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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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My Jake - looking for some advice on feeding a sick pup
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Virginia
Member Since:
26 January 2014
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26 January 2014 - 8:09 am
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I don't normally post (though I've been lurking since last May), but I was wondering if anyone had experience with this or any advice. Jake adopted me 12 years ago and is the greatest dog I've ever met. Four years ago I found a tumor on his shoulder which was followed by a misdiagnosis from his vet. I sighed in relief and trusted her. It turned out that the mass was a nerve sheath tumor and after finding a great oncologist last May, it was removed (as was his leg). He was on chemo for a little while and was doing great. A couple weeks ago he started not feeling well, and turns out he now has a completely separate type of tumor (unrelated to the first) on his kidney that has grown into a major artery. They can't operate or use drugs to shrink the tumor because shrinking it would cause him to bleed out. He also has autoimmune hemolytic anemia caused by the cancer. The oncologist put him on Yunnan Baiyao, along with an anti-nausea med, an appetite stimulant and Gabapentin (at my request, just in case). I was advised to take him home, make him comfortable and give him whatever he wants. That was almost two weeks, he's doing ok, but more than anything I feel like he's starving to death. I have tried steak, chicken nuggets, even ordering him a pizza because he used to love to get a nibble of someone's crust. I have a fridge full of food he won't eat. 

Ive tried both Nutrical and GNC mega ultra boost, until yesterday I realized they are not at all high in calories. I tried the GNC meal replacer which upset his stomach a little. So, yesterday I figured out how many calories a 40lb dog should consume (and the ratios) and made him a mixture of peanut butter, coconut oil, chicken baby food, molasses and cream cheese. Today I'm making a new batch with baby rice cereal. He tolerates me feeding it to him via syringe and is drinking fine. I started that last night and this morning he seems to have some energy back. Does anyone have any experience with a pup that won't eat? Anything else I should add to this mixture? I'm feeding him about 2 tablespoons every couple hours. He'll be consuming about 500 calories (and we'll work up to 800 where he should be).  

His favorite thing in the world is having his belly rubbed, and he is still rolling over requesting it. We don't feel like its his time yet. I just need to know how to make sure he's getting the nutrition he needs right now. 

Thank you all so much, especially for this site, it has been a god send for us. 

 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
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26 January 2014 - 10:57 am
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Hi Elizabeth, welcome to the forums.  Your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry you have found yourself at this point in the journey.  My pug Maggie also developed a second cancer after her amp as well as kidney failure.  I'm thinking the tumor on Jake's kidney is causing the lack of appetite.  Maggie just did not have interest in eating at all.  Mag was a little dog, 17 pounds when healthy, but she shrunk down to less than 15- she was really thin.

I did the same thing you tried- and I ended up in the same place, a fridge full of food she wouldn't eat.  Although it was sporadic- some days she would eat, sometimes...very worrisome and frustrating.  I finally found a well balanced canned dog food that I ran through the blender to make gruel for her, then fed her with a syringe.  I think she kind of liked it actually, being hand fed I mean.

How is Jake's kidney function?  Did your vet consider doing subcutaneous fluids for Jake? Flushing out the toxins and adding fluid might make him feel a little better too.  I did them at home for Maggie after the vet taught me how. 

Because of the second cancer we were definitely taking things day to day.  As sick as she was Mag was happy and engaged in life for another 3 months.  Very stressful for sure, but really rewarding too.

Here is a picture of my dad feeding Maggie- I hope it brings a smile!  And I hope there are lots of good days for you and Jake.

Karen and Spirit Maggie

Maggie eatingImage Enlarger

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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26 January 2014 - 11:55 am
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Hi Elizabeth, I 'm so sorry about what you are dealing with, with your sweet Jake. I don't really have a lot to offer in the way of advice, but I do want you to know that you and him will be in my thoughts and hope he can rebound a bit and be your close buddy for awhile longer. I know from my own experiences, that times like these with our beloved pets are very stressful and difficult. But we always do what we can do for them. Staying positive for you.
Bonnie & Polly

Member Since:
10 June 2013
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26 January 2014 - 4:22 pm
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During chemo I had to do exactly what you are doing. . Had to make ensure and dog food mixtures via syringe until his appetite came back. Mirtzapine was the only appetite stimulant that worked for us. . We tried several. I've heard prednisone works if it is something you can give them. . Ours was on conflicting meds so we couldn't use that one. . Good luck :) I know how frustrating it can be. . Hang in there!
Lori and Angel Chuck

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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26 January 2014 - 5:17 pm
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Hi Jake a d Elizabeth!

Yeah, Jake sure knew what he was doing when he "adopted" you! You sou d like THE best caregiver in the land! Jake is mighty lucky to have a best friend like you!

Just wanted tomoffer my support and let you know we are all cheering for Jake. Yo've gotten sme good advice znd, as Lori mentined, maybe your vet will try some prednisone .....it reduces any inflammation and alsomincreases appetite. As Karen mentioned, maybe the subcue fluids will help too...... may not be warranted but it's worth a try if it won't do any harm.

Jake, we MUST have some pictures of you rolling over for belly rubs!! We can all reach throughthe computer screen and give you a lot of "good luck" tummy rubs!clap Actually, any photo will do! You look so cute in your avatar picture, we must have more!

Your Jake is a real fighter and he has no intention of going anywhere anytime soon! Just co tinue to stay in the present with him, spoiling and lovinghimz!Let NOTHING rob youof your time togetherz! He sure isisn'tz! He's lovng all the attention!!

Sendngyou voth lots of love and extra bellh dubs!

Sally and Happh Hannah

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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26 January 2014 - 8:28 pm
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Oh Elizabeth I'm so sorry, I know how tough this is. Getting a dog to eat in this situation is a challenge. It's hard to be strong, but do it for his sake, I know you can.

Really, what is most important is just that you get him to eat something, anything. From stinky meats to cat food, if it's high in calories even better but get that appetite back first. I wonder if the Yunnan Baiyao could be causing appetite loss? Ask your onco about that. Your doc sounds very forward-thinking. Just curious who you are working with?

Here are some posts that may help you right now

Holistic Canine Cancer Care Podcast

Appetite Stimulation Tips in the Tripawds Nutrition Blog

I'm glad you decided to post. Please, whatever we can do to help you, just holler. We are here for you.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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27 January 2014 - 4:55 am
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Sam was, as someone else once said, Dogorexic. He wasn't a big eater even when healthy. When he was sick, it became a frustrating battle. I blogged about it, feel free to check it out fora long drawn out version. For the short answer, one thing that is our go-to food for all of our non-eaters is fancy feast classic pâté. He also ate hot dogs (for some reason it was Oscar Meyer classic meat wieners, ONLY...don't ask me why. He was a weird bird sometimes :p), and I could, on occasion sneak scrambled eggs in there, if we were feeling crazy. For a calorie boost, I mixed in perki lac, which is a milk replacer for puppies, so calorically dense. Hot dogs and fancy feast are not the worlds greatest foods, sure...but getting calories in and getting into a routine of eating was more important.

Karen's suggestion of sub q fluids might help, too. I have a cat in end stage renal failure, and his appetite is tied to his fluids/toxin levels. Also, have you tried something for gi upset? Like carafate or the like? Part of sam's reluctance to eat was bc of ulcers, and Pepcid and carafate helped that. W also ended up on prednisone , which was a huge boon, even at a low dose. Bt that would depend on your other meds and issues.

Hugs to you...I know how hard this is.

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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27 January 2014 - 8:35 am
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Had to jump in again to agree with Lori, Sally, and mmrocker, there has to be a solution for your Jake......we had to use Mirtazapine a lot when Polly was going through chemo, along with 2 anti-nausea drugs, Cerenia, and Metaclopramide, and we also had to use pepcid. This helped her dramatically to have a decent appetite and to eat just about normally. Before we could get this managed, she ended up at the animal E.R. a couple times for severe dehydration to the point she almost couldn't stand up on her own. Polly was also on pred for a bit due to the fact she had Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia starting at aged 3, and her platelets have to be monitored constantly throughout her life. So her surgeon put her on pred to boost her platelets and protect her through major surgeries. Polly has definitely been our medical enigma since very early on, and also our almost "million dollar baby" !!
Don't know if this helps at all, but just wishing you and him the best to find a hopeful, and helpful solution.

Bonnie & Polly

Virginia
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26 January 2014
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27 January 2014 - 3:09 pm
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I can't seem to figure out how to add more pictures. He's such a cutie I'd love to show him off! He is currently on metaclopramide, pepcid and mirtazapine. He is still drinking water, but should he stop I will definitely consider fluids (I gave my 20 year old cat sub-q fluids for a year and a half and it helped him so much). He's taking in some of the mixture I made (though he's cooperative, I wouldn't consider him happy about it), but I'm going to try some good dog food in the blender this evening. We are definitely taking things hour by hour. He has slept at the foot of my bed since he was 9 weeks old, and since we are afraid he'll fall off now, the whole family is camping out in the living room. We've named it "camp jake" :). I could have never asked for a better dog, he's been so good to me. 

Jerry, the oncologist we've been working with is Dr. Waite at Dogwood in Richmond, Va. She and her staff are amazing. Since the regular drugs would hurt him (including prednisone ), she said "we're going homeopathic!" and prescribed the Yunnan Baiyao. Jake had been throwing up and the Dr. said they hadn't seen that as a side effect. Its most likely that the tumor is pressing up against his stomach causing GERD issues. 

Thank you all so so much. I love my dog more than I like most people and its really nice to talk to others who understand and love their pets the same. I will keep you updated, and I'm sure I'll have many more questions. Again, thank you all so much. 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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27 January 2014 - 4:11 pm
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elizabeth said
I can't seem to figure out how to add more pictures...

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts. If you don't already share photos online, you can start a free blog and upload them there. Hope this helps!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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27 January 2014 - 4:36 pm
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I love it....."Camp Jake"!! He is one loved pup, that's for sure!! And trust me, he knows it!!

My experience with that particular Dr. and clinic was very, very different from yours so I'm REALLY glad you're having a good experience and good relationship. That's so important!

Where do you live in Virginia? Happy Hannah and I live sort of between Charlottesville and Richmond.....freezing our butts off (except for today, but supposed to get back into single digits).

I know you are not letting ANYTHING rob you of your time with your precious soul mate! And he's thoroughly enjoying all the loving amd spoiling you're giving him!

I really hope you can get these pictures up, he sounds adorable! In his avatar picture, he looks like he has smilin' eyes! I bet he wags all the time...well, not when you're "syringe feeding" him!

Have you tried roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over there at Camp Jake? That might stimulate his appetite! And keep the idea of fluids on the back burner too. They can kind of "doctor 'em up" with vitamins, etc.

Sending you lots and lots of cyber hugs and lots and lots of warm snuggles to Jake!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Virginia
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26 January 2014
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27 January 2014 - 5:44 pm
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benny55 I'm so sorry you had a bad experience there! If you don't mind me asking, where do you go now? We are about 20 minutes outside of Richmond. Believe it or not, we actually tried both hotdogs and marshmallows...though we didn't roast the marshmallows. The hotdogs were only good for about a day, then he decided he didn't like them either. 

 

Pics: http://myblueey.....pawds.com/

 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

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