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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20163
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with 15 years experience
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Hi My 6 year old Scottie recently had a problem with his

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My 6 year old Scottie recently had a problem with his claw on his left foot. After examination my vets then decided to amputate the troublesome toe. They sent the toe off to be examined and sadly the results have come back as Osteosarcoma.
The vets have carried out further tests and at the moment, nothing is showing up in the X rays. So my vets have now said they they will repeat these tests in one month (originally they said 3). They also suggested that we consider fully amputating his leg.
This has obviously come as a great shock, and I have been trying to find out as much as i can about this disease to try and work out what to do for the best. I want to give him the best possible chance of surviving as long as possible.
I understand that osteosarcoma is highly aggressive, and its likely to return. Everything i have read online about dogs that have survived the longest, all seem to have involved amputation plus chemotherapy. My vets have not suggested chemo, and their approach seems to me to be a little reactive by just repeating tests.
I would appreciate your thoughts on whether we should be taking a more proactive approach to this problem. Should leg amputation be considered alone or with chemo, or just chemo?
The vets are still waiting for further histology results. I am not sure what further information that will provide.
Many Thanks
Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 13 years. Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about this diagnosis with Adrian. Osteosarcomas are unfortunately very aggressive tumors. I'll be honest here and say that the best situation here would be to try and involve an veterinary oncologist in your area. If an owner wants to get as long of a survival time as possible, then chemotherapy is needed. When osteosarcomas are diagnosed, the reality is that it has already spread in the body, but just in a way that isn't detectable. Doing chemotherapy will help to treat these areas of spread and slow down their affects on the body. Here is a great link on canine osteosarcoma that I want you to read through. It has so much detail that I can't go into it all with the same justice.
I'm not sure what further information they are waiting for with the histology results unless they are waiting to see if the margins were clear. In a situation like this, I would be curious as to if a full leg amputation would be warranted. The reason being is if the local osteosarcoma on the digit is fully removed, then it wouldn't necessarily seem important to further amputate that limb as there are no obvious tumors there at this time then.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Bruce,

Thanks for your answer, which has confirmed my suspicions. I have spent many late night hours researching this, and I didn't think my vets approach to this was the best course of action. I also was concerned that the additional amputation was unnecessary. I am obviously no vet so i needed another opinion.

I will read through this information, and try to find a local veterinary oncologist.

Thanks for your help.



I'm glad to have helped to provide some more information and options to you Adrian. I'm hoping for the absolute best for your little guy. Getting in to visit the oncologist will allow them to present the various options available and help choose the best for him.
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