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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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Front leg amputation after having TPLO surgery on both back legs?
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Forum Posts: 5
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26 July 2015
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26 July 2015 - 8:42 am
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My dog was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her front leg. She is 6 years old and weighs 120 pounds. Originally I had decided to go with pain meds, radiation therapy and zometa infusions. These are scheduled for this Wednesday. She had a limp for a couple days but now walks on the leg again.

I am now wondering if it would be better to amputate? Has anyone had a dog with similar circumstances? Has it spread more after amputation? The vet told me they notice that if you leave the leg it will not metastasize as quickly. Or with the chemo after amputation that helps with that?

I really worry the back leg damage she has will have an impact. 

Any comments welcome. Thank you so much.

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 July 2015 - 11:33 am
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Hello and welcome. Yoiur future posts won’t need approval so post away. What kind of dog is she? What’s her name? We’d love to hear more.

I’m so sorry your dog was diagnosed, we know how difficult it is to face this diagnosis, especially when your dog is larger, I’m curious if you got a second opinion from an orthopedic doc? Having more than one can definitely bring you peace of mind no matter what way you go. And whatever you decide, we will suport you in your choice and be there for you.

Through the years we’ve had dogs who had a limb amputated after previous surgeries like TPLO, hip replacement, etc. It’s not unheard of, but it’s not for every dog either. A careful evaluation by at least two surgeons will help you feel more comfortable in your treatment plan. Something to remmember is that no matter what, there are no guarantees either way and many studies point to many different outcomes, including leaving the leg vs. amputating. All dogs are different so the best we can do is more forward with a decision we can live with, and make the most of every single day because that’s all our dogs want for us and the pack. 

I hope this helps. Stay tuned anre more folks will chime in  shortly.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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26 July 2015 - 8:11 pm
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Hi!  Welcome.  First of all, I’d like to tell you how sorry I am about your dog.  It is a lot to take in.  First of all, take a deep breath.  I have not heard the correlation before regarding OSA spreading more quickly after amputation.  Maybe someone else can weigh in on that topic?  But, I can tell you that I have had experience with a dog having a limb amputated from OSA and having a previous leg surgery.  My angel Eddy had had a TPLO surgery on his back right leg two years prior to his OSA diagnosis.  As luck would have it, he developed OSA in his left back leg.  When considering the amputation, I was very concerned how he would handle walking on just his TPLO back leg.  Like “Jerry” says above, the best bet is to meet with a surgeon.  Our surgeon examined Eddy and said he would be a perfect candidate despite his bum leg.  He was on the lean side and as the surgeon pointed out to me, he already was getting around without using the OSA leg very much due to discomfort.  Essentially, he was already a tripawd before he had his leg amputated!  

Long story, short, Eddy did great on three legs.  He literally hopped right out of the vet the day after his amputation.  In less than a week, he was beating me down the driveway to the mailbox, in two weeks time, he was running again.  It did not slow him down.  Again though, your surgeon should be able to give you a better idea as to whether your girl is a good candidate.  Let us know how things go!  Will be thinking of you!!!!

Betsy Golden and Angel, Eddy.  Eddy was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-23-14, had a left rear amputation 8-07-14, had 3 rounds of carboplatin chemotherapy,  a small lung met was discovered in October, had 2 rounds of doxorubicin, and unfortunately more lung mets were discovered.  Eddy fought cancer valiantly and went to the Rainbow Bridge 1-6-15, at the age of 7 years and 359 days, just six days short of his 8th birthday.   Best Dog, Ever....you will never be forgotten.

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 July 2015 - 8:24 pm
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bjilkgolden said
I have not heard the correlation before regarding OSA spreading more quickly after amputation.  Maybe someone else can weigh in on that topic?  

Thanks for the reminder Betsy that we did have that topic discussed once. As far as I am aware that theory was out there but it’s not a commonly held belief. Here’s some info about it:

http://tripawds…..etastasis/

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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26 July 2015 - 8:33 pm
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120 lbs.! That’s a lot of dog to love! Can’t wait to see pictures and hear more about your pup!

This is such an emotionally draining, I tense and confusing time. Try and keep in mind that your dog is not worrying about a thing. She doe care about a diagnosis or statistic. She does care about getting all the.loving and spoiling she can get! I’m pretty sure she gets plenty!!

I jave no specific insight into the challenges your dog is facing with the rear leg issues. I absolutely agree with Jerry. If at all.possible get at least ine more opinion, or even more. Sometimes the lroblems with the back legs don’t become as apparent until a front leg is amputated. The issues can be somewhat “masked” as the front legs are able to compensate. I’m sure an Orthopedic Surgeon could help determine if that’s a.potential issue.

My 125 lb. Bull Mastiff, Happy Hannah,had her rear leg amputated due to osteo. She and I had a glorious bonus time of being together for one year and two months! I merely mention that to say big dogs can do very well with just three legs. However, she did nkt have any other issues with her remaining legs.

I actually had not heard the theory that amputation actually spreads the disease faster. WOW! Not sure where the risk of bone fracture falls in with this scenario.

I can only reiterate what Jerry said and go for another opinion. You are doing an excellent job of soingnyiur research. You know your dog better than anyone. You will make a decision out of love and that is always the right decision.

I’m sorry I can’t offer much help. Just know we are all nere with you. We understand like no others can. You are not alone, okay?

Please keep us posted. We care!

Lpve,

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Virginia




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26 July 2015 - 8:38 pm
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And look at Eddy! Still reaxhing out touching lives!! That boy is still an inspiration and we shall never forget him!!

Gonna go read Jerry’s link about the “theory”.

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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26 July 2015 - 11:15 pm
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Thanks everyone for the replies. 

Her name is Bella. She is a mix between an English Mastiff and Golden Retriever.  She is my baby and I really want to do what is right for her. Which I am sure you all feel the same way.

I did speak with her surgeon about the cancer in general. Not specifically about how he thinks she would be after amputation. I will try to call him tomorrow and discuss it.

If I leave the leg is there really no way to control the pain? She limped a couple days which is why we brought her to the vet. Now she is walking normal again before pain meds. Now she is on 3 different meds rimadyl, tramadol and gabapentin. Plus if we do the radiation and zometa should help right?

Norene, TN
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27 July 2015 - 11:20 am
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Howdy and welcome!!

Can’t wait to see pictures of Bella!

I hate that her diagnosis brought you here, but this is such a great place to be. 

There’s such a mix of emotions when trying to manage their pain as well as addressing the cause. For us, amputation was more for pain management than actually arresting the spread of the disease. You know Bella better than anyone. Listen to her and to what your heart tells you.

Again, I don’t know who coined this phrase but I held on to it when we went through all this with Harmony, “Any decision made after diagnosis is the correct decision.”

Keep us updated!

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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27 July 2015 - 8:49 pm
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I just wanted to add that in Eddy’s case, the amputation was done for palliative measures.  It DID relieve his pain and he was SO happy to have that pain gone!  I would definitely see a surgeon for an opinion.  I had asked our oncologist prior to Eddy’s amputation if any dogs that he had treated had ever not walked again following amputation.  He said in all of his years, he had only had one dog that refused to get up.  One out of hundreds!  So, definitely worth checking into!

Betsy Golden and Angel, Eddy.  Eddy was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-23-14, had a left rear amputation 8-07-14, had 3 rounds of carboplatin chemotherapy,  a small lung met was discovered in October, had 2 rounds of doxorubicin, and unfortunately more lung mets were discovered.  Eddy fought cancer valiantly and went to the Rainbow Bridge 1-6-15, at the age of 7 years and 359 days, just six days short of his 8th birthday.   Best Dog, Ever....you will never be forgotten.

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27 July 2015 - 8:52 pm
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Sally, thanks for the shout out!  It’s been a while.   Thanks for thinking of Eddy.  I miss that dog SO much!  I now fully comprehend the words, heart dog!  Eddy was and will always be my heart dog!  Hugs to you!!!!  Betsy

Betsy Golden and Angel, Eddy.  Eddy was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-23-14, had a left rear amputation 8-07-14, had 3 rounds of carboplatin chemotherapy,  a small lung met was discovered in October, had 2 rounds of doxorubicin, and unfortunately more lung mets were discovered.  Eddy fought cancer valiantly and went to the Rainbow Bridge 1-6-15, at the age of 7 years and 359 days, just six days short of his 8th birthday.   Best Dog, Ever....you will never be forgotten.

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