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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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How do I know if my dog is breathing normally?
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Forum Posts: 2010
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5 September 2016 - 12:49 pm
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I thought this might come in handy if anyone is ever searching on this topic in the future.  First, mets can cause respiratory difficulties in at least three ways, according to the emergency vet on Saturday night.  The first is obviously the size, number or location of the mets.  But mets can also cause the lungs to fill with either fluid or air, both of which can compromise a dog’s ability to breathe.  Monitoring the level of oxygen in the blood alone will not necessarily identify a problem, as a dog can maintain proper oxygenation levels with only 30% lung capacity.  An X-Ray is needed to see what is going on inside.

From Otis’ discharge notes – A normal dog at rest will take 36 – 40 breathes in a minute.  The complete up and down movement of the chest counts as one breathe.  This is a dog at rest, so if it is hot or the dog has been hopping around, this test will not work. 

I was also told to look for breathe movement not just in the chest, which is normal, but all down his sides, indicating increased exertion.  Coughing is another sign of potential breathing difficulty.

I am not a vet, so am just passing along what I was told over the past two nights, but I hope it is helpful to others.

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.

Virginia




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5 September 2016 - 2:12 pm
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So very kind, thoughtful and informative.

Otis has, and will continue to have a positive impact here

With appreciation,

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and

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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5 September 2016 - 4:23 pm
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I agree, this is super helpful, thank you for taking time to write this during such a ruff time.

I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to turn it into a Tripawds News blog post at some point. Otis’ legacy will always be there to help others.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 September 2016 - 5:18 pm
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Thanks.   It was valuable info to me on that last night, in terms of knowing when it was time.   (I kind of wish that I had known before this all happened, so that I would have had a better sense of his normal breathing pattern).   I wanted to share the “facts” from the vet here, but would also be willing to share my observations – what lead me to believe that something was not right – if anyone is interested.

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.

Virginia




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6 September 2016 - 5:44 pm
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Whenever you are up for it, your first hand experience would be very helpful.

As you said, knowing this before hand, although it wouldn’t have changed a thing, it may have been a little less scary because it wouldn’t seem so “foreign”. As we posted back and forth that night, it ccertainly seemed plausible it could have been related to the Palladia. It was also plausible that it could have been one of those “episodes” that I described my Happy Hannah had that would come and go. I know I mentioned fluid also which would require an ER trip.

Now, because of Otis and his heroic journey, we are ALL better prepared and armed with invaluable information. Did you also say in an earlier post that the air was causing the lungs to push on tne heart and further compromising his breathing? I knew fluid was always a possibility with this piece of crap disease, but didn’t know about air.

These are things all vets should prepare us for once mets are found. Not to scare us, but to help us.

Again, I thank you and Otis from the bottom of my heart for all you continue to do.heart

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being 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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7 September 2016 - 9:59 am
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Definitely interested in speaking more about it Christine, I’ll be in touch later. Thanks again.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 September 2016 - 1:05 pm
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In Otis’ case, it was air.   The mets had caused tears in the tissues of his lungs, allowing air to accumulate where it should not.  When they showed me the x-ray on Saturday night, you could see how his heart was being pushed out of position by this air.   Fluid could have had a very similar impact, and with a similar prognosis and outcome.   These things can sometimes be repaired surgically, for example, for dogs who have been in car accidents.  But, in this case, I didn’t see the value in putting him through an invasive surgery, and the two vets involved (or was it three?) all agreed with my decision.  In rare cases, they self-correct.   It would have been helpful to me if I had known that this was something that could happen – there was a lot of uncertainty Saturday night because I had really expected a longer process involving growth of the mets over a month or more.  And, in all honestly, I wouldn’t have spent time worrying about whether this was the Palladia (it was not, in case anyone reading this wonders).   The final outcome, however, would have been the same, and perhaps he wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy his day at home. . .

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.

Virginia




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7 September 2016 - 1:37 pm
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Oh Christine, I know this must be hard to write this. I hope you can take some solace in knowing…absolutely KNOWING…that Otis has impacted this community FOREVER!! This path we are all given to travel is not an easy one. Anytime we can learn from one another and empower ourselves with more first hand information, it helps lessen the fear of the unknown.

I TRY and trust that the Universe makes no mistakes. Had you been armed with this information, as you said, nothing woukd have changed the acrual outcome. However, the “gift” that you and Otis were given was that extra special day at home. A day full of cheeseburgers, love, love, love and more love.

With a gratitude grateful heart

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

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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