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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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Devastated , we were just told my boy has cancer in the right front leg
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Pennsylvania
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14 November 2020 - 8:28 am
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3 days ago my 8.5 yr Rottie Samson went to the vet for a possible right front leg sprain . Hes 115 lbs and loves to bounce up and down and play his version of soccer. The vet said it was cancer ( ankle joint is only slightly swollen, and he does limp on it ) and the best option was to amputate the leg . He does not do well with anesthesia, took him over 3 hrs to come out of it at the office enough for him to get in the car and then another 2 hrs before he was clear enough to get out of the car . He hates to be picked up so that wasn’t an option.

He is getting a second opinion from another vet , I’m so scared about the surgery with him not waking up from the anesthesia and having to be in a kennel for 3-4 days alone in a strange place and people . They are a 24/7 clinic so thats good . 

Hes been my rock since I adopted him to help me deal with my 3 boys ( 2 American bull dog brothers and a pitty mix ) who passed away all with in 9 months of each other , the brothers from cancer as well , which devastated me for a very long time 

Samson has been by my side every minute , and when I’m gone for a day its loads of hugs , kisses and his idea of fun ( going between my legs and picking me up off the ground . Then when I broke my back he has been my protector from every thing / everyone , even help me back up when my leg gives out .

And now I’m so torn and losing my mind on what to do , surgery ? no surgery and pamper him like crazy . He still tries to do most everything but gets tired a little quicker .

I just don’t know what to do …. He is every thing to me right now , I owe him soo much 

If we get the surgery its scheduled for next week

Any advice would be helpful , thank you 

Livermore, CA




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14 November 2020 - 10:09 am
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with cancer again, you have been through so much!

We can all certainly relate to receiving the devastating news of cancer and amputation. Even if you’ve been down the cancer road before it’s a gut punch.

I’m glad you are getting a second opinion, is the second opinion an oncologist?  If not I would strongly recommend discussing options with an oncologist.  There are some treatments other than amputation that they should be able to tell you about.  If you are dealing with bone cancer than amputation is still most often recommended, but since your boy has had some trouble with anesthesia then finding out about other treatments might give you options.

Question- did they do chest xrays as well as the leg?  They usually do that to see if the cancer has spread to the lungs.  That would be important to know before proceeding with surgery.

No matter what path you choose we are here to help and support you and Samson.

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

Pennsylvania
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14 November 2020 - 11:15 am
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Thank you for your thought s.

They did do chest xrays and didn’t notice anything but that was only the 1st vet . Waiting to hear back from the 2nd vet who is an oncologist as well as our normal vet at this hospital . I will be discussing other options with the Dr.s that would benefit Samson and there cost . Unfortunately around here chemo and radiation therapies are insanely expensive , but there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my boy . And it is definitely bone cancer according to the 1st vet . So hopefully the 2nd vet will call me today with additional news . And this covid-19 makes it worse because I can’t walk him in there or visit him , and he is so bounded to me I worry about his condition .

He even tried jumping up to give hugs this morning and I felt so bad telling him no because I don’t want him to hurt his leg .

Its hard waiting to hear there findings because with my 1 American bulldog I chose palliative care at home because they found extensive findings or the cancer in hiss lungs and heart . And everyday it tore me apart knowing he wouldn’t be around much longer . He was so brave and never let me see his pain except when his rear leg swelled up 3x’s its normal size and he would cry in pain at night . And everytime I would check on him he would stop and wag his tail , the next day I had to say good bye to him .

Virginia




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14 November 2020 - 11:52 am
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I am so sorry you jade to deal with so many losses of your beloved dogs in such a short time.  I know kne thing for sure though, they were well loved.  Now they are all together at The Rainbow  Bridfe watching  over you and Samson.

Yiu are doing a good job of gather information and coming  up with a plan.

Should amputation be the best treatment  plan, just know we will be here right by your side to help you navigate  through recovery and onto a pain free quaility  life!!

As far as Samson’ being at the clinic, he will be on sich good pain meds he will be high as a kite and having a good time (in his head).😉   Many dogs just spend one night, so it’s possible Samson would not have to stay there three or four days.   Larger dogs do need a bit more time to get mobile though, so that would help determine how long he needs to stay.

Recovery  is “approximately  two weeks”, give or take.  Good pain management helps tremendously  in recovery.   Once recover  is over and that bum leg is gone, you will be amazed at how quickly his spark starts to come back.

As far as the anesthesia, now that the Vets have a heads up that Samson is sensitive  to anesthesia,  they will not extra precautions in place to ensure there are no issues.

And it’s good news that his xrays are clear!

You and Samson have a beauiful  bond and I loved hear about all the ways your relationship  is so special.  You will make a decision out of love for Samson and that is always the right decision!

((((((((((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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 November 2020 - 12:07 pm
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Oh no I’m sorry you’re dealing with cancer again! Once is bad enough but this many is enough to put anyone over the edge. Hang on though, we are here to help however we can.

I agree that by getting all the facts, you are making an informed decision that can help you feel better. Whatever path you choose, chemo, no chemo, amp, no amp, we will support you in your decision without judgement. There are no right or wrong choices here, the only one that matters is the one that is best for Samson and only you know what that is.

Each dog is so different in how they respond to cancer. Samson is likely to have a very different journey than your other pups, and hopefully he will beat all the prognoses and kick cancer’s butt. Please let us know what the vets say when you get that information OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 November 2020 - 1:06 pm
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I am so sorry you and Samson are going thru  this. Our stories are similar. Brownie had front leg amputation, and was my 3rd dog with cancer. He was a light weight to meds, and took longer to come out of anesthia.  When he was sudiated for an xray the vet said he would wake up in 10 minutes. It took 45 min and he was loopy for two days. So I do understand your concern. Brownie had xtra testing done before surgery, but sorry I don’t remember the name of the test. But it was do to his age. He was 10 days before his 12th birthday. 

It’s great you are getting a second opinion.  Doctors are human and do make mistakes. I know what ever path you take it will be the right one for Samson. Just remember, you know your dog better then anyone.

Sending positive thoughts your way. sp_hearticon2

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Pennsylvania
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14 November 2020 - 1:19 pm
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Thank you or your positive thought and replies . Fingers crossed that the 2nd vet sees the same clear results in the xrays . His leg is bowing outward slightly now after he walks for a awhile ( 10-20 minutes) or puts pressure on the leg from walking or standing to pee. 

Along with his high sensitivity to anesthesia its also his separation anxiety ( he can get really cranky with strangers) , but I hope and pray he does beat it …. They want him there for 3-4 nights due to his sensitivity and size , which is fine as i unfortunately have 4 steps has has to due to go in the house and out as well.

Because unfortunately with my 1 ABD ( Petie) I wasn’t there from him of the diagnosis only my mother was . I was travelling for work , left on a Sat and she called on Wed with the bad news that he passed and I lost it . Then 4 months later my 15yr old pittie mix Apollo passed 1 day after I came home again from a road trip for work ( ruptured tumor on his spleen ) Atleast I ha d1 night with him. The the last ABD brother Loki , cancer on his rear leg . We choose to put him to sleep after he fought for 4 months and couldn’t take the pain any longer , but his eyes said a different story to me . That day has never left me and has constantly eaten me up 24/7 365 . I lost all my boys in less then 9 months…..I guess everyone is different but the pain and emptiness for me has never / and probably will never go away ..

So atleast for Samson I’m here ( healing from back surgery for 6 more months) and I can only figure out a plan after we talk to the 2nd vet , I keep praying its something else ( torn ligament whatever) but deep down I know differently. 

Honestly I’m just trying to fight the emptiness and guilt from my boys passing as this brings up all sorts of emotions and pain, because I still feel like I let them down . 

And Thank you for all your prayers and wishes for Samson .. and for listening to these rants of mine 

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14 November 2020 - 3:51 pm
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Love the profile pic. He is beautiful! Just as Samson Brownie also has separation anxiety . It sounds like Samson and Brownie have the same personality. As soon as the vet took Brownie to the back room he would fight them. They said he was a totally different dog. Brownie was at the vet for two nights. But to tell you the truth he was so jacked up on meds I really don’t think He knew, so I would try not to worry about that. 

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Pennsylvania
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14 November 2020 - 4:23 pm
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Thank you 

That pic is a 3 yrs old , he puffed up to look big for the camera ( a real ham ) now hes camera shy and has a few grey muzzle hairs . 

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14 November 2020 - 7:08 pm
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Oh you have to post a pic. Sally loves frosty mugs!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 November 2020 - 11:01 am
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Aww these aren’t rants at all, you’ve been through so much in such a short period of time, I can’t imagine how devastating this is for you. Please keep us posted OK? We will be sending pawsitivity for some good news or at least a plan to help you and Samson kick cancer’s butt.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Pennsylvania
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15 November 2020 - 3:34 pm
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I’ve been trying all day to get a pic of his frosty face , but he keeps looking the other way no matter what I try . He even felt really playful and strong today and tried to go between my legs with his head and attempted to lift me off the ground . His idea of humor …lol

But I will get aleast 1 good picture of his grey face ..

Michigan
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16 November 2020 - 11:16 am
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Murphy was 7 when he was diagnosed, and he had been misdiagnosed for months – limping on & off since he was taking pain meds, masking his pain.  When I took him for a second opinion I was devastated!  I felt like the floor had just dropped out from under me – I’m a nurse, how could I have missed this?  I honestly thought that he “just” had a fracture that had been missed on his original x-rays.  It’s a difficult position to be in, so we understand, and covid 19 just makes it all that more difficult.  We had to take Murphy in the night before surgery & leave him – seeing him watch me walk away from him just about broke my heart, but I knew that I was doing what needed to be done, and he was in good hands.  I worked the day he had surgery, and luckily was busy, but was so relieved when I got the phone call that he was out of surgery and had done well.  The next day my son went with me to pick him up – I wasn’t sure what to expect … how would we get him into the car? it was a 1.5 hr drive home, how would he do? But Murphy was a stubborn dog, lol, and he wanted out of there! so he pulled my son and hopped his way out to the car on his own smiley4 

The first 2-3 weeks after surgery can be difficult – recovery is a huge roller coaster.  pain management is not always good, each vet seems to treat it differently, and each dog is different.  They don’t always want to eat, some give you a hard time taking their pills, some go on like nothing happened at all – finally free of that painful leg.  You’ll find so much information and resources here, and keep reaching out – no question is too small, someone has been there, I promise.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

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  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

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The Rainbow Bridge



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16 November 2020 - 11:34 am
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Aww Donna thank you so much for sharing Murphy’s inspirational story. You are such a sweetheart. Thank you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Pennsylvania
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17 November 2020 - 11:38 am
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Thank you , that does help . We are still waiting on his final 2nd opinion as well as an opinion from a specialist that does SRS which could possibly save his leg but there’s no guarantee’s. And he is stubborn and then some , now his new thing is to roll his treat or meat that has his pain pill in it in his mouth then spits out the pill and looks at me and kinda smiles at me .. And as soon as I hear from all of the Dr’s and get a rough estimate for chemo if we go the surgery route I found 3 grants I need to finish applying for ( hopefully we can get 1 just to help offset some of the cost ) . If he qualifies for the SRS treatment its only 3 injections but there’s alot involved in it , travel , custom mold for his body to be able to duplicate the ct scans constantly the same as well as giving him the injections  and there more expensive then amputation and chemo I believe ( not sure yet) . So hopefully we will know soon and I can get the paperwork sent out for him and get him treated and feeling better .

On a good note had the first snow flurries this morning ( for 10 minutes, didnt stick) but he sat outside and watched them coming down …

Again , Thank you everyone . Its easier knowing I’m not the only one dealing with this

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