TRIPAWDS: Home to 21315 Members and 2064 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG

Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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.

JUMP TO FORUMS

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

Instant post approval.

Private messages to members.

Subscribe to favorite topics.

Live Chat and much more!

Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Large cancer leg lump with no limp?
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
14 January 2023 - 1:33 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi- I'm new here. 

We have Caroline, a 9 year old female husky/aussie/mutt mix. 52 pounds, very active and healthy.

A couple weeks ago she came in from the porch with a HUGE limp- lifting her right rear leg. We then saw a big bump halfway up.

I hadn't noticed the lump before. I suppose it had been there for a while but I think I would have noticed it.

Anyway, the next day she was back to using the leg, and had a slight limp.

A couple days later, the limp was imperceptible.

Went to the vet, she did xrays, said it's cancer, sent us to oncologist, they did more xrays and blood work, and now Caroline is scheduled for amputation in two weeks- the earliest they had available.

I know her amputation will bother us a lot more than it will bother her. And I have no probably doing it.

But I just keep wondering- could it be something else? An infected cyst? Or....?

So (if you're still reading lol) my question is:

Have some of you folks had dogs with leg cancer that didn't show a noticeable limp or pain?

.

This is her a couple weeks ago when it was zero degrees.

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
14 January 2023 - 3:02 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

Hi Paul and Caroline, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I'm sorry you got the diagnosis. Sounds like you have a good attitude about everything, and that goes a lonnnng way to help Caroline have a good recovery.

So (if you’re still reading lol) my question is:

Have some of you folks had dogs with leg cancer that didn’t show a noticeable limp or pain?

Of course we are still reading! I know it's a shock to get that news, especially when your dog is not showing any pain signals . With 2 vets saying it's cancer, it's 99.9999% certain that's what you're dealing with. Did you ask them your question? If so, what did they say?

The thing is, dogs are masters at hiding pain (cats are even better at it). As humans we are so obvious about showing pain but not them. Animals will do anything they can to hide they are hurting. By the time they do show they hurt, that pain is really advanced and the cancer is advanced too. So by not waiting until Caroline is visibly limping, you are really doing her so much good. Her body is stronger right now than it would be if you waited, and that is a huge advantage during recovery.

To specifically answer your question, yes, many people here have dealt with a cancer diagnosis that wasn't outwardly visible with signs like limping.

By the way Caroline is adorable!

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
15 January 2023 - 7:41 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

jerry said

To specifically answer your question, yes, many people here have dealt with a cancer diagnosis that wasn't outwardly visible with signs like limping.

  

Hi Jerry-

Thanks so much for responding. 

It's just so hard to believe that a dog with no limp needs to have her leg cut off!

I suppose if we're lucky maybe that just means we caught it early, so she will have more time with us, albeit with 3 legs.

Here she was yesterday on one of our two daily 30 minute walks- crazy dog having fun!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
15 January 2023 - 3:31 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Paul that was the cutest walk ever! So fun to see her enthusiasm. What a nut!

I do see a limp, especially at 2:01. She is not limping in the traditional sense that we envision, but I can see that she is not bearing all her weight on that back right leg. It's not a constant favoring, but intermittently during that video you can see a few times where she is not flexing that leg as much when she walks, and in a few instances her leg extension is shortened, like a small bunny hop.

These are not things that the average pet parent sees. I didn't see these things when our Jerry started limping from his tumor. It was hidden in his scapula, so we never once thought the limp was cancer. And I probably wouldn't see these things now in other dogs either, except that I've become somewhat of a "vet groupie" since starting Tripawds, and interviewed a lot of rehab therapists in the last 15 years who have educated me about normal dog gait, pain signs, etc. 

You are doing right by her. Get rid of that bad leg. Let your wacky, funny, adorable dog live her best life on three. You will see that she doesn't let anything hold her back! Your job is to manage her activity so she can still have fun without getting injured. It takes time to gauge her abilities, and how to keep her injury-free, but I can tell you will be an awesome Tripawd parent to her!

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
15 January 2023 - 4:16 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Jerry, thanks again!

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
15 January 2023 - 4:52 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello, what kind of cancer does your girl have?

I think a limp depends on what kind of cancer it is, where the tumor is, and how advanced it is.

My Pug Maggie had a soft tissue cancer called mast cell. Her tumor was in her left knee, I only found it when we were playing once and I grabbed her by her back legs. I knew immediately that it was cancer since she had a tumor removed about 6 months earlier.  I never could have imagined that the solution to a bump in her knee would be amputation.

Maggie never showed me any pain signs and she never limped.  Mag was quite a drama queen so I think she would have let me know- once she lost her mind because a leaf got stuck to her foot!  Once I knew the tumor was there I could see that when she squatted to pee she didn't bend her bad leg as much as her good leg but man, it was subtle.  Even when i knew the tumor was there I didn't see a limp but it was only a few days from diagnosis to surgery.

Looking at your videos I can see that she isn't quite right but it is subtle and I have the advantage of knowing there is a problem!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
15 January 2023 - 4:56 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

First of all, Caroline is a very pretty gal!  And I love that she's an adorable fashionista  with her pretty jacket and stylish booties.  She definitely has a zest for life 👍  I can assure you we are all already in love with Sweet Caroline 💖

You have excellent  insight from Jerry and I can only say ditto.

As Jerry mentioned,  often no limpmos noticed before diagnosis.   And so etimes we see osteo is only discovered after the leg fractures.  So it is good you are catching  this early.

We are here for you every step of the way and can help you navigate  through recovery, okay?  

One thing you can do ahead if you jave hardwood  floors is get nin slip scatter rugs 9r cheap yoga mats for traction .  That way she will be used to using them ahead of time.

Do you have many stairs she would need to go potty?  You can also get a ramp built if necessary ahead of time too of uoj feel like ot woild be necessary.  

Okay,  keep  us posted.  And feel free ro share more pictures  and videos of your Happy and beautiful  girl.

Higs

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!

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
15 January 2023 - 7:24 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

Thanks everyone for your insights. Here's the full story to date.

In early January, we were visiting NC. Caroline turned 9 on Jan 1st.

Weds Jan 4, she had been on the front porch for a while, and when she came in she had a huge limp, not putting any weight on her right rear foot. That's when we saw the lump on the inside of that leg.

The next morning she was much better, only a slight limp. That day we called our vet, made an appt for Monday Jan 9th, and we drove home to OH. 

This past Monday Jan 9th we saw our vet. She did one xray, said it was most likely osteosarcoma, and referred us to a larger place with an oncologist.

This Thursday Jan 12th we saw the oncologist, and they kept Caroline for several hours, doing more xrays, ultrasound, and blood work.

When we picked her up we were told it was definitely bone cancer, most likely osteosarcoma, and the best path forward was to amputate and do chemo. I had spent a few days watching Dr Sue Cancer Vet and other youtube videos, and reading a lot, so I was not surprised by that recommendation.

Surgery is scheduled for Jan 27th.

They actually do the pathology after the surgery, and I assume will customize the chemo, etc., if needed. But as you all know, osteosarcoma is by far the most likely culprit.

I lost my brother at age 22 to melanoma, so I already knew how unfair cancer is. 

We'll certainly proceed with the amputation and chemo, just wanted to have a few folks with more experience confirm that her situation seems right.

Thanks for that!

Paul

PS  More Caroline videos here (playlist of several videos)

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
15 January 2023 - 7:33 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

We have carpet upstairs, but hardwood on the main level. I was planning to put non-skid runners all around on the hardwood for a while, and block the stairs. I'll probably sleep on the couch for a couple weeks to keep an eye on her. (Normally she starts out on our bed, but then gets down on a dog bed in our room.)

Going outside is only one or two steps, will she be able to do that, or should I put a temporary ramp there?

In a few months will she be ok on hardwood, or will we probably need to keep the runners out forever?

How long will it be before she will be strong enough and balanced enough to go up the carpeted stairs to the second floor?

I assume now it will be VERY important to discourage her from jumping up to beds or jumping into cars, because if she messes up her remaining back leg we're in big trouble. I guess I'll keep a ramp in each car she rides in, and put ramps or dog stairs next to the beds she tends to lay on?

Our normal routine has been two 30 minute walks every day. I assume we should start out just walking around the yard carefully for a few weeks, and then slowly walk her as far as she wants to go? 

Any other tips?

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
16 January 2023 - 10:09 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

LOL I loved her puppy videos! So she's part Husky, annnnd....Heeler? With a combo like that no wonder she is unstoppable!

Yes, unfortunately the way her situation has unfolded is pretty standard here for dogs who have osteosarcoma. And it's good they're doing the biopsy after the leg is off. For starters that's a painful procedure (the bone biopsy). The only time it should be done is when the diagnosis is in doubt. So if the vets are that confident the leg is bad due to cancer, you're on the best path forward.

I'm so sorry about your brother. That kind of loss only makes a situation like this even harder. We are here for you.

Going outside is only one or two steps, will she be able to do that, or should I put a temporary ramp there?

I wouldn't bother. Most dogs hate ramps, and one or two steps isn't a big deal for all but the tiniest dogs.

In a few months will she be ok on hardwood, or will we probably need to keep the runners out forever?

Unfortunately, hardwood floors are a Tripawd's worst enemy. Sure, they'll walk on them most times, and might even make it look easy, but rehab therapists tell us that it's the equivalent of ice skating all the time. It's tough on the body and puts the dog at risk of spills. Traction is a Tripawd's best friend and keeps them safe from injury. I recommend finding runners you really like. Look at it like this: doing this now is exactly what you would do for her when she is an elderly dog. She may not use the runners all the time, but most dogs get the hang of using them once they sees how much more confident they feel walking on carpet versus hardwood.

How long will it be before she will be strong enough and balanced enough to go up the carpeted stairs to the second floor?

With her energy and age, she'll make it look easy and would probably do them the next day if you let her. So don't. Rear leg amputee dogs have a harder time going up stairs than going down. She will need to build core strength to make up for that loss of propulsion (dogs have all their propulsion power in the rear). A rehab therapist can best instruct you on how to help her build that core strength. A harness like the Ruffwear Webmaster or Ruffwear Flagline harness can help you help her go up stairs so she doesn't put too much strain on that remaining leg in the meantime.

I assume now it will be VERY important to discourage her from jumping up to beds or jumping into cars, because if she messes up her remaining back leg we’re in big trouble. I guess I’ll keep a ramp in each car she rides in, and put ramps or dog stairs next to the beds she tends to lay on?

Absolutely. Again, I wouldn't bother with a ramp unless she's already shown you she will use them. Pet stairs for furniture are usually best and most dogs will use them. A harness with a handle on top like the Flagline or Webmaster makes it easy to help her up and back out of cars.

Our normal routine has been two 30 minute walks every day. I assume we should start out just walking around the yard carefully for a few weeks, and then slowly walk her as far as she wants to go? 

Rehab therapists recommend that the most fit and recovered Tripawds walk 2-3 times daily, no more than 15-20 minutes each. It's better to take shorter, more frequent walks. Once stitches are out, start walks with 1/4 of what she used to do and build up over time, sloooowly.

It's our job to monitor our dog's behavior on walks so that they don't overdo it. A dog left to walk as long as they want will walk until they drop. You don't want it to get to that point, because it means she's done too much.

Check out the Tripawds e-books library for lots of tips about pre and post-amputation recovery.

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
16 January 2023 - 10:45 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thanks Jerry, I really appreciate your help. I just made a donation to the foundation, this site is really valuable, so glad it's here!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
16 January 2023 - 9:52 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Paul you are so very welcome! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generous gift. You made our day, and we are very grateful 🙂

Any questions just holler, we'll do what we can to help you feel better about everything.

Member Since:
13 January 2023
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13
17 January 2023 - 8:49 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

Well, her condition changed last night. 

She seemed like her normal self in the morning, went on our usual 30 minute walk, and I was hopeful that status would continue until her surgery in ten days.

But last night she suddenly started limping badly, holding her leg up, clearly in a lot of pain. They had given us carprofen, she's been taking 1/2 of a 100mg pill twice a day.

But last night that clearly wasn't enough. I gave her a benadryl, hoping that would help her sleep. But she tossed and turned from 10pm to 2am, when I finally gave her a 100mg gabapentin (which they had given her the day she had her xrays etc, and I have some from a surgery I had), and a 150mg trazodone (which they had given us to give her for anxiety before her surgery).

This morning she was very groggy and in pain, but ate a bowl of cottage cheese and rice and took her 1/2 carprofen in a pill pocket.

I've called the vet place to see what might help, maybe more of the gabapentins? Or something else.

It will be a long ten days.

EDIT: Just talked to my vet, gonna add gabapentin twice a day, should help.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14
17 January 2023 - 10:42 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Bummed that thos happened, but not too surprised.  I  actually  canceled  the first surgery appt for my Happy Yannah,.  In large part due to my   fear, but also because  I seemed to manage her pain/slight imp with light doses of pain meds......until......until she held her leg up completely  off the ground and wouldn't  put any weight on it.  Needless to say I rescheduled that appointment asap.

Only other suggestion would be to up here Gaba.  100 every 12 hours is on the very low side.  As you can tell from her restlessness and holding her leg up, she's in pain.  Of course, only with Vet approval.  The Traz, as you know, is  a heavy sedative and does nothing for the pain.  That's  most likely the cause of her being very groggy. Ask the Vet about reducing that and increasing  her Gaba.

One other thought. There's always the risk of fracture.  If you can, try and advocate for an earlier appt.  Ten days out is a long time if there is a fracture.  Or st the ferymleast, ask the Vet to xray and then, IF there is a fracture  mayve they would move the appt up anyway.

So yeah, just short leashed potty breaks for now.  And your usual  amount of loving and spoiling  and lots of yummy foods.

If there is any "up" side to this situation,  she has clearly  shown your now she is ready for that bum leg to be temoved..  Sorry you both are dealing  with this.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15
17 January 2023 - 11:03 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh poor thing. I'm glad you were able to reach the vet. Sally gave you great input. Yeah, the possibility of a hairline fracture occurred to me too. Did the vet mention anything about that risk?

Keep her activity really, really short now, and focus on interactive brain games . It's good practice for recovery.

I hope she feels better with the new medication schedule. Keep us posted.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: veronicax5
Guest(s) 80
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1225
Members: 16205
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 17944
Posts: 248795
Administrators: admin, jerry, Tripawds
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG