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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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Need Advice - Hind Leg Amputation + Chemo -- 10 Year Old Mastiff Mix Recovery Plateau
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Member Since:
13 February 2022
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13 February 2022 - 8:25 pm
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Hi All,

Need some advice and/or thoughts. My dog Eggs is 3.5 weeks post opp from a hind leg amputation and a week out from his first chemo treatment for Osteosarcoma. His recovery has seemed to plateau in regards to his mobility, and I am hoping for some advice/input. 

First, a bit of info on my dog Eggs -- he is a 10 year old Dogo Argentino Mastiff mix who weighs around 90 lbs, so a big boy. Without getting into an overly long story, Eggs has had health challenges since he was a puppy, has been called a "Dog Episode of House", and is probably the most expensive rescue dog of all time (like almost 6 figures -- THANK GOODNESS for our amazing pet insurance).

Fast forwarding through unrelated health issues, as a large dog, Eggs has had TPLO on both hind legs, suffers from some arthritis, and has a stenosis in his spine. About 3 months ago Eggs fractured his left hind leg. The vet was immediately concerned about the fracture being pathologic due to Eggs' previous history and the fact that the fall was pretty low impact and shouldn't have caused a fracture. However, first line of defense was to see if the leg would heal. It was healing alright after a couple of months but then unfortunately he got another fracture on the same leg, thus the leg wouldn't heal. On a previous imaging several years ago the vet had found what we thought was necrotic bone on that leg (we had tested in for cancer at the time and it came back negative), and based on that information, the fact that the leg wouldn't heal, and the possibility of osteosarcoma we opted to amputate the leg. They sent the leg out for testing and it came back positive for cancer. 

Eggs is a large dog, has some history of back issues, and his remaining hind leg has already been surgically repaired, so we were aware that he was a bit of an edge case and his recovery might be more challenging. However, Eggs is full of life still and we wanted to give him the best chance possible so we did the amputation and also opted to begin chemo.

Obviously the first several days post-surgery were tough. But then slowly he got a bit more comfortable and a bit more mobile (although still not able to get himself up without assistance). He's almost a month post-opp and we just started chemo a week ago. This week particularly we have noticed his recovery plateau. He seems to be straining a bit more on his remaining hind leg, not very stable, and has been getting tired on walks more than he was. He doesn't seem to be in any sudden pain that he didn't have before (although we did stop the gabapentin and maybe it was too early) and doesn't yelp like he did in the early days of surgery, but I am concerned about pain his remaining hind leg now. Note he is also eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping with no issues at all. 

So, I was hoping get other folk's experiences re: amputation + chemo in older dogs, larger dogs, or dogs that have surgically repaired remaining legs. Has anyone experienced a similar-type plateau? Any advice on helping him through this? Have people found that chemo can cause ampiutee dogs to feel weaker? Does anyone have experience with some sort of brace perhaps that stabilizes the remaining leg? My hope is that with the tumorous leg gone and the chemo that we can really work towards quality of live improvement, but I would love him to be more mobile. Or, maybe he won't be more mobile and that is OK? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!!!

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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14 February 2022 - 10:34 am
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Hi to you and Eggs, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

To answer your questions:

Has anyone experienced a similar-type plateau? Any advice on helping him through this? Have people found that chemo can cause ampiutee dogs to feel weaker? Does anyone have experience with some sort of brace perhaps that stabilizes the remaining leg?

I hope you don't mind I moved your post here, but since your question is mostly about mobility I thought it would be helpful for others to learn from Eggs' experience too.

Chemo can make him feel tired for sure, but not necessarily weak. Remember, this is still pretty early in recovery. Try to put yourself in his paws, and chances are that you would be less mobile than he is. Amputation surgery takes a lot out of someone, it's a lot of work bouncing back but it's not impossible. So, in time he will slowly regain his stamina after his body has recovered from the surgery and treatment, however....

When it comes to helping Tripawds get strong, it's not about strengthening the legs, or a brace. It's about building stronger core and back muscles to hold up that body and keep it moving forward and doing all the things he loves. Our Tripawds e-book Loving Life On Three Legs talks a lot about that. Many people thing longer walks strengthen, but they don't, they only build stamina. And that's not what you want to focus on if the body doesn't have strength. First strengthening, then stamina.

A brace can be helpful but only when it is prescribed by an expert who can pinpoint the causes for the weakness. Never try one without talking to a therapist. Has he seen a rehabilitation therapist? We talk about rehab a lot here, because it really is the #1 way to give a new Tripawd a leg up (pun intended!) on recovery. Tripawds who have rehab recover faster and better, hands down. Especially when it comes to older, larger dogs. This is why we have our Tripawds Foundation rehab reimbursement program, which can pay for your first rehab visit ! They can evaluate Eggs so that he can regain mobility and be as strong a possible, while showing you ways to help him get there through exercises and stretching. Please take advantage of the program k?

Talk to your vet about your concerns and ask for a rehab therapist. If Eggs was yelping in pain after surgery chances are he may have untreated pain happening now that is leading to his mobility issues. 

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for feedback from others and keep us posted. We are here to help!

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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14 February 2022 - 2:24 pm
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WOW!  Eggs is a Warrior, a fighter and already a Tripawd RockStar here!  And he has RockStar hoomans willing to give him every chance at a quality life!!

Can only ditto everything  Jerry has said 100%!   

And it may indeed be he needs a bit more pain management   support.  So talk to your Vet about adding the Gaba back in and maybe Amantidine  also.  An anti inflammatory might help also for now (Rimadyl).  

And chemo can make them feel a little yucky sometimes so, maybe not making him weak or se, but maybe making  him feel a bit more subdued. 

Really hope you can take advantage of using the Foundation to get Eggs in for a Rehabilitation  Specialist  consult.  They are soooo tuned into issues like this and can give you tips for keeping that leg strong.

In the meantime give her lots of massages  up and down her spine her neck area, etc to keep her muscles limber, and keep her walks mayve just for potty breaks for now.

Even if Eggs doesn't  feel like running  marathons  and is content  just doing sloooow, short walks, Mastiffs loooove just geing snuggled and cuddled  and owning the couch!

Hugs

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!

Member Since:
13 February 2022
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14 February 2022 - 2:25 pm
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Thank you for the info. I downloaded the ebook. I am looking for a rehab vet in our area and I have not found a ton of options yet unfortunately. But this is great advice regarding core strength and staying patient! I think that is the hard part -- we don't know how much mobility is good vs. not good. He was very active prior to the surgery so it's hard to see him having a difficult time. 

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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14 February 2022 - 3:04 pm
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FWIW, my Happy Hannah (a Bull Mastiff) weighed  about 125 lbs and was 8 1/2 at time of surgery.  It took me abput five weeks before I felt like I could really say I was glad she had the surgery!  It takes bigger "mature" pups a  bit longer to get stable with their mobility,  And she was on tapered pain meds for about three weeks.  Now add all the other challenges  Eggs has had with legs.........can only say again, Eggs is a Warrior!!

So what area are you located?  Jerry jas all sorts of contacts when hard to find Rehabilitation Specialist. 

And yes, you know we need to know how Eggs became known as Eggs.  Is it the obvious?

Hugs 

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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14 February 2022 - 6:23 pm
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Thank you for the info. I downloaded the ebook. I am looking for a rehab vet in our area and I have not found a ton of options yet unfortunately.

Oh gosh thank YOU! I'm happy to help find a therapist for you if you want to let us know your location here, or via Private Message.

Knowing the right amount of activity for our new Tripawd is such a learning curve. We all make mistakes along the way, I sure did. But the important thing is that if you go really, really slow in reintroducing walks and such, there's less risk of injury. You sound like you're being cautious, and that's wonderful!

And yeah, how did Eggs get his name? 

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

Member Since:
13 February 2022
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15 February 2022 - 12:43 pm
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Thanks for all of your advice! Jerry -- we are actually moving to Glen Ellen, CA (Sonoma County area) this week! Let me know if you are aware of anyone who does physical therapy. I think the move will actually be really good for him since we are moving from an apartment to a house. Right now in the apartment he has to go to the elevator and then outside to the potty location so it is kind of far. Plus, he doesn't like other dogs so he gets all worked up when he catches sight of another dog. 

How did he get his name? I don't know, it just kind of popped it my head. We adopted him and he was this very floppy big white puppy who was very goofy and he just seemed like an Eggs. I like breakfast themed named. We have a french bulldog as well and her name is Omelette so they are a perfect pair. 

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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15 February 2022 - 2:53 pm
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What a cute pair, Eggs and Omelette! I love it! Now you just need Bacon 😉

Yes there is a GREAT rehab place near Glen Ellen (lucky duck!). Well, not exactly next door but do-able. They're called Circle Oak and we have heard nothing but great things about them:

https://www.cir.....ation.com/

Read Blue's review in the Foundation blog:
https://tripawd.....wd-golden/

Also if they are booked, you can try Sam's Clinic in Marin. A longer haul but it also gets rave reviews:
http://www.thes.....linic.com/

and also these clinics although I haven't heard anything positive or negative about them:

https://vcahosp.....om/windsor

https://vcahosp.....oma-county

https://vcahosp.....ness-marin

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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15 February 2022 - 3:49 pm
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Hahah...Egfs, Omlette, Bacon......maybe there is a Waffle in your future😀.

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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