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Fig. 1

End Of Life
Treatment Options
What is Osteosarcoma? Treatment will vary depending on where the
tumour is found, if it has spread to vital
Osteosarcoma is an all too common form of bone
organs and your pets current quality of life:
cancer, particularly found within giant-large
can they toilet themselves, groom, are they
breed dogs.
free of pain and suffering?
Tumours are typically found in the front or back
legs and, from here, cancer then spreads all over Amputation of the affected limb is a
the body. common treatment option and can extend
The lungs are especially prone to being affected life expectancy by up to 12 months in some
by spreading tumours. [2] cases.
Despite removing the limb, microscopic
Osteosarcoma forms deep inside the bones and
cancer cells are likely to have already
grows outwards, gradually becoming more
spread to the lungs, so chemotherapy will
painful for your pet.
be administered in the first 4-6 weeks after
Unfortunately, even with aggressive treatment, up surgery. [2]
to 90% of dogs diagnosed with Osteosarcoma will
If amputation is not an option for your pet
eventually die as a result of the disease. [2]
then a mixture of radiation and
chemotherapy will be used until your pet
Pain Symptoms starts to show signs of pain and discomfort. [2]

Dogs and cats will hide their pain from owners for as Treatment will then be re-administered and
long as possible, so it is important to look for subtle continued until your pets quality of life starts
changes in your pets behaviour. [1] to deteriorate.

Sudden or gradual changes in: eating, drinking, Fig. 2

energy levels, sociability and general demeanor are

all indicators that your pet could be in pain and/or
feeling sick.

If you notice your pet: is struggling to breathe,

complete disinterest in food, has little-no interest in
moving around and/or does not want to be around
people, it is time to consider euthanasia as these are
all end of life behaviours. [1, 3]

[1]: Epstein, M, Kuehn, N, Landsberg, G, Schaedler, J, Tuzio, H 2005, 2005 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, American
Animal Hospital Association, viewed 10 September 2015, <>
[2]: Osteosarcoma and Your Dog 2011, The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Centre, viewed 10 September 2015,
[3]: Whiston, E n.d, Veterinary Home Euthanasia Services: Frequently Asked Questions, My Best Friend, viewed 11 September 2015,
Fig. 3

Saying goodbye to your pet

might be the right decision, but
that doesnt make it an easy one.
Our pets play an important role within our lives, so if
they become terminally ill, it can be hard and
confronting to say the final goodbye.

You and your vet will work together to make sure

your pets quality of life is not hampered by pain or
suffering. It is important for you to keep in contact Support Services
with your vet regarding your pets condition and
Everyone will grieve the loss of a pet at
behaviour at home.
different times and in a variety of ways.
When discomfort and pain begins to show, despite There is no normal when it comes to
treatment being applied, this will be the time to processing the loss of a loved one. [3]
consider euthanasia within the near future. [3]
Every 1st Thursday of the month Petsville North
You can choose to make an appointment and bring runs a group support meeting for those
your pet into the clinic; along with any family or dealing with the loss of a pet.
The meetings are open to those with
friends you would like to be present.
terminally ill pets as well as parents wanting
Alternatively, if you prefer to stay at home, we can help explaining euthanasia to their children.
refer you to at home euthanasia services, such as:
My Best Friend. [3] The Lort Smith Animal Hospital runs the
Companion Animal Loss Support Group every
It is important that you, your pet and your family are month. To find out more information contact
all comfortable and prepared for euthanasia to the Australian Centre for Grief and
occur, as the experience can be, naturally, quiet an Bereavement (ACGB- Number listed below)
emotional one. [3]

If youre in need of support,

someone to talk to or just Lifeline: 13 11 14
ACGB: (03) 9265 2100
want to get how youre Griefline: (03) 9935 7400
feeling off your chest, its Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
Parentline: 13 22 89
always okay to ask for help. Mensline: 1300 78 9978

Follow us to keep up to date with grief and loss community support meetings.


petsville north
Fig. 1: Senior Dog n.d, LuvMyDog, viewed 11 September 2015,
Fig. 2: Senior Cat n.d, ASPCS: End of Life FAQ, viewed 11 September 2015,
age/article/end-of-life-care-faq.jpg?itok=PCgu5MEi >
Fig. 3: Dog Staring at Horizon 2015, Wordpress: Brad R Torgensen, viewed 11 September