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Rocky- leg tumour, upcoming amputation URGENT | Presentation and Diagnosis

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Rocky- leg tumour, upcoming amputation URGENT
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16 July 2018 - 7:29 pm
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Hi, my dog Rocky is about 10 and 1/2 years old. He's 98lbs and a golden retriever/German Shepard mix. He's in good health beside hip dysplasia and a bit of arthritis. Rocky has a softball-size tumour on his front leg; vet said it is hemangiosarcoma I think and non-metastasized, meaning it won't spread past his leg. The tumour is growing at a really fast rate and its now a concern because the tumour has busted, so infection is a worry. The vet reccomends amputating but the other 2 vets we've seen recommended against it (before it had bust). Can anyone offer advice or similar stories. Im so worried to go through with amputation because of mobility post amputation.

Thanks!!

The Rainbow Bridge

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16 July 2018 - 8:20 pm
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Hi Rocky and family, welcome. Sorry to hear about the diagnosis and the current state of the cancer. Just curious but are you sure your vet said it was hemangiosarcoma? have they done a biopsy yet?

If the tumour is open it's time to do something ASAP. Is he on pain medication? He needs to be on something strong. Try to picture how much a tumour like that would hurt on your leg. Ouch. Most humans would not handle that well. I'm sure he's being pretty stoic though, just like a dog.

Why did the other vets recommend against amputation? Just because of his size? The displaysia? What does the first vet think of their opinions?

Rocky's size isn't that large really. Is he overweight at all? If so, you can do many things to help him drop the weight soon after amputation. Yes, extra fat on a dog makes it harder to get around but if you are committed to helping him lose weight for better mobility, there's no real reason why amputation should be off the table.

If Rocky's arthritis is being well-managed, that's also not a reason to avoid amputating based on what vets have told us and the many examples we've seen here.

We've seen dogs as large as Mastifs and Great Danes do very well on three legs, just see the latest posts in our Size and Age Matters discussions.

What is your gut feeling about Rocky's ability to do well on three legs? You know him better than anyone else, so follow your gut and you cannot go wrong.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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16 July 2018 - 8:40 pm
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Thank you so much for your reply!

The vets did not biopsy it but seems confident in his diagnosis. Rocky just finished his antibiotics and he was given pain medication. The other vets discouraged amputation upon hearing about his hip dysplasia/age. Although Ive read a lot of positive posts about senior dog amputation here! 

He is very healthy for his age otherwise; he is at an ideal weight and is fairly active. My biggest concern is how Rocky will get up. As of now he pushes himself up with his two front paws and getting up can sometimes be a struggle. I'm just not sure how Rocky will be able to get up on his own, it would be very hard on his health if he became immobile.

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17 July 2018 - 2:40 am
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Hi there and welcome! I'm sorry to hear about Rocky's tumour, but really pleased that you have found your way here. There really is nowhere better for information and support.

My Meg lost her right front leg more than two years ago, due to orthopaedic issues. Like you, I was discouraged from amputating, in fact I was told it was not an option because of the dysplasia and arthritis in her opposite elbow. I'm glad I didn't listen as she is doing very well indeed.

Meg is much smaller than Rocky (33 lbs) but there are many dogs here who have done well on three and are considerably bigger than he is. I do understand your concerns regarding him being able to get up on his own. Can you say a bit more about how he struggles? What sort of bed does he have? A good orthopaedic mattress can be helpful in providing a firmer base to push up from. Also, what sort of floors do you have? Many older dogs, three-legged or not, will struggle on slippery hardwood or tile floors. Putting down non slip rugs or mats to provide traction can make all the difference.

The fact Rocky's in good overall health and an ideal weight are huge pluses.

Sending all best wishes to you and Rocky.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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17 July 2018 - 5:02 am
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That's great to hear about your dog's story!!

Rocky is scheduled to have his amputation tomorrow (Wednesday).Its for the best as his wound is infected and there are no other options. He has foam mattresses and a nice big bed he lays on. 

We'll defiantly be looking into getting some more bedding and traction mats, great idea. We have tile floors and that could be an issue. 

I'm just not sure how Rocky will get up post amputation, is there any videos out there showing how these dogs get up?

Thanks megstamum!!

Latham, NY
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17 July 2018 - 5:17 am
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Hi to you and Rocky!

Our home doc had strongly recommended against amputation for our greyhound Fallon because of age (11), size (around 65#), and that it would be a front leg amputation and she had arthritis in her back legs.  He also told us that because she is a greyhound, her tall stature would make getting around more difficult.

We emailed a greyhound cancer expert, who advised that amputation was the only way to get rid of her pain and give her quality of life (she has osteosarcoma).  He also advised that she was probably relying on 3 legs for longer than we knew to compensate for the severe pain she had even  before her limp showed up.  We met with the surgeon and decided whatever he said, we'd do.  He didn't make the decision for us.  But he did tell us our home vet was incorrect on all counts.

She had her surgery on October 11 2017 and is doing awesome since.  She's happy and healthy, she runs and plays.  I can honestly 100% say amputation was the best answer for her.  We continued her on mobility supplements like MSM, glucosamine, vitamin C, chondroitin, and yucca.  We also got a rehab consult soon after the amp to learn how to support her mobility best.  I am so impressed (as is our primary vet) with how wonderfully she is doing, and how agile she is.  She gets around with no problem, sometimes standing up is a slow process, but it happens, and laying down seems a longer process--but certainly not impacting quality of life.

I know how hard things are where you are with decision making now, amputation or not was the hardest stage for us--sending you positive energy and many belly skritches for Rocky!

Fallon (Tripawd) and Maggie (quadpawd), Greyhounds.  Dawn and Paul, 2 leggers.

Fallon's left front leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma on 10/11/17.

Nothing But Love in Her Heart - dawn3g.tripawds.com

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17 July 2018 - 12:56 pm
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That's great that you are going ahead, and Rocky will be feeling much better soon with that painful leg gone. The first week or two after surgery can be pretty full on, so stay connected as everyone here has been through it, and is waiting to support you.

What are the plans? Is he staying in after the surgery? Most dogs do stay in a night or two, but occasionally for one reason or another (and certainly if the clinic isn't staffed overnight) they bring them home the same day. You'll want to make sure you've got the traction sorted for when Rocky comes home. You don't have to cover every part of the floor, you can just create walkways with strips of carpet, or yoga mats work well, and you can pick them up pretty cheaply. Raised food and water bowls are also helpful, especially for larger dogs.

Re getting up. If he struggles at first, you could always use a homemade sling to support him. A cloth shopping bag opened up down the seams makes a simple and effective sling. I don't have any video of Meg getting up. They did keep her in hospital for three nights after the surgery (which is longer than average) because she wasn't getting up. I remember them saying that they wouldn't discharge her until she was up and mobile. From the moment I collected her, she really had no problems getting up etc., though every dog is different.

Once Rocky is home, you will want to keep him as quiet as possible, just short leashed potty breaks and lots of rest. That and good pain management (most dogs come home on Tramadol, Metacam, or another NSAI, and sometimes Gabapentin and an antibiotic) are key to a smooth recovery.

We will be thinking of you tomorrow and sending every good wish to you and Rocky.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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17 July 2018 - 4:03 pm
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rocky_1 said
Hi, my dog Rocky is about 10 and 1/2 years old. He's 98lbs and a golden retriever/German Shepard mix. He's in good health beside hip dysplasia and a bit of arthritis. Rocky has a softball-size tumour on his front leg; vet said it is hemangiosarcoma I think and non-metastasized, meaning it won't spread past his leg. The tumour is growing at a really fast rate and its now a concern because the tumour has busted, so infection is a worry. The vet reccomends amputating but the other 2 vets we've seen recommended against it (before it had bust). Can anyone offer advice or similar stories. Im so worried to go through with amputation because of mobility post amputation.

Thanks!!  

Hi there!  My dog just had a front paw amputation 6 days ago.  He is 12 years old and just over 100 lbs.  I am new to the forum, but would be happy to send you video of what our big guy looks like getting around!

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17 July 2018 - 7:22 pm
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You definitely might want to look into getting him a harness to "help" him get up.  Being a front leg amp you may have to wait a few weeks to use it although I know some have used it right away with a shirt under.  We found it invaluable to "help" our big guy Max a very long legged GSD at 117#s get up and save wear and tear on his remaining legs.  Holding you and Rocky in my thoughts and prayers for surgery day.  Keep us posted! ❤️

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18 July 2018 - 8:22 am
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Best of luck as you tackle this new challenge.  As for a harness, Casey did great with just a T-shirt gathered into a top knot secured with a hair tie.  We could grab that knot and give him the extra boost he needed in the early days.

You can buy bulk rug runners from Home Depot, cut to length, for under $2 per foot.

Please please research pain management here and make sure your vet sends you home with enough pain meds.  I'm all for controlling opiates, but this is major surgery and early pain management is crucial.  FWIW, Gabapentin seems to be a true miracle drug for amputation and phantom limb pain management/avoidance.

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18 July 2018 - 10:36 am
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Just to say I'm thinking of you and Rocky today ❤️

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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18 July 2018 - 2:06 pm
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Hi sweetie 🌸🐾

Sending pawsitive energy to Rocky, keeping you and him in my thoughts today 💕

Please update when you can 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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18 July 2018 - 2:52 pm
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Just checking in--sending positive energy to you and Rocky, like so many others heart

Fallon (Tripawd) and Maggie (quadpawd), Greyhounds.  Dawn and Paul, 2 leggers.

Fallon's left front leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma on 10/11/17.

Nothing But Love in Her Heart - dawn3g.tripawds.com

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18 July 2018 - 3:02 pm
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Thanks everyone for the positive thoughts!!

Rocky is out of surgery and is sitting up. He is on antibiotics for infection and has a slight fever but is otherwise good. He's coming home tomorrow morning. 

I'll be following the advice and suggestions here for Rocky's aftercare. Thanks so much for all the help and input, it made me ready for Rocky to come home. I'll update tomorrow.

Thanks

Virginia
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18 July 2018 - 4:22 pm
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WOW!!! Just catching  up on everything!  That Rocky is one very loved boy, that's  for sure!

You've  fotten grear input,  so I'll just add YAAAAAAAY FOR ROCKY!!😁  Surgery is done and he is sit4ing up alrea!! GREAT NEWS!!  He's  exactly where  he  needs ro be ronight to sleepmofd some od that anesthesia.   You get some good rest.   You may have a few sleepless  nights ahead  of you.

As you can see, ypu have a whole team now rooting  for Rocky!❤

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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