out)
Day 1. Early morning amputation, no food within 12 hrs of surgery. Left bed, worn shirt, blanket, and dog toy for ICU. Late afternoon dropped off food (honest kitchen), Answer (goats milk), pediasure (too much sugar but Koda tried some), and vet fed some soft food too.  Give kisses, encouraging words saying how proud you are of him and loved on him in the ICU. Prepare house! We cleaned the house very thoroughly, set-up bedroom in living room (confine area), soft beds with towels.  Get first aid surgical dressing, large male Golden used two 5 IN x 9 IN sterile pads, polysporin, and skin tape, you’ll need for the first couple days.  In these days, there will be oozing, pooling of blood and it will discharge when they move around.

Day 2. We picked-up my Golden in late afternoon and discharged with D.V.M. Vet and techs fit Web Master Harness.
Prepared house! Multiple dog beds in living room area as they are super tired from meds and surgery (need plenty of rest), lay down yoga mats for added grip on slick surfaces (runners), humidifier, wash dog toys, and soft towels laid on bed for a couple of days.  Make sure you have surgical pads and pain-free tape, keep wound clean and dry! That way you do not worry as much!
Fentanyl made him extremely tired, drowsy, and could hardly move. Gave plenty of water when he came home, then fed within an hour. Had to feed by hand due to him being too sedated and couls not stand for more then 30 secs.  Due to fentanyl, my Golden didn’t pee till next morning, tried three times throughout the night, he just took a step or two and laid down. Carried him outside in dog bed.  Encourage, reassure, and give much love!

Day 3. Back to Vet in the morning to remove IV catheter, he ate/drank standing-up and going potty on own (was close-by in case of a nose-dive).  Peed in morning and laid outside in the sun till Vet opened.  At the Vet, no additional fentanyl was needed, which I am glad, as soon as it wore off around 11am my Golden was walking and peeing on own.  Lots of rest, sun/ fresh air, and encouragement by his pack-leader(s).  Changed bandage 2x a day, was hardly bleeding by the afternoon. We asked our vet for an anti-clotting/ blood purifying supplement, the blood/pain treatment he prescribed was Yunnan Paiyao capsules (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Our Vet gave him the red/urgent pill for excessive bleeding on by day 2 afternoon bleeding stopped completely, definitely recommend Yunnan Paiyao (aka Yunnan Baiyao)

Day 4. First BM, walking around, only a little oozing at stitch site after walking around and he had plenty of rest and love.
He ate and drank while standing and going potty on own.  Rested outside in morning till 11am, played with some toys and back inside for nap/rest till mid-afternoon then back outside for potty and R&R in shade.  Applied polysporin as wound is closing well and no bleeding is occurring. Leave sides open on surgical pads for air circulation.  Always encourage, always love, and always provide water every 2-3 hours – my Golden drank LOTS of water.

Day 5. Walking and going potty on own; humans – make sure you stay close-by as you don’t want him to fall (bump or open wound).  This was a very good day he’s happy and enjoys resting outside.  Wound/stitches were looking very good. We changed pads once a day, leaving sides open for air circulation, and applied polysporin for topical antibiotic and speedy healing.

Day 6: Rehabilitation Consultation & Services for Physical Therapy

Koda 5 6 13  Koda 5 6 13

My husband and I are choosing a holistic diet/supplement treatment post-surgery and will try to administer the rest of his pain-free life; instead of radiation and chemo.   Koda’s osteosarcoma was caught early and it did not show in  the chest x-rays.  I’m daily supplements; which are: Budwig’s recipe 2x day (Barlean’s Flax Oil & organic low fat/sugar cottage cheese), Life GOLD, Nu-Pet Wafers, CAS Options, Life Vantage, E vitamin, Animal Essentials Ocean Omega Supreme and Dasuquin with MSM.  Also, considering replacing Flax with Chia Seeds.

Hope this reassures and helps reduce your “surprises” and worries in your first three weeks.

Also note we had to ask out Vet for some Acepromazine (anti-anxiety) meds as he was not sleeping much the first week after surgery, we have him one 25 mg tab with one 50 mg Tramadol and he slept through the night!

May God bless your efforts.

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49 Responses to “First Three Weeks: Canine Osteosarcoma and Amputation”

  1. benny55 said:

    YAY KODA!! You are are beautiful big boy and clearly loved to pieces!! Your surgery site certainly is colorful! My Happy Hannah’s stayed that way for at least two weeks!

    YAY for peeing and pooping……guess you were holding out for more hand fed treats:-)

    Thanks for posting such an informative chronicle of Koda’s journey. It will be extremely helpful to those goi ng through this scarey process……it’s very reassuring.

    Anyway any of us can help you during this initial recovery period, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We re here for you!

    Sounds like Kids is well on the road to recovery and yo will co t UE to see the sparkle come back.

  2. benny55 said:

    Sorry, my stupid #&$%#%$&# screen keeps disappearing on this tablet:-) 🙂

    Koda’s bone pain is now gone… soon as the surgery pain is gone he will continue to adjust so quickly and will get on with living a life full of love and job and being g spoiled:-) 🙂

    Continue to stay strong g and thanks again for your detailed and helpful account!

    Look forward to ore great updates:-)

    Sally ad Happy Hannah

  3. ohmynixon said:

    I’m sorry that you have to be here but glad you found this group. The bruising doesn’t look bad at all and incision is healing nicely. Once your fur grows in, hopefully it will be invisible.

    Hydrotherapy is great if you haven’t tried it before. I’m a bit of a cheater and like to lean against the sides so I don’t have to work so hard at first but once I’m warmed up, I’m all business. I haven’t tried it post amp yet but hope that the doc’s say I can resume normal activity tomorrow. I was upset and stood for 7 hours straight a week after my amputation and hurt myself.

  4. 3dogmom said:

    Good Luck Koda! Harley knows that he will do just fine! He told me to tell you that! This site has been a god send for us! So I hope you gain as much knowledge as we have and can help others too! We are 3 weeks post amp! Good luck!

    Ilene & Harley

  5. jerry said:

    Amy, we send all our healing wishes and love to you and Koda. May he continue to kick butt and inspire everyone for a long, long time. Keep us posted OK?

    Thank you so much for sharing these details, you are definitely going to help someone some day who desperately needs to know there is hope after a cancer diagnosis. We so appreciate your taking the time to do that for the Tripawds community.

  6. shonelle said:

    Thank you for this, our Ridgeback has a 99% chance she has OSA as we found out today, we get the biopsy back by the end of the week so heres hoping its not…. even though the X-rays are pretty clear its OSA. Not nice news to swallow when we were thinking it was a tendon or broken bone. She is only 2.5 years old. Not sure if its worth taking the leg or if we should think other thoughts. The lung X-ray there was nothing but who’s to say it hasn’t spread. Sigh.

  7. shonelle said:

    Also, how is Koda?

  8. Amy Drake said:

    Koda passed away 12/13/13 due to cancer. He lived seven months after his amputation.

    Recommend chest x-rays every other month, if not once a month.

    Last months warning signs: red eye (cancer tumor, detached retina) and cough (cancer in lungs, later coughed spots of blood).

    To make heaven the perfect resting place for loved ones we adore, God made sure those Pearly Gates contained a doggy door.

    RIP my dear companion, family, friend, love and miss you Koda; you’ll always have a BIG place in our hearts.

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