If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
So I just got news today that my malamute of 14.5 years (female) has bone cancer in her right rear leg. Vet says my choices are amputate the leg or let nature take it's course and prescribe pain pills to ease things. She isn't in immediate pain right now, the area is tender, but if she is resting/lying down she is OK. Walking is another matter, she already has mild hip displasia/arthritis and for the last year she has been getting slower standing up and uneasy on her feet. For the last week she has been favoring her right rear leg after hurting it going down the steps off the porch. (which led to the vet visit)
My gut instinct says to go with pain meds as necessary and let things play out as-is, but always open to other thoughts on the matter. She's had a good life. If she was younger, or if it was a front leg, I would lean towards the surgery, but at her age, and with her hips, I have reservations that she would be mobile with only the one back leg.
I'm a firm believer in not doing radical surgery on an old dog- I don't think the trauma you put them through is justified when they don't have a lot of time left in any case. It's one thing for humans who can understand that they are trading pain now for a few more months with loved ones, but our animals do not understand. I know some people do whatever it takes to keep their pets alive, but I can't do that- I do not want my dogs suffering to give me a few more months.
You can get lots of pain medication, no worry about over-medicating, and enjoy the time you have left.
"Corgis on Wheels: Understanding and Caring for the Special Needs of Corgis with Degenerative Myelopathy or DIsk Disease available now!
It is a hard decision to make at her age. If you think she could get around with three legs it might be worth the amputation. These guys just get so incredibly painful as time passes. If her ability to get around on three legs is in question I wouldn't do it. I have had a lot of success with treating these guys with acupuncture, and a couple herbs called artemisinin http://holleypharma.com/ and sanshedan chuanbeiye. These really help keep the cancer from spreading and are very safe. One note, artemisinin can't be used with radiation therapy.
Here are a couple articles form my blog on osteosarcoma which might be helpful
http://pathwithpaws.com/blog/2009/01/11 ... than-four/
http://pathwithpaws.com/blog/2009/01/12 ... ies-story/
Lena McCullough, DVM
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