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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:44 PM

Has anybody had a dog go through front leg amputation?

Last edited Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:41 PM - Edit history (1)

Back in August I posted that my 9 to 10 year old American Eskimo had an inoperable cancer on the back pad of his front foot. We traveled to Oklahoma State a couple of times to talk with cancer specialists and surgeons. The recommended surgery was over $7000 and would have required extensive reconstruction of the leg with no guarantee of success of the rebuild. The nearest place for the type of radiation he needed was Colorado, 900 miles away.

We elected to try a new procedure called 'cold laser' where the tumor is injected directly with the chemo drug and then a cold laser is used to stimulate the cancer cells to open up and take in the chemo drug. He's been having these treatments since early September, every two weeks.

The tumor has shrunk up a great deal and there seems to be no spread of the cancer. However, he appeared to be doing really well until his last treatment, Nov. 14. I then went on vacation to the Middle East and he stayed under a vet's care until last Thursday when I picked him up. During those two weeks, his front paw and upper leg have swollen double. They're saying the leg isn't healing and things aren't going to get better. They have suggested removing the leg from about 1/3 of the way from the shoulder. I'm to discuss with another doctor tomorrow.

He was very heavy, but has been on a diet and is now about normal weight for his breed. They're pretty compact dogs. I know dogs don't have much trouble losing a rear leg, but more so with a front one.

Has anybody been through this? I can't see me putting him down unless there is more cancer or complications with the amputation. Thoughts?

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Reply Has anybody had a dog go through front leg amputation? (Original post)
sinkingfeeling Dec 2012 OP
randr Dec 2012 #1
Stinky The Clown Dec 2012 #2
meti57b Dec 2012 #3
undeterred Dec 2012 #4
Curmudgeoness Dec 2012 #5
jtuck004 Dec 2012 #6
Auntie Bush Dec 2012 #7
Sunlei Dec 2012 #8
TorchTheWitch Dec 2012 #9
sinkingfeeling Dec 2012 #10
irisblue Dec 2012 #11
sinkingfeeling Dec 2012 #12
2theleft Dec 2012 #13
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #14
Stinky The Clown Jan 2013 #15
2theleft Jan 2013 #16
ceile Jan 2013 #17
livetohike Jan 2013 #18
TexasBushwhacker Jan 2013 #19
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #20

Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:07 PM

1. Had a large Alsasian sheep dog lose a leg

Was shot in one front shoulder. Lived a long and full life after.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:10 PM

2. I can't speak to the issue of amputation, but I can say that I hope the dog does okay and that . . .

. . . . you take comfort in knowing that whatever you choose will be the right thing for you.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:34 PM

3. My cats' veterinarian has a little dog with a missing leg.............

She brings these little pooches to the office. The pooch doesn't seem to miss the leg at all. Some time back, she brought in one of her little pooches who was missing the two front legs. The pooch would take a couple of steps on the back legs and then just rest his front shoulders on the floor for a couple of seconds.

Those little dogs were probably chihuahuas or something like that. But I have recollections of seeing large dogs doing just fine on three legs. I definitely suggest getting information on this, because I have seen it.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:35 PM

4. I think its much worse on a deep chested dog to lose a front leg

If it were a german shepherd or a great dane- breeds like that carry 60% of their weight on the front legs, so suddenly you are shifting all that weight onto one leg. 60-20-20 With the smaller breeds its more evenly distributed so they can adjust to it better. I guess that's more like 50-25-25

I had a dog with cancer in the front leg and they were able to cure it - or I would have lost him. He was so arthritic in all his limbs that I don't think he could have adjusted to the loss. But a smaller dog with no orthopedic problems should be able to adjust to it.

Great thing about being a dog is that the loss of a limb is purely a functional problem and they don't go through the psychological loss that human beings do. I am always amazed when I see dogs at the dog park going along on 3 legs like its no big deal.

I hope yours does very well with the amputation.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:48 PM

5. I have seen dogs who have lost a front leg

and they adapt quite well. My vet has a cat who was found in a trap and had to have a front leg amputated, and it also did just fine. They tend to adjust by walking with the front leg more to the front of their body.

If the vets believe that this will be something that your dog can adjust to, and this is the way to stop the cancer, I would do it without a second thought. The option of doing nothing is something that I would not be willing to accept. It may be tough for a while until the dog gets used to walking on three legs, but I have no doubt that he can adapt.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:04 PM

6. We fostered a small lab who had to have a front leg removed because of abuse.

They were afraid of recovery in the shelter environ, so I took him right after the operation. He quickly learned how to balance so he could poop, and within a very few days he was moving around much better. Within a few weeks he was only a bit slower.

We adopted him to a school janitor, and he had been taking him to work with him a bit last I heard. I went by their home, and he was doing really well.

Here's a pic. I think he only weighed around 30-35 lbs.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:16 PM

7. A frien of mine had a dog with an amputated front leg due to cancer.

She did fine. She even went up and down stairs without help. Your dog will survive and live a good life IF you get it on time. They waited too long for the dog I speak of and it later succumbed to cancer. It was so sad as the dog was dearly loved.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 12:33 AM

8. I had a dog lose a front leg.

My rottie "Ruth" had bone cancer in her front leg. Painfull for her and she was already 7. I didn't want her to have several bad months of chemo treatment that probably wouldn't stop the spread plus be in pain.

They removed her front leg at the shoulder. She was up the first day and as happy as could be with the pain gone. Even the surgery pain didn't seem as bad as the cancer must have been.

She got along fine as a three legged dog. We had a couple of years more to enjoy a great dog.

Your dogs tumor or the treatment may be affecting the circulation. He would probably be happier have a better quality of life without the leg.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:07 AM

9. one of my old neighbors had a dog without a front leg

They lived across the street from me when I lived in that area. I swear it took me MONTHS to even notice the dog was missing one of his front legs! He was a golden retriever and was always running and frolicking in their yard. They played fetch with him and everything. I nearly dropped dead when I discovered he was doing all this while missing a front leg. I had NO idea at all. Whoever did his surgery did an excellent job. Aside from a little missing fur at the scar site you really had to look pretty closely to see that he wasn't just born without the leg and had had it amputated at some point. I never did find out how or why he lost it and didn't feel comfortable asking.

If you can afford it and having the surgery could be a good outcome without any really bad recovery period, I'd do it. I'm guessing that the fact they seem interested in doing the surgery means that it could very well be very worth it.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 11:55 AM

10. Thanks. Sugar is scheduled for amputation tomorrow.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:39 PM

11. this am at the vets, I saw a dog 8 weeks out.

from a right front leg into shoulder amputation, thinking of this post, i bee lined over and asked questions. The dog is 7, pit bull, 60ish pounds. His human said the only problem was for a few days until he fiqured out how to do a full body shake and to raise his hind leg to mark things, otherwise, he seemed fine. he still plays with the other dogs, with close supervision since he's only 2 months out. He tried to crawl into his humoms lap, then he sat on the floor for me to pet him. highest hopes for your baby. irisblue

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Response to irisblue (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:09 PM

12. Thanks so much for thinking of us, irisblue.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:17 PM

13. How is your baby doing? How was the surgery? n/t

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Response to 2theleft (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 02:00 PM

14. Sugar's surgery was 12/11. He's done very well. The stitches came out 12/26 and the

vet was very pleased with how it healed. Sugar surprised me by climbing our 17 stairs to come into my bedroom on Christmas. Somebody must have told him that he was to wait 14 days before climbing! He does terrify me coming down them.

Here's a picture of my little 'tri-paw'. The lump at the vacant sleeve is really just his hair!


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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 03:52 PM

15. Wutta little sweetie he is!

I love that face. Glad he's doing well.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:19 PM

16. That is so awesome!

Glad to hear all is going well. Dogs are so amazing at their ability to just take what comes and make the best of it. What an awesome Christmas for you guys.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:59 AM

17. so glad to hear he's doing well!

what a cutie!

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:53 PM

18. Oh what a cutie!!

A big for all .

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:50 PM

19. A friend of mine has a 3 paw pit bull

She is 2 years old and very happy, but her remaining front leg is stressed and bowing, so my friend is getting her a custom made cart. You might want to bookmark this place in case you want to get one for your pup.

http://eddieswheels.com/

Here's my friend's pup Shila's Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/pages/Shila-the-3-paw-pit-bull/245136725526708?group_id=0

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:07 AM

20. Thanks. Damage to the remaining front leg is a big worry. Every time he takes a little

tumble, I panic that he'll hurt his remaining front leg. At first they said they couldn't amputate his leg because of his over-weight condition. He weigned in at a hefty 55 pounds last July. He's now down to 38 and they want him to get even lighter. It's all to take stress off the remaining leg. That would probably be a concern with a pit bull as well.

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