Wednesday, February 8, 2023


Our little boy who is 10.5 years old has bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in his front right leg. He started limping on January 12th. We figured something was just twisted but I made a vet appointment for Monday night when we came back from the beach in case he was still limping. I ended up taking him and they gave him an anti-inflammatory and said let’s schedule an X-ray for Friday in case he’s not better. 

Unfortunately he wasn’t and I found out that afternoon that he had bone cancer. The rest of him looked okay by way of X-ray but that’s not 100% and we were on to the oncologist. 

Getting into a veterinary oncologist in a timely manner is wild. I blew up everyone in Charlotte’s phone, asked a couple of veterinary doc friends and called NC State. There was one particular doc in Charlotte that everyone told me we had to see. I couldn’t get an appointment with her for two weeks. I called back randomly on a Friday and asked if she had anything for earlier (even though we were on the waitlist) and unbelievably a Monday appointment had opened up (last Monday). This was 1.5 weeks sooner than I thought I could see her. At this point I already had begged for an appointment at NC State which I have for later in February in case we need it. 

When we went to see her, she literally walked into the room and sat on the floor with Mills. We talked for an hour. She is AMAZING. 

She had a good plan. Have him seen by a cardiologist to be sure a spot on the X-ray on his heart was nothing (it was nothing).  Have him seen by an Ortho surgeon to see if he’s a candidate for amputation (we aren’t sure of this, thinking not because of an ACL repair 5 years ago). Amputation is the preferred way to get rid of what he has as long as it hasn’t spread. And she scheduled him for an in depth CT scan with a radiation oncologist involved in that scan so in case radiation became the preferred way to go, the pre planning would be done. 

CT scan happened last Wednesday. While he was under, they also removed a cyst that turned out to be benign, and aspirated another spot on his left side that was benign. I found out on Monday night that the CT scan was also relatively clear. A enlarged lymph node was found that we may investigate but no macro spread of metastatic cancer. They were shocked! Evidently osteosarcoma is not typically in the leg as a primary source. 

So now, how do we treat it? Over the last two days, I’ve talked to the oncologist and the radiation oncologist about options and asked them a zillion questions/options/opinions. The answer is - it’s a hard decision and we still don’t know what is best for Mills and us. Some options:

1. Amputation plus chemo (leaning towards not this because I cannot imagine amputating a 10.5 year old leg with his rear legs already sort of compromised).  All four vets I’ve talked to have said amputation completely removes the pain which is why it’s recommended. Have to consider it if four very smart docs told me this. Chemo to kill all of the micro osteosarcoma cells in his body. 

2. Radiation plus chemo. Two kinds of radiation - palliative or stereotactic. Both different in many ways, including cost. Stereotactic is best if the lymph node looks okay. It’s a much more directed and aggressive treatment. Palliative is a bit more reactionary and kind of a last resort. Also chemo for same reason as above. 

3. Do nothing now and see how the next month goes. They do think the growth of his lesion is slow moving because of how happy and moving around he is. He’s still running and walking and normal other than a slight limp. It was caught very early. 

There are other considerations too.  The lesion could break down his bone and cause it to fracture which will occur over time. There are bone strengthening meds we can do. We could put him through the radiation and chemo then his bone could fracture the next week. Also, the time we could gain depending on which option above we chose is to be considered. 

Lots of things to think about. And we have to act quickly. If you’ve been through this and have any advice or insight, please comment below! Thank you! 

At the end of the day we will make the best decision for Mills that we can. We won’t make him miserable to extend his life for us. 

We LOVE our Mills! 


  1. I am praying for sweet Mills, he brightens my day every time he's on the blog. Sending you all good vibes for the coming weeks and decisions, it is not easy and I can't imagine the toll it is taking on all of you. <3 Mills!!!

  2. Oh, Mills!! I'm so sorry that you are all going through this, but it sounds like you have great doctors and support. You'll make the decision that is best for your buddy, trust your gut.