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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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amputate or euthanasia, senior with cancer and hip dysplasia/arthritis
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Member Since:
19 May 2022
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19 May 2022 - 12:21 pm
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Our ten year old mix is very active with severe hip dysplasia and arthritis for which vet recommended regular gabapentin and phsyio. (By very active I mean he was running with a pack daily for hours in March.) Out of the blue this week he was diagnosed with sarcoma. One option may be to amputate the front leg; since radiation therapy looks brutal, the only other option may be euthanasia. He would be a 10 year old tripawd with hip dysplasia and arthritis. I want to give him a chance if the only other option is euthanasia. Does anyone else have experience with this situation? How viable would he be and quality of life? Surgeon said eventually he could have the femoral head surgery and would do very well with that.  

The Rainbow Bridge


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19 May 2022 - 7:27 pm
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Hi @poochismos....thanks for patiently waiting for your post to be approved! I'll be back in a bit with some feedback, have lots of thoughts. Stay tuned for more feedback from the community!

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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19 May 2022 - 8:25 pm
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What's your spunky pup's name?   How much does he weigh?  A large or medium or smaller dog??

 Up to this point, did the physio and Gaba keep him "running with the pack?  So this is an Orthopedic Surgeon who has evaluated  him and feels like he's a good candi for surgery....all things considered?  How soon did the Surgeon think hip replacement  surgery  would be necessary  after amputation??

And yes, we have seen many dogs much older than your pup do well as a tripawd.  We've seen dogs with ar do well and dogs with hip dysplasia  do well.  And yes, we've had Tripawds have dysplasia surfery, cruciate knee surgery, etc.  Not saying recovery from either of those for a tripawd was easy, ,but certainly  doable. Granted, having the hip dysplasia and arthritis combo adds another layer of concern.  Have these two "conditions" been slowing him down?

Have you spoken with an Oncologist  to discuss other options?        Zoledronate, a bisphosphonate drug, used in peer to strengthen  the bone, may be and option and doesn't  always need to be used in conjunction  with radiation. Not sure how that works with a sarcoma. 

 Also you could get a second opinion  on amputation  from another Orthopedic Surgeon to reassure you if amputation  is a good option.

Sorry for the questions!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


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19 May 2022 - 10:02 pm
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Looks like Sally beat me to some questions I was wondering about too. Do you know what kind of saroma he was diagnosed with? There are different types and treatment depends on the type.

Radiation therapy can be done very strategically now in a process known as Stereotactic Radiation Therapy. It's very precise, only requires a few visits, and doesn't damage surrounding tissues the way traditional radiation therapy does. It's not done everywhere but if it's near you it's a good option should you decide not to amputate.

What is your dog's breed type? He sounds very young at heart! When it comes to age and dogs, age really is just a number. 

Many people think their dog isn't a good candidate because they have arthritis, but we find that it really depends on the dog's physical condition. Sounds like your vet thinks he's a good candidate for life on three. If you want another opinion it's a good idea and will put your mind at ease. An orthopedic surgeon can help, have you talked to one yet? That's where I would go next if you want more peace of mind. Ask your vet for a referral, a good vet won't be offended that you asked, they get it.

Looking forward to learning more about your pup!

Member Since:
23 May 2022
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23 May 2022 - 5:50 am
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Thanks all! It's "Poochismos" here. I had to get a new account "stephankohout" because I'm having some password issues with that the first one.

Skye is 30 kilos or 60 pounds. He is a medium dog. He is a border collie, husky, lab mix. He is a beauty and a sweetheart!

The ortho surgeon thought he could use some intense physio rehab like underwater treadmill, swimming and gabapentin to get more out of his hips. He had a period of time a few weeks ago when he was limping quite a bit so the ortho surgeon recommended bed rest for a few weeks then physio. He said he was a good candidate for FHO (femoral head ostectomy) one day but was not at that stage yet. (He preferred that procedure over the full hip replacement). I am having a follow-up appointment with him tomorrow.

We learned yesterday that he has hermangiosarcoma, a very aggressive and mostly terminal cancer. We are still learning more, but it looks like the only option may be surgical removal with amputation of the right front leg completely. Even with that, he may only get 6 months more. Rarely do dogs get a year.

He has so much life left in him I want to give him a chance.

I talked to a couple of physios who thought three legs with hip dysplasia/arthritis is treatable. His current physio, however, did not recommend amputation with the hip dysplasia and arthritis because she thought it would put too much strain on his hips. However, she did think that if he got one of the new full limb prosthesis (3Dpets), it may be doable. 

Knowing his prognosis is poor, is it fair to put a dog through an amputation and recovery, knowing he may only have 6 months? 

I would do it - I would do anything to keep him around longer, but is it fair?

I need to understand more about how traumatic amputation is for a dog; what does recovery look like; how can I support him during recovery (can I use a harness on him to help him get up?); how pets do on full limb prostheses. Is there any information you can share about that?

Thank you kindly, Steph/Poochismos

Virginia




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23 May 2022 - 12:29 pm
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Quick question Have the Vets suggested anu further  testing, xrays etc to see if the hermangio has spread to any organs?  Also, ask about Yunnan  Baiyao if there are any signs of it.

Will check back later and five feedback o somet your questions  as fas a recovery, etc.

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:
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23 May 2022 - 2:26 pm
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Thanks Sally. Yes x-rays showed that nothing yet on the lungs. Just concerned about the probable spread seemingly destined to happen. So with surgery he could have 6 months? Maybe more if we are lucky? Getting an opinion from an ortho surgeon on his hips and if he believes they could handle being a tripawd. Thank you again, Steph

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25 May 2022 - 5:08 pm
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Sorry in advance that I'm long winded...

I will say I struggled and still do with the "fairness" that you mentioned. I do think my decision to amputate my dog's leg was selfish HOWEVER it was the right choice for us. Fairness/selfishness they mean different things to different people. If you feel your dog would say, "yes, do it" then go for it is my mentality. My dog is about 2 weeks post op rear hindlimb amputation- unknown but a probable cancer related femur fracture expedited the decision between euthanize or amputate. 

Buddy has spinal compression, longterm rear limb instability, arthritis + non mobility related concerns. 16 years old, lively but fragile. He would chase the other dogs until his legs gave out, if I let him. Your dog sounds much more capable already if he's going for hours!

I feel like your thought process may have been similar to mine? We want are active dogs to be remain active and not be frustrated with their limited mobility, especially when we're asking them to undergo surgery and recovery, with potentially short time frames before becoming possibly terminal. 

I thought of my worst case scenario and I decided even that would be worth it. I.e.  recovery 30 days, dies in 61. Morbid I know, but it helped me decide. Ideally, it would mean 31 days of fun. 

As far as what you can do, I'm getting a small metal frame pool to do swimming exercises at home. It looks like it'll cost less than $200, small enough to drain and clean by hand but a filter can be added. 7'×5'×26" I believe. 

Laser therapy, acupuncture would be great to do on a regular basis + physical therapy and what they can teach you at home. There's a lot of massages and exercises you can replicate on your own. 

We have a wagon in case he wants to go an adventure he might not be able to do. It's from Dick's and has all terrain wheels. 

They make prosthetics , like you mentioned and it's on my mind as well. They may make wheelchairs for front leg amputees, I've never seen it but I can picture it lol I brainstorm too much. Or even just a regular one to offset his hip issues? 

Worse case scenario, I will run with my dog in a sling so he can chase and do whatever he wants if it comes to it.

I imagine they make front leg slings to purchase. So if you're willing to even just do that until the end of time, you're dog shouldn't feel frustrated. At least, that's my hope. 

My dog is not even 2 weeks out and he's walked some solo. After he was off of tramadol, I could clearly see my happy dog was back. I don't feel I asked for more than he was willing. The surgery pain has subsided already and the pain from the leg was cured with removal. 

If you can live with your worst case scenario, do all the crazy things to help them have fun,  can be at their beck and call until they've healed or forever if they don't (very few cases where I've seen anyone post that).. then i don't think it's unreasonable to try. 6 months is a long time if you make every day count. 

Virginia




Member Since:
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25 May 2022 - 7:31 pm
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Budey's hooman, thank you for such a thorough and heartfelt response to Steph.  I'm sure it will be helpful, especially  by sharing your thought process. 

Let us know what the Ortho Surgeon says, and then  you can at least have more information  as far as his how he may fare on three.

You can also ask the Ortho Surgeon about a prosthesis.   I know ot involves  a lot of settings, adjustments etc.   Plus the surfery has to be done in a way that's conducive  to the fitting.

Update when you can on the Surgeon's feedback and then we can go into more detail more recovery,  etc.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


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25 April 2007
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26 May 2022 - 12:50 pm
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cloud23 said
Sorry in advance that I'm long winded...

I will say I struggled and still do with the "fairness" that you mentioned. I do think my decision to amputate my dog's leg was selfish HOWEVER it was the right choice for us. Fairness/selfishness they mean different things to different people. If you feel your dog would say, "yes, do it" then go for it is my mentality. My dog is about 2 weeks post op rear hindlimb amputation- unknown but a probable cancer related femur fracture expedited the decision between euthanize or amputate. 

  

No need to apologize, every word is priceless to others faced with this tough decision. We are so grateful you shared all the experience, concerns, and highs and lows you've encountered yourself. THANK YOU!

P.S. Don't forget the Tripawds Foundation can help you get answers to all those questions about assistive devices, carts, etc. Our Vet Rehab Reimbursement Program can pay for your first rehab visit 🙂 Feel free to start a new topic with any questions you have, we're happy to chime in and share what we know.

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