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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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Just diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. Having trouble with ideas of possible treatments
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Forum Posts: 29
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16 March 2016 - 9:24 am
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my 3 year old pit bull was just diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma in his hind right leg. The lump is close to his paw so the vet said he doesn’t think they would be able to remove the whole tumor during surgery. He said the best bet will be amputation. We have an oncology appointment on Monday but I’m trying to cope with all options that could happen. Been crying all day hate to see my baby in pain and having to go through this. Not sure if it is common for amputation from STS or if it is just used mainly for bone cancer. Also we live in NYC so I’m worries about the difficult change it will be if he does loose the leg. He also had TPLO surgery last May on the infected leg and wondering if that could have caused this. Any advise will help. Thank you!

Marissa and Bentley

Livermore, CA




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16 March 2016 - 10:14 am
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Hi and welcome to the forums, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Good for you for doing your homework!

The thought of amputation can be overwhelming.  When my pug Maggie had a lump in her knee I was expecting the ‘cancer’ word but when my vet said amputation I was stunned.  She wasn’t even limping, how could this be the best option?  For us it was the only option after looking at the alternatives, Maggie had mast cell cancer.

Not sure if it is common for amputation from STS or if it is just used mainly for bone cancer

Unfortunately tumors that are on the legs and paws are very hard to remove with clean margins which means they often regrow. Amputation for bone cancer is used to relieve pain, which can also happen with STSs.  And as I said, my Maggie had mast cell cancer.

You said in your blog that you were worried that Bentley’s other knee would not hold up, has that leg been evaluated? Was the first TPLO due to an injury or more his conformation?  My quad pug Obie has had both his knees repaired, 2 years and 2 days apart.  His were due to his knee caps luxating and was not from injury but just the way his legs are.

You might look through the Required Reading List for information on amputation, recovery and treatment.

Keep asking questions and gathering info.  Let us know what the vet says on Monday.  We have been where you are and can help.

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 March 2016 - 10:56 am
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Hi Marissa,

You’ve gotten some great advice here. I want to add, if you’re in NYC why not consider a second opinion from the Animal Medical Center? It could give you the peace of mind and confidence you need no matter what you decide. We’ve had several members who are oncology clients there and we know that clinic is pawesome. One of their leading vets, Dr. Hohenhaus, has been our guest on Tripawd Talk Radio a few times. We also have a member in NYC who would be glad to talk to you I’m sure.

As for the location of the tumor…if it’s down low enough on his paw that the surgeon can get good margins, he could be a great candidate for a prosthetic. See our OrthoPets interviews for details. And if not, if that leg has to go, never fear. Doggie strollers around NYC are the way to go. Check out NYC Xena’s story, and our Doggie Stroller reviews for inspawration.

Your pup is very young and of a very strong, awesome breed. If he becomes a Tripawd I know he will amaze and inspire you every single day. It’s not easy to picture, but you will both get there. Stay strong and know that we are here to help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Maryland
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16 March 2016 - 11:36 am
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Hi There,

I just wanted to say Hi and welcome you here, where of course you’d rather not be. We all understand the pain, confusion and grief when we are told we might need to face amputation. My experience was w/ OSA, so can’t give you any specific feedback about whether there are other options for STS. A second opinion is completely justified and worth it if it will help you make the right decision for your pup. 

I did want to say that I doubt the previous TPLO on this same leg would have caused the STS. STS shows up in lots of dogs who have never had a TPLO. Just like w/ OSA, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason why it has to be your dog who gets cancer. It is just rotten luck. 

Now, if Bentley does need amputation, then reading some stories here should help you realize that Bentley can still live a life full of doggie joy even as a tripawd. I don’t think living in NYC would preclude that. Of course, if you’re on the 5th floor of a walk-up you might need to make some adjustments but once outside he’ll be able to take walks in the park just like always. He’ll probably surprise you how determined he will be not to let anything change.

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie. 

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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16 March 2016 - 10:07 pm
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Thank you all so much! To respond to some of you his TPLO was done because he tore his acl falling down the stairs and then off the bed a few months after (clumsy puppy). Also we are going to Blue Pearl for our appointment but might also get a third opinion at the Animal Medical center. We also live in a 4th floor walk up and not sure if can afford a move and can’t constantly carry the 63lb boy up and down the stairs three times a day while he heels. Just thinking of the outside circumstances currently. Thank you everyone for your help and kind words

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 March 2016 - 9:08 am
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Try not to worry about the stairs, that’s where the Ruffwear Webmaster harness comes in really handy. We had 18 steps to get in and out of our home and the harness was a lifesaver.

If you have access to AMC I wouldn’t hesitate to get an opinion there.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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17 March 2016 - 10:38 am
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Just catching up! You’ve already gotten great advice and yoj clearly realize you are anot alone on this crazy journey!

Hearing the word “amputation” is quite a shock, to say the least. I went from “ABSOLUTELY NOT”…to making the appointment for the surgery…to canceling it….to going forward with it! For three weeks I thought “What in the world have I done TO my dog?” And then my Happy Hannah’s sparkle came back bigger and brighter than ever and I knew I had done this FOR my dog!!

BTW, my Happy Hannah never had a TPLO or any other leg ossues at all!!

You Pittie is a strong dog. You’ll be amazed at how well she does once she gets through recovery. Rear leggers can usually go down stairs with no problems, but sometimes have more of a struggle going up the stairs. The li ks to harnesses Jerry gave you will help lut your mind at ease, should you need to help Bentley

Stay connected. We have a whole @pt of first hand knowledge to offer! We understand the emotions involved too! Lean on us…we’re here for you!

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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17 March 2016 - 3:26 pm
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Hi Marissa,

     I am so sorry you are going through this. I am a relatively new tripawd mom. My girl, Bella, was diagnosed with a softissue sarcoma (fibrosarcoma) in the rear left leg in January. I don’t know how unusual it is, but with some sts it is imperative to get it all through surgery. We did not have an option with her leg. She had a complicated case and it was amputate her leg or let her go. We were thankful they were able to do the amputation and save her. I truly hope they can get clean margins without removal. If your Bentley does have the leg removed, please just keep reading on this website. There is so much helpful information here that you can find here. I downloaded the books immediately and just started reading. They were extremely informative and taught me things I never even knew to ask.

    I also understand the questions you are asking yourself about practical daily living with a recent amputee. I am still learning new things as is my Bella. For the first few days home, she seemed a little confused about her leg being gone….or it could have been the meds she was under, but since then she has just been resolute in learning to function with her new normal. I keep reading and Bella keeps teaching. It has been a very emotional couple of months but to see that half-shaved butt wiggle and her eyes shine as she brings me one of her stuffed toys to play fetch, I would do it all again in a heart beat.  I recently told a friend of mine that if I stood back and looked at it objectively, it isn’t any more “work” than when she was a puppy. It is just the level of emotion involved on my part that I had to get through. 

     I am sure you will get good medical care and make the best decision based on the the information. Amputation isn’t the end. There are bumps along the way. And the tears….I have cried bucket fulls. But we are only two months into this journey and she is functioning well beyond what I had imagined.  

    Best wishes for both of you!

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18 March 2016 - 7:59 am
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Bella\
Hi Marissa,

     I am so sorry you are going through this. I am a relatively new tripawd mom. My girl, Bella, was diagnosed with a softissue sarcoma (fibrosarcoma) in the rear left leg in January. I don’t know how unusual it is, but with some sts it is imperative to get it all through surgery. We did not have an option with her leg. She had a complicated case and it was amputate her leg or let her go. We were thankful they were able to do the amputation and save her. I truly hope they can get clean margins without removal. If your Bentley does have the leg removed, please just keep reading on this website. There is so much helpful information here that you can find here. I downloaded the books immediately and just started reading. They were extremely informative and taught me things I never even knew to ask.

    I also understand the questions you are asking yourself about practical daily living with a recent amputee. I am still learning new things as is my Bella. For the first few days home, she seemed a little confused about her leg being gone….or it could have been the meds she was under, but since then she has just been resolute in learning to function with her new normal. I keep reading and Bella keeps teaching. It has been a very emotional couple of months but to see that half-shaved butt wiggle and her eyes shine as she brings me one of her stuffed toys to play fetch, I would do it all again in a heart beat.  I recently told a friend of mine that if I stood back and looked at it objectively, it isn’t any more “work” than when she was a puppy. It is just the level of emotion involved on my part that I had to get through. 

     I am sure you will get good medical care and make the best decision based on the the information. Amputation isn’t the end. There are bumps along the way. And the tears….I have cried bucket fulls. But we are only two months into this journey and she is functioning well beyond what I had imagined.  

    Best wishes for both of you!

Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear about your situation but it seems like it is working out for the best. I have to remember to do what’s right for Bentley and not what I want. Everyone on here has been great and thank you for all the support. 

Norene, TN
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25 March 2016 - 2:58 pm
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Jumping in here late, howdy and welcome!

Any updates?

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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27 March 2016 - 3:56 pm
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harmony said
Jumping in here late, howdy and welcome!

Any updates?

pam

He got a ct scan this week and the tumor is in one metatarsal bone and right up against the next one. I have limb sparing with radiation or full amputation as options. I’m torn as to what to do. Would love to keep his leg but worried about the radiation 

Norene, TN
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28 March 2016 - 7:48 am
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Aww . . . bless your heart. Radiation would scare me too, probably not for the same reasons as you. My experience is limited to human relatives/friends regarding radiation. I’ve never heard of radiation for fur-babies. What are the risks?

As far as limb-sparing, that’s a tough cookie. I think we naturally compare our fur-babies to our own ability to recuperate such procedures. But as I’m learning, the animal kingdom is so much different.

I know I’m rambling, but I’m trying to relay to you that you’re dealing with all normal thoughts and emotions. I’m not sure what I would do in your shoes. But one thing I know for sure, you’ll do it with love and conviction, and that, really my friend, is where you’ll find your peace.

Keep us updated!

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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