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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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Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Advice appreciated, Amputation or Euthanasia??
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Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
3 June 2008
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3 June 2008 - 1:32 pm
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Hoping I hit the right audience:

My wife and I are blessed with a wonderful 9 1/2 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback dog called ASH.  He weighs 57kg, not fat, just a big clumsy guy.

Just lost his sister to an unrelated illness, but has got over it in his own way.

Has been on antibiotics, anti -Inflamatories and pain killers after noticing swelling to his hind right leg approx 6 weeks ago.

Xray revealed swelling around the bone, suspected infection or tumor.

Vet has now diagnosed in all probability the latter, Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

The delemma we have is the Vets advice, Euthanasia. She says, with his age and weight, amputation is not an option.

With total trust in the Vet, we get our minds around the inevitable.

Then we see your Web Page, 'Tripawds'. We are absolutely astounded, quite confused, but at the same time elated and hopeful at what we are reading.

The last thing we would wish for, is to see Ash suffering due to our own    indecissions, and not make the right choice at the right time for him. With all he has given us over the years, surely we must consider the option and not be worried about challenging the expert.

He is on pain killers only right now, in an attempt to make his last days with us as comfortable as possible. Otherwise he is in top form, getting around on three legs and very alert in mind and body.

Are we clutching at straws, or should we be thinking about challenging the Vets decission?

Any advice either way would be greatly appreciated.       

 

Forum Posts: 52
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3 June 2008 - 1:58 pm
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You need a second opinion.  Find a vet that really knows cancer, and has done a fair amount of amputations. 

Forum Posts: 10
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3 June 2008 - 3:17 pm
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I wholeheartedly agree a second opinion is in order. Find a vet who knows cancer and talk to a surgeon that has done many amputations. My Tasha(Rott/Great Dane mix) weighed 54kg before amputation of her right front leg and she has done fabulous. Many bigger Danes have done well also. Amputation would allow a biopsy which could get you a definite diagnosis. Then you can decide where to go from there. In my opinion, the more information you have, the better decision you can make.

 

Tasha

Manchester, UK
Forum Posts: 210
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3 June 2008 - 4:34 pm
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Hi and welcome to Jerrys site.

I absolutely agree with the others regarding a second opinion.

If the vet were to say that your dog was not a good candidate for amputation (and chemo or whatever) because of other factors, for example a spread to the lungs or a spread elsewhere, thats one thing but weight/size alone of the dog is not a good enough reason for your vet to rule out amputation in my opinion.

Here, we know of many bigger dogs (including a great dane) who have managed perfectly well after an amputation - so if your vet is not prepared to carry out surgery, I'd find one who is - and very quickly.

I think your next move should be to see a vet who specialises in canine cancers and find out if surgery (and any other treatments) are an option for your boy.

Best of luck - and let us know what happens!

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

Forum Posts: 34
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3 June 2008 - 5:10 pm
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second opinion absolutely!!!

We took scout in the fall 2007 to one surgical specialty hospital, based on his xray, that vet diagnosed cancer and recommended taking the leg off that day.

we went to another specialty hospital, oncology, friends of mine.  The oncologist walked the entire team of oncologists by the x ray and said, "we can't call it cancer on xray." Needle biopsy, negative.

We did a bone and tissue biopsy... negative, we were lucky we know! Not to give you false hope but specialists are worth it!

But it was a nasty dysplasia that resulted in scout's leg amputation last tuesday.  (he has done really well, read scout the wonderdog thread)

I thank my lucky stars for THIS group of people, they have helped me make a very tough decision and get through these early days of healing.  Scout looks great today and is out of pain.

I hope you find a good resource and one which will support you well if you go the tripod route.

 

Lauren and scout 

lauren

Forum Posts: 6
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3 June 2008 - 8:25 pm
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Speaking as an owner of a "new" tripawd, I would certainly get a second opinion on that option.  Buck Leigh is 12 and we were expecting a knee repair when we found out we were dealing with an already broken bone and osteosarcoma.  It's a lot to take in at once, but Buck just had her staples removed this afternoon and is doing great 2 weeks post surgery.  We have been very fortunate with no major complications and she was up and around in a very short time.  She is now hopping like a pro!  All of the group on this website made our decision and experience more easy to handle and they will be there to support you as well.  Good luck!

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 June 2008 - 10:46 pm
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Yep, have to agree with everyone on getting a second opinion.

I'm going to guess that by your searching for a website about three legged dogs, that you were looking for hope, for a sign that Ash could make it on three legs.  Well, here's your sign, us Tripawds!

A second opinion is so valuable. Please let us know what you decide to do. Remember though, there are no "right" decisions, whatever you decide, and whatever happens. There are risks in everything.. We know the route you decide to take will be in the best interest of your beloved Ash. Keep us posted.

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 24
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4 June 2008 - 12:10 pm
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Please get a second opinion for sure.  I was very hesitant about amputation but after doing a lot of research and watching alot of "tripawds" on "youtube" I knew Sasha would do well with only 3 limbs.  Sasha is 8 weeks post-op and was supposed to start chemo yesterday but her CBC (Complete Blood Count) was too low so we will try again on Friday.

 Unfortunalty, without a second opinion you will always have that in the back of your mind "Did I do the right thing". Please make sure you do your home work and only choose euthenasia if there is no other option. 

 I am very thankful we decided for amputation even though it may only prolong her life for another 2-12 months.  I would rather have her another 2 months than not at all.

 Keep us posted and good luck!!

Sherry and Sasha

Forum Posts: 345
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5 June 2008 - 6:48 pm
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Speaking of totally trusting a vet... I did as well. My Buster was going to him since he was  a puppy. He is 9 years old now. He did the first biopsy ($900.) on his tumor to tell me my dog had a rare bacteria infection. He told me to return in 2 weeks and treated him with high levels of antibiotic.

Something in my gut told me this is not the case. I took over to the Univ of Penn which has an oncology dept. He had to have a 2nd biopsy which confirmed my intuition was correct. It was a tumor. Thankfully low grade, which resulted in amputation. However it did not spread!

If i had waited like my trusted vet suggested .... God only knows the outcome. Plan & simple they are human and make mistakes. I no longer go to him. Even though i felt comfortable with the Dr... but i have lost the trust i once had. I feel he let me down ...

Please see someone that specializes in this field. Whatever your comfort level with your Dr...For your peace of  mind as well as your beloved pet! KIM&BUSTER

PS the first biopsy wasnt close enough to the bone to determine cancer, also Buster had prior acl repair to his hind leg as well as monderatly hyper flexed remaining forlimb & he is doing well...Good Luck

"Knowledge is power"

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

Forum Posts: 4
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3 June 2008
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5 June 2008 - 7:13 pm
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UPDATE ON ASH

Glad we found the right audience:

Firstly, so many thanks to all of you from Ash, my wife Vanda and myself Steve. 

Ash has now been referred to a Consultant Specialist Veterinarian, who will hopefully look at our opinion as to what may be best for him.  This 'Pets Surgery' seems like a minefield of knowledge.  Ash has been assigned a specialist in canine cancer, so should be given the opportunity to express himself on his consultation interview (with the help of a print out of your replies and a footage of our video recordings of him over the last few days).

Perhaps our present Vet's were only doing as best they could as the small practice they are.  She admitted to me that the largest amputation she had done was on a cat.  Fair enough, but I only felt like I was truly being listened to, when she was presented with a few posts from this god-send website. 

It would be nice to think that if lessons have been learned from this encounter with you all, the benefits will reach both the pet families and the professionals with whom we depend on.

We will reply to you all personally in the near future.  In the meantime, Ash passes on his thanks, and hopes all his new friends out there a speedy recovery.  He appologises on behalf of his human family, on our inability to use our brains to download a picture of him onto his page. We will very soon.

Ash lives in Manchester, UK.  Out of interest, am I correct in saying that the majoritory of you are from the USA? 

 

   

Forum Posts: 27
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5 June 2008 - 9:03 pm
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Hi Ash and parents - very glad you are now seeing a specialist!  My own story is similiar to others here - my own vet diagnosed my golden retrievers problem as a torn ligament -but the specialist vet diagnosed it as osteosarcoma.  Its important to see a specialist as they can help come to a definitive diagnosis sooner. 

Re your question about where we all come from - personally I am english, coming originally from Bath in Somerset in the UK.  I married an american and have been here in Seattle, in the Northwest of the United States for 6 years.  I think we are a fairly international bunch!

Best wishes, Carolyn and Winston ( golden retriever and left back leg amputee for 5.5 weeks.) 

 

 

Forum Posts: 47
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5 June 2008 - 10:56 pm
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Hello to you all. My name is Micki, and Mr. Buster and I live in Los Angeles. Thanks for having us.

 I'm new today to your site and wish I had found you weeks ago. I'm not going to type out the whole story as it's too anquishingly fresh right now. My boy Mr. buster, a 14 yrs old pug just lost his leg this morning in surgery and had difficulty coming out of anesthesia, but is stable. Please see my blog to hear of his acct:  

 http://cannedpu.....gspot.com/

 I will only say one thing now. SEE A SPECIALIST! And find one not afraid to tell you what he would do if it were his dog. Too many vets, like a lot of society these days want to be "politically correct" so they won't be sued and not give advice, to the detriment of the dog. My wonderful DR. made a diagnosis yesterday and I put him in surgery today. The regular vet made a misdiagnosis, (with both my dogs!) put a cast on the leg which damaged it further. It was my intuition something wasn't right and I cut the cast off after 4 hrs.

 I don't know if my boy will be able to survive this trauma of surgery. If he does, I know he'll be fine on 3 legs. So now I just wait. Please visit him on his blog and also read if you will, of the account of Miss WiggleButt Sophie Sophia, who passed gentle just a month ago.

I welcome any inquiries and will monitor this site as it's holding me up tonight.

 Micki and Mr. Buster

micki z.

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 June 2008 - 11:23 pm
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stgeorge said:

UPDATE ON ASH

Ash has now been referred to a Consultant Specialist Veterinarian, who will hopefully look at our opinion as to what may be best for him.   


Oh wonderful! Please let us know how it goes. If you'd like, we will post the photo for you, just jerry@tripawds.com" target="_blank">email it to me.

As far as the Tripawd pawrents here, it's a great mix of people from around the globe. Mostly U.S. but we also get many from places as far away as Bulgaria and Australia. Thank you for joining us!

 

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: 27
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24 April 2008
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6 June 2008 - 2:38 am
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micki z said:

I don’t know if my boy will be able to survive this trauma of surgery. If he does, I know he’ll be fine on 3 legs. So now I just wait.


Hi Micki - Im so sorry to hear of Mr Busters surgery, and know you will be very anxious tonight. But you can read on this site of many senior dogs who have pulled through fabulously. And pugs live to be a ripe old age - so 14 years for a pug is probably equivalent to about 10 years for a lab - so Mr Buster is not really that old if you see what I mean. I think I rang my poor vet about 4 times on the day of my dog's surgery - and many many times the day after!! So I have no doubt you will be up and about tonight! When do you pick him up - do you know yet? Read others stories about what to expect post surgery and advice on painkillers - they can make your dog seem more 'out of it' than he actually is. I wont witter on at this point - you have enough to think about - and I have no doubt that you will get much support here. This website pretty much saved my sanity in the difficult weeks post surgery.

Try to get some sleep!! Best wishes,

Carolyn and Winston ( Golden Retriever, 6years old and 5.5 weeks post amputation of left rear leg due to osteosarcoma.)

 

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6 June 2008 - 10:06 am
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This is not meant as a slight to vets, because they do wonderful jobs in most cases, but if you are reading on this site, and are unsure of what is wrong with your limping dog, please find a cancer specialist, or someone that is really good at looking at x-rays.  Make sure they x-ray the WHOLE leg, and not just part of it, as well as the chest.  My opinion is that many vets are not trained well enough to diagnose cancer in dogs, and it is important that if you are going to catch it, you catch it fast, and amputate immediately as cancer can be very aggressive.

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