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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Just diagnosed with cancer & scheduled leg amputation
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Member Since:
16 March 2023
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16 March 2023 - 7:39 pm
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So my Kimber girl was just diagnosed today with osteosarcoma but it’s not spreading to her lungs, or anywhere else yet. The vet and surgeon is recommending leg amputation and I’m just so upset. I look at all the pictures and videos of these sweet babies who have lost a leg and I just cry. I know they are not in pain and it’s the best option for them, but it seems to be affecting me more emotionally than it will my dog. The vet and surgeon both told me it would be harder on me than her but how do we know we are making the right choice? I feel like I’m going to be putting her through so much pain, and what if the cancer comes back? It’s like it will all be for nothing? I’m just at a loss for words, my emotions are high, and I do feel over whelmed. The surgeon and vet told me about the group so I hope to just have some support from this group. As a dog mom I treat my Kimber girl like a human and I guess I expect her to have these same feelings although I know she doesn’t. The struggle is real. 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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16 March 2023 - 10:23 pm
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Hi Kaley and Kimber, welcome. I'm so sorry you got that bad news! As you can see you are not alone, and your feelings are well understood by everyone here.

Please thank your surgeon for telling you about us. Who are you seeing? Also, did they happen to talk to you about any treatments for the cancer? 

Yes, amputation IS harder on us than it is on them. I cried like a baby when our Jerry was diagnosed, so did my husband, and pretty much anyone who has dealt with it feels like amputation is insane. But I'll tell ya, once that bad leg is gone and recovery is over, every day is so much better for them! You will see that Kimber gets on with life, and has so many amazing lessons to teach you about being resilient and not letting anything get in your way of enjoying life.

Recovery is not the easiest thing and all dogs recover on different timelines, but believe it or not other recoveries like a TPLO repair are much harder on dogs! If her pain management is good, recovery will be easier. Be sure to check out that link so you know what to think about for pain medications and such.

As you know osteosarcoma usually comes back in the lungs. But don't obsess over that right now. Help her through this pain however you feel is appropriate for her. Amputation isn't for every dog but for most it is the fastest way to a better life. We will support you no matter what you decide. 

Also see our What to Expect articles and Jerry's Required Reading List for more ways to cope. We are here for you both! Keep us posted.

Member Since:
3 October 2022
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17 March 2023 - 12:09 pm
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Kaley and Kimber,

   We waited 14 months before getting the amputation surgery for my 10yr old Golden.  His pain was managed by CBD oil alone (he hid his pain well).  In that time, he learned to hop on 3 legs.

  I really didn't expect him to be alive past 6 months...but he was, and had no signs in his lungs... so we did it! We called it "Tumor freedom day!", I only spoke to him positively about it even though I was so scared.  Even tho, he and I were both excited he would be free of pain and of that horrid tumor. 

   The day after surgery, I picked him and he hopped so fast out to me, i could not believe it!  Be sure to get that 3 day post surgery nerve blocker injection!  He continued to improve day by day...I made sure by day 4, he had sufficient pain meds...soon he was totally out of pain, and that happy boy I knew was BACK!  

   I cannot begin to explain to you how his strength to overcome has impacted my outlook on life.  After watching Sunny overcome the amputation and go forward with great joy and pain free happiness, I will literally NEVER complain about any physical ailment that ever befalls me, and will channel Sunny's strength that I witnessed during this time.  

  He lived for 4.5 glorious months post op, before the cancer took over his lungs.  I hear, this happens after amputation.  I was glad we waited so long to do it, since he wasn't in too too much pain.

   I would do it again in a heartbeat, with no hesitation.  Those 4 months were the most triumphant I have ever felt in my entire life.  Sunny is my inspiration for LITERALLY anything that comes.  I'm so glad he and I had this experience together, I am forever changed, for the better.

   Follow your heart. sp_hearticon2

Love, Kristen and Sunshine.


Ontario, Canada
Member Since:
5 February 2023
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19 March 2023 - 11:39 am
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Awww our Nova was diagnosed in January with osteosarcoma after a lump was found on her right front leg it was our only option too but we were more heart broken then she was. She too was clear in lungs and anywhere else that's the best time to  do surgery to make sure you keep ahead of it. Nova had her surgery Feb 10th she just had her 2nd round of chemo and she's cancer free and her bloodwork so far comes back good. She turns 10 on March 25th. She's still getting used to stairs but she goes on and off the couch like a champ. Keep positive and pray and you'll be surprised how fast they bounce back to their old self


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 March 2023 - 10:12 pm
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As you can see from the responses from Jerry, Kristen and Nova's Mom,  YOU ARE. NOT ALONE!!!!

We under your emotions, your fear, your uncertainty better than any others can u less they've been on thos journey.  Vottom line, the surgery  removes the pain AND gives a chance for EXTENDED  quality  life!  And yes, there are some dogs like A gel Murphy and like Angel Hrest DaneJesse who beat the odds for uears and two years respectively.   AMND so e like Sunny had extended  quality ti e for four months (remember in doggy years that's  what...approximately  two plus?  In al,l cases here, almost every single one, there are no regrets and everyone  was glad they removed the pain and gave them a chance.

And you can bet that Kimber wants that chance.  She wants more time to be loved and spoiled by you and to get more Timmy ribs and treats.

Anyway, just wanted tompop in quickly and to see how we can continue  to support you.  Update when you can.  We are all here for yoh and right by your side..


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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