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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.

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Rare aggressive cancer in front leg
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24 March 2009 - 8:19 am
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Hi from the UK.

My gorgeous 9yr old Bearded Collie called Barney, has been diagnosed with an aggressive tumour in his front leg. He also has a 2"mass in his armpit/lymph.

He originally went to the vet for a limp and it was believed he had arthritis. The swelling at the top of his leg got bigger and he was referred to a specialist for a possible elbow replacement. This vet was alarmed at the size of the swelling and decided to give Barney an MRI scan.

This revealed a rare type of tumour which starts at the top of his leg and ends at his ankle, having entwined itself around his leg. The MRI has also shown a mass in his armpit.

Barney has had a biopsy which has shown it to be an aggressive form of cancer, the name of which escapes me as only had the call to inform me about everything this morning and been in tears ever since!

Barney is fine within himself....still a typical 'bouncing beardie' running around and enjoying life to the full (except for limping, graded a 2 out of 10 limp, and holding his leg up occasionally).

The vet is going to speak to an oncologist later today to see if he is able to give us an indication as to which way we we go for amputation and removal of the mass, with the risk the cancer has moved somewhere else (xrays of his chest and lungs are clear) or do we just let him carry on 'life as normal' until the end?

I am completely confused as to what is best for my beloved Barney and I expect things may become clearer after getting information from the oncologist, but was just wondering if there was anyone else out there that is in ,or has been through the same situation and the decision you made.

I know that ultimately the final decision is mine but reading about people and dogs in similar situations has been very helpful!

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24 March 2009 - 10:23 am
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The shocking diagnosis of your pup is perfect reason to be confused, but you've come to the right place for plenty of advice and support. Thanks for joining the discussion. FYI: If you register, your posts will appear immediately without requiring mooderation.

Sure, amputation is a major consideration, but it is the only way to eliminate the pain and buy more quality time with Barney. If he is otherwise healthy, and the cancer has not visibly spread to the lungs, he should recover quickly and adapt quite well. He sounds like he's full of spirit and you owe it to him to remove the laeg. And the sooner the better. He'll thank you later.

Best wishes for good news from the oncologist, and in whatever decision you make. Be sure to check out our tripawd parties forum too. We seem to be attracting a growing number of members from the UK!

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25 March 2009 - 12:14 am
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I really feel for you, going threw the same thing with my Dasha, If everything is clear I would do the amputation. In my case its to late and it has spread. I was told on this site and have read it many times that their are no right or wrong answers. I wish you and Barney the best of luck and let us know what your decision is.

Here and Now

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26 March 2009 - 6:02 pm
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We just received this reply as a questionable post report, by mistake I'm sure ...

We recently had a similar situation with our dog,we never had the benefit of this site when we made our decesion.Our dogs xrays were clear also.It is such a shock at first and I know exactly what you are going through, Our dog had his leg amputated and he has recovered really well the first 2 weeks are the worst but  when they are off the painkillers and antinflamatories our dog improved rapidly.

I now know that amputation stops any pain and although it seems drastic our dog lives quite happily on three legs, he may not walk miles but he is fit and happy. He is a large dog and atracts a lot of attention when hes out,but he has not lost his character and he definately does not feel depressed, he will still chase the odd cat or squirrel. There are no right or wrong decisions you are doing the best thing by reading everyones experiences,sending our best wishes to you and Barney fastdogs mom

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31 March 2009 - 1:40 pm
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Jumping in late...have you found out anything more about Barney's tumor?

I just want to share that although possible lung mets were spotted on my dog's initial diagnosis, I went ahead with the amp anyway to resolve the terrible pain. If he'd only lived a few weeks after that, I would have considered it worthwhile because he was so much it is, six weeks and going strong!

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