August was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in August of 2016. I opted for a course of treatment that included amputation of the affected leg followed by four rounds of chemotherapy. Amputation is really the only way to completely eliminate the initial pain of this disease and while it was a tough decision, I knew it was the only way to give August a fighting chance as well.
A year and two months later, I don’t regret my decision one bit. She is a happy, active girl these days and I am cherishing every single day. A bone cancer diagnosis is not good. As in, this cancer is terminal. There are very few studies on osteosarcoma but the general consensus on life expectancy isn’t promising. Without amputation a dog might have a few months. With amputation, a dog might have six months or more. With amputation and chemo, a dog might have up to a year. That’s where the statistics on life expectancy end and anecdotal evidence comes in. Since we’ve made it a year, I consider every extra day a gift. I’m encouraged by stories of dogs who have lived two or more years post-diagnosis.
I’m also painfully aware of the stories of dogs who only made it a few months, even with amputation and chemo. This disease sucks but the shining light is that August has no idea she has cancer. She has not slowed down one bit and has adapted to life on three legs like a champ. I don’t know how much longer she has, but I know she amazes me every single day and I hope her survival story encourages other dog parents who are dealing with this disease.
For some excellent information, tips, and general support, check out the Bone Cancer Dogs Support Group on Facebook.