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Thoughts on Surgery on a 19 Year Old Iguana?

Discussion in 'Green Iguanas' started by Austyn, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. Austyn

    Austyn New Member

    Hi -

    My 19 year old female iguana stopped using her front left leg 7 weeks ago. She was acting as if she had had a stroke. I took her to the vet - turns out she had a fracture just above her wrist. No idea how it happened. At any rate, she was on an oral antibiotic for about 2 weeks and the fracture was already starting to callous over when the x-ray was done. Fast forward for what seems like an eternity, we just came back from a 2 week vacation (we took her with us since she hasn't been eating on her own and was on the medication - the pet sitter handled the other 2 back at home) and she went in for her appointment this morning because the swelling has only decreased from shoulder down about halfway to elbow. Shot a new x-ray and the vet comes back and says her elbow has been dissolving since the last x-ray. She had a complete blood workup done when she went in 7 weeks ago and everything was great. She does not have MBD, but she does have a little gout in her joints. Vet said he's never seen anything like this in an iguana that didn't have MBD or hypocalcaemia. He has called several of his herp friends/vets and the consensus is that it's probably bone cancer from an infection at some point.

    Needless to say i'm devastated. She's my baby girl, she's super sweet, very tame, loves to snuggle, loves her blankie and pillow at night.

    The vet is doing more research and making more calls, but when I left the office, my options were amputate it so it won't spread to her shoulder or put her to sleep. After 7 weeks of not using it due to the fracture, she's gotten pretty good at moving around without using that leg, but at 19, will she make it thru surgery? I don't know if I would feel worse sending her under the knife and having her pass on the table or having her put to sleep while snuggling with her. I want to do what's best for her no matter how much it kills me.

    The vet said there may be a 3rd option - to open her leg up and actually look at the damage and see if there was a possibility of implanting antibiotic pellets after cleaning up the joint - but if they don't know for sure it's NOT bone cancer - I would hate to do that and then have it spread.

    I've had her all 19 years of her life and she's been very healthy her entire life. She's always had the same vet, any time she acted 'off' more than 2 days we went straight to the vet to make sure there wasn't something wrong or to treat whatever was wrong.

    I hate to put her to sleep, but I don't want her to suffer. Maybe I just needed to 'talk' it out to make the right decision for her...IDK.

    Today sucks.
  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Sorry to hear that.
    It will be a tough decision.
    Is the vet fairly optimistic that she will bounce back from surgery on her leg?
    I mean as she is not a spring chicken anymore.
  3. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    I am so sorry about this. Congrats on having and caring for her for 19 years! That is awesome and she has certainly been a very lucky iguana indeed.

    Whatever you decide for her, will be the right thing because it will have been done out of love for the animal.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing this.
  4. Bak

    Bak New Member

    I see it's been a year. which route did you go? I'm dealing with a mass in a 21-year-old iguana that already has arthritis and nearly no tail.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The original poster has not been back since that day.

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