Michelle Isenhoff

To Amputate or Not to Amputate

A rare, calm moment from Bailey’s puppy days.

I hope you all aren’t sick of hearing about Bailey yet, because writing out what’s happening is doing me good. With a husband dead set against spending money on a dog and three kids begging for her life, it’s a little traumatic around here.
I consulted with a veterinary oncologist Friday. Under a microscope, the cancer in Bailey’s leg is quite a bit more aggressive than we thought. The vet recommended $6,000 of radiation and $2,000 of chemo. Of course that comes with no guarantee. When I asked about amputation she agreed Bailey would be an excellent candidate. It would also be a better curative gamble. The price tag would be a fraction of the cost of radiation, though it’s still quite substantial. Hence the ongoing tension with my husband. It seems hot tubs, quads, cargo trailers, guns, and fishing gadgets are worthy of cash, but not dogs. They’re a dime a dozen. Get another. Needless to say, the stress level is a little high.
To make certain the cancer has not spread, I agreed to an aspiration (?) test on the lymph node nearest the mass. It looked clean to the vet, but she’s sending it on to the lab. I should get the results Wednesday. If it has spread, I won’t pursue treatment. I won’t put Bailey through it. But my hopes are very high. In the meantime, I’m pricing amputations with my vet and vets around the area as the specialist’s cost seemed high. My vet and the oncologist both claimed the sooner the better, so it looks like we reach the point of no return in the next week or two. Maybe after the money’s spent things will ease up.
I’m encouraging anyone who’s interested in donating to simply purchase one of my books. It makes me sick to my stomach to use this horrible illness to influence sales, but because the cost ┬áhas become such a huge issue, I decided to make the plea. Each 2.99 sale earns two dollars, and as I’m still homeschooling one son, that’s my only income at the moment. Usually it goes straight into the college fund, but I’ll be using whatever I earn over the next few months to pay for surgery on my own. Perhaps that will help buy peace.

To Amputate or Not to Amputate

8 thoughts on “To Amputate or Not to Amputate

  1. Tough decision to make. Which leg. After what I saw my brother go through with chemo and radiation with his dog, I’d lean towards amputation. A dog will adapt. Sorry this is so hard on you.

    1. It’s the back, right leg. Less load-bearing than a front. And her joints are all in excellent shape. She’s losing weight. Doing very well. It’s hard that she won’t understand why. I know she’ll adjust, but I’ve still lost some sleep over it. I wish my husband would choose to make this easier rather than harder.

  2. My aunt has a cat that she got it’s leg amputated when it got cancer in it. That was a long time ago and the cat is just great. She leaps all over the place on 3 legs. I hope everything works out OK.

  3. I really feel for you Michelle! I am certain that would have been the choice we would have made for our dog with the osteosarcoma had he been younger. As it were, he was already an “old” dog and the docs didn’t give us a good prognosis even with amputation. Dogs can recover from an amputation, especially young spry ones.

    1. That’s what I’m thinking. It would be different if she was 10. But she’s only 5, so better another several years on three legs than only one on four. And good news! Just today a local vet gave me an estimate of 800 dollars for the surgery. Much better than the 3500 quoted by the specialist. I’m so relieved! That takes a lot of pressure off.

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