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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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Forum Posts: 89
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10 April 2020 - 10:15 pm
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.   Well I got the phone call today that I really didn’t want. 

  I took my 7 year old Rotty Ziva to the Vet on Wednesday due to a limp she has had for about a week. 

Ziva had TPLO surgery about two years ago, so I was assuming she did something similar to her front leg. No such luck. She has been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. CRAP. 

     After the initial shock we discussed treatment and after looking through this site it sounds like this is the standard treatment. My Vet talk to me about amputation, chemo, and radiation. So decision made to send all her X-rays and blood work to our oncologist. So now I’m waiting till Monday to here what their recommendation is. Most important thing to me is quality of life for my bestest friend who has been by my side everyday since I brought her home seven years ago. 

     Right now I am completely destroyed and devastated. I’m very glad I found this site as soon as I did because your stories and life lessons have already helped me tremendously. I’ve already made the decision to do what ever it takes to make my girl happy for what ever time we have left. 

    I’m sure I will have questions and concerns after I talk with the oncologist on Monday. This will be a long weekend. And thank you every body for what you do here. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 April 2020 - 10:31 am
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Hi Steve and Ziva, welcome! Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

I’m sorry to hear about your girl. We are glad you found us too! You are doing right by Ziva to seek a consult with the oncologist. Be sure to check out our “Questions to Ask Your Vet Oncologist” before Monday, so you know what kinds of things to discuss.

Cancer sucks but Ziva has youth on her side and it sounds like you caught it early. Because you are a great advocate for her, Team Ziva can totally handle whatever comes next. Yeah, it’s agonizing to wait for that consult with the onco, but try your best to follow her lead (she’s not worried!), learn to Be More Dog and you can’t go wrong. 

While you wait, be sure check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and ask whatever questions you have, we are here for you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 183
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11 April 2020 - 2:41 pm
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Hi Steveh

I’m so sorry about this. I got the same news for my 10 years old husky about 2 weeks ago. He was limping and same thing, the x-ray of his leg showed really important damage to the bone, and we got the news for osteosarcoma. Destroyed and devastated is exactly what I felt too (actually spent 3 days crying pretty much all the time). We had an appointment with the oncologist on the fourth day, that helped a lot. I could finally get out of shock and start being proactive about this awful news. My goal was the same as yours, I wanted to give the best life possible to Arktik. We did x-ray of the lungs with the oncologist and they were clear so following that we decided to go for the amputation and chemo as Arktik just seems to enjoy life so much and he always been so a healthy and active dog. But each case is different and decisions for what is best might be different from one case to another. I hope this can help you to process things and I believe when your decision will be taken, you will feel a bit better.

On a positive side, Arktik just went through surgery 2 days ago and he is doing wonderfully well. If this can give you hope. 

This group has been such a great help for me to cope with all of this. I did ask people on the forum a fair amount of questions to help me to take the decision. Also going through all their stories really helped. 

I will be thinking about you in this heart wrenching period.

Patricia & Arktik

Virginia




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11 April 2020 - 3:19 pm
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As you can see from the replies of Patricia  and Jerry, we understand  all to well the kick in the gut when you hear the news.

You’ve already ,mastered ome of the great lessons of this journey, and that is to focus on giving iva the geet life possible  for however long that is!!  One thing for sure, Ziva does NOT have a timeframe  stamped  anywhere on the butt of hers!  ANor did she hear a word about any ole’ “diagnosis “.  Doesn’t  ,mean cap to her.

All she cares about is being pain free and soaking up all the loving and spoiling you bestow on her Royall Highness Ziva!!   And there is nothing more fun than spoiling a tripawd!!!

Dogs just flow effortlessly  from one glorious moment to the next. No worries  about anything.  They definitely live in the NOW, in the moment.  So follow Ziva’s lead and just make sure you make every moment count.

Keep things chunked down for now.  Gather information.  You have plenty of time to decide mon follow up treat if you pursue that. 

As you process everything, let is know any questions you have, okay??  We are right by your side the whole time, so stay connected!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

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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11 April 2020 - 4:51 pm
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   Thanks everyone. We’ve had some beautiful weather here in Washington state and I spent most of today outside with Ziva. She will use her leg to walk slow and a couple times she decided to run down the fence line I noticed the most amazing thing. She actually hiked up her bad front leg and kept right up with our three other dogs. I did put a stop to it pretty quick but WOW that surprised me. 

    One question in my mind is for those of you that have gone through this, how I’d your dog doing now and how long since the diagnoses. I think that is the main thing in my mind and I know every dog is different but curious as to how the longevity is playing out. 

   Thanks for the support and I will keep y’all posted on our progress. 👍

Here and Now


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11 April 2020 - 4:55 pm
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Jerry loved life on three legs for two years after his osteosarcoma amputation, with no IV chemo. (Read Jerry’s story here.)

New York, NY
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11 April 2020 - 6:12 pm
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Hi Steve!  I’m Stacy, mama to Griffin (10 year old goldendoodle).  He had right front limb amputation surgery on April 2, 2020 due to osteosarcoma.  You have come to the right place for answers, but since I’m a newbie here, I just want to offer some hope.  The video below was taken today, 9 days post-op.  It sounds like your Ziva might already be starting to figure out the same lesson Griffin demonstrated today – that life with 3 limbs is no less fun and a lot less painful!  Good luck and I look forward to following Ziva’s journey.

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11 April 2020 - 7:17 pm
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    Stacy that is awesome. That’s remarkable only a week post surgery!! Thankyou for sharing right now all the good input I can get is helpful. Ziva is my best friend and has been with me everyday for seven years now. I’m praying for many more. 

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11 April 2020 - 8:49 pm
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Brownie also had Front leg amputation due to OST. He was ten days before his 12th birthday. I was worried because of his age, but he did great for one year and eight days. 

At first I was not going to amputate because of his age. After being on pain meds for two weeks I could tell they were no longer working. Then I started to see this lump appear. So I decided I should at least give Brownie a chance, and so glad I did .

I said goodbye to Brownie March 5th 2020. It just wasn’t the cancer, at almost 13 he was also having senior issues.

If we would have not amputated we would not of had that extra year of letting Brownie just be a dog and spoiling him rotten.

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"

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11 April 2020 - 8:55 pm
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By the way, Brownie was hopping on his own on day two of surgery, and after a week he even used the doggie door, which I thought he would never do again.

He proved me wrong in so many ways, and inspired me everyday! We always had a strong bond, but this journey made the bond even stronger .

If you go thru with the amputation,  I suggest you speak to your vet about joint supplements. I wish I would of started from the beginning, but since Brownie had no signs of arthritis I didn’t think about it.

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"

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11 April 2020 - 9:12 pm
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   Thank you brownie for the info. Ziva is already on a glucosamine supplement but I will inquire about that. 

My plan is to do the best for her as suggested by her doctors. 99% sure they are going to recommend the amputation and we will decide on the chemo and radiation from there as well. 

   I’m thrilled that I came across this site and I think I will give the info to my vet so,others can benefit from all this info and help. 

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11 April 2020 - 9:41 pm
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Hi Steveh – 

So sorry you had to join this group, but you have found a really awesome support group here if you have to go through this. 

You live in WA?! I lived in WA when Grover was diagnosed with OSA (we have since moved to Iowa)! Our oncologist was at WSU’s Vet Hospital and I was so happy with the care that he received. 

Every dog is different but we really struggled with amputating Grover’s forelimb! He is a big dog, 10+ years old  and has pre-exisiting orthopedic and neurologic issues. After a lot of consultations (and a lot of tears!) we went forward with it and I am SO glad that we did. We have had 9 amazing months together. I hope for many more but even if something happened tomorrow I would not regret our decision for a minute. 

Our first 2-3 weeks after surgery were a little rough (I think we took a bit longer than most to recovery, but he was independently ambulatory by 24 hours post op) but after a few months and before we left Washington he was back to hiking in the mountains several times a week. We sure do miss those hikes and views. I don’t know a lot of 10 year old four legged Great Danes that hiked that much, let alone a three legged one. 

Ultimately, we did palliative radiation one week pre-amputation, 5 rounds of Carpoplatin, started him on losartan after 3rd dose of carboplatin (I think) and after chemotherapy used the Yale vaccine and he has stayed on the losartan. He developed a rib met which they noted before his third dose of carbo but it has remained pretty static since then and as of this week we still do not have lung mets that are visible on radiographs. 

Thinking of you guys during this difficult time 

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12 April 2020 - 9:15 am
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   Thanks jkopper all this info and support is amazing and very helpful. 

I really appreciate everyone’s time and story’s it gonna make this a whole lot easier to get through. 

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12 April 2020 - 8:57 pm
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Hi Steve,

Our soon to be 10yr old rottie just had front amp mid Feb. It was a very tough road but we made it through.  Our rottie wouldn’t get up after surgery so we were very worried. The surgeon sent him home and after day two at home he started getting worse. The vet took him off one of the meds and we started seeing improvement quickly. 
We just finished round 2 of chemo and he has not had any issues. The oncologist tweaked his pain meds again and we got his personality back. 
Hang in there. This site is such a great resource and will help you through your journey! Best of luck to you and your baby!

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13 April 2020 - 9:36 pm
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  So I didn’t get the phone call/meeting from the oncologist today??? I hope this is not a sign of things to come. 
  I guess another restless night. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. 

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