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Question about a tumor on my dog’s knee

Our 12+ year old dog likely has a synovial tumor in his knee. He has a
fair amount of arthritis in legs and spine. Is it too much to hope that a
dog that old would be ok after an amputation?

Thanks for any thoughts you can share.


2 Responses to “Question about a tumor on my dog’s knee”

  1. Philip McHugh DVM, NC says:

    A tough one.
    Is he using the leg now?
    If you strap up that leg so he can’t use it, can he get around?

    Philip McHugh, DVM
    Park Veterinary Hospital
    Durham, NC 27713

  2. Melinda R. Burgwardt, DVM NY says:

    From a veterinarian: It is common in the veterinary field to say that animals are born with 3 legs and a spare. We walk on just two and animals can generally do so well on 3 that they act like they always had 3. I always say that the toughest part of an amputation is usually convincing an owner to do it, because most are very happy with the result within a week.

    However, it is very important to note that there are some animals that are not good candidates for amputation. It is important that the other 3 legs be good or at least reasonably good. Amputating a front leg in a dog with severe hip dysplasia, for example, is not likely to have a great outcome. It can be cruel to an animal to take away one leg when the others hurt so much that the one that was lost is a real hardship to live without.

    If your dog is already walking on only 3 legs and is doing well with that, he would probably do well with an amputation. If simply limping on the bad leg, is he otherwise really stiff and sore? If so, he’ll still be stiff and sore after an amputation and each leg will now have at least 1 and 1/3 as much work to do and may not be able to deal with it.

    A friend of mine had a Lab that got bone cancer in a front leg at age 11. (Front legs are harder to lose than back legs). The leg was amputated, the dog had chemo and did great. About a year later, the dog developed a spleen tumor and needed to be put down. But the amputation gave that old dog a wonderful extra year of being essentially normal except for 3 legs. The age is not necessarily the issue. The quality of use of his other legs is.

    Melinda R. Burgwardt, DVM
    Lancaster, NY

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