Amputation improves quality of life for Mitch

Mitch is a 7 year old Labrador cross who was referred to Dr Philippa Gemmell for acupuncture due to a painful and wasted foreleg. Mitch was unable to use his forelimb and had to hold it up to avoid tripping on it. He had been to a referral specialist when the problem first occurred over 12 months earlier. X-rays and an MRI were performed but no cause was found as to why he could not use his leg.

Mitch's foot was painful and he did not like this leg being touched. Pain relief prescribed before had not made any obvious difference. He responded partially to the acupuncture but did not enjoy being treated, even with laser acupuncture. Over the last few months he was becoming quite grumpy and this was very out of character. Mitch had always been a loving and loved family member.

His quality of life was diminishing and his pain was significant. It was elected that Mitch have his leg amputated.

Mitch underwent major surgery and he recovered well. He was walking around in less than 24 hours. During the surgery a tumour was discovered between Mitch's shoulder blade (scapula) and chest wall in the main fore-arm nerves and this was removed. The laboratory diagnosed a malignant tumour of the nerves. Lymph nodes surrounding the tumour were also affected.

Mitch unfortunately has a poor prognosis given that this type of tumour is quite aggressive and can spread to other areas of the body. However Mitch's quality of life has improved now that he no longer has such a painful leg. He is much happier and enjoying his days so much more with his family, who are grateful for the time they now have with Mitch.

 "In Memorium"