This is Deb Walz’s Golden Retriever Selka, or more formally, Sandhill’s Goldust Selka. A lover of the sport no matter what the season, he also enjoys dumping snow from his Frisbee onto his head! Now, that is what we call one thinking Golden! According to Deb, Selka is a joy to everyone who knows him and spends his time retrieving, working as a therapy dog or laying in Mom’s lap. Selka has greeted folks for years at our foundation’s page on the sport of Canine Frisbee.
So, we were especially sad to receive this news today from Deb:
Rochelle, I wanted to share the sad news that our beloved golden Selka has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Amputation was not a good choice as he has some neuropathy in his hind legs and probably could not walk on three legs. We are doing the best we can, loving him as we always do and spoiling him until the time comes to say goodbye. We do not want him to suffer at all. You will remember the photo of him in the winter with his red frisbee that you used in one of your sections here.
Tripawds has a great article on the new options for patients like Selka.
More recently, there is a promising new option for non-amputation candidates: bisphosphonates. You’ve probably heard of them: Fosamax and Boniva are two. This class of drugs is used in human patients with osteoperosis, or those with prostate or breast cancer that has metastasized to bone.
Now, many veterinary oncologists are using bisphosphonates for canine patients, to build and stabilize bone, and effectively manage pain. In some cases, bisphosphonates can also be used for dogs with osteosarcoma metastasis to bony areas such as the spine or skull.
Typically, non-amputee dogs being treated for osteosarcoma are given the bisphosphonate drug Pamidronate. This drug is given as a two hour IV injection every four weeks. Pamidronate may also be given in conjunction with radiation therapy for pain control.
At the Veterinary Cancer Center (VCC), dogs have the most powerful bisphosphonate available; Zoledronate. For the last year, the VCC team has conducted a Zoledronate clinical trial on dogs with bone cancer, and so far, the results are promising.
I actually know of a canine patient who has been on Pamidronate for almost a year and is now able to run and play like old times, before being diagnosed. I do not have detailed information regarding the Zoledronate clinical trial which is being conducted at the Veterinary Cancer Center in Santa Fe, NM, but contact information is available here.