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Considering amputation and wondering about the end
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12 January 2018 - 12:23 pm
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First piece of advice: Try not to think about the end. Live in the now. Easier said than done, of course. Cancer is a POS that plays by its own rules. Some dogs got years after the amputation; some only weeks. But whether it’s weeks or years, try to enjoy every moment. 

As far as my experience: I remember reading that roughly 90 percent of the time, the disease travels to the lungs. We were one of the 10 percent. Rocky had his right front leg amputated because I didn’t want him to suffer through a pathological fracture. He did great for about five months. Then the cancer started spreading down his side. He had several tumors along his side and back, but his lungs were clear. One night, he couldn’t walk or stand so I took him the emergency vet. X-rays showed a tumor had formed in his back left leg and it caused a pathological fracture. We had no idea it was broken until the X-rays.

Best of luck. Try to stay positive. 

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. 

Baltimore, MD
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12 January 2018 - 12:59 pm
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Hi all and thanks for the new replies. 

After the first few days, I had Annie on the max dose of the painkillers (Rimadyl and Gabapentin) and it was clearly making her feel totally back to normal. No limping, full-on sprinting and jumping at the park, ravenous appetite, and most of all her spunky attitude was back. A week later we had her swollen lymph node tested and learned there was no cancer there. Since then we have been going with the flow. It’s been a bit over three weeks since her x-ray. We’ve been careful taking her down the stairs and helping her jump down from the car, etc., even though she wants to do everything like she used to. Since she has been feeling so much better, it’s given my husband and I more time to think it all over and we agree that if the purpose of amputation is pain relief, we will wait to take that step until the pain meds aren’t working for her anymore. So, we will cross that bridge when we come to it, and know it could happen anytime. Meanwhile just making sure she is doing as much fun stuff as possible, spoiling her at mealtimes and cuddling with her every day. Thanks again for everyone’s input and well wishes!heart

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12 January 2018 - 6:23 pm
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It was almost 4 weeks between when we first learned Otis’ limp was probably due to osteosarcoma and when we amputated (just this Monday!). He had to get x-rays of his chest done the day of amputation to make sure everything looked good, but in between the medications did a fairly good job of helping him. He was limping but still wanted to go on walks and otherwise was his normal good spirited self, in fact the day before amputation he was so bored he came and threw all of his toys at me one by one as if to say “lady, I’m alive and I’ve got energy to burn!”

I was JUST like you at the beginning, thinking about the end, and prognosis and all of that until this website helped give me a new perspective. 

Hoping for the best for you and your sweet girl! Get all the snuggles you can and appreciate them. Every day with our dogs is a gift and if the meds are keeping her happy, that is great!

-Camille and Otis

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12 January 2018 - 11:14 pm
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Murphy had been limping for about 5 months before his amputation due to a misdiagnosis.  His was actually histiocytic sarcoma rather than osteosarcoma, which can be very aggressive.  He was 7 years old at the time, and we were told that his prognosis was 12-18 months “if we were lucky.”  I was very lucky to stumble on this place!  Murphy never let anything get in his way – he participated in 2 Bark For Life walks for the American Cancer Society, and 1 walk for the PuppyUp Foundation – raising money and awareness for cancer research.  He lived a full and happy life after surgery.  We were able to spend over 4 years with him until he developed a different cancer, a hemangiosarcoma.  

We had wanted to do an at-home euthanasia for Murphy since we have other dogs, but it didn’t work out that way for us.  Murphy had been acting a little “off” that weekend so we had to try to get him in to the vet for an evaluation.  The only type of appointment they had was one where we took him in & she looked at him in between other patients.  With the tumor in his spleen, his blood work indicated that it might be bleeding, so he stayed the day at the office until my husband came home from work.  We then took our other 2 dogs up to the vet where they spent some time with Murphy and we were able to hold him and all be with him as we said good-bye.

Yes, amputation will help relieve Annie of pain.  However, waiting until the pain medications are no longer working may lead to an emergent situation for you.  Osteosarcoma eats away at the bone, making it very weak, which can cause it to break.  If that happens, you may need to take her in to an emergency vet and have them perform surgery.  They may not have very much experience doing this type of surgery, and Annie could have a lot of complications.  You really are better off doing this in a controlled situation.  That way you know that the surgeon you want, someone you have researched and trust, who knows Annie’s case and history, is the one doing her surgery.  Emergency surgery is also much more expensive.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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13 January 2018 - 6:20 am
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Yes, I’ll echo what Donna said. We absolutely wanted to avoid a pathological fracture with Otis. Having read of other’s experiences, I knew this would be traumatic for both him and us and needlessly painful for him. It was very important for us to have a plan in place and monitor him carefully leading up to his amputation. Our vet told us we had some time because his first x Ray was atypical, but at the time of amputation, our surgeon told us he was glad we did it when we did it because the bone was pretty weak. So do keep that in mind. 

Canada
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13 January 2018 - 7:37 am
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Hi again

if I may please put my thoughts into this, for what they’re worth…

Stewie had also been limping on and off for a while before his diagnosis of Osteosarcoma. We thought it was a sprain or something in his shoulder. It didn’t appear to bug him very much. (We didn’t have him on any pain killers for this!) Then one day, when he jumped off our UTV and screamed out in pain, we took him in to the vets right away! 

The Xray showed that his wrist bone in his front left leg had a tumour that had eaten his bone from the inside out and shattered it! I can not imagine how much pain that would have caused him!!!!! He did not indicate to us that he was in this much pain, until he jumped off the UTV and even then, we had no idea as to the extent of his agony!

Dogs have a natural instinct to not show pain or injury whenever possible. In the wild, they would get left behind from the pack! Dogs live in the moment right, so if they’re comfy one minute (because of drugs or a comfy position?) and jumping up and running the next, we think they must be okay. The reality is that they forget/don’t acknowledge that they have pain and suffer, (sometimes in silence) for the rest of the day.

After Stewie had recovered from his amputation, we saw a look on his face that we hadn’t seen in MONTHS… RELIEF!!! He had a settled look on his face that said, “phew, thank god that painful leg is gone! Thanks you guys!” I would ask that you not assume that the pain killers are taking away Annie’s pain, they are just helping her cope better and feel like she can do anything. She may feel like she is back to normal, but the fact of the matter is, she’s not!

All the best and cuddles to Annie!

Petra, Stewie and gang.

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

Green Bay, WI
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13 January 2018 - 9:51 am
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Jumping back in here…totally agree with Donna and Petra. Nobody WANTS to do amputation – one might get the impression that we are all amputation-happy here – but NOBODY wants to make that decision for their pet. A few points for you to ponder:

1.dogs DO mask their pain well, we may never know how much pain they are truly in

2. a pathological fracture could occur when you aren’t at home, and my vet told me that pain is excruciating 

3. While we didn’t have a clear diagnosis for a month or so, and had surgery about 2 months after the limping started, the longer you wait, the greater chance the cancer has to spread

4. What Donna said about “controlling” the situation…it’s so much better to do it on your terms and not in an emergency situation – that could be even more stressful for everyone involved.

We never judge here at Tripawds, believe me, but we do have much experience with just about any situation/problem and hope to share our wisdom with those starting this journey, so others can learn from our mistakes. The advice we give is given out of love, so I hope my words don’t upset you….we just want the very best for you and Annie, at this most difficult time. 

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro 

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Virginia
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13 January 2018 - 11:14 am
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dobemom said
Jumping back in here…totally agree with Donna and Petra. Nobody WANTS to do amputation – one might get the impression that we are all amputation-happy here – but NOBODY wants to make that decision for their pet.

We never judge here at Tripawds, believe me, but we do have much experience with just about any situation/problem and hope to share our wisdom with those starting this journey, so others can learn from our mistakes. The advice we give is given out of love, so I hope my words don’t upset you….we just want the very best for you and Annie, at this most difficult time. 

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro   

You know your situation best.  You know your Annie best.  Sometimes (not always) a Vet can tell by looking at an xray if it’s in immediate danger of fracture, so you may want to revisit that concern with him. .  His assessment may have already been shared…just checking!    The input you’ve been given on a possible fracture is from a place of genuine caring.

Of course, a surgery, whether minor or major, always has a risk no matter what.  As already said, surgery and amputation are not to be taken lightly.  You and your Vet (and Annie too) are comfortable with your decision, then that’s all that matters.  Really glad to hear her pain is being managed so well.  Good job.

We are all cheering for Annie and have become instant members of her Fan Club!!

Lots of 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!

Canada
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13 January 2018 - 12:58 pm
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Super Stu! said

 I would ask that you not assume that the pain killers are taking away Annie’s pain, they are just helping her cope better and feel like she can do anything. She may feel like she is back to normal, but the fact of the matter is, she’s not!

All the best and cuddles to Annie!

Petra, Stewie and gang.  

As I read this and also through Sally’s post I am a little embarrassed to see that I came across maybe a little too harsh sounding… and I sincerely apologize for this! I should take more time before I passionately respond! As Sally said, you know Annie best and you are working with your vet in taking excellent care of her! As you say, she is romping around like her old self… I had no right to make such a harsh statement, I didn’t mean for it to come across that way, I’m sorry!

Please accept my opology and all the very best wishes to you and Annie!

Petra. 

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

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13 January 2018 - 2:02 pm
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Ok, just throwing this out there.  I agree with things being said.  I also agree that pain can be “tolerated” by having pain meds.  There also if this is OSA can be a fracture at anytime.  Prime example of our honorary Tripawd Chuck.  He was not a candidate for amputation and he did do an injection (forgive me I can’t remember the name) that helped build up bone and he still fractured.  Eventually having to be put down.

If you chose not to do amputation right away remember pain meds may not be effective and eventually top out.  You would need to have a plan in place that if she does fracture that it can be taken care of. 

This is all a good discussion and we all care and worry.  You have to remember the leg being gone does help the pain and it is painful.  Pain med help mask the pain.  I am sorry you do have a lot on your plate.

Michelle & Angel Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

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13 January 2018 - 3:52 pm
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Everything that is being said is with loving care and based on experience. I can only imagine how difficult it is to make a decision as to  when to have the amputation done. I felt I only had two choices with my cat Mona: 1. an immediate amputation because the cancer was aggressive, or 2. to eventually euthanize when the tumour became unbearable. I chose the amputation for the next day so in a way I was lucky to not have time to think about it or do research on Dr. Google.

I’ll be getting a hip replacement shortly. I keep calling it an amputation as they do cut off the femoral head and replace it with a prothesis. When discussing pain medication with the pre-op nurse I became aware that without pain meds I will be managing with at least some pain and am encouraged to ask for more pain meds if the pain level gets to a 5 out of 10. Unfortunately, our pets can’t tell us what pain level they are at so we try to stay ahead of it. They may be limping at a 6/10 and not able to move at a 9/10. We just don’t know. Perhaps your vet can tell you what to look for to determine the pain level.

The injection for the bones that Michelle is talking about may be bisphosphonates which is also used for people who have cancer in their bones. It’s actually an infusion and can help with pain.

Hugs to you and your canine beauties.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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13 January 2018 - 3:54 pm
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Thank you Kerren that is what it is.  They had a study and used dogs with Osteo first before using it on humans. 

Michelle & Angel Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Virginia
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13 January 2018 - 8:49 pm
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Oh sweet, silly Petra!  You ccouldn’t come across “harsh”‘if you tried!!!  heartNot even in your make-up!!   You, like everyone who psted, “came across” compassionate and caring!heart

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!

Canada
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13 January 2018 - 9:15 pm
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Thank you Sally, once again you’ve made my heart feel a little lighter.heart But still, I had no right to come across in the way that I did. I am not Annie’s vet and I have no idea what her medications are doing for her! 

As far as my ‘make-up’… ha! You haven’t seen the way I do my eyeliner on a bad day! I’m not a very good girlie girl!winker

To Annie and Mum, all the very best thought and wishes to you!

Petra heart

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

New Jersey
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19 January 2018 - 1:07 am
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Hello and welcome. I am sorry Annie and your family are going thru this. This website and all its contributors have been a life saver (literally) for my golden Abby and me. My Abby has nasal OSA that was treated with pallative radiation last year and then had a complete upper leg fracture from a bone tumor on 1/3 and had amputation on 1/5. We are two weeks post amputation and i do not regret it one bit. I agree with the other posts that you do not want to put off amputation until Annie has a fracture. I had no idea that Abby had a bone tumor until she fractured it and would not put weight on it at all. The vet was amazed that she was not screaming in pain. The vet should be able to look at Annies leg xray and see how much damage there is and how much bone is gone. Pain medication is great but it does also have its own risks. Rimadyl and other anti inflammatorys can be hard on the liver. Deciding to cut off your dogs leg is a heart wrenching decision. I still have nightmares about her leg being put in a trash bin. But then i look at her happy and pain free and i do not regret it. I live in a split level so stairs are a big problem. I was lucky enough that my dad came and built ramps so she can het upstairs to sleep with me and get outside. It took a few days for her to get used to the ramps but shes doing great. Her staples came out on monday and once her fur grows back she will be good as new. I am sorry to hear that you are going thru IVF. You definitely do not need more stress in your life. Try not to focus on the end. Live in the now. When Abby was diagnosed with nasal OSA last year they told me i would get six months. That was 14months ago. One of the posters here reminded me that dogs do not follow a timeline. I believe in quality of life not quantity. We know that we will all out live out dogs so its about loving them everyday. I thought that amputating Abbys leg would change her but it hasnt. They took her leg not her brain and her personality. She has to find new ways to do things like hold her toys to chew on them but dogs are resilient. She adapted way better than i did. I hope all of our experiences can help you and put your mind at ease that amputation does not mean that you are close to the end. 

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