I have a 14 year old lab/mutt named Taz. She's in very good health and still has plenty of energy despite her age.
About a year and a half ago, my sister noticed a lump growing on her back leg. After a vet examination, it was determined that it was a tumor. At the time, we thought it best to leave it be due to her age, but now the tumor's grown to the point of resembling a grapefruit and is breaking through the skin, ripping her leg open more and more every day.
As mentioned earlier, while old she is fit and in very good health. If we had the leg amputated now, would she be able to recover?
This is not an easy thing to make up your mind about, is it?
What kind of tumor is it? Is it benign, or cancerous? ie, is it impossible to remove just the tumor? or has it become so invasive it affects the whole leg?
Generally, the older a dog is, the more risks surrounding surgery and recovery time is longer. That is a fact, and the vet will probably say the same. There is a chance either she won't wake up, or will have a hard time recovering from an amputation.
That's the worst case scenario, for which you should be prepared.
However, that said, I am a great believer in tough old dogs! I have seen a few, that's why.
Although there are heightened risks surrounding such a major procedure at her age, general health and fitness does count for a lot. If she gets a thorough health check first, and bloodwork, to see how well her organs are functioning, and doesn't have any added problems like arthritis in her other limbs, she might be ok.
Generally dogs do well after amputation of a back leg. What seems like a terrible surgery to us is something dogs can get along with quite well.
But you would have to have a really good idea how well your dog's general health and fitness is going to carry this major surgery. And, if it is cancer which has already spread to lymph nodes, etc....how good her prognosis is going to be. To put her through that, just for another few weeks of difficult life might not be a good idea.
I wish I could tell you definitely what to do, but I can't of course.
You will have to make the decision, but get her fully tested first.
Good luck, and do let us know how things go. God bless.
Good morning to you...I agree with Ginger, it seems like some more information would be helpful.
If it is a bone type of tumor, then amputation is certainly the best option to help extend her life. If it is simply a fatty type of tumor under the skin, it "might" be possible to remove it without needing to do an amputation.
Also, have you had chest xrays done? Knowing if the cancer has spread from it's original point may also affect your decision to undergo surgery.
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