Osteosarcoma in Scottish Deerhounds
Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is one of the three main health challenges faced by the Scottish Deerhound; the other two are bloat and cardiomyopathy.
In May of 2005, my dog Raven was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left rear leg. This was the first time we have ever had bone cancer in any of our dogs, and the news hit very hard.
On June 10, Raven's leg was amputated. She adapted well and quickly to being a three-legged dog, and when I went to put her into the car to take her home from the hospital, she leapt in. That night she jumped up onto the bed.
Unfortunately, amputation alone is only a treatment for the terrible pain of this disease, not a treatment for the cancer itself. We pursued chemo and a couple of experimental therapies for Raven, as well as holistic alternatives, but on Sept. 26, 2005, we lost her - only four months after the very first sign she was ill.
I want to thank many people for their kindness and support in the difficult time with Raven:
Fellow deerhounder Mary Ann Rose, a human radiation oncologist who offered to have veterinary oncology legend Greg Ogilvie, DVM, phone me - and within seven minutes, he did, offering advice without any "beating around the bush."
My own vet, internal medicine specialist and greyhound breeder Helen Hamilton, who added Raven to the list of my dogs whose lives she saved when she brought Raven back from a severe post-surgical aspiration pneumonia, and who fought as hard as I did.
My friends who were there for me in so many ways: Gina Spadafori, who posted Raven's progress on her blog when I wasn't able to keep in touch; Mary Straus, who came and sat with me and Raven at the hospital; Nancy Campbell, RVT, who shared her support and professional knowledge when I needed both; Shari, Judy, and Gil... the gals on the Highway, who helped bring me and Raven through; KT Jorgensen, who was in the middle of a website redesign for me and put everything on hold the minute we got the news, and turned from web designer to friend instantly; the wonderful people in the Circle of Grey, who shared lots of great information and support but most meaningfully ... photos of greyhounds with three legs, running and playing; Jean Shirkoff, whose story of Sengha made all the difference to me; and all the deerhound and greyhound people who reached out with their stories and experience.
My mom who stayed at home and cared for the other dogs and cats, letting me be with Raven, and my brother McKenzie and sister-in-law Meewon, who came to the hospital to see Raven and keep my spirits up when things seemed darkest.
My boss, Jeff Barringer, CEO of PetHobbyist.com, who knows that "family" doesn't stop at the species line.
Support Canine Cancer Research
The Morris Animal Foundation gives more than $4 million annually toward research into animal health, including canine osteosarcoma. To help support this work, donations can be made at http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/, although if you want to specify that your donation go to cancer research, they ask that you phone 800-243-2345.
The American Kennel Club and many of its breed-related member clubs (including the Scottish Deerhound Club of America) also support research into canine osteosarcoma though the AKCís Canine Health Foundation. They accept donations on the web at http://www.akcchf.org/ or by phone at 888-682-9696.
For more information on osteosarcoma in Scottish Deerhounds, or in other breeds of dog, please click on the links on the right.