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Finnegan, 5 Mo. post amp - front left starting to get weak
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Member Since:
8 November 2012
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27 March 2013 - 12:01 pm
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Hey everyone!

Our Finnegan (9 year old St Bernard/ Mastiff /Rottie Mix - 5 months post right front leg amp) has been doing so great after his amputation. He went through 4 rounds of Carbo - Chemotherapy and at his last appt in February, his chest xrays came back clean as a whistle. He was pretty much back to his old self, running around in the snow, wrestling with his rottie sister... All was happy and good in the world of Finn. The Chemo didn't even phase him.

Over the last 2 weeks I'd say, we've been noticing that his front leg has started to get a lot weaker. When walking, we noticed that sometimes his front paw would curl in and he'd stumble a bit. Or, he'd whine a little when he got up to go outside. At first we thought he might have over done it, because we've been trying to get him to walk around bit more every day, and with the snow we've had, even when he had 4 legs he'd exhaust himself by playing in it. We limited his activity and he seemed to get a lot better. But then it started all over again, but worse. He seems nervous to walk now, and his back legs are shaking a bit.

I have a call into our vet to see about maybe changing up his rymadil to something else, maybe bring him in for an exam... but I can't help but see the signs I did before (even though i didn't know they were his osteo signs at the time), the extra neediness / the need to sit outside just to sit in the cold / Riley.

I guess I'm just asking for advice on how to keep the stress on his front leg minimal, or if others are or have experienced this. He wears his harness all the time now, we've cut back his food to keep him more on the trim side (if a St. Bernard/Mastiff can be trim)...

Honestly, and this is the only place I feel I can even say it, is that I think he might be giving up a bit.

Thoughts, advice, encouragement?

 

 

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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27 March 2013 - 12:32 pm
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Love the mixture of "breed" that help Finnegan be who he is! Yeah, keeping weight off that fella doesn't come easy (I have an overweight amp. Bull Mastiff)

I know there will be others who will respond with more knowledge than I. I soooo understand the fear that constantly tries to take hold anytime some little glitch shows up.
It sounds like it could simply be Finnegan developing some of the normal wear and tear that comes with the territory with big boys with a little age on them. If you didn't have the "history" you would probably be thinking that it is just age related and I know the vet will be able to figure out a plan for you.

So wish I could help take the stress away for you. I am sending out calm and peace and wheelbarrow loads of serenity that should be ample enough for big boys like Finnegan. Go over and give him a big hug and look into those eyes.....he's of worried---he's just enjoying the love.

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!

Member Since:
16 January 2013
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27 March 2013 - 1:38 pm
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I dont have any experience with this with my Tripawed- but I understand what you mean about thinking he might be giving up. Polly is far less active at night and kind of sulks now... it breaks my heart.

 

BUT what I do have a lot of experience with is sick dogs. I foster so I see it a lot. If he wants to sit outside, there is something wrong inside of him. I had fosters that did that and each time I took them to the vet and found them in some kind of cardiac problem and it scared me. So I dont want to scare you or freak you out- but I'd get to the Vet as soon as you can and have X-rays done. They can do a full body xray and check the legs and the lungs.

 

If nothing shows up them at least you know hes ok and this might just be a confidence thing.

 

I know there are some exercises on this forum that people find helpful when working with their dogs to build confidence... Might be worth a try?

 

Good luck either way. Keep us posted!!

Member Since:
8 November 2012
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27 March 2013 - 2:04 pm
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Thanks for the responses so far.

Before we knew he had Osteosarcoma (his limp went from slight to extreme over a weekend - all his "mixes" are noble breeds which tend never show his weaknesses) he would spend a few hours here and there outside, and would refuse to come in, but of course, we didn't realize that something was wrong. Just that he wanted to be outside. But then he did it a few times right after chemo when we knew he wasn't feeling well. And now he's back to doing it again. Monday (and it was 25 degrees out) I sat with him in the snow for about a hour.

It's just tough because you love them so much, and there is this fear in the back of your head that if you go back to the vet and those fears are confirmed... You want to try and keep your world the same for as long as you can. You keep thinking that perhaps your over reacting. Give him another day to pull out of it...

You know going into it that there is no guarantee you've killed the cancer... but you always hope, you know?

I'm just so thankful for this forum. So ever thankful.

NC
Member Since:
26 February 2013
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27 March 2013 - 2:47 pm
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I wouldn't panic too much about his wanting to sit outside- Kermit does that whenever his arthritic elbow is sore; he seems to prefer the cool, damp grass much more than the cooling bed that I bought him! An hour in snow at 25 degrees is a long time, but if he's a cold-loving dog anyway it might not be as big a deal as it seems to us.

Arthritis in the elbows of big dogs is almost a given, and with a front leg amp there is a LOT of extra strain on the remaining one. I enrolled Kerm in a rehab program & they gave me lots of exercises & massage techniques to work on daily. Also, if you can manage it and have it available, you might consider electrical stimulation therapy or acupuncture.

I've also had a LOT more luck with metacam for pain & inflammation relief for my dogs than Rimadyl, and it's easier to adjust the daily amount as needed since it's liquid. You might want to ask your vet about it.

concord,ca
Member Since:
18 October 2012
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27 March 2013 - 3:45 pm
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I used to panic also.  I think its because we are on heightened alert with our dogs.  We want the best for them and we want to make sure they get it.  Im not a vet, but I think maybe Finnegan just might be over active and putting a strain on his one good front leg.  The cooling effect of the snow might be numbing it and that is why he sits out there.  Just like we use an icepack when we strain a muscle. 

Hopefully by now the vet has called you back.  Please let us know what the vet says.  Sending you and Finnegan hugs.

 

michele

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” ― Milan Kundera

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 March 2013 - 5:16 pm
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Oh we understand the panic feeling completely. It's hard not to when cancer's shadow seems to be lurking around every corner.

One thing to do is to document when his symptoms appear. Are they constant or sporadic? Better or worse during morning or night? Note everything about his symptoms and that can really help your vet determine what's going on. It could be any number of things. If he checks out OK at the vet's you might want to consult with a certified rehab therapist for rehab therapy guidance.

You sound like you have a good grip on his activity and weight, that's terrific! Have you focused at all on building up his core muscles? Strong abs make a huge difference in how well a Tripawd gets around, especially a large pup. Over time, weak abdominals will take their toll, as will life on three legs in general. But there is a lot you can do. If you haven't already, visit our Gear blog and search for "Maggie." She is a 13 year old senior gal who has all the aches and pains of someone her age, but she gets around great with her Mom's dedication to regular core-strengthening and balance exercises. It's not an overnight fix, but once you get that pain under control you can start to work on these things. It sounds like Finnegan has a lot of healthy happy years left ahead of him.

Keep us posted!

 

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

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
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28 March 2013 - 5:29 pm
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This is scary.  I feel for you.  I guess things like weight management, pain meds, using the harness, controlling movement and activity, and trying new supplements are good things.  What about doggie physical therapy or another modality?  Laser therapy?  Adequan injections?  Both of those latter suggestions may work, but probably should get permission from the vets first.  You don't want to be using those if there's something else in that wrist.  Poor guy.  Poor you!  Stay strong and keep us posted.  I'll be following you and dear Finnegan!  Oh - have you confirmed his temperature is OK?

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Member Since:
8 November 2012
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29 March 2013 - 6:53 am
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I wanted to keep everyone updated on Finn's progress.

It seems that the increase in his medication isn't even phasing him, and if anything, he's gotten worse. It seems that his back legs don't seem to want to respond to him right now. They work just enough to help him roll over, or get him standing and keep him steady, but when he tries to walk on his own he looks like a drunken sailor. So when he's standing, he's wobbly and then gravity works to bring him right back down.

He had a TPLO on the left back leg when he was 4, and when we had the amp surgery they did xrays of both back legs and they were both sound. But sure, anything can happen in 5 months.....

He doesn't seem like he's in pain at all, which is the strange thing. But again, being a mastiff/st bernard he never likes to show that anyway.

So, we're off to the vet tomorrow. Our vet (who's seen us through the whole thing) isn't in today, otherwise I'd be there right now.

 

New Haven, CT
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29 March 2013 - 7:33 am
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OK.  Make sure you come back and tell us how his appt goes tomorrow.  I'm worried about Finn!  If you feel around his reconstructed knee, does that bother him?  How about some good 'ol massage for your pup?

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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28 November 2008
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29 March 2013 - 8:01 am
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It is a fine line the tripawds walk, particularly the larger ones. They will put you into panic mode now and then.  Hopefully the vet can get you and Finn back on the right track and she will be happy and mobile once again.

Trouble had arthritis and her mobility really became compromised in the last six months.  If you find you are in a similar situation, I would encourage you to treat it aggressively.  We were ultra conservative, and I think in the grand scheme of things were way too conservative.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

NC
Member Since:
26 February 2013
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29 March 2013 - 8:13 am
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Strange that it sounds more like a neurological issue... Best of luck & please update us ASAP!

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8 November 2012
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29 March 2013 - 8:22 am
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dharma, We are sort of thinking the same thing. But it came on so quickly! A pinched nerve maybe?

We'll see what his vet says tomorrow.

Thanks again for the support. I don't know what I'd do without this site.

I'll let everyone know ASAP!

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8 November 2012
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30 March 2013 - 12:10 pm
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We just returned from the vet. He thinks that it's spinal stress. He got a shot of cortisone, and will start a new cocktail of medication. If its truly spinal, then we can do steroids and pain management . IF he doesn't improve over the next few days however, he'll go in on Tuesday for X-rays of his back and legs to see if the big C has returned.

Never thought I'd hope for him to have spinal stress but it beats the alternative.

I'll keep everyone posted!

New Haven, CT
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27 December 2012
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30 March 2013 - 2:15 pm
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OK, that's a plan.  That's something to work with!  What other drugs besides steroids?  Rest, massage, some warm compresses, and lots 'o love, too, I'm sure!  Feel better, buddy!  I am watching you closely.

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

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