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Feeling anxious and needing lots of advice and help
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Forum Posts: 11
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21 March 2017
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21 March 2017 - 2:06 pm
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Hi all,

Myself and Barney have just joined this group as we got the devastating news on 10/03 that he has osteosarcoma in his front right leg. He is booked into the vets on Tuesday and we are unsure whether to get a biopsy done to confirm 100% diagnosis as they cannot confirm or amputate. He has had a CT scan and it is contained. We know either way this may lead to amputation Andy after reading som of your comments I am feeling very overwhelmed. I am definitely not prepared at all. Can you help me with what I should buy for Barney to help him after amputation. Any advice would be very much appreciated. 

Thanks naomi and Barney 

The Rainbow Bridge

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21 March 2017 - 3:21 pm
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Hi Naomi and Barney, welcome.

First, breathe. I know you're overwhelmed but take this one step at a time and know that you ARE prepared, because you came here for help guiding you through the decisions. So YAY on your taking the big step to post!

Now, the first question to ask is: is the leg beyond repair? Must it be removed no matter what? If that's the case, then a bone biopsy can be done after it's off. You will save Barney the painful recovery (believe it or not, it's usually more painful than amputation recovery) and the process of going under anesthesia twice. Current protocols for diagnosing osteosarcoma suggest only biopsying before amputation IF there is significant doubt about a diagnosis. Another question for your vet is, what are the odds that it is not osteosarcoma?

That's terrific he's had the CT scan already, sounds like you are getting him some terrific vet care! 

There's a lot to consider right now, but your first step is deciding whether or not to do the bone biopsy before amputation. Stay tuned for feedback from others who have been through that procedure OK?

Meanwhile, check out Jerry's Required Reading List for helpful tips about what to expect during recovery and how you can help Barney be happy on three legs. Oh and do tell us more about him! Age? Breed type? We'd love to learn more.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 March 2017 - 3:59 pm
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Hi Naomi and Barney! Sorry you found yourselves here but, as you can already see from Jerry's post, you've come to the right place for support and information.

YOU ARE. NOT ALONE!! We understand like no others can. We are all here to help you through this process so you and Barney can get on with living life to the fullest!

Yes, this is scary to hear. If you're like most of us, you cry alot, you can't sleep, you're fearful and panicked and you've researched jntil your brain is fried!

Just try and keep things chunked down for now, okay?

As Jerry mentioned, biopsies are often quite painful. They come back "inconclusive" quite frequently too. Infections sometimes set in. Usually, a Radiologist is able to determine through the xrays if it's osteosarcoma, etc. It presents fairly obviously to a skilled professional.

And it IS good news that the CTs are clear!!!

Okay, about setting up for recovery. If you have hardwood floors, you'll need non slip scatter rugs (or cheap yoga mats) for traction. No stair climbing, no jumping up on sofas or beds. The first two weeks are all about rest, rest, rest and potty breaks. No horsing around or long walks. Potty breaks and rest!

Recovery is no picnic for a week or so. Some dogs are whiny and very uncomfortable for the first couple of days and just can ot settle down. Some dogs are very lethargic the first several days and don't want to get up. Al ost all dogs are walking out of surgery the next day. Nkw, that's not to say that EVERY dog does! Sometimes it takes a couple of days for dogs to get their sea legs.

A towel sling can help should Barney need help standing at first.

Most dogs spend one night at a 24 hr care clinic. Some stay a bit longer.

Barney will come home with Tramadol, Rimadyl, an antibiotic and Gabapentin. The first day or two he'll still have hospital pain meds in him, but when they wear off, it can be a bit tricky getting the right doses and the frequency figured out that works best for Barney..

STAY CONNECTED! We've all been through this. Once Barney's sparkle starts to come back it will all be worth it!!

Looking forward to hearing more about your sweet Barney! Pictures too!

(((((((((((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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21 March 2017 - 5:57 pm
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How much have you talked with your vet about the diagnosis? Looking back, the one thing I'm really glad I did was schedule an appointment with my vet just to talk to him. I went by myself, so it felt a little weird standing in the examination room talking to him without my dog, but I got a lot of great information, and it really helped prepare me for what was to come. And my vet advocated for amputation to the point that I googled and found this site. 

Rocky and I were in a similar situation as you and Barney. X-Rays pointed to Osteosarcoma and a second opinion on the X-Rays led to the bone biopsy suggestion. My vet assured me there was enough of a chance it wasn't cancer to justify doing the biopsy. As it turned out, the biopsy did confirm the OSA diagnosis. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we had skipped the biopsy now - the recovery from it was tougher than the amputation. But if we hadn't done it, I'd always wonder if the amputation was really necessary. So it's a catch-22. Really, that's just a decision you and your vet(s) have to make depending on how certain you are that it's OSA.

Post amp, I guess I got lucky. I built a little mini ramp to help Rocky navigate the step out onto the back patio. But that was it other than blocking off stairs/furniture. I bought a harness, but we haven't really used it. Rocky never needed my help to get up. But every dog is going to be different.

My last bit of advice is just to take it day by day. It's not going to be easy, but it's not going to be as bad as you're fearing right now. And I think you're probably a lot more prepared than you realize. 

David and Rocky

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

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22 March 2017 - 5:15 am
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Thank you everyone who has replied and offered your advice. I don't know how to add a picture of my gorgeous boy! Barney is just over 6 and he is an Old English Sheepdog. He is an amazing,strong and cheeky boy. I have been bamboozled with stats and percentages! From what a couple of you have said about the biopsy I think this is my fear that it will be more painful for Barns and will take time that I feel we don't have. We are worried though that what if it's not cancer. They cannot say 100% even though they have done a soft tissue biopsy as this came back inconclusive but they advised there are abnormal cells. They are 90% sure it is cancer but don't know what type. They have said that if it is a slow one and possible in the cartledge and we amputate then it may not come back. Has anyone else had this with there pet? 

Thank you for the advice for recovery, I guess me and Barns, with the help of you all, will ride the wave together.

What harness would people recommend? The yoga mat tip is great. 

Thank you all Naomi x 

London, UK
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22 March 2017 - 6:37 am
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Hi Naomi and Barney,

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this, but delighted you have found your way here. There is no place like it for information and support. My Meg did not lose her leg to Cancer, so I'll leave it to others to share their experience there. In terms of a harness most people (including us) use the Ruffwear Webmaster harness, which is excellent for Tripawds and has a handle on the back, so you can give Barney extra support as needed. You probably wouldn't use it on a front amp until after the stitches are out. A towel sling may be useful in the first few days, though it is possible Barney won't need it. Raised feeding and water bowls will also be helpful.

Here's a thread with details of How to Add Photos. You need to put them somewhere online first, on photobox or somewhere like that, or by starting a free blog on this site (which is very straightforward), then you post a link to that. (It sounds complicated, but it's really not). Can't wait to see Master Barney!

All best wishes,

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 


Here and Now

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22 March 2017 - 11:20 am
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naomi said
I don't know how to add a picture...

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts. If you don't already share photos online somewhere, you can start a free Tripawds blog any time and upload them there. Need further help? Post in the Tech Support forum and we'll be happy to help!

What harness would people recommend? 

The Ruffwear Web Master is the best all purpose harness we recommend for most tripawds These reviews and comparisons shouls help you decide which is best for you...

gear.tripawds.com/2014/03/13/best-harnesses-for-three-legged-dogs/

gear.tripawds.com/2012/04/06/which-harness-is-right-for-my-dog/

Germany
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22 March 2017 - 11:58 am
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Hi Naomi, we didn't have a biopsy before the amputation and while my dog was having his surgery I was really scared that it wasn't cancer I put him through this for nothing. However, Manni's vets were also '90%sure ' it was cancer and they biopsied afterwards. It turned out to be osteosarcoma so I had made the right decision. My vets then said that time can be of essence once you found the cancer so looking back I am very glad I decided the way I did. However, as with so many things, there are no guarantees obviously. Oftentimes I find it helps me to talk things through AGAIN with the vets to get answers to all the questions that popped into my head after the appointment. To get a clearer view on what they recommend. 

I know that having to make this decision sucks big time and I'm wishing you lots of strength! Keep us posted!

tina & Manni

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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22 March 2017 - 1:55 pm
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Hi Tina and Manni, wow this sounds the same as Barney. I'm very conscious of time as I know this could spread. How is Manni doing? What bread is he? Im currently watching Supervet which is the vet Barney is now under but it's probably not the best thing to be watching! 

My decisions change daily ATM. I've asked about limb sparing today after seeing Barney out on his walk. 

Thanks again for your advice 

Naomi and Barney x 

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22 March 2017 - 2:29 pm
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Hi! My guy Clyde was in almost the exact same position as you and Barney. Pretty much definite diagnosis but vet was talking about a biopsy before amputation. I had done my research like you are doing and read about the fact that the biopsy can be really painful, and not necessarily result in a definitive diagnosis. So I told my vet no biopsy and scheduled him for amputation. This all happened between May 28 and his amputation day of June 3. They biopsied the leg after removal and confirmed osteo. Clyde is probably a Labradoodle mix (he could well have some Old English Sheepdog in him too!), he was 9.5 years old at time of surgery and he has been doing so well since recovering from the amputation! We are almost at 10 months, which is really something considering that he is not having chemo.  

Germany
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22 March 2017 - 2:52 pm
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Hi, sorry, couldn't answer sooner, I just got off a plane 😊

Manni is ten now, the opinions on the breed vary what I can say is that he's Greek 😊

He's now 15 months post amputation an 5 rounds of Chemo. I feel very lucky that we've made it this far! He's doing pretty good and apart from a little arthritis in his remaining paw nowadays is -so far- a picture of health. I don't regret anything but there are no guarantees whatsoever sadly. Altogether I am certain that this whole journey has taken more of a toll on me than on him 😊

You can find our story here: /http://tinsch.t.....pawds.com/

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...

Virginia
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22 March 2017 - 4:41 pm
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Bar eh's avatar picture is adorable! Can't wait to see more of this fluffy ball.of cuteness!

Do you have another Radiologist you could go to for a second opinon on reading the xrays?

You need to feel as comfortable as you can be on this crazy journey, with whichever path you take. Sure, you want to pursue a treatment plan as soon as you can.

Maybe this will help give you a bit of breathing space. Many of us here treated the original limp as a slrain or arthritis. The Vet would give us Rimadyl and suggest rest. Many times the limp would clear up....and then return. Weeks, even months, passed before it became apparent it was not a sprain, etc.

Obviously, once you've been on this journey you sees
things very differently and want so much as a broken toenail or a splinter xrayed!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((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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22 March 2017 - 5:46 pm
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Otis' leg broke, so we did not biopsy.  Three vets, a radiologist and a surgeon all said the x-rays looked like osteo, and it was.  No regrets whatsoever on the amputation.  Otis did not live as long as other dogs on this site, even though we did chemo, but the extra time we had was really great time!

We also used the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness and strongly recommend it. 

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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23 March 2017 - 7:58 pm
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I am very sorry about what is happening to your dogs. I am going through a similar experience with my beloved toy poodle, Chip, he has been diagnosed with spindle cell tumors, it has been an emotional roller coaster because first my vet told me that it did no look suspicious under the microscope and after sending it to pathology it came back as cancer. Then he told me that he was going to remove the lump and do a biopsy of the lump. A few hours after I dropped Chip off for surgery, the vet called me and told me that he was not going to be able to remove the lump without amputating the leg. He also told me that he was going to do an x-ray of the lungs to rule out metastasis. The x-ray confirmed that an amputation was needed, but I decided to take him to an vet oncologist and see if there was any way they could save his leg, after reviewing all the tests the other vets did before, he concluded that amputation was the best option for Chip, since the cancer has eaten the bone in his left back leg. I have made an appointment with the surgeon for this saturday, they will only be able to tell me if is osteo sarcoma after they send the tumors to pathology. I am so glad I found this website, this has been so difficult, like all of you I have cried so much and I have not been able to sleep. Chip has been my support system for the last 11 years of my life and I love him with all my heart. I am so interested in the natural diet mentioned here, I want to do everything I can for him, to save him and to help him overcome the challenge of having 3 legs only. The vet told me today that it is easier to adapt for smaller, lean dogs. Nevertheless I am devastated and so scared this cancer will be the most agressive type, which I was told is osteosarcoma. Good luck with everything!

The Rainbow Bridge

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23 March 2017 - 10:20 pm
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Hi Chip and family, welcome. I saw you in the Tripawds Chat tonight but you didn't say anything. Feel free to stop by and bark when you want to talk OK? Meanwhile, you may want to consider starting a topic of your own so we can follow your journey.

I know you're worried and that's to be expected. But try to stay strong for Chip, he needs you to set the tone for his recovery. Have you seen Jerry's Required Reading List? That will put a lot of your fears to rest. Also, check out our e-books library for lots of tips to help you and Chip have a great life together. Another resource is The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. It's super helpful ad has loads of info about nutrition and cancer, as does our Tripawds Nutrition blog .

You're a pawesome parent for getting other opinions before the amputation! That was smart and although it did lead to the surgery, at least you know you are making an informed decision. Pat yourself on the back for being a great advocate for Chip 🙂

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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