TRIPAWDS: Home to 16188 Members and 1777 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
15 mo Rottweiler- negative biopsy. No pain. Vet still thinks osteosarcoma
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
26 September 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
26 September 2015 - 12:35 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I’m glad I found this page as I’m so confused right now. We have a dear 15 month old Rottweiler named Abby who needs some help!

Eight weeks ago I took her in for lameness in the back left leg. She was running and walking fine, but wouldn’t stand on it when she was still. X-ray suggested bone cancer or cocci in the knee. We biopsied it that day and after 2 weeks and 2 different lab opinions, it was deemed negative. It isn’t cocci either. Vet recommended surgical biopsy where they remove bone flap, but we declined – mostly because we felt that the biopsy would have revealed the cancer. 

Four weeks from biopsy, we did repeat x-rays and the knee looked marginally better. 

Eight weeks from biopsy, we did repeat x-rays and the knee looked much worse. I would describe it as Swiss cheese. There is also bone swelling and the tibia looks dark now compared to the other leg. 

Vet again recommended surgical biopsy so we had the consult yesterday. I would not return to this surgeon, but he basically said he was 99.9% certain it was osteosarcoma, suggested a surgical biopsy to be 100% certain, followed by an amputation. He gave her 5-6 months to live, an additional 5 months if we did chemo. His bedside manner was horrendous, but more than anything I am crushed at the thought of doing 2 surgeries for only 5 months. It has been 3 months since we recognized the symptoms so I’m not even sure if we’re already partway through that time. 

I’m waiting for a call from my regular vet (who I love!), but I have so many questions…

Is it possible to have osteosarcoma with no pain?

Is there another test besides biopsy that would confirm? Bone scan?

Why consider amputation if she is comfortable and happy right now and it would only give her 5 months?

What if I do nothing? What will that look like?  

What are other possibilities? I know no one wants to believe their dog has osteosarcoma, but I really don’t. The lab diagnosed it as “reactive bone proliferation” and suggested it was following an injury (which she didn’t have as far as we know). Bone cyst and abscess has been suggested, but no one really thinks those are possible.

What if I allow her to exercise? She’s been on rest for 2 months now and she’s a PUPPY! If she only has a few months to live, I just want to take her to the beach and let her run! But I know she’s at risk of breaking her tibia. 

So confused… and sad.

Erika

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28057
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
26 September 2015 - 1:35 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Welcome Erika, your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

I can’t imagine how you must feel, having a dog so young and going through all this is just not what anyone ever expects, and I’m sorry. Here’s what I can tell you though about what we’ve learned through the years when it comes to uncertain osteo diagnosis cases:

Sadly it’s not unheard of for a dog so young to have osteo. We always hope it’s not the case but we’ve seen it here. And even when they don’t show symptoms, what’s probably going on is she’s not showing symptoms that you would consider to be pain indicators, like limping or holding a leg or crying out. We humans are far wimpier than dogs and don’t hide pain nearly as well as they do. I know that with our Jerry, he was giving us pain indicators long before we ever knew what was going on. It wasn’t until we saw before and after photos of him that we realized how painful that bad leg was. I can share those photos with you in a big. On my mobile now so it’s kinda hard to dig ’em up. But meanwhile, keep in mind that a dog’s instinct is to do everything possible to hide their pain, because in the wild, a dog would be eaten by the pack if it showed signs of weakness. It may be months before she shows obvious signs, that happens a lot.

Meanwhile she has a badly messed up leg, and something needs to be done about it. Because if nothing is done, the odds of her having a pathological fracture (horrible situation) doing something as simple as playing, go way, way up. So you need to act quickly and decide what to do to avoid that. We’ve seen it happen here and it’s awful.

Have you asked the vets, will the leg need to come off anyways? If the answer is yes, you may want to skip the bone biopsy and get the pathology work done after the amputation, sparing her of that painful procedure. Bone biopsies are good to do if there’s a chance that it may not be cancer andor the leg can be saved. But if there’s no chance of keeping her leg, amputation is the next step. 

I’ll admit, many surgeons are all business. You don’t get as many warm fuzzies from them as you do your regular vet. If this guy is board-certified he’s qualified to do the surgery, and you can get the rest of the care from your regular vet.

Finally, if you feel in your heart that this isn’t osteo, find an oncologist who can give your another opinion. Your vet should be able to refer you. If you want to let us know where you are located we can also help find one, but you’ll need your vet’s referral to see them, typically.

I hope this helps. Hang in there OK? We’re here for you.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28057
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
26 September 2015 - 1:38 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh and by the way, the statistics you were given are standard, they’re the same for everyone facing osteosarcoma. But many, many dogs will outlive the prognosis, you just have to have hope in your heart that your girl will be one of them. Don’t get hung up on those numbers because dogs sure don’t, they don’t have calendars and don’t keep track of time, they just want their packs to be together and happy and make the most of every day.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3554
Member Since:
13 June 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
26 September 2015 - 2:46 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello Erika,

 

I am terribly sorry to hear about your Abby… my girl (not a rottie) did suffer a fracture and even then we didn’t see osteosarcoma. only months later after we had fixed her leg did we learn it was a different cancer but presented in a similar way. I made the choice to amputate and had no regrets. We also had 1 -3 months to live and lived 8! So statistics don’t mean that much. Some get more time. Some get less. It’s a cr@pshoot. 

I am very sorry about your experience. It sounds like our first experience with a vet (in Los Angeles) so I can understand your trepidation but like Jerry said – dogs mask pain very well and a break would be awful. Our break was a total fluke but that is never anything I want to experience again. I hope you will consider reading through these forums and getting a better sense of what a life on 3 legs will / would like. I know others will weigh-in (we’ve had quite a few rotties here). 

Hugs,

alison with spirit shelby in her heart (and little jasper too) 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1454
Member Since:
13 August 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
26 September 2015 - 5:27 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I’m so sorry you have to be on this journey.  But as others have said those timeframes are averages.  Paula has a rottie who is 15 months post amp.  There’s a lot of dogs here that are doing great and have outlived their prognosis by a longshot.  We are just three weeks post amp with our Max and if you could see how he’s out of pain and loving life again it would amaze you.  We didn’t do a bone biopsy because we didn’t want to take the chance of it breaking.  I agree with the others that if you don’t believe in your surgeon find one you do trust.  I truly know it’s truly hard to accept an osteo diagnosis. We basically did the amp to get Max out of the pain of walking on a bone that was crumbling around the tumor.  And we didn’t want to take a chance of it fracturing.  We worried about Max ever walking again.  But by day 3 our 110 pound German Shepherd boy was up and hopping.  Good luck with whatever decision you make.  Read some of the stories on here from others that have been where you now are.  Let this community support you!!  Don’t try to do it alone.  I don’t know how many days, months or years we might have with Max.  I do know that for now he’s pain free, loving life and so far has tolerated the chemo well.  For now we are thrilled with that.   

Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
26 September 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
26 September 2015 - 7:13 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you Jerry, Alison, and Linda, You all give me hope. I have read a lot more and spoken to my regular vet and come to 2 conclusions. 1) We will not do a second bone biopsy. 2) We will get a second opinion. I just got a personal recommendation for a nice surgeon at one of the places my vet recommended so I’m going to call first thing Monday morning. We were initially very anti-chemo (which made me think we were in the shorter life expectancy), but hearing other stories made me realize that it may not be as bad for dogs as it can be in humans. Feeling a tiny bit of hope. I’ll keep you updated. And upload a picture shortly.

Thanks!

Erika

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19699
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
26 September 2015 - 9:06 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

ABBY!!! Ook at that avatar picture of you! How on earth did you get so darn cute in just fifteen months??

As you can already see, you are not alone! No one can understand the devastation of the diagnosis like we can. No one can understand the fear, the panic, the helplessness and the uncertainty like we can.

You’ve done a great job of holding it together, doing yiur research and making some decisions. We are huge in second opinions here,especially when you don’t have a “connection” with the vet/surgeon.

As far as chemo, for now just keep things chunked down. Focus on the amputation and recovery. You’ll have time to decide on chemo later. And you are exactly right, chemo has very few side effects, if any at all.

As far as dealing with this for the past three months, many of us here had dogs treated for sprains, or arthritis, etc. off and on for many, many months.

As others have said, statistics don’t mean much here. Some dogs have survived the diagnosis for many years, even though they were given “timeframes” of six months or less. Charley, I believe was less than twonhears old when diagnosed, and he beat that pievpce of crap disease for years! Bart, a four year…or was it five year survivor?!

Now speaking of timeframes. Abby does NOT have a timeframe stamped on her little Rottie butt. Stop what you are doing and take a look now. Do you see any time frame stamped anywhere on her butt? No!

O go nug your sweet Abby and give her a few cookies. Look how happy she is! Yep, all is well inAbby’s world!

Stay connected a d update when you can after your appt. Monday. Looking forward to Abby reclaiming her puppyhood…a d with lots of pictures too!

Sending you lots of hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

pennsylvania
Forum Posts: 59
Member Since:
4 August 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
26 September 2015 - 9:36 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Glad to hear you were able to connect with your regular vet. I had a similar frustrating experience initially with the surgeon, and got a second opinion only for that vet to tell me they had never done that type of more complicated amputation surgery (my dog Murphy had his hip joint and part of the pelvic bone removed along with his leg) and was referred back to the original surgeon! And Jerry is right, some surgeons are all business, but they did a great job on Murphy’s surgery and after surgery care. Murphys first biopsy also came back inconclusive and they were then able to send the larger bone sample after amputation to get a conclusive result. 

I was in the same boat about chemo, but after learning more I came around to it. Murphy goes in on Thursday for his second round, and he handled the first round like a champ, no side effects what so ever.  It helped that the vet had pictures and information on Facebook explaining how they did chemo sessions, and showed a dog undergoing chemo. I know there is also a Tripawds post that explained a lot more about what happens when a dog gets chemo at the vet. Also, others on here gave great advice that you can always start chemo and stop it at any point, if you dog has a reaction to it or for any other reason. 

Murphy, became a tripawd on August 17, 2015. Went to the rainbow bridge on July 5, 2016.

http://www.inst.....hythedingo

Michigan
Forum Posts: 1448
Member Since:
2 April 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
27 September 2015 - 11:31 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Erika ~

Our Murphy was initially misdiagnosed by x-rays, and then we did a biopsy which, like yours, was inconclusive.  By the 3rd set of x-rays we could definitely see the deterioration of the bone in his leg and the orthopedic surgeon explained how it was just a matter of time before a fracture happened.  By the time Murphy had his surgery it had been over 5 months since he first started limping.  It took almost 3 weeks after surgery to get his final diagnosis, which was histiocytic sarcoma – a highly aggressive cancer normally found in the organs.  We were told that if we were lucky we might get 12-18 months with chemo.  Well, like others have said, statistics are just averages and Murphy doesn’t pay any attention to that!  It’s been 2 1/2 years since his surgery and he’s still hopping around big-grinHis lungs are still clear and he’s a happy boy chasing squirrels and the stupid ground hog that moved into our yard lol.

I agree with Jerry – does the leg need to come off anyways?  Because whether or not it’s cancer, if a fracture is inevitable and Abby is in pain, it just might be the best thing to do for her.  The recovery isn’t always easy – the 1st 2 weeks are tough, but after that they usually do well.

Is there a teaching hospital near you?  They often are cheaper for their services.  We have to drive about 1 1/2 hours to go to Michigan State University for Murphy, but it’s worth it.  When he went through chemo it was every 3 weeks, and they worked with our regular vet to do the follow-up blood work there, so that helped.  Now we just drive out every few months for x-rays and an exam to check his lungs.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

Martinsburg, WV
Forum Posts: 923
Member Since:
3 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
28 September 2015 - 8:27 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Abby is just precious and I’m so sorry that she and you are dealing with this.  You’ve gotten a lot of great advice and as you can see this community is full of people that have been or are currently on this journey that you and Abby are starting.  You’re not alone in this and we’re here to lend you support.  My Leland didn’t deal with cancer but some mysterious mass in his knee.  It was biopsied after the amputation (due to a failed TPLO procedure) and nobody could tell us what it was except that it wasn’t cancerous.  We had a needle aspirate done and sent to 2 different labs prior to amputation and they both came back inconclusive.  So believe me I understand your frustration in not being able to get a definitive diagnosis.  Sadly it happens though.

I hope you’re able to find more comfort in your 2nd opinion and you’re able to come up with a plan of action.  Setting a plan of treatment will help you feel more grounded.  You’ll figure out what’s best for Abby.

Hang in there.

Sahana and her Angel Leland and Lucian too

Leland

November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
26 September 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
29 September 2015 - 9:52 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thanks Sahana, Donna, Sally, Murphy’s person… All of you for helping and inspiring me!

Abby has an appointment tomorrow with a new surgeon. It is a morning consult with the possibility of an afternoon surgery. We will definitely not do another biopsy as my discussion with my regular vet confirms that there’s really nothing to save in the leg, regardless of diagnosis. If all goes well, she will join the Tripawd club tomorrow. I’ve learned a lot and can now acknowledge that she is in fact in pain (despite the title of this post) and it is progressing. She was just so darn good at hiding it.

Thanks for the open arms.smiley Off to go learn more about the next steps and what I need to know as Abby’s mama!

Erika

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19699
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
29 September 2015 - 10:10 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Alrighty, you’ve made a decision…even though it’s a “forced choice” decision….you and Abby can now move forward and soon have all this behind yiu!

We are here with yiu every step of the way, okay? Recovery is no picnic and can be scary for the humans, far more so than for the dogs! Lean in us. Let us know if yiu have any questions. Good ess knows we all have a lot of first hand experience!

Ow grab a big bag of CHOCOLATE…eat the whole bag quickly…go give Abby a big smooch and a few extra treats….and you will feel better!!

Wrapping you up in hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1454
Member Since:
13 August 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13
29 September 2015 - 10:42 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Just chiming in here to offer support to you and Abby.  If you need anything just let us know.  Everybody here has your back.  Keep us all posted when you get a chance. 

 

Hugs, Linda Bob & Max

Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
26 September 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14
30 September 2015 - 1:21 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Abby is having the amputation this afternoon. Looks like I’m moving on to the next forum…

Our vet consultation was great. We met the surgeon and the oncologist. All 4 surgeons at the clinic weighed in on the recommendation, particularly because she is so young. We still don’t have a confirmed diagnosis, but everyone still seems to think it is 99% osteosarcoma. Holding out for the other 1%, but ready to move forward regardless. 

Thanks everyone! Guess I need a blog now. laughing

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 12324
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15
30 September 2015 - 1:29 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

epprice said
Abby is having the amputation this afternoon. Looks like I’m moving on to the next forum…

Best wishes for a perfect procedure and speedy recovery! Please keep us posted.

Members can start a free Tripawds blog anytime. way-cool

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: Stacy, samsusan, bubba2
Guest(s) 109
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1103
Members: 11504
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 16519
Posts: 232329
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG