After amputation, most dogs will take about 12-24 hours to walk without assistance. Encouraging the dog to exercise is essential for a faster recovery speed. The wound should be inspected at least twice a day for possible signs of breakdown or infection (dehiscence). You should look for redness, swelling, pain and discharge.
In the case of limb-sparing surgery, there should be a bandage wrapped lightly over the limb which needs regular changing for a two to three week period. The pet can begin exercising immediately after surgery; however, it should be only walks on a leash for the first four weeks. Exercise is essential to prevent the toes contracting and minimise how much the toes and feet swell. These can occur due to exercising certain blood vessels or muscles during surgery.
Dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma will survive for on average 90 to 175 days after palliative treatment. However, chemotherapy in conjunction with palliative radiation treatment have an average of 300 days survival after the process. Treatment with curative-intent has a much higher chance of the dog living for a longer period of time with the average being 235-366 days with some pets living a further 2+ years. Blood tests are analyzed prior to surgery in order to look at alkaline phosphatase. This enzyme has proven to have an association with how long a pet will survive after operation and chemotherapy. A normal reading at the time of diagnosis indicates that the dog will potentially live for longer compared to one with an increased level of the enzyme. Prognosis in dogs can also be affected by tumour size, location and its histologic grade.
Dogs diagnosed with appendicular chondrosarcoma can live from 540 to 2618 days, following limb amputation only. It is essential that chondrosarcoma is graded in order to have an accurate depiction of the survival time as it is significantly different for each grade. Metastasis is likely to occur, usually later in the course of the illness, regardless of chemotherapy or lack thereof.
It can be difficult to determine a prognosis for appendicular fibrosarcoma or hemangiosarcoma as these are rare. Regardless, metastasis has proven to be very common in hemangiosarcoma patients and thus the survival period is much lower post-amputation.
Appendicular osteosarcoma in cats is less likely to metastasize, resulting in a high median survival time of 350 days which could extend to 4 years.
An accurate prognosis for axial bone tumours depends on the location and tumour type. Pelvis and scapula osteosarcoma often have a similar prognosis to that of appendicular osteosarcoma cases, for both curative-intent and palliative treatments. Osteosarcoma of the head has poor survival times usually due to the tumour reoccurring in the same area. In the chance that the tumour is completely resected, the dog will be cured and their survival time will increase drastically, thus aggressive surgical treatment is usually necessary in such cases.
The skull bones could also be affected by multilobular osteochondrosarcoma which is an axial skeleton tumour. Prognosis in this case is dependent on histologic grade and whether or not the tumour was completely removed. If the tumour resection was not complete, there is a higher chance of recurrence and metastasis. The overall average survival, with regards to all histologic and resection cases, is approximately 600 to 800 days. Multibular osteochondrosarcoma tumours grow slowly, thus after the dog is diagnosed with metastatic disease, their survival time will still be prolonged for a average of 239 days.
Rib osteosarcomas are regarded as aggressive tumours. Metastasis is diagnosed at death for majority of cases in osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and fibrosarcoma. Prognosis in dogs suffering from rib tumours, can be affected the type of tumour and how complete the surgical resection is. The survival period for dogs diagnosed with rib osteosarcomas is only around 90 after surgical treatment which can be increased to around 290 days when combined with chemotherapy. Rib chondrosarcoma has a longer 5 to 10 times higher survival period post-surgery in comparison.
For dogs with vertebral tumours prognosis is generally poor. If the tumour is malignant, the average survival is around 135 days, this is regardless of the type of tumour. Factors such as location of the tumour and post-operative treatment do not seem to impact the survival chances of these tumours.