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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Cruciate ligament repair for 13 y.o. tripawd Izzy?
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Durham, NC
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26 August 2016 - 11:38 am
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Oh my girl. She just can’t be left out of anything. Apparently, she feels the need to experience as many different issues as possible!

Amputation? No problem, ma!

Another cancer? We’ll beat it!

Only two functional legs? Hmmm, that’s a bit tougher.

So Izzy is doing great for a girl with just two weight bearing legs. Running works so much better than walking – faster is better! – and standing is an impossibility. Looks like her knee isn’t stable, so they are thinking cruciate ligament.

Couple of repair options are the TPLO – about 4k and the Tight Rope procedure, probably about 3k. Both have risks, the Tight Rope apparently has a slightly higher risk of infection because of drilling through the bone (I think that’s why?) and of course, she’s been taking Palladia, which suppresses immunity.

I am already considering an older (but similar) procedure through Helping Hands in Virginia – $995 for ECLS.

I will certainly discuss everything with the surgeon on staff at Izzy’s oncologist but am having the internal dilemma of … she’s almost 13. She has cancer. She is so awesome. And happy.

Gotta scan the forums for posts on this – I know I’ve seen some – but anyone with two cents who wants to weigh in … GO!

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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26 August 2016 - 12:43 pm
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We did tightrope with Tess (a quad).  I wanted to go with the least invasive option, and knew that if the tightrope failed, there was always TPLO as a fall back.  Tess’ worked, no infection (although long recovery period – far longer than Otis’ for his amp), but she does limp from time to time if she over-does it.   Tess has a crooked front leg, too, due to breaks that were never set by a vet before we got her, so she does not have a normal gait, but she does have four legs.   Definitely ask about how the tightrope would hold up to a tripawd.  I think both procedures have a similar risk of infection, although the tightrope procedure can fail if it loosens (which can happen if the dog is too active during recovery or puts too much stress on the knee).   The TPLO is less likely to fail, since they are literally cutting out part of the bone to brace the rest of the leg, although if it fails there is no other option.

For the tightrope, we had to keep Tess still for one month (no stairs, no running, short leashed potty breaks – she should have been crated but she and Otis ripped the crate to shreds).   Then you slowly introduce walks and continue to lengthen them for the next six months.   She had a lot of pain and discomfort – the first several nights she couldn’t even lay down.  (They send them home day of surgery).

I swear I saw someone posting about a non-surgical brace or something that was supposed to work?  If that does exist (maybe that person will see this and post???), I would look into it.   Maybe Jerry or Admin will happen along and direct us to it?   It wasn’t too long ago.   I remember thinking that I would have tried it for Tess had I known about it.   It seems like it would be so hard to put Izzy through a surgery, when she is otherwise doing so well – a delicate balance is in place.  

PM me if you have any questions about Tess’ surgery.  Good luck in making your decision.

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.

Durham, NC
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27 August 2016 - 4:50 pm
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Thanks for all the information. I’m so torn on this and unfortunately, adding to the stress of the time, my fiance and I are splitting up so I’m now facing the prospect of seeing Izzy through a surgery with a LONG recovery completely on my own. The dog I adopted this spring hasn’t quite settled in to a reliable pattern either, so gets underfoot and in the way a lot. 

I feel really overwhelmed. I am not sure how I can take care of Izzy alone and I certainly don’t want to be “that person” who returns a dog to a shelter, but I don’t know how I can handle both.

I’ll be taking several of the deep breaths Sally always recommends and will hope that I will somehow get some clarity on this.

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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27 August 2016 - 5:41 pm
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Sounds like a horrible time emotionally, but you will work your way through this.  And, better to break with the fiancé now than end up in a bad marriage.  It is hard to handle these things alone – my ex helps some, and I have a 17 year old daughter who could sit with a sick dog from time to time.  I was feeling sorry for myself for a while – alone, with two older and not healthy dogs and a child – until I realized that my Mom had three older, not healthy dogs and two kids.  Put things in perspective for me.  

So, one step at a time.   Sounds like first decision is what to do with Izzy, and you just have to keep researching until you can make that decision.  Then, figure out what support you need and reach out to friends and family, especially those who are “dog people.”  Even if different people help in small ways it can make a difference.  What is Izzy’s demeanor?  You would need to be with her at first, but can she be crated during a recovery?  Confined to a smaller room?  Tess pretty much just stayed on the mattress during the day while I was at work.  Any way you could get a walker/trainer for the new little one – someone who could exercise him, while reinforcing training basics?  Again, even if just for a month or so it might help.

And, I’m going to try to find the thread about the brace.  If it is real, that might be perfect.

We’ll be thinking of you!

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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27 August 2016 - 5:51 pm
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Just did a search – the dog’s name is Homer (search words Homer and ACL).  Homer’s post has a link to where they got the brace.  Also saw another dog, Daisy, that did the surgery.  You might want to follow up with them. 

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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28 August 2016 - 9:52 am
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Thinking about you and Izzy and the pup!  smiley

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.

Durham, NC
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28 August 2016 - 5:26 pm
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Thank you!

Izzy is feeling (too) better … She tried to come upstairs by herself when I took my shower this morning and also tried to come back into the house (up the porch stairs) this afternoon on her own. She is glutton for punishment! I tried to run errands today while the guys were at the house packing but got derailed. Was just trying to take advantage of having eyes on the pups but tomorrow is another day.

Still no closer to making a decision on surgery but the fact that Izzy is back to her old self now that she’s got pain meds on board is certainly pushing the “you gotta try” button. I would have already scheduled it if not for the household changes and switch to a single income. 

It’s not a great dilemma to have and I don’t know what I will do but I’ve been giving her lots of extra hugs and kisses and even cooked for her today. It’s her poppa’s birthday and we would have had a celebration so I felt like she shouldn’t get cheated out of her special treat. heart

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Columbia, MO
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28 August 2016 - 6:11 pm
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I’m so sorry you are going thru so much right now. I know it is easier said than done but try to take it one day at a time. I don’t have any words of wisdom regarding breakups but I’ve been thru knee surgery with a big (80 lb) 3 legged dog!

Daisy was about 8 years old when she initially tore her cruciate ligament in her right knee (she was a left front amp). The vet had me do conservative management to see if enough scar tissue would build up in the joint to help stabilize it. Unfortunately it fully ruptured 6 months later and I had no choice but surgery. There was no way she (or me) could live with the bones knocking together in her knee (you can actually hear it)!

I opted for a lateral suture stabilization.  It is the procedure my vet performs and was the least expensive option for me. I simply could not afford TPLO (about $3000 where I live) and the tightrope procedure was not much cheaper.

For me the knee surgery recovery was much harder than Daisy’s amp because I had to assist her in walking and pottying, etc. My vet also kept Daisy a few extra days in the hospital since she was a tripawd and I think she sensed I was a little terrified. Daisy was actually able to walk right away with assistance much to my surprise but I guess that is actually normal.

Hopefully conservative management will work for Izzy and you won’t have to worry about surgery. But if you do you will get thru it even if you don’t think so now. I managed by myself with 2 dogs and 2 cats underfoot!

Best of luck,

Marla, Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Virginia




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28 August 2016 - 8:06 pm
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Hey Marla!! So glad you could pitch in and offer such good insight! Daisy’s legacy lives onheart

So sorry to hear Izzy is having these challenges. Bummer! And for you to be having challenges too just stinks! Learning lessons and Soul’s growth are presented in ways that can be seemingly hard to deal with. Clearly you are strong! Clearly you are e.lowered nd will become even more empowered as you navigate through these grpwth experiences.

Sometimes you have to skip the B R E A T H E part, and go straight for the wine bottle! Or at least a pint of ice cream works too! Yeah, all at one sitting! No bowl. Just you, the spoon and the container!

An answer will come. At some point you’ll feel a calm and centered “knowing” of what Izzy would want. Keeping all paws crossed that the conservative management approach works!

Lots of love!

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!

Virginia




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28 August 2016 - 8:08 pm
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PS….Did you get to investigate the brace?

And make everyday an IZZY CELEBRATION DAY! Lots of treats!

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!

Durham, NC
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29 August 2016 - 5:23 am
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Hey Sally!

I didn’t look at the brace because the vet said conservative management isn’t really an option. They felt that, given that Izzy lost her spare leg already, that protocol wouldn’t be effective. They recommended TPLO as that would be the most stable repair and also because the risk of infection is lower than with the TightRope proedure or classic ECLR, which is very similar to the TR surgery but doesn’t drill through the bone. ECLR is the most affordable option but has the highest risk of failure. That said, the surgeon indicated it would be “better than doing nothing”. She will be looking into how they can reduce cost for me at their clinic as I mentioned the possibility of taking Izzy back to Helping Hands. The surgeon wasn’t crazy about me having to drive her 2.5 hours home after the procedure so is looking at doing something on an “out patient” basis here.

I feel like a horrible person because I am sitting here wishing that I hadn’t adopted another dog this past spring and I’m sure that I wouldn’t be feeling so much that way if the “new” dog had been easy. She just isn’t and I was already at the end of my rope with her. 

Nobody said life would be easy … or fair, for that matter … but darn if I don’t feel like I’m getting more than my fair share of troubles at the moment.

Makes me wish that wine and ice cream were in my arsenal! 

Thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot. And I will definitely let you know if I end up going to Virginia, Sally!

Amy & Izzy (I guess Stormy, too)

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Columbia, MO
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29 August 2016 - 8:17 am
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Don’t feel like a horrible person because you are “wishing” you hadn’t adopted another dog.  When I first adopted Daisy as a puppy she was a holy terror.  It was so bad that I contacted the rescue and asked if they would take her back that I could not handle her.  Thankfully I let them talk me out of it because she ended up being the most sweetest docile dog I ever had.  I can’t imagine now never having her in my life.

You are correct that the lateral suture stabilization procedure is not the best option for the bigger dogs (like Izzy and Daisy) but in our case Daisy was older and not all that active so it worked out great for us.  It held up just fine for the remainder of her life. The veterinarian that developed the tightrope procedure is located here in my town at the University of Missouri-Columbia and one of the vets in the practice had her lab’s blown knee fixed by him personally and it got an infection.  I was kind of frightened to do the TPLO not just due to cost but if the TPLO fails the only “fix” is amputation and we already lost the “spare”.

Hang in there.  The right decision for you will come.

Marla, Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Durham, NC
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29 August 2016 - 4:37 pm
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Maria, that is really helpful to know. I understand why the surgeon is recommending what she is, but I kind of feel like Izzy would be better off having a repair but given her age and activity routine (sleep, potty, eat, sleep – repeat) the “lesser” procedure would be fine.

I’m mortified at the prospect of losing her and know that the feeling is just being amplified by the echoes in my now empty house so I’m hoping that some additional discussions with the specialist will help me feel more at ease and more able to make the best decision. I feel like I’m back to the same choice as last year … surgery or sleep … and I can’t cope with that!

Will post more info as I get it from the surgeon!

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Virginia




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29 August 2016 - 9:05 pm
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You have a lot on your plate right now. Good times, bad times, all have a cycle…they come and go and come and go. You’re obviously in the “bad rimes cycle” right now and it stinks. Thankfully, it won’t last forever. Understandably, it’s just hard to remind yourself of that when it’s “your turn in the barrel”!

Continue to discuss all your concerns with the Specialist, and maybe even some second opinions. You do have the extra hurdles of being a senior, a tripawd, health issues, recovery time (huge), degree of difficulty with the recovery (for you as well as Izzy!)…all these things need to be addressed so you can make a decision that YOU..and only YOU be@ieve is what Izzy would want.

I’m really, really glad she is feeling pretty darn comfortable and her pain is being managed. I guess the “advantage” of being a seasoned gal is she’s fine with resting a lot!

Forgive me if I chuckle a bit at the….er….”challenges” you are having with Stormy. IF you buy into the “everything nalpe s for a reason” theme, and “the Universe doesn’t make mistakes” theme. Well, looks like you and Stormy are gonna have some great growth spurts from a Soul’s perspective!

It coukd be that Stormy js in ykjr life right now to FORCE you to focus on other things other than the “empty” house. Izzy and Stormy are helping to make it a home instead of a “house”.

Did Stormy come with that name? I like it. I think it’s a plwerful name. One that displays strength. However, have you thought about giving him a name that helps him evolve into the pup you envision? Maybe a more “peaceful” name. One that brings you calm. Or a name that brings you joy whenever you say it. Obviously he is going to be your teacher…so maybe “Coach”‘or “Professor”:-)

Now, back to Izzy! I KNOW this latest hurdle bri gs up all the same emotions when gping through the whole amputation ordeal. “This” does not equal “that”. It just feels like it in an emotional level, but not on a factual level. Besides, you have all of us to help you navigate through all this from tne get- go!

Hoping for more clarity and peace for you.

Sending lots of love!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS. How do Storm and Izzy get along? Is Izzy enjoying the new pack member and vice versa?

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!

Livermore, CA




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29 August 2016 - 9:12 pm
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I wish there was something I could do to help easy your burden.  I’ve been in a few situations where I wonder how I can get through…and I always do. You have shown incredible strength getting this far on Izzy’s journey- you will find your way through.

My quad-pug Obie has had both his knees repaired with the tightrope procedure…two years and two days apart!  I know he is small, and has all four legs but I wanted to share our experiences.

Obie never limped on the first leg, one day I noticed that his hip and leg muscles were much smaller on one side.  Several vet visits, second and third opinions later he had the knee surgery.  In his case it was a structural issue, his patella would luxate and that was causing his CCL to tear.  The recovery was loooooong!  Our surgeon had him on 8 weeks of crate rest, then 6 more weeks of no running and no jumping (actually, I put him in a x-pen due to his abuse history).  He was toe touching in less than a week and he recovered just fine, but I was really strict in adhering to the restrictions.  Because his was a structural issue I was very worried about his other leg.  Less than two years later he started limping on his other back leg. By the time we got to surgery he was a virtual tripawd- rarely weight bearing on the leg. 

We are now more than 1.5 years past the second surgery, Obie turned 10 in July and he is doing fine. We live in a house with stairs and he does them without a problem.

Anyway- just wanted to share my (not to applicable) experience with the tightrope procedure.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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

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