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Dr. Whitehead
Dr. Whitehead, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4055
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, internship trained, with 5 years of experience in high quality practice treating dogs, cats, and some exotics.
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My black lab mix has bone cancer. She is anywhere from 10 -

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My black lab mix has bone cancer. She is anywhere from 10 - 13 years old. She was diagnosed about a month ago and the vet at the time said she had 2 - 3 weeks. Her pain is being managed and she seems to be "okay" as far as pain. Recently, she started to loose control of her back legs (which were bad to begin with.) In addition, she did not poop today. I have been feeding her high quality canned food. I don't know if that makes a difference. Her breath is smelling bad as well. Any thoughts on what might be going on –– considering she has bone cancer (in her front left leg joint)? Other than that, she seems lucid. Thank you for your insight.
Hello there. My name isXXXXX and I am very sorry to hear about Hannah but it sounds like you all are doing a good job controlling her pain. The back leg issue is most likely related to her age. Dogs her age can have arthritis in their hips that can cause discomfort and pain but can also cause weakness in their hind legs. They also can have degenerative neuro diseases that cause the signals in their hind limbs not travel well causing this weakness and loss of control. Finally they can have changes in their spine. Disks can become arthritic in her spine which can put pressure on nerves and leading to this weakness. So those are three very likely causes in a dog her age. Unfortunately for any of these there is not really any great treatments. Even arthritis medications such as non steroidal anti inflammatories dont do much. These disorders just require nursing care and support. Help getting up and down and support going up and down stairs. X rays of her hips can rule in or out bad arthritis and your doctor can try additional anti inflammatory medications to see if this helps at all but unfortunately is not likely. So I would just monitor and help her with support and helping her up and down. Support can be accomplished by slinging a towel under her belly and using that for support.

The bowel movement is not a concern as long as she is not straining to defecate. If she just isn't going then that isn't a huge concern. The methadone she is on can cause her bowels to slow and she may only have a bowel movement every couple of days. Feeding the canned food is great and will help somewhat but adding in a couple scoops of canned pumpkin without the spices definitely can help too. If she starts to actually strain though and is not producing any stool then adding in a few pinches of miralax (the human laxative) to each meal will help soften her stools and get stuff moving.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. i wish i had a good fix for the weakness in her hind limbs but again i see this frequently and nothing seems to improve the issue just supportive nursing care. Please do not forget to rate my response so I receive credit for my time. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you! I will try some pumpkin. You have eased my mind. Any thoughts on her bad breath. I saw a few things online about kidney or liver problems...or lung cancer. I know bone cancer can spread to the lungs.
Ohh yes sorry I meant to address this. Most likely the breath is related to the canned food. Canned food causes worth breath than dry food because the crunching action of the dry food helps scrape tartar off the teeth. The canned food allows more of this to build up causing bad breath. She would be feeling a lot more sick if her kidneys were bad enough or liver was bad enough to cause a change in her breath. This is not likely. Also if she is not coughing, having shortness of breath, or trouble breathing then most likely it is not lung cancer. Most likely again related to the canned food. I hope that helps and makes sense also!
Dr. Whitehead and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you again! I was so worried and you put me to ease. It must just be the canned food then because she is not showing any of the other signs. She occasionally pants, but that seems connected to pain/stress and goes away when she lays down and/or I reposition her on her bed. Thank you again!

You are very welcome! Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. I would be happy to help. Please do not forget to rate my response so I can receive credit for my time. Thank you !
Dr. Whitehead and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi L,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Hannah. How is everything going?

Dr. Whitehead
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She is doing well considering the circumstances. She has since had several bowel movements and is doing better. Thank you!

I am glad to hear she is hanging in there. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. You are welcome!