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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post
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7 March 2017 - 12:12 pm
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Hello everyone,

My 5 month old puppy was run into by a much larger dog yesterday and suffered an injured front leg. She is a tiny 3.2kg. This morning she had an exam, and the vet said she suspected a small bone fracture, or bad tissue damage, but we asked if we could do the x-ray anyway.

She came back with the worst news (well first she said our pup had two broken bones, but after talking with a specialist...), our pup has had all the connective bones in her front left paw shattered. We have two options supplied by the vet, an in-depth surgery where they will use wire to attach all her broken toes and bones. The vets have refused to give me a prognosis for this other than it will "hopefully" mean she recovers better, and that she won't be as lame and as affected for life.

Or we can rely on a special splint to help her leg heal by itself. This is less invasive, with a faster recovery time, but the vet says it will most likely leave her more lame than surgery and has a higher chance of her developing arthritis. 

I've been speaking to everyone I can and somebody suggested if it was their dog they would ask the vet about amputating the leg This was hugely shocking but I can see why they would suggest that - I know a few tripawds that have bounced back really well and they're able to enjoy walks etc. The vet has said my pup most likely will never be able to enjoy walks again.

I don't know much about amputation for dogs. I can only imagine it is incredibly invasive, but the surgery the vet is suggesting would be too, and they're not even sure that will help. Does this sound like something that amputation could help with? Is it even worth bringing it up with our vet?

Sorry if this is not what this forum is for. My head's just swimming and I want to do the best thing for my girl.

The surgery would cost £1400-1600, throwing that in there as I imagine amputation is very expensive too...

Livermore, CA
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7 March 2017 - 12:52 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.  I moved your post here, 'Beyond Cancer' since your pup is not dealing with cancer.

Is Inky your pups name?  I'm sorry to hear about her accident- that must have been scary.

So- the breaks and tissue damage are in her lower leg and paw?  Is her shoulder OK?

I think you need to get a second opinion ASAP.  If the damage is contained in her foot an lower leg then I would think amputation would be a good option to discuss.  Telling you that your dog is going to be a little lame or a lot lame depending on the two options they gave you doesn't sound right.

I know that amputation might seem extreme but if the leg is going to cause her pain for the rest of her life then getting rid of it might be a better option. 

My current Tripawd is a small pug mix who lost her right rear leg at 7 months old.  Elly is a happy and healthy girl who doesn't really know life any other way then on three.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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7 March 2017 - 1:54 pm
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Oh shoot sorry, I didn't realise this forum was for tripod dogs due to cancer, I joined up etc on my phone and completely missed that. Huge apologies. If you'd like me to stop posting just let me know!

Yes, the damage is below wrist level, behind her toes but below the elbow. The vet has basically said that with either option our puppy will most likely be moderately lame. She will not be able to enjoy walks, she may be in constant pain and will probably get early arthritis etc. That is exactly why we were even considering amputation, because it seems like that is an option where she could live pain free.

There is one specialist in our area (that is where she would have the wire surgery, about 40 mins from us) that our vet sent the x-rays to, and he was the one who pushed the surgery but said they can't promise the prognosis will be much better than splinting. Our vet wants us to do the surgery where they would wire her bones too. Neither mentioned amputation. I think we're going to phone our vet back tomorrow and broach possible amputation, and in the mean time use the splinting.

I have no idea how our vet will react to amputation...I've just 'know' many tripod dogs online who cope really well and live full and happy lives, and I want my baby to have the same. I'm glad your Elly is one of them 🙂

Our little girl is called Tolly. She's a JRT cross. This is her after he x-rays today.

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7 March 2017 - 2:22 pm
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Hi and sorry you're finding yourself here with such a young pup. 

If at all possible get another opinion. However: life in pain is obviously no good, BUT the likelihood of getting arthritis early with an amputated dog is very high, too. If that is your major concern. The strain on the remaining leg is pretty big. 

I am no vet but if I were you I would try and keep the leg if a painfree life is possible. I know there are some of us here who eventually had to amputate due to orthopedic issues and that's fine obviously. But if you have a decent chance... ask the vet all the questions that come to your mind , better yet: write them down. Be really clear on what the chances are and what everything means. Make the most informed decision. 

Yes, our dogs live a happy life, but amputation is one major surgery, long recovery and some limitations so be sure, or rather informed, before you decide to amputate. 

I imagine it's a tough decision and I hope everything works out!! 

Keep us posted!

tina 

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

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7 March 2017 - 2:54 pm
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There are many of us here who came to Tripawds because our animals had accidents or birth defects. This section of the forums is devoted to their stories. While we all hope that our furry family members will be OK without amputation, sometimes that is the best option. So welcome to the Beyond Cancer forum.

Have you been able to consult with an orthopedic surgeon? In cases like yours, that would probably be the best bet. Not all family vets have a lot of experience with traumatic ortho injuries, and not all of them have experience doing amputations, either. Rehabilitation and physical therapy vets are often able to work wonders, also.

Please keep us posted on your journey.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Virginia
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7 March 2017 - 2:55 pm
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Your Tolly is ADORABLE!!!! ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!! 🙂 🙂

And you have DEFINITELY come to the right place!! We understand you want to best for your Tolly and this is a great place to discuss options!! While "amputation" may sound extreme to many, we are pretty well informed on the many ways it can provide a dog a pain free life and no longer find it "extreme",'but a very viable solution.

I addition to the great information already shared, one thing I want to add ro the equation. That is the concern for, not only a long recovery, but the very real chance that follow-up surgeries and infections could be a constant concern in Tolly's future. Additionally, how susceptible would that leg be to fracture.

We've seen here time after time where efforts were made to save a leg and amputation ended up taking place down the road anyway (for reasons I mentioned above).

As far as arthritis, there are proactive preventive steps you could take with supplements (fish oils, ,etc), as well as proper core strength exercises. You can get into that later. There is a ton of information here in the site sbout this. Four leggers can get arthritis too!

I also agree to get a second opinion from an Orthopedic Surgeon if at all possible! Sure, "saving the leg" is important. So is a pain free life with with no follow up surgeries, etc. It doesn't sound like the Vet thinks saving the leg would keep Tolly pain free.

Hopefully Clare, MEG's mom will see this and give you some insight on her experience.

As Tina said, get every question answered and make as informed a decision as possible. Obviously, allmof us here can tell you our tripawds live life to the fullest and and are spoiled in more ways you could ever dream are possible! So use us as s resource if that's the route you take. I know you are in a tough spot, so let us know how we can help!

Give that sweet pup a smooch for us!! You are a WONDERFUL advocate for her!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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7 March 2017 - 3:21 pm
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Oh, I am so sorry to hear this, too. We're here because of a similar break, though we allowed my dog's leg to heal and amputated two years later. She did alright for two years, but looking back, I'm pretty sure she was experiencing pain. 

I had to bring up amputation as a possibility with both my vet and the orthopedic surgeon. In both cases, I think they were reluctant to suggest it given the fact that it sounds so drastic. 

Keep asking questions of your vets - it sounds like you haven't gotten all the information you need yet. 

Livermore, CA
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7 March 2017 - 3:23 pm
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You and Tolly are absolutely welcome here!  We even have some quad pups for whom amputation was not right, and we even have a one legged chicken member!

I didn't mean to push amputation as an option, but I'm surprised it was not even discussed.  I do think another opinion would be helpful- maybe another surgeon has more experience with leg repair.

One thing I would discuss with the vet before surgery: since Tolly is so young the growth plates in her leg bones are probably still soft.  This may be why they feel she will have permanent problems.

Karen

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Los Angeles, CA
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7 March 2017 - 3:45 pm
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I just wanted to weigh in and welcome you and Tolly too!!! I lost mine to cancer but I do know that little ones do really well on three! We look forward to learning more about your and Tolly! She's just the cutest - ever!!! 

Hugs and we will all support whatever you decide!!! 

XOXO

Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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7 March 2017 - 3:48 pm
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Hi there and welcome! I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this situation, but you have definitely come to the right place for information and support.

I obviously cannot advise you on what to do, as every situation is different and you need to weigh up so many different factors and make the best decision you can. What I can do is share my own experience in the hope that it may add a little more to the pool of information and experience you are gathering. Tolly is so lucky to have such a thorough and conscientious advocate.

My girl Meg suffered an explosive fracture of her elbow when she was around three and a half years old. This was repaired in a major (5 hour) operation involving plates, pins, screws and more than a metre of wire. She made a good recovery (after extensive rehab), though she was left with a permanent limp. Less than three years later, she was found to have developed very severe, end stage arthritis in the joint, which was causing her a great deal of pain. It is my understanding that a fracture involving a joint will pretty much inevitably lead to arthritis (how rapidly this happens varies greatly), simply because there are so many surfaces involved. Clearly something had to be done, but as I was advised that amputation was categorically not an option for Meg (because of problems with her other front leg), I was faced with the choice of a total elbow replacement or euthanasia. I went for the replacement, but there were problems with healing (which is not uncommon as I understand), requiring extensive further surgery. In the end after spending a total of more than two months in hospital, and at huge cost, both financial and emotional, Meg developed a chronic infection in her elbow. (again, this is not uncommon). Because of the implant, it was impossible to get rid of the infection completely (this is a recognised problem with implants in humans and animals.) and in the end the only remaining option (apart from euthanasia) was  to remove the leg. Meg finally lost her leg a year ago this week, and I have to say I look back on that day with a sense of immense relief. Meg has a very high quality of life, is pain free, able to chase squirrels and swim and do all the things she enjoys.

Clearly my feelings are heavily influenced by my own experience. But personally I would be very wary of undertaking a complicated repair. It seems to me (as of course it would) that there is a strong likelihood of further problems and of getting trapped in endless cycle of more and more procedures. Amputation surgery is certainly not to be brushed off. It is major surgery and there is a period of recovery and adjustment and also ongoing care in terms of building core strength and fitness etc. But in terms of invasiveness and recovery time, a complex joint repair is a MUCH more invasive procedure, both in terms of surgery and recovery and there is far more that can go wrong.

One thing I think you might certainly consider is the possibility of a prothetic for Tolly. Because the break is below the elbow, this leaves her with two functioning joints and, as I understand it, would make her a potential candidate. Have a look at the Orthopets website. It may or may not be right for Tolly, but it's something to think about before any potential amputation surgery, as it affects the way they carry out the procedure. 

Whatever else you do, I would certainly recommend that you see an orthopaedic surgeon at this stage (and possibly two – I'm big on second opinions). There's a cost to this, of course, but in my view that would definitely be money well spent.

Hope something in all that is helpful. I know it seems overwhelming right now, but you will find a way through, I promise, and whatever you ultimately decide, we are all here to support you.

All best wishes to you and Tolly,

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie

PS If you click the link to Meg's blog below, and check under 'my movies' you will see just how fully a life can be lived on three legs.

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
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7 March 2017 - 4:13 pm
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I just want to say thank you to every single person  who replied. You have no idea what these replies mean to us and I am so SO glad to have found this forum. I feel a huge wave of support already and feel so much less alone, and I thank you all so much. 

I am absolutely exhausted and it is late so I will try keep this short and making as much sense as possible.

Tonight Tolly's splint just fell off. She hadn't chewed or bothered it once, and she was in my partner's arms chewing a Nylabone when it just slipped off. I was so angry and upset because this means another vet appt tomorrow and if one of the treatment options (ie. the splint!!) is just going to fall off, that's terrible!!

So back to the vets we go tomorrow, and we will also ask to discuss amputation. How do I get us seen by a specialist orthopedic vet / surgeon? Can my vet point me to one? Would that be who she referred to as a specialist today, and who looked at Tolly's x-ray? What can I do if she refuses to consider amputation?

We're extremely low on funds atm. We lost one of our dogs to cancer earlier this year, and I'm disabled but due to a mistake on their end our benefits have been suspended. We have spent our Christmas savings on the treatment so far, and I've set up a go fund me campaign and we're going to sell whatever we can to raise money - does the amputation need to happen straight away? (I will be asking our vet this too). My parents, who I don't talk to much, owe me quite a lot of money - getting it off them will be difficult but we'll be trying.

Toller is such a dote. She is lively and fun-loving and adores her people (or just any people!) and she just loves life. I just want to do what's right and best for her. I'm really struggling with our vets as they are just not telling us what her prognosis is, they are filling us with "might"s and "hopefully"s and I need more than that, I need percentages and facts. There's one other surgery in our town and that's worse than this one!

Are there any links I should start looking at about amputation? I don't know much about it at all and like to get as informed as possible, I'll have a read of the forum tomorrow but if there are any links I may miss, please share them here and once I've got some sleep I'll study them. 

Sorry this is so jumbled and I've not replied individually. I will do so tomorrow and really really appreciated your comments. It is such a relief to find this forum.

Here's a few bonus pics of my baby girl including one with her older sister, Sasha, my seizure alert dog!

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7 March 2017 - 4:26 pm
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Whereabouts are you? It may be that forum members will have experience of orthopaedic surgeons in your area. Just a thought. Teaching hospitals are generally a good bet.

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
Virginia
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7 March 2017 - 5:03 pm
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Yep, ditto Clare's questions!

You are not "jumbled" at all! And don't spend one second "replying" to us. We do want you to keepnus in the loop because we care and maybe we can be of some help. We want all your energies spent on research and taking care of Tolly AND yourselves!! You have been on an emotional roller coaster and are exhausted, confused and scared! However, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

Here's a link that will direct you to lots of great information about "everything tripawd"!

Yes, let us know the general srea you live and maybe we can find an Orthopedic Surgeon (and your Vet may have already referred you to one), or a teaching hospital. Certainly they are familiar with amputations and are generally lower in cost.

The Vet will have to answer how long you can wait to proceed with surgery (whatever "surgery" may mean). Is Tolly on any pain meds?

An Orthopedic Surgeon certainly should be open to a discussion on amputation. Express your concerns...pain free...quality....getting on with "being a dog" without lots of surgeries, risk of infections, etc. Certainly amputations can have risks. It IS major surgery. And certainly there is no longer "a spare".

Make a list of your questions. I even would video some of my visits with Happy Hannah because I never could remember the answers!

For now, try and get some rest! Eat lots of CHOCOLATE and other junk food! It helps immensely!! 🙂

Hugs to all the pack!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS...so sorry you @ost a pup to this brutal disease. We would love to hear more about him when you can. And, of course, with pictures! Your Tolly has a good Guardian watching over her from the Bridge.

The pictures of Tolly and Sasha are just precious!!! Two good looking pups!!!

Glad Clare (Meg) and Kathi (Murphy) chimed in.

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Virginia
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7 March 2017 - 7:01 pm
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Oops! Forgot to post the link........http://download.....-library1/

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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8 March 2017 - 5:20 am
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Thank you both. I'm utterly exhausted today and woke with a wonderful migraine but it seems to be somewhat under control now. Here's Toller enjoying her breakfast!

We're in the UK, near Morecambe in the North West. How do I find teaching hospitals? Are they just normal vet surgeries?

I've written out all the questions I can think of, our concerns with going for the repairing surgery, the bonuses of amputation, and jotted down some anecdotes that people here have experienced.

I am hugely losing faith in this vets, from them initially saying it would be a tiny fracture, then that two broken bones showed on the x-ray, then that all connecting bones were shattered...to the splint falling off last night, and finally looking at the recepit last night and seeing that they charged us a £38 consultation fee for when we picked Tolly up - the vet we saw (who was awful) gave us NO aftercare advice, explained NOTHING, and just said "the other vet explained it all to you, right?" and said that we "needed to sort out" surgery - she didn't even tell us how we'd go about that, we were talking to her less than two minutes. They charged us £38 for that!! Not to mention almost £40 for the splint that fell off...

Today we're going to phone other vet surgeries, to ask if they have an orthopaedic surgeon we could talk to (what are the chances that any normal surgery would have one, are they too specialist?) and call rescues to ask if they could spread our go fund me. We also have an appt in a few hours time at our vets where they will re-splint Toller. 

I don't know what vet will be seeing us, so IDK whether to ask about amputation with them...and if we ask about amputation then, they'll charge us a further £38 consultation fee, whereas my partner has demanded they put the splint on for free seeing as it shouldn't have fallen off in less than six hours!!

I might call the other surgery in our town (we've had several bad experiences there, one vet is better than the others) and ask their thoughts, mention amputation etc, but I don't know if they'd want to do their own x-rays, see Toller in person etc...I'm so annoyed we have to take her to the vets to have her splinted today because it fell off. Her next appt was supposed to be Saturday. I feel so sorry for her being constantly messed about.

I also hate how much my seizures affect my memory, because I feel like I'm going to forget everything I read about amputation (pros, cons, risks, procedures etc) and forget everything the vet says...

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