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Taylor, 12 year old golden retriever, has a swollen leg. He

Taylor, 12 year old golden...
Taylor, 12 year old golden retriever, has a swollen leg. He has been "nursing" a blood blister which broke in May but still hasn't healed, just gotten larger. The vet has given him antibiotics, had us keep it clean, wrapped with a gauze pad on top of furazone and then wrapped in vet wrap. This evening for the first time his leg was swollen. The foot doesn't seem hot, the temp seems about that of his other feet. Will it help to soak it in epson salts, or could we harm him. ( I can't reach a vet here.) Or should I just leave it until Monday?

Thank you,
Barbara
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
8/29/2010
VetInternist
VetInternist, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,181
Experience: Staff Internist and Medical Director
Verified
Chat Conversation Started
ResidentVet :

How is Taylor doing tonight.

ResidentVet :

I see you have joined me.

ResidentVet :

Does Taylor have a normal appetite?

ResidentVet :

Is he drinking and urinating normally?

ResidentVet :

does the wrap seem tight?

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Pretty well. He tripped coming in from outside this evening, but isn't limping or anything. He ate his dinner for the most part. He seems to be fine except for his swollen right front leg and his wound.

ResidentVet :

ok

ResidentVet :

How is the wrap?

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Taylor has been drinking normally, his appetite has been down a little lately but it's been warm weather, he's urinating normally. And no the wrap is off now, but hasn't been too tight. I always slip my finger in to make sure I don't wrap it too tight. I learned to do vet wrap on the horses and don't want too put it too tight!

ResidentVet :

Understood.

ResidentVet :

Ok

ResidentVet :

Epsom salts won't hurt him unless he drinks the solution. If it causes him irritation I would stop and rinse the paw, but it may feel good.

ResidentVet :

Was there any testing of the wound?

ResidentVet :

Any tests submitted?

ResidentVet :

Are you still therE?

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

No, I was concerned about that but he said he'd never seen anything like it before! We haven't gotten past the just wrap it. I think it's infected. And frankly thinking of trying another vet for their opinion. The wound started out as a blood blistered at about his elbow and it burst. It was open and bloody when he first saw it. Prescibed the antibiotics, putting a blob of furazone , gauze and then the vet wrap. It still hasn't healed!

ResidentVet :

I hate to be the one to tell you this if you haven't heard this yet, but I'm afraid this may be more than just a "blood blister"

ResidentVet :

I am more concerned that this may be a tumor of some kind.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Nope haven't heard it and not surprised just very disappointed if he's really ill. Any advice?

ResidentVet :

Especially because it hasn't healed, I would get your vet to take biopsies. Actually, I wouldn't let him tell you that it isn't necessary. A non-healing wound needs to be biopsied.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Ok should I be asking anything else?

ResidentVet :

I would just make sure this gets done and we figure out what the problem is. Cultures should be taken if it looks infected and we should change antibiotics if the culture/susceptibility results suggest they should be changed

ResidentVet :

If basic blood work and a urinalysis hasn't been done I would do that as well to make sure there aren't any other problems. I wouldn't normally be this aggressive, but in a 12-year-old golden retriever, I worry a little more about cancer.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Are cultures testing the infection and a biopsy testing the wound? He had blood work and urinalysis done just prior to this occurring. Re-check?

ResidentVet :

If the blood work was done after the wound was noted I don't think it is necessary to repeat it. The cultures are testing the infection. The biopsies are recommended to see what the underlying cause of the wound is.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Ok Is cancer treatable in dogs?

ResidentVet :

Almost any cancer is treatable, technically, but some types respond better than others. Unfortunately, approximately 25% of dogs die from cancer.

ResidentVet :

If this is cancer, the types of cancer that affect the skin and cause non-healing wounds aren't the best types of cancer to have

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

As a cancer survivor I fully understand the odds...in a 12 year old dog or any dog is it cruel to put them through the treatments? I quess I just want to prepare for a rather tough question.

ResidentVet :

My philosophy about treating cancer has changed dramatically as I have practiced medicine.

ResidentVet :

When I was a vet student I swore that I would never treat cancer in my dogs and would simply put them down when they had too many bad days.

ResidentVet :

Now, after I have seen many more cases I would get a diagnosis and try treatment based on how my dog was feeling

ResidentVet :

I have seen miraculous changes in dogs with cancer after they have started treatment

ResidentVet :

The nice thing about chemotherapy is that you can stop at any time if things aren't going well. I typically recommend that my clients try at least one treatment to see how things go. We use lower doses of chemo in dogs and cats because our goals are different

ResidentVet :

We want to improve quality of life not just quantity of life.

ResidentVet :

Our main concern is that pets with cancer get to spend additional quality time with their owners, not as much time as possible feeling awful

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

I agree . I just didn't want to be selfish about wanting more time!

ResidentVet :

I do want to be sure that you understand that this may not be cancer at all. It may just be an infected wound and I am recommending a biopsy and cultures to figure out what the problem is. I don't want to condemn your dog to cancer officially, just yet

ResidentVet :

The best thing to do in this case is to get a diagnosis and work from there.

ResidentVet :

Do you have any more questions?

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

So go ahead and soak the paw and leg if I want too! Call the vet on Monday and get him in for blood work, biopsies. Excellent plan. No I would not condemn Taylor just yet, he's far too sweet and perky! Thank you for your help. Another quick question, he got fleas and we treated him with Frontline Plus thinking that was what we used last year with great success. Not so good this year, I think it must have been Advantage that was used. Anyway, it has three thirty day doses, can I switch over to the other product, it's almost thirty days.

ResidentVet :

You can definitely switch products at this time, no concerns with that.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

Ok thank you very much.

ResidentVet :

Soaking the paw would be fine. Just stop if it seems to hurt him. If he struggles at first It isn't necessarily a sign of pain, but if he continues to resist the soaking I would stop

ResidentVet :

I think your plan sounds great.

ResidentVet :

Let me know if you have any other questions.

JACUSTOMER-njav3rou- :

OK!

ResidentVet :

Good Luck!

VetInternist
VetInternist, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,181
Experience: Staff Internist and Medical Director
Verified
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