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Amputation on Tuesday for a senior, arthritic dog
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23 July 2017 - 7:21 pm
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Roxie is an 11-year-old shepherd/lab mix and 85 pounds.  She is mildly arthritic.   Two weeks ago, she had surgery to remove a tumor, and there were circulation problems as a result. Her vet warned me there was a high chance she would lose the leg, and then last week, the biopsy came back as cancer. My vet called the cancer specialist and everyone agreed the leg has to come off. This is her front left one.

Because of her age, size, and arthritis, I am really worried about her adapting after the fact. My vet has assured that although it will be a little harder for her, she should still do fine, but I'd love to hear other's experiences with a similar situation.

Her surgery is Tuesday, and I'm a very nervous momma right now, especially after the roller coaster of the last few weeks (I really thought they would tell me the lump was a cyst, not possibly cancer, so everything that has followed has been a complete shock).

The Rainbow Bridge

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24 July 2017 - 8:44 am
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Hi Amanda and Roxie, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

I'm so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. What kind of cancer are they suspecting? Lots of us here have been through similar situations so we understand the whirlwind you're in right now. Hang tight and lean on us, well help as best we can. 

It's great that your vet thinks she's a good candidate for surgery! I know it's hard not to be nervous but when you have backing like that, it makes a huge difference. She may take some time to recovery, as most older, larger dogs do, but she will get there. The recovery may be full of a few ups and downs but in general most dogs, even older ones with mild arthritis, can do great. 

The best thing you can do for her is to stay pawsitive and know that she will heal and be back to her old self. She's getting rid of a bad leg and once it's gone, she'll be so happy to be out of any pain she is in (and she very likely is). You'll see a difference!

As I said, others have been through this so read through this forum and stay tuned, our pawesome community will chime in soon.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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24 July 2017 - 3:05 pm
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Welcome and so sorry your journey has brought you here.  Many of our seniors here have mild arthritis as as Jerry said it may take a little bit longer to find their sea legs but they do just fine.  Will be keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.  We'll be here waiting for an update and also to help you with any questions and support! Hugs!

Virginia
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24 July 2017 - 4:30 pm
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Sorry you and Roxie are dealing with this.  We all understand how upsetting it is to get to this point.    You have definitely come to the right place for support, understanding, and information.  You are NOT alone!   We are all here by your side, okay?

This nasty piece of crap disease makes us make "forced choices" that no one should have to make for their dog or cat.

It IS good news thst the professionals thi k Roxie is a good candidate!  And yes, we have had MANY seniors, many o@der than Roxie, who have had arthritis issues who do very well on three legs.  As already noted, recovery may take a bit @o ger and mobility may take a while to adjust.  No, she won't be running marathons, but she WILL be free from pain and she WILL have more quality time for SPOILING and LOVING!!! 🙂

The Ver will keep her for at least one night, maybe more.  She should come ho e with Tramadol, Rimadyl, and antibiotic and probabq Gabapentin.  Recovsry is NO picnic for a couple of weeks.  She may be restless and whiny...or she maynust be pretty whaxked out...or she may be voth!!

If she doesn't poop for a few days or feel too much like eating...that's okay.  It IS important that she pees and drinks though.  Give her any yummy food she will eat...chesseburgers, scrambled eggs and cheese, anything that works!

When you do go pick up Roxie, don't even look at her incision...she won't be! She'll be looking at your face a d wagging because you are smiling and telling her she's going home and she is a very good girl!!

Update us after surgery is done.  In the meantime, we have a TRIPAWDS HELPLINE, available for you, as well as the support in the dorums from this wonderful community!!

STAY CONNECTED!  EAT CHOCOLATE!!!

Higs!

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

PS...use non slip scatter rugs for traction if you have hardwood

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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24 July 2017 - 6:48 pm
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Thank you for your support. I thought I was doing okay but tonight it's hitting me.  I'm also a bit traumatized from how wrong the tumor removal surgery went that I have a horrible feeling something will go wrong with this one.  I know that's my mind playing games with me, so I'm repeating to myself to be rational.  I gave her extra love today and some of her favorite foods before it was time to take the food away. 

I saw on some other posts that not all vets will automatically give Gapapentin. If I don't see this in her discharge information is it something I should ask for or wait and see if she needs it?

They will be keeping her at least one night, and more if needed.  I have to confess (And please don't judge) that I missed when he told me the type of cancer. I was so overwhelmed by the c word on top of dealing with the surgery complications, and then when we talked the next day, I was at the vet visiting Roxie (she had to stay for a week in hopes of saving the leg before finding out it would have to come off anyway), he relayed everything the specialist and he had discussed that morning. It was actually his day off, so it meant a lot he'd spent the morning finding answers for me.

I have to confess (And please don't judge) that I missed when he told me the type of cancer. I was so overwhelmed by the c word on top of dealing with the surgery complications, and then when we talked the next day, I was at the vet visiting Roxie (she had to stay for a week in hopes of saving the leg before finding out it would have to come off anyway), he relayed everything the specialist and he had discussed that morning. It was actually his day off, so it meant a lot he'd spent the morning finding answers for me. Anyway, I've been so overwhelmed by everything, it didn't even dawn on me that I never found out until just now reading this posts.  I feel pretty horrible about that right now, but he said it was aggressive cancer that would almost certainly keep returning unless we remove the leg.  The good news is that there is no indication of it spreading beyond the leg.  I will find out tomorrow when I drop her off.

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24 July 2017 - 8:47 pm
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You are doing fantastic!!! You are the best of the best to advocate for her, to give her a chance to recover, to love her as you do!!! And while 11 may be a bit on the longer in the tooth side, it is not at all the oldest by far! It will likely take a bit longer but the plus side is you do not have to worry about her trying things out too soon as she is likely much too wise for that!

Ditto what everyone else has said AND , if possible, maybe record your conversations on your phone with your vet. It can be very easy to forget things they have said due to stress, lack of sleep, etc. Or maybe just have a journal with all of your questions that you can also just write notes in?

When she comes home, be prepared for a dip in recovery around days 3-5. This is just the hospital meds wearing off and is COMPLETELY normal! Also, hint, hint: you will not get any sleep for the first two weeks. Try to sleep when she is sleeping. It may help to sleep near/next to her.

Roxie is absolutely beautiful and will be so happy not to have that painful leg anymore. As for age? My 15 year old had radiation and surgery for two different typesmofncancer and she is 68 pounds so not a small dog either. She is doing very well so age is just a silly, silly human invention!

Best wishes, keep us updated when you can, we will all be thinking of you and Roxie tomorrow!!! Hugs and PyrPaws all around!!!

Santa Fe, NM
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25 July 2017 - 9:21 am
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Isa was 12, maybe 13, and 85 lbs. (lab/rottie mix) at the time of her amp (rear leg) and of course had some arthritis. She did great, never so much as a whimper from her. I think it was the second day she was home she tried to go through the dog door (and got stuck - but that was not for lack of trying). Her recovery was not textbook and from what I've seen around here there is no such thing anyway. She was so happy to be rid of that leg! and I'm betting Roxie will be too.

I know today's the day so I'm sending you as much love and support as the internet can carry. Stick around here and please, please, keep us updated.

BTW, my new dog's name is Roxy! (or Roxie, or Roxee, depends on who you talk to) A great name, clearly!

Sending you positive thoughts and hugs. When in doubt, chocolate!

hugs

Teri, Roxy and Angel Isa

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

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25 July 2017 - 4:33 pm
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Roxie did fantastic with her surgery! The vet told me that once she woke and they went to move her, she walked on her own from one room to the next.  I feel so relieved!

And I did remember to ask the vet what cancer- she had a soft tissue sarcoma/peripheral nerve sheath tumor.

Thank you all for your encouraging words from people who have been there. I'm not sure my other friends really understand and I look forward to sharing her progress!

Virginia
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25 July 2017 - 5:12 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR ROXIE!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂   WAY TO ROCK THAT SURGERY SWEET GIRL!!! 🙂

We understand, so you share with us all you want, okay??    Try and get a good night's sleep.  Roxie will still be seeing some pink elephants tonight, so you need to take advantage of this time to sleeeep!! 🙂

Update us tomorrow when you can.    And can't wait to see more pictures of that beautiful girl.  She must looks so darn seeet in her avatar picture! 🙂

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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26 July 2017 - 10:46 am
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Yaaay for a good surgery outcome! That's fantastic news!

Is she home yet? Hope so! Keep us posted and ask any questions OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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26 July 2017 - 6:41 pm
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Roxie came home this afternoon and never in my wildest dreams could I imagine she'd be doing so well!  She is smiling and walking great and even made it up the steps with only a little assistance from me with the lifter harness (not that ruffwear harness which we have for her once the stitches come out).  She even looks fantastic! I was expecting more of her to be shaved and all bandaged up.

So far, no slips. I spent the morning putting down area rugs and runners anywhere she normal goes that doesn't have carpet.  She is tiring easily and takes breaks from one room to the next, but there's no keeping her down. She seems good about knowing her limits though.

She hasn't eaten much, as I expected, but is extremely thirsty. Is this a normal thing?

And we do have the cone for her, but she's not much interested in trying to get to this wound, so as long as we're right here and can see her, we're giving her some freedom from it.

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The Rainbow Bridge

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26 July 2017 - 6:45 pm
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Oh look at that pretty girl!

Yes, post-op thirst is normal. Make sure she drinks slowly though by not letting her down an entire bowl all at once. I'm paranoid that way so when our Wyatt is crazy thirsty I pull his bowl if I see him gulping too much too fast.

She looks great!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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26 July 2017 - 7:48 pm
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WELCOME HOME ROXIE!!! 🙂 🙂   So glad you're smilin' and mobile!! 🙂  Drinking and peeing are good.  She may not feel much like eating for a few days and she may not poop for a few days.  All normal.

Use any yummy foods she'll eat...drive thru cheeseburgers, cheese pizza, scrambled eggs and bacon, grilled warmed chicken...pretty much anything to help coat her tummy and keep her energy up.

Roxi still has some good hospital meds in her.  They shoukd be out of her system in another day or so and she may have a vit of a crash at that point.  That's when you want to make sure you have good pain meds at the right doses and given at the right frequency.

Even though she feels a bit "fiesty" for now, she needs complete and total rest.  Her potty breaks need to be short and leashed.  You may need to close off some rooms if she keeps trying to roam around.  It takes a huge amount kf effort to walk in three legs...while recovering from MAJOR SURGERY...while heaviky drugged...and while be a "mature" gal with a bit of arthritis!!

My Happy Hannah never bothered her stitches at all and never needed the cone.  I was with her though those first several plus days and made sure she wasn't messing with her incisionon.   She was restless and whiny though those first several days and looong nights!

Something I noticed right away with that photo (aside from how BEAUTIFUL she is) was how the Surgeon was NOT clipper happy and did NOY shave halfway around her upper body!  I rememver with my Happy Hannah, a rear legger, the amount of fur shaved bothered me far more than the incision!

Hope everyone can get some good sleep tonight...if not...that's normal 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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26 July 2017 - 7:58 pm
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We have all the doors closed off so she's restricted to the kitchen and living room.  When I go to bed, she'll get to come in with me.   She took her night meds with no problem. We have to roll it up in deli meat ham. The vet laughed and said he pretended not to hear that but if that's what it takes, go for it and we'll get her back to her normal diet after recovery (she's on prescription K/D.  Two years ago, she showed signs of Kidney disease so they switched her. Her last few blood works have come back great but they want to keep her on it so it doesn't regress)

She was whimpering a few minutes ago but is sleeping now.  I can't stop looking at her, in awe of how she's pulling through this.

And yes!! I am so happy they weren't shave happy!  She came out looking nothing like I expected in the best of ways.  My children are a little freaked out by it, so we did put a t-shirt on her for now, after the vet said that was fine.  Roxie seems to like having it on, go figure.

The Rainbow Bridge

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27 July 2017 - 8:43 am
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You're doing a great job! Which totally makes sense because when you cope with something like kidney disease you've already got the health care part down. She's definitely a tough girl and will be back to herself in no time.

Once your kids see how well she does, they will be amazed! Yeah, cute t-shirts work wonders. Maybe your kids can decorate one for her? Bet Roxie would like to show that off around the neighborhood.

Hope she has a good recovery day today!

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