Gus is an 11 year old Bouvier Des Flanders. When his owners noticed he seemed to be favouring his right hind leg, they brought him to Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic for an examination. Dr. Palmer found that Gus seemed uncomfortable when he tried to bend or flex the right knee and hip and there was less muscle mass on the right hind leg compared to the left. Given Gus’s age, size and breed it was most likely that Gus had either tore a ligament in his knee (cruciate ligament) or had arthritis in the hip joint. Dr. Palmer recommended that Gus be sedated and x-rayed to assess things further.
Unfortunately the x-rays revealed changes in the right femoral neck region (the upper part of the thigh bone that connects the “ball” part of the hip joint to the rest of the thigh bone) that were very suspicious of osteosarcoma – ie bone cancer.
Just like in people, bone cancer is a very aggressive and painful form of cancer for dogs. Treatment options include amputation of the affected limb plus or minus chemotherapy and radiation. Because of the seriousness of the disease, Dr. Palmer recommended that Gus’s owners take him to a veterinary cancer centre such as Michigan State University or Ontario Veterinary College for advanced diagnostics and treatment options.
While at Michigan State University, the diagnosis of cancer was confirmed and Gus underwent major surgery to amputate his right hind leg and remove part of his pelvis. Since the tumour is a source of significant pain, the best way to control the pain in these patients is to remove the tumour by amputating the leg. It was then decided that Gus would be treated with chemotherapy to try and delay or prevent the tumour from coming back elsewhere in his body and to “buy” Gus some good quality time with his family. He had his first chemotherapy treatment at Michigan State and the rest have been given here at Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic.
It has been three months now and Gus is doing great! Throughout his journey, he has been an absolute trooper and a pleasure to work with – earning himself lots of fans both at MSU and Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic. He has adapted very well to life on three legs and is enjoying every day with his family to the fullest.