We adopted Carmen while living in Spain. She was three months old. We were told that she was a Rottweiler - Doberman mix. My husband came to believe that in fact she was a Beauceron. In any case she was a beautiful dog that we had for 12 years. In her prime Carmen weighed 104 pounds.
Like many large dogs Carmen had padding on her elbows. She began scratching at one and it bleed profusely. We went to the vet and she ran a series of tests on Carmen. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease. The vet looked at her elbow but did not think that it was an issue. She said it was taking longer to heal because the Lyme disease had compromised Carmen’s immune system.
A couple of weeks later it still had not healed and in fact was much worse. We were traveling so I took her to a different Vet (in Florida) who said that she thought that Carmen had bone cancer. She put her on antibiotics.
When we returned home (Virginia) I brought her to my regular Vet who looked at Carmen’s elbow and said that she did not think it was bone cancer since it had responded to the antibiotics. Since it was still not healed she prescribed a different set of antibiotics and pain pills and removed some of the flesh around the wound that was infected.
A couple of weeks later the wound seemed to be healing as it should. About that time we took a short vacation. I boarded Carmen with the vet since I wanted her to have medical attention if needed. When I returned there was a different vet on duty. They were very hesitant about bringing Carmen out and when they finally did I could understand why. Her leg was very swollen and obviously painful. The vet on duty said that Carmen had begun to bleed so she had bandaged her and the leg then began to swell – so they removed the bandage. She recommended surgery to close the wound. This of course could not be done until it was in better shape. I took Carmen home.
Our neighbor recommended a vet that she used so I went to see her. She took x-rays and did some more blood work and said that Carmen did not have bone cancer and that her blood was normal. She said that surgery could not be done until the wound closed more. She recommended different antibiotics and pain pills and washing the wound with salt water 3 times a day, keeping it bandaged for some of the time and open to the air at others. Since she was still bleeding that meant keeping something on the floors to protect them. Meanwhile she was down to 72 pounds and would only eat if I fed her by hand. I saw this Vet every week for 4 weeks. Carmen did gain some weight and the swelling receded but the bleeding never stopped and she stopped using her leg at all.
The vet also consulted with a surgeon who said that there was a new packing material that might be helpful in the healing process. We decided to continue the treatment as we were and if it was not better when she returned from her 2 week vacation we would go that route. Carmen did not get better and in fact the wound seemed to grow so I called the vet’s office and asked for the referral. She had not left the required information so one of the other vets in the office said he would look at Carmen. As soon as he saw her he said that he thought it was cancerous and wanted to a do a biopsy, which of course we did. She was diagnosed with Malignant Histiocytic Sarcoma. This was in November. Our first vet visit was in August.
We had Carmen for 12 years. For 11 ½ of them she was very healthy. I wish that we had the correct diagnosis earlier so that we could have made her more comfortable and so that we would have known what we were dealing with.