- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Help... My Rotties has diagnosed with bone cancer....

June 6th, 2009, 07:20 AM

I'm new here...

I have got a 5 years old rotties and I just received a shocking news from my Vet today that she has got bone cancer in her righ front limb. The vet said that the only treatment is to amputate her front limb followed by chemo. Then she may have a chance to live for a year or two. Otherwise 3 to 4 months at most. I'm struggling to make the right decision as she had already been through a lots in this past 5 short years, two surgeries to remove demoid cyst on her head, one major knee surgery... I wonder I should let her to go through this again. With her bad left knee, I'm really wonder if amputated her front limb will give her a good life, but on the other hand, should I give her "another chance"??? Will she have a good quality of life if she has got an amputated limb? Is she going to be unhappy? Is she???... There are so many questions in my head and I guess I'm really confused. The last thing I want is to make a wrong decision for her and let her suffer..... :cry:

By the way, I have no experience with dogs with disability. Does anybody experience with dogs with amputated front limb? Can they go up & down stairs?

June 6th, 2009, 07:51 AM
I am so sorry. I lost my rott'n girl to bone cancer several years ago. She was much older then your girl and the circumstances were a bit different - her's was very much advanced and the decision was to euthanize her immediately. She was in agonizing pain.

Dogs generally recover well from amputation. They go on to negotiate stairs and do everything they could do with 4 legs almost without a backwards glance.

We have a member here who has an amputee - I believe the member's name is "Bendyfoot" and she would be able to advise you on having an amputee in the house.

Best of luck to you. Know that no matter what your decision - there are people here who have been where you are and are willing to listen, not judge. You are the only one looking at your dog and making the best decisions that you can based on your dog and the information that you have been given.

June 6th, 2009, 12:37 PM
One of my park's regulars has a three-legged dog who does everything the other dogs do. Dogs seem to be able to recover from things like amputation much more easily than humans.

June 6th, 2009, 02:21 PM
pls read jaidas story and others here! it may help!

June 6th, 2009, 04:29 PM
Lovemypitgirls also has a three-legged pup and I think she's doing great.

June 7th, 2009, 07:35 AM
Thank you for all your support and information. They are very helpful especially jaidas story.

It's funny to say in this kind of situation, but today has been interesting - I guess is a little bit of "sunshine" in a storm.

Today we decided to go to a dog park that we haven't visited for a long long time. I said to my partner that it would be great if I see a three legs dog in action.... And the moment we entered the park, the first dog we saw is a three legs cute little doggie, so energtic and loving life. The owner also told me that her neighbour has a rottie with her front limb amputated, no problem at all...

Well, it seems all things have its own order/cause (if you know what I mean). It may be a very silly thought but I guess it may be a sign to tell us not to give up that easily...

Thank you for listening. And once again, thank you for all your support.


June 7th, 2009, 09:04 AM
I am sorry to hear about you rottie.

We lost our 8 year old GSD Chimo :rip: to bone cancer. We did not have the option to amputate. The decision is not easy, but I know you will make the right one for you and your beloved rottie. There are more and more 3 legged dogs around.

Keep us updated on how things turn out.

June 7th, 2009, 02:17 PM
I'm so sorry for your situation :sad: :grouphug:.

I personally would lean to not having the amputation. I have not had dogs with bone cancer but I do know two people who have and although the amputation bought them a little bit more time it also meant the dog had to endure a painful procedure and barely recovered when the cancer came back. It is a very painful form of cancer as well :sad:. I also think a hind end amputation is easier then a front one (although Bendy's Jaida does well) and a bad knee is definately a consideration.

Whatever your decision I am sure it will be what you feel is best and we are all here to support you :goodvibes: :grouphug: :goodvibes:.

June 7th, 2009, 06:55 PM
Thank you again.

TerriM, yes, I agreed with you. That were also part of the so many factors from her past that make our decision so hard to make.

We really want to make a right decision that best for her base on what she wants but not what we want.

On one hand, let's nature makes the call can guarantee she doesn't need to suffer much longer but we're thinking is that out of our own selfishness that this is the easy way out to be freed from looking after a sick dog and doesn't need to face the same situation again in the next one or two years?

On the other hand, we're thinking, is that what she really wants? She is a girl who loves life, loves being with her best mate (Golden Retriever) since the age of 7 weeks old. Would she rather to have her front limb amputated and be with people/things she loves to be with? I'm not sure to be honest. And if we go onto this path, is that because of our own selfishness again that we want to keep her going as we love her so much not because of what she wants? ......... At one point, I really wish she can speak so she can tell me what is best for her.... I hope she can give me a sign...

Very sorry for all these emotional talks... By the way, the Vet said she would like to do a CT first to make sure it didn't spread before doing anything. It's a public holiday in Sydney today and it's such a pain that we can't do anything but wait...

Thanks for listening...


June 8th, 2009, 06:48 AM
Skyeblue,it would be a very difficult decision for anyone of us.
Your Rottie-girl is only 5 yrs old,if the scan shows her cancer has not spread,she is a good candidate for amputation.
If it has spread to other parts of her,I believe the decision is made for you.:sad:
If we could ask our animals,whether they want to live with 3 legs,I am sure they would say yes,but of course they cannot speak:pawprint:
What is your girls name?

June 8th, 2009, 09:49 AM
wow, what a tough situation. :grouphug: I'm sorry you're faced with having to make this tough choice.

In Jaida's case, there was no cancer, only mobility impairment. There was no life-or-death only quality of life to consider.

There are a few things I'd be asking myself if I was in your shoes. First, how advanced is this cancer? Is is only in the leg or has it spread to other parts of the body? As for the bad knee, how much does it currently impair your pup's ability to get around?

If cancer was the only consideration, my thought process would be: if the cancer is only in the leg then I think my personal decision would be to amputate and do the chemo. Dogs recover amazingly quickly from amputations and enjoy an excellent quality of life (they really aren't "handicapped", they just look different), and they also generally do really well with chemo, not at all like people; they don't seem to have all awful sickness associated with it. I know someone whose older, large dog had her front leg removed due to bone cancer, and underwent the chemotherapy, and it's been over 2 years and she's still trucking along just fine with no sign of reoccurance. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then others are correct in saying that the surgery will only buy a few months. If that was the case and it was my dog I would just spoil them rotten and manage the discomfort and closely monitor the limb. The only thing you would have to be careful of is weakening of the bone where the tumour is; my friend with the now cancer-free dog I just mentioned discovered the cancer when the leg broke at the tumour site while on their daily walk. :sad: It's a risk factor when you leave the leg.

If the bad knee was the only consideration, I'd be asking, is my dog relatively mobile and able to bear weight on the bad leg? Jaida has bad hips/back which can make her lame or at least stiff in the rear from time to time, but not for one minute has it stopped her from enjoying her life. I'd still do the amputation now if it hadn't been done already. When she's stiff/sore, we manage the pain with medication, and she does just fine. She is a happy, happy, happy dog. If the dog was completely or mostly non-weight-bearing in the bum leg, then that would complicate the decision to amputate; you'd be looking at a lot more caretaking required to get the dog up and about (lifts, slings) and probably would need a wheelchair/cart to maintain a good quality of life for you and the pup. It would certainly be a bigger committment.

So I guess there's no really easy answer, but I'd be asking those questions first and then weighing the pros and cons. If everything is hunky-dory (cancer is contained, the bum knee's not too bad) and you're really just looking at the prospect of having a dog with three legs instead of four, it's really truly not that big a deal in the long run. A few weeks of recovery, then back to normal life, full-speed ahead.

June 8th, 2009, 10:38 AM
I have been putting off reading this thread as it is heartbreaking and personal as well. My apologies for not reading sooner but today I had to.

I personally lost my rott to cancer. Very painful as he too was very young.

Ben's cancer was uncureable. I did whatever I could and in the end I opted for Predisone which gave him 1 month of great days. I must tell you however, that he lived 1 year longer than what they initially thought he would. So that was a blessing in itself.

Your situation is different than mine. If the dog's chances are good without the limb - then I would go for it. I have had experience with fosters missing limbs and you would be surprised what they can do. They adjust well.

I wish you and your rott well. I have you both close to my heart. I really do.:grouphug:

June 9th, 2009, 02:04 AM
Thanks again for all your thoughts.

Her name is Cassie and she is the youngest (we also have a cat - eldest, and a Golden Retriever - best mate of Cassie since the age of 7 weeks old).

We thought we've decided what to do after all the "signs" from the last couple of days but it seems everything changed after another conversation with the Vet this morning. Not that she discouraged us from anything but she just stated all the facts of our options.

Cassie's bad knee (got arthritis as well) is pretty ok at this stage even though she hops like a rabbit from time to time when she runs (it's kinda cute though). It seems the arthritis will affect her only if she has the "chance" to grow old. But knowing the worst and best scenario is from a few months to 2 years after amputation. She may not even get to the age of senior. To be honest, I can't think of her to be the lucky one or the "miracle case" at this point really.

We try to think as logical as we could and do the best for her, but we just don't know what to think anymore…


June 9th, 2009, 04:35 PM
I'm so sorry about Cassie. My mom's rottie had bone cancer. It was very aggressive and amputation or chemotherapy was not an option for her. She was 10 when my mom and I sat and held her as she made her way across the bridge.

My newfie girl has had major knee surgery - but I don't think that would keep her from being able to adjust to a front leg amputation. Is the bad knee and the affected front leg on the same side? While no one can make this decision for you, if my dog still enjoyed life, still loved those car rides, those walks, chasing those squirrels, etc., and the prognosis for recovery was good - then I'd likely opt for the treatment. If she can't adjust to the amputation, there are companies that make prothestic limbs for dogs.

I wish you the best in making this tough decision, it's never easy - and we've all been there.

Sending good vibes for Cassie, and for you............:goodvibes:

June 10th, 2009, 08:42 AM
Just a quick note on prostheses since it was brought up...yes, there are prosthetics available for dogs, but you need at least the upper part of the limb (shoulder to elbow) on which the device would be attached. Generally the amputation in this kind of case is done to remove the entire arm. The alternative would be a mobility aid like a cart or a sling if it was needed.

Hope you're feeling ok about your decision, whatever it is!:grouphug:

June 10th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Hi not an easy decision to make. But, you will make the right decision for your dog. My :pray:are with you and your family.

June 11th, 2009, 03:17 AM
After days of struggles, tears and heartaches, our decision becomes clear. My partner and myself decided not to amputate her front limb.

Our top priority is to make sure she is a happy and pain free pup, rather than how long she is going to live. It's a fact that there is no cure for bone cancer, it's a fact that she will never recover (as told it's almost certain that the cancer has already spreaded). We just couldn't think of a good reason to prolong her life apart from us refusing to let go.

Btw, on top of what we decided, I think Cassie is also trying to tell us she is really going downhill. The vet did chest x-rays, blood test and urine test this morning and found something wrong with her kidneys.... Perhaps the decision has already made for us anyway.

It's not going to be easy for us but I guess it's time to move on, make the most of her remaining life until her last breath.


June 11th, 2009, 03:25 AM
And thank you so much for all your support & thoughts from the bottom of my heart.

You may think a little message is nothing, but the messages from you all helped me to get through this tough situation.



June 11th, 2009, 05:48 AM
I am so sorry to hear about her turn for the worse. I also believe in quality of quanity. Please know she will be in my prayers.

June 11th, 2009, 08:22 AM
You know your pup best and I have no doubt you've made the right decision for her. So sorry you and family are being faced with this...but now that you know how you're proceedign you can just enjoy her and spoil her rotten. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

June 11th, 2009, 08:50 AM
My heart goes out to you and your boyfriend. I know what a hard decision it is to make. In the meantime please enjoy her to the fullest. It will help. :grouphug::grouphug:

June 11th, 2009, 09:25 AM
So very sorry:sorry: We lost 2 Goldens last year within a few months of each other and it was a very emotional time. We had to make the decision to put them both down as it was just to painful for them to continue the fight. In the end i know we did the right thing and you will as well. Spend as much time as you can with her, make her as happy as you can, and let her know how much you love her. She will thank you 10 fold.

June 12th, 2009, 05:06 AM
Cassie is still doing fine, running around all the times. There is no sign of lameness yet. Do I need to worry about her breaking her leg where the tumor is? Should I stop her from running around?

June 12th, 2009, 08:10 AM
That's something you'd want to speak with your vet about for sure...I imagine he/she could tell you if it was a concern based on your girl's xrays.:grouphug:

June 15th, 2009, 01:26 PM
The bones will get brittle as the healthy cells are replaced with cancerous ones, so breakage is a possibility, but your vet should be able to tell you how much of a risk that is in Cassie's case.

I'm sorry that Cassie has taken a turn for the worse and I'll keep her in my thoughts.

June 17th, 2009, 07:46 AM
Thanks. The vet told me that when Cassie starts showing signs of lameness, then we'll need to monitor her very closely. But I guess we won't let her suffer when she starts to feel pain..... 'cause as everyone says bone cancer is very painful....

June 17th, 2009, 08:39 AM
Watch her carefully. The only down-side to a rottweiler is that they are very stoic and don't show pain until it is BAD.

My girl was running around the living room rough housing with our other dog the day before she was diagnosed. The bone was so deteriorated that it was collapsing in upon itself and we had absolutely no clue she was in pain until that day.

I will be keeping Cassie in my thoughts. If you need to - you can pm me.

June 17th, 2009, 10:48 AM
My thoughts are with you SkyBlue. Enjoy your baby.:grouphug:

June 19th, 2009, 07:44 PM
Thanks LavenderRott. It's a very good point. I'll ask my vet to see if there's anything we can do at home to check if she's in pain...

June 19th, 2009, 08:03 PM
My heart is breaking for you guys and I hope all the best for you and your girl. :grouphug: during this terrible time,. Spoil your girl while you can. My thoughts are with you

June 19th, 2009, 08:26 PM
Thanks LavenderRott. It's a very good point. I'll ask my vet to see if there's anything we can do at home to check if she's in pain...

With my girl, that last day she really couldn't put any weight on that leg. She did jump out of the back of my van at the vet's office though. :sad:

Watch for lots of panting. That can be the first sign of pain in our rott'n ones.

June 19th, 2009, 09:24 PM
Thanks for all of your thoughts!!!

She's like a time bomb to us. But we somehow feel more positive now as we believe we have made the right decision for her.

I know it's going to hit us very hard when the time comes no matter how prepare we are but I guess we have to be grateful that we still have sometimes with her and spoil her rotten before she makes her way across the bridge.

June 21st, 2009, 07:15 AM
Just wonder how do you deal with people who doesn't have feelings for animals? I talked with one of my colleague at work about Cassie and I just couldn't believe her response... She said why don't you get a new puppy? It's just a dog.... I was speechless. How can someone be so insensitive?.... Or is it just me who over reacted???? :confused:

June 21st, 2009, 11:39 PM
Some people just don't get it :shrug: :yell:. Our animals are full fledged loving members of our families and we mourn their sickness and deaths as we would a family member. If people don't get that I find the best thing is to just not take it to personally as it will just upset you. Instead feel sorry that they don't get to feel all the love we share with our furry friends and feel free to come here for a friendly and understanding ear anytime :grouphug:.

June 21st, 2009, 11:47 PM
that coworker of yours must be a very, very unhappy person.


Seriously, I wish you (and your rott) the best in all of this :( I'm sure you'll make the best of the time you have left :)

June 22nd, 2009, 05:25 AM
:lightbulb: I guess you're right.

Research says people who have pet normally live longer and healthier :)

June 22nd, 2009, 10:09 AM
Just wonder how do you deal with people who doesn't have feelings for animals? I talked with one of my colleague at work about Cassie and I just couldn't believe her response... She said why don't you get a new puppy? It's just a dog.... I was speechless. How can someone be so insensitive?.... Or is it just me who over reacted???? :confused:

Um, totally didn't overreact...I would have NOT been speechless, more like :censored::censored::censored::evil: Most people I know "get it". Heck even my boss is totally fine when I have to take time off for a sick pet (and when you have 6 it happens often :rolleyes:)...she's always saying "it's just like having children, isn't it?" and she doesn't even have pets! I don't run into too many people like the :censored: you described. I feel bad for them, they don't know what they're missing!

June 24th, 2009, 04:13 AM
Um, totally didn't overreact...I would have NOT been speechless, more like :censored::censored::censored::evil: Most people I know "get it". Heck even my boss is totally fine when I have to take time off for a sick pet (and when you have 6 it happens often :rolleyes:)...she's always saying "it's just like having children, isn't it?" and she doesn't even have pets! I don't run into too many people like the :censored: you described. I feel bad for them, they don't know what they're missing!

Luckily my boss is also understanding (thanks God) even though he doesn't have pets either. I can tell he doesn't really understand why this hits me so badly but at least he has been supportive and saying take time off as much as you can :)

By the way, Cassie is still doing fine (running around all the times)... Last night was very cold in Sydney and she woke up in the middle of the night and asking for help to cover her up with her favourite towel... so cute :)

We decided not to follow up on her kidneys problem as there's no point really... We're waiting for some prescriptions that the vet said will hopefully slow down the bones from deteriorating (that quickly...)

June 24th, 2009, 08:13 AM
I'm glad you've got a supportive boss, and a supportive vet :grouphug: Even gladder that Cassie's feeling good!:thumbs up