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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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I would like to preclude that I am a young, full-time college

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I would like to preclude that I am a young, full-time college student and I simply cannot afford a vet bill; especially if the news if a diagnosis of what my research on typical reasons for dogs holding up their paws is. I am hoping to find something more substantial from this website as far as a possible diagnosis and prognosis. My 7 year old flat-coated retriever has been holding his paw up for months, now. At first the pain seemed to be in his paw, which I thought would have gone away on its own. After about a week, he was till holding his paw up, however, the pain seemed to have migrated upward toward his elbow. The pain there lasted about two weeks, and then again migrated to his shoulder. His shoulder has grown in size considerably. My thought is it is partially from holding his leg off of the ground, however, there must be something else going on. His entire shoulder is one solid (very hard) mass of tissue; it is almost as hard as bone. Due to him keeping his paw and leg off of the ground, he has been laying a lot, not eating much or drinking much, however, he is still eating and drinking. He has lost a considerable amount of weight. He weighed 100 lbs. prior to this, and now, by estimation, he probably weighs 70 lbs. Also, he has been utilizing his other front leg to support his weight, which is now causing obvious pain. He has been licking his legs like crazy, so I know he is in pain. I have been giving him glucoseamine tablets, his food is a top shelf, Premium Edge, all natural dog food which also has glucosamine in it. In addition, I give him and arthritis medication called Arthro-Ionx, a medication that is loaded with pain management ingredients, which seem to help. He has been on the Artho-Ionx for about two-weeks now and I have not seen any improvement. I know it will take a few weeks to see results. His left leg, from paw to shoulder, is swollen, so I have been putting ice wraps on his legs several times a day to reduce the swelling, which he really seems to enjoy. His shoulder is very sensitive to touch. He displays all dog signs of having pain there. I am able to touch and hold his left paw and sort of knead it up to his elbow without any sings of pain. Just about the elbow is okay to the touch be he starts to get nervous when I gently knead or massage there. The closer to the shoulder I move, the more he is resistant; he will cover his shoulder with his head so I am unable to touch it, understandably so. On rare occasion he will allow me to put an ice pack on his upper arm/shoulder area. I am anticipating he may need surgery and I am planning to utilize my student loan funds to pay for it once they are dispersed. Regardless of the fact that he may need surgery, I am taking him to the vet immediately, as soon as I am able. Is there anything I can do in addition to help him. I was giving him buffered Bayer asprin 2 pills twice daily until I bought the Arthro-Ionx, as the aspirin is only a temporary use pain reliever. I am aware of the fact that I am not providing him with the adequate care he needs, so please do not make that a point. I feel terrible as it is. Any suggestions or advice that will be of help to him will be greatly appreciated. My e-mail address [email protected] Thank you very much. I am hoping to hear from someone soon!
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

I'm sorry to hear about your dog.

I would almost guarantee you that your dog has Osteosarcoma (OSA). This is a bone cancer that is common in medium to large breed dogs. It usually originates at the humerus (upper arm bone). It will start off by causing some mild pain. Eventually, we can see fractures through the tumor and invasion into the surrounding muscle. This makes a dog non-weight bearing on the leg and it gets a very hard feel to the area.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. Ideally we would amputate the leg and then start chemotherapy. It doesn't sound like that's an option here. The other thing we could do is start multiple pain meds. I like using an anti-inflammatory (Rimadyl) + an opiate pain med (Tramadol) + something for nerve pain (Gabapentin). These are extremely painful tumors, so I really hit them hard with pain meds.

The survival time is usually only ~ 2-4 months without any treatment. With amputation and chemo, we usually get survival times in the 9-12 month range.

For your dog, it may be best to start thinking about euthanasia. I would definitely get the x-rays first as soon as you can financially and then decide from there. In the mean time, Aspirin is really the only thing over the counter that you can give for pain. The dose is 5 mg per lb body weight every 12 hours.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the response. I was fearing the worst, that he may possibly have bone cancer. I have read a lot information about it during my research of what may be happening to my dog.


I am personally prescribed 50 mg tablets of Tramadol. May I safely give him a percentage of a tablet, a whole tablet? Or is there a type of Tramadol made for dogs?


Should I continue or discontinue the use of Arthro-Ionx at 2.5 mg b.i.d. if I am able to give him Tramadol?


As he will need a prescription for Rimadyl and Gabapentin, are you able to send these prescriptions through the mail?



Tramadol for people is the same stuff we use in dogs. In a 70 lb dog, I would give 50-100 mg every 8-12 hours. That would be 1-2 tablets 2-3 times daily.

The other joint supplement is probably not needed. It won't hurt, but it's not likely helping much.

I am not able to write scripts I'm afraid. It's against the law to prescribe for an animal without doing a physical exam. I would just give the Tramadol and Aspirin for now and save up for an exam and x-rays to do when you can.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I apologize, I had no idea that what I was asking from you was breaking the law. I certainly would not want you to do so.


Thank you for your advice.

Oh no problem, most people don't know the DEA rules/ regulations.

You're welcome.
Dr. Gary and 5 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Derek,

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

Dr. Gary