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Can a 13 year old Lab with arthritis be a Tripawd? | Size and Age Matters


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Can a 13 year old Lab with arthritis be a Tripawd?
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Forum Posts: 1
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22 March 2017
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23 March 2017 - 12:25 pm
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We have a 13 year old lab mix with a elbow soft tissue sarcoma on his front elbow. We just had a battery of tests to see if there was any more cancer anywhere else, and he's clear, so that's good. Of course the vet recommends amputation The thing he also has some arthritis in his lower spine and one back hip, and we are worried he won't take to being a tripod all that well. All of the Drs who have seen him all say, "well, he really isn't using that leg anyway", but really, I mean he is, to keep from falling over. 
We just want him to have a good quality of life, so we are struggling to figure out what to do. He other wise a very healthy, trim, and up until the elbow got stiff, he was pretty active for an old man. 

I haven't really found any posts with the same sort of issue we are dealing with, old guy with some arthritis, becoming a three legger.  
He's been on some meds for the arthritis, and now some heavier stuff, that is not being kind to his digestion, so I'm not giving it to him just now, as it just knocks him out, and he seem sad. 

Anyway, if there anyone with a similar situation, I would love to hear about it. 



The Rainbow Bridge

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23 March 2017 - 5:08 pm
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Hi Sa, welcome. Your future posts won't require moderation so post away. Hope you don't mind I moved your post here but this will help us follow your journey. What's your doggie's name?

Rest assured we have had many senior Tripawds of all sizes with arthritis do just fine on three legs. Here are some Forum search results that may put your mind at ease:

It sounds like your vet thinks he's a good candidate for surgery, which is great. For more peace of mind why not get a second or even third opinion from a board-certified orthopedic vet? That could really help you feel better about whatever route you choose. 
Amputation isn't always right for every animal but for the vast majority when there are no other options to treat a bad leg, most will go on to enjoy a great quality of life.
Stay tuned for more feedback from others.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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23 March 2017 - 7:03 pm
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My Otis had mild arthritis in his hips.  Our family vet was concerned about amputation for this reason, but the surgeon, who unfortunately does many amps, felt he would be fine.  And he was!  Our walks were very short, but after the recovery, he could do stairs, get up on the sofa, chase cats and squirrels and play with his dog sister Tess.  I have no regrets at all!

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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24 March 2017 - 2:59 pm
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Hi there, and welcome!

I'm sorry that you are dealing with this. It is terribly difficult to know what to do when there are so many different factors to consider. It is great that the vets he has seen seem to think he's a good candidate for surgery. I get what you are saying about him using that fourth leg to help him balance, but if he does go down to three, you will find that exercises to build core strength will help his balance and mobility enormously.

My Meg is a front leg Tripawd (now around 8 years old) who has moderate/severe arthritis and dysplasia in the elbow of her remaining front leg. Because of this we were advised that she wasn't a candidate for amputation. We got a second opinion. More than a year post amp and she is doing fantastically well.

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 Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 

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24 March 2017 - 5:23 pm
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My 14 yr old arthritic Cairn Terrier, Tai, had her rear leg amputated in October.  She had been on Carprofen, fish oil and Dasuquin for a while prior to that.  She had only ever limped on her front leg due to the arthritis, so the rear leg break (weakened due to cancer) was a shock.  She was active prior to the surgery and is active now; a little slower, but her personality is the same, she gets around, rides in the car, goes to work and the park as usual.

It's great that the vets are positive - mine was an emergency case and though the vet and staff assured me she was a good candidate, I didn't really have time to ponder it.  I more hoped than believed that she would be OK; it was a leap of faith for sure, I was depending on their advice, but I found this place shortly after and was relieved that what we were going through was the same as a lot of others!

Have you talked to the vet about the meds that are affecting your guy's digestion?  I'm sorry you find yourself facing this decision, keep us posted.

Tracey & Tai

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