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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 help! Undecided amputation tomorrow
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Forum Posts: 8
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23 May 2020
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26 May 2020 - 11:10 am
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My 7 years old Greyhound was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on her right hind proximal femur (thigh bone) last week.  She got her chest and leg X-rays, MRI and bone biopsy.  The vet recommended me amputation and chemotherapy. According to the X-ray, metastases haven’t seen yet.

She also has a disc protrusion at her lumbosacral junction.  This is I concerned that after the operation she can get up and walk by herself or not.  The vet told me she need to wear some support, like a belt or something.

I and my husband agreed with amputation and chemo but when I mentioned to the greyhound rescue group about the treatment, they strongly disagreed, opposed to amputation.  They said that one of adopter decided an amputation and greyhound was died during op recently.   “Please do not do the surgery, regardless what the vet says, we have seen too many greyhounds suffer for the few months the owners gain”

I don’t know what to do now. I got panicked and confused when I received that email from the rescue group.  I have been researching web site and found a lot of positive articles and videos about three legs dogs.  I didn’t know that so many dogs are suffered and died because of amputation.

Please give me advice or information anything!  Amputation surgery is tomorrow but still debating.

My English skill is limited, so please bear with my mistakes.

Here and Now


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26 May 2020 - 12:43 pm
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ame0307 said
Please give me advice or information anything! 

 

Welcome and best wishes for your pup! Greyhounds are prone to certain complications with major surgery, but the vast majority recover quickly and adapt well. Success depends upon your surgeon and the hospital facility. If they are board certified and the practice operates to current AAHA standards, she will likely be in good hands. What’s her name?

Don’t miss this important Tripawds News blog post:

How to Choose a Veterinarian for Amputation Surgery

You will also want to make sure the facility has 24-hour supervision and that she spends the night after surgery.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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26 May 2020 - 1:30 pm
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 Thank you for your quick reply!  My dog’s name is Lani and she is a beautiful brindle Greyhound.  My vet is one of VCA group Hospital and has 24/7 emergency and specialty services such as Oncology, Neurology, Surgery, Pathology etc.  Unfortunately, they are not AAHA-accredited .  There is another VCA group hospital near me which is AAHA accredited.  Do you think I need to change the hospital?

New York, NY
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26 May 2020 - 2:21 pm
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Hi Lani’s human (what’s your name?)!  Welcome to the Tripawds community!  I’m sorry that you are faced with this decision about amputation, but it is so clear how much you love Lani and will make the best decision for her.  Given that the information you received from the rescue group was specifically about greyhounds, you might want to read Oakley’s story (Oakley The Greyhound’s Tripod Journey Begins).  He recently had a forelimb amputated, and is doing great with his recovery!  My 10-year old goldendoodle, Griffin, had his right forelimb amputated on April 2, 2020 after a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, and you can read about his story on the blog Griffin’s Journey.  I know others on this site will chime in soon, but reading through the stories of some pups who recently became tripawds might help you with your decision process.  Please stay connected and continue to ask any question you may have – someone on here will know the answer!  Sending hugs from NYC!  ~ Stacy

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 May 2020 - 3:21 pm
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Hey there and welcome, I’m sorry you had to join us but glad you decided to share Lani’s situation. 

First, don’t let anyone else’s experience cloud your decision about whether or not to amputate. We are not going to tell you whether or not to do it, but I’m honestly surprised that a Greyhound rescue group would say such a thing, considering that osteosarcoma is incredibly common in greyhounds and many greyhound parents have dogs who go on to live long, happy and healthy lives on three legs. You will find MANY stories of Grehound Tripawds here.

It sounds like you have a good clinic but honestly I would be more concerned about 

She also has a disc protrusion at her lumbosacral junction.  This is I concerned that after the operation she can get up and walk by herself or not.  The vet told me she need to wear some support, like a belt or something.

In that case, I would want a second opinion about this situation. In my non-vet opinion, this is potentially a bigger issue than anything. If it is convenient, get it from the specialists at the other clinic that is an AAHA practice. Let them know your Greyhound is in a lot of pain from osteosarcoma and they should be able to bump up the consultation.

Meanwhile, has your current vet talked to you about the risk of bleeding issues in Greyhounds? If not, I would be concerned. A veterinarian who doesn’t mention this to a client may not be experienced with this problem that Greyhounds often encounter. That may not be the vet you want to do the amputation. Please read this article. It’s older but still relevant:

Learn About Post-Amputation in Bleeding Greyhounds

And not to scare you, but do read Bocce’s story to learn what may happen when a vet doesn’t know to give the proper bleeding control meds to a Greyhound before surgery.

I’m sorry, I wish I could give you an answer that says “everything will be fine, go ahead and do it,” but it sounds like there is a lot to think about. You are smart to ask questions, and if it means delaying surgery for a few days it would put your mind at ease to know that you covered all your bases. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




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26 May 2020 - 3:39 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I can’t tell you what your best choice is but I can tell you that you should be sure about amputation before you go forward. This is a big surgery and sometimes recovery has ups and downs.  You need to be confident you are doing the best thing for Lani so you can be positive and strong while she recovers.

Yes, there have been dogs that don’t make it though surgery (not just Greys), and some dogs that don’t adapt to life on three.  But I have seen 1000’s of dogs on this site over the years I’ve been here and it is a tiny percentage of dogs who pass or don’t adapt and in those cases there is often an underlying health problem.

Which brings me to the potential back issue- I would want at least one other opinion on how bad the back problem might be.  While most all dogs adapt to life of three their new gait is harder on the other joints and spine.  And Grey’s do have some issues as Jerry mentioned so you want to be sure you are dealing with a vet who is familiar with Greys and their issues.  Don’t be shy about asking- I have Pugs and I always make sure the vets I’m dealing with know about their particular issues.

Postponing surgery for a couple days to get your questions answered and so you and your husband feel more comfortable is certainly reasonable.

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

Forum Posts: 161
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26 May 2020 - 9:29 pm
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Hi!

I’m sorry to hear about Lani’s cancer. I have just been through the whole thing with my 10 years old husky Arktik about 2 months ago now. Learning about the diagnostic was one of the most difficult moment of my life. It really took us by surprise as he as always been so healthy and active (everybody thought he was 2-3 years old). But I think the story is very similar with osteosarcoma, you go consult for a lameness thinking your dog probably sprain something..

This site has been a life saver in this difficult situation. There are so many wonderful people that are helping each other here and the knowledge you can get from this site is amazing! Do not hesitate to share your thoughts and questions. It is very useful I find. As others have suggested considering the specificity of Lany, getting a second opinion is probably worth it and will probably help you to make a decision. Having a game plan is what really help me to go through this. Once the decision was made, I started to feel better. There are no good or bad decision here. Everybody make the best decision with the cards they have and for the love of their pup. 

If you go through with amputation, you can follow some of our stories to see how everybody has been dealing with recovery and also, about our pets’ life once they are back to their ‘new normal’ which is pretty close to their ‘old self’ in many case. Arktik runs (very fast still), digs, roll in the grass, and has the same cute smile showing me his happiness. But recovery is different for everyone, they all have their own speed, and there are some days worst than other, I believe in almost in cases. 

All of this to say, no matter what you decide you have to trust your instinct. You are the person who knows best for your dog. Good luck and feel free to ask us questions if you want. 

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26 May 2020 - 9:30 pm
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Ohhh just out of curiosity where are you from (just because you mentioned something about your English) ? I am from Quebec so my first language is French. 

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27 May 2020 - 1:39 am
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Hi everyone, Thank you for your advice and information and fantastic stories!  I am very happy with Oakley’s story 💕  I really appreciate your help and taking the time to share your experiences.  I am so lucky I can find tripawds.com!

After I read all posts in this topic, I cancelled tomorrow’s amputation and made an appointment with AAHA hospital to get a second opinion this week.  I realized that we didn’t have enough time to discuss about amputation with my vet because she was too busy to talk on the phone.  I got a whole bunch of questions which I should have asked to her much earlier, however I couldn’t reach her today.  She never explained us the risk of during and post operation, wound healing time, recovery and rehabilitation, pain management etc.  I am not sure if she knows about the issue of bleeding in Greyhounds.  Anyway I will ask a surgeon at AAHA including her back issue.

The rescue group called and talked to my husband out of doing amputation.  I understand that they are dedicated to Greyhounds but a little too much? 

I am deeply impressed that people over here are so nice and knowledgeable!

arktik, wow your first language is French?  I’m from Japan!



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27 May 2020 - 10:25 am
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It’s great that you are consulting with another vet to gather more information. Good, factual information will help you make the best decision for Lani and family.

There is another Greyhound named Tabitha who had a recent amputation. Here’s her story:

https://tripawd…..-tomorrow/

https://tripawd…..d-is-home/

Perhaps Tabitha’s mom, JoAnn can answer some of your questions if you send her a personal message or on her topic.

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27 May 2020 - 11:34 am
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Hi Kazann,  I’m glad I will be able to see another surgeon because I have tons of questions to ask.  Thank you for the stories!  I will take a look later😊

Kazuko (Lani’s mom)

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 May 2020 - 12:01 pm
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Kazuko, I’m so glad you are getting another opinion. That is super smart, and even if you go back to your first vet, at least you will know that you made a decision with all the information you could possibly have. Please let us know how the next visit goes OK? Remember the most important things to ask about are:

  • What about my dog’s disc protrusion? Can you tell me what kind of risk there is to surgery, if we do it? Do you have a specialist who can assess the risk before we amputate?
  • How do you handle Greyhounds for a major surgery like amputation? How do you minimize the risk for excessive bleeding? 
  • How will you control pain before during and after surgery? What drugs will you prescribe to my dog, and for how long? 
  • Do you have overnight care? Who will monitor my dog? How long will my dog stay hospitalized?

I hope this helps! When is the appointment? 

There is a risk to any surgery and a very few dogs will not even make it through amputation, unfortunately. So there are no guarantees. But most dogs of all ages and breeds recover very well and go on to live happy lives, even with cancer. Our own Jerry lived two years after his osteosarcoma, to age 10, his normal life expectancy. Today, it’s not unusual for us to see dogs live even longer. 

I’m soooooo disappointed to hear about the rescue’s attitude about amputation. I’ve never met anyone from a Greyhound rescue who would be so opposed to amputation without getting all the facts. That’s really too bad.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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27 May 2020 - 1:13 pm
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Hi Jerry,  I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heat!  I will print out this topic and take it with me on Saturday.  I wish I could get an earlier appointment but fully booked already 😔

The rescue group recommended us to give Lani just medications for pain and let her die without any therapies.
I don’t think I can do that.

Again thank you so, so, so much for your help!

Virginia




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27 May 2020 - 1:38 pm
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WOW!  Just  catching up!  Your post is such a good example  of why this community  that Jerry and his hoomans started is soooo invaluable!!!   

So glad you got the input you needed from everyone  here to give you the information  you needed to make a FULY INFORMED decision.   Then, you can proceed forward with a plan with as much confidence as anyone can have on this crazy journey 

And it may be that, for whatever  reason IF Lani isn a good candidate, there are still options to ensure more qua time.  But as far as “being a Greyhound”,  NO, that is NOT.a reason by itself to not proceed with amputation. 

Also take a look at OhMyNixon  blog and posts.  Nixon loved large on three and did Greyt as a Grey!

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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27 May 2020 - 3:27 pm
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 You are so very welcome! 

Yes as Sally mentioned, even if amputation isn’t a possibility, there are options such as stereotactic radiation therapy. Read Hazel’s story for more about that and be sure to ask your vet:

  • what are my other options if amputation isn’t a possibility? 

Saturday will be here before you know it. Hang tight and if Lani is limping and showing pain signals , be sure to get good pain medication from your current veterinarian if you haven’t already. If you have any other questions just let us know.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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