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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Heart murmur and amputation
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Member Since:
3 July 2023
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4 July 2023 - 8:35 am
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Hi there- My 10 1/2 year old golden doodle Lily was diagnosed two months ago with a bone cyst in her left front radius that she had been limping on- My vet put her on medication and took a wait and see approach.  After a few days, she seemed fine and was running and jumping again.  Two days ago Lily tripped on a full sprint and fractured the ulna and radius in the same leg where the bone cyst was found.  Without a biopsy the ortho said he thought it could be osteosarcoma and the chances the cyst being benign were quite small.  Anyone else with this kind of diagnosis?  It sounds like amputation may be the way to proceed. They will also ultra sound the chest/abdominal area to see if the cancer originated there.  The problem is Lily also has a heart murmur - Any of you out there have a pup that has had heart and possible osteosarcoma issues?  Thanks


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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4 July 2023 - 9:22 am
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Sorry your sweet Lily is having these challenges. Goldendoodles are such cute puppers with a wonderful zest for life.

Is she at home now and on pain meds? I know this is a difficult time trying to do all your research, make decisions, and take care of sweet Lily.

FWIW Biopsies are quite often inconclusive and can be a painful recovery anyway.  AMD yes, amputation,  even of cyst is benign, is the best route.  It's  one surger, one recovery and done. Often when people try to save the leg with pins, cast, extensive confinement,  additional surgeries, etvamputation ends up being the end result anyway

Regarding the heart murmur, fo you have access to a Cardiologist who can advise you further as to whether there are surgery risks because of her heart murmur?  If you haven't already taken that step, that would be my suggestion.

Was the heart murmur just discovered or has Lily always had this? Depending on what the cardiologist says, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Stay connected and update as you can. If you proceed with amputation, and it looks like you probably will, we are here to help you navigate through recovery. It only takes about 2 weeks to get through the hardest part of recovery and then Lily can return to being Lily without a painful leg.


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!

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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4 July 2023 - 10:12 am
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Lori, thank you for starting a new topic here!

I'm so sorry about the ruff situation Lily is in right now. Unfortunately this scenario isn't all that uncommon in our little corner of the pet universe. Bone cancer often presents this way. Is she on any pain control?

As Sally mentioned, if at all possible to see a cardiologist, or at least have them review her case, that would be the way to go just as a precaution. While anesthesia is safe when a clinic follows all the latest protocols (one reason why we recommend AAHA-accredited clinics is because these practices are guaranteed to follow them), there is always a risk, especially for this level of surgery. For a dog with a heart condition I'm guessing that risk is elevated. I would ask your vet to refer you to a cardiologist so they can help decide if Lily is a good candidate.

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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4 July 2023 - 10:13 am
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Oh and here are forum search results that mention "heart murmur." Lots to sift through there, hopefully some will be relevant to your situation:


Member Since:
3 July 2023
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4 July 2023 - 6:11 pm
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Thanks so much for the quick response.  Yes Lily is on pain meds and has a splint for now.  I will be consulting with the surgeon tomorrow who has seen her heart workup.  Thanks for the info about the biopsy- my question is how do they diagnose how extensive the cancer may be?  Does it always originate in another location? Should I have the limb tested after amputation? 
this is a wonderful resource - thank you so much!!


Member Since:
4 July 2023
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4 July 2023 - 6:37 pm
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Hi Lori,

I'm new here and freshly on this journey too, but thought I'd chime in as my Juno (9.5yrs) also has a heart murmur and osteosarcoma. Her's is a low grade murmur and she's had it for as long as I've had her. (She was a stray before we adopted her from a local organization, and they guessed she was 1.5 years when she came into their care.) Our surgeon said that as it was low grade and had had it for years with no change, she thought Juno would come though surgery just fine - and she did.

Our June was diagnosed with osteosarcoma just over a couple weeks ago on June 16, went in for her hind leg amputation on June 28 and so far has come through it really well. As I write she is comfortably (if somewhat comically) resting and recuperating half on a doggie bed beside me.

(The above description makes it all seem so tidy and matter-of-fact, but the truth is that we've been on a similar teary, gut-wrenching, uncertain roller coaster as you and all the other kind, generous folks here have been.)

I'm as new to this as you are, but wanted to let you know of at least one other pupper with a heart murmur that came through surgery well. In fact, even with a week and a half of recovery to go she's already hopping around well (though we're limiting her activity for the sake of recovery) and her personality is definitely back to full strength.

Of course, only you can know and do what's best for your dear Lily. You and your girl have my best -sp_hearticon2

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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5 July 2023 - 10:29 am
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Natalie thank you for chiming in! I'm so happy your pup is doing well!

Thanks for the info about the biopsy- my question is how do they diagnose how extensive the cancer may be?  Does it always originate in another location? Should I have the limb tested after amputation? 

These are great questions for the oncologist today, let us know their answers. Once the leg is removed the tumor can be tested with a bone biopsy and the cancer staged for aggressiveness. Bone biopsies are usually done when the diagnosis is in question. This procedure is very painful and increases the risk of fracture, so for most cases of osteosarcoma with a classic presentation, the biopsy is done after amputation, sparing the dog the pain of two surgery recoveries. It's important to do the pathology on the tumor if you feel that chemo is something you want to do. If you know you won't do chemo, you can probably skip the extensive pathology. 

Let us know how your visit goes.

Member Since:
15 March 2023
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5 July 2023 - 2:46 pm
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If they suspect osteosarcoma it usually will have the primary tumor (the bone cyst), but often times (90%) it will have already spread, if only microscopically.  Often times they will do xrays CT-scan to see if it has moved to the lungs which is the most common location for metastasis.

With Ellie, they did a biopsy after the amputation of the primary tumor and of a lymph node to confirm osteosarcoma and to see if it had spread along with xrays of her chest to check the lungs.

I don't have any experience with other cancers, so I don't know if the ultrasound is to see if it might not be osteosarcoma.

Lily is in my thoughts! good luck, and I hope you keep us in the loop.

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