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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Hi all – thanks for the add.
On Tuesday 9/10 our 4.5 yo male greyhound “yipped” in the middle of the night and woke us up. We found him limping on and off, and figuring maybe he’d slept on it funny we let it go. By the week of 9/24, when he was still limping, more often than originally, we made the appt for xrays. On 9/27 we got the dreaded DX: osteosarcoma of the distal femur, left rear leg.
With greyhounds, the younger the DX, the tendency towards a worse outcome. Our vet gave him 6 months. Visit with an oncologist gave him 6 months with amp and chemo. I’ve found a t-cell immunotherapy treatment with a median survival time of 415 days. Problem is, they can’t get us in until the 15th for a consult, with a possible / probable amputation date of the 16th. His lungs are clear, as confirmed by a certified radiologist.
I feel bad making him wait until the 15th. I could probably get the amp done next week if we don’t do the t-cell therapy, which means about 6 months median survival. He’s using the leg only on a very limited basis now, just as a prop to help balance when laying down, and occasionally to help turn while we’re on a walk. We have a webmaster harness on him full time now to help him up and down, and have limited his activity to one floor in the house and only minimal steps to get out for his walk.
Can I get thru this next week to make it to the 15th? I don’t feel like it’s fair, but I want to try the therapy that might give him a longer chance at living. He’s eating and drinking fine, and is waggy and happy on his walks. We have him on 600-900 mg gabapentin 3x per day, and just added 227 mg previcox 1x per day. So he’s got painkillers on board. Also, if I wait another week, any thoughts on the risk of mets showing up in the lungs in that time?
I know n body has all the answers. I’m just looking for some thoughts here. I know what the eventual outcome is going to be. I’m ok with it (as much as I can be). I’d just like to give him the best QOL while I’ve got him.
Hi and welcome! Sorry to hear about Cooper’s diagnosis, it’s always a shock when we learn our pet has cancer. But bravo to you for doing your homework so quickly and getting a good vet team in place to discuss your options.
First, try not to focus on those prognoses. Honestly, those numbers are educated guesses and what we have seen here through the years is that no matter the breed or age, cancer doesn’t pay attention to those numbers either! Many dogs will outlive the osteosarcoma prognosis despite the treatment they did or did not receive (our Jerry beat the odds after amputation for two years, without chemo). Sadly, many will not make it to the prognosis either. It is all a big crap shoot no matter what path you take.
The important thing is to help Cooper get rid of that pain. It’s awful. And although the 15th isn’t that far away, if he’s limping, he’s in excruciating pain even with the medications. You may want to ask your vet to add in a 3rd med like Tramadol, which will complement the Gabapentin and NSAID, and work on lessening different pain pathways.
Which t-cell therapy are you referring to? Do you have a link? Just curious.
Remember, amputation gets rid of bone cancer pain. It won’t get rid of the cancer, but it buys time and improves quality of life by leaps and bounds. And if you want some inspawration check out Nixon’s story He did pawesome!
Thanks for the kind words, Jerry. The t-cell immunotherapy info can be found at eliasanimalhealth.com. I had heard about another immunotherapy clinical trial out of Pitt as well as one out of Cornell, both using Listeria vaccines, but they both appear to be closed. The Pitt trial had used 20 clinics nationwide, but the 4 that I contacted within 5 hours of home had all closed the trial.
Also, FWIW, our vet and the oncologist both recommended we do a bone infusion to help strenghthen the bone a bit and give a bit of pain respite. We did that Thursday (pamindromate) and it really seems to have made a difference. Our vet has been treating a rottie long term with this, every 3-4 weeks, and said she saw results after the first infusion. We were skeptical, as we didn’t see results for about 18-20 hours, but he really did seem much more comfortable!
22 February 2013
Can’t really add any value one way or another as far as what path uou arr taking. Just glad that he is feeling more comfortable after the infusion.
Do want to ditto Jerry about statistics really don’t mean much around here. Thankfully dogs don’t listen when a Vet quotes ‘statistics”. The individual dog, their environment, nutrition, etc arr necer taken into the equation.
Besides that, dogs love in the NOW. They do not have timeframes stamped on their butts and don’t count days on a cale. Could care less. One of the most important lessons this journey teaches us is to Be More Dog . Live in the present, flow effortlessly from one moment to the next. No worries about tomorrow. They let nothing interfere with the time with you, and we owe them the same focus and attention.
Keep us updated as you move forward. We are here to support you and Cooper in any way we can.
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!
I’m so glad the bisphosphonate helped! We’ve had many members go through that treatment, including Hazel, who wasn’t an amputation candidate. She did very well with the infusion and stereotactic radiation therapy. I hope Cooper does very well on it too!
Ah the Elias vaccine! Yes it’s a very hopeful treatment. Check out our posts about it:
28 July 2019
You could ask your vet about palliative radiation as well – it’s just 2 doses 12 hours and for us after the second dose our dog was incredibly comfortable! We needed a Little time (about 1 week) to investigate our options but were feeling rushed bc we were not satisfied w Grover’s pain control and this helped a ton! We asked our oncologist if this week would affect our prognosis in terms of metastasis and She told us no.
So sorry that you are in this boat – thinking of you and your pup 💜