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New Here the Big Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow
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30 April 2018 - 2:31 pm
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Just thought I'd say hello. My 14 year old Border Collie baby Sierra was recently diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma in her right front let. It has already destroyed about 1/2 of her ulna right at her elbow joint. We met with the Oncologist last week about possible radiation treatments. Unfortunately, with it already doing so much damage, she'd always be at risk for fracture & with it being at/into her joint, I doubt she would ever be pain free. So, I think I am doing what is best for her by signing her up for amputation. My orthopedic surgeon seems excellent so I know she's in good hands. I'm just freaking out a bit.

I'll read all I can on this site. The Oncologist actually recommended it to me.

She's in excellent health (except for the whole cancer in her leg thing). X-rays showed no sign of it spreading to her lungs. The Ortho says her other legs look fabulous. No sign of any arthritis or anything that should hinder her recovery.

So why do I feel so terrible? I think I'd feel better if I just could explain it to her. They're going to keep her there at the vet for a few days. They said she'll come home either Thursday or Friday depending on how she's doing. My ex & I (we share custody of the fur kids and are lucky to have become good friends) are rotating days off once she's home so we can be with her 24/7 for at least the first week. I just know she is going to be in so much pain & so confused when she wakes up. I think that's what is breaking my heart.

Anyways, thanks for listening!
Melinda

Livermore, CA
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30 April 2018 - 4:26 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry cancer has brought you here- but this is the best place to be when dealing with amputation and cancer.

Try not to feel terrible- cancer is causing this, not you.  Your girl is in pain and the best way to relive it is to remove her leg.  You are not doing anything TO her, you are doing this FOR her! Get the sadness and guilt feelings out of the way while she is at the vet.  Sierra will need you to be a strong and positive pack leader to show her everything is OK.

She shouldn't be in a lot of pain post op- the pain meds should keep her comfortable.  Be sure you understand what she is getting and the dosing schedule when you bring her home.  Sometimes it takes some tweaking the meds or schedule working with your vet.  If she is confused when she comes home it will most likely be due to the meds. 

My little pug Maggie lost a back leg to mast cell cancer.  She was stubborn and set in her ways, she hated any changes to her routine.  Maggie could hop the day of surgery and never had trouble getting around (other than the tiredness new Tripawds experience).  We managed her pain quite well but she was grumpy for about 6 weeks which is WAAAAAAY longer than most pups here.  Most are back to themselves in two to three weeks.  Maggie got used to things on her own schedule and hopped happily through life for almost 4 years. Of course when she was grumpy I was second guessing my decision- I was sure I had made a big mistake.  I think most of us here went thought the 'what have I done?' phase during recovery!

Sounds like you have done lots of reading here- do you have any questions?

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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30 April 2018 - 4:26 pm
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mom2sierra said
...why do I feel so terrible?

That is understandable, and to be expected, but don't let Sierra know! It is important to remain strong and balanced, as she will follow your lead. It's why we say Be More Dog ! And that's not just some silly saying...watch the Be More Dog podcast for details.

Who is your oncologist?

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Virginia
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30 April 2018 - 6:07 pm
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Sierra sounds like a remarkavle YOUNG WHIPPERSNAPPER! 🙂   WONDERFUL to hear she has a good check up and the Vet feels she's a good candidate!

Ditto Admin and Karen!  Good advice as always!

As you can see, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  We are by your side the hole way!  We understand like no others can.

And we cannot say this enough....And you must make it your mantra for the next several days.  Ready?  We'll say it with you! Here we go:

I'M DOING THIS FOR SIERRA AND NOT TO HER!!!    ......FOR SIERRA...NOT TO HER!!!

  This  piece of  crap disease makes us make "forced choices" so we can give our  dogs and cats a chance at a pain free life!!  Now, we're not saying recovery his easy or is fun to watch, but we are saying recovery doesn't last furever and when her sparkle comes back you will be so happy!

I know you've been doing your research here, so let us know if you have any questions that you still feel  uncertain about, okay? 

BTW let CHOCOLATE become your best friend over the next few days.  It helps, along with remembering to B R E A T H E!!! 🙂

Love and hugs

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

PS.  Please let js know when surgery is done and give us daily updates.  Sierra is family now and we care about our familyheart

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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30 April 2018 - 8:25 pm
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Hi,

So sorry you are here but also glad that you are here!  Sierra looks like a beauty.  I know you are concerned for her and her pain....but to be honest, she's probably been in much more pain with that cancer in her ulna than she will be with the amputation.  just make sure to keep up with her pain meds when she comes home.  keep her medicated and give her time to get back to her normal self.  Most of our sweet pups made very quick recoveries after amputation and I think you will be surprised at the bounce she has after a week.  make sure you've got floor runners if your floors are wood and let her decide (with a little adult supervision!) how she feels and what she's up to doing.  Good luck.  you are in good hands here!

w

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30 April 2018 - 8:52 pm
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Thanks all for the warm welcome! I’m feeling comforted. 

My Orthopedic Surgeon actually called himself to touch base with me this evening. He really has been the best. She’s seeing Dr Lange at Dallas Vetrinary Surgical Center. He has gone out of his way to really explain every detail all along the way. He is the one that recommended our oncologist who I am also very happy with. 

Her Oncologist is Dr. James Custis. We are super lucky to have one of the 2 SRT lasers in the country here in Dallas. He specializes in it & radiation oncology. I guess he came to this area a few years ago from Colorado State. They thought she would be a candidate for SRT and she probably would have been if the bone wasn’t already so damaged. I was so impressed with him. He took a long time going over everything with us in great detail. 

Dr Lange said from what he has seen from her, he doesn’t expect more than one night in the hospital, but they plan for two just to make sure. He said if she is acting well Wednesday, she can go home then. I already got her the ruffwear Web Master harness . He laughed when he saw her in it. He said I love these & tell everyone to get one. This handle just turns dogs into suitcases. He said they’re great for helping them maneuver. 

A little about her. She was a pound puppy that I adopted at about 2. I’m a total nerd for my pups nutrition (if only I was for mine too) so I’ve always been researching and trying to feed the best I can figure out. She’s been on raw for about 9 or 10 years now. Other than rabies, I just titer test every year for distemper & parvovirus. End result is people meet her & think she’s a young girl (except her cute gray eyebrows). This is her first health problem in her 14 years. I guess I just don’t want to accept she might be starting to get older on me! 

Anyways it is so good to read all of the success stories. I know it is going to be harder on me than her. I do have 2 questions. The first may be silly. But does anyone notice a pack dynamic shift after surgery. I have 3 girls. That was quite a balancing act at first, but now they all love each other. But she is miss bossy boss. Anyone notice others trying to take over after? 

Second. Anyone with stairs? My ex is taking her to his house after surgery. One story with nice back yard. But my place she will eventually come back to is a 3 level apartment. And my stairs are unusually steep. Any advice? Right now she goes up no problem. Coming down she doesn’t like to do. I try to help her with the harness but that just seems to annoy her. Hahaha. 

The Rainbow Bridge

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30 April 2018 - 9:24 pm
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I do have 2 questions. The first may be silly. But does anyone notice a pack dynamic shift after surgery. I have 3 girls. That was quite a balancing act at first, but now they all love each other. But she is miss bossy boss. Anyone notice others trying to take over after? 

Second. Anyone with stairs? My ex is taking her to his house after surgery. One story with nice back yard. But my place she will eventually come back to is a 3 level apartment. And my stairs are unusually steep. Any advice?

Hello to you and Sierra, welcome. She sure is getting some great care from you and her entire team. What a lucky girl! Please thank your vet for referring you to us. That is such an honor. We do have Tripawds Foundation outreach brochures for vets if you'd like us to send them some.

I'm not the best person to answer your first question as we only had Jerry when he lost his leg. But from what I've seen here, most dogs in the pack will give the recovering Tripawd lots of room to recuperate, sensing that they need the space. Puppies are a different story of course.

As for stairs. Yes, we had 18 steps going in and out of our house, we lived on a second floor walk-up. the Webmaster harness was indispensable for helping Jerry go in and out. We always had a light grasp on his suitcase handle when assisting him, especially on the downstairs. We had baby gates blocking the stairs for at least a month, just because we didn't want him to forget and try to use the stairs without us. 

Perhaps when Sierra realizes she needs a little more assistance, she will come to accept your aid on the steps. Just use a light touch, lots of praise and she should get it.

Good job on everything, we are looking forward to following along with your journey.

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Virginia
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30 April 2018 - 9:41 pm
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Sounds like you have an excellent team looking after Sierraclap

In my particular case with Happy Hannah (125 lb Bull Mastiff), the dynamics stayed the same with her buddy Bodie (a 14 - 16 lb Terrier  Chihuahua and goodness kniws what else mix). Bodie was more of a leader with a bit of a bossy side and Happy Hannah was more of a "go with the flow follower".

Some dogs may feel vulnerable while healing and that could make them a little grumpy.  It seems that the other dogs just sort of give them their space.

Others will chime in on their experiences.  For the most part through, the dynamics usually stay the same as before the surgery.

As far as the steps, front leggers havea much harder time going DOWN stairs than UP.  Rear leggers have a harder time going UP the stairs than DOWN.   During  recocery it would be helpful if you could make arrangements to sleep kn the first floor and stay with Sierra down there.  Stairs at first can be scary fir a doggy in druge.  They may do a face plant, ir worse yet, fall and hurt their incision area or open stitches.

Just ve careful using  the harness while the incision is still full of stitches.  If the harness is needed during this time, just make sure the incision is covered with a tee shirt or some sort of soft padding.

We'll all be cheering for sweet Sierra! 🙂   And loooove her avatar picture!  Can't wait to see more!

Lots of 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!

Livermore, CA
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30 April 2018 - 11:21 pm
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I do have 2 questions. The first may be silly. But does anyone notice a pack dynamic shift after surgery. I have 3 girls. That was quite a balancing act at first, but now they all love each other. But she is miss bossy boss. Anyone notice others trying to take over after?

No silly questions here!

I seem to be the exception around here with my two pug girls.  Maggie and Tani were sisters from different litters, Mag was a little over a year older.  Maggie was the alpha from the time Tani came to live with us although Tani had alpha aspirations and occasionally challenged Maggie for her spot.

When Mag came home from her amp surgery (left rear leg, mast cell cancer) Tani stayed with my dad for a couple days.  When my dad brought Tani home  Maggie was asleep in her bed.  As soon as Tani saw Maggie she raced over and attacked her!  In hindsight I'm thinking Tani sensed her weakness and was challenging for the alpha spot.  Before I could even react Maggie was up and had Tani on her back- three or four days after her amp!  That was the end of it, Tani did not challenge her again.  Thankfully there was no harm done. 

So I would be careful bringing the pack together, especially when there is the potential for two against one.  On the other hand getting the surroundings back to normal is important too.  I would have supervised visits until you are comfortable with the interactions.

Second. Anyone with stairs? My ex is taking her to his house after surgery. One story with nice back yard. But my place she will eventually come back to is a 3 level apartment. And my stairs are unusually steep. Any advice?

As a small rear amp Maggie never could go up more than three or four stairs at a time, she could go down anything.  It was OK because at the time I lived in a one story house.  Fast forward a few years and now I have another small rear amp pug mix named Elly (car accident) and I live in a split level house.  Elly is smaller than Maggie was but she flies up and down the stairs! 

As a front amp Sierra will most likely be challenged going down as you have already seen.  You will have to see how she does after she heals up from the surgery.  Be sure your stairs have good traction - if they are wood or tile you should had carpet strips- I have them on my tile stairs.  Start slowly and build her confidence- lots of treats!  You may need to block the stairs so she can't go down without supervision.

Best of luck with the surgery tomorrow!  Update us when you can.

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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1 May 2018 - 7:59 am
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Karen,

Yes! I kind of have the same dynamic. Sierra is definitely alpha, but Echo has "alpha aspirations" and India will jump in to defend her sister Echo (they're pound puppies too, but as far as we know they are littermates). It doesn't help that Echo is actually bigger than Sierra, but as we know... it's not the size of the dog in the fight. Anyways, they've all been together for 10 years now, but the first year and a half was a constant balancing act. The battles got farther & farther apart & finally ceased. I think a lot because we really learned to watch and study body language and correct it before it escalated. Now they're all best buds... but Echo will sometimes try to test her limits. I'll just be careful with them for a bit & watch for any bad signs. Thankful you have been there too! They'll be apart for at least the first few days. Sierra will be staying with my ex & I'll have the sisters.

I dropped her off this morning. There was major drama this morning with the fact that her breakfast was not served, and there was no after walk cookies. The horror of it all! Now I begin the long wait... Hoping to have a busy day at work to provide some distraction.

Melinda
Mom to Sierra, India & Echo

Virginia
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1 May 2018 - 8:38 am
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Your pack sounds absolutely  delightful 🙂   And clearly you've done a good job of  working with the different personalities.

I know Sierra was piffed about not getting her breakfast or morning walk.  She'll be getting cheeseburgers and ice cream and cake soon!

When you do go to pick her up, don't even bother to look at her incision.....she won't be!  Just tell her what a good gorl she is and she's going home!!

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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1 May 2018 - 11:18 am
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Sierra's surgeon just called. Said the surgery was done & he was very happy with how it went. They're sending her leg off to stage the cancer. He said she's currently enjoying her morphine & nerve block. Now I just have to wait for my sweet girl to be ready to come home. Big relief.

Virginia
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1 May 2018 - 11:33 am
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YAAAAAAAAAAAY FOR SIERRA!!!!   We share in your relief!!!😁😁😁😁😁

Now get some rest tonight.   Sierra will be seeing pink elephant and feeling no pain!  Glad your Surgeon is  on top of her pain management!

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!

Here and Now

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1 May 2018 - 12:35 pm
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Thanks for the great update! Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Please keep us posted...

Livermore, CA
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1 May 2018 - 1:26 pm
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Such a relief to have the surgery behind you!

Maggie was two and Tani was one when Tani came to live with us- the challenges were much more frequent when they were young.  Like you I figured out some of the triggers and stopped them before it became a full fledged fight.  By the time Mag had her amp she was 7.5 years old and the fights were almost non-existent...I let my guard down.  Good for you for thinking ahead!

Let us know when she comes home.

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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