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12 1/2 year old soft tissue sarcoma front left leg, must amputate | Presentation and Diagnosis

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12 1/2 year old soft tissue sarcoma front left leg, must amputate
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27 October 2016 - 1:56 pm
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Our senior BC has been diagnosed with a Soft tissue sarcoma, front left leg, elbow area intertwined with tendons.  Surgical oncologist is confident that amputation will remove the cancer and her pain.  Our question mark comes in because of her age and that she does have some hip dysplasia, wondering if her body can tolerate being 3 legged?  At this point the STS is causing her lameness on her that leg and the use of the leg is periodic already.  Anyone have any input/guidance.  

The Rainbow Bridge

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27 October 2016 - 3:50 pm
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Hi Jenny, welcome. I'm in the Tripawds Chat Room right now if you want to talk.

It sounds promising that your oncologist feels good about her being a Tripawd. If you want another opinion that will help ease your mind a bit. Has she seen a board-certified orthopedic surgeon yet?

We've seen many Tripawds at that age do well. All dogs are different but in general, age is just a number and it all depends on how healthy your dog is (what's her name?). As for Border Collies, they are pretty tough dogs! Chances are she will do well, as your oncologist believes.

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books, as well as perusing our "Size and Age Matters" topic for examples of other senior Border Collie Tripawds.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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27 October 2016 - 4:44 pm
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My Otis was younger - 8 - but had arthritis in his hips and was 106 pounds.  He did fine as a Tripawd.  Does the surgeon think she is a good candidate for amputation?  It does depend on the dog, but if she is active now and at or near her ideal weight, I would think she would adjust.  Otis did not take long walks like before, but he could do everything else he had done as a quad.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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27 October 2016 - 5:22 pm
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otisandtess said
My Otis was younger - 8 - but had arthritis in his hips and was 106 pounds.  He did fine as a Tripawd.  Does the surgeon think she is a good candidate for amputation?  It does depend on the dog, but if she is active now and at or near her ideal weight, I would think she would adjust.  Otis did not take long walks like before, but he could do everything else he had done as a quad.  

Thanks for the encouraging words.  The surgeon feels she's a great candidate for amputation.  She is still active, and yes we keep her at 40-42# pounds in order to lessen any issues from being overweight.  We really need to hear from others, so THANK YOU so much!

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27 October 2016 - 6:40 pm
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As others chime in, I think you will find a number of Tripawds who do just fine notwithstanding pre-existing conditions.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Schofield, WI
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27 October 2016 - 7:21 pm
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 I would think that being a border collie 12 1/2 wouldn't be as much of an issue as it would be for a bigger breed.  We've seen way bigger dogs than that do very well here at that same age.   As active as they are and being only 40ish pounds I would think your girl would be fine.  You can also get her assessed by an orthopedic surgeon too if that would help ease your mind.  Our Max was a GSD of 110 pounds with some arthritis involvement in his remaining leg and once he found his "sea legs" he got around just fine.   Please keep us posted on your girls journey were here to help.  Hugs to you and your sweet girl.

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28 October 2016 - 1:19 am
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Hi Jenny

Sending positive thoughts your way. What is your girl's name?

I was in a similar situation about a week ago, when my 8-yr old Labrador, Gabbar was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his front left leg. The whole amputation idea was extremely difficult to come to terms with and the main question in my mind was, "Will he be able to cope with 3 legs?"

Granted, Gabbar is a very lean dog, and thankfully, doesn't have hip & joint displaysia. But I was amazed at how well he coped. One thing that gave me confidence, in some strange way, was that over the 3 weeks prior to amputation, his leg was pretty much unusuable anyway. He was unable to rest any body weight on it, and was moving on 3 legs as it is. In fact, the leg was added weight he had to carry. My educated guess is that if your girl is in a similar situation where she is unable to use that leg now, then her body will find it easier once it is removed.

We had his leg amputated yesterday, and brought him home last evening itself. Within a couple of hours of getting home, he was already up on his feet. This morning we took him for a short pee and poo stroll. He did fine and even barked and tried to pick a fight with a dog twice his size.

I may not have a medical opinion for you, but about a week ago, before I found this forum, I was a confused wreck. Reading about the stories of other tripawds here gave me strength and clarity. I hope Gabbar's story, in it's own small way can do the same for you. You can read about his journey over the last week in this thread if you wish:

http://tripawds.....y-pending/

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

London, UK
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28 October 2016 - 2:50 am
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Hi Jenny, just to share my experience.... My Meg is a front amp and has elbow dysplasia and moderate/severe arthritis in her remaining front leg (bear in mind dogs carry 60% of their weight on their front legs). She weighed around 40 pounds pre amp and now weighs 33 pounds. I keep her skinny and at almost eight months post amp she is doing absolutely fine. She chases squirrels and hares, swims every day and generally leads the life of Riley. I do work hard on her core strength, with daily physio exercises, but these are fun and we both enjoy them. In fact my other dog joins in too. She also sees a rehab vet for regular checks and hydrotherapy. If your vet thinks your girl is a candidate, then I'd say absolutely go for it. 

All best,

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

PS if you'd like to see some videos of Meg in action, just click on the link to her blog (below) and look under "My Movies".

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
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28 October 2016 - 6:10 am
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Thanks for all the support, I'm so glad we found this group!  Our girls name is Cabo.  She had a rough day and night yesterday and is still having some diarrhea issues this morning...no more metacam for her.  Currently she is on nothing more than pain meds and I have some tramadol to use instead of the metacam, are there any other meds she should be on at this time?  Her surgery is scheduled for November 8th.

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28 October 2016 - 6:26 am
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Prior to surgery, Gabbar was on the following meds. You may want to discuss with your vet. His pain was fairly under control. Please make sure you run it by your vet as every dog and system is different.

300mg Gabapentin - 2x a day.

100mg Tramadol - 2x a day.

Antibiotics (dosage as prescribed by doc. Gabbar was on Clindamycin Hydrochloride 300mg 2x a day.

Meloxicam 7.5 mg ONLY as an SOS painkiller if the pain got real bad.

Gabbar also had swelling in his affected leg after the biopsy, though it is unclear if it was because of the biopsy. He was prescribed Lasix for this which really helped bring down the swelling.

Read about Gabbar's journey from diagnosis to amputation at

http://gabbar.t.....eosarcoma/

Durham, NC
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28 October 2016 - 5:43 pm
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Hi Jenny!

Just wanted to chime in here. My (sweet, adorable, love of my life) pup Izzy was 12 when she had her left front leg amputated. She had bone cancer and the docs estimated her life expectancy at about 4 months with amputation and 8 with amputation and chemo. She's 13 now, even though I didn't do chemo, and is recovering from knee surgery on her left hind leg. She tore the cruciate ligament and, even though she's super old (and a big-ish dog ... 55 or so pounds), I decided to fix it. She's doing GREAT and I am so so so sosososososososoooooo happy that I made the decisions I did. 

I second the pain meds vote ... Izzy took Tramadol, Gabapentin and Rimadyl before (she broke the leg just walking around and I agonized over what to do, so she lived with that for a couple of weeks - yes, I'm a jerk!) and after surgery to manage her amputation pain. It worked well and I staggered doses so they didn't all wear off at the same time. I can tell you that she had a much easier time recovering from amputation (tried to walk out of the surgeon's office after the anesthesia wore off - YIKES!) than the ligament repair. Seems that it's "easier" to remove the limb than repair a knee!

Dogs are amazing creatures and this community is an amazing resource. Whatever your decisions are for Cabo, we'll be here to cheer you on, lift you up and talk you off the ledge! (Sally is an EXPERT but you'll gain 15 pounds eating all the chocolate she recommends haha)

Welcome and, while I'm sorry to hear about Cabo's situation, I just want you to know ... it CAN be done.

-Amy & Izzy the WonderPup!

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31 October 2016 - 6:48 pm
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Thanks Amy,  We are having a set back here, as Cabo is still having diarrhea....we had good poop Saturday and all day sunday, right up until she was going to bed....then the mushy showed up again, again today at 5am and before we went back to the vet today.....no temperature, no swollen lymphs, fecal was clear but had smell and color of cocidia....little did I know that stressors, whether it's disease related or emotional, can cause that parasite to rear it's ugly head.  So we are in a holding pattern until we can clear this up.  We also have to find what pain med doesn't cause her system too much stress, as I'm sure the metacam also contributed to her issue.  She has not had any metacam or tramadol since Wednesday and won't have any until we clear this tummy issue.  

We'll then figure out what's best for her in regards to the surgery or not.

London, UK
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4 November 2016 - 7:12 am
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How's Cabo doing, Jenny? 

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
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6 November 2016 - 6:12 pm
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She's still on her meds to clear up the coccidia, we have decided at this time not to proceed with the amputation, which was scheduled for Nov. 8th.  We need to get her healthy from the parasite and then figure out what pain meds won't make her sick and we'll re-evaluate at that time.  I'll keep my post updated as we move along on our journey.  

Over all she's still happy, wants to play as much as always, is eating and drinking well too.  Thank you for asking about Cabo.

Virginia
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6 November 2016 - 7:04 pm
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Thanks for the update! We know you have a lot on your plate.

Yeah, getting this "issue" taken care of first seems like a good plan.

It's good to hear she's doing well snd is nalpy a d wanting to p@ay 🙂

Hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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