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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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Don't know what to do - amputate without chemo
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Ottawa, ON Canada
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18 June 2013
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19 June 2013 - 12:04 pm
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On May 21st we took our beautiful Madilyn (6 year old doberman) into the hospital for a surgery to repair a ruptured CCL. They were so sure of the diagnosis and no x-rays had been taken. 

A few hours later we received a call from the surgeon. A pre-operative x-ray had revealed a lesion on the bone. They would not be doing the surgery and and they asked if they should do a bone biopsy. Needless to say we were shocked and devastated. We told them to go ahead with the biopsy. Later that day we picked our girl up at the hospital and started thinking about what we should do.

We met with the cancer surgery specialist and he gave us all our options. Along with a quote for amputation and chemo, which came to over $10,000.

I am in agony because we can't afford the treatment. Not without putting our family in financial jeopardy.

We decided to manage her pain with medication as long as we can, and then let her go. I just can't stand the thought of her being in pain, which I understand is excruciating. How can we possibly know how bad it is (I have seen the quality of life scales on the web, but still...)

Aside from the limp, she is still happy, eating well and her personality has not changed. 

I want to do the amputation (thanks to this site!) but the price is still high. Do i put her through that even though we won't do chemo?

We adopted Madi 2 1/2 years ago and she has helped us through some bad times. I want to do the same for her, but just don't know what to do. i just want to take away her pain.

Has anyone done the amputation without the chemo for osteosarcoma? 

Any input from this group will be most appreciated.

One of the hardest things is keeping a brave face on for her so she won't feel my anxiety. My heart aches.

 

 

 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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19 June 2013 - 6:44 pm
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madilynk said
Has anyone done the amputation without the chemo for osteosarcoma?

Many here have!

Jerry was the reason we started this site, he was an eight year old GSD mix who lost a front limb to
osteosarcoma in 2006. He lived two years, and we had opted not to do IV chemo after his amputation. We did put him on metronomics after his lung metastasis at about 16 months. Search these forums and the blogs for plenty of success stories. But most importantly, focus on quality of life, not quantity. It's all about living in the now, and it helps to Be More Dog.

Only you, your vet and your oncologist can determine if amputation is right for Madilyn. Just know that the pain of the tumor will only continue to get worse and will eventually result with a painful pathological fracture. The pain of amputation surgery recover will last a few weeks at most. Should you decide not to amputate, please ask your vets about bisphosphonates.

Check out the financial assistance resources available in the Tripawds Downloads blog , and be sure to bookmark Jerry's Required Reading List or consider downloading Tripawds e-books for fast answer to most common questions.

And Welcome! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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

New York, NY
Member Since:
3 December 2012
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19 June 2013 - 7:14 pm
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Hello!

 

Welcome to you and Madi - I am so sorry you have to join us here.

 

As admin mentioned above, many many amputated and do not follow up with chemo.  He gave you some great links above, but I also wanted to mention that there are usually a few of us in the chat room if you want to stop by and discuss anything at any time with us.

 

Also, are you in a city/area with many vets?  It will probably still be expensive, but it MIGHT be worth a shot if you are to consult some other ones.  I live in NYC and I know the cost of the surgeries vary drastically from surgeon to surgeon (and it doesn't matter how good the surgeon is, you won't get a hack if you find one that's cheaper, my kitty had an amazing surgeon and her surgery was a very reasonable price compared to a big hospital).  If you do that, just make sure you do your research about the surgeon, that they are board certified.

 

Again, let us know whatever questions you may have.  We are here for you!

 

All the best,

Erica & Tripawd Kitty Jill

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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19 June 2013 - 7:14 pm
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Hi...I am sorry you are going through all this right now. It sucks.

The pain from bone cancer is a difficult pain to treat effectively solely with pain meds--especially while still keeping a relatively alert frame of mind. Radiation and meds, that seems to help, but meds alone is tricky. Which is why the typical palliative care recommendation is amputation--the amp does not cure the cancer, but it DOES remove the pain.

We are one of those people who did NOT do chemo. We elected amp and pain meds alone (currently tramadol and prednisone , but we are hoping to wean off the pred and go back to piroxicam...or, failing that, gabepentin). Sampson is almost 13; our amp was on March 6 (we are one week shy of four months).

I don't know where you are, but the cost of amputation varies wildly--not just across the US/Canada, but even within regions and metro areas. There is a thread here about costs, so you might want to scroll through that and see what otehrs have paid. It may be that you can shop around in your area, too, for a more affordable vet, or do something like care credit at your own vet.

Hugs to you--this is a difficult time, I know. <3

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

New Jersey
Member Since:
27 December 2011
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19 June 2013 - 8:02 pm
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I am so sorry that you are going through all this. You will find so much support here, as you can see. I wanted to also comment about the cost of amputation-I'm in NJ and my vet did the amp-it was $1800. I agree with others, if this is the way you decide to go-shop around, and also we used Care Credit to help. I know that the chemo was a lot cheaper also than you have been quoted-we also did that at the vet's office-maybe $300 each time?

Wishing you all the best. You will find incredible support here, so keep coming back.

Joan and Lily

Our beautiful Lily was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her front leg on 12/14/11 at age 8 and had amp on 12/16/11. She completed 5 rounds of carbo. She was so brave and kicked cancer's butt daily! She lived life fully for 4 years, 3 months, and 15 days after her amp. My angel is a warrior princess. I miss her so much.

Ottawa, ON Canada
Member Since:
18 June 2013
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20 June 2013 - 7:31 am
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Thank you all so much! 

It has helped immensely just to share with people who have gone through this. It is remarkable how many of us have had the same wrenching experience. Thinking it's one thing, and then getting the terrible and unbelievable diagnosis.

I will definitely check into the resources and ideas mentioned. I will not give up on Madi. And please know that I do completely understand that the pain is terrible. My husband and I are committed to not allowing her to suffer.

If I may share a little of Madi's background and the meaning she has to our family...

We adopted Madi almost 3 years ago. It was literally an instant decision, as a co-worker told me that her sister was taking her dog to a shelter the following weekend. She knew that we had been seriously considering adopting a dog, so she came to me. This was a Friday. We picked Madi up in Montreal on the following Sunday. It was the best decision we have ever made!! Everybody who meets her falls in love with her smile and general goofyness.smiley

4 months after adopting Madi I had a miscarriage. I don't know what would have happened to me had it not been for my loving husband and my beautiful girl! She was a shoulder to cry on, a warm and fuzzy loving body to cuddle with. I can never repay her for that. She is now only 6 years old and has so much more life to live.

There is a tripawd girl we see at our off-leash dog park every day. She inspired me to find out more about tripawd kids - so glad she did.

 

Thanks and licks and wiggles from Madi to you and yours.

 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 June 2013 - 8:41 am
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I'm so sorry to hear about Madi's diagnosis, it's such a difficult place to be in. Add to that the cost of treatment and financial worries and it really turns your life upside down. But do remember; it's not mandatory that you do chemo. Not all dogs get it, and many of those dogs outlive the prognosis, myself included (for two years!).

So if you cant' afford it, don't beat yourself up, you are not a bad pawrent and you are not alone in not proceeding. All Madi wants is for you to be happy and not worried about paying the bills. If you do decide you think you want to try it, I would get other quotes. I don't like to encourage people to "shop around" for the best bargain, because treatments and prices vary, depending on whether a specialty center does them with an oncologist on staff, or a vet. But as long as you're comparing apples to apples and the treatments and staff backgrounds are the same, if you can get a lower price elsewhere then great.

I love the story about how you met your special girl. Madi came to you for a reason. She has made you a stronger human and now there is nothing you can't handle. I know you can be strong for her now.

Hang in there and keep us posted OK?

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 June 2013 - 9:39 am
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What a beautifull girl, beautiful story and beautiful pawparents! She was clearly meant to be with you so she can be spoiled and loved every second dot everyday!

Yes, just put forth as much stress free, calm positive energy as you can muster up and that will. make her heart sing with happiness!!

You're doing our research and will come up with a plan. NOTHING guarantees anything on this crazy journey------not chemo---not amputation----nothing! some dogs do great with both, some don't. Some dogs---very rare----don't make it past surger----most certainly do though. The surgery is pretty much the one thing you can count on that will take the pain away tough and give them good quality for an extended time.

This is such a nightmare to go through and we ALL understand and we are all here for you-----even when the website crashes----we're here!! You are not alone!

You give that lovely brave girl great big ((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))) for us! Clearly she came into your life at UST the right time. Your devotion to each other is lovely.

Please keep us posted and let us know how we can help further. Dogs live in the moment. Marilyn's not worried about a thing except getting g her treats and tummy rubs! Ahhhh, the lessons they teach us!

Sending buckets of support your way,

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

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30 May 2013
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20 June 2013 - 9:50 am
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It would be much easier to make the decision if there was some sort of established 'timeframe' for the results.  But as you will learn as you do more reading some dogs don't make it a month past amp even WITH chemo and there are dogs that lived years WITHOUT it.

This is just my opinion and I ever owner has to make up their own minds but I agree with the 'quality, not quantity' of time for my TJ.  Truth told the cost of chemo was the deciding factor... going $10k into debt for the chance of a hew months does not make much sense to me.  What if there is another issue that would minor yet you don't have the finances to treat it?

I'd rather take my TJ to the swimming hole than the vet :)

 

New York, NY
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3 December 2012
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20 June 2013 - 11:52 am
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Where are you located by the way? Maybe someone on here could suggested a referral for a surgeon with a more reasonable price?

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

Ottawa, ON Canada
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18 June 2013
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20 June 2013 - 12:06 pm
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I am located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada...

New York, NY
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3 December 2012
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20 June 2013 - 1:25 pm
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hmmmm I think Mica (Roxy's mama) is in Ottawa.........gonna send her a message to find out...........

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

Canada
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2 April 2013
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20 June 2013 - 1:46 pm
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Hi there!

I am sorry you are going through this, it is not that long ago that I was faced with the same decision.

I'm in Ottawa too, and unfortunately we were told that Alta Vista Animal Hospital (I am assuming this is where you went?) is the only one in the area with an oncology department, so we didn't have much of a choice. That estimate looks about the same as ours. We did amputation & are halfway through 6 rounds of chemo.

As some people have already mentioned, amputation is a good start, it will get rid of that primary source of pain, eliminate the risk of fracture, and amputation is probably the cheaper part of the whole treatment.

Fundraising might be an option for you, there are some sites out there, and through the power of social media you may get a lot of people willing to help you out. Here are some ideas to start you out: http://mashable.....ing-tools/

How far are you willing to travel for treatment and/or surgery? 

Mica & Roxy

New York, NY
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3 December 2012
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20 June 2013 - 1:51 pm
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OK good I got Mica on board!

 

I was going to say next (I am now on a mission to get this figured out!!!!)  many people on here will travel a bit and stay in a hotel overnight to get a better price for the surgery, might be worth calling around to see what it would cost for the surgery.  I went hunting through the thread about what people paid for amputation and chemo and it seems that (shockingly to me at least) Canada was just REALLY expensive!

 

Mica sent me these links for you to call if you are willing to drive 3-4 hours to syracuse or rochester:

 

http://www.vmcc......cfm?id=18

 

http://vetspeci.....cology.php

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

Crossing the rainbow bridge
Member Since:
4 March 2012
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25 June 2013 - 11:57 pm
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So sorry to hear about Madi's diagnosis. If you do want to pursue treatment, are there possibly more/better options in TO? Also I wanted to mention that Zuke's (the pet treat company) has something called the dog cancer care fund - not sure what the guidelines are but I think they have grants for cancer treatments.
Sending hugs your way,
Alicia (fellow Canadian in Seattle)

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