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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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Experience with bone infection that led to amputation?
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Forum Posts: 9
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2 July 2016 - 10:49 am
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Hello all – I’m brand new to this community.  Our sweet 2 1/2 year old rescue Sheltie just went through front left leg amputation. We are on Day 4 post-op and trying to keep calm.  He is doing well (getting around, eating well, pottying fine, seeking us out here and there) but the pain meds make him stare and pant a lot and that distresses me, though I am pretending that it does not so I don’t show him worry.  He couldn’t tolerate Tramadol so just Gabapentin round the clock (with antibiotic and a decreasing dosage to wean him off steroids that he was taking before surgery). Was also taking Gabapentin before surgery. (I’m going to post in the recovery forum for support on that topic).  Wanted to seek support in this forum about the diagnosis issue.

It all started in early May 2016 with a sudden limp that caused him to go lame when on a walk and lunged to bark at a dog behind a fence.  We were thinking it was a sprain but it didn’t get better and x-rays revealed a lytic lesion. That means either a bone infection or cancer. We have no idea how he could get a bone infection as we never knew of any cuts or injuries.  We live in Texas so not near Valley Fever area but we have had unprecedented rain and flooding here this spring and I understand that spores can get into even the slightest nick.  Sounds far fetched though.  We had chest x-rays done and there were no lesions or signs of cancer so we went for a needle biopsy. It came back with no sign of tumor yet no bacterial or fungal agents presented. Just that it was a lesion and there was obvious inflammation. We gave a round of broad-spectrum antibiotics a try just in case it was a bacterial infection but no improvement. We consulted with a specialist and he said, while he could not rule out a tumor, he suspected a fungal infection.  We were faced with doing another biopsy if we wanted to identify the organism as putting him on anti-fungals without having the exact strain would not be good for several reasons.  If we had another biopsy, there was no guarantee that it would give us a result and we would have put him through yet another painful procedure. If we did find the organism and gave anti-fungals, we were faced with months of those and even up to a year if really persistent.  We had more x-rays done as we grappled with what to do.  Again, no obvious tumor in leg or in lungs, etc. but the lesion had grown.  Bacca had been through too much pain and we couldn’t imagine more testing, more drugs, and no guarantees. Plus, we knew if it was growing, it could spread to his body.  Another concern was that even if we were able to clear up a bone infection (if that is what it was), there was bone damage that would make him susceptible to issues with that leg.  We also wondered if there was a tumor that removal of the leg could take it all away.  But we do know that it could be a tumor that just could not be detected and that we are facing cancer that may have already spread microscopically.  We even had his case/records/films reviewed by an oncologist vet friend in another state.  Everyone is baffled and just not able to definitively diagnose.  We then made the difficult decision to amputate on Tue. 6/28/16.  We get the results of the biopsy on the limb in 8-10 days from amputation to say if it is a tumor or a bacterial infection. The fungal culture takes up to 3 weeks to grow if that is the case.  Aside from going through the amputation recovery that is so hard to watch, I am so anxious about what the results will be. Trying to be hopeful but also realistic. Wondering if anyone else on here had a similar situation.  Thank you for your support.

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 July 2016 - 2:30 pm
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Hi Bacca and family, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join. We’re glad you’re here, and hope we can help ease your worries.

I know the medications can make us and our animals crazy. It sounds like your vet has been working with you to find a good solution to help Bacca feel better? Many dogs can’t take tramadol very well, our own Wyatt Ray included. If you feel that Bacca is still in too much pain don’t hesitate to call and ask your vet for help. There are many other options out there as far as pain relief. Meanwhile you do have a great attitude and pack leader kind of approach, Yay You! clap

It’s so hard when the vet doesn’t have answers. We went through a similar situation once and all I could think was, “We can put a person on the moon but can’t find out what’s wrong with our dog…what the….??!”

Through the years we’ve found that sometimes there is no clear cut answer before surgery, but the answers usually come after when the leg is off and the biopsies/cultures have been done. I will say that fungal infections are rare, but just last week we had one member who was “lucky” enough to get the news that it was a fungus, not cancer, that caused bone damage. So we have our paws crossed that just maybe you too can get similar good news.

Sometimes no matter what, the leg just has to come off. You did right by Bacca. He’s young and has a ton of living to do. Now that bum leg won’t stop him from enjoying life all he wants. This waiting game is hard but you’ll have answers soon. Sounds like you’ve got some great vets you’re working with, so that’s awesome.

More folks will chime in soon so stay tuned OK? Lots of others have been in your shoes & paws.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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2 July 2016 - 3:48 pm
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Welcome!  I know you’ve already found my blog, but thought I’d say hi over here. The first culture from Sheba’s aborted TPLO was inconclusive according to our regular vet because the PCR couldn’t make a positive ID, but fungal according to our surgeon who said negative PCR just means it’s not a common fungus. Fine needle aspirate also showed fungus but no specific ID. The knee had so much destruction we opted for amputation, also in an effort to stop the spread of whatever this thing is. 

After surgery Sheebs was started on a broad spectrum antifungal, we’ll switch if warranted by ID and susceptibility results. We’ll still have to do regular lung and spine X-rays and we have to worry about organ failure and more lesions if we didn’t act fast enough. Gah!!

Keep us posted!

Cynthia

Cynthia and Sheba

Right rear amputation 6/30/16 due to osteomyelitis of fungal origin (Aspergillus Penicillium). 
Final diagnosis - systemic Aspergilosis Penicilliosis, being treated with long term itraconazole.
8/15/16 - Probable spinal involvement, loss of appetite, neurology consult in the works.

We're blogging at: The Ongoing Adventures of Sheba

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2 July 2016 - 4:37 pm
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Thank you!! So helpful to hear from others. I lost my last dog to bone cancer (a Rottie, beloved Bockus) when he was age 10. That was in 2001 and I swore I’d never have a dog again but 13 years later, Bacca (my son who never met Bockus ironically named our Sheltie, “Bacca”) found us and I fell in love again with the sweetest dog. So this brings up so much. I so appreciate your supportive words. I’ll keep you posted. 

Minneapolis, MN
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2 July 2016 - 4:53 pm
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Hang in there, it is so early yet in sweet Bacca’s recovery.  I would talk to the vet about whether there is anything else that can be paired with the Gabapentin besides the Tramadol, which definitely can have some negative reactions.  Tramadol and Gabapentin are different modalities – Tramadol working on pain receptors in the brain and also having some anti-depressant aspects to it.  Gabapentin is for nerve pain. A third modality is an NSAID anti-inflammatory to control pain that way (Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Metacam, Piroxicam).  I’m a firm believer in Gabapentin being helpful to many with amputation nerve pain, but covering your bases after such a big surgery was a good plan for us.

I know waiting for the results is just awful – but just focus on helping your little guy through the recovery for now!  

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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2 July 2016 - 5:21 pm
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Wow!  You faced a really tough decision with so many unknowns, but it sounds like you made a good decision for Bacca.  Hopefully your test results come back something other than cancer.  For now, just focus on his recovery.  The rest will works itself out, and is pretty much out of your control right now.  You are probably in a pretty hard part of the recovery now, since the hospital meds are out of his system, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Many dogs really perk up in week 3!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.



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3 July 2016 - 11:21 am
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Hi Bacca and family,

So sorry to hear about your struggles … and hoping it will not be cancer.

It is so difficult to see our furry babies uncomfortable in the first week after operation but it will get better, you will see Bacca’s spark come back and life will be good again. 

You just have to be patient and give him time to adjust.

We are all here for you!

Sending you a big hug and lots of cuddles to gorgeous Baccaheart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Virginia




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3 July 2016 - 7:48 pm
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Just wanted to send some support wrapped up in a big hug!

Weve certainly had a few anomalies going on the last couple of weeks around here, so Bacca is fitting right in! This is definitely a place for learning everything related ro amputation, that’s for sure!

Whatever the results, you will do your research and move forward with a treatment plan. Your strength…and your devotion..come shinning through! And you have your new extended family for extra support and encouragement!

We would love to, not only hear more about Bacca, but Bockus also! 13 yr old Rottie…IMPRESSIVE! And clearly Bockus is letting you know he’s still around watching over everyone. I think that fact that your son picked a name so similar to his (Bockus) is proof of a sign from him!

Update when you can!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((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!

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4 July 2016 - 8:00 am
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Hello all. Thank you so much for your words of support and your experiences and advice. aw-shucks  It means so much.  We had a much better night last night. This experience has reminded me to be thankful for the little things. You’re right. I need to just take it day by day and focus on recovery and not worry so much about the biopsy results.  So re. my Rottie, Bockus. He was actually 10 when he earned his wings.  I don’t know specifics on the type of cancer, etc.  I was much younger at the time and my parents swooped in and helped me out with it all, both diagnostically and financially. I lived in Louisiana at the time and we even took him to LSU’s vet school.  But it was an aggressive one – I do know that. We couldn’t afford chemo.  My heart broke when I lost him. He was my best friend. It makes me feel so good when I hear that he’s watching over us.  

Bacca is finally starting to sleep more and it seems that he relaxes now more than before. I have a friend visiting in a bit and I hope to see him get excited about a visitor.  Yesterday, he was outside for a potty break and must’ve heard something and perked up and did his warning growl/bark at the mysterious noise. That was good to see.

I can’t figure out how to attach pics.  Maybe b/c I’m on a MAC. I’d like to show a pic of my angel Rottie. and a picture of Bacca sweetie who found my son’s beanbag and laid on it. Of course I was worrying about how he’d get up from there but did fine. I’ve tried to remove all the cushy stuff and child proof as much as possible but he manages to find things.  Like getting stuck in a corner between furniture the other night. Heavy sigh.

Thank you all!

Virginia




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4 July 2016 - 10:24 am
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Thanks for the update. Sounds like Bacca ks having a “nor.al” recovery this early on.

Keep a little journal when you see some of the sparkle come back. It will help remind you progress IS being made!! Barking some…..lerking up some….getti g on the bean bag…..all “sparkle mome ts”..YAAAAAAAAAY FOR BACCA!! 🙂

For me, I have to first put pictures in Photobucket…then “sjare” then click “htlm”, then hit done. Then come back to site and embed the link. Clear as mud, right?

Keep the great updates coming!

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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4 July 2016 - 6:06 pm
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Aww you are so welcome. I’m sorry you had such a ruff time with Bockus, of course an experience like that influences how you cope now. But you’re doing great and as you can see, Bacca IS making pawgress! Yay! And I have no doubt that Bockus is making sure of that.

Here’s a post about adding images to the Forums for Macs or PCs. We hope to see some from you. Let us know if you’d like assistance OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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5 July 2016 - 5:15 pm
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Oh wow! I play around with Wordpress on a volunteer capacity. Just started a blog, which I intended to do and do some chronicles of our journey but for now just putting photos in.

So I’m attaching a picture of Bockus, Bacca’s guardian angel. Fitting that his picture has clouds behind him. I will find other pics where I posed with him for Christmas pics and did very cheesy formal studio pics which I’m so glad I did.  Bockus was a teddy bear. Just love him so and miss him so much.

Bacca pic attached is of him on my son’s beanbag which I was worried about b/c it is squishy and how was he going to get up without hurting? He did it though. I tried to baby proof the house but he’s found a few challenges I overlooked.

I have great news. I can see Bacca again when I look into his eyes. He has relaxed so much more and is only panting when he does his business in the hot Texas weather and has been hopping around for a bit.  He is sleeping a ton…not just laying down staring and panting or pacing like he was. That was so hard to watch. Now resting a ton.  He had two separate visitors yesterday from friends of mine who he knows and we had TAIL WAGS!!!! I was thrilled. Nothing like a situation like this to make you remember to be grateful for the little things.  We have actually had 2 nights of solid sleep here. Wow. I am so thankful for his progress.

I intend on starting a blog to talk about the day-by-day recovery and I love the idea about keeping a journal about when his spark comes back. I hope to give another tripawd parent a daily journal about what to expect and not expect, though all dogs are different.  I aim to start that soon b/f my memory lapses.

Thank you all for your awesome support. I feel your virtual hugs and cannot tell you how much it means. So grateful for this site, this community and my new friends.  

Go Bacca Go!

Bockus my angel (earned wings due to bone cancer in 2001)

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5 July 2016 - 5:45 pm
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Ok started the blog with my first entry. Have to go back to work tomorrow but will commit to putting more entries in. I hope to help others in what I have experienced and learned. Thank you all!

http://gobaccag…..l-started/

Virginia




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5 July 2016 - 6:40 pm
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Just got back from reading your blog. Excellent job! You will DEFINITELY help other faced with this journey! Mission accomplished!!

LOOOOOOVE these photos!” Bockus really does look like a cuddly teddy bear! He also looks like a very happy boy full of personality!! 🙂

And then we have cutie- pa -tootie Bacca! I think you jave ro get your son another bean bag…clearly Bacca owns this ine now!way-cool

The o e of her with her cone in looking up at the camera…melting my heart!heart

This is a great update chock full of signs of her sparkle coming back 🙂

Hugs to all!

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!

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6 July 2016 - 10:23 am
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Thank you! Today is my first day back at work and away from him. Very hard. Fortunately, hubby works from home so he isn’t alone. Lots of sleeping and so happy to see him resting. Yep, looks like he claimed the bean bag. laughing

I’m aiming to get going on additional blog posts. 

Best to all!

jennifer

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