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9 year old pug diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma...what to do??
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27 January 2011 - 8:29 pm
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Hello,

I found this website a few days ago, and have been reading so many of your stories. I have a nine (almost 10) year old pug, named Marty,that has been diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. The tumor is on his front right leg, and has grown to large to remove. We are considering treatment option, chemo vs. amputation. I dont know if i can amputate, but we want to do everything possible....very worried about how he will adjust to losing a front leg. Any info would be helpful.....

 

Thank You!

Tricia

Palm Desert, California
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27 January 2011 - 8:58 pm
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Trica:

As you will soon see you have come to the best support group.  I just posted, under shout outs for Rusty's one year anniversary of his amputation.  Rusty has Fibrosarcoma and his tumor was also so large that his leg had to be amputated for any chance for him to survive; radiation or chemo alone would not have stopped the spread of his cancer.  Others on here can tell you more about front leg amputation as Rusty's was a rear leg.  Our very best to Marty and you.

 

Chuck & Rusty

Rusty is a Labradoodle who was diagnosed with level 3 Fibrosarcoma on January 16th, 2010 and had his left hind leg amputated on January 25th, 2010 five days before his 18 month birthday. Please see Rusty's blog @rusty.tripawds.com.  He is putting up one heck of a fight against this terrible disease.

krun15
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27 January 2011 - 8:58 pm
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Hi Tricia,

Welcome to Tripawds.  I'm sorry to hear about Marty's diagnosis. 

Deciding to amputate is not easy, and is a very personal decision.   I know you want to do the best for your boy, and give him the best chance for a long life. 

Here are a couple of things to consider: Is he otherwise in good health?  Is the cancer contained in the tumor as far as you can tell?  How much pain is he in from the tumor?  If left in place is there a chance the cancer will spread?

My pug Maggie had mast cell cancer, a large tumor in her knee, it was not removable so I decided on amputation.  At the time we thought the cancer had not yet spread so amputation gave her the best chance at survival.  Maggie was not an adaptable pug- she hated any change in her routine.  I was very worried that she would not be able to deal with the amputation.  She took longer to adapt than some I've read about here, but she got there.  She was just being her obstinate self!  She worked back up to walking a mile or so on her own, and could do just about everything she wanted.  Her only real limitation, besides a little less stamina, was going up stairs, and that was mostly because she was so small. She could go up 2 or 3 stairs.

Remember- appearance and the impression of a handicap are our human hang ups.  It was a bit startling to see her right after her amp- but then she just became my tri-pug Maggie!  She was 7.5 at time of amp, and passed just after she turned 11.

I would love to see a picture of Marty.

If you are interested you can read Maggie's story- the link is in the signature box below.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

 

p.s. you won't have to wait for post moderation as long as you log in, only the very first post has to wait.

Calgary, AB
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27 January 2011 - 9:00 pm
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Hi Tricia,

Tai had osteosarcoma instead of soft tissue sarcoma so I can't relate to the "pain" aspect of the tumor except to say that if Marty has the same level of pain with his cancer as Tai did with hers, amputation is the best way to go. Don't worry for two seconds about how he will adjust to being a three legged dog. They are amazing. Tai was back to her pre-amp self within two weeks and happily swam, dug holes, chased squirrels and ran about. She was a lot bigger than a pug too, his size alone should make the transition that much easier. We have lots of pugs on here and I'm sure they will say the same thing, he'll be a rock star with three legs!!! We did chemo also but that is a personal choice and some here do the chemo, some do not. But pretty much everyone elects to do the amputation and I have never heard anyone regret their decision when they see how well their pup's cope. Keep us posted.

Laura and Angel Tai

Tai – 9 yr old lab. Diagnosed Osteosarcoma Dec 18/09. Front right leg amputated Dec 21/09. Started chemo Jan 7/10. Lung mets discovered Sept 16/10. Valiant to the end on Oct 26/10 when cancer reappeared in a leg and we made the decision to set her free. Forever in my heart where not even cancer can take her from me.

Here and Now

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27 January 2011 - 9:19 pm
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pugletmom said:

I dont know if i can amputate...

But certainly you could do whatever is best for Marty, right? Only you and your vet can determine that. If Marty is otherwise healthy, he should do fine.

You'll find lots of recovery and care tips in Jerry's Required Reading List, and for immediate answers to the most common dog amputation questions download the new Tripawds e-book Three Legs and A Spare.

We're sorry to hear about Marty's diagnosis, bt glad you found us. Be sure to checkout Maggie's blog, for some true tri-pug advice.

Mount Pleasant, Ia
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27 January 2011 - 9:20 pm
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Hi Tricia, welcome to tripawds. You have certainly come to the right place fro support and encouragement. The decision to amputate is a hard one, and only one you can make yourself. I do know that the thought of my Cooper losing a leg was awful to me, but the thought of him going on in pain was worse and the thought of losing him even worse than that, so there really ended up only being one decision for us. Cooper just celebrated 3 months yesterday since his amputation, seeing him after the amputation was not nearly as bad as I thought and as soon as I realized how free from pain he was, I was glad. As everyone here will tell you , there is no wrong decision, you know your pup better than anyone, so you will do what is best. Please keep us posted!

 

Cooper and Coopsdad

Coopsdad/ Kenneth Blackburn

http://cooper.t.....ipawds.com

the monkeydogs only THINK they have invaded the tripawd state

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5 February 2011 - 7:54 pm
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Thank You all for your response...

 

Marty's soft tissue sarcoma was graded as "intermediate" with the chance of spreading to his lungs, the chest films did not show any mets. He has also had many mast cell tumors removed since the age of 5, but they have always been grade I or II, and have never been in the same location.

He really isn't that painful. His doctor wanted to try two rounds of chemo to see what kind of response the tumor has....so he had his first round of chemo about a week ago, and is doing well. I think chemo is just putting off what really needs to be done. I am not sure if i will do the second round of chemo, may just amputate.

 

what was the recovery periode like for your dogs...especially with a front leg amputated! 🙁

Mount Pleasant, Ia
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5 February 2011 - 8:32 pm
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Cooper was a left front leg amputee - and besides being a senior dog he was never a ball of fire on 4 legs, he is also 117 pounds. The first few days were the hardest I think, he was pretty miserable and I wasnt sure he would try to walk. But he showed me early on that I had no worries about him trying to walk, and walk he did. He took some tumbles at first, but he was such a trooper, I would cringe when he would fall because he would fall right on his incision, he always just looked at me like it was just what he meant to do. He never ever even whimpered. His full recovery to full strength I would say was about a month, and he has gained strength ever since. Today he took a hike through 16 inches of snow even though I had shoveled the yard out for him, he decided he wanted to play. He is the same loveable guy he was before, only in many respects he is so much more special than he was. He is deep chested and the bulk of his weight is carried forward but he is doing well with it. Good luck and please keep us informed.

Coopsdad

Coopsdad/ Kenneth Blackburn

http://cooper.t.....ipawds.com

the monkeydogs only THINK they have invaded the tripawd state

krun15
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5 February 2011 - 8:35 pm
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Hi Trica,

I think the first part of the recovery is about the same for front and rear amps- the ups and downs of being on lots of meds and learning new balance.  For most of us the first two weeks were difficult- but there was rapid improvement after that. 

Maggie was a rear amp.  Theory is that small dogs have an easier time than big dogs- I guess there are some advantages.  I could pick Mag up and carry her when absolutely necessary.  On the other hand, it was difficult to 'assist' her with her walking because she was so low to the ground.  Mag had trouble going upstairs, partly because she was a rear amp, but mostly because she was so little.  She was walking the day of surgery, and really didn't have too much trouble getting around once she figured out her balance.

I would encourage you to bookmark Jerry's Required Reading List, or maybe down load the eBook Three Legs & a Spare.  Both of these are good resources on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

I know this is a difficult decision to make- but if you are going to end up with amputation anyway the sooner you get the surgery done, the sooner you will get your Marty back! 

As you have been doing already- weigh all your options and decide what is best for Marty.  We are here to support you with whatever decision you make.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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5 February 2011 - 9:06 pm
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Chloe had a type of soft tissue sarcoma known as spindle cell sarcoma in her left hind hock.  With her, I opted out of any leg preservation treatments (chemo or radiation, even though she was a good candidate for both) because my mentality was, leg gone, cancer gone.  Her diagnosis  was that the cancer was most likely confined to the area and had an extremely low chance of metastasis. 

At the time of the amputation, Chloe was 9yrs old and 70lbs and gets along just great now! I have heard that smaller dogs tend to do better than large breed dogs, which is good news for you!  If Marty gets a front leg amputation, he will figure out how to walk, do his "business" and play again if you are worried about how he will get around.  

As long as YOU have a good attitude during recovery (if you decide to go with amputation), it will make his recovery that much better. Dogs are very good about picking up on your emotions, so if you act like everything is no big deal, then so will Marty!! 

Keep us updated!

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

Portage Lake, Maine
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6 February 2011 - 6:13 am
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Hello,

I'm sorry you have to come to our Tripawd family but it's a great place to get information and support when needed!!!  My dog, known as the "other" Maggie, also had soft tissue sarcoma, only on a rear leg.  Her tumor was too big and VERY painful to try to spare her leg - it was on her knee.  She was amputated in October 2009 and so far, is doing very well.

Was it hard to deal with deciding to amputate?  Yes and no.  Maggie was in such incredible pain toward the end, I could not WAIT to get her out of pain, so there were only two options...amputate or put her to sleep. 

Recovery was HELL from the amputation...two weeks of HELL.  I won't sugar coat it for you.  BUT that said, MANY on here have bounced right back with no issues!  It's all a crap shoot on how they'll recover but I'm here to say that I'm GLAD we amputated and Maggie's life is soooo much better now with that painful leg gone.

Tracy, Maggie's Mom(the other Maggie:)

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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6 February 2011 - 10:35 am
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coopsdad said:

Hi Tricia, welcome to tripawds. You have certainly come to the right place fro support and encouragement. The decision to amputate is a hard one, and only one you can make yourself. I do know that the thought of my Cooper losing a leg was awful to me, but the thought of him going on in pain was worse and the thought of losing him even worse than that, so there really ended up only being one decision for us. Cooper just celebrated 3 months yesterday since his amputation, seeing him after the amputation was not nearly as bad as I thought and as soon as I realized how free from pain he was, I was glad. As everyone here will tell you , there is no wrong decision, you know your pup better than anyone, so you will do what is best. Please keep us posted!

 

Cooper and Coopsdad


I think this pretty much sums up our decision also.  We were told right up front without surgery we had about 2 months, and it would be constant pain monitoring and pain control. We were told at the same time that Trouble wasn't a good candidate for surgery because of her weight.

My husband wouldn't take this as our only option, we were in for a second opinion within 24 hours.  Our second opinion vet had a whole different prognosis.  He spoke at length about the pain of osteosarcoma, talked about her weight and the need to get her to a better weight to keep as much stress as possible off the one leg should we decide to amputate. He gave us hope where none existed the day before. 

I dropped her off for surgery the next morning.  This wonderful vet has been by our side for 27 months and we are so very thankful to have found him.

Trouble hopped out to greet us the Friday after Thanksgiving 2008, looking very tentative.  How would we respond to her new look?  As soon as we assured her everything was great, she never looked back.  She had an easy recovery compared to some.  Dogs are exceedingly resillient.  You will be amazed.

This decision is a very personal one.  You have to make it based on what is best for your dog.  They are all different, and sometimes circumstanses in your life are different and make it impossible to make this choice.  There is no wrong decision, and we will support you regardless of whether you choose to amputate.

Sending lots of good thoughts your way as you struggle to make your decision.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

krun15
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6 February 2011 - 4:07 pm
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I wanted to post another thought- about what you said about the leg not being too painful.

I was in that situation as well with Maggie.  Her knee function was just slightly compromised- I didn't even notice until I knew the tumor was there.  I don't think that some of cancers in the soft tissues are nearly as painful, if at all, as bone cancer.  That does complicate our decision.  When you are in danger of a leg fracture like so many OSA dogs your decision is almost made for you.

So here are the two main reasons I decided on amputation:

1. The tumor continued to grow. While eventually it might grow big enough to cause pain in the joint, the more immediate problem was that the tumor would ulcerate the skin, and a painful sore would result.  The sore would never heal and could become infected.

2. Because of the type of cancer, mast cell, if left in place it would eventually spread cancer to other parts of the body.  At the time of amputation it appeared that we had caught it before it spread.

 

Another thing I wanted to throw out- while almost all the dogs here did fine with amputation surgery- there have been cases where the pup does not make it.  It seems rare, but does happen.  It just reminds us that this is a serious decision to make.  I don't say this to scare you out of amputation- but it is a factor to consider.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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