Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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The soft tissue tumor on my dog's elbow does not pose a risk of fracture and it is also not painful. If at some point she got pain, the tumor would burst, or similar: Wouldn't amputation still be an option - as an alternative to euthanasia? If not, why not?
I hope somebody can explain this to me.
I will let Dr. Pam chime in on this one because every situation is different.
But for now, please consider this: try to put yourself in your dog's paws. How would it feel to have an elbow tumor in the joint? If it were me, I am pretty sure that it would hurt to some degree, and impacting my movement and lifestyle, and ultimately, my happiness. Dogs and cats are soooo good at hiding pain, it's almost guaranteed that any type of tumor like this causes some degree of discomfort. Waiting only makes it worse, and a tumor that ruptures is a very terrible scene. Please don't allow it to go that far before you make a decision OK?
It depends on size and type of tumor and exactly where it is. If it is a small nerve sheath tumor just above or below the elbow joint then it is reasonable to wait because those are slow-growing and typically do not cause pain. A grade III soft tissue sarcoma wraps itself around muscle and nerves and is quite painful and aggressive. Your vet could always take a biopsy so you could more accurately predict the behavior of the tumor.
I wanted her to at least enjoy summer and early autumn on four legs. The tumor is unfortunately large but doesn't seem to bother her at all.
Another question: How about vaccination if a dog has cancer? I always have my dog vaccinated against rabies because animals that have not been vaccinated can be confiscated if there is even a sick dog in the neighborhood. But now i'm not sure if the cancer would grow faster because of vaccination.
Rabies is a killed vaccine so overall is quite safe although there is a chance for a reaction with any vaccine. I think if my dog was undergoing chemo I would skip it but in your situation it should be okay. Some parts of the country have a bigger problem with rabies than others; here in WA state it is only seen in bats but keep in mind there is no cure if your pet gets bit by an infected animal.