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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 to the Forum and need Bone cancer amputation wisdom.
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
10 April 2021
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10 April 2021 - 9:39 am
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My name is Randy. I’ll give you background on Maya, she is a 10 years old blue-lacy and has been in Great health until getting the diagnoses of Bone Cancer in her right Humerus. They also did a chest x-ray, it showed that there does not appear to be any spreading of the cancer.

Now we have to make decisions, do we remove the front leg and do radiation which they say will normally extend their lives 1 to 1 1/2 years before it comes back.
Do we take her to CSU animal cancer center, where they can do a procedure called “Stereotactic Radiotherapy. This would save the leg, alleviate pain and at an average give her 1 more year, roughly ($10,000).
We can do Palliative radiation, which would help slow down the spread of the cancer. It can be combined with a injectable drug called Zoledronate, which would decrease bone destruction (normally life expectancy is 4 – 6 months).
We were thinking Palliative treatment and not put her through the trauma of the amputation and ruled out the CSU treatment because of some of the side-affects we heard of and she would still have a compromised right front leg with an area of about a 1/2″ of bone missing in the upper humerus.  
Because of how healthy she has been and how active she is (could easily break her leg), we pretty much have decided to go the amputation/radiation route – SOON. 
So I’m not asking to debate this decision (especially during this HARD time) with anyone but would like to hear back on how after an amputation from Bone Cancer went for you and your 4 legged family member.
Thanks in advance, Randy, Dee & Maya
The Rainbow Bridge



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10 April 2021 - 12:46 pm
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Hi Randy, Maya and family. We are so sorry to hear about the diagnosis but glad you found us. 

You are so very fortunate to be working with CSU, they are the BEST and world-famous for their treatments. See all of our CSU articles for more details.

Not every treatment is right for every dog, or every person’s budget. Each situation is so different and there are no right or wrong answers. I do have some thoughts for you though:

Do we take her to CSU animal cancer center, where they can do a procedure called “Stereotactic Radiotherapy. This would save the leg, alleviate pain and at an average give her 1 more year, roughly ($10,000).

Again, every situation is different. This is a good option for some dogs like Hazel who are not good candidates for amputation. So is palliative care. What did they say about Maya being able to cope with being a Tripawd? Sounds like she’s strong and healthy otherwise?

not put her through the trauma of the amputation and ruled out the CSU treatment because of some of the side-affects we heard of 

What are your main concerns? And what did you hear about side effects, for which treatment? Just curious.

 we pretty much have decided to go the amputation/radiation route – SOON. 

Great that you’ve decided. Now are you sure they are doing radiation and amputation? Usually it’s amputation and chemotherapy. Radiation is typically done for palliative care, but there could be something I’m missing here.

So I’m not asking to debate this decision (especially during this HARD time) with anyone but would like to hear back on how after an amputation from Bone Cancer went for you and your 4 legged family member.

You’ll see here that the vast majority of dogs do great on three legs. And some osteosarcoma patients will not make it to that prognosis, some will go way beyond. Our Jerry lived two years after amputation, and we opted out of chemotherapy. You’ll see that even when dogs don’t live up to the prognosis, the majority of members who took our quality of life survey said they would do amputation again because it gave their dog an excellent, pain-free life for whatever time they had left together.

Another thing to consider: the prognosis given for osteosarcoma is just an educated guess based on studies.  Everyone gets the same numbers and as humans we are so obsessed with the concept of time. But dogs are not. Also, those studies didn’t include Maya. She is her own girl and on her own timeline. All she wants is to be with you, her favorite people, and not have pain. She doesn’t count days, she doesn’t know the difference between a week or a month or a year. She just wants to enjoy life with you. Cancer can play mean or it can be nice, you just don’t know what will happen. All you can do is enjoy every day to the fullest with your pup. It’s a great lesson in life, really. We call this learning to Be More Dog .

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for feedback from others.

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11 April 2021 - 8:55 pm
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Hi Randy, I also wasnt sure if my almost 12 year old lab named Brownie should have amputation. Would he be the same dog that I have grown to love? There is no way a dog of almost 12 could be happy with front leg amputation. There is just no way he could do it so I treated with pain meds.  The vet told me without amputation Brownie would have 3-5 weeks. On the third week I started to see a lump on his ankle. Here was a dog that was still happy and still wanted to play but he hurt. After finding this site I realized it was not my decision to determine if Brownie could make it on three. Who am I to say he couldn’t do it. So I decided we would go thru with the amputation and I would let Brownie decide. If he wasnt happy we would say goodbye. Well, Brownie breezed thru recovery and never yelped or cried once. He was a very proud dog. It took him about three weeks to get his mojo back but it came back bigger then eve.

His vet said without chemo Brownie has about three months. Brownie hated I mean despised the vet. I just did not want to stress  Brownie out so I said no to chemo. I really think I made the right decision on Brownies behalf. I decided to make it the best three months of his life. I spoiled him Rotten with the two things he loved the most. He got a lot of cookies and a lot of me. All dogs are different but I am so proud to say Brownie lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation,  love and prayer. I tear up when I think none of this would of happened without this site.

So dont go by statics. You know your dog better then any one. Do what is right for you, your family and Maya. You will make the right decision.

Would live to see pictures of Maya…

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Virginia




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12 April 2021 - 9:39 pm
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You’re doing a good job of researching and trying to make a decision  that’s  best for Maya.

Can only ditto everything  Jerry and Nancy said. Osteo painful and it sounds  like Maya  is  ready to get thst bum leg gone..

My Happy Hannah was a “fluffy” 125 lb Bull Mastiff at 8 yrs old when her osteo was discovered.  When first heard the word “amputation “, I said absolutely  not. I had not heard of the Tripawd site and just could  not imagine how she would manage on three!

Long story short, I consulted with an Orthopedic  Sur and proceeded with the amputation.   Recovery was hard!!  She was mo ile pretty much from the get go, but very restless and whiny.  In fact, I joined this site on day six in a panic and regretting what I had done TO my Happy Hannah.  This great community reassured me, helped me tweak her pain meds to help her be more comfortable.   It took me about three weeks,  but I was finally  able to say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah!

Her sparkle came back and she lived life to the fullest for another glorious year and two months.

And yes, p,ease let us know any specific questions, okay?  We’be all been where you are and know this is a stressful time.  We also know that, once your path forward is decided, you will feel a sense of relief.  The most important  lesson of this joir ey is making every moment count, live in the present, and no worries about the tomorrows. That’s  exactly how Maya loves every day!

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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