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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Cocker Spaniel with ivdd now has brachial plexus mass
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Member Since:
13 July 2017
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13 July 2017 - 6:02 pm
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We have a seven year old Cocker Spaniel that has had cervical ivdd (early disc mineralization) for the last 2 years. He has been on pain meds etc ever since diagnosis. For the past 4-5 months he has not used his right leg and prior to that walked with knuckling at his paw.  Yesterday he was very restless and holding is leg away from his body.  Off to the vet we went today.  Vet immediately felt a mass at his brachial plexus.  x-ray shows his chest and bone are clear.  He is scheduled for amputation 7/18.  There is no way to biopsy the mass.  I assume we are looking at possible cancer or could this be caused from the ivdd issues?  We have 2 boys and our 7 year old is having a very difficult time understanding what is going on.  Any suggestions on how to make this easier for him , beyond sending him to his grandparents for a week? :).   We want to give our pup the best life possible.  At a year old he was abused and left in a crate to die, almost euthanized and we adopted him from the rescue that saved him.  Thanks in advance for any info or suggestions.

Toddy's mom Heather

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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13 July 2017 - 6:19 pm
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Hi Heather and Toddy, welcome. Sorry I keep missing you in the Tripawds Chat room. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

I'm sorry to hear about Toddy, he's had a ruff go of things! But at least the vet caught whatever this issue is and now you're moving forward with a plan. I have no idea if IVDD could cause a mass but I'll be my friend at Lessons From a Paralyzed Dog might know.

Meanwhile, about your question:

our 7 year old is having a very difficult time understanding what is going on. Any suggestions on how to make this easier for him

I don't have kids, but I have seen kids follow their parent's lead. The more optimistic and "normal" you treat this, the more your son will accept it. Let him know that Toddy really hurts right now and this is going to help him feel better. There are many ways you can show him, through our photo gallery and our videos, and these children's books about amputee dogs, for example.

Others will chime in soon so hang tight!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
13 July 2017
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13 July 2017 - 7:25 pm
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Thank you Jerry!  I appreciate all of the info and the links!!!

Member Since:
26 January 2017
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13 July 2017 - 9:22 pm
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I can't help with the questions, but Toddy is adorable. I'm biased but Cocker Spaniels are the best. 

Best wishes to you and Toddy. Hopefully it's not cancer. 

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

Member Since:
30 August 2016
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14 July 2017 - 6:55 am
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Hi Heather & welcome! First of all, Toddy is ADORABLE! Sounds like he's had a rough go already in life, which tells me he's resilient also! I am hoping its not cancer but regardless, you will have tons of support on this page to help you through this!

As for your son, I'd be honest. Kids appreciate honesty. They don't do well with being lied to, or having things hidden from them, or being sneaky about it. It really messes with their trust!!  At age 7, he doesn't need all the gory details, but do let him know what's going on based on his age & level of understanding. I agree with Jerry that explaining how Toddy is hurting right now and the only way to fix him is to remove his leg because that's where the hurt is, is a great start!  Even though Toddy will be hopping around on 3 legs from now on, he will be happier because he's not in pain! Poor Toddy has already been limping and/or not using his leg for a while now, so he will likely be like my superstar Kylie who picked up the "tripawd hop" like a pro! Vet said she'd already been strengthening up those remaining legs, so hopping on 3 was a breeze because at least she didn't need to drag around that diseased painful leg anymore (Kylie's leg weighed 8 lbs by the way!! oh-my)

DEFINITELY look through videos on this site of other tripawds, especially front amputees like Toddy will be, and then show your son, so he is READY for what Toddy will look like after surgery and this will help him understand in his mind, that its OK. Toddy will be FINE. He'll just look a little different but thats OK because it makes him that much more special heart

Now if he seems OK with all of that, let him digest the info for a couple days & be ready to answer any questions he may have. Because I'm sure he will, as his mind processes all of that. Then, and only then, as you get closer to surgery date you may even want to show him some pics of the dogs with the shaved fur and the stitches/bandages showing. Because this is what Toddy will look like at first. They do shave ALOT more than you think they will, so its good to be prepared.blushIt took Kylie several months for her fur to come back in. She didn't wear a bandage though, but some do. But its just fur! It will grow back. winker

Anyway hope that helps! Not sure how young the other son is, but again, as long as its explained in a way that is child-friendly, he should know what's going on too. Lets face it, the 7yr old will probably tell him his version of it anyway! lol

Lastly, I wanted to say THANK YOU for rescuing Toddy & making him part of your family. Sounds like he's a pretty lucky guy to have found you!!  We adopted Kylie as well & its the best decision we've ever made.

Keep us posted on how things go!

Chris & Kylie xo

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13 July 2017
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14 July 2017 - 8:03 am
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Thank you David!  How is Rocky doing? How did his surgery and recovery go?  He is adorable!!!!

Thank you Chris and Kylie!  We have adopted our last 2 dogs (both cockers) and have been blessed to have them as part of our family.  My 7 year old has anxiety issues at times and we swear will either be a detective, lawyer or in the medical field. big-grin  He will literally ask you hundreds of questions in a span of a minute. I have been telling him things gradually.   All of your info helps and I will be looking at the videos.  Thank you! My 9 year old is dealing with it well and just goes with the flow.  I have explained things more in-depth to him and he just wants to love on his doggie brother as much as he can.

I'm so glad Kylie did so well (can't believe her leg weighed that much! ouch!!! ).  How was recovery for Kylie? . I'm not 100% sure what to expect. (I'm trying to look through the forums as much as I can.)  I'm in the medical profession with people but never with doggies.way-confused   Our vet said he is going to have to take Toddy's shoulder as well.  He already has a ton of atrophy due to not using that leg much but has definitely been strengthening his other legs and does pretty good on 3 legs, as of now.  I can just tell the tumor is giving him a lot of pain.  He has already been taking meds 4 times a day  for the last 2 years.

I can't thank you enough for your insight and kind words.  We just want to give Toddy the best life possible and hope he does well with healing.  (he is not the best doggie patient sleepy)  It took him a long time to recover from being abused and the Vet is the LAST place he wants to be!  We actually drive an hour away for this vet to address his ivdd (and he does so much better there) because our vet clinic that we use close to us, did not know how to work with him. 

I will keep you posted on the surgery recovery.  I'm so glad I found this website and appreciate all of the support!

Heather and Toddysmiley

Member Since:
26 January 2017
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14 July 2017 - 1:07 pm
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Rocky handled the surgery and recovery just fine. He had a bone biopsy done a couple of weeks before the amputation, and the recovery from that was tougher than from the amputation. I think you'll be amazed how well Toddy handles it.

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

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