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To amputate or not | Presentation and Diagnosis

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To amputate or not
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Forum Posts: 11
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9 June 2018
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9 June 2018 - 2:33 pm
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My beutiful girl Molly has very probably got a bone tumour in a front leg (still waiting for the biopsy result). She is a 7 year old poodle cross golden retriever who is full of life and fun.  From everything I have read the options seem to be to do nothing except pain killers or amputation and chemotherapy..  My gut instinct says to go for the amputation but if I take this route is it for me rather than her as we love her so much.  I am sure everyone on this site has been through this anguish.  The decision will have to be made very soon.  Of course we don’t know how much time this will buy her and will be putting her through unnecessary extra trauma.  Such a difficult decision to mak

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9 June 2018 - 2:58 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Molly. Dogs are very resilient creatures and the vast majority of them will recover quickly and adapt well to life on three legs. It’s us people who need more help and support during this difficult time. Speaking of time, it is all about Quality of Life now, not Quantity. Tumor pain will only get worse, resulting in a traumatic pathological fracture. Amputation recovery pain is manageable with medication and lasts a couple weeks.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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9 June 2018 - 3:06 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry you are faced with this decision.  Does your vet think that Molly is a good candidate for amputation?

Here is one way to look at this:  if it is a bone tumor then the pain will become intense until pain meds can not help, and the leg could break along the way.  If you amputate and do chemo (or not) you are giving her a chance at more quality, pain free time with you.  How much time? No way to know.  Some get years (with or without chemo) and some get months (with or without chemo). 

My Pug Maggie had mast cell cancer, she lost her left rear leg to a tumor in her knee.  After the surgery tests showed that the cancer had spread to her lymph system- her prognosis went from surgery being curative to 6 to 9 months with chemo.  I thought I had made a terrible mistake.  I was very lucky that Mag beat her prognosis but the process taught me two things.  One, I realized was that I had given Maggie a chance.  If I had not done the amputation she would not have lived even the 6 months. The other was that if we had ‘only’ gotten 6 to 9 months it would have been worth it.  Dogs don’t follow calendars, they don’t track time.  Each day, each moment is where they live.  Around here we say Be More Dog .

One thing that has always helped me with these tough decisions to to do a pro/con list and write down my decision making process.  It helps me think things through and the notes on my decision making process helps remind me why I chose a certain path.  There is no way to know what would have happened if we chose differently.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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9 June 2018 - 5:46 pm
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Hi lefkos — so sorry you have found yourself (& Molly) in this scary situation.  I can’t speak for other Tripawed members, but for me making the decision to amputate my 8yr old, almost 100lbs, retired male greyhound’s – Buck’s – front left leg was overwhelming.  It is a big decision and only you can know what’s best for Molly, your family and yourself.  That said, this is a community of folks with 3-legged animals, so we may be a bit biased laughing

There will always be a selfish component in wanting to do whatever we can to keep our pets with us for as long as possible but, at this point, I think there is just as strong an argument that choosing amputation could be a selfless thing to do…  Surgery and hospital care is expensive and home caregiving can be scary, stressful and exhausting.  Treating (or trying to treat) Molly’s symptoms until her leg breaks or the pain can’t be masked would, NO DOUBT, be easier for you and your family.  

You have to let yourself off the hook for wanting to keep Molly with you.  Of course you want that, but it’s important to remember that animals live in the NOW – quality of life, not quantity is what matters to them.  All you can do is to try and make this decision based on what you think is best for all involved, including Molly, under the circumstances. That said, I would add go with your gut (not because you posted above that your gut is saying amputation smileybut because in situations with so many unknowns and uncertainties our guts can often be better than our brains at sifting through it all) and try not to second guess yourself afterward.  In the end, you know what you and your family can and can’t do from a financial and caregiving perspective and you know Molly, her usual temperament, her general health, how she handles stress and stressful situations and the like.

My thoughts and best, best wishes are with you and Molly at this time.  Give her a belly rub from us. 

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10 June 2018 - 3:34 am
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Thanks so much for all your input and kind words.  My current thinking is that we will get Molly referred to an oncologist, although I really trust my vet.  We then need to make sure her lungs are clear and if her remaining front leg will support her sufficiently, as she had an elbow operation when she was very young.  What I am worried about the most is a fracture as she loves to be active and is trying to play with my other dog and the ball. Other than the limp and swelling there are no outward signs of illness.  

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10 June 2018 - 4:17 am
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Hi Lefkos, your situation is a mirror image of mine, only mine is an 8 year old Doberman, Blitz. He was just dx 2 days ago, left lower front leg. We are scheduled for a bx tomorrow. Currently he is limping intermitently, and his quality of life impacted more by the sedation effects of the pain meds. But I do believe he is uncomfortable and I know it is going to get worse.  What scares me the most about not amputating is the pain he will endure if we don’t. Not only with the cancer, but if it fractures, and it likely will. All that has to be more heart wrenching and expensive than amputation. I empathize with your situation. Trust your gut decision, it is usually the right one. 

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10 June 2018 - 9:29 am
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Pain medicine likely will NOT be enough. Our dog was limping and we had him on gabapentin, tramadol and a CDB Hemp oil (pet releaf) before his surgery and that was barely keeping the pain away.

Apparently the bone cancer is pretty painful and dogs will hide their pain. 

I was devastated and just a mess for about two weeks before his surgery. He is doing much better now. We have hardly seen any pain signs since doing the surgery. 

I’d get the leg removed as soon as possible just for pain relief alone. No matter what type of tumor, the end game is usually removal. The biopsy will just tell what type of chemo meds if needed. Was it a bone biopsy or fine needle aspirate?

Good luck

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10 June 2018 - 12:48 pm
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carolm said
What scares me the most about not amputating is the pain he will endure if we don’t. 

Thanks for chiming in Carol. So sorry to hear about Blitz, it sounds like he is in good hands as you’ve clearly done your homework.

Please consider starting a new topic to share your story, and use the Advanced Search above to refine forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Best wishes for Blitz, please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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