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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Meet Tsuki... She's having surgery in a week
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Member Since:
24 March 2021
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5 April 2021 - 10:43 am
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71 lb, 8.5 yo Pitbull Rescue, who happens to be the love of my doggie life. She was diagnosed with a grade 2 Soft Tissue Sarcoma about a week and a half ago, because of a recurring wound on her left hind pastern, just behind her heel pad. She is scheduled for an amputation of the paw and about half her pastern, in exactly a week. We did a bunch of diagnostics to make sure she doesn't have any metastasis, which I'm happy to say she does not.

With aggressive wound care that included debridement and daily dressing changes of 20 UMF Monofloral Manuka Honey, we've actually managed to close up the wound faster than we ever have. Seeing her without the bandages and whole of body is making the whole part where she is going to be put through this traumatic change very challenging. 

I work with cancer patients at a retreat center... I've had cancer myself... so maybe all of this is just triggering me a lot.... but I feel like I'm about to face the strangest week of my life... where I have to spend every minute not second-guessing the choice to be aggressive in her treatment. I know this is something I have to work through, so maybe I am just needing a little empathy more than anything... that having to make an incredibly difficult choice is the right one for her health and quality of life.

We've got everything pretty well ready to go.... bought carpet runner pads to run all over the house.... have an assistance sling to be able to help her as she needs it... created a safe place on our back deck where she can hang out in the sun (totally her favorite napping position) without being tempted to go down the stairs.

We already have her scheduled with the Orthopedic Vet who will start her/our rehab and eventually be fitting her for a prosthetic. That's set for two weeks post-surgery.

We've done a lot research, and I've certainly been reading the forum. I have more reading to do, so I can make sure she's a comfortable as possible post-surgery... she is getting an ultrasound-guided nerve block to put her ahead of the pain curve, but if there's something I haven't mentioned that I should be thinking of, please tell me....

and remind me to breathe. icon_lol

With deep thanks,


Member Since:
24 March 2021
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5 April 2021 - 10:46 am
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On The Road

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24 September 2009
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5 April 2021 - 11:12 am
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Hi Victrinia and Tsuki, welcome. We are so sorry you are about to join our club and hope to make it easier for you both.

First let me say how impressed I am with your research! You have done everything right to give you all the reassurance possible, and make her recovery as easy as possible. I was thinking of my usual questions to ask as I read your post, and you answered all of them! Great job!

Yes, I can totally see how her diagnosis brings out so many emotions because you are a cancer survivor yourself, and the line of work that you are in. There's one thing to remember though (aside from remembering to breathe ;), and it's that animals do not have the emotional burdens that humans do when it comes to limb loss. They adapt, they move on, they embrace every day without looking back. It's sooo not like how humans handle it! 

Prepare to be impressed. Tsuki is going to amaze you, your bond will be stronger and you will learn things from her that will make you smarter, wiser and a better human being. She will teach you to Be More Dog , just wait!

May I ask who your oncologist and ortho surgeon is? I'm thrilled she will be getting a prosthesis, that was going to be my first recommendation, to investigate it as an option. I love that you did and she's on her way with the process. It can make such a huge difference in quality of life and we look forward to following along with your journey.

I hope this helps! If you haven't seen Jerry's Required Reading List , the Tripawds e-books or our What to Expect articles , be sure to check them out. And stay tuned for feedback from others! 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
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5 April 2021 - 12:29 pm
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Thank you Jerry.... I'm sure you must get this a lot... but you are a saint. Patron Saint of the Tripawd Furbabies.

I REALLY lucked out with the team we have put together, as they were able to see her almost immediately, which around here for oncology vets is almost unheard of.

Puget Sound Veterinary Specialists

Her Oncologist is Dr. Vanessa Rizzo, and her Ortho Surgeon is Dr. Samantha Collins

Her Rehab/Ortho Vet is Dr. Cristin Finn ( Dr. Finn is an integrative vet specialist who is connected with OrthoPet, who will be the ones who make the prosthetic. So she'll not only have traditional veterinarian care, but Chinese Medicine also.

I am very aware... as I watch all the videos and interactions with the dogs and cats, that this is very much my human emotional experience. Tsuki has lots of emotions... but worrying about having only three paws won't be one. I get that intellectually... I'm working on psychological integration. lol That's much harder. 

I definitely feel much better about it all now than when I woke up this morning, community is one of the most powerful paths to finding peace in the storm of our human experience. Thank you for taking the time to faithfully create this space for us. I am deeply grateful for your compassion.


Victrinia & Tsuki


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22 February 2013
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5 April 2021 - 2:32 pm
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Patron Saint of the Tripawd Furbabies.❤❤❤😇😇😇

We could not agree more!!!  So beautifully  said!

Kerry has pretty much covered  all the bases, as usual!

I just want to add what a GORGEOUS  and ADORABLE  pupper your sweet  Tsuki is!  I am absolutely  in love!!!

This is just nothing more than a  curiosity  question.  Was amputation  discussed? 

So many pawsitive things about the RIGHT Manuka Honey..   Good job of giving her sich exquisite  care!  And this leads me to another  "just curious " question.  Does she seem to be using the paw now and sort of "pain free"  Guess I'm asking of there is a chance of remission?

Sorry for the uninformed questions.  Jer case is so "unique" amd we very much appreciate  you sharing  it with us.  We learn so mich from each new story that always  helps the next person.

Continue  to follow Tsuki's lead and flow effortlessly  from one moment  to the next.  Ahhhh....the bliss of being dog....Be  more Dog

We are cheering for her and look forward to following her on jer journey.

You have done, amd are doing such an extraordinary  job in leaving  no stone  unturned  in the care of your Tsuki.  


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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5 April 2021 - 5:19 pm
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Prompted by the things I was reading here about the most effective post-amputation pain management , I sent a note to my Surgeon's team and asked about Nocita... 

I just got a call back that, that is what they use!!!!!! I feel so relieved, it makes me want to cry.

Tsuki previously had oral surgery, and reacted so badly to the narcotic disorientation, that I was a mess. She howled, and moaned, and cried for hours. The Vet called me in the middle of it all by chance, and reassured me she wasn't in pain... she was just high as a kite.

I'll do whatever is needed to keep her as pain-controlled as possible... but I'd rather avoid that kind of narcotic loading on her. Enlarger

(This was the poor thing after oral surgery)

Hello Miss Sally & Hannah & Myrtle & Frankie Too!

Thank you for your kind encouragement and support, I am deeply grateful. Her paw amputation is the best, and safest route to take for her cancer treatment, so it's the plan. The Manuka Honey (and as you pointed out, not all Manuka Honies are created equal!), was amazing... I actually did a day-by-day photograph record to track how it did, and it was blindingly fast at healing it. It closed an aggravated and persistent wound in 5 days. You could have knocked me over with a cat whisker!

That's what makes this so hard... the persistent wound is indicative of cancer... but the fact that she's as normal and sassy as ever has no change effect on cancer tendriled into the soft tissue of her ligaments, muscles, and tendons in her pastern. I can still palpate a mass... even if it's causing her no pain or issue. 🙁

What we do know about STS, is that if it gets to grade three... it'll likely head into her lymph nodes and her chest. From that prognosis, there isn't much coming back. I believe in natural healing, and even miracles, but I also trust science and my gut tells me to do the most aggressive and thorough option... and knowing that we have such a great site that she'll likely have almost 100% of a natural gait with the prosthetic because it's literally just replacing her paw and part of her ankle, I find that I can live with that choice.

I say that with great relief because last night and this morning the struggle was real... the heartache was worse.... you have both helped so much already.

Tsuki is going to be our 'bionic' baby! And we intend to make her new life just as extraordinary as the old. My hubby is a software engineer. He want's to get a voice module for her collar that he can activate with his phone... which will make Transformer noises when she's running around. icon_lol

Boys are weird... but I love him. lol

Thank you from our hearts,



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5 April 2021 - 5:42 pm
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Thanks for sharing more details of your incredible Tsuki.  

Yes, I like a combo approach  to when it comes to "eastern" and western" (or alternatives  and conventional).  And it absolutely  makes sense to get rid of thst bum paw and all the underlying "atiff" before it gets out of control.

I love the cut4ing edge  idea of the collar yoir husband is creating😎  I think your husband  needs to oatten it!  This sweet girl sure is surely going to be the cutest bionic baby on the Planet ❤

Yes, that Nocita atiff is wonderful.  Sounds like your Vet team is really in top of thingd.

Smooch that precious baby for  us.  And more pictures of her cute self too!


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!

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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5 April 2021 - 6:05 pm
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Woah! You're working with Dr. Rizzo? We love her to pieces! She practices the most current, excellent vet care. Check out our interview with her, she is amaaaazing. Tell her we send our best and lots of love when you speak with her again.

All About Fear Free Pet Cancer Care for Tripawds

I don't know Dr. Finn but WOW! She's amazing too! We need to interview her, she has an incredible practice. Tsuki is one lucky dawg to get those two vets on her team. Very cool! 

We have quite a few members who have come from your neck of the woods. It's a spectacular place for veterinary care. 

And yes it's hard to go forward with amputation when a dog doesn't appear to be in pain. I get it. I think the thing to consider is: what would it feel like if the tumor was in your limb? Odds are you would feel off, icky, and not hiding the symptoms as well as your sweet girl.

 I actually did a day-by-day photograph record to track how it did, and it was blindingly fast at healing it. It closed an aggravated and persistent wound in 5 days. 

Ooooh, someday if you're up to it, we'd love to see those photos. We once wrote a post about Manuka Honey and would love to update it with Tsuki's story.

Yes, a prosthesis will benefit her sooo much. I really hope you'll consider starting a blog (no pressure though, promise), just because we get so few opportunities to follow the process from the beginning. It would be so helpful to folks. That, and of course to see her running around with the Transformer collar! icon_lol

You have a great attitude. I can tell you will all do just fine. Just holler with whatever questions you have, and keep us posted.

P.S. You (and Sally!) are so sweet, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words. As Admin Guy and I like to say, we just make things run here, but the community makes the magic.

It's funny that you called Jerry a saint...he is! Even has his own candle!

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Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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