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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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Joint Cancer on 6-year old frenchie
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Forum Posts: 5
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10 October 2019
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10 October 2019 - 1:10 pm
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Hello, everyone –

I am new to this community as in the last two months my dog has gone from a slight limp to a possible cancer diagnosis. I say possible because after x-rays, a cell biopsy, and a bone biopsy I still don’t have any answers. Mo presented with the limp and then some swelling on the ankle of his rear leg. After getting inconclusive results, my vet is pretty sure it is cancer, but not bone cancer – she thinks it’s a type of joint cancer called Synovial Cell Sarcoma. After searching the forums on this site, I haven’t been able to find anything about this type of cancer. Has anyone heard of this or had any experience with it? My vet told me it has a much better prognosis than osteosarcoma, although any type of cancer is super scary.

So after all the tests and lack of results, Mo is being scheduled to have his leg amputated. I’m okay with this treatment as he hasn’t walked on it in a while and the amputation will get rid of his pain. Due to cost and scheduling limitations, I’m looking into having the surgery done at a clinic that does not doing overnight monitoring, so I will be taking him home the night of the surgery. This gives me the MOST ANXIETY. Has anyone brought their pet home the same day as surgery? What was the experience like? After the bone biopsy, Mo cried all night and then didn’t eat for 3 days, so I’m worried about his recovery after the amputation. Any advice would be appreciated.

I’m so glad I found this community! Mo will be great on 3 legs and still able to chase squirrels and chipmunks to his heart’s content. This is all just a lot to swallow…

Thank you,

Lauren

Livermore, CA




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10 October 2019 - 1:59 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry the diagnosis has been so frustrating!

I did a search on Synovial Cell and got THESE FORUM RESULTS and these BLOG RESULTS,  maybe something there will be helpful.

It can be more difficult to bring a pup home the day of surgery but many have done it.  Be sure you know what meds he will come home with and the dosing schedule.  Also be sure you have a phone number to the vet or the nearest emergency vet, and know where the nearest emergency vet is located.  You most likely won’t need to call or take Mo anywhere but better to have the info just in case.  Be aware that many pups are very vocal and disoriented while the anesthesia wears off.

You should also look at the Required Reading List, lots of info there on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to Mast Cell cancer and hopped along just fine for almost 4 years.  My current Tripawd is a rear amp Pug-mix who was hit by a car when she was 7 months old.  Elly is getting close to 5 now and can do pretty much anything a dog her size and age can do. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 172
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10 October 2019 - 3:33 pm
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Hi Lauren & Mo,

So glad you found us. I can imagine how frustrating not having a definitive answer must be. I dont have any info on the type of cancer but wanted to offer a bit of support.

   You sound like you have a great outlook on amputation and that will be a huge asset to you both. Once that painful leg is gone and hes had a little time and pampering he will be back chasing chipmunks like nothing changed.

As for bringing Mo home the night of surgery it may be a bit more challenging but it can be done. Proper pain managment as those good hospital meds wear off has been a big one for those coming home on the same day. Comfortable and resting thats the big goal.

What kind of dog is moe? Just wondering how big he is. Mobility maybe a bit off for the first few day till the grogginess wears off. having a way to help him if he will let you is also a plus. The required reading list has lots of great tips for mobility and helping with things like slippery flooring and preparing for recovery.

We’ll be here to route you both on and for support. Just give a shout.

Sending lots of love and good vibes for surgery day.

❤ Bev & nurse Moe cat

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

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10 October 2019 - 4:10 pm
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Thank you both! I’m still familiarizing myself with the site so must not have done the search correctly. I’ll be sure to check out all those forums and blogs. 

Mo is a French bulldog about 26 pounds. He’s been running and jumping on his 3 legs for a bit now, so I know he’ll be fine! This amputation will also offer me some peace because I have been so paranoid he’s going to hurt himself since his ankle is so weakened by the disease. He’s pretty active for a frenchie and being contained during the recovery will be tough, but I’ll be so excited to see him back to his old self post-amputation!

I appreciate so much the support! As I live through this, I hope my experience can help someone else in the same boat!

Lauren

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 172
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10 October 2019 - 4:46 pm
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Sorry un-caffeinated moment lol when i came back to your post i saw Mo’s breed in the title! What a handsome guy he is! At least with him being smaller helping him should be a bit easier. 

I can completely understand the paranoia about him hurting the leg before surgery. A completely valid worry. Not to add to it but our Roane actually did manage to fracture her leg going up 3 stupid stairs. (At a hundred miles an hour!!!!) In her case she had osteosarcoma but still you cant be to cautious. 

Mo sounds like he has spirit and im sure he will set his own pace after surgery. Tough for us dog moms, it reminds me of having a newborn. Im having a panic attack and roane would just look at me like, “what?!? Ive got this mom!”

As for getting familiar with the site, its a wealth of knowledge but it is HUGE. 😉 im still finding new things to read. I actually didnt find most of it till after surgery. Thank goodness for q&a in the forum! I also applaud you for wanting to share the knowledge. I have to admit im a bit curious myself since  i haven’t heard of it and wasnt able to find much info.

Keep us posted and give that handsome fella a belly rub from us.

❤ Bev, Moe cat & Autumn’s Angel Roane

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.



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10 October 2019 - 4:59 pm
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Hi Lauren,

Sorry to hear about Mo’s diagnosis. My cat’s vet didn’t offer 24 hour care but he took her overnight to his house where there were 2 vets and teenagers who gave her lots of attention. He said she did well at his house but she wasn’t so well-behaved when she got home to her own environment. I had her in a bedroom and if she had a chance to escape she’d race around the house and then collapse.

I’d encourage you to have Mo recover in a large crate or enclosed space so that you can ensure his pain is under control and to keep him from being too active. Cats like their crate covered with a towel or blanket like a den but I’m not sure about dogs. Those with canine experience will have some suggestions for you.

I’m glad you are feeling confident with Mo’s ability to recover well. Along with the great suggestions above perhaps you can ask the vet for a list and dosage of post-op medications in advance so that you can prepare a schedule and understand how to administer the dose. I couldn’t even open the bottle of medication when it was time. The vet admitted he always got the techs to do it for him!!

By the way, my vet always suggests to turn off the lights for cats recovering from anesthesia. I’m not sure if that helps dogs.

I hope your cutie Mo’s recovery goes smoothly.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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11 October 2019 - 2:38 pm
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Just wanted to chime in since synovial cell sarcoma/possibly histiocytic sarcoma is the type of cancer Luke was diagnosed with. Like Mo’s case we did 2 biopsies that were somewhat inconclusive. 

Luke also came home the same day of the surgery. First night was a little rough as he was still out of it from the anesthesia, but not too bad, and he began to improve daily from there. I kept in him in an x-pen in my living room for the first week to keep him quiet and from moving around too much. Sounds like your Mo is a relatively young and active boy too, I do believe that aided in Luke’s recovery as well.

Recovery isn’t forever (although sometimes feels like it when you’re in the midst of it) and I’ve got my fingers crossed all goes well for handsome little Mo. You’re in good company here!

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12 October 2019 - 7:58 am
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What an adorable avatar, welcome! I am so sorry you are going through this, but I am glad you found us. I do not know anything about the cancer that Mo has, but I can tell you that we took Huck home just several hours after surgery. I had the XXL size dog crate all set up in our spare bedroom. 

Keeping him confined is really important, especially taking him home the day of surgery. Anesthesia affects everypawdy differently, and it can be scary. It might not too… that’s the thing, you just don’t know til you are in the middle of it. The good thing is that after from a few hours to a day they are normally much more themselves. Some pets are just plain out sleepy and literally sleep like the dead, some get kinda frantic as they wake up and anxious. That is why having a safe place that he cannot hurt himself or others is important. Hopefully he will just sleep on and off. Huck did great in a huge crate. I had blankets and pee pads down for him in a quiet room and Alexa played soothing music for him. It was large enough that I could fit into it so he had plenty of room. 

It is important after surgery to keep them as quiet as possible throughout recovery. Short, leashed potty walks  and bedrest for the first couple of weeks. Give pain medication faithfully at regular intervals. The hospital meds will be totally out of the system in 3-5 days and if you manage the pain meds before that happens it can help a lot once the other drugs leave the system. Eating can be a challenge with all of the meds, so get some of his favorite things plus maybe some people food that he loves in case he gets picky while recovering. 

Good luck to you on your journey and stay tuned in. We will help as much as we can!

Jackie and Huckleberry sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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16 October 2019 - 12:01 pm
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Thank you all for your kind words and helpful advice! Tomorrow is surgery day. I think Mo has been in a pain the last few days, so I’m relieved it’s finally here. Then we can start on the recovery journey and hopefully kick this darn cancer to the curb!! 

I’ve been scouring the site trying to find all the tips and tricks to aid in recovery. It’s helping me feel better to feel like I’m fully prepared. I’ve got yoga mats down on the slippery wood floors, all of Mo’s bedding and blankets are washed, I’ve stocked up on all his favorite human foods, and I’ve discussed the pain management plan with the doctor. Mo’s been getting spoiled all week, and tonight after he gets his fentanyl patch applied I’m going to let him pick out a bully stick or other treat at the pet store. Am I missing anything? I think the hardest thing for me is going to be staying strong and positive for him. When it comes to Mo, I’m a big ball of feelings – he’s my baby boy! 

I will keep you all posted on his recovery, and hopefully they can get me some answers once the diseased limb is removed. I just want Mo to be a dog again! It’s been so hard these last few months keeping him contained, seeing him in pain, and worrying constantly. Amputation will hopefully give both of us our lives back!

Feeling the love and soooooo appreciate it! sp_hearticon2

Lauren (and Mo)

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 October 2019 - 12:30 pm
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Hey Lauren, I think you’ll find that yes, once recovery is over (and maybe even sooner!) you and Mo will feel like yourselves again. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when that bad leg is off.

Sounds like you’re all prepared but you didn’t mentioned raised feeders. You can do something as simple as putting his bowls on a milk crate with no-slip backing on top, just as long as you get them off the floor.

And don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Will you be able to rotate shifts so that you can get some sleep? That is so important. Mo needs you to be strong so take care of yourself too.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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new hampshire
Forum Posts: 172
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16 October 2019 - 3:54 pm
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Hi Lauren, wanted to send you & Mo some good vibes for tomorrows surgery. Is he staying at the vet over night? 

You sound like you’ve done your homework and gotten everything in place to help Mo have a great recovery. What a lucky dog to have such a loving attentive mom! 

If your like the rest of us im sure you’ve read every tip, trick and story on the site 5 times. Im sure you’ve got everything covered but dont be afraid to reach out if you have questions, or just need a hug ❤

Moe Cat & I will be thinking about you and wishing you luck.

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

Forum Posts: 2624
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1 October 2017
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17 October 2019 - 7:46 am
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Wishing you luck today and sending pawsitive vibes, please let us know how you make out!

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Livermore, CA




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17 October 2019 - 3:43 pm
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I hope all went well today, I’ll be checking back for an update.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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18 October 2019 - 5:55 am
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Mo made it through surgery okay, and his incision looked great yesterday afternoon with no bruising. However since then, he hasn’t slept and he just cried and cried through the whole night. I called the emergency vet and they said because he has a fentanyl patch on his arm that he’s not in pain and is just freaked out. But because he won’t relax, now the area is significantly bruised. My vet office opens in 30 minutes, so I’m just counting down the time until I can talk to my doctor. 

I’m really hoping he’s not in significant pain and just isn’t handling the narcotics well. Fingers crossed he stops fighting sleep and gives in soon! His cries are making me so sad!

Lauren

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18 October 2019 - 6:36 am
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Between the pre-anesthetics, the anesthesia itself, and the patch it is very unlikely that he is feeling much of anything right now. Some animals respond just fine, some cry a lot, show anxiety, thrash about. You never know how people or animals are going to respond to anesthesia. Fentanyl is a great pain medicine, but it can whack them out a bit.

That bruising was probably going to present itself in the next day or so anyways, it is quite normal.

Definitely a good idea to let your vet know what is going on. I hope he calms down here soon!

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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