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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15 May 2018
My dog Satchmo is the reason I made this account
Satchmo is my little pure bred boston terrier. He is ten years old, a bit blind. He has always been a very healthy dog until a year ago. He needs daily medication for back pain that started last year. He had a ruptured disc that gave him so much pain he could barely move. He would just stand and shiver. We have that under control now with his medication. With it he is happy and energetic almost all the time, though a bit slower overall because of his age.
A few days ago he got an ultrasound for one of his front paws because he has been limping a bit. The vets found a malignant tumor. Our family is trying to figure out the best course of action (or non-action) for him. So far the cancer hasn’t spread to any other part of the body which is good.
The options are:
1. Satchmo is old and though he has lived a healthy life, should we start letting him go? I’m worried about causing him unnecessary pain and stress just to satisfy our own emotional needs. I want to put Satchmo’s welfare first.
2. Radiation Therapy+surgery to remove tumor-which would be about a month of treatment and then the removal of the tumor. This option I’m not too keen on because I’m not sure how severe the process is for him, how he’ll react. With this option there is the possibility that the tumor will come back as well.
3. Amputation of the entire front leg. From what we’ve been told, amputation of the entire leg is preferable to a small portion for better healing. Still, I am unsure if amputation is the best option because he is old and I don’t to cause him pain and suffering in his last years.
We don’t have any answers for his life expectancy and quality with or without treatment yet.
Are there any people out there that have gone through something similar? Boston owners?
24 September 2009
Welcome and best wishes for Satchmo! What type of tumor was diagnosed?
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18 October 2009
Hello and welcome.
I’m sorry you are facing challenges with your Satchmo. I’ve not had Boston’s but have had Pugs for 19 years.
My Pug Maggie lost a back leg to mast cell cancer but she was only 7.5 years old and had no other health challenges at the time. At the time of her diagnosis radiation was on the table as a possible treatment. After learning it would mean daily treatment for a few weeks and that she would have to be anesthetized each time I turned it down. It might be right for other pups but I had almost lost Maggie to anesthetic before, I couldn’t see chancing it over and over. Besides she did not deal well with vet visits.
What does your vet think about Satchmo as a Tripawd? Have you considered having him evaluated by an ortho vet or a rehab vet to see how his back might handle being on three?
A Tripawds gait can be quite jarring and as you said you don’t want to make things worse for him. You said he is ‘old’- do you mean in numerical age or how he acts? My Pug Tani had a host of physical challenges and lived to be almost 15, at 10 years old I would not have said she was acting old.
Each dog is different of course, and you know Satchmo best. Choosing amputation with no other considerations is hard enough, you are doing the right thing by evaluating all your options.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
22 August 2008
It really depends on the type of tumor. Mast cell tumor would be most likely based on location and breed and then you should get an abdominal ultrasound first to see if it is in the liver or spleen which commonly occurs in the aggressive form of this cancer. Other tumor types might respond well to surgery and radiation. How big is it? Photo?