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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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Need advice, 8 yr old Rottie
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Forum Posts: 5
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2 December 2021 - 4:08 pm
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Hello, my 8 year old Rottie, Nala, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma today in her rear, left knee. 

Nala tore her puppy ACL while she was younger in the same knee, and we opted out of surgery. She got back to 90% and sometimes had bad days. When she started showing pain in this leg, we thought it was a little flare up and decided to manage with medicine instead of taking her to the vet. After 2 weeks of little progress, we took her to the vet for X-rays. They found the cancer. It seems to only be in that leg, from what the X-rays shown, and we have been offered amputation.  

While waiting on a second vet to give us a call back, I thought I would reach out. After amputation, is the quality of life better? Even if it isn’t much longer? My poor baby is limping and whining when getting up or down. We were prescribed new medication to help in the mean time, which has made an positive impact. 

Nala is seemingly healthy besides her leg. She is eating and drinking normal, normal bathroom habits, and tried to wrestle with me all last night. 

Personally I think amputation is the best option, but I don’t want to make the decision if it is a selfish option. 

Thank you. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 December 2021 - 5:29 pm
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Hi Nala and family, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join! We are glad you found us though, so we can help you in the decision process and beyond.

It's good you're getting another vet opinion. I'll try to answer your questions:

After amputation, is the quality of life better?

Generally speaking, yes. About 98% of Tripawds parents surveyed say quality of life is good after amputation. It is better than living with the pain their animal had before amputation.

Even if it isn’t much longer?

When it comes to osteosarcoma, it's all about quality over quantity. Remember, dogs don't keep calendars or track time. Only we do. If their day is spent pain-free, it's a great day and that's all that matters to them. Cancer teaches us how to take life one day at a time the way our pets do.

 I don’t want to make the decision if it is a selfish option. 

The only selfish option is not doing anything at all, whether that's amputation or palliative pain relief until it no longer works. Amputation isn't right for every dog, but for most, it buys quality time with their favorite people. And amputation itself is not selfish. Around here, we say that you aren't doing it to your dog, but for your dog. You are getting rid of pain by removing the bad leg.

Many Rotties have gone on to have a great quality of life! Some beat cancer odds and some did not, but they had good time left with their people and that was the goal. Check out Sadie's story as an example. 

Let us know what the second vet says. I hope this helps. Stay tuned for feedback from others!

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




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2 December 2021 - 6:13 pm
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Yoir sweet Nala sounds like she has a zest for life, even with that bum leg.

I can only ditto everything  Jerry said.  Loving Nala enough to want to keep her pain free and with you here on earth as long as possible is love.  And love is not selfish.  ♥️

Recovery  is no picnic at first, but we are all here ro help you navigate  thru it and move on to a pain free life. 

So let us know as any questions arise.  We are here ro help support you and cheer for Nala.  For now, keep her quiet  as you can so she doesn't  damage that weakened leg.  

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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9 December 2021 - 12:41 pm
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Thank you guys so much. Nala’s surgery is tomorrow morning. I will keep you updated 🤍

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 December 2021 - 12:48 pm
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You are so welcome! We will await an update. Tripawd Power coming your way!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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10 December 2021 - 9:00 pm
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Hi friends! 

Nala’s surgery went well. She is home & slowly starting to get comfortable and rest. We had a hard time getting her in and out of our car, but she was walking great just a little off balance.

The vet didn’t give us much for post op instructions. Just basically keep the incision clean and dry, and let Nala take it day by day with her meds. After two weeks they’ll remove the stitches. 

Do you guys have any post op tips?

Virginia




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10 December 2021 - 9:57 pm
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WELCOME HOME NYLA!!!  If I read this right, she came home today...the same day as surgery, right?  And she's already movile, even of a little wobbly........wonderful news!!.

She may be off food a bit and may not poop for several days.  Drinking is important though, as is peeing.  

Eight now she still jas some strong hospital  meds in her system,  so she may show some signs of pain after they are out of her system.   So stay  consistent  with the pain management   plan the Vet gave you.  It may need some tweaking the first several days if not adequate  e ough, or of too much.

So was she sent home with Gabapentin,  an antibiotic and an a ti inflammatory  like Rimadyl?

For the first two weeks, especially  well  into the first week, it's all about rest, rest, rest, short leashed potty breaks and more rest.  

Did they send you home with the dreaded cone?  It's crucial she wears it unless watched like a hawk to prevent her from chewing  at the stitches.

If you jave hardwood floors put down nonslip scatter rugs for traction .   

It's  important  that you9 stay upbeat and confident  and give her to s of praise for every little thing she does. She will feed off of your energy, 

Just a couple of tips ro get your started on the road to recovery.  It's import that YOU get some rest (as best you can anyway).  

We're  here for you, okay?  Can't  wait to continue  to celebrate  as Nyla continues  to master life on three legs and live her life to the fullest as an adorable  tripawd!!!

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



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10 December 2021 - 10:58 pm
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Yay! Welcome home Nala!

Sally covered so many great points. The two biggest tips I can offer are to stay ahead of the pain and monitor for any pain signals . If you suspect she is in pain don't hesitate to let the vet know. pain management will make or break recovery.

Also, don't compare her recovery with others. She is on her own healing timeline and will get there! As Sally said, take things day by day and soon it will be time to get stitches out.

Oh and remember we are here for you so keep us posted!

Try to rest and update when you can.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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10 December 2021 - 10:59 pm
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That is correct, Nala came home today the same day as her surgery. 
We have her big old cone and she’s using it only while I try to get some rest. If I’m next to her and loving on her I take it off so she’s comfortable. 
We were sent home with gabapentin, carprofen as the anti inflammatory, and an antibiotic. 

Nala hasn’t gone out to use the potty yet, she hasn’t seemed interested. We had a big win already! I was worried about how she would get up when she was ready, and she just did it! She sat up with a little whine, I helped her get steady and she walked herself to her own little bedroom and plopped on her bed with little to no help from me! 

She is crying off and on which makes me really sad. But I’m cheering her on with every little victory. 

thank you!

Virginia




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10 December 2021 - 11:11 pm
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Excellent update! You both are doing really well! Good job of recognizing the improvements already and celebrating them.

Bringing them home the same day of surgery it's not always easy. Even though she has a little whining every now and then, it sounds like her pain is being managed. Just keep her hydrated and she'll probably per soon. Even if it's in the bed, that's okay for now

And apologies for misspelling her name before.! Your sweet Nala is one tough little girl😎.

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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12 December 2021 - 12:34 pm
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Happy Sunday! 

Great news, Nala is doing amazing! She is getting up, walking, and going potty by herself! She is taking her medicine and eating and drinking normal. She also annihilated a toy I gave her this morning just like normal. My heart feels so much better. Today is the first day I felt like I made the right decision. It seems like her pain is so low compared to before the surgery. She even tried to run after a toy today too! 
I am keeping her activity level low and letting her recover. I’m giving her toys and treats while she is laying down and letting her slowly get back to her normal self. But Nala is a champ! Thank you all so much for your help!

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 December 2021 - 1:00 pm
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Go Nala! What a happy update, I'm so happy to hear you are back to shredding toys and feeling good enough to play.
Yep, taking it easy and slow is what you want to do right now, but you'll soon have your life back. It's right around the corner.

You are so welcome. Anytime you have questions or whatever we are here for you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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12 December 2021 - 7:10 pm
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WOW!!!   Nala IS a champ!!!   Nala really, really, really is doing amazingly well!  We sometimes  hear about the pain being so bad before surgery, that they feel almost instantly better once the painful leg is removed.  Nala appears to be an example  of that.

So glad to read this wonderful update.  Keep em coming👍

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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