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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all;

I have an 8yo shep/mutt female spayed, who has developed a rather large growth on a digit on her right front paw. long-story-short she needs to have it removed and biopsied. My vet said that due to the size, he may have to remove the digit as there would not be sufficient skin remaining to cover the wound/digit; he won't really know till the surgery to see how things go. I am slightly concerned about losing a digit, and if that needs to be done, I'm wondering how complicated that is. Is this something I should seek a second opinion for? His assessment seems reasonable to me. Also, is this something I should have a board certified veterinary surgeon tackle to make every effort to save the digit or is this something a general vet can handle?

I'm already into this for about $400; the surgery/biopsy will be about $1300 min. and a consult w/ a board cert. surgeon would be an extra $115; ouch!

thanks in advance for you thoughts/insights.

hondochica
 

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Amputating stuff usually isn't that hard. Somethign that most GPs can handle. However, I might propose a different strategy.

You can biopsy it, wait for the results, and then elect to have it taken off. Personally, I would prefer this plan b/c having the biopsy done BEFORE surgical removal would tell me what the tumor was, and (if malignant), how big of margins I need to take. If this turns out to be some benign whatever, your doctor can be much more careful to save the toe. If it does turn out to be malignant, then saving the toe should not be yours or his priority as getting clean margins (Making sure you get ALL of the cancerous tissue plus a margin of healthy tissue) should be the #1 goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr. V - thanks for the reply. My vet gave me the impression that the biopsy would require complete removal of the growth (tumor as i call it); I was not aware that a biopsy could be conducted that would not require complete removal - and hence risking the toe at this point. On the other hand - if we don't remove the entire growth now, couldn't/wouldn't that entail another surgery?? what am I missing here? seems I need another conversation with my vet.
 

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You can biopsy it, wait for the results, and then elect to have it taken off. Personally, I would prefer this plan b/c having the biopsy done BEFORE surgical removal would tell me what the tumor was, and (if malignant), how big of margins I need to take. If this turns out to be some benign whatever, your doctor can be much more careful to save the toe. If it does turn out to be malignant, then saving the toe should not be yours or his priority as getting clean margins (Making sure you get ALL of the cancerous tissue plus a margin of healthy tissue) should be the #1 goal.
This was going to be my sugestion as well. I've seen a few cases where the toe mass was removed, but the biopsy came back questionable or malignant; so the dog had to get a second surgery to remove more of the tissue and/or digit. Your vet should be able to obtain a biospy sample without doing a full anestetic procedure. Usually a local anestetic is all that's needed for your vet to obtain a small sample for biopsy.
 

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The biopsy really should not require the dog to go under general anesthesia. It's a small section. Like a 4 to 6 mm round cylindrical instrument is used and it doesn't go all that deep. As mentioned, they can do a local there. I think that plus or minus a temporary (probably reversable) sedative is plenty sufficient.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
wow - sounds like I need a new vet! he immediately jumped to removing the entire growth via full blown surgery! sounds like I need a second opinion before shelling out $$$ on a board certified surgeon. thanks for your help

hondochica
 

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Ehh, I wouldn't say jump ship. Just call and talk to him about it and find out what kind of options he can provide you.
 
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