Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For the comparatively few old Sacramento friends who still read this blog I decided to post some news that is troubling but that everyone still should know about.

In early February I took Abner to our vet here because for the third time in less than three months he was not putting weight on his right hind leg whenever possible. Over the course of the next few weeks he had a multitude of x-rays, blood tests, fungal and tick titers, an abdominal ultrasound, and finally a bone biopsy but no conclusive diagnosis could be reached. After a month we were at the point where I had three vets all of whom feared deep down that this was Osteosarcoma. This is a very nasty, aggressive, fast-moving bone cancer that for some reason is attacking the giant breeds ferociously. I personally have known three Pyrs that have died of this horrible disease and was crushed to hear that it was likely that Abner had it.

Nonetheless, I was encouraged to have the offending leg amputated and if the pathology on the removed leg confirmed that the problem was Osteosarcoma as predicted, to follow up with chemotherapy.

So, on March 5th Abner has his right hind leg amputated at Upstate Veterinary Specialists. This procedure as well as the bone biopsy a couple weeks earlier were performed by a surgeon by the name of Matt Ritter about whom i cannot say enough good things.

It has now been 9 days since his surgery and Abner is doing incredibly well. He walks all over the house unassisted on three legs pretty much as he pleases. I won't let him try stairs without support yet and when we walk outside I use a nylon sling to take some of the load, particularly after he gets tired. Still, to be this few days post surgery and to see him doing so well is quite gratifying. It was a hard decision to allow this to be done to him but it is a huge relief to see him adapt so quickly.

Yesterday the pathology report came back confirming the tentative diagnosis of OSA so the plan now is to have his condition evaluated on Monday, have his staples removed, and assuming things look good regarding his recovery from the surgery, we will start chemotherapy on Tuesday. If anyone is interested in more detail about what is going on or what has happened to this point, send me an email. Otherwise I will post updates from time to time. In general though, I am amazed and consequently encouraged by Abner's rapid adaptation to life with three legs. He continues to be a very remarkable dog.