Veterinary Highlights: Limb-Sparing Surgery For Bone Cancer

This is the kind of thing I love to read about. I understand why the amputation of the affected limb makes sense. But seriously, chopping off limbs doesn’t really qualify as a treatment to me, sorry.

Whether amputation is a good option would also have to depend on which limb had been affected and overall condition of the dog.

Veterinary Highlights: Limb-Sparing Surgery For Bone Cancer
Removal of a front leg would be harder for a dog to cope with than losing a hind leg. 

That is because normally dogs carry about 60% – 65% of their weight on the front legs; and only 35% – 40% on the hind legs. You can see that the front bears a much larger workload. This workload may even increase if there is an orthopedic issue in the hind legs, such as arthritis, bad hips or knees. That’s why dogs with bad rear legs have such a broad shoulder appearance.

Jasmine’s shoulders also got much wider during her orthopedic challenges. Now, with the hind legs functioning properly, the shoulders have returned to their normal proportion.

Dogs already suffering from arthritis, and have a hard enough time getting around as it is, could also suffer greatly from losing a limb.

That’s why in some cases amputation simply isn’t a good option.

Limb-sparing surgery is designed to remove cancer while avoiding amputation.

Only the diseased part of the bone is removed and replaced with a bone graft, or the remaining bone is re-grown (bone transport osteogenesis).

Now that is some seriously cool stuff.

Related articles:
Primer on Bone Cancer

Categories: Limb-sparing surgeryVeterinary highlights

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts