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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I am completely devastated and heartbroken and very lost on what to do. Yesterday, the vet told me that my dog has osteosarcoma in her front right leg. Initially, we brought her in for her back left leg checked out which sadly turned out to be a cruciate ligament rupture. The vet took some x-rays of her front leg and said that the tumor might’ve occurred a few weeks ago and that it hasn’t spread anywhere else. They advised us that surgery isn’t an option, since her back leg is an issue too, and that the only thing we can do is to give her pain medication while keeping an eye on her comfort levels.
For now, she’s limping a lot but she’s still able to get around the house, from one room to the next, as well as going down the stairs to access the outdoors. Her energy and appetite levels are still normal, and she is regularly drinking water, peeing, and pooping.
I’m very lost on what to do because I don’t know how long she has to live and what this will be like. What are your experiences with osteosarcoma? What symptoms or behaviours or changes should I be looking out for to determine it’ll be the end stages of her life? When and how did you finally decide it’s time? Is there anything that I should avoid doing or feeding? This might be difficult to answer, but is there anything I can do to slow the tumor’s progression? And do you have any tips/advice on what we can do to make her last few weeks/months the best weeks/months possible? Any additional info/help that I should know about is very much appreciated.
My head is still dizzy from trying to wrap this around my head, so thank you so much for reading my post and helping me out. Thank you to the reddit user who introduced me to this website too.
Species: Canine, domestic dog
Age: 11 y/o
Breed: Half Labrador, quarter Husky, quarter German Shepherd
History: Overall healthy (blood work report came out excellent), began developing arthritis around 10y/o, and now with osteosarcoma and a cruciate ligament rupture
Current Medications: M-Eloxyn/Metacam, Gabapentin, and Glucosamine
Changes: Noticed the back left leg (cruciate ligament rupture) since mid-February, and noticed the front right leg (osteosarcoma) a few days ago
Hi and welcome. I’m sorry you’re in such a tough spot right now. The diagnosis is hard under ordinary circumstances but when you throw in a complication and the state of the world right now, we’ll, it’s extra ruff. My heart goes out to you.
My first question is: can you get another opinion? By an orthopedic surgeon? This is a complicated situation and I would want multiple opinions before making a decision.
If she is limping she needs more pain management . Gabapentin is not enough to manage bone cancer pain. Ask your vet for a stronger rx.
I need to get to sleep but I wanted to get your post approved so others can see it, sorry for the brief response. I’ll be back here tomorrow.
PS What’s your dog’s name?
Hi, and I’m so sorry you are going thru this. When My lab Brownie was diagnosed with OST, it felt like someone punched me in the gut. All I heard was amputation, pain medication, or euthanize.
I agree with Jerry about a second opinion. I have read many stories on this site when a vet has told someone their dog wasn’t a good candidate, but when they got a 2nd opinion they had the surgery and their dog did fine. Some are told their dog is too large to be on three. I asked my vet that, and he said he would never tell anyone that.
However, when Brownie had front leg amputation, his vet said without chemo he has three months. Well, Brownie lived an additional one year and eight days. It was a good year and he was happy! So vets dont always get it right. They are human.
The point I am trying to make is I think it is important to get an second opinion just to see what all your options are.
Stay positive, and sending good thoughts your way…
By the way you asked about diet. Stay away as much as you can from sugar and carbs. That is what cancer feeds off of. You want high protein. I fed Brownie the diet ” Feed the Dog, Starve the Cancer” diet. He also took the K9 Immunity Mushroom Powder to keep hos immune system strong. I can’t say it helped, but I know it didn’t hurt. My vet still can not believe that Brownie made it over a year.
Thank you for approving this post and thank you so much for being here, it means the world to me right now.
I looked at some other forums on this website and learned about palliative radiation that my vet never talked about. The clinic that I go to is a vet specialist clinic, but the vet I had was in the surgery department and not the oncology department. I was going to give them a call to ask to speak with the oncologist, specifically about the palliative radiation. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to reach the vets, so is there anything else you would advise me to ask the oncologist?
My baby’s name is Poochi 🙂
Unfortunately, due to Poochi’s back left leg, she can’t get an amputation or else she’ll be functioning on 2 good legs and it might even worsen the back left leg. If I decide to do surgery on both, the front right leg and back left leg, it’ll be too much of a toll on Poochi. It breaks my heart that pain medication and time seems to be the only option. But as Jerry mentioned, I am going to ask for second and third opinions from other places who specialize in bone cancer.
And thank you for the tip, I didn’t know this before but now I’ll definitely avoid carbs and sugar. Thank you so much.
There is a book called “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide “. It has a lot of good information as far as recipes, chemo and a lot of good tips. I believe you can purchase it on th is site.
I’ll check out the book, thank you for the recommendation.
If you can find that post, that’ll be great. It’s great that this community exists. 🙂
I asked Jerry about this as well, but I was going to give a call to a few vet clinics, specifically about palliative radiation. Do you have any suggestion on what I should bring up or ask vet clinics when I give them a call?
Hi Poochie’s people. I’m so glad we could help.
Yes, here’s a list of Questions to Ask Your Veterinary Oncologist.
Nancy, I’m not sure who you are referring to but if you search for “Pallative Radiation” there’s a lot of search results. I agree it’s worth discussing with the oncologist. You may be able to stabilize Poochie’s bad leg with a bracewhile giving her good quality time.
Sorry to be so quick, lots of packing up here right now…
Thank you so much for the link. I looked through the palliative radiation search, and this makes me want to discuss about it with the oncologist even more. It’s definitely worth bringing up. I’ll look into the brace too, and I’ll bring that up with the oncologist as well in regard to pain management . Thank you for the help.
22 February 2013
Just catching up and went to send you a cyber hug and some pawsitive energy. You have some challenges, but that doesn’t mean you don’t also have some solutions. I also ditto the second opinion with an Orthopedic Surgeon.
Additionally, try and get a consult with a Certified Rehabilitation Specialist. The Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first visit. I think Rehab Vets are more open to braces or sleeves than the Surgeons are. Any little bit of help your precious boy can get with his mobility is a good thing. I’ll throw out one more thing, it is not unheard of at all for cruciate rupture to be misdiagnosed. Regardless, with or without cruciate aurgery, scar tissue will form and help stabilize the knee.
My Frankie is an adopted front legger tripawd. He’s about six, maybe seven. He had cruciate repair surgery on one of his rear legs two years ago. It was what they call the “fish line technique”. A year later his other rear leg had cruciate aurgery. This time it was the TPLO type. Now, two years after the first surgery, it failed. He basically was walking on one front leg and one back leg (both on the same side). The old surgical paraphernalia had to come out, It was causing problems and no longer beneficial. There is a lot of scar tissue, as well as arthritis.
Okay, I’m trying to get to a point…a slim possibility, but still maybe a possibility. It’s worth asking the professionals if Poochi could go ahead and have the cruciate surfery (TPLO and the, about a mo th later go ahead with the amputation??? Frankie recovered from the TPLO surgery “relatively” quickly. Anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there as a long shot…but ya’ never know, right?
Poochi now has a Fan Club and we’re all cheering for him!
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!
Thank you so much for your kind words. I feel the cyberhug from the other side, and I most definitely need it. I’m still waiting for a few specialist clinics to call me back, I should be expecting the call tomorrow. I’ll definitely bring up everything that you mentioned to them, so thank you for commenting on this post. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how was Frankie feeling within his everyday routine with using one front leg and one back leg? And how much did Frankie weigh?