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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 10-11 yo St. Bernard has just been diagnosed with bone cancer; vet said it was pretty extensive (three separate spots on his front leg). We're keeping him on prednisone. He's been on it less than a week, no negative side effects noticed. My wife said he has been acting hungry, and we were told it could increase their appetite.

My concern is that I don't want him to get real fat. He weighed 174 with a light collar a year ago; last week he was at 169 (last month or so his appetite declined). He is what I would call high-middle range for weight--he is not fat but he sure isn't skinny, and I'd rather he didn't gain any weight.

Does the increased apettite with prednisone mean simply that he eats more, but burns through it? Or would eating more put on more fat? Walks are out of the question at this point. On the other hand, if his body does need the nutrients (I'm not a doctor, have no idea how steroids work), I don't want to deny his body any nutrients that he would be using. The vet is suggesting if he wants it, a moderate increase in the amount of food. And I'm not trying to sound grisly here--he is my dog--but from one standpoint, why am I worrying about his weight? Chances are incredibly high he will not die from being overweight, so why is this a concern?

OK can folks here give me some guidance?
 

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I'm so sorry y'all are going through this.

Keeping him as lean as possible means less stress on the affected leg. The Prednisone makes them think they are hungrier than they really are. To help him feel filled up, you can try switching to a lower calorie food. Another trick to add bulk to food without adding a bunch of calories is adding a handful of green beans to his meals. Frozen ones are best, but no salt added canned ones will work.

Also Prednisone also makes them drink more, which means they need to pee more, so it's possible that he might experience a bit of incontinence.

if you haven't already discussed it with your vet, pain control will be very important, to keep him as comfortable as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We were told the prednisone would control pain, and we have seen in just a day or two, a huge reduction in the amount of moaning. The vet certainly didn't prescribe anything else.

We do have him on Hills Science Diet large/giant breed senior, which is basically a low calorie food. He gets 6 2/3 cups a day of that. I just checked the diet food that he would be on with Hills, if we were to move him to a diet food--and if I'm reading the chart right, their large breed adult diet food (Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Large Breed Light dog food, see the link that says Feeding Guide) would have him at something around 9 1/2 cups a day of that. So that would get him a decent increase in the amount of food, although that is for adult, not senior dogs.

OK well moving to a new food, and frozen green beans are two suggestions I can work with. Thanks for the ideas.
 

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The predisone will help reduce inflammation, which can help with pain.However, the dogs I've known of who have had bone cancer, and who's owners decided to do palliative care rather than aggressive treatment, have all wound up needing some heavy-duty pain medications as it progressed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just checked, my next repeat delivery was scheduled for Tuesday, so I cancelled it and instead ordered the Hills Large Breed diet food, which will get our boy 3 more cups of dog food a day. That should at least fill his gut up a bit more. Thanks for the recommendation.
 
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