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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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Advice after amputation- what to expect
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Member Since:
18 July 2016
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2 August 2016 - 9:27 am
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I have a Doberman Pinscher named Nico, who will be 9 years old in September 2016 and has recently been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and I have made the decision to have his right front leg amputated this Friday, August 5, 2016. It started out with a limp and I took him into my vet and had x-rays done and nothing showed up.  Two weeks later he was still limping so I took him in again for more x-rays and something showed up on the x-rays but the vet couldn’t tell what it was and asked me to go have an ultrasound done at the cancer center.  I had the oncologist do an ultrasound guided needle biopsy and had it sent to Oregon State University, which it came back as bone cancer. Since the cancer is growing into his scapula and might be growing into the muscle I need a board certified surgeon to perform the surgery.  While the oncologist was trying to find someone to do the surgery I had Nico do 1 dose of Bisphosphonte treatment called Zoledronate (1 dose per month) on July 19, 2016 .  He is currently taking Gabpentin 100 mg 2 x a day, T-Relief (anti-inflammatory) 100 mg 2 x a day, Cosequin 3 tablets a day, and Missing Link, which has the omega 3 & 6 fatty acids with Linolenic acid.  I am so glad that we have found a surgeon who will perform the surgery.  I plan on doing 2 more doses of Zoledronate and after the third month the oncologist will re-evaluate him.

I am wondering what to expect after surgery and if anyone has any advice for me as I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

Breana   

On The Road


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2 August 2016 - 10:19 am
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Breana! I'm so  hoppy to see you posted, welcome. Your future posts won't require approval so post away.

As I mentioned in our email, for post-surgery tips, starting with Jerry's Required Reading List is a good idea. You can get a to of info at your fingertips (& paws!) with our e-books as well.

Sounds like Nico (who is VERY handsome by the way!) is getting terrific care. We've written about Zoledronate here, it's good stuff. Are you thinking you'll do the other 2 doses after amputation? Just curious why, if the leg is going away (and thus the pain). Bisphosphonates as far as I understand it, are used for pain relief when amputation isn't an option. Maybe things have changed, so I'm curious.

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

Member Since:
15 July 2016
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2 August 2016 - 12:26 pm
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Bisphosphonates have been used primarily for palliative care, but I have found a number of papers and info indicating it's effective against metastasis. 

While researching and waiting for our appointment with the local oncologist, I found this article.  The dog had clear lungs to start with and remained metastasis free for 16 months -- and did not have an amputation.  (http://www.clin.....teosarcoma)  While reading the article, I realized the author was the local oncologist we were going to meet for the first time in a few days.  He frequently will recommend radiation and bisphosponates together for pain control, but because Milo's tumor was large and on his wrist, he was at serious risk of fracture even if we could control the pain.  Probably more so -- because without the pain he was even more likely to run like a goof and break it. 

This second paper is based on humans and metastatic osteosarcoma:  http://www.ncbi.....7127605.  It was just published this April.  It details 4 patients -- all who had run out of other treatment options and had been dealing with cancer for many years, including lung resections.  (Patient 1 presented at age 20 with osteosarcoma on his shin, and started this treatment at age 27 when all out of options.  That stuff keeps Milo's disease in perspective.)  All 4 have been receiving zolodronate for 4-5 years and are still fighting the good fight.

If we hadn't made it into the Tufts clinical trial, I was seriously contemplating amputation folllowed by bisphosphonates as a course of treatment given the cost and side effects.  I think there is some interesting new research and results starting to trickle in.

It sounds like your onco may be up-to-snuff on new research, even if it's still a bit experimental.  Good for you.  Good luck to you and Nico.

-Jenifer & Milo

P.S.  Milo limped on July 2, and had his front leg amputation this past Thursday, July 28.  Hence, my recent deep dive research. 

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2 August 2016 - 12:28 pm
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retrying the second link:  http://www.ncbi.....d/27127605

On The Road


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2 August 2016 - 12:47 pm
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Thanks! For anyone else interested in bisphosphonates , don't miss our oncologist video interview...

Bisphosphonates: When Amputation isn’t an Option

And this informative pamphlet from the Veterinary Cancer Care center in Santa Fe, NM...

Bisphosphonates Brochure from VCC

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

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2 August 2016 - 12:52 pm
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Jenifer thank you for sharing the info. Looks like we need to interview Dr. Romansik. In 2010 we blogged about Zoledronate for pain relief, I'm glad to see that it's progressing as treatment in other ways. I'd love to find out what's new. Thanks again.

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

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2 August 2016 - 1:30 pm
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My first intro to bisphosponates was here and the info cited above.  After that I ventured out to the big ole internet for more info.  The info being accumulated and curated by the admins and other members is powerful.  Thank you.

Green Bay, WI


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2 August 2016 - 7:33 pm
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Welcome! As you might guess, I also have a Dobe - named Nitro - who had his right front leg amputated 2 years ago due to osteosarcoma. Nitro will be 11 on Halloween, and is doing great! It was a ruff 2 weeks after surgery, and there were many times I questioned our decision. But he slowly recovered, and I now know it was the best decision ever!

If you have slippery floors, make sure they're covered with either a runner or yoga mats work too. We used the Ruffwear Harness by Webmaster right from the time we picked him up at the vets - some will say wait till the staples come out, but we had no problem. We put it over a t-shirt, and it didn't interfere with the incision at all. We needed it, as he had trouble getting around at first, due in part to the pain meds making him foggy. We slept on the floor with him the first few nights; maybe got 15 min the first nite! In fact, our bed is still on the floor 2 years later. Once the staples/stitches come out, you will really notice an improvement. Keep up on the pain meds; I made a chart and set alarms for the various times and meds. He was on gabapentin and tramadol, and also came home with a fentynl patch. (which he didn't tolerate at all and had to take off early).

Today he is happy and hoppy, can go up and down stairs, and can run like the wind! Good luck, and keep us posted....live chat is great for advice and support, and our helpline is also good when you want to talk to a live body who's been where you are.

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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3 August 2016 - 10:31 am
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My oncologist states that Zoledronate is an osteoporosis therapy that might have anti cancer effects but helps control bone break down and therefore bone pain. It is given through IV so it goes everywhere in the body to treat the primary tumor and any itty bitty metastis sites. It also has a low chance of side effects. 

Amputation takes care of 98% of the disease and we are left with 2% which can grow new rumors. Therapy addresses this possibility and slows it's appearance in the body. 

She also said not to use supplements with greater than 50 IU of vitamin E since it can inhibit the activity of many chemotherapy agents and these are often a vital part of the therapy protocol. Many pet foods are using vitamin E for a preservative. Based on amount of vit E in these foods each meal is typically below the point where it can cause problems with response to drugs. 

She says consider adding caffeine free green tea extract as another supplement as this has been shown to have suggestive positive influence on cancer survival in humans. Use the smallest milligram dose capsule available. We recommend Life Extensions Decaffeinated Mega Green Tea Extract. Give one capsule by mouth once everyday. 

So, the Vet clinic that is performing the surgery is going to keep him there and I will be able to pick him up on Sunday or Monday. I am going to stay home for two or three days and then work half days for the next two to three weeks depending how Nico does. 

I just wanted to thank everyone for all their support and awesome advice!  I am just waiting for the big day now and I will keep you all posted!

Thank you so much!

Breana & Nico 

On The Road


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3 August 2016 - 8:16 pm
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Breana who's your oncologist? I really like her thinking.

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

Member Since:
29 July 2016
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4 August 2016 - 1:08 am
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Breana, our doberman Bentley just had his right front leg amputated Monday. He came home from the vet Tuesday and is doing really well!  Bentley will be 8 years old next month.  He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma three weeks ago and after confirming with bone core biopsies we decided on the amputation.  His lung xrays were clear and blood work normal.  We are waiting to confer with our vet about further treatment.  He's walking around pretty good and doesn't even seem to be in pain. Right now our main problem areas are stairs, mainly going down them and we have no carpeting on the main level of our home so that's been a little tricky but we're laying runners down and checking into getting rubber booties for him.  I will admit the first time we saw him after surgery i was a little shocked.  As you know, Dobies are rather chest heavy and i just wondered how he was going to support that chest and upper body with only one front leg!  I guess time will tell, i just know we want him to be around as long as possible and pain free!   Please keep us all updated on Nico, hoping for an uncomplicated surgery and recovery....take care.   Karen P

Bentley is our eight year old Doberman, diagnosed 7/13/16 with osteosarcoma tumor on right front leg, became a tripawd on 8/1/2016. His recovery was amazing, he was rockin it on 3! Bentley lost his fight to this nasty cancer when it metastisized into his spine, we had to let him go 11/13/16 exactly 4 months after first diagnosis. He was the perfect best friend, i'll miss him forever. :(

On The Road


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4 August 2016 - 6:51 am
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krnpena said
our doberman Bentley just had his right front leg amputated Monday.

Welcome and thank you for your feedback! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Start here if you ever need help navigating the many resources this community has to offer, and consider starting a new topic or a free Tripawds blog to share Bentley's story.

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

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4 August 2016 - 9:27 am
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Hi Jerry,

I would like to keep the forum " Advice for front leg amputation for lrg breed dog after surgery what to do" and continue to post on that one.

How do I delete this one?  Sorry this is my first time being on a forum.

Also I will give you the name of my oncologist on that forum.

Thank you.

Breana & Nico

On The Road


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4 August 2016 - 1:09 pm
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babynico8 said
I would like to keep the forum " Advice for front leg amputation for lrg breed dog after surgery what to do" and continue to post on that one.

No need to delete. Everyone will know that you're now posting at your other topic, here.

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

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