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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My 85lb 11yr GSD/Lab was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma on his front paw. Before we knew his diagnosis he had a lumpectomy in Sept to hopefully remove the tumor. Unfortunately it was intertwined with tendons and nerves my vet was unable to remove all of tumor. He was fine for about a month and a half until his tumor returned with a vengeance. He is currently limping pretty bad. I have him on Gabapentin (300mg), cbd oil and also rimadyll to help alleviate some of his pain but the tumor is growing so rapidly I dont know how much re-leaf he is getting. I asked my vet about amputation he did mention that he would definitely do an xray to see if there is anything in his chest and if so then would not recommend amputation. Also, he did also mention that the tumor would eventually burst through his paw and then he would have an open wound so then that’s when we would have to euthanize or amputate. I’m sooooo scared and nervous. I don’t know if i could handle seeing him without his leg, plus I’m really nervous about the whole recovery process. He does have hip dysplasia and also a little arthritis as well. I should also mention that he isn’t a very good patient. Doesn’t cooperate for the vet or us at times either when he needs dressing changes or stitches out. Any advice would be appreciated.
25 April 2007
He is currently limping pretty bad….the tumor would eventually burst through his paw…
I’m sooooo scared and nervous…
Welcome and best wishes for your pup! What’s his name?
As Jerry’s vet told us when he was limping so bad, he is already basically a three legged dog. The tumor pain will only get worse, while recovery pain can last only up to a couple weeks. There are many things you can do with proper rehab to compensate for arthritis, but of course every dog is different. If your vet believes your dog is a good candidate, then amputation may be the best option to help improve quality of life. A second opinion also never hurts!
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22 February 2013
Geez, so sorry you find yourself here. It’s such a kick in the gut to even hear the word “amputation “, and then emotion7 and physically draining to decide on what path to take.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You have come to the right place for information and support from people who understand like no others can. And k ow thst, whatever doc you make, we support you 100%.
As the Admin Guy says, your pup is already starting to adjust to life on three legs.
We’ve had numerous dogs with some arthritis, even hip dysplasia, do very well on three. If you can get to an Orthopedic Surgeon, they can asses rhe situation and give you some reassurance about his candidacy as a tripawd.
As far as seeing him without a leg. Remember, you are seeing a spot where there is no more pain because that bum leg is gone. It’s really harder to look at a sore leg that causes so much pain than it is to see a dog happily trotting along on three.
If you have access to an Orthopedic Surgeon, they will keep your pup on some good pain meed fot a night or two, very well supervised.
It’s one surgery, and other than a follow-up for stitch removal, there are not a lot of Vet trips involved at all. Now, recovery is nom picnic fot a couple pf weeks. Any yes, there can be some “issues” sometimes that may require a trip for two to the Vet if there are drainage issues, etc which happen sometimes. Recovery doesn’t last furever though!
Do your research, stay connected to is and ask as many questions as you need to, okay? We k ow rhis is not easy, but we also know your pup will feel sooooo much better with that very painful levb bone!!!! You will be doing this FOR him, not TO him!!!
We’re here with you every step of the way!! And what’s your “young’ man’s name?
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!
16 October 2012
I am sorry to hear about Monte’s diagnosis. Yes, amputation is a scary thing. It is a major surgery but once that painful leg is removed the pain will be gone and he will adjust. We all know it is a hard decision. I would try to make that decision before the tumor would burst. That would be even more painful.
Sally has given some good suggestions. If you need to talk to anyone we do have the Tripawds hotline and someone would be able to listen.
Michelle & Angel Sassy
Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013
05/04/2006 - Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19 fought cancer for 4 months.
"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."
23 April 2016
Hello – I am so sorry about Monte and I know you are in shock.
Amputation is such a personal decision, but I wanted to let you know my boy also had STS Nerve Sheath Tumor and I have blogged about how spectacular his recovery was. As a Malamute x Greyhound, he was similar size to your Monte and it was left front. Unfortunately for us, his tumor was not visible, it was hidden in the brachial plexus, and that meant it was closer to the spine and also went misdiagnosed for a long time (a year). That meant long term survival was not in the cards, but the relief and quality time the amputation brought him and us was of immeasurable value. I often say the only thing I regret about his amp is that it did not happen sooner when our odds might have been better.
With the location of your dog’s STS, the odds are better that an amp will be very effective at reducing the odds of any recurrence as opposed to higher up the leg or in the armpit like Pofi.
Please let me know if I can answer any questions. I don’t know if your boy is putting much weight on that leg or using it much – but Pofi had really stopped doing so before the diagnosis and amp and that made his transition to Tripawd very smooth.
When we were struggling early on before diagnosis and he had a toe removed, I remember being so traumatized and thinking, but at least it is not a leg. A good friend even said that same thing. When the hidden cancer was finally revealed and I knew how much pain it had been causing him, I did not think twice about the amputation. And I thought, I will still have my dog. And he will still be my beautiful boy.
And he was for 6 more months.
This is about 18 days post amp – at the bark park: Pofi Returns to the Dog Park
My blog link is in my signature. Whatever you decide, we are here to support you. Again, let me know if I can answer anything specific for you.
On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly. His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.
1 October 2017
What everyone else said, I can’t add much more…amputation is scary, but it’s the way to take away Monte’s pain and improve his quality of life.
My Fallon was 11 when osteosarcoma showed up. We were given similar options–in fact, out vet was against amputation giver her age, size, and that she is not always a good patient. He was advocating for pain meds. We consulted by email with a greyhound expert and the surgeon who eventually did the amputation and were convinced we should move ahead with the surgery.
Fallon enjoyed almost another year of life–that is about 7 years to you and me. When I say enjoyed, I am serious. My happy girl loved every day, we traveled and did things she loved. She rocked life on 3 legs.
It is a rough decision, the hardest we’ve ever had–you’ll be in our thoughts.
Fallon 8/28/06--9/6/18. My Heart.
Fallon's left front leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma on 10/11/17.
Nothing But Love in Her Heart - dawn3g.tripawds.com