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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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issues with surgery or amputation on a 12 year old dog
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
6 June 2020
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6 June 2020 - 9:20 am
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so i’m going to preface this by saying i only got this news a couple hours ago. i am very freshly upset and worried and have spent the better part of two hours just googling everything i can think of

i have a dog named feferi. we think she’s about 11 years old- we adopted her, as we do most of our pets, and were told she was 3 or 4 when we got her about 7 years ago. she’s a schipperke mix of some sort, we don’t know specifics aside from her schipperke heritage. over the past year or so, my parents and i have noticed a lump on her left shoulder. it hadn’t seemed to be causing pain or impeding her, so we just kept an eye on it to see if it changed, and for a long time it didn’t. now, i live away from home since i’m a university student, so i didn’t experience this firsthand, but i was told everything by my parents as things happened. at some point, her growth kept growing, and at some point started to ooze. my mom took her to the vet, who drained the growth and gave the verdict of she’s overweight and maybe a little arthritic, but nothing else is wrong. she didn’t suspect the growth to be cancerous. the growth didn’t fully go away, however, but fef still hasn’t showed any problems with it. it’s started growing again, and since she’s a lazy and no longer young lady, she’s getting more checkups for it and other reasons, mainly her suspected arthritis

tonight, my mom called me to tell me the latest news from the vet. that it will likely keep growing and coming back even if we drain it again, and that while it isn’t causing her trouble now, it is fairly likely due to where it is and the fact that she already probably has arthritis, it will probably eventually impede her ability to walk, maybe even stop her from being able to properly. i asked my mom if the vet said anything about suspecting it to be cancerous, and mom said she did not say anything abut the possibility

this growth is pretty high up near her right elbow, right near where he leg meets her body. here’s a picture i took of her a few months ago when i last was able to visit, that shows where it is and the size (this was after it had been fairly recently drained ):

Image Enlarger

the vet my mom took her to said that the location would be near impossible to operate on and amputation would not be recommended because of her age. i suspect her being overweight and possible arthritis might also be factors in the recommendation. mom was told that when it gets worse the best choice will be putting her down and not attempt to operate

as far as i am aware, it’s not thought to be cancerous. i’ve had trouble finding info on non-cancerous problems like this that could lead to amputation so i have no idea if this could affect anything

we’re at least fortunate to know about this early. right now it doesn’t seem to be causing her problems, but it was already coming back by the time i had to leave for school again (picture was taken early march, i was back at my apartment by early april ). i’m so scared, she’s old but she’s not that old, and it’s so hard to imagine coming home to a house without her. i asked mom to get a second opinion, which she agreed to since it’s not like the news could get much worse, but i don’t know what to do. it doesn’t sound like surgery should be impossible, but i have no experience with this kind of thing. it also sounds like older dogs can do well with amputation, but again, i have no experience with this and i’m not a professional. there’s also her weight and arthritis and i don’t know if all that together just makes it impossible like we were told

i ended up typing a lot on accident. thank you to anyone who reads this all the way

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6 June 2020 - 11:22 am
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Hi and welcome! I wanted to get your post approved so others can chime in, I need to run for a bit and will be back today with some feedback….

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 June 2020 - 1:52 pm
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eden said
as far as i am aware, it’s not thought to be cancerous…i asked mom to get a second opinion

Welcome and best wishes for your girl! You definitely need another opinion, preferably from an oncologist, and most certainly a biopsy so you know what you’re dealing with. Please see:

Why Biopsies Matter if Canine Bone Cancer is Suspected

As Dr. Sue Cancer Vet says: Why wait? Aspirate!

And yes, Feferi is not such an old gal for a dog her size. But you do need to get that weight down, now, especially if amputation is being considered. Please see the the Tripawds Nutrition blog for many helpful tips and articles about weight loss and the importance of proper weight management.

Start here for help finding the many other Tripawds resources or call the Toll-free Tripawds helpline anytime! Please keep us posted.

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