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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Labrador 7years old with hind leg amputation due to osteosarcoma

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Labrador 7years old with hind leg amputation due to osteosarcoma last October. 4 cycles of chemotherapy. Has been well. Off his food today. Was coughing yuesterday. Unwell today but does eat all sorts. Thoughts please

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


The dilemma of situations like Ollie's is that we always have to ask ourselves if his current signs are related to his cancer or if they are unrelated and linked to everyday issues that any dog could face (ie like his eating all sorts).

Now if his cough was severe, profuse, or productive; I would advise it best to have him checked out when his vet is open. It is possible that he has just developed a wee upper respiratory infection, but we can also see lungworm (especially if he finds snails/slugs tasty) and even pneumonia start in this manner. Furthermore, and of special consideration here, we do have to appreciate that osteosarcomas do have a nasty habit of spreading to lungs (and can be missed at initial x-rays if they had only been micro-metastasis at that time). Therefore, it is always a good idea to have any lung or airway changes be checked by his vet.

As long as they don't hear any increased respiratory noise or areas of dullness (an x-ray can be taken if there is doubt), you can focus on some supportive care for his lack of appetite (which to be honest is something I consider a red flag for this food-loving breed). In regards XXXXX XXXXX care for potential GI upsets, you can consider putting him on a light/easily digestible diet. Examples include cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). The easily digestible diet tends to be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. And if a infectious agent is brewing in his GI, then we want to be making his ability to gain nutrients as easy as possible for the gut. You want to offer small frequent meals, as this will also aid in absorption and avoid over-stressing his gut. If he does settle on this diet, then we'd want to keep him on it for at least a week and then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over another week.

Further to this, since nausea often puts dogs off their food (even if not vomiting), we can consider starting an antacid with him. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to use are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). These are usually given 20 minutes before food (to allow absorption). Of course, we don't want to use this without speaking to his vet if he has any other pre-existing issues or is on any medication currently that you have not noted.

Overall, whenever we have a patient like Ollie, our considerations must include issues that could be related to his cancer but also those that would effect him as it would any other dog. Therefore, if he is off his food, then it is worth trying to settle his stomach and trialling a light diet. But if he is coughing severely, then we'd really want to get this checked for him since it is possible this is just an infectious process but we cannot be sure that it isn't related to his cancer progressing.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
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