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    1. #1
      Puppy
      oshkoshparrothead's Avatar
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      Sarcoma Diagnosis

      Hi everyone.....

      It's been literally years since I posted on this site. A week ago our 9 year old lab was diagnosed with sarcoma on her front left leg. We took her to UW Madison for additional tests (CT scan / biopsy). The good news is that they do not think that the cancer spread to any organs (stomach, lungs etc). They also checked the lymph nodes and those were also clear.

      The bad news is that in order to remove the cancer, they will need to remove her front left leg. How well do dogs adapt to this? She is an older dog, but was fairly active prior to finding the lump.

      Just torn as we don't know what to do... We don't want her to suffer so we are considering putting her down... but if removing the leg will remove the cancer and she gets an extra few years of a happy and active life we want to consider it.

      Any info is appreciated!!!

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      smartrock's Avatar
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      I guess I'd ask the oncologist what treatment she'd need other than amputation and how long they suspect it will give her. I think there is a Facebook page dedicated to dogs with amputations. It might be Tripaws or Tripawds and you might find some more information there.

      We decided against amputation for our girl who had osteosarcoma in a front leg 20 years ago. The oncologist said sure, they often do well after an amputation, he said they generally tolerate it really well, and he said she'd probably get another 4-6 good months. He said like that was a positive thing. She wasn't a lab but a larger, 120 pound dog, and we did not think that was a loving thing to do for such a minimal return. But, this was 20 years ago and veterinary medicine may have come a long way since then. I hope so. It's such a terrible disease.

    3. #3
      Real Retriever
      outrag's Avatar
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      My understanding is it's easier for them to adapt and move on if it's a rear leg, as most of their weight is on the front. Age of course is definitely a consideration as well. Are there any conservative treatments to buy time that wouldn't put you or the dog through the hardship of an operation like this? As another poster mentioned, what type of life expectancy does the Dr feel will be there and what other ongoing treatments and meds will be needed are important things to know.

      Sorry to hear of your situation. Best thoughts in guiding you to the right decision.
      Griffin growing up!

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    4. #4
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      POPTOP's Avatar
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      Our Bandit had a cancer of a front leg but it was basically inoperable because of all the post op complications that would probably occur. I understand your position and send prayers and support.
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    5. #5
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      oshkoshparrothead's Avatar
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      They have told us that if they can get a good 'margin for removal' she should be cancer free and the prognosis seems to be pretty good as the cancer has not spread. We are going back to our regular vet for her opinion now that the CT and biopsies are back. I didn't know if anyone on this board experienced this with any of their poochies.

      Thank you all for your support!!!

    6. #6
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      janedoe's Avatar
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      My understanding was that dogs carry 2/3 of their weight on their back legs. I know it's not bone cancer but I found this which talks about weight distribution:

      Bone Cancer Dogs

      All good thoughts. These things are difficult. Two of ours have other types of cancers. Major procedures like this are definitely case by case. You know best.

    7. #7
      Senior Dog
      Meeps83's Avatar
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      Welcome!

      If the cancer can be removed and she left with a good quality of life for possibly an extended amount of time I’d do it.

      That being said, what are the odds that it will be completely removed? And assuming it is removed how long could they expect her to live? If it is not removed, how quickly will it spread? I’d be hesitant if there was a low chance of removal or if her quality of life would be diminished.

      If you do go for it, Madison is definitely the place to go in this area. And 3 legged dogs can run and be just as happy as 4 legged dogs.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    8. #8
      Senior Dog
      Annette47's Avatar
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      Dogs can do very well with 3 legs. My concerns would be whether they are sure (or as sure as they can be) that it hasn’t spread, because it would be a lot to put her though just to gain a few months. If amputation would be curative, then that would be a different consideration.

      I had a friend who had a Golden lose one of his front legs to cancer at about your girls age, maybe a year or so younger - he did very well for several years afterwards, but eventually the strain on his other legs became too much and he began to have trouble getting around, which is what ultimately led to them having to let him go. By that point he was well into his senior years though. ,
      Annette

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    9. #9
      Senior Dog
      SunDance's Avatar
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      I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis...and your tough choice.

      My biggest concern...not mentioned by you....is the overall condition of her hind legs. Any hip dysplasia? Knee issues? Spinal stuff? If she has anything at all "going on" back there, I'd not consider amputation. I wouldn't do it for my two...HD, some knee on occasion, Sunnie/spine...even with Dan being only 8 1/2. My two are also anxious/nervous dogs (Sunnie's worse) and I doubt very much if they'd accept the change (Dan already comes to a complete stop if he steps on something that feels funny).

      Good thoughts headed your way for whichever course of action you choose.
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    10. #10
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      kpbrock's Avatar
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      I'm so sorry to hear this . . . it's so hard. A friend's Lab was diagnosed several years ago (I don't remember how long ago -- maybe 3 or 4) with cancer in the elbow of a front leg. They did radiation with her, but unfortunately the affected leg broke maybe a year later, so they were forced to amputate the leg at the shoulder. My friend is very active, and they always hiked and cross-country skied with their dogs. Although the amputation curtailed a lot of their activity, the dog adapted quite well. She's now 13 and still cancer-free (though slowing down for sure).
      I'm not sure my friend would put her dog through the radiation again, but I don't think she would second-guess the amputation. Sending good thoughts to you in any case.

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