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Help me make the right decision please

(23 Posts)
frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 10:52:50

OK , took my dog to the vets on monday night , he has broken his leg , the vet told me then and there that he has a tumour on his leg , think long bony leg as opposed to fat leg . Anyway in a state of total shock , bring dog home with painkillers .
So have to make decision to either have x-ray to confirm what the vet believes in his clinical opinion or they come out to the house today and pts , have booked x-ray for tomorrow morning anyway . Part of me feels that i need the x-ray to know for 100% certain there was nothing else i could do , but is that just me being selfish , would it not be kinder to let the dog go peacefully at home ?
Hardest decision of my life sad

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 29-Jan-15 10:57:00

So sorry you've had this news.

A friend of mine had very similar with her greyhound. She had the leg removed and he's now fine. Can you find out if the cancer has spread?

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 11:00:50

Unfortunately the vet will not amputate because he is 12 .

tabulahrasa Thu 29-Jan-15 11:01:49

X-ray, assuming he isn't scared of the vet, it isn't a hugely stressful ordeal or anything...so worth doing on the off-chance that it isn't that.

tabulahrasa Thu 29-Jan-15 11:02:56

"Unfortunately the vet will not amputate because he is 12 ."

Just because of his age, or does he have other health issues?

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 11:06:45

No other health issues that i know of , but it would put a lot of strain on his other legs wouldn't it ? The life span for the breed tends to 14 years at the top end .

tabulahrasa Thu 29-Jan-15 11:14:32

It does put more strain on the remaining legs...but if he doesn't have any arthritis or anything, I don't know that his age makes a huge difference?

I'm not a vet or anything, so I don't know - it just seems a bit arbitrary to say he's too old if there isn't an issue with anything else.

There are a couple of vets that post in here, maybe one of them will know whether it's worth getting an opinion from a specialist.

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 11:20:55

The thing that is playing on my mind is a few months ago he slipped and clattered his leg against the wooden door frame , it swelled a bit but he was fine after a couple of days , there was still a bit of a lump but he wasn't lame . It is the same leg that has broken . I just wondered if it was a haematoma ? but would that feel the same as a tumour and would you be able to differentiate in a swollen , broken leg ?

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 29-Jan-15 12:02:54

OP if your vet would amputate, would you want to? Completely understandable if not, you might feel it's too much for your dog to go through. But if you WOULD consider it, is it worth ringing a couple of other vets and getting some opinions.

Can you put off the vet coming out today so you have time to think / do some research.

As others have said, just because he's 12 you don't need to assume he's too old. My neighbours have a 19 year old collie. Some dogs live longer than you'd expect.

MitchellMummy Thu 29-Jan-15 12:09:28

Poor you. My inclination would be to xray, assuming the painkillers are keeping him comfortable. Only you know how he's feeling, if he seems comfy then I'd wait until after tomorrow's results.

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 12:19:07

He seems comfortable on the painkillers , still getting off the sofa to nick the cats food , stick his head in the bin , go into the garden etc . He has managed to bury a bone using three legs and his nose smile

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 29-Jan-15 12:31:06

Is he a lab by any chance? grin

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 12:51:17

No , but he should be the way he carries on grin

moosemama Thu 29-Jan-15 13:23:00

He sound much more active than my girl was.

I don't think anyone can tell you what to do. Only advice is to do what feels right to you, taking into consideration your knowledge of your dog and whether or not you think he's in pain or suffering.

If they are sedating for the Xray, you absolutely do not have to have him pts at the surgery, should the news be bad. You can still bring him home and have the vets out to your house.

Floralnomad Thu 29-Jan-15 14:17:58

He sounds like he has a great quality of life ,I think I'd be having an X-ray with a view to amputation and if the vet won't do that I'd find another vet who would . Good luck whatever you decide .

EasyToEatTiger Thu 29-Jan-15 16:05:42

I think you need to put his age to one side, just for now. Some dogs at 12 are ancient, others not. We have a 17 year old collie (give or take), who we wouldn't put through surgery as she's really very doddery. A couple of years ago we would have considered it. Our vet thought she was much younger than she is, although these days she's definitely a little old lady!

moosemama Thu 29-Jan-15 17:25:52

My girl was 14 and the vet was willing to refer her to specialist for amputation and treatment, provided she was clear of mets. At 14 she was more energetic than our 7 year old lad and no-one ever guessed her age, often assuming he was older than her.

Scuttlebutter Thu 29-Jan-15 17:50:08

I'm going to go against the grain, and suggest that PTS at home is the kindest option. With bone cancer, by the time the tumour has caused a break, there are invariably mets, usually in the lungs, so how much time are you buying, and with what quality of life? I wouldn't want my dog to be in severe pain, and a broken leg/bone tumour is one of the worse pains. Older dogs do take longer to recover from amputation (or indeed any major operation). Depending on breed, there may also be issues in getting the amp site to heal nicely.

Bone cancer is sadly common in our breed (greyhounds) and both DH and I are agreed it's the ONE thing we wouldn't hesitate over a PTS decision, and I am normally a huge advocate of fighting for elderly dogs, and indeed ours have in the last year come through a different type of cancer and a full spinal paralysis, so I'm certainly not against intervention or amputation where that's appropriate.

We had a dog who was in a similar situation and we didnt' even wait for the X rays to confirm - he was in so much pain that we agreed immediately that PTS was the best thing.

It's a horrible, horrible situation and I wish you all the best. All I can say is that a peaceful end at home is much kinder than dragging things out over the weekend, especially if you have a long way to travel to get to emergency vets out of hours. Vets rarely make a diagnosis like that without being pretty certain, and an X ray will just confirm it.

moosemama Thu 29-Jan-15 18:42:15

I think the OP is having a problem with the fact the vet has diagnosed cancer from just an external examination, no bloods or xray - leaving that uneasy element of doubt, which is making the decision extra hard.

It could be the vet has seen numerous similar cases and is confident of his/her ability to diagnose from just an external exam, but it also seems like the OP doesn't have complete confidence in him/her, for whatever reason.

With your dog you were sure he was in a great deal of pain, OP doesn't feel her boy is suffering to that extent and says he is still getting up to mischief and playing/burying things etc, though of course some dogs can just be incredibly stoic about pain, which complicates things even more.

I do agree that dragging it out over the weekend wouldn't seem right, but she has the xray booked for tomorrow morning, so any decision could be taken there and then (we waited on site while our girl was xrayed) and then an arrangement made for the vet to come to the house tomorrow evening if the worst is confirmed.

Op I wish you all the best, whatever you decide.

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 19:21:09

Thank you scuttlebutter , I do absolutely agree with you , if the diagnosis is definate , then of course we will PTS . The problem I have is that 3 years ago I nearly put the horse that I share to sleep , but I argued that one blood test wouldn't do any harm , he is still alive and very well , nearly took my head off with a fly buck earlier on this week !
He has been an absolute gem of a dog , I honestly couldn't imagine a better dog , yes we have spoilt him rotten in some peoples eyes , the sofa lounging and bed snoozing , my house hasn't really been clean since we got him 10 years ago and every car I have ever owned has a back note of fox poo , and a few soft furnishings have died a long the way . We love the bloody bones of him and if there is the slimmest chance that the vet is wrong and I know I am clutching at massive straws , but if that chance exists I cannot comfortably PTS without being sure sad

frumpet Thu 29-Jan-15 19:35:54

Whilst I was writing that last post , the bugger has just limped in and pinched my sons cheese toastie from the side in the kitchen grin

Slippersandacuppa Thu 29-Jan-15 19:48:51

Poor dog sad Sounds like he's feeling okay though - cheese toasties are definitely worth it IMO.

I am of the, better a week too early than a day too late, school of thought but in your case it just seems like there's too much doubt to make a decision that you'll have to live with for the rest of your life.

We lost our dog in a tragic accident last year and I still feel guilty about it even though there was obviously no choice about it. It haunts me. It would be awful if you carried doubts with you. Wasn't there a thread recently about a lady and her cat? I would get another opinion asap and try to get as much definitive info as possible. Then base your decision on that - I think he sounds like he deserves that (and another toastie).

Good luck and hope it's good news.

Booboostoo Thu 29-Jan-15 20:17:34

Please take your dog straight to a specialist vet. The cancer diagnosis without even an x-Ray is truly weird, your dog could well have an infection. I would not trust the local vet to read the x-rays this is a job for a specialist.

Over the years I have had the following misdiagnoses from local vets:
- dog with cough, local vet said it was lung cancer should PTS, specialist saw an enlarged heart instead dog lived another 7 years on heart medication
- dog with non-weight bearing leg, local vet said bone cancer PTS, specialist saw an infection which was treated with 6 weeks of antibiotics, dog lived another 3 years
- unco-ordinated kitten, local vet said congenital problem with the spine kitten in severe pain PTS, specialist diagnosed in seconds a cerebral problem, kitten in no pain, just leading a happy, albeit wobbly, life.

Local vets do a wonderful, skilled job but they do not, and cannot be expected to have, the knowledge of a specialist vet.

If it is cancer dogs cope extremely well with three legs and another year or two could be a substantial amount of time for a 12 year old dog.

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