Osteosarcoma decisions. When to say goodbye?

My heart dog was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She’s been lame about two months, and we’ve been giving her pain meds, but the cancer just showed up on X-rays yesterday.

According to the vet, it’s aggressive. Statistically, she said, we can only keep her comfortable with meds with 2-3 more months. The only other choice is amputation and chemo, and that would only buy a few more months. She’s on meloxicam and gabapentin already. I would say it helps less and less every day. She hobbles around the house, but can no longer go on walks.

I could try and change up her pain meds. I could try CBD oil. I could try a ketamine shot. But it’s all just palliative care. I wonder if I’m just dragging this out for my benefit. But on the other hand, she still seems to enjoy being in my company.

I really just don’t know what to do. Part of me doesn’t want her to suffer, but part of me believes she wants to hang on longer. Advice welcome.


I’m sorry. Poor dog. I have always let my pets decide for the most part. When they quit fighting, I quit fighting. Although some of them wanted to battle on when it was clearly not for the best.

it’s the part of pet ownership I hate.


My husband & I have had to deal with this multiple times with retired racing greyhounds where unfortunately it’s a fairly common issue. There’s now data showing it seems to have a strong genetic component but no solid test yet.

The challenging thing with this diagnosis is that by the time it’s obvious the bone is usually weakened from the inside. The worst case scenario is that the dog can literally break the leg because the bone is so weak. We had this happen once with an undiagnosed case and it was a truly horrible experience that I never want to repeat.

Because of this, we have always made the decision to euthanize soon after the diagnosis. It totally sucks because our dogs have usually still felt relatively well and are not clearly ready to go. However, given the pain they can experience from a bone break we make the call much sooner than we would like.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss. It’s not fun and I wish you all the best as you work through your decision.


Thank you so much. I am going to accept that offer and send you a pm.

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Sadly, we are going through the same thing. I am leaning towards euthanasia sooner than later. One thing I have read about osteosarcoma is that each day is a little worse. The idea of making her bear more and more pain for my benefit hurts my heart. I can’t watch her suffer that way.

Hugs to you. I know exactly how hard this is.


I’m so sorry for you and your dog. As greyhound owner I’m terrorized by osteo, luckily so far my goofy boy is good (he has plenty of other problems anyway…)

I had to put down two senior dogs for other issues and I second shiloh, I quit when they quit, but the perspective of a broken bone would make me anticipate it, I guess

I’m jingling for you and your sweet one. My mom has lost two to osteosarcoma of the jaw (Australian shepherds are prone to it), which was tough because they get so disfigured. They’ll be at the bridge to greet your girl.

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No advice, just sympathy.

It’s a brutal diagnosis. Wishing you wisdom and grace as you wrestle with your decision.

I’m so sorry. Hugs.

I am really sorry you are having to deal with this. :cry: Cancer sucks!
We have had two dogs with bone cancer. The first time, it was visible on xray very shortly after the dog became lame. We kept him on pain meds for about 3 months. We were afraid of a break at that point and PTS.
The second case was last fall. My heart dog who had injured the growth plate in that leg as a pup. She had arthritis in that hock, so when she became more lame, we thought it was her hock. In Nov she became non-weight bearing, and after multiple hospital visits, they took an xray of her femur, which had a soft swelling over it by then, and detected the cancer there. She was put down the same day, as we could not manage her as a 3 legged dog (180lbs). Looking back, she reacted slightly when I massaged that hip back in Aug, but she was so polite, I didn’t think it was anything besides a tight muscle.
Tufts at one time was doing a trial for a vaccine, does anyone know what happened with that? The limb had to be amutated, so it wasn’t an option for some dogs, but it would be great if it actually worked for the ones that could use it.

I’m so deeply sorry you are struggling with this and have so much compassion for your sweet pup. I’ll share my experience with osteosarcoma and what in hindsight I’d do differently. Years ago I had a beautiful 11 year old Golden who one day started to limp on her front leg. I took her to the vet and they xrayed her leg. Osteosarcoma. There were discussions about amputation. But vet oncologist said it was likely in her lungs. Recommended chemo. I agreed. The next 21/2 months we’re a blur as I watched my sweet beautiful dog decline. All the meds and the chemo only prolonged her suffering. I wish with every part of me on that first day I had loaded her into the truck bought her a bag of cheeseburgers let her eat to her hearts content and then driven back to let her go. Never again. I’m so sorry.

Edited to add … in MY instance… I realize now that I should have made the inevitable choice. Early. When she was still bright but obviously struggling with OC. It’s very painful. Osteosarcoma. It wasn’t ever going to get better so I see now that I should have just let her go. I carry that regret. I think that any angst I would have had for choosing too soon would pale in comparison to what I now understand. Would pale in comparison to watching the kindest dog I’ve ever met march towards her end. Never again.


This is hard to read, but important to read. Thank you for responding. The vet suggested amputation and chemo. Even then, it’s only a 6-7 month prognosis. No way am I putting her through all that.

I think I’m going to spend the next week spoiling her rotten, and then kiss her goodbye, until we meet again on the bridge.


Bless you and may you find peace in knowing you spared her any more pain. Jingles and hugs for both of you. :broken_heart: :broken_heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:


This is a tough tough diagnosis and too common, sadly. Peace to you.


My heart goes out to you both. Again I am so sorry. I’ve made a lot of end of life decisions for my beloved pets in my 53 years. Hers was by far the one I most regret. Not just because I lost a dog who was my heart but more so because I think I was easing myself into losing her when there was no other ending. I hesitated to be so frank. But If I could go back I would. And I would have loved her and spoiled her in the twilight before the end and then I would have ended he pain before the darkness closed in.


Hugs to you, OP and sending lots of love for your girl :heart::heart::heart:


I’m so sorry, but I do think you’re doing the right thing. I don’t have any experience with osteosarcoma, but I’ve been in the position where I wish I had made the decision earlier rather than later.

Hugs and jingles to you and your sweet dog.


So sorry you are going through this.

I’d try the ketamine. I have a dog that gets ketamine every few weeks for arthritis pain and it’s very helpful. That will make her more comfortable short term to give you a little time to process and make your decision.

Further treatment is a very personal choice. Having seen a couple of friend’s dogs go through the amputation and chemo for osteosarcoma, I’d probably not go through that with one of my dogs, but I also don’t fault them for making that choice for their own dog.

This is the only part of pet ownership I don’t like. It is something we all have to deal with in some way, shape or form and no matter how many times or how many different situations we find ourselves in , it is always a struggle knowing what to do.

I hope you have a great week spoiling her , loving her and that she is comfortable. Bless you for letting her go.


better an hour too early than a day to late. The only thing i’ve ever regretted when putting down a beloved four legged, (or two legged and two winged)…is not doing it sooner.

It is the final loving act.

Try not to let her find you sad. Then she’ll feel she has to cheer you up.