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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Newbie to community: Bailey the 15 yr old VAS survivor kitty
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Forum Posts: 5
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23 September 2021
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23 September 2021 - 1:28 pm
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Hi all! My kitty Bailey and I are so grateful to have found this site. We've been battling VAS in her front shoulder since Jan 2020. During her initial diagnosis our primary vet apparently wasn't up to speed on the best treatments, so our initial surgery left narrow margins. She tackled the following radiation like a trooper, but sadly she's had a recurrence. We're now in expert veterinary oncology hands too.

This morning I was shocked to hear that she will have her shoulder removed and front leg amputated in order to be sure they get clean margins this time. My family has raised two other tripawd cats so I know they do great. But it is still shocking news that I'm processing. We'll travel to the expert surgeon next week.

In the meantime, let me say how grateful I am for all the resources here and all the moral support!

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 September 2021 - 5:35 pm
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Awww. We are so glad you and Bailey found us too. Senior Trikitties are especially pawesome, and since you already know what to expect on three legs, Bailey is well set with the right peeps and home! But if you feel like double checking to see if you're missing anything, our What to Expect articles are helpful, as well as our Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats book. Oh and if you haven't seen this discussion, check it out:

Vaccine Associated Sarcoma - Fibrosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma

I'm sorry she had to go through the other surgeries. In all fairness to your vet, it can be really, really tough to get clean margins and even the best vets can miss. It's good you're working with the onco team now, and you can soon all get on with life.

Let us know how we can help make the journey easier! We are here to help. Your future posts won't need approval so post away!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 5
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21 October 2021 - 3:25 pm
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Hi all, 

Well, my little Bailey girl is officially a tripawd. She had surgery 3 weeks ago and is doing pretty well.  She doesn't seem to have fully regained her old energy yet and has been only slowly overcoming the post-surgery and post-travel-to-surgery anxiety. But her stitches are out and we've regained full-time family snuggle time, which is vitally important. 

Sadly, Bailey's surgery was not successful in eliminating all her tumor. So I wanted to mine the hive brain here for experiences in treating a fibrosarcoma that has recurred. She went through full radiation when her tumor was first found and surgically removed. The radiation oncologist has suggested that it won't work a second time, and offered palliative radiation. Bailey isn't yet having any symptoms so I'm not entirely sure what this gets us right now. We are getting a second opinion from another radiation clinic just in case. We do have a local vet who offers electrochemotherapy , which I'm talking with her about. It doesn't sound like she's done a ton of it. Did I read that there might be list somewhere on this site of vets with extensive experience with this?  Does anyone on here have experience with a pet receiving electrochemotherapy for a fibrosarcoma?

I know that at some point, we will have reached the end of our road with options, but it just doesn't seem possible that we are there yet. Before amputation you would never have guessed there was anything at all wrong with her. 

Thank you all in advance!

Kristin

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 October 2021 - 5:06 pm
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Sorry I missed you in the Tripawds chat today! Duh, I had my computer volume off. Thank you for sharing the good news!

Yay for the snuggle time and healing. I'm so happy for you guys. Doing pretty well at fifteen and back to her old self pretty much, is so remarkable and inspawrational smiley_clap

We do have a local vet who offers electrochemotherapy , which I'm talking with her about. It doesn't sound like she's done a ton of it. Did I read that there might be list somewhere on this site of vets with extensive experience with this?

You were reading my mind! YES! In these situations, it can be a viable alternative for the right patient. That's neat you have a vet nearby who is into this therapy. There aren't many! It's my understanding from Dr. Kelly (that electrochemotherapy link points to interviews with her), that it's relatively simple and easy for a vet to do. Can I ask, who is your vet? 

We have had a few members here with Tripawds who have had ECT. I'll ask Martha, mom to Travis Ray, to chime in with her experience. Stay tuned.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 October 2021 - 5:42 pm
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Thanks for the supportive reply! We're feeling a bit in need of support today. We were fully expecting that we'd be able to do another full course of radiation after her surgery, and it was quite a shock to learn today that it won't work. (Again, still getting another opinion. Lesson learned: don't be afraid to ask for another opinion.)  And this comes less than a month after the shock of the recommendation to amputate! It has felt a bit like when we first started this journey, learning from zero yet again. Given that she's otherwise so healthy and active, we're searching around for anything that help keep her feeling and acting this way for as long as possible. 

Meanwhile she is high on catnip and trying to eat her brother's tail. sp_hearticon2

We're in Burlington Vermont and our oncologist Dr. Zwahlen at Peak Veterinary. (And more than happy to share our experiences both here and doing radiation in Leesburg, VA with anyone in need.)

Virginia




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21 October 2021 - 6:06 pm
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Regaining her snuggle time....and being high on catnip trying to eat her brother's tail....Bailey is definitely  becoming Bailey again.  And yes, it does take over kitties a bit more ti e to recover completely.   Thst said, Bauley is pretty much on target st the three week mark. Her sparkle is starting to come back and her e Merry will follow.  Remember,  it does take more of an effort on three st first, but she'll soon master her gait..

You have been on an emotional roller coaster these past several weeks, lots of ups and downs.  Give uourself credit  for staying focused on Vailey's well being and for Knowing  her so well.  Everything  you have done has been FOR Bailey.  

While I don't  have any insight into the therapies,  one thing this journey teaches us is to live in the NOW, in the present, in the moment. Bailey has no worries, no regrets, doesn look forward or backwards.  She just enjoys  each moment as it comes and makes the best of it.

Bailey IS strong and fit and she has no intention  of being anything less than strong and fit...and happy and playful and snuggly!

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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21 October 2021 - 7:20 pm
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Meanwhile she is high on catnip and trying to eat her brother's tail. sp_hearticon2

Now THAT is the sign of one hoppy kitty!

I looked up Dr. Zwahlen, her background is terrific! And I added her electrochemotherapy article to our info, thanks for sharing. It takes a very open minded and progressive clinician to have such an interest in a treatment like this. While it's commonly used in Europe on pets and people, it's not so much here so most oncologists shy away from it. However it's been shown to be a valuable tool to manage or even eliminate certain tumors so heck why not? Plus, it can be kinder on the body than radiation too, and less expensive. Thus one of the reasons why it's considered a viable option in many countries where radiation therapy is cost-prohibitive.

You are so fortunate to have ECT as an option. And to live in Burlington! We love that town and considered moving there until we saw Vermont's annual sunshine index...yikes!

Back to the topic though...while I know you are feeling like you're starting all over again, try to see that you've taken the most important step already, and have that behind you.  Plus, Bailey doesn't know any different. She is loving her life again and that's really sooooo important!

Peak looks like a terrific practice. Yeah if you want to share your experience, post in our Veterinary Specialist Referrals forum anytime.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 October 2021 - 8:47 pm
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I am so sorry you and Bailey are still dealing with thatpoopiconfibrosarcoma after all that treatment! You must be so frustrated....

ECT gave us 9 more months with our Codie Rae after she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I think I would choose ECT over radiation for the same reasons Rene mentioned--it is lower cost and not as hard on their system. AND there is potential it would be curative in your case (it wasn't for Codie Rae). If not, it is a great palliative alternative to radiation and can apparently be repeated over time if needed. We went to Dr. Kelly in AZ and she spoke of one patient with a recurring tumor that she did ECT for regularly, to keep the tumor at a manageable size. We would have considered going back to her when Codie's tumor came back but her body was failing her in other ways so we decided against further treatment. 

I looked back at my posts and found a link to a list of vets doing ECT but the webpage no longer seems to exist. Just doing a google search it looks like a lot more vets are doing it than were just a couple of years ago so that is great! I am so glad you have a local vet who offers it! If you are concerned about your local vet's lack of experience with ECT you might consider a phone consult with Dr. Kelly to get her opinion on Bailey's situation. Dr. Kelly might even be willing to discuss the case with your local vet.

Best of luck to you and Bailey!

Martha and the Oaktown Pack

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 October 2021 - 8:59 pm
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Thank you Martha! You rock!

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25 October 2021 - 2:00 pm
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HUGE thanks to all for the perspectives and support! We're trying to "Be More Dog " over here about everything.  (Even though Bailey's a cat, "be more cat" just doesn't work.... Somehow implies world domination while peeing in your bed or somesuch!) 

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 October 2021 - 9:46 am
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Awwww well it's an honor when cat parents like to say it too!

cubspot said
 "be more cat" just doesn't work.... Somehow implies world domination while peeing in your bed or somesuch!) 

Eeeek! icon_lol You have a wicked sense of humor!

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