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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16074
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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I have an English Mastiff. She's almost 8yrs old. she has a

Customer Question

I have an English Mastiff. She's almost 8yrs old. she has a hard swollen joint on her right front leg around the carpus. She has an obvious limp. I took her to the vet who did xrays on the leg, chest and abdomen. she could not confirm that it was osteosarcoma. she did not detect anything on the xray that would indicate that it was cancer or that it had spread. I distinctively remember her hurting her leg when she jumped out of the car. but, I think that if it was just a sprain the swelling would have gone down within the week. It's now been over a week. I don't want to do the biopsy because it is very expensive (with sedation) she weighs 175 pounds and even if it is positive for cancer there really is nothing that can be done because of her age and her pre-existing cruciate injury and surgery. she is not a candidate for amputation. if it is just a sprain how long does it take for the swelling to go down. if its not is it a good idea to place a front splint on it to help support her weight while walking?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: Yes, there is no wound and the x-ray did not show any fractures
JA: The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Mattison
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mattison?
Customer: she has had a past surgery to repair her cruciate on the left side and still has a torn cruciate on the right side.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 months ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question. Just like an in person consult, I have a few questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible.....

Has she been taking it easy since she initially hurt that leg?

Is she on any medications for inflammation?

What state do you live in?

Does she now, or has she ever had tick exposure?

Will she put weight on the foot at all?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
She's a Mastiff, they are indicative of being lazy. so, she has been taking it easy. Plus she has weak back legs. she started taking truprophen this morning. We live in GA. I don't believe she has been exposed to ticks. she is basically an indoor dog. she puts weight on it, but it seems painful and she limps
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 months ago.

Great. Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

The good news is that she will put weight on it...which tells me we're not likely dealing with a fracture or something like bone cancer...especially since the x-rays were clear.

The bad news is that in giant breeds, especially geriatric giant breeds, even sprains can take several weeks or even a month to heal.

It's good that you have her on medication for the inflammation and that she's taking it easy....that way she's not re-traumatizing it and making it worse, but I think at this point, the best thing to do is to just keep an eye on things. If it becomes more swollen or if she stops putting weight on it, then you should have the vet take a closer look at it, just to be safe.

I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
as I stated in my initial question, it is already swollen. the vet has looked at it and xrayed it. but because her back legs are weak i wanted to ask if putting a splint on it would help
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
additionally my vet thought that it was a possibility that it could be osteosarcoma and she was putting weight on it.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 months ago.

If it becomes more swollen was my concern. I do realize it's already swollen.

And we don't want to use a splint because if it does swell, it can cut off circulation, which would be detrimental to the, since she's already got a bad rear leg, we don't want to take away a front leg with a splint.

If the x-ray was clear, it's unlikely to be osteosarcoma....that generally shows up as a mottled or moth-eaten appearance on x-rays.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
okay, that gives me a little hope. I won't splint it. Can I ask why the vet would suggest a biopsy if the x-ray was clear. I guess i'm just worried and grasping at straws. the vet gave me the impression that an xray would not show cancer just if there was a fracture. I guess im going to have to have patience and pray
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 months ago.

I know that the patience part is tough when you have a dog who is injured....I always say not to go looking for bridges to cross before you need although of course I personally can't say with 100% certainty that it's not cancer....I'm 99.9% sure that it's a sprain.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
thank you for your time and the information. I'll keep an eye on it.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 months ago.

you're very welcome. I'll keep my fingers crossed!!