Tails From The Pack - A Dogs Tale

The adventures of "The Pack" living in the Alpujarras, the foothills of Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains, Andalucia

Bruno has bone cancer

30 July 2011

Reading time: 8 mins

My big furbro Bruno is not well. He started out showing signs of lameness, over a week or so the lameness got worse. He went to the vet who took a few x-rays and diagnosed osteoarthritis. He was put on the anti-inflammatory tablets Norocarp. But Brunos lameness got worse, he cried in pain and wouldnt use his front right leg.

The hu’parents called the vet out for a home visit. After sorting my ear out, yes I got an infection, he looked at Brunos leg again. The leg moved fine until manipulation of the shoulder when Bruno would cry. He told the hu’parents they had to go to the Veterinary hospital in Granada because they had specialised equipment and would be able to see what was going on.

Bruno on the table
Bruno on the table

The appointment was made for the next day. Bruno was put onto the examining table, thats a first for Bruno, all work is normally carried out on the floor because of Brunos size. He went off for an x-ray. An hour or so later the hu’parents were back in the vets office and were told the devastating news. Bone cancer, very aggressive. Choices were amputation of the leg if not spread to the heart and lungs, followed by chemotherapy, if it had spread then just chemotherapy or euthanize. The oncologist was scheduled to phone on Monday to talk through the options. The hu’parents were sent away with a concoction of pain killers for Bruno.

On Sunday the hu’parents met up with a couple who live in the village with their Labradoodle Benji. He had been diagnosed with a different type of cancer last year and only given months to live. They started chemo straight away and although Benji is not cured he looks fantastic and is living his normal life again. They explained what the hu’parents could expect once the chemo was started. The hu’parents left feeling much more positive.

The oncologist eventually phoned on Tuesday and Bruno was booked in for Thursday. The hu’parents took Bruno in expecting him to be having amputation. The vet said he was 95% sure it was cancer but could not remove a limb without being 100% sure, so a biopsy was needed. Also an x-ray was to be done of his chest to see if it had spread and his bloods were checked. He stayed in for the day. When the hu’parents went to fetch him they were told that the cancer had not spread, chest x-ray and bloods were clear. This is great news, although the x-ray appeared clear there could still be traces of cancer there, but he stands a better chance of survival as there are not more large tumours to hit. So we now wait for the biopsy results to tell us what type of cancer he has and how to proceed, but amputation is definite.

A floppy Bruno after his biopsy
A floppy Bruno after his biopsy

There is no cure for this cancer but with Bruno being strong and wanting to live we have decided to go with chemotherapy to prolong his life. The chemo will allow him a quality of life, without it he will be dead in less than 3 months. We are under no illusions that we are all in for a tough ride ahead and im sure there will be times when we question our decision, but if we can get through the tough times we know we will have made the right decision. What time he has left with us is anybodys guess, maybe 9 months, maybe a year maybe longer but so long as our boy is enjoying life we will do everything we can for him.

We have had incredible support from all over the world via facebook and twitter with thoughts, prayers and pawcircles and you know what its worked. It is gut wrenching to hear Bruno cry and frustrating when you feel the medical side of things are not moving fast enough. Everyone has helped us stay focused and positive and we would like to thank everyone of you for your support.

A couple of people (you know who you are) have mentioned the herb wormwood (Artemisinin) in helping fight the cancer cells and have proof that it helps. Dogs who were given just 6 months to live have managed to live a fully normal healthy life for another 3 years or more. Thank you for pointing us in this direction we are in contact with a company and waiting to hear back from them to see if they can help us. This herb can be used in conjunction with the chemotherapy. I found this website called Bone Cancer Dogs which has been a great source of information but we found this page of most interest, how can you not try Artemisinin after reading it.


A word of advice, should you have a large dog who is lame, be on the safe side and ask for an x-ray straight away. Its often far to late to save the dogs life by the time its been diagnosed, usually the dog gets treated for arthritis etc for months before cancer is finally picked up. We found some shocking statistics whilst searching the internet, 50% of Leonbergers deaths are due to bone cancer! If anyone out there has any more help and advice they want to share with us, please do contact us. Also mentioned to us is the Telomerase cancer vaccine if anyone has any experience of this vaccine please let us know.

So that is where we are at the moment awaiting the biopsy results, awaiting amputation, awaiting chemotherapy and awaiting the big fight and by god its going to get one hell of a fight from us.


FiveSibesMom: How is Bruno feeling? We are keeping him in our thoughts and prayers, always.

rahusky: oh no dear Bruno, all our thoughts and prayers for you. Be strong mate! RA, Isis & nuknuk

Pat Anderson: Dear Bruno and your wonderful caring family , Just wanted to say Hi as you are not far from me ( I am in Baza, Andalusia ) I have been part of the BCD forum for over 3 years now as my beloved 13 yr old Black Lab Nala was diagnosed with OSA in April 2008 . Must admit I I have been a bit lax with my catching up on the forum lately due to other commitments so missed your introduction -sorry. Stephanie Balto the Leonberger’s Mum in Colorado pointed me in your direction as she knows over the past 3 years or so I have fell totally in Love with Leo’s and what with you being in my area ( ish ) If there is anything I can help you with please don’t hesitate to ask. We were in Portugal when we went through the same journey as you are going through now, so don’t have any local contacts for you . what may help though is that we got our artemissin from www. bodykind.com in the UK. very good delivery service and at the time although it still comes from Holley pharm in the USA was quite a bit cheaper than getting it from them . Also salmon oil which I personally believe is a good supplement to give is very much cheaper from bodykind than I could find in Portugal. Oh BTW have NO financial ties with this company . I will now go and find your posts on the forum - but sending you the very very best of wishes possible . try and stay with the forum they were my Godsend at the time and now 3 years later are like my family .

oli: Hi Bruno, Ive sent you some of my stash of treats out….hope u like it x

Wild Dingo: Juno sends her warmest wags and sweetest kisses to big handsome Bruno. Loki would like to say one thing to that cancer tumor; Arraggghhh Arrggghhh! (and bitey bitey bitey it away)… if he could, he’d fight it for you. We’re fighting for you, neighbor! Big hugs, wild dingo

Khyra: Woo know my fluffy tail and paws are working their magikh fur Bruno! Mom says she’s always read khanines do furry well with that CHEMO thing - much better than humans - It also seems that alternative methods fur treatment help so much too! Of khourse, having a handsome Khumbu around helps a LOT! Hugz&Khysses, Khyra

Glenda Russell: So Sorry to hear about your sweet boy. I too have a dog with Bone Cancer. Our vet did not advise any type of treatment for him due to his age and I am just sick from that decision now. I am going to look into the wormwood for him because he is such a fighter and does not want to leave me. Please keep my precious boy “Beefcake” in your heart as I will Bruno. I wish you and Bruno all the best. Fight the good fight big guy!