Are you sure I lost a leg? You wouldn’t have known it today. My Mom took me for a long walk down by the river with my cousin, Abby (she is a 11 year old black lab). It was muddy but oh so fun! We ran, sniffed, and chased a squirrel up a tree. I got a bit stuck in the woods at one point, it was hard to climb up the steep bank but my Mom helped guide me up an easier way that didn’t have so many twigs and tree roots. I also walked up and down about 40 wooden steps in the woods to get to the river. My Mom made me turn around at the 1 km mark because we still had to get back to the house but I wanted to keep going (I think she was worried I would get too tired out). My Mom was very suprised that I could do that! The weather was great for fall in Alberta (+10 C outside today). At the end of the walk I had a nice warm shower to get all the mud off me and my roughwear harness. Tonight I get to look forward to all the little trick or treaters coming to the door to visit me! Happy happy day indeed.
It’s been awhile! Hard to believe in a couple of days we will be three weeks post op. Solo continues to heal well and is easily adjusting to life on three legs. It is also amazing how quickly the hair grows back in! We finally received the results from the bone biopsies. Initially we were told that she had “synovial cell” sarcoma but the biopsies confirmed that it was a form of osteosarcoma. It was very hard to receive this news as the prognosis for osteosarcoma is not as good as synovial cell. Three pathologists have reviewed the results (I believe the slides were also sent somewhere in the USA) so we are sure that it is, unfortunately, correct. It is a strange variant of osteosarcoma because it did not start in the bone but outside of the bone. We were told that perhaps it may be a less aggressive variant but we really didn’t want to know the prognosis – it won’t change anything.
Now we are just focusing on our happy girl who lives life to the fullest every day and brings us so much joy. Without a doubt we are glad we had the surgery done. Solo is in less pain and is back up to her same old goofy tricks around the house (like greeting me in the morning with a smelly sock in the face and bringing me a beloved stuffed animal when I come home from work). She loves to walk again and she wants to do our usual 2 kilometer route. We usually let her go off leash – easier for her that way. We live near a ravine and lots of off leash, safe areas for her to run. Her favorite pass time is to stop and hunt for mice in the tall grass. I am not sure if she would know what to do with a mouse if she found one! Thankfully she knows what “leave it” means! Could come in handy!
It has been exactly one week since Solo had surgery. Things are going pretty well, she is healing nicely, appetite is good and pooping regularily! She is definitely a bit glum at times though. Maybe it’s the Tramadol ( pain killer) or maybe she is just a bit sad – it is hard to know. We went for a walk today – suprisingly she wanted to go quite far! The sun was shining and all of the snow has melted. It is a beautiful warm day – we walked almost a kilometer! We took a few small breaks along the way but really enjoyed being outside in the fresh air. A couple of people stopped to give her a bit of a scrub on the head which was nice.
I am still home with Solo- we haven’t left her alone since surgery. I put on her soft collar (the one the vet gave us) and did some odd jobs around the house but when I went to check on her I found that got at her incision and had been licking it! Somehow she managed to reach it with the collar still intact. I wasn’t very happy about it but thankfully no damage to the incision had been done. I will have to find something better to cover up the area – perhaps an old t-shirt modified some way to cover it up. Could be a challenge as I am definitely NOT a sewer!
Still no word on our biospy results… could be a bit delayed as we just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. Hopefully we will have our news early next week. For now we are just going to enjoy the warm weather of the weekend and the company of our Golden.
So many of my friends brought me presents – It sure helps cheer a girl up!
About 2 years ago, during our daily walk, she slipped on the ice (we live in Canada). She walked home with a a bit of a limp but nothing too severe. We rested her and the limp got better but never went away completely. Within a couple of weeks we took her to our vet and had x rays done. There was no evidence of any serious problems and we were told that it was likely a soft tissue injury. With rest and Metacam it almost resolved but would flare up occasionally.
In May of 2009 we went to the park and kicked around a soccer ball with Solo for about 15 minutes. Later that evening she could barely walk. Again we took her to the vet and x rays were done. No conclusive information about the joint showed up so we continued with the rest and Metacam and things improved. Then in August of 2009 we noticed a small lump on the lateral side of her right rear leg. It was about the size of a chicken egg cut in half lengthwise. We had more x rays done and some blood work drawn. The x rays were also sent to the University of Saskatoon for further consultation. At that point we were told that it could be a form of cancer but may not be as the bone is not painful and there is no confirmation on x ray. There was a slight shadow of something on x ray but nothing conclusive. We were given the option of biopsy but were told that if it is arthritis from an injury then it could make the arthritis worse. Solo is extremely afraid of the vet’s office so given the history of injury we decided to wait and monitor the joint. We honestly did not believe that cancer was even a possiblity. We began doing leg and knee measurements twice a week and things remained relatively unchanged for a long period of time. We were able to go for 3 – 4 km walks every day and she walked with a slight limp but nothing too terrible. She remained happy and energetic. Then at the end of September/beginning of October the lump began to grow rapidly and Solo began limping more and more, within a few days she could not bear weight on her leg. We contacted our vet and she told us that it is highly suspicious for a form of cancer called synovial cell sarcoma. We had her in for examination immediately and x rays confirmed that it was a tumor. We were devastated as we did not want to lose our dog. The good news was that her lungs and lymph nodes looked clear. The only treatment option was amputation.
With the help and support of this website, friends and family; we quickly made the decision to amputate her leg. On Friday, October 9 Solo had her surgery and she is now 5 days post op and doing great! She is very quiet and extremely cuddly (more than usual). We have had so many people call and drop off all kinds of toys and treats for her. She is known as “the neighborhood dog” because she loves everyone she meets. She generally greets people by resting her head on their knees, looks up and waits for a rub of her head or tummy. All the kids love her and stop what ever they are doing to run over to her when we are out for our walks. We spent many evenings out around our fire pit this summer, Solo curled up with one of the kids. So here we are sharing our story and our pictures of our beautiful dog.