Canine Romeo’s Fight With Cancer

Canine Romeo’s Fight With Cancer

Romeo, a Cane Corso, has been a much-loved member of the Condor family since 2012. He’s a highly social dog, quick to make friends and gentle with kids. He’s become a vital part of Condor’s Team and participated in some of the social commitment programs — particularly in terms of raising awareness of cancer.

You see, Romeo was recently diagnosed with bone cancer in May 2020. His battle began with a slight limp from his left leg that quickly developed into intense pain and inability to put any pressure on it. Throughout his battle he held his own and managed to function despite the pain. For most dogs euthanasia is the most common alternative, for Romoe this was the likelist option but he fought hard to survive. The day before his was scheduled to be put to rest, sensing the imminent end, he made a choice and demonstrated a new energy to live. He became happy and fought through the pain that he still had lots to live for. We cancelled his appointment and decided to amputate the whole leg. Romeo is now recovering from the amputation and to everyone’s surprise was able to walk, climb stairs, and function a day after. His battle is not over and his fight continues. He  has lived by example and ran two consecutive Terry Fox runs with the rest of the Condor team — and did better than many of the rest of us!

We at Condor Want to honor him and at the same time bring awareness to this very aggressive cancer, Osteosarcoma.

Cancer that grows from bone-forming cells, or osteosarcoma, can  afflict humans, dogs, and cats. While relatively rare in humans compared to cancers that form in other areas of the body, osteosarcoma makes up the vast majority of the bone cancers found in dogs. It’s especially common in larger breed dogs.

In larger breeds, limbs are by far the body parts most affected — common areas are above the front knee or front paw or, less often, behind the hind knee. Smaller breeds often develop osteosarcoma in areas like the spine, ribs, skull, or hips. In Romeo’s case it formed on his left upper leg/shoulder (Proximal Humerus)

Amputation is a typical method of tumour control. Fortunately, many dogs thrive after amputation, adapting to new ways of moving and usually regaining their old playfulness and energy! Romeo is still the same well-trained, fun-loving, emotionally intelligent dog that he was before his amputation.

Vets often recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation post-surgery, in order to prevent further tumour growth or spread. Pain control is also important, and your vet will be able to walk you through all available options and make the best recommendation for your furry friend.

When should you start worrying about osteosarcoma in your family pet? While a small number of dogs are diagnosed below the age of 3, most cases don’t develop until years later. 

Warning Signs to Watch Out For:

  • Lameness
  • Swelling 
  • Warmth in swollen area (due to inflammation)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or disinterest in playing and exercise

If your dog shows any of these warning signs, please seek veterinary help immediately. Osteosarcoma can be treated, but early detection is key!