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Porthos, The Giant Senior Tripawd Who Could

Are you unsure whether your giant breed pup will do well on three legs? Well, fear not! Here is the story of Porthos, a giant breed Great Pyrenees who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, told he wasn’t a good candidate for surgery, but defied the odds to go on and live a terrific life as a Tripawd.

Porthos’ Momma, Amanda, sent us this story about her amazing hero with the hopes that it will inspire others to go with their instinct and really look into whether or not amputation is right for their big dog.

Porthos is currently undergoing tremendous health challenges related to the cancer, and we send all our love to him and Amanda with the hopes that he can overcome these latest issues. Feel free to contact them to share your healing thoughts. Until then, enjoy his inspawrational story about his life as a Tripawd!

Porthos, the Giant Tripawd That Could

“He’s got cancer” my husband said to me.

If you are reading this, you probably know the heart break, gut wrenching emotions these words bring.

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Giant Breed Porthos Defies the Odds

It was a few days before Porthos’ 7th birthday that we received the dreadful news. Porthos’ front right wrist had been swollen, we thought he had just sprained his ankle, we iced it and within a few days it got better.

Then one month later it swelled up overnight, that’s when we took him to our vet and she confirmed our worst fears. 

We discussed Porthos’ prognosis that night and decided to let him see in his birthday and then let him pass on to Rainbow Bridge before the pain became too much for him.

You see, Porthos was not a great candidate for amputation. He is a giant breed Pyrenean Mastiff with two previous TPLO surgeries and hip dysplasia. The cancer was in his front right leg, and to add to that, we live in a very isolated location.

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But then I found Tripawds and our world, and how we looked at it, began to change.

After initially posting out situation on the Tripawds forum I started to receive messages from people with dogs that had the same diagnosis as Porthos and that also had previous surgeries or other injuries.

One dog is 11 years old and had a total hip replacement and cruciate surgery and unfortunately had to have the good back leg removed due to OS, and a St Bernhard that had arthritis and hip problems and who was a two years post amputation survivor. These dogs were doing very well after amputation and their stories really inspired me because I truly believed Porthos was not ready to leave us.

I was still a little nervous though and decided to first try a Bisphosphonate to see if that would help. The night after the first treatment his wrist swelled up and he could hardly put any weight on to the leg, I now believe he may have injured his already weak wrist on the drive home after treatment.

We now had no choice, let our boy go, who still had his spirit and energy for life, or amputate.

No Stopping Porthos

I contacted the wonderful Jessica Barrera at CSU and sent her Porthos’ x-rays and a video of him walking. She believed Porthos would walk after amputation. Our amazing vet here in Vanuatu agreed to perform the amputation, and our brave Porthos walked the same afternoon.

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And there has been no stopping him since! He charges around barking, playing, stealing any food that he can. And he will still occasionally lift one of his back legs to pee.

We had hoped for three months at most post-amputation without chemo. And he is now seven months post initial symptoms, six months since diagnosis, and five months since amputation.

If we had let him go when he was originally diagnosed that would have been almost three and a half doggy years that he would have missed, and most importantly three and a half years of quality life.

We hadn’t given much thought to chemo. I had done a little research, but to be honest we really didn’t know how long Porthos would have with us after the amputation because of his weak knees and hips.

Here is a video of Porthos for your enjoyment!

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Porthos Has Puppy Power!

Porthos is so naughty and boisterous when he is out and about. He tries to leap around in the back of our Jeep and I’m terrified he will injure himself whilst trying to get him to our vet for chemotherapy sessions. It is quite daunting having a boisterous 3-legged giant-breed mastiff bouncing around in the back of the car! So we decided not do chemotherapy and started a natural treatment instead.

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We started him on the Artemisinin protocol, Dr Dressler’s cancer diet, high dose glucosamine chondroitin, MSM, cq10, Milk Thistle, K9 Immunity and Transfer factor, Coconut oil, high dose Fish oil, Fiji Noni capsules, Budwig diet, Meloxicam, Selenium (a good anti-oxidant), Turmeric ( believed to have anti cancer and anti inflammatory properties). It’s best to slowly introduce new things to your dog to make sure they don’t get an upset stomach.

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We cut out any additional omega-6 as there is evidence that suggests omega-6 can advance tumour growth. I also bought him a magnetic collar as I read they can help with arthritis. I have to say that his energy levels are through the roof! He is like a puppy again! He can still run around, though I try to keep him as calm as I can without being the ‘fun police’!

As we don’t have CT scans available to us and with our preferred avoidance of risking the trip to our vets we have no idea how the cancer is progressing, but I have made peace with this. I know at some point his hips or knees will not be able to cope, or the cancer will progress but Porthos is not thinking about that at the moment.

I don’t dwell on what s going on inside his body, as he isn’t. At this moment Porthos is happy, playful, funny, and naughty! Definitely back to his old self.

Thank you Amanda for your beautiful story about how Porthos has defied all odds. We are truly grateful for your post and hope with all our might that he continues on the road to good health.

Do you want to share your Tripawd hero’s story with the community? Contact us today for details on submitting a guest blog post!

9 Responses to “Porthos, The Giant Senior Tripawd Who Could”

  1. I have A 9yr. Rottweiler she was limping and had A swollen spot on her back left leg my husband took her to the vet and they said the x-ray shows she has osteosarcoma and they think we should put her to sleep because of her age and weight she weighs 121lbs it would not be a good idea to have her leg amputated because it would not give her much more time even with chemo and she would break her other leg.I wish there was something we could do to cure her because we love her so much.We have had her since she was 5wks. old.This is such A hard decision to make.

    • Kelly, please come visit us at Tripawds’ Forums where you will find many examples of other large dogs who have done quite well after amputation, even older than 9 and larger than 121 pounds. It’s not always right for every dog, but please get another opinion, preferably from a veterinary oncologist, who can give you more accurate facts about her prognosis. Good luck, we look forward to hearing from you.

    • I am so sorry to hear of your pup’s diagnosis. You have a tough decision and need to make it quickly. Why will his other leg be broken?
      All pups are different, but let me tell you about mine.
      The lump on hi front leg was an osteosarcoma tumor and the bone was pocked. We were advised to amputate that very same day. Doc took x-rays of his lungs and there was no visible evidence that the cancer had spread. We opted to wait until the following Mon. Of course I scanned the net to see and learn. I was not aware of this site. The general prognosis from site to site was not good. We felt, however that he deserved a chance and went forward. This was 13 months ago. Still hopping along. His life has changed, but for the most part not for the worst. Each case is different and no one can guarantee the outcome, but I think too many vets are still old school about some things, and there are many more success stories than would seem
      You might be interested to know: Our pup was 173 pounds of muscle (from his rotty ancestors, I suspect) and just huge. He’s down to 147 now and in January he will be 9 yrs old.
      I thank his doc every time we go in – insisting on immediate surgery probably gave us this “extra” time because the OS never got to his lungs.
      I wish you well and I wish you strength.

  2. I wish I had seen Porthos’ story 3 months ago – it would have so helped get thru those first tough weeks after surgery. We adopted Pumba (his shelter name – so appropriate we kept it) 7 yrs. ago when he was just a pup. He is a mix of 4 very giant breeds and his pre-surgery weight was 174. Powerful dog – happy -active. We were devastated at the diagnosis and needed to make a decision immediately. We opted for the amputation with all the usual questions and doubts. The first few weeks were heartbreaking and we often wondered if the decision we made was for us or for him and was it right. Here we are 3 mo. after the op and we are sure that the tough call was the right one for him. He is absolutely gleeful. Altho his world has become smaller, his joy has become greater for all the small pleasures. Stairs are out, but we made him a ramp so he can go for rides in the van and to his beloved dog park. And guess what? Other dogs are a-okay – no problem – still buds.
    So Porthos’ Mom – keep telling your story – many folks will need it. Wherever Porthos is now in his journey, you have given each other a forever smile.

    • Suzanne, what a beautiful story, you really brought tears to my eyes. Will you please consider sharing Pumba’s story in our “Size and Age Matters” Forum topic? I don’t think we’ve ever had a Tripawd that large in our community, I know others would love to hear about him. He sounds like an awesome dog and you are definitely wonderful pawrents for giving him a chance at a good quality of life. Many hugs to you both for beating the odds and loving life as a family. We hope we hear from you again!

  3. I am so happy to hear about Porthos’ thriving against the odds…He is absolutely beautiful…and looks VERY happy!….It gives me great hope for Achilles..my 9 yr old (in January) 100 lb Doberman…whose story sounds just like Porthos’! His front right leg was amputated this past Monday…although he was diagnosed 8 weeks ago AND never ENTERTAINED THE THOUGHT OF AMPUTATION UNTIL NOW…WHEN HE TOO WASN’T READY TO GO!…I just learned of this site which helped me make that most difficult decision! I am soo grateful.
    The Vet we see…is holistic…and will continue to give Achilles a mixture of herbs (I really don’t know what they are..but trust him as the cancer never spread to his lungs or anywhere else in his body since he was on it)..But I am interested in finding out about Dr. Dressler’s Diet and if it can be used in conjunction with the mixture he will be on.
    Good luck to you and your beautiful pup…You are a wonderful doggie mom to be willing to give him a chance at life…which is sooo obviously something he is thriving at!

  4. My great pyranees just had her front leg removed because of cancer. I am picking her up today. You have given me hope for her recovery. Thanks.

  5. Biff agrees whole-heartedly that a big tripawd can get along well, have lots of fun, and inspire other dogs and their people who are facing amputation for the first time. We wish Porthos a long and fun life, like in that video. We’re interested to know his ongoing story.

    Although he’s not a cancer patient, Biff does love car rides, and his hints for transporting overly exuberant big dogs in cars (Jeeps even!) include
    – filling the foot area with pillows or sleeping bags or foam pads so there’s no place to fall into.
    harness like the ruff-wear with a handle on top for help in and out
    – lots of practice on waiting for me to grab the harness before jumping out
    – leash-like gizmo that connects harness to seatbelt is inconvenient and less fun than being loose, but there is no doubt that restraint is safer. that said, we gave up using it because of constant tangling.

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