My 8.5 year old GSD is sick. Please help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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My 8.5 year old GSD is sick. Please help

About 4 weeks ago my 8.5 year old GSD Mariah came up with a limp one evening on a walk. I assumed she pulled something and the limp would go away in a few days. Unfortunately the limp got worse and she started to suffer from other symtpoms. She was lethargic, seemed depressed, wasn't eating and it appeared that all of her legs were getting weaker.I took her to the vet and they did bloodwork which revealed she had anaplasmosis although the rest of her bloodwork came back fine. The vet gave me amoxicillin for the anaplasma and rymadol for her leg pain. He told me it'd clear up in a few days but it didn't, the limping became worse. I took her back to the vet who noticed her front legs were unusually swollen. The vet did x rays on both front legs and broke the most heart breaking news... the left front leg looked like it was developing osteosarcoma. I originally took her back to the vet because I didn't think the anaplasma was clearing up and I wanted stronger medicine than amoxicillin. The vet prescribed menocyline for the anaplasma which she's been on now for 6 days. In the meantime, the vet sent the x rays to the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school for a second opinion. I've yet to hear back regarding the x rays... my vet keeps following up but the UPENN doctor sent the x rays to a bone specialist and has yet to hear back.

My main questions are A) will the anaplasma take awhile to cure and will it cause severe arthritis like symptoms? 4 weeks ago Mariah is running and playing fine, showing absolutely no signs of pain. She had a full appetite as well.

And B) if she does have osteosarcoma, will it effect her entire body causing stiffness in all legs, lack of appetite, and lethargy?

It's so heartbreaking to see Mariah in her current state. She lies down all day, only getting up when I help her up to eat or go outside. She was such an active dog and it really confuses me how she's gone downhill so fast within a month. I know she's getting up there in age but she was in great shape, had plenty of exercise and ate well.

Has anyone experienced anaplasmosis and osteosarcoma and similar symptoms with their GSD?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 12:52 AM
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I had a big GSD mix that developed osteosarcoma at the age of nine. It was in his left front leg. Because he was in such good health otherwise, I made the decision (with encouragement from the vet ) to amputate his front leg. Amputation took place just before 4 July. I ended up putting him to sleep September 12, 2001. Although he got along okay without his front leg, (back leg is definitely easier though) it didn't seem to buy him any time at all. In the week before I put him to sleep, it became clear by his fever and general disposition that the cancer had spread. He did okay on temporary steroids but when we stopped, the look on his face told me the end wasn't far away and I didn't want to wait until he was suffering like that again.

At the time I had three very small children and I did not have the money to spend on chemotherapy, nor did I think that my dog would've enjoyed spending eight hours a day at the vet once a week for treatment. Looking back, I would not have made him suffer through the amputation again. It only bought him about two months. And those two months were agony for me, although I'm not sure how it was for him. I do believe that he wondered where his leg went, although animals are so much more stoic and don't see things the way humans do. I think the smaller the dog, the easier it is, and he stood almost 30 inches at the withers and weighed a hundred and 21 pounds.

I wish you the best of luck.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:57 AM
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I have no advice just wanted to give my sympathies and hope for the best for you and your girl!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 07:42 AM
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An update on anaplasmosis in dogs - Veterinary Medicine=

This is an article on anaplasmosis, which is a TICK disease, usually treated with doxycycline, but the cost of doxy has sky rocketed so I'm sure vets are tryin other meds.

YES, anaplasmosis will exhibit all the symptoms you said, but unfortunately so does osteosarcoma.

My dogs are chronic for anaplasmosis, when I treat, I treat aggressively, 5mg per body weight of doxy twice a day, for atleast a month and half.

I'm sorry your girl is going thru this and also hope for the best for you both

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 11:33 AM
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I talked to a vet who did an amputation because of osteosarcoma. It never came back and the dog dies years later of unrelated causes.
I believe osteosarcoma is extremely painful and makes the bone brittle and prone to breaks. Amputation a chemo are recommended.
I hope it comes back as non-cancerous.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 12:58 PM
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Just hope that it's anaplasmosis - because from the sound of things she is lame in more than one leg and if it is bone cancer in more than one leg, amputation is not an option, the prognosis is not good.

BTW to the person that amputated in July and the dog lived until Sept. -- that was extra time. I lost one from bone cancer in November. He came up gimpy one day, didn't resolve, took him in a few days later, got pain meds, one week later we were at a specialist because he started having seizures, the following weekend he was gone. Sooo hoping the OP gets the alternative instead of cancer.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 01:49 PM
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I know it was. Eight extra weeks of agony watching my dog learn how to get along without his front leg. Listening to the sound of him yelping when he hit the stump while he was healing. Knowing all the while that this is probably not going to buy him a significant amount of time in the end.

To each his own. But to me, prolonging his life at eight weeks seemed to do more harm to him than good. I still feel guilty. I wish I had let him go on the upside.

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