TRIPAWDS: Home to 17281 Members and 1858 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG

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.
JUMP TO FORUMS

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!

REGISTER   |   LOG IN

Be More DogNEW! Be More Dog – Learning to Live in The Now

Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
14 year old male dog with osteosarcoma in right rear leg, 15 lbs.
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
1 April 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
1 April 2021 - 12:53 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello, I need some advice. My dog Charlie was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma of the right rear leg back in late 2019, and had surgery in March, 2020.  It has now come back and is the same size as when he had his first surgery.  The vet told me that having another surgery wouldn’t really do any good because of where it is – on the ankle and not a lot of skin to reclose after surgery.  Chemo not an option. We were referred to an oncology practice and after a thorough examination, I was told that probably amputation would be the best option.  It has not yet spread to the lungs.  I have an appointment to discuss it with the surgeon in more depth, but I have already been quoted $4 – $5k.  He has had pain but the pain meds are helping him (he also has arthritis and some hip issues).

I was told if I decide not to do the amputation, then it would basically be a wait until the tumor grows so large it leaks or burst, and then it becomes an ‘end of life decision’. I will admit the money is a major concern – if I do the surgery, I will really have nothing left for any complications, follow ups, etc.., because it’s not like I can pay this off even within a year. When these surgeries are done, do dogs tend to have complications or not? I figure mine may be on pain meds for the rest of his life, due to the arthritis.  Also, it’s a rear leg amputation – he won’t be able to run around like he used to, and I worry about him climbing stairs – I live on the second floor of an apartment complex.

Thank you.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29607
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
1 April 2021 - 1:38 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Charlie and family, welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. 

I’m sorry you’re faced with this tough situation. Amputation is never an easy choice and it’s especially hard when a senior dog is affected. And of course money plays an issue for everyone so don’t feel badly about that, we understand completely.

My dog Charlie was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma of the right rear leg back in late 2019, and had surgery in March, 2020. 

So, I’m a little confused about the type of cancer. You said he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2019 and had surgery. What kind of surgery did he have? About the only surgeries I know of where the limb was left after an osteosarcoma diagnosis, are limb sparing and radiation therapy / cyberknife.

The vet told me that having another surgery wouldn’t really do any good because of where it is – on the ankle and not a lot of skin to reclose after surgery.  

Going back to the present diagnosis, are you sure it’s not another type of cancer? Osteosarcoma tumors in the bone are not typically resected (cut out) the way you described it above. Is it a subcutaneous ostesoarcoma tumor (embedded in the skin?)?

When these surgeries are done, do dogs tend to have complications or not?

Usually dogs do fine. As with any surgery there is a chance of complications like infection or a blood vessel that didn’t get closed. They don’t happen with every canine amputee, but it’s a possibility. I’ve only rarely seen dogs needing to go back into a hospital because of complications. As long as you choose a great clinic (which it sounds like you have, since you mentioned you are working with a specialist), everything should go smoothly.

 I figure mine may be on pain meds for the rest of his life, due to the arthritis. 

Possibly. A canine rehab therapist can help you with his pain management needs. The Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so don’t let the idea of another specialist overwhelm you.

Also, it’s a rear leg amputation – he won’t be able to run around like he used to, and I worry about him climbing stairs – I live on the second floor of an apartment complex.

Rear or front, all Tripawds have certain challenges that can compromise their mobility. But overall, most adapt and overcome, going on to have excellent quality of life. Check out our Quality of Life Surveyto see what pet parents thought about the amputation decision.

As for stairs, that’s what a Ruffwear Flagline or Webmaster harness is for! It makes it super simple to assist a dog going up and down stairs.

Now, I won’t guarantee that things will be easy at first, or that he won’t have mobility challenges. Senior dogs are a special concern, but we’ve seen many of them do very well here. What is Charlie’s breed type? At 15 pounds he probably still has a lot of living to do and with his size, should do pretty darn well on three legs. Your vet wouldn’t recommend amputation otherwise. And while everyone doubts their decision to amputate during those first few weeks of recovery, 99% of Tripawd parents were glad they did it so their pet could go on to live a pain-free, happy life on 3.

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for feedback from others.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
1 April 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
1 April 2021 - 9:27 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you for responding. His regular vet did the first surgery, and I was told it was an osteosarcoma. She said she was only able to get some of it out because it ‘crumbled’ when she tried to remove it. She also said that these types of tumors were like an octopus, where the tumor itself is sticking out but underneath are the legs, which attach to muscles and tendons. It is on his leg, close to the ankle but on the outside. He doesn’t have a lot of skin there.

Charlie is a mix- cavalier King Charles spaniel, pomeranian and minpin. This may sound stupid, but I also worry about him going to the bathroom. He doesn’t squat to poop, he puts his front legs in between his back legs and kind of walks.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29607
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
2 April 2021 - 10:27 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hmm…it’s just so weird because it’s soft tissue tumors that typically described as octopus arms. Regardless, I’m glad you’re going to an oncologist now.

There are no stupid questions here, I promise. Ask whatever you want. You’ll be surprised at how dogs figure out how to go to the bathroom, but they really do. Your vet won’t let your dog go home until he does, and that usually happens in the first 24 hours.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 49
Member Since:
14 March 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
7 April 2021 - 6:51 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I hope you get some good answers and clarification from your Oncologist. My dog Mojo is 13 (70lbs lab mix) and is on week 3 of post-op of forelimb amputation…she’s already moving very quickly outside. I understand your concerns about stairs and we help Mojo go down the few from the house to the garage with a sling. Would you be able to carry your pup up/down the stairs?

Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
1 April 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
12 April 2021 - 9:22 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you for responses.  I haven’t been online for a bit because he got sick while at the oncologist. He’s doing much better.

I wouldn’t be able to take him up and down the stairs too often.  I have serious knee issues and need surgery on one knee.  I delayed it when Charlie had his first surgery.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29607
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
12 April 2021 - 10:36 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Aww poor guy. Glad he’s doing better! Did you do the hoppy dance when you saw that he figured out how to poopicon?! icon_lol

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 20607
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
12 April 2021 - 9:07 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Just catching  up kn your sweet Charlie.  Clearly  he’s adored and ver loved.♥️

I’m a bit confused (which is a common occurrence 😂).  So Charlie has not had amputation?  And why did he get sick at the Oncologist?  Glad he’s feeling better now.

Bummer about your bad knees.  It can limit your mob in so many wand usually  with a lot of pain too.  Addi g the weight if trying  to help Charlie up the stairs when you can barely climb stairs yourself…ugh.  You have to take care of yourself….Charlie would want that!

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!

Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
1 April 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
16 April 2021 - 8:29 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

He has not had amputation yet.  I originally wrote because of the high cost I was initially quoted, and at Charlie’s age and my finances, I needed opinions on it.  I’m going to see his original vet who does perform amputations, and that cost will be less than what I was quoted by the oncologist – which was $4000-5000.   He got sick after seeing the oncologist, but is running around like crazy, so the pain meds are working and so I feel that having the leg amputated will keep him around longer and he will still be happy.

Do dogs have difficulty going up and down stairs if they are missing a rear leg?  If so, is there anything i can buy that I can put him in? Also, do they do well at daycare?  Charlie goes to daycare regularly, and I will need to board him when I have my knee surgery, possibly for several weeks.

Thank you

Virginia




Forum Posts: 20607
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
16 April 2021 - 9:57 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

So glad to know the pain meds are helping  to improve Charlie’s quality  and he is feeling so much better!

As Jerry mentioned, the Ruffwear Flagline or Webmaster harness can help assist Charlie with mobility.   Because  dogs push off with their rear legs when foing up stairs,  sometimes  it is harder for them going up.  Going down is usually not an issue.

As far as daycare that he is used to, I would thinks as long as he is FULLY  RECOVERED and the staff knows to be extra diligent, he should be okay.  Has he stayed overnight there before?  What are their procedures with an older and smaller dog?  He  needs to not be allowed to overdo and must have plenty of rest and quiet time.

When you do jave surgery, will you be at a Rehab  center or have home care?  I know this will be a rough time for you and for Charlie.

Others will chime in maybe with some other solutions  that work better for both of you.

Take care!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29607
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
16 April 2021 - 10:49 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

AH! Thanks for explaining about the status of his situation.

More feedback on your questions:

Do dogs have difficulty going up and down stairs if they are missing a rear leg?  If so, is there anything i can buy that I can put him in?

Going up is harder for rear leg amputee dogs than going down stairs. As Sally mentioned, a Ruffwear Webmaster or Flagline harness helps in those situations. 

Also, do they do well at daycare?  Charlie goes to daycare regularly, and I will need to board him when I have my knee surgery, possibly for several weeks.

It really depends on  when he is physically strong enough to play with other dogs, the business, their staffing/management, and the flooring. If they are good about keeping an eye on him and making him take rest breaks, then sure, why not. Ideally you don’t want him running around on concrete all day long. What is their play area like? 

Also want to chime in on your comment:

I’m going to see his original vet who does perform amputations, and that cost will be less than what I was quoted by the oncologist – which was $4000-5000.   

It can be so shocking to see the amputation pricing of a specialty clinic. They do cost more because of their level of expertise, the extent of their equipment, staffing, and care levels. In short, they charge more because you get more. Comparing a specialty clinic estimate to a vet clinic is comparing apples to oranges. They are very different levels of care.

However we understand that it’s expensive and cost is always a concern, nothing to be embarrassed about there. However, please make sure your veterinarian is practicing the most current care protocols and pain management . When a senior animal is the patient, it’s critical. While veterinarians all know how to do amputations, the amount of times they do it each year is also critical.

Please check out these articles about choosing a vet clinic:

https://tripawd…..-and-cats/

https://tripawd…..nary-care/

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
1 April 2021
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
16 April 2021 - 11:40 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you for the suggestions regarding the cost, as well as the link.  I just glanced at it and there are questions I never considered.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29607
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13
16 April 2021 - 1:54 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh you are so welcome! Please let us know how it goes OK? We know this is a tough decision.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 88
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1139
Members: 12527
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 16925
Posts: 237686
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG