Limb amputation is a very emotive topic. Most clients reel
in horror at the prospect of their pet being "mutilated"
in this manner. It is also the case that the larger the
patient the more dramatic and potentially damaging the effect
has with only three limbs remaining.
All this brings me to "Jack" a very much larger
than life Flat Coated Retriever who presented to me very
recently with a right forelimb lameness. Despite the fact
that I see many lame patients on a daily basis it became
clear all too quickly that "Jack's" problem was
anything but straightforward.
Failure to respond to routine anti-inflammatories and the
presence of a soft tissue mass directed us, after cytopathology
of a fine needle biopsy, to a diagnosis of aggressive soft
tissue cancer. A disease which sadly Flat Coated Retrievers
lead the league table as the most affected dog breed.
The options thereafter are very stark. Attempt to control
the patient's pain with medication whilst accepting that
the cancer will progress or attempt to surgically remove
the cancer along with the affected limb. "Jack's"
owner did not make the decision lightly but after careful
consideration elected for the radical surgery.
Ensuring, as far as possible, that the cancer had not already
spread through survey radiography "Jack's" right
front leg including the shoulder was removed. The key to
his current success and recovery, apart from having the
right owner, is without doubt his endless enthusiasm and
zest for life. Whilst it remains to be seen how long his
energy will last I am in no doubt that his owner made the
right choice and sincerely hope that "Jack" graces
us with his boundless energy for a long time to come.