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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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New Diagnosis Osteosarcoma - Considering All Options
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Forum Posts: 9
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21 August 2019
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27 August 2019 - 1:38 pm
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Warning: another stress post below! So sorry!

Ralphie’s surgery is tomorrow. The vet called me earlier today about pre-op lab work and full work up w/ekg and blood pressure to rule out anything that would cause problems during surgery. They are insisting that we get it done even after I explained to them earlier that our decision was “leg or life” and that, while I don’t want Ralphie to code on the table, if he’s ready to go than he’s ready to go… he is limping very hard and it’s tough to get him in and out of the car so I don’t want to put him through that when he’s due for drop off tomorrow at 7 anyway. They said I could just bring him in today and leave him until pick up time, but my husband works until midnight and I’d never take Ralphie in for something so huge without letting him love on him in case something happened. I told them they could do the labs when we drop him in the morning, or we could skip them, and I left it at that.

They just called back and said there isn’t enough time with a drop off time of 7am and a surgery time of approximately 9am. They want us to drop him off between midnight and 1am when my husband gets home from work. I said I just didn’t want to get a call at 4 or 5 am telling me that Ralphie couldn’t get surgery and have to decide to have him euthanized and then go to work all day, (not that I would go to work if that happened,) especially after making this huge decision for him to have the surgery in the first place.

Do I take him when my husband gets home, or should I tell them 7am and stick with our plan? They keep going on about these labs and making me feel like Ralphie is going to crash terribly during surgery. Why didn’t they schedule these before instead of letting us get this far? I understand that they’re important, but we are all about at our breaking point with stress and tomorrow has finally gotten here, and now I have to give him up tonight? Would labs have changed so drastically that they couldn’t have scheduled them when they called with his diagnosis?

I am at a loss of what to do, and my emotions are all over the place right now. I want to do everything right but if I do labs and Ralphie isn’t cleared for surgery I don’t know what I’ll do. He’s in too much pain to let him keep going, but since we scheduled surgery all we’ve been told is how great he’ll do that euthanasia has been pushed to the back of our minds as an option only if he didn’t recover well. Surgery complications are always a factor, but now I feel I’m sending him without a chance if I don’t do labs that could show something.

I know that this is long, and crazy, and that the simple solution is to take him in tonight and do the darn lab work, but does anybody see where I’m coming from? I’ve been chanting tomorrows date in my sleep and just waiting to get there, and less than 24 hours before I’m being asked about super important lab work and they want us to give him up tonight. I am SO frustrated.

Thanks for all of the continued support, really.

Emily, Eric, and Ralphie

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 August 2019 - 2:46 pm
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It’s understandable that this threw your for a loop, it’s something you should have been made aware of a while back. I would feel the same way.

But, honestly, their request is for the best. Get the labs. Nobody wants to be surprised on surgery day, or in the middle of surgery. If an issue comes up that nobody was aware of, that could have easily been prevented with one lab work, then everyone loses. We have seen this happen before and it’s heartbreaking. Nobody wants that for Ralphie.

Take him when your husband gets home. It’s only a few hours difference and Ralphie will have the pre-surgery diagnostics that he needs. They will also very likely get him started on some good IV pain medication to help him start feeling immediate relief. Better sooner than later for that especially.

I hope this helps. ((((hugs))))

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




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27 August 2019 - 3:44 pm
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We understand perfectly where you are coming from and don’t blame you a bit!! Yoi are NOT crazy!  We hear you and we understand all the heartfelt points you made as you were processing this whole “surprise” scenario.

What you are is a loving caring parent who only wants the very best for your veloved Ralphie!  You are also stressed and exhausted  more than you probably realize and that isn’t  helping  as you try and digest this whole scenario.

I ditto everything Jerry said!   Plus want to add that the Surgeon would not be doing his job if he didn’t  do all this preliminary work up.  And here’s one reason why.  The work up is  avout highlighting any potential red flags that may pop up during surgery  because of one thing or another, and BEING FULLY PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME to handle that “potential” issue.   Being fully prepared for a “minor issue” could turn into a major issue if they didn’t  have heads up ahead of time.  Does that make sense???

And I hate to bring this up.  I really do because  it most likely would never be the case.  IF…big IF…something showed up that would prevent amputation, you could still take him home and, with some good palliative care, get some extended  quality  time with him.  

Okay, deep breaths.  Again, we heard your concerns and understand  compl.  But we hope what we’re  saying gives you a different perspective to help bring you more clarity and peace.  And I know not doesn’t  feel like it, but Ralphie is lucky to have such a caring and professional  team. 

Keep posting anything that pops into your head, okay?  We get it!  We understand! We are here for you!!

Extra 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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27 August 2019 - 3:54 pm
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Hi Emily and family — 

I am sorry that you all are in this boat. I am the owner of a great dane (Grover) who just had a forelimb amputation due to osteosarcoma. Those first weeks were a whirlwind of emotions, stress and uncertainty. 

I get where you are coming from with concerns about running the blood work … but I would recommend it because while it may not cancel Ralphie’s surgery it may significantly help your veterinarians prevent anesthesia complications from occurring. For example, if his kidney values are elevated they may have to be more conservative with his intra-operative fluids, if his liver values are elevated they may have to lower his drug doses to account for slower metabolism. If his white blood cells are elevated or decreased they may elect for a longer antibiotic plan. In my experiences that’s usually why veterinarians want to run blood work right after surgery. This information will also be valuable if you are considering post-operative chemotherapy. 

How long will Ralphie be staying at the vets? We left Grover for about 36 hours after surgery and if your vet has 24-hour monitoring (it sounds like they do based on drop off times) I would recommend considering having him stay for a couple nights after surgery depending on what your vet recommends and how Ralphie recovers. Our criteria to go home were comfortable off of IV pain medications, able to get up with assistance and ideally eating. As you have eluded to, just logistics of mobility and pain management can be challenging right after surgery. 

For us, Grover was getting up at 12 hours after surgery and ambulating with minimal assistance at 24 hours after surgery. When we went home he got into and out of the car (an SUV) on his own (he was hesitant to get out but he did). the first 3 weeks were up and down … and we definitely had some downs and doubts that we made the right decision. However at 3 weeks post surgery he really turned the corner and now at 6 weeks after surgery it’s like nothing ever happened (other than his odd hoping gate … the neighborhood kids now refer to him as “the dancing dog” :)). 

The Ruffwear webmaster harness was very helpful for us after surgery to assist with getting in and out of the car. Getting in, I could use it to be there to give him an “ummph” if needed and coming out I can slow his jump down on the one leg and take a bit of the weight for him. At this point it’s more for me than him 🙂 

I tried to document our journey on our blog (groversgrandfinale) with other large breed or geriatric owners in mind — feel free to check it out if it’s helpful. 

Thinking of you guys! 



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27 August 2019 - 4:01 pm
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I’m with Jerry. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t schedule the lab test before the surgery day. It was determined that my cat would need an amputation and they did the pre-op tests right then and I brought her back in for the surgery the next day. Thankfully I had no time to think about options.

I think they haven’t explained the importance of the lab tests. I don’t know all the reasons myself but remember reading here that greyhounds are at risk for post-surgical hemorrhaging and are at anesthetic risks because of how their liver processes drugs. Knowing the lab results I would think that the surgeon would be able to be better prepared to perform the surgery.

I know of a Great Dane farm where they get emergency calls for a Great Dane to be ready to go into a vet clinic to give blood for a transfusion. The Danes are happy to do it because they are fed a can of wet food. icon_lol

I do understand where you are coming from. The next 24 hours are going to be exhausting. We will be sending our best wishes for an uneventful surgery and a great outcome!!

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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28 August 2019 - 6:46 am
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We dropped Ralphie off about 1230 AM when my husband got home from work so that he could love on him a little bit beforehand. I called on my way in to work this morning at 0730 to check in and see if he was doing ok and if they were starting surgery prep, and all was well. They were only going to call us with pre-op lab results if there was an issue that would affect surgery, so no news is good news. They plan on a surgery time of about 9 AM, so I hope to hear back from them by noon.

Could anyone explain the how I add a picture to my posts? I don’t understand what the image source is, as I just thought I could upload an image from my computer. I wanted to post a picture of Ralph laying on the deck last night but I cannot figure it out. We were hardly able to find a whole lot of stuff about Newfoundland amputees, so I want to make sure that we are sharing as much as we can and posting updates and pictures and everything so that anyone else in this situation can have even more resources.

Thanks,

Emily

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28 August 2019 - 8:14 am
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Update: As expected, labs and work up have delayed our surgery. Ralphie had an abnormal EKG and until he is cleared from the cardiologist, he cannot have the operation. I am thankful that we got him there for the pre-workup, even though I am still frustrated to have had such a small time frame that I knew about them because I feel like we could have done an EKG ahead of time and not had to delay treatment, but it is what it is. They are sending the EKG out for a STAT read and expect to hear back by the end of today, and they will operate tomorrow if given the all clear. I asked them to please make sure that he gets fed today and is given pains meds, as we sent enough supplies to get him through now until Friday, and to call if they needed more of anything. Emotional roller coaster – I cannot wait until our boy is out of pain.

Thanks, all,

Emily

Virginia




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28 August 2019 - 9:59 am
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Yes indeedy, an emotional roller coaster for sure!  We understand  your frustration about the whole delay thing, but really glad Ralphie’s team is so in top of things.   I’m  sure they’ll keep jis paun managed  and keep his tummy full😊

We’ll watch for your updat

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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28 August 2019 - 10:26 am
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Hey Emily, good to hear from you. Ralphie is in good hands! He’s got lots of people looking out for him to make sure surgery will go smoothly. The delay stinks, but it’s for his safety so that’s a good thing. Try to relax and breathe.

Here’s a post that explains adding images to the Forums. Basically you can’t upload from your computer to the Forums. What you want to do is:

  • upload photos from your computer to an image storage place, like your own Tripawds blog, imgur.com or the like.
  • Once uploaded, copy the image URL (or just the image itself) by right clicking
  • return to your Forum topics, open a post and paste the image URL or image into your post

Does that help? Let me know. I can also give you a tutorial if you call the Tripawds Helpline today (it’s my day), or message me to arrange a time to meet in the chat.

PS Please start a new topic for Ralphie in either “Treatment and Recovery” or “Size and Age Matters” (which is super helpful for parents of giant breed dogs) now that you’re moving past the diagnosis phase. Thanks!

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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30 August 2019 - 1:19 pm
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It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.
Ralphie got cleared for surgery and had it yesterday, and the vet called and said that it went fine and that they were keeping him for a few days to recover. Last night around 1030, he called to say that Ralphie had coded and that they did all that they could but that they were unable to bring him back. They are unsure of the cause, but they suspect that he either had a clot or a stroke. We still feel as though we made the best choice by choosing amputation, even though it was a major surgery, because I believe that it was the best way to minimize Ralphie’s pain. The vet assured us that Ralphie was as comfortable as he could be, and he was never alone. They loved him there, and they truly did all that they could. His team worked very hard, and they took it hard, too. Ralphie truly stole the hearts of everybody he met.
I just want to thank you all for your advice, thoughts and prayers for Ralph and our family. He was such a special dog and we are so grateful for all of the time that we had with him. He had a lot of love to give, and we were honored to be the family that he gave it to. We loved him very much and we will never forget him.
Thank you all, and best of luck to all who are just starting their osteosarcoma battle.
Lots of hugs from Eric, Emily, and Ralphie
The Rainbow Bridge



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30 August 2019 - 3:49 pm
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Oh no! Eric and Emily we are deeply saddened and so truly sorry for your loss. It is just soooo shattering in so many ways. 

In this community, we all feel the pain of a Tripawd taken way too soon, and we grieve with you. I hope it brings you some tiny bit of comfort knowing that you did your best to get rid of that awful cancer pain, everyone did their best, to give Ralphie a chance at a good quality of life. He had so many people pulling for him. Ralphie left this earth surrounded by such love, his spirit had to have felt the energy when he transitioned over. May your sweet angel always be by your side, watching over the pack.

Please, if you ever feel ready, do consider sharing more about his life in Coping with Loss. No rush though OK? We would just be honored to celebrate your brave boy’s life along with you, and share his story with others. For know, know that we are keeping you close in our hearts and sending lots and lots of love to you both.

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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30 August 2019 - 7:37 pm
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I am SO sorry to hear about your loss of Ralphie. It is clear that you loved him SO much and he was SO lucky to share his life with you and our family. You made a very selfless decision for him — the only one that could take away his pain — but I am so sorry that he passed away. Thinking of you and your family during this heart breaking time. 

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