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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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Confused as to pursue osteosarcoma treatment or not
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Member Since:
20 March 2022
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20 March 2022 - 10:52 am
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Hi community. I am the proud mama of a Lab girl aged 5. We recently learned she has osteosarcoma on her right hind leg. Yesterday we had a consultation with an oncologist who actually suggested I read through this webpage. Basically she said osteosarcoma can’t be cured so the aim will be to extend the life of Joaquina. The Plan is chemo and amputation and that will give her a year at the most, according to the average of the prognosis for this cancer. My girl is a bit chubby so first is getting her to lose weight before the amputation. When her dr mentioned all this to me it was no brainer as to ok let’s get her started with treatment, but then my dad  said “what if we don’t do anything and just do palliative care since it will be taking her through a lot” to be honest it was like a ton of bricks since I never stopped to wonder about not doing a thing. Right now her pain is being managed and honestly she is just herself through and through. My logic says that even with palliative care as the cancer advances this will change. I know every patient is different and the year mark could mean maybe more time I’m just so confused about what to do. I don’t want to put her through a lot as my dad said to have her suffer but to do nothing is just also cruel for me. I’m very VERY confused. Does anyone have any advice??

Livermore, CA




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20 March 2022 - 2:29 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry cancer has brought you here, but this is a great community to help you as you make these tough decisions.

First off- the stats the doc gave you are the averages- they are not about your girl- what is her name?  To be honest it is a bit of a crap shoot- some dogs live years (with or without chemo) some dogs live months (with or without chemo).  My personal experience was with a little Pug who had mast cell cancer.  She was given 6 to 9 months after amputation with chemo.  We did do chemo and Maggie lived almost 4 more years and did not pass from mast cell cancer.  Not all are so lucky of course but I gave her a chance.  If I had not done the amp and chemo we most certainly would only have had a few months, if that.

With bone cancer palliative care only works for a short time.  The pain from the tumor will soon be to great for pain meds to control.  Most dogs I see here are back to themselves in 2 to 3 weeks after amputation surgery. Recovery can be bumpy but not always- sometimes the younger pups seem to bounce right back.  My girl was an outlier- she took 6 weeks to get used to her new normal, but she had always been a stubborn Pug who hated changes to her routine.  And yes, during those weeks I was sure I had made a terrible mistake by choosing amputation! 

How chubby is she? I wouldn't wait too long before surgery.  Depending on how advanced the tumor is you risk a pathological fracture of the leg.  You can always start working on weight loss after surgery if that is the route you choose.

And BTW- whenever I am faced with a big medical decision for my dogs I ALWAYS ask what would happen if I do nothing.  I think it is important to have all the information and options.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

On The Road


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20 March 2022 - 3:09 pm
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Hi and welcome! Karen has given you some sage advice, I x2 everything she mentioned. 

At five years old, there's no reason why your dog can't do well on three. She's young (what's her name?), she energetic, and she has everything it takes to bounce back from recovery. Palliative care is sometimes a good option for dogs with health and mobility issues, but for a young dog who has the stamina and strength to bounce back, amputation can grant a longer, high quality of life. The surgery is not cruel, it's a way to get rid of pain. The same surgery is done for humans who have osteosarcoma. Nobody calls it cruel when that happens, because they know that the surgery will save their life so they can fight the disease. Same is true for dogs.

Not every dog will bounce back overnight, or outlive the prognosis. This cancer sucks! But, most do great, and many dogs DO go beyond the prognosis (our Jerry lived two years post amputation for the same cancer!). They surprise everyone in such a good way! You just never know.

This cancer teaches us that nobody can predict the future. It's not the way we want to learn that lesson, but it's a valuable one that will touch everything you do and make you so much more aware of how life is really a gift! 

It's a lot to consider, especially if your dad is helping to cover the cost, I'm sure he would like a say too. Has he been here yet? If not, bring him over and have him look around to see what life really is like after amputation. He will probably be surprised.

Please thank your oncologist for sending you here. Who is s/he? I'm nosy!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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21 March 2022 - 2:23 pm
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Thank you Karen and Jerry for your wonderful responses. My girls name is Joaquina, she is a yellow lab that loves the water, playing with tennis balls, and eat red bell chili peppers. We are from Mexico (Guadalajara to be more exact) and our oncologist name is Dr. Marisa Gonzalez Perez. She suggested we come here to look through information. At times is just so lonely sort of speak but I am glad I'm here. I know Joaquina trusts me on any decision I make for her.

Tomorrow she has an appointmet to get blood work done and complete her X rays to evaluate chemo. To be honest the waiting is the hardest part but that's the only thing I can do anyways.

The oncologist's plan is to start her on chemo, at the same time get her to lose weight, then do the amputation. She says this will give her a better chance at recovery and getting adjusted to be in three legs. We'll see.

Keep you updated guys thanks!

Virginia




Member Since:
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21 March 2022 - 6:22 pm
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Jist catching up on your vibrant girl Joaquina and went to add my pawsitive energy and support.  As you can see from the replies of Jerry and Karen, you have definitely  come to the right place to help you navigate through tripawd life.

You've started on a path forward and tjat in itself can help relieve  some stress.  Jist keep things chunked down and take one step at a time to determine  the best plan for your sweet pup.

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!

On The Road


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21 March 2022 - 7:04 pm
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You are so very welcome! I'm also glad that your vet told you to visit our community. How amazing and cool that she knew about us. My family is originally from Tlaquepaque, so we are almost like family to you! 🙂

It sounds like a good plan to get her started on the chemo. Many oncologists are starting it much earlier after diagnosis. It's a very modern way of thinking. I like it 🙂

Just be careful so that Joaquina doesn't get too wild or run around too much. The fracture risk is there and it's not pretty, I'd hate for that to happen to her. Thankfully dogs don't need long to lose weight, they can drop pounds pretty quickly. 

How is your house? Do you have lots of stairs inside or outside? Will Joaquina need to use them? What about your floors? Are they slippery? Be sure to put down lots of traction and consider a Ruffwear harness with a handle on top so you can assist her on any stairs. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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22 March 2022 - 12:29 pm
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I hope Joaquina had a good appt today as well. My Sampson’s went as good as can be expected.

Happy to provide support, a virtual shoulder or anything you need as we go through this unfortunate journey. 

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22 March 2022 - 12:38 pm
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Thanks Benny for your kind words. I think my biggest challenge right now is not to get ahead of myself. Today Joaquina has an appointment to get blood work, and x rays and an ultrasound of her heart all these to start her on chemo and also her oncologist mentioned maybe change one of her pain medications. I am just scared of all the what ifs that my mind can come up with and I am trying sooo hard to, as you said, take one step at the time.

Jerry we are family, Tlaquepaque is like 30 min drive from where I live so yes! I am most certainly keeping her calmed since with her pain medications she moves like nothing is wrong in the world. The stairs I mean there are not many but is a two story house so there are a few, will dogs get used to the stairs with three legs? I hadn't thought of the harness so I will take a look at that.

Thank you guys for your support.

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22 March 2022 - 12:40 pm
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sampsonmom said
I hope Joaquina had a good appt today as well. My Sampson’s went as good as can be expected.

Happy to provide support, a virtual shoulder or anything you need as we go through this unfortunate journey. 

  

Hi Sampson Mom, Joaquina's appointment is later so you can imagine all the anxious wait there is. Thanks so much for your support and here is my shoulder as well.

On The Road


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22 March 2022 - 1:21 pm
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Oh good luck today at the vet! We are keeping paws crossed for good test results!

Yes dogs can get used to stairs. But if they are slippery we always recommend assisting them with a harness. Here are some posts with more information:

https://gear.tr.....g/traction

Let us know how the test results look. And say hello to Tlaquepaque for me! I want to visit again someday!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Livermore, CA




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22 March 2022 - 2:05 pm
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I hope your vet visit goes well today.  Your vet sounds great!

I have a little Pug Mix rear amp Tripawd and a very old Pug, we all live in a split level house.  There are two indoor flights of stairs but only 7 or 8 steps each.  One flight is wood and one flight is tile so both are potentially slippery.  I have carpet treads taped down on both flights for traction for the dogs and as a visual aid for me (progressive lenses make looking down stairs tricky!).  My Tripawd Elly, who is only about 14.5 pounds, flies up and down the stairs without a problem.  She has learned to wait when I tell her to if I'm going up or down for just a minute so it saves her some steps.

Elly is really too small to help on the stairs in the house, unless I carry her which she does not like.  She always wears a harness when we are out of the house so if we run across stairs I can help take a little of the load but using her leash and harness. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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20 March 2022
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23 March 2022 - 1:28 pm
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Hi Guys an update here. Joaquina's visit went really good, the dr made x rays, an ultrasound and did some blood work. From the X rays she could see there is no metastasis to her lungs so it all looks good so far. We are waiting on the blood work but so far so good, fingers crossed this keeps going like that.

My dad got to meet her oncologist and it was good because she talked to him about how she sees Joaquina and how she thinks she is in a very good place to treat her cancer. I would recommend anyone that as much as possible, you have the dr speaking to the members of the family that might have questions or are not entirely sure on something.

Will keep you posted on how this journey keeps going.

Thanks guys!

On The Road


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23 March 2022 - 4:05 pm
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Thanks for the pawesome update!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 March 2022 - 7:12 pm
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So glad you AND your Dad had a good visit with Joaquina's doctor.. You both got to hear that Joaquina is a good candidate  for surgery if that's  the path forward you take.  And YAY for clear xrays!

Thanks for the pupdate👍

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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23 March 2022 - 9:45 pm
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anairis84 said
I would recommend anyone that as much as possible, you have the dr speaking to the members of the family that might have questions or are not entirely sure on something.

This is so true! Thank you for sharing. So is your Dad OK with the treatment now?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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