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Please help with hard decisions in an 8 year old, overweight cane corso
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8 August 2017 - 12:31 pm
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I wish I wasn't posting here, but here I am. 

I have a beautiful 8 year old female Cane Corso mastiff we affectionately call Clouders.  Clouders has had a rough few years. In 2014, she tore her right ACL/CCL and underwent TPLO shortly thereafter. About a year later, her left knee went, and we had to do it all over again. No regrets. Our bionic doggy was almost as active as before. A bit arthritic, but that's to be expected for a giant breed of her age post-op. 

About 6 months after TPLO #2, her left knee started looking bad. Swelling, hot, drainage tract, the whole 9 yards. We determined she had an infection and x-rays showed that one of her TPLO screws was trying to escape. We had it removed and she was good as new. 

Well, with 3 knee surgeries, lots and lots of downtime, and arthritic changes, she obviously wasn't quite as active as she used to be. Her 60 minute walks slowly became 30 minutes, then 15 minutes, then some days when her arthritis flared up, she wasn't having it at all. We took it in stride, but she started gaining weight despite our efforts to reduce her food intake. She's very food motivated - and not shy about telling me she wants food. She makes these ridiculous moans and what we affectionately call her "inside voice" bark. 

Fast forward a year or so and she went from normal dog to having a right hind leg that was 3x its regular size over the course of 3-4 days. It was incredible how fast it grew. I suspected the worst, but hoped it was just the remaining TPLO plate rejecting, or maybe a meniscus injury. Nope. Osteosarcoma. Aggressive. Her radiology shows a massive peristeal reaction - in an unsual location (mid femur, just above the hock), but apparently clear lungs, liver and kidneys, no signs of lymph involvement. 

I've read everything I could get my hands on, so I know the standard of care, the expected survival, etc. etc. But there's no book in the world to help you decide the right decision. I need help. 

Here's where I'm at. I have a tenacious, rambunctious, FOOD MOTIVATED monster. She's slowly gained more and more weight and is currently about 25 lbs overweight. Probably more, if I'm being honest with myself. And since the OSA, her appetite has gone through the roof. She argues with me. Vocally. She takes my hand and drags me into the kitchen to argue some more. She's so hungry. 

We took her to one oncologist. Then another. The second I liked much better. He recommended we amputate and take her to a vet school about 3 hours away that's doing trials. I'm waiting for a call back from them. But here's the rub. She's fat. Her healthy hind leg is the one with the TPLO post-removal. She has fairly advanced arthritic changes in that knee and minor in her forelegs. Her spine is showing moderate degenerative changes. She's fat and her appetite is only getting bigger. She doesn't show pain, still mostly weight bearing on her bad leg even. She wants to walk, but gets tired pretty quickly. Did I mention she's hungry? She's super hungry. She wants to play sometimes, but she gets bored more quickly than usual. She's happy most of the time, but for a couple hours a day she just looks so down - probably because I won't give her more food. It's heart breaking. 

I'm willing to do the amputation, rent a van and drive her 3 hours to the vet school for treatment for the next few months. I have a wonderful workplace that will accommodate my needs. Issue 2 - she hates car rides. She refuses to sit even for a second. When I moved across country when she was a pup, she stood the entire 8 hours, wobbling around like a sack of potatoes. I'm considering drugging her for the drives. 

What I don't know is if it's worth it - if it's humane to HER. I would go to the moon and back for her, but it's not about me.

If she loses a limb, she will absolutely have to lose at least 15 of her extra pounds - probably more for best results. I'm not sure if I'll be able to coax her into doing underwater PT, she's terrified of water even though we tried to condition her from a young age. The tumor has, for whatever reason, perhaps the fever, made her appetite uncontrollable. She whines for food all day, all night. She moans at me for anything, even her kibble which she ordinarily hates. How do I explain to her that she's obese and can't have any more food? In the last 2-3 years, we've tried every diet - raw, home cooked, grain free, high carb, low carb, low fat, high fat. You name it. She only eats one bowl (3.5-4 cups) a day, but kept gaining. Did I mention she's still hungry? Her thyroid is fine, she just wants food. 

I'm also terrified she won't get up after surgery. After her second TPLO, she was only about 10-15 lbs overweight and we had a very difficult time getting her to stand. Her ortho was mystified. She wouldn't get up whatsoever for the first 3 days (she was up and running within 10 hours of her first TPLO). It was about 2 weeks before she could squat to defecate at all. Now she's even heavier (I know, I know, my fault.. ) - will she be able to stand up again? 

I'm a small human, only 100lbs, and my parents, who have been helping me take care of my monster are in their 60s and can't lift her if something happens either. What will happen if she falls or can't stand when none of us are strong enough to lift 156 lbs of fat dog. 

I love her so much, she's my spirit animal. I would do absolutely anything for her. But I feel like I'm pushing for treatment for ME. Because I can't bear the thought of living without her. But will she be happy? I don't think she'll care about losing a leg, she was pretty blase about her knees when they gave out. But she'll have to be on a very, very strict diet or her forelegs could give out. Food is her greatest love, no doubt. Forced to choose between me and a piece of lamb, I think I'd lose. Our trusted kennel does underwater treadmill, but she'll be terrified.

Is it humane to deprive her of food, force her into a scary pool? Humane to force her to spend 3-5 hours in a car each way to get chemo/trial treatment every 2-3 weeks for 4-5 months? If I was even 80% sure this would give her another 1-2 years, I would say maybe. But if she dies in 3 months despite all of it, she'll have died hungry and confused. I can't bear the thought of it.

God I'm so scared to make the wrong decision. She's already 8. Her breed typically only lives 8-10. I always knew my heart would break when she died, but I never thought there was a risk she wasn't going to die happy. I'm torn between going all out and doing everything under the sun to stop this stupid cancer or just treating her pain as best I can and letting her spend her last couple months on earth fat and happy. 

How do you guys make these decisions? What do I look for? How do I ask her? 

Thank you for reading my wall of text. Clouders

Here and Now

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8 August 2017 - 12:46 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for with the difficult decisions you face. You've come to the right place for feedback and support. Ultimately only you and your veterinary team can make the final decisions best for Clouders, and your family.

Try to take things one step at a time. The first step is to get rid of the pain. Chemotherapy is always optional. While amputation may not get rid of the cancer, it will stop the tumor pain. You will find various Tripawds Blogs about Cane Corso dogs and other giant breeds.

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!

Above all, our best advice is to Be More Dog. And that's not just some silly saying, listen to the podcast for details and helpful tips for coping with diagnosis, recovery and ongoing care.

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

Schofield, WI
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9 August 2017 - 6:20 am
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My heart goes out to you as you try to make this very hard decision.  Admin is correct that amputation will take away the very real pain of osteosarcoma.  But with all you have going on in your case you must also choose whether or not it is right for your girl.  I think I would start by having sweet Clouders evaluated by a orthopedic specialist to see if she could handle the amp with her remaining legs.   That may give you more clarity to be able to make a decision that is best for her.  If he thinks amputation could be a go there are some tools that could help you with mobility in those early days after amp.  Many of us have used a harness on our rear legged amps right away out of surgery to help us be able to assist in them up. As far as her loosing weight can you divide her amount she is able to eat and still possibly loose some weight into like every two or three hour feedings?  Yes she wouldn't be getting very much at a time but would consistently be feeling fuller and more sated throughout the day.  Sending you hugs and prayers for the clarity you need to be able to make the best decision you can for your special girl!  I'm sure others will be here soon with other thoughts that I am missing.  

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9 August 2017 - 8:29 am
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linda8115:

Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. I've never understood support groups until I needed one myself! 

The second oncologist we saw does a far bit of orthopedic work. He basically told us that although she's got some arthritic changes already in her "good leg," he still recommended amputation based on the fact that dogs carry so much more of their weight on the forelimbs - and kept emphasizing the pain relief aspect of the procedure. The weakness of her remaining leg would be more an issue for post-amputation weight loss and much-needed exercise. She's got a very high pain threshold, the poor dummy still wants to run on all four legs now, much as she did when she had previously torn her ligaments. I can tell she's hiding how much she hurts, but I guess her desire to chase small woodland critters far outweighs her perception of pain. For safety's sake, I've just been letting her out onto the back deck rather than the yard for her evening security patrol. Maybe I'm being silly, but she's always been our protector and I feel like I need to let her feel useful still. 

We've always a vest harness for walks, and it has a sturdy handle positioned over her mid back that's been useful. I'll look into some other harnesses and see if there's something more effective than the belly slings we still have around from her TPLO recoveries.  

I'm leaning heavily towards full treatment now. When I came home from work last night she was alert and lively and wanted to play (and go on a leisurely sniff-n-stroll). I know dogs are pretty bad at showing their humans that they're hurt and need help, but I don't know how to interpret her overall .. normalness(?) other than that she's not ready to give up. 

Schofield, WI
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Sounds like you have done your homework and gotten the feedback from professionals you need to make your decision.  So now you have to look into your heart and figure out which choice you can make with the least regret.  I know in our case Max was only 6 1/2 and still wanting to go on with life.  There are no crystal balls to see what lies ahead.  We weren't one of the lucky ones to get a lot of extra time.  But many many do.   Maxs cancer went to his spine less than 5 months after amp.  But I know that 5 months were for the most part pain free and still loving life.  I can look back and know we tried and did our best to help him.  And it was 5 months we had to love on him and spoil him 5 months we would not have gotten without the amp.   I know for me if I hadn't tried I would've always wondered "what if".  I think your heart and love for your girl is leading you to the right decision....the one you'll have the least regret with in the long run.  Your girl has already shown she's a fighter with all she's been through.  Many have said here TPLO recovery is worse than amputation recovery.  Your girl may well surprise you!  Keep us posted, we're here to support you in whatever decision you make!  Hugs!

Durham, NC
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23 August 2017 - 6:56 pm
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I just saw this ... it doesn't look like Clouders' mom has been back on. I wish I could see a photo of Clouders - I know I'd love her.

Hoping her mom comes back ... sounds like Izzy was Clouders' sister from another mister. She was ALWAYS hungry. Always asking for more food. Lost a leg, had a knee repair ... lots in common.

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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28 August 2017 - 11:10 am
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Update time - sorry for the long gap. It was a rough few weeks. 

After our initial consult with an oncologist who was positive it was osteosarcoma, we made a second appointment with the ortho surgeon at the same facility. He came back and said that 1) he didn't want to amputate because he'd never done such a large dog and 2) that he didn't think it was osteosarcoma, but rather a severe osteomyelitis. That was just confusing. We had another round of x-rays taken and took her home and continued with the carprofen and added hydrocodone on her bad days. Some days she barely moved, then other days she'd be all set to take a 45 minute walk to her favorite pooping grounds. It was really hit or miss. 

Those second X-rays though. Wow. Her tumor had grown massively in 2 weeks. It was now the size of a grapefruit and was starting to spread these weird cloudy tentacles into what was left of her soft tissue. It was hideous and looked like nothing I could find in the pile of veterinary radiology and oncology book I brought home. I have human physicians in the family who were flabbergasted. The radiologist at the vet clinic was likewise puzzled. We continued with the meds and threw in some antibiotics (the same ones she was sensitive to when she had the infection post TPLO in that left a few years prior). 

We took her back to the surgeon who did her first successful TPLO (and the successful TPLO of our last mastiff, who was a tough case) for yet another opinion. He immediately dismissed the osteomyelitis. A chronic infection couldn't get that severe that fast - and the lesion wasn't anywhere near where her original TPLO had been removed. He agreed to admit her, open up the area and take cytology sample to get to the on-site path for a quick check for blastocytes to confirm cancer and then call us to make the final call. 

He never got that far. He opened the skin and basically described the mass as "mushrooming" out of the bone and invading everything around it. There was literally nothing left but the cortex and the skin. And it was starting to eat at her skin. There was no way to close her back up - it was either amputate or euthanize. The surgeon told he had had no idea what the tumor was, but there was no doubt in him mind it was some kind of sarcoma, and that it had invaded everything around her tibia. 

So on Friday, August 25, she had the surgery. They took her leg and told us to expect to pick her up in 2-5 days once she got up. Ha. She was asking to go outside to potty by midnight the same day and we were told to come get her the following afternoon. 

She's home now. And I am pretty much heartbroken. She can get up OK, but moving around is still a massive struggle. She has a hard time getting comfortable to sleep. She's panting heavily all the time. She's eating, drinking, and going potty outside, but she seems absolutely miserable. Her tail hasn't so much as twitched once. I feel like the worst human ever for doing this to her - for taking away her independence. She was still running on all 4 legs when we dropped her off on Friday. Now she can barely lay down on her own. Her surgical site is still dripping some, which the vet assured me is normal, but she's clearly in pain despite the mountain of drugs we have her own.

I am feeling so much guilt and regret. The pathology won't be back for 10-14 days. If this ends up not being osteosarcoma - I will never forgive myself for doing this to her. Maybe I'm just tired, but this is all becoming so overwhelming so fast. I try to act upbeat and strong when I'm with her - cheer her on when she's getting up and hopping a bit, but the minute I'm out of the room, it's all I can do to not break down and cry.

She whines at night. She wants to run. She dreams of running and her stump runs with her other leg. I'm wondering if I made wrong choice and put her through this just to buy time for me at her expense. I'm trying to find rehab services for her that are in my area. I still don't know how I will transport her there, but one bridge at a time. She can barely get around with the sling right now, it's been 3 days. I guess that's normal for a dog her size. I want to do everything I can to get her the professional help she needs to be as stable and strong as possible on three legs or my own guilt will explode my brain. I'm just barely holding it together. I don't know how you guys all do it - everyone talks about how they don't have regrets, that their dogs seemed to have a better QOL after surgery, etc etc., and I'm feeling the opposite.  

What have I done? Will she adjust? Will she ever be herself again? I know no one has the answers, but I'm an absolute wreck today. 

Durham, NC
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28 August 2017 - 11:40 am
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Ok, I know it's hard not to panic but ... try not to? Did Clouders come home with a fentanyl patch? That can cause panting, whimpering and a whole lot of mess that makes you feel like your dog is hurting. She may be in pain ... what meds are onboard for pain?

I am pretty sure that, faced with the same decision - which had to be made instantly - I would have done the same. You are giving her a chance and only time will tell how it shakes out. As you said, she's a big girl and and a lot of time, larger dogs have a tougher recovery, especially in the immediate. The fact that she was trying to get up the evening of her surgery (mine tried to get up as soon as the anesthesia wore off!!!) is a good sign. 

Sally will likely chime in an prescribe chocolate for you ... lots of chocolate. Add wine as needed. 

The first few days are always rough and, as is typical, most of us forget the challenges of post-op as time passes and our pups return to normal. (I am convinced this is how women end up having multiple children ... just sayin') That said, our "positive" experiences are likely enhanced by the passage of time. I have faith that good days are ahead for Clouders and we'll be here to "talk you down" as often as needed!

I know you're stressed but when you can, I'd love to see a picture of your big girl 🙂  I'm a sucker for big dogs!

xoxo,

Amy & the most magical wonderpup, angel Izzy heart

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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28 August 2017 - 12:42 pm
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izzysmomma,

Thanks so much for your reply! It's good to hear that a determined to get up pup is one that's going to be determined to move, too. 

Clouders never had a fentanyl patch. She was sent home with codeine (60mg every 8 hours, which the vet told us to bump to every 6 hours) and 150mg carprofen every 12 hours. We have been supplementing this with hydrocodone as needed (usually just night time) - which the vet didn't prescribe, but ultimately relented on. Having all those people physicians in the family definitely makes it easier to get whatever she needs. Her kidneys are strong so we're not too concerned about that right now. 

She pants a lot, but only really whines at night. And I'd characterize it as her "talkative" whine as opposed to the sound she made when she had torn her CCL before. I think she's whining because she wants something she either can't reach (snacks) or can't do (chase things outside). She doesn't seem to be doing the high-pitched whine I associate with her being in pain. But the panting makes me nervous. It's a fast pant, lots of fluid dripping from her nose, SO much drool. When she's not panting, she seems to be breathing a little harder than usual. She doesn't seem short of breath. 

She's a bit more mobile today. I finally set up the room where she's used to sleeping with a carpet cover and all that and she actually got up and hopped down the hallway by herself to meet me there! That was a nice surprise. She still has a really hard time laying down and getting comfortable anywhere. If you have any advice on how to help her arrange her bum on her mattress, I'll take it!

And there's a link to a pic in my initial post, I haven't quite worked out how to embed pictures here yet, but here it is again:  

View post on imgur.com

.

That pic is from the week of her Dx, I'm not quite ready to take pics of her with her new .. style. It's still really, really hard for me to wrap my head around everything. 

Livermore, CA
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28 August 2017 - 12:55 pm
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True, most everyone here has no regrets....but many of us had to go through the 'what have I done?!' phase first!

For me it lasted 6 weeks post op.  My little pug Maggie lost a rear leg to mast cell cancer.  She was an unhappy slug for the first two weeks of recovery, I was thinking I had made a mistake.  Then she was an unhappy slug for four more weeks and I KNEW I had made a terrible mistake.  Mag's amp was before Tripawds was here so we went it alone- all the vets said that dogs do fine on three, I was convinced that I had the only dog who would not adapt.  But she did, on her own schedule and in her own way.

You are tired and stressed and had to make a huge decision on the fly.  Your girl is not herself and struggling a little.  Keep telling yourself that you did this FOR her, not TO her.  You are giving her a chance!

Hang on to the good things-eating, drinking and pottying are all huge at this time in recovery. She has shown you that she can get around, so you know she will hopping on her own eventually. She is going to take some time to build her strength but for now the best thing for her is rest. Work with your vet to tweak the pain meds- you can find a balance that works for her.   You have the advantage of having been through a couple major knee surgeries so you know how she deals with pain and how she heals.  I went through two knee surgeries with my quad-pug Obie and I can tell you that his recoveries from those surgeries were at least 4 times longer than it took Maggie to recover from amputation surgery (not the obstinate pug part, the surgery part).

Hang in there!

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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28 August 2017 - 1:14 pm
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izzysmomma,

Thanks so much for your reply! It's good to hear that a determined to-get-up pup is one that's going to be determined to move, too.  And yes, it was quite last minute as far as the amputation goes. Before we admitted her, the ortho was pretty blunt that the tumor was going to break though the skin sooner or later. The largest part was growing right under scar tissue from the TPLO and subsequent removal surgery, so weak skin which already was being stretched very, very thin. Once that happened, she would not only be in a lot of pain, but sepsis would be a concern. I kind of think he already knew he'd be amputating that morning, he just didn't want to break it to me because my hopes were set on the lesion being a bone manifestation of her prior infection that could be cleaned out and salvaged rather than cancer. 

There's a link to a pic in my initial post, I haven't quite worked out how to embed pictures here yet, but here it is again:  

View post on imgur.com

. This is a pre-op picture, I'm not quite ready to take pics of her with her new .. style. It's still really, really hard for me to wrap my head around everything.

Clouders never had a fentanyl patch. She was sent home with codeine (60mg every 8 hours, which the vet told us to bump to every 6 hours) and 150mg carprofen every 12 hours. We have been supplementing this with 5/375 hydrocodone as needed (usually just night time) - which the vet didn't prescribe, but ultimately relented on. Having people physicians in the family definitely makes some things easier. Her blood work was good before and after surgery (we'd been giving her small dose hydrocodone for a couple weeks already), so there's not much worry about the effect on her kidneys and liver right now. 

She pants a lot, but only really whines at night. And I'd characterize it as her "talkative" whine as opposed to the sound she made when she had torn her CCL before. I think she's whining because she wants something she either can't reach (snacks) or can't do (chase things outside). She doesn't seem to be doing the high-pitched whine I associate with her being in pain. But the panting makes me nervous. It's a fast pant, lots of fluid dripping from her nose, SO much drool. When she's not panting, she seems to be breathing a little harder than usual. She doesn't seem short of breath though.  She still has a really hard time laying down and getting comfortable anywhere. If you or anyone else has any advice on how to help her arrange herself when she goes to sit/lay down, I'll take it!

On the bright side, she's eating, but not begging for food the way she did pre-op. She doesn't feel so hot to the touch, so I'm thinking her fever is largely resolved. She had a pretty high fever for a few weeks, which I think was making her ravenous. She's on a new grain-free diet now, eating about 1/3 of her usual amount. I hate withholding food, but right now her weight is her biggest enemy. Since she isn't able to get up into the kitchen to beg or eat from her bowl, feeding less is a lot easier. 

Again, thanks for your kind words. Also, if that's her in your profile pic, Izzie is ADORABLE! Absolutely incredible she fought OSA and a subsequent knee surgery - that's some serious spirit. She was lucky to have such a wonderful human for 14 (!!!) years.  

She reminds me a dog I used to know - my decades-ago former roommate had a doberman-pittbull mix whose best buddy was an oversized American Bulldog named Norman. They would run each other into exhaustion, then lay next to each other, covered in drool, still chewing on each others' ears and feet and generally being nuts. Love those big mutt-loafs!

Virginia
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28 August 2017 - 5:06 pm
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HOOOOOOOLY S**T BATMAN!!!!!   YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH AN INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL ORDEAL!!!!   OMD!!!!    I would be off the wall bats**t crazy....certifiable crazy by now!!!

You have gotten EXCELLENT support and sdvice feom Amy and Karen and they are spot-on!! 🙂

You really, really need to give yourself a pat in the pack!  Reslly....You need to do thst right now....we're watching!!  Pat yourself on the back right now and ssy "Good job... ..(insert name)!!"   You are far stronger than you realize and you are doing an EXCELLENT job of holding it together!!!

Regardless of whatever was going in with thst leg, it HAD to come off!!!  It would only get worse...and get worse quickly!!   I'm really glad you got to the Surgeon who KNEW the amputation HAD to be done regardless!!!

Okay, niw that youved given yiurself a pat in your back (yeah, we saw you dinit...nice!), it's ti e to take some DEEP BREATHS.....DEEP BREATHS....B R E A T H E.....B R E A T H E.......B R E A T H E!   You are on tbe worst part of recovery and it is absolutely no picnic!  It's hard!!!   Clouders just had MAJOR, MAJOR SURGERY!   Humans would still be in the hospital on a morphine drip!

Actually, the fact that Cloudes IS eating and drinking this early is HUGE!!!!   Many dogs are off food, don't want to drink and still not mobile even after several days!

Getting the pain managed thr first two weeks especially can be a bit tricky...some trial and error.  Most dogs here are sent home with Tramadol, Gabapentin, Rimady (carprofen) and an antibiotic.  Panting and being restless, rapid breathing can certainly be  signs of pain.  My Happy Hannah (125 lb Bull Mastiff) was very, very restless, could not get comfortable and was quite whiny for the first three looooong nights. I honestly don't think she or I slept a total of three hours during all that time.    So even though Xlouder doesn't seem to be having a "pain whine"...all the other signs indicate she is experiencing pain.  So talke with the Vet about some of the other pain meds we mentioned here.

Sou ds like you a@ready have traction non slip scatter rugs for hardwoods.  Right now she needs complete rest and just going tompotty and then back in for more rest. 

For what it's worth, it took me three weeks before I could say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!!    While all your emotions feel foreign and scary to yiu....trust us....they are all soooooo normal and things we ALL experience!!

And we all eexperience joy and jubilation as the sparkle starts to come back slowly but surely!!  And we are looking forward to celebrating with you!! 🙂   Let us know when she has her first poopicon_pngpoop!  We celebrate that roo!!

STAY CONNECTED!!!  AS YOU CAN XEE, YIU ARE. OT ALONE!!!   And yes, absolutely eat CHOCOLATE....and drink a lot if you need too!!  Or at least eat rones of junk food!  It helps!

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!

Durham, NC
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28 August 2017 - 8:00 pm
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Oooh! Ooooh!  Call on me! I know this one!! 

I used layers of sheets on Izzy's bed - if Clouders plops down half on half off, the sheet on sheet action will make it MUCH easier to spin, drag and rearrange her! I actually put puppy pee pads in between the layers in case of drainage or an accident.

You can also use heat/ice over the amp site to help with pain. And if you aren't fond of the incision - although given that Clouders is dark complected, it won't be the NEON SIGN it was on Izzy - LOOK AT ME! I AM RED AND ANGRY - you can always put a tee shirt on her back end. You can stitch the one arm, or tuck it, and you just knot the thing around her waist. See below (but you'd put it on the opposite way)

View post on imgur.com

BTW - I'm totally in love with your pup. I'm sorry I can't write more but we are celebrating a birthday at my house tonight - I'll check in again soon!!

heartAmy & my pink pretty angel pup, Izzy

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Livermore, CA
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28 August 2017 - 8:48 pm
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Some rear amps have used boxer shorts to cover the incision, the tail goes through the fly.  I did not cover Maggie's incision, and there was no drainage.

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

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Another update because yesterday ended up being a Very Big Day. 

First off, thank you everyone for all of the advice and support. Just hearing other peoples' stories has been amazingly helpful. I've never needed a support group and stupidly brushed off their value. I know better now. 

Izzysmomma - you are my new favorite person (Love the T-shirt pic!)! The sheet thing was an AMAZING idea. I was able to get her settled in a good position so easily. I had been trying to do it with just the peepads, but they tore because she's .. er.. got some junk in her trunk. The sheet trick was perfect. 

Second, after a very long night and an awful morning yesterday, some magic switch went off in Clouder's brain and she just *got* her new body. I took her outside to lounge on a massive beach towel on the grass and soak up some sunshine before it got hot out. I was feeling pretty sore myself from the sling-walking and realized she probably felt 20x as sore as me, so I did some reading and gave her shoulders and spine a gentle rubdown, just straightening her out and working out a few knots up in her shoulders. She fell asleep on my lap (a first, she normally dislikes cuddling). I left her laying down maybe 20-30 feet away while I went to get the garden hose (she loves drinking from the hose). I had just neatly arranged the hose in a potted tree to prop it up so I could hold her sling in one hand while operating the water and went to go help her up, but before I could even grab the sling she was already right behind me! By herself! Best surprise ever.

After that, she was skipping all over the first floor, sniffing out her old spots, getting under the dining room table (her old "den," as it were). She's wiggling her tail for the first time in days. She even tugged on a toy with me for a minute on the floor before she got sick of it. Her nose is wet and cold for the first time since she first developed whatever the hell ate her leg up. I'm so happy I could explode. The lows are low, but the highs - hot damn. By evening she was getting up to greet other family members coming home, getting grumpy and vocal about not receiving scraps, wagging her tail all the time, and getting around the first floor of the house on her own terms by herself. In other words, she was herself again.

And the kicker - she had a normal poo before bedtime. You know you're getting stir-crazy when the highlight of your week is watching your dog HOP .. poo .. HOP .. poo .. and whooping gleefully. The neighbors thought I was a little weird before, but I think I've topped their expectations.

I tried the boxer shorts earlier today, but she just wasn't having it. The bright side to her weight is that she literally can't turn herself into enough of a donut to lick at her incision, but she also can't quite see what's going on back there. I put some silk boxers on her and she went bananas trying to see what was back there and how she could get them off. What a dummy. The swelling is getting so much better, as is the bruising, so I think she'll just go bare-butt until her fur shorts grow back.  I also made myself look at her stump, touch it (had to put some ointment on some gnarly razor burn anyway), and let myself accept it and let her know that I'm down with her new look. We used to jokingly refer to her back leg when she laid with it sticking back (as in the above picture) as her "chicken leg" on account of how much it looked like a chicken thigh & drumstick. Now she's rocking a chicken wing. I'm getting more comfortable with it, although watching the muscle flex when she's balancing is still so weird. 

Clouders has now greeted all her favorite neighbors, who are all flabbergasted to see her as a tripawd after seeing her on normal walks last week, but equally impressed with her tenacity. I was a bit overt about how she's exactly the same dog as she always was, so everyone got the point to remind her that she's still a beautiful monster. She's a sucker for compliments. 

You know what guys? I think we're gonna be OK. I finally understand why so many of you continue to post here - even though some of your own stories have long since reached their final chapters. There's something undeniably magical about this process. It's ugly, it's sad, it's heartbreaking and scary, but it's also indescribably wonderful and joyous. Also, everyone here is awesome. There's no judgment, but nothing is fake nice or patronizing.  Seriously, I can't thank you all enough. The repliers, the posters before me, the bloggers, all of you. 

There was a video - I think Tazzie was her name - that convinced me that giant breeds aren't just a lost cause. I doubted it those first couple of days, and I was so wrong. To atone, I'm going to do something I've never done or wanted to do - take and post videos online - specifically, video proof of how wrong I was and how resilient and obstinate mastiff goofballs really are.

Pics coming soon!

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