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benedetta7, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 460
Experience:  Companion animal medicine and homeopathy
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I have a 10.5 year old yellow lab/shar-pei mix. He weighs

Customer Question

Hello. I have a 10.5 year old yellow lab/shar-pei mix. He weighs about 68 lbs. In the last year we have had 2 tumors mast cell tumors removed, one from his back and the other from his right hind leg. The latest surgery was back in May. He has developed a tumor under his right arm pit now that is hindering circulation and causing his to limp on his right front leg. The vet just aspirated it and is sending the sample to a lab. Either way, benign or cancerous, the vet thinks we will have to amputate his leg since the tumor is up underneath his sholder blade. Is this the only option and with his age, is it good to do for his quality of life? Living on 3 legs and having to recover from another surgery?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  benedetta7 replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Benedetta, and I would be glad to help.

This is a tough situation, and I feel for you and Todd.

Amputation can be a good solution, and 3 legged dogs can do remarkably well, with a great QOL.

However, if the tumor comes back as a malignant aggressive tumor, I would run all the other tests, such as chest radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, blood work, to assess whether there are is metastatic disease, before moving forward with surgery.

Also, I would take into consideration Todd's general health. If he is healthy, and the lump is his only problem, then he is likely to do well after surgery. If he is overweight/obese, or with a known condition, such as diabetes, liver/kidney issues etc., the surgery can be tough.

Finally, I would also consider how he recovered from his recent surgeries. If he bounced right back, great! If he struggled, or had complications, then a major surgery like an amputation may be difficult for him.

Hope this helps, let me know if I can be of further help!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He recovered well from the previous surgeries, just hates to take meds by mouth. One of my concerns is they take the leg and he spends a couple weeks recovering and confused because of the lost leg and then another tumor appears for another surgery and he is right back at the vet.At this age, if they amputate the leg and he develops no more tumors, is there an age expancy? Does he have 1 more year or 4 more years? He is in pain now so his qol isn't great but he remains upbeat.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If it is a mestastic diease, what options do I have then?
Expert:  benedetta7 replied 1 year ago.

well, it could well be that tumors keep popping up, but you have to consider that not all of them will need to be removed.

there is no way of knowing how many years he has left, under any circumstance, but certainly evidence of metastatic disease would shorten his life expectancy by quite a bit.

in some cases, like osteosarcoma, a cancer of the long bones, by the time we find it, it is always already metastatic, but the recommendation is amputation, because it will buy a few months of pain free life, with good QOL.

I would also consider consulting with an oncologist, if the last sample comes back malignant, there may be chemo protocols, or radiation protocol that can fit Todd. They are usually very well tolerated. And even if you do not want to go that way, an oncologist will have a more accurate estimate of life expectancy, and degree of severity of the disease, and all that.

these are always difficult decisions, because the outcome is so uncertain!