We are so fortunate to have veterinary experts volunteer their time here at Tripawds! One of our newest experts is Tripawds UK member Emma, a licensed veterinary nurse from the UK.
Thank you so much Emma!
Emma and her Tripawd Tara have a very interesting story to share. Tara is a five year osteosarcoma survivor! We hope you enjoy reading about her story as much as we did.
1) Let’s introduce you, Emma! Where do you practice, and when and why did you get in the veterinary world.
I am originally from Cheshire but I now live in Oxfordshire with my husband, 3 dogs and 2 cats. I started working in veterinary practice straight from school and I qualified as a Veterinary Nurse 3 years later. I have been working in vet practice for 18 years.
2) Please tell us more about Tara’s cancer journey. When she was diagnosed, what treatment options you chose to pursue, and why. How’s Tara doing today?
Tara originally came from the Rottweiler Welfare Association and we got her when she was 2 years old. She has always been a happy and bouncy girl who loves everyone! One morning in March 2007, aged 4, Tara started not bearing any weight on her left hind leg and as a young large breed I decided to take her into work with me straight away so I could get her referred to an orthopedic specialist.
My first thought was that she had damaged her stifle joint and I wanted a diagnosis and treatment quickly to try and prevent long term problems setting in. After x-rays and a bone biopsy, Tara was diagnosed with a high grade osteosarcoma.
We decided from the beginning that we wouldn’t give chemotherapy (personal choice and after having chemo myself the following year, I am glad we didn’t!). The options were to give Tara pain relief and put her to sleep when the pain couldn’t be managed or to amputate her leg as palliative care to keep her comfortable and expect that we would probably be lucky to have her more than a few months. We decided on amputation as she was getting around really well on 3 legs anyway, and she is a brave dog; nothing much phases her!
We opted for the referral vet to carry out the amputation and when we picked her up the following morning she was bouncing around like nothing had happened. Keeping her quiet was difficult and she was asking for a walk as soon as we got her home so a vet friend came round and we took her out. I ended up having to put her back on her lead as she was trying to disappear off to chase rabbits!
As we had decided to not go for chemotherapy we felt that we would like to try holistic approach for her and we took her to see a vet who specialised in holistic therapies. He suggested changing her to a raw diet and he prescribed herbs to support her immune system, alongside a basic immune supplement which we started straight away. Well the months have turned into years and we have just passed 5 years!
3) What are your areas of specialty/interest in the veterinary world? And finally, what are your goals with helping folks at Tripawds.
I have attended courses in Tellington Touch, McTimoney Chiropactic and Natural Nutrition to help all my dogs at home. Recently I have started taking Tara to hydrotherapy and also for Canine therapeutic massage to help her body cope with arthritis and the extra strain of being a tripawd.
I would like to help people with all aspects of owning a tripawd and also to show that just because I have access to “behind the scenes” veterinary treatment, it isnt the only option and to show that there are other choices.
As long as we have all the options, we can make an informed choice for our special family members which is suitable for us and for our furry friends.
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to share your experiences with Tripawds members, we would be grateful for any additional help. Please contact us today for details!