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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What does it mean to Be More Dog?
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.
Meet Oakley- my 7 year old, 100+ lb male Newfoundland/lab/Anatolian Shepard mix. A few weeks ago he started limping (right hind leg). Thankfully, my Aunt is also my vet, and I was able to take him in to be seen right away. It looked like a soft tissue injury, and he loves to run and play in our fields, I figured he must have twisted his ankle in a gopher hole or something of the sort. We did an x-ray just to be on the safe side, and turns out he has a lytic bone lesion in his distal tibia. Official radiology report said most likely osteosarcoma, but recommended a biopsy.
We did a punch biopsy that came back saying there are inflammatory cells noted, but no cancer cells seen. I am an oncology nurse, so I have a fairly extensive history in reading pathology reports. They suggested a bigger sample. A few days later, he was back in surgery for a large biopsy of the area, and came back with the same thing, lots of reactive woven bone, but no neoplasia noted.
We will see the oncologist in a few days to get his opinion and potential treatment options, but I am having a hard time with the unknown. I have days where I cry and assume it is osteosarcoma and I only have a few months with my best friend, but then I get a glimmer of hope and think, maybe it's something else, because how can it be cancer if no cancer cells were seen on the biopsy?!?! But then I remember what I do for a living, and know that sometimes a definitive answer isn't always possible.
Thank you for reading my story, and I am sorry it is so lengthy! But if anyone has any experience in having multiple vets say "Huh, I don't know what this is" and the anxiety that goes along with it, I'd love to hear from you. Like I said, my Aunt is my vet, so I know every single possible thing to get me an answer thus far has been done, but the not knowing is causing me to have a real hard time!
Hi Marissa and Oakley! I'm sorry to make this so brief but I need to run for now and wanted to get you post approved so others can chime in. I will be back in the AM with some thoughts. For now, I just want to say that Oakley has a pawesome team, he's so lucky to have you and your aunt with all your combined knowledge and experience!
Many people have been in your situation and tomorrow I will try to remember to post some links to their stories. Yes it's so frustrating not getting a diagnosis yet but hopefully you will get a clearer picture soon.
How is his leg otherwise? Is it to the point where it needs to be amputated regardless? Did you get any thoughts from your aunt about the condition of the leg bone?
Ok back tomorrow! Stay strong!
Hello and thank you! While things are still up in the air regarding if it needs to come off, my aunt is thinking it probably does (she is the one who referred me to Tripawds). There is clearly bone breakdown near his hock. The rest of his leg looks great however! I am hoping and praying that the oncologist has another idea of what it could be, and how it can be treated without amputation, but this website has already helped so much in getting me through the first stages of accepting this is something that may happen.
One of Oakley’s favorite activities is racing cars along our stone wall as they drive by, and learning that he may be able to do that again makes my heart so happy! He hasn’t been able to in the past month since starting to limp, and the neighbors sure have noticed! It’s something everyone that drives by loves to do and when I meet people who find out he’s mine, they love to talk about who beat who last time they drove by.
The thought of a “timeline” is so heartbreaking but if he can race cars for a few months, and cool off in the pond after, I think this may be the way to go!
Hey Marissa, you sound better already! I'm so glad to see your post. Please thank your aunt from us. We consider it the highest compliment when a vet refers a client to us.
Your aunt vet's opinion about the leg is good perspective, just in case. Of course we are keeping our paws crossed that this is not a condition requiring amputation. Tripawd Power coming your way!
Of course Oakley can race cars! He may do it in shorter increments and you'll need to regulate it for a while while he gets strong, but it's totally possible.
The timeline is an interesting thing. It's there suddenly to remind us that our time together may be limited because of a disease. But really, the timeline is there all along. And the truth is that with or without cancer, nobody can ever predict when a timeline will end. We only have today as a guarantee, that's it. It's one of those lessons that cancer teaches us, we become more mindful of our limited time on the planet. But it's a good thing to remember as humans, because dogs like Oakley have been trying to remind us all along. We call it learning to Be More Dog .
Let us know how the week unfolds for you. Oh, and here is a Forum Search Result about inconclusive diagnosis situations. There's some sifting required but you'll see that your situation isn't that uncommon unfortunately.
Thank you for sharing the links to those stories! The plan is my aunt is coming to the oncologist visit with me, and if his recommendation is to amputate, my aunt is prepared to take him to surgery that afternoon to remove the leg. It feels like it is happening so fast, but I know this will be for the best. Oakley’s favorite place in the world is our camp, and if he has surgery this week, stitches should be out by the end of the month and he will be able to move around by the time the first week of July rolls around and can hopefully enjoy camp fairly pain free. We have decided this will be better than him hobbling around in pain and risking breaking his leg.
Of course hoping Wednesday rolls around and this surgery is not needed, but everything will be in place in case it is. Looks like I will be moving into looking at more of the "treatment and recovery" forums soon enough.
Here are some pictures of Oakley and his sister Remi (and a cousin or two) enjoying camp! (Sorry there are so many, he is just so darn cute!)
Oakley loves playing lifeguard!
22 February 2013
First of all, there is no such thing as too many pictures around here!! We love pictures, especially when they are of a dog as handsome as Oakley! He is stunning!! And clearly quite the athlete which is a good when a dog is fit and strong IF he needs the surgery! That close up photo of you and Oakley...s beautiful treasure♥️
Yes, it is scary to think of "amputation ", but IF he needs it, it will remove that painful leg. AMD clearly it is painful. The reality is, he cannot continue with a pain that diminishes his quality and deprives him of activities that bring him joy. IF amputation is needed, it gives him the opportunity to be Oakley again and love life to the fullest. Dogs don't care about days on a calendar and Oakley sure doesn't have a timeframe stamped anywhere on that handsome butt of his. They just love effortlessly from one mome t to the next with no worried about the tomorrows.
Stay connected and k ow that we are right by your side wherever this joirney takes you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
Oh, I'll have to do a search ( maybe Jerey can help), but we have video of a three legger competing in dock diving contests, we have video of mew me,ber doggy walking on a big old tree log like he always did before, we have video of dogs running like the wind.oh good. ..so many dogs to inspire amd reassure you
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
I love what Jerry said about "timelines". So true!
timeline is there all along. And the truth is that with or without cancer, nobody can ever predict when a timeline will end. We only have today as a guarantee, that’s it. It’s one of those lessons that cancer teaches us, we become more mindful of our limited time on the planet. But it’s a good thing to remember as humans, because dogs like Oakley have been trying to remind us all along. We call it learning to Be More Dog .
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!
I agree, never too many photos! What a sweet boy, and so handsome. Seeing the fun and smiles is making ME smile, much needed on a Monday that's for sure
Yeah this kind of thing tends to give a person whiplash, but the sooner the better so that Oakley can get on with life and rock the camp and the world! I hope you don't need to amputate but if you do, prepare to be amazed! Keep us posted OK?
Hello Marissa and Oakley! I am curious how your story has progressed to date? My name is Amy and I am mom to almost 8yo Gunnar, a German Shepherd. He became lame also on his right rear leg with a mass on his hock almost one month ago and has recently seen an ortho specialist. They thought it could be aspergilla fungus but test this week proved it looks 'most likely' like a tumor instead and the fungus is all but ruled out. We are still waiting on more results from the aspiration on his left rear leg since the radiographs show some deterioration there as well before we move on to the biopsy. The word amputation has been thrown around since day one so I am mentally accepting of this. My concern is 'life expectancy' and 'amputee candidate'. Any more experience you've had since your last post would be greatly appreciated!
HI Gunnar and Amy, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval, so please start a new topic all your own so we can help you on this journey (which hopefully isn't the cancer one!). Thanks for checking in on Marissa and Oakley, I'd love to know how they are doing as well.
Real quick, I'll have more when you start a new topic, but for now the #1 thing to keep in mind is that despite the grim prognosis osteosarcoma has, many dogs will outlive the prognosis. Our own Jerry made it two years past his amputation for osteosarcoma, and many dogs have gone longer. It's not a guarantee, but it's something to hope for. And also, remember that dogs don't keep calendars. They only know that right here is what they've got and they want to make the best of it with the people they love most in the world.
Let us know how we can help you in a new topic OK?
And Mairssa and Oakley we are waiting to hear back, looking forward to a pupdate!