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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our sweet Penny was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma in January, 2021 and it was surgically removed. In December it recurred, and after visits with local vets and specialists we were told she had no options, that she was not a candidate for amputation, and at best we could do $4k radiation that would stall tumor growth for 6-12 months.

I started researching clinical trials and came across University of Missouri. We took the trip out there and they asked if we had considered amputation - I told them what had been relayed to us, and the surgeon recommended she be evaluated by a neurosurgeon and orthopedic specialist, which they had at their disposal at the hospital. They took a look at her and determined not only was she a candidate, but a great one! So two weeks later we took another 6 hour trip out to Missouri, and Penny is now two days post amputation and doing fantastic.

So far, and this may be selfish to say, I think it’s more traumatizing for my husband and I than for her. It’s very hard to watch her stumble and struggle as we use a sling to help her walk and use the bathroom, but she hasn’t complained once and is already showing some major improvement. The vet said within 3-5 days they can typically walk without assistance, and judging by how well she’s doing already I believe she’ll be right at that 5 day mark. She has to take it easy for the next 14 days so we have to be very diligent as she’s already showing signs of wanting to jump on furniture and climb up the stairs, but I think in a few weeks time it’ll be like she never had a 4th limb.

It’s difficult to find Tripawd Basset Hounds online, and I think the reason is because most vets are going to say based on body composition and potentially age, they’re just not good candidates. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I strongly recommend you meet with an orthopedic surgeon and have your pup evaluated - if you’re within reasonable driving distance to University of Missouri, I cannot recommend them enough. We had a choice between weeks or possibly years left with our sweet girl, and although I’ve had some doubts these past two days I wouldn’t take back the choice for a second.
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I'm not sure, at that age, if I'd have gone for amputation. But that was your decision of course. Can I ask whether they checked for spread of the cancer? And what is the prognosis? How is she tolerating her collar - that's not something any of ours would ....... had we needed to use one (not necessary with me being there all the time it would be needed), I'd have gone for one of the soft roll collars.

I would just say that losing a rear leg would be a better option than losing a front one, bearing in mind most of their weight is born on the front legs.*

I hope she has a good recovery and you have many more years with her.

PS * Sorry, I forgot I'd written in response to your earlier post about this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She’s tolerating the collar fine. I inquired about the soft one, they said if it was a front leg amputation that would be fine but because it’s rear they feared she’d be able to bend and lick at the wound.

Soft Tissue Sarcomas have a very rare metastasis rate, but unfortunately there’s no guarantee of the grade until after amputation since it grows like tree roots into their ligaments and such. They’re sending the amputated limb off to the lab to confirm the grade was in fact low, and the doctor said she didn’t see anything during the procedure that would lead her to believe it spread but that’s not a guarantee there weren’t microscopic cells that the naked eye couldn’t see.

We had another Basset that passed away a few years back, and if this had happened to her we likely wouldn’t have moved forward with the amputation. She was larger, not very mobile, and I don’t think she would have tolerated it well. Penny on the other hand is the runt of the litter and small (50 pounds but could certainly lose a few) and incredibly active - in her younger years she would jog along with us on a leash while we rode our bikes.

I can certainly understand why you’d question the decision to amputate a limb on a senior basset, and our decision making could have been skewed by emotions, but once the specialists evaluated and saw in her what we see we felt very confident moving forward with the procedure and do believe that we’ve got many years left to enjoy. Time will tell of course, but 3 days post op I’m feeling good about it and don’t think it will affect her quality of life, at least not to the point that euthanasia would have been the better option.
 

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She’s tolerating the collar fine. I inquired about the soft one, they said if it was a front leg amputation that would be fine but because it’s rear they feared she’d be able to bend and lick at the wound.

Soft Tissue Sarcomas have a very rare metastasis rate, but unfortunately there’s no guarantee of the grade until after amputation since it grows like tree roots into their ligaments and such. They’re sending the amputated limb off to the lab to confirm the grade was in fact low, and the doctor said she didn’t see anything during the procedure that would lead her to believe it spread but that’s not a guarantee there weren’t microscopic cells that the naked eye couldn’t see.

We had another Basset that passed away a few years back, and if this had happened to her we likely wouldn’t have moved forward with the amputation. She was larger, not very mobile, and I don’t think she would have tolerated it well. Penny on the other hand is the runt of the litter and small (50 pounds but could certainly lose a few) and incredibly active - in her younger years she would jog along with us on a leash while we rode our bikes.

I can certainly understand why you’d question the decision to amputate a limb on a senior basset, and our decision making could have been skewed by emotions, but once the specialists evaluated and saw in her what we see we felt very confident moving forward with the procedure and do believe that we’ve got many years left to enjoy. Time will tell of course, but 3 days post op I’m feeling good about it and don’t think it will affect her quality of life, at least not to the point that euthanasia would have been the better option.
Dear Penny's Mom : I think you were both courageous and correct in your difficult decision to amputate! I hope you have several more happy years with Penny ! It is certainly better to try amputation in your case versus euthanasisia. We also have a runt of the litter and wish Penny the best in her recovery. No looking back...she is lucky to have you ! Tucker's Mom
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thought I’d post a status update - here we are about 5 months post surgery and she’s doing great! She can get down the stairs to go outside on her own but not up. I wouldn’t chance her going down a full flight of stairs by herself, but all in all she’s hopping around on 3 legs like a champ, still loves her walks, and I think if she could speak she’d say she’s much happier being alive with 3 legs than not being here at all!
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Thought I’d post a status update - here we are about 5 months post surgery and she’s doing great! She can get down the stairs to go outside on her own but not up. I wouldn’t chance her going down a full flight of stairs by herself, but all in all she’s hopping around on 3 legs like a champ, still loves her walks, and I think if she could speak she’d say she’s much happier being alive with 3 legs than not being here at all! View attachment 29375
View attachment 29374
Wow you made right choice it goes to show that you have to take into acount fitness level and weight of dog and yes basset weight always on the front ..our old boy I àlways laugh at him because he looks like the trotters independent trading 3 wheeler lol as he's got spindly back legs he uses his front legs independently and then he kind of hops with his two back legs together..so I can.see why a Basset out of all the dog breeds would adapt well.
 
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