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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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Italian Greyhound Rear Amputation
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
4 November 2014
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4 November 2014 - 2:14 pm
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Hello, 

Recently I discovered my parents dog was not in good shape.  She started to have pain in her rear knee and stopped using her leg all together.  We found Isabella about a month or so later- she had lost about 4 pounds and her back leg had noticeably atrophied.  

We took her directly to the vet and had xrays done on the leg.  It wasn’t her knee cap being out of place, but there was quite a lot of swelling on the joint.  The couple options were that she has bone cancer (which didn’t scream bone cancer as the vet put it) or a torn Tendon.  

Because I didn’t have the funds to do a lot. We put her on pain meds along with anti inflammatory to see if she started to feel better. The first few days she was much better, but still not putting weight on her back leg.  That was about a month ago and now she has gotten worse as far as pain.  We have tried antibiotics, a different anti inflammatory, but nothing seems to fully help her pain.  

We have decided to go ahead with the leg amputation.  Even though I can’t really afford it, I don’t feel like I have enough information about what’s going on in there to put her down.  She’s only 6 years old and has plenty of life to live.  

My question is if anyone has experience something similar where they have taken the leg off, not knowing if it was for sure cancer or a tendon?  

 

Thanks! 


Forum Posts: 2009
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4 November 2014 - 4:41 pm
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Italian Greyhounds are not prone to bone cancer.  It sounds like maybe the vet thinks it is a torn Achilles tendon?  Did he/she mention an ACL injury?  Those can be painful but both can be fixed surgically without amputation.  I would either get a second opinion or at least have the radiographs sent for a radiologist review. Other tumors can cause pain without causing bony destruction and some infections can also be painful.

Italian Greyhounds have very fine bones and your dog could also have a fracture of one of the bones in the hock (ankle joint) which may require other radiographic views to diagnose.

Pam

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28041
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4 November 2014 - 6:22 pm
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Hi Sonorahv, thanks for joining. Sorry to hear about your pup. What’s her name?

Tazziedog (aka Dr. Wiltzius) is our fairy vet mother here. I agree, a second opinion would be the way to go rather than rush into amputation, it may not be that bad. I hope not! Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Martinsburg, WV
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5 November 2014 - 8:39 am
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I’m sorry to hear your pup is having issues in her hind leg.  While reading your posting it sounded a lot like what went on with my Leland.

Leland was a 108lb Dobie boy.  In Feb 2014 he started with swelling in his left hind knee.  He was limping around and we could tell it was painful.  My husband and I thought it was an issue with his CCL (ligament) in the knee because our previous dog underwent surgery for both knees where the ligaments had gone out.  Leland had x-rays done by our local vet and he referred us to a surgeon (as he didn’t perform the TPLO procedure).  The surgeon looked over Leland and agreed the ligaments were damaged but he thought something else was going on and requested an MRI.

So Leland was sedated and an MRI and needle biopsy done.  The surgeon suspected cancer.  The MRI showed there was something in the knee but the needle biopsy came back from 2 different labs as inconclusive.  The surgeon wanted us to bring Leland back to go in and cut open the knee and take a portion out to send off.  My husband and I decided against this.  We had our local vet get the MRI report and the radiologist noted “suspected synovial cell sarcoma”.  So we decided to keep Leland as comfortable for however long he may have left and if the pain became too much then we’d let him go.

So from Feb to May 2014 we would have a local vet take x-rays for the leg to see if the cancer had progressed into the bones of the leg or other organs.  Well, there wasn’t any progression so our local vet did not believe Leland had cancer.  What he had was some sort of mass that was pushing his knee cap out of place.  The vet had given Leland a Kenalog (steroid shot) because he had some skin issue going on with his belly.  Well the injection really struck the mass in the knee and he was getting around a lot better.

So we made the decision to see a different surgeon and he too did not think Leland was dealing with cancer.  He took x-rays of his own and reviewed reports from our local vet and looked Leland over himself.  He wasn’t sure what was going on but he knew the ligaments were gone so we scheduled Leland for a TPLO procedure.

During the procedure the surgeon came out and told us that he removed the “mass” but he’d never seen anything like it in his 40 yrs of practice.  He said it looked like extremely inflamed tissue.  He sent the mass off to be biopsied and the report came back that it was not cancer but they really don’t know what it was or why it happened. 

Unfortunately, the TPLO procedure failed in Leland’s knee.  The screws would not hold in the meniscus and he came down with an infection that the clinic could not get under control even though he’d been there for 4 days.  We were left with the choice of euthanizing Leland right then or amputating the leg.  We chose to amputate the leg but on what should have been Leland’s 4 week Ampuversary we were putting him to sleep because the ligament in his remaining hind knee went out.  We could not bring ourselves to put him through a 3rd surgery in just a little over a month.  Plus since the amputation Leland’s health rapidly declined (thyroid issue and autoimmune disorder) and we suspect issues with his kidneys in the last couple of days he was with us.

I know you mention that you have been giving your pup various pain medication.  We had Leland on Rimadyl and Gabapentin.  But what really made a noticeable difference for Leland was when he received the Kenalog injection.  You may want to ask your vet about trying that.  I had asked our vet about just giving Leland Kenalog injections every so often but the response that I received was “we need to get this dog fixed”.  Looking back I wish I would have pushed the injections a little more and maybe our Leland would still be with us…who knows really.

If possible I wouldn’t rush into going straight to amputation…it’s such a drastic procedure.  I think the TPLO procedure may have had a better chance at working for our Leland if we hadn’t waited so long.  Whatever this “mass” was set in his knee joint for months and it probably affected the structure of the joint.  The surgeon that did Leland’s TPLO procedure indicated that the first surgeon who saw Leland should have gone in to do the procedure but if after getting in saw that it was cancer then close the leg back up.  Instead the first surgeon got $3,000+ out of us for an MRI and needle biopsy and then wanted to get more out of us to open the leg to take a piece of the “mass” to send off for another biopsy.

There’s definitely no easy answer but I hope you find what we went through with our Leland helpful and maybe giving you some other options to suggest to your vet.

I’ll be keeping you and your pup in my thoughts.

Sahana and her Angel Leland

Leland

November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

Martinsburg, WV
Forum Posts: 923
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5 November 2014 - 9:13 am
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Not sure if my posting took…the computer seemed to freeze up when I submitted so here it is again if it didn’t….

 

I’m sorry to hear your pup is having issues in her hind leg.  While reading your posting it sounded a lot like what went on with my Leland.

Leland was a 108lb Dobie boy.  In Feb 2014 he started with swelling in his left hind knee.  He was limping around and we could tell it was painful.  My husband and I thought it was an issue with his CCL (ligament) in the knee because our previous dog underwent surgery for both knees where the ligaments had gone out.  Leland had x-rays done by our local vet and he referred us to a surgeon (as he didn’t perform the TPLO procedure).  The surgeon looked over Leland and agreed the ligaments were damaged but he thought something else was going on and requested an MRI.

So Leland was sedated and an MRI and needle biopsy done.  The surgeon suspected cancer.  The MRI showed there was something in the knee but the needle biopsy came back from 2 different labs as inconclusive.  The surgeon wanted us to bring Leland back to go in and cut open the knee and take a portion out to send off.  My husband and I decided against this.  We had our local vet get the MRI report and the radiologist noted “suspected synovial cell sarcoma”.  So we decided to keep Leland as comfortable for however long he may have left and if the pain became too much then we’d let him go.

So from Feb to May 2014 we would have our local vet take x-rays for the leg to see if the cancer had progressed into the bones of the leg or other organs.  Well, there wasn’t any progression so our local vet did not believe Leland had cancer.  What he had was some sort of mass that was pushing his knee cap out of place.  The vet had given Leland a Kenalog (steroid shot) because he had some skin issue going on with his belly.  Well the injection really decreased the size of the mass in the knee and he was getting around a lot better.

So we made the decision to see a different surgeon and he too did not think Leland was dealing with cancer.  He took x-rays of his own and reviewed reports from our local vet and looked Leland over himself.  He wasn’t sure what was going on but he knew the ligaments were gone so we scheduled Leland for a TPLO procedure.

During the procedure the surgeon came out and told us that he removed the “mass” but he’d never seen anything like it in his 40 yrs of practice.  He said it looked like extremely inflamed tissue.  He sent the mass off to be biopsied and the report came back that it was not cancer but they really don’t know what it was or why it happened. 

Unfortunately, the TPLO procedure failed in Leland’s knee.  The screws would not hold in the meniscus and he came down with an infection that the clinic could not get under control even though he’d been there for 4 days.  We were left with the choice of euthanizing Leland right then or amputating the leg.  We chose to amputate the leg but on what should have been Leland’s 4 week Ampuversary we were putting him to sleep because the ligament in his remaining hind knee went out.  We could not bring ourselves to put him through a 3rd surgery in just a little over a month.  Plus since the amputation Leland’s health rapidly declined (thyroid issue and autoimmune disorder) and we suspect issues with his kidneys in the last couple of days he was with us.

I know you mention that you have been giving your pup various pain medication.  We had Leland on Rimadyl and Gabapentin.  But what really made a noticeable difference for Leland was when he received the Kenalog injection.  You may want to ask your vet about trying that.  I had asked our vet about just giving Leland Kenalog injections every so often but the response that I received was “we need to get this dog fixed”.  Looking back I wish I would have pushed the injections a little more and maybe our Leland would still be with us…who knows really.

If possible I wouldn’t rush into going straight to amputation…it’s such a drastic procedure.  I think the TPLO procedure may have had a better chance at working for our Leland if we hadn’t waited so long.  Whatever this “mass” was set in his knee joint for months and it probably affected the structure of the joint.  The surgeon that did Leland’s TPLO procedure indicated that the first surgeon who saw Leland should have gone in to do the procedure but if after getting in saw that it was cancer then close the leg back up.  Instead the first surgeon got $3,000+ out of us for an MRI and needle biopsy and then wanted to get more out of us to open the leg to take a piece of the “mass” to send off for another biopsy.

There’s definitely no easy answer but I hope you find what we went through with our Leland helpful and maybe giving you some other options to suggest to your vet.

I’ll be keeping you and your pup in my thoughts.

Sahana and her Angel Leland

 
 

Leland

November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

Virginia




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5 November 2014 - 9:24 am
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Sahana! Really, really great first hand insight…very valuable! And the Legacy of Leland continues to reach out through you and help others!

Sending love,

Sally and Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

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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