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Ask Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP Your Own...
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP, Small Animal Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  DABVP, Specialist in Canine and Feline Medicine, Veterinarian since 2000
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My 11 year old mixed breed dog (100lbs) was diagnosed with

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My 11 year old mixed breed dog (100lbs) was diagnosed with spindle cell tumor on her leg joint. She just had a surgical biopsy today so we are waiting for the results, my vet thinks it is probably cancer. She has no discomfort or other symptoms.
My vet is sugesting radiation to shrink the tumor then surgical removal of the tumor and more radiation. I do not want to subject her to radiation because a- I don't want to subject her to the side effects and b- I simply can not afford it.
I have read that prednisone would also shink the tumor is this an alternative to radiation?
If it is stage 1 and the tumor is just removed would that give her a few more healthy years?
What would her life span exspect to be with no tratment or holistic treatment?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 6 years ago.
Hi Mike,

I am Dr. Devlin and I am a Board Certified Specialist in Canine and Feline Practice.

I'm sorry for the delay - I just came online and saw that your questions had not yet been answered.

I'm very sorry to hear about your dog's recent diagnosis.

I was a little confused about the tumor - was there a second tumor that was a spindle cell? Or, did your vet initially take a smaller sample, and has now taken the surgical biopsy to better diagnose the tumor type?

Also, can you tell me the exact location and size? Is it possible to remove entirely without radiation prior?

Also, is amputation a consideration? I'm not sure which joint is involved.

Thank you for the additional information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The tumor is on her knee joint front left leg.

The tunor is a little smaller than a golf ball he only took off a couple of samples for biopsy.

He did mention amputation as an option but it is her front leg and she is 11 yrs old and 100lbs. Would she still have a quality life without that leg?

Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. It is very helpful.

If radiation is not an option initially, then I would pursue a surgical excision and attempt to remove the entire tumor. Depending on the diagnosis, some of these tumors can be very locally invasive, and can be difficult to remove. Also, given the location, if wide margins are taken, it may be difficult to close the wound properly.

If the tumor is invading the joint, then it will be more difficult - if not impossible - to remove entirely.

You could speak with several different boarded surgeons (they would need to examine and palpate the mass) for their opinions and thoughts, and how they would approach wound closure - as there are likely a number of options - skin grafting, skin advancement flaps - or even leaving open to slowly granulate in, with daily bandage changes. Unfortunately, I can't say which would would be best without a careful exam, review of films, etc.

If surgery now is an option, I would pursue.

With that said - if it is a tumor type that doesn't typically metastasize, but is locally invasive, I would probably attempt the excision first, and if it recurs in the future, discuss other options. In the meanwhile, if she is overweight, you could work on reducing any obesity and helping to strengthen other limbs in case amputation becomes necessary.

I do see a number of older dogs undergo limb amputation and go on to have a wonderful quality of life. Of course, it will depend on her her overall health, and the strength of her other legs and spine. If considering that route, I would have x-rays of other shoulder and elbow, and also lower spine/hips performed to assess health of those joints.

Unfortunately, pred would not replace radiation - there could be a small decrease in associated inflammation, and even possibly a very small decrease in tumor size, BUT, it would be minimal at best, XXXXX XXXXX affect wound healing. Surgical excision is the best option.

You'll need to know the actual tumor type for more detailed information on prognosis and how the tumor will behave, unfortunately. Some can be quite slow-growing - and she could do well for months or even possibly longer. Others are more aggressive, and locally invasive - months at best.

I think adding holistic treatments is fine after surgery. Nothing would replace removal of the mass.

I hope this helps, and I do wish you the best of luck with her. I know you must be very worried about her. Please let me know if I can help with anything else, and if you can, please let me know what is found. After an accept, you can reply back for a couple of weeks.
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