Banner Image

Deciding to amputate dog's back leg

Please post questions about pets who are expected to undergo amputation or who have already undergone amputation here, as well as pets born with missing or incomplete limbs.

Deciding to amputate dog's back leg

Postby Lynnd » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:20 am

My 11 year-old Bedlington Terrier was recently diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma. $1,000 worth of CT scans and chest x-rays show it has not spread. Vets recommend a partial amputation near knee of his left leg. Some friends and family say to just let him be (no traeatment), but my son wants the surgery if it will extend his life by 2-4 years. Without any treatment, he will likely die within 6-12 months.

What to do? He was running like a puppy at the park yesterday, so he is a young 11-year old, and not in much pain, yet.

The vets all say that dogs take to the surgery really well, it will relieve his pain and extend his life, but they don't know how many years it will give him. In dog years, 2-4 years would be another 14-28 years. I think most humans would lose a leg to get another 14-28 years, and I think he would like a few more years of treats and park strolls...

It will cost $3,200. They want to amputate this Friday. What should I do?

Desperately torn...
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:52 am

Re: Deciding to amputate dog's back leg

Postby CarolC » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:56 pm

I have slight experience with this, not precisely your situation. I had a cat with a soft tissue sarcoma (possibly vaccine related) and he was a little older than your dog (15). It was on his shoulder. I decided not to do surgery due to age and other health conditions, and because they would have had to take some ribs, and based on statements of an internal medicine specialist that he had seen cats survive a long time without surgery. Well, without surgery it grew quickly and it quickly became so large he had trouble walking. Then it also became painful for him, requiring pain injections. I'd have to check exactly, but I think without surgery he survived about 6 months, and they weren't 6 good months. Maybe 3 were good. I don't know if I made the right decision because I thought he would have a longer and more comfortable time left (without surgery) than he did, but I don't know how it would have been if he'd had the surgery, either, with his age and other conditions. Your dog sounds like he's in better health, and the surgery is more straightforward. At the same time, different types of tumors behave differently and I do not think my cat's soft tissue sarcoma is a prediction of how your dog would progress, it may be a different type of tumor. (I'm definitely not a vet.)

In the case of your dog, dogs do fine on 3 legs. The average dog carries 40% of his weight on his hind legs and 60% of his weight on his front legs. Therefore, I would think a hind leg amputation would be easier for him than if it was in front, but even front amputee dogs can still do crazy things like run in the snow. :D Critters once said that dogs are born with three legs and a spare. :-)

I think you will enjoy the pictures in this thread, a left rear amputee. ... php?t=8773

I guess in making a decision, I would ask them to tell you for sure what other options there are, and if there are any canine oncologists you could consult for a second opinion before making a decision. Since this is soft tissue, is there a way to remove the tumor and spare the bone, or is it perhaps grown into important ligaments and tendons and so forth, so he would be lame that way. In that case, amputation would be better for his mobility.

Also you want to be sure the right hind leg and hip are good enough, it sounds like they are. I assume they evaluated his right leg? And I would want a pre-screen to be sure his other organs (kidneys, liver, etc.) are up to surgery.

You might want to post on the forum over at Tripawds. There may be people there who have experience with the type of tumor you are dealing with, who can tell you how things went for their dog.
Posts: 11877
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 7:00 pm

Re: Deciding to amputate dog's back leg

Postby critters » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:56 am

:whale: I have NO experience with that kind of cancer, but I have/had a bunch of tripods, and they usually do very well. I would think the adjustment would be a little longer, and possibly a bit harder, for an oldster, but I expect it would be done reasonably.
User avatar
Founding Member
Posts: 13001
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2001 7:00 pm

Return to Amputation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests