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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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Osteosarcoma diagnosis & torn in what to do
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Member Since:
20 March 2022
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20 March 2022 - 2:51 am
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My 12 year old rottie lab mix just got diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his back leg. Meeting with a specialist next week but have a tough decision to make and have so many people in my life weighing in that amputation is wrong for him. Sampson is still very full of life and overall pretty healthy. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want him to be in continued pain, but I also don’t want to take his leg. I keep looking to him to give me a sign. How do I know what’s best? 

Livermore, CA




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18 October 2009
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20 March 2022 - 1:53 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will  not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry you had to find us but this place can really help you make decisions as you head out on this cancer journey.

First off- I don't know you or Sampson (is that his name?) so I can't tell you what is the best decision for you.  What I can tell you is that bone cancer is really, really painful which will only get worse until medications don't help.  I'm sure the people in your life mean well, but do they know Sampson better than you do? Why do they think amputation is wrong for him? You need to listen to you and the experts.  Do the vets think he is a good candidate for amputation?  Age or size should not be the determining factor, it is about how much life Sampson has left in him.

I have been on this site for years and have seen many older dogs do just fine with amputation.  You might want to look through the Size and Age Matters forum for stories about more 'mature' pups.

I know the thought of taking his leg is terrifying- I thought the same thing.  But look at it this way- you are taking away his pain and giving him the chance for more quality time with you.

Here are some ideas on what to ask the specialists next week:

Questions to ask your surgeon

Questions to ask your oncologist

No matter what route you choose we are here to help and support you.

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

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 March 2022 - 2:58 pm
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Hi Sampson and furmily, welcome! Sorry you are facing this decision but glad that you decided to join us and discuss. We totally understand the stress of trying to decide, and that's one thing that the other people in your life who have never been in this position have not dealt with. In my opinion, you shouldn't bother asking. Most people don't get it unless they've been there. 

First, know there are no right or wrong answers. What you decide for Sampson is based on your relationship with him and nobody will condemn you for whatever path you take. We will support you no matter what. Being that he's a senior dog I know it's an extra tough choice. But if Sampson is otherwise healthy, there's no reason why he cannot do well on three legs. For dogs, even big ones, age really is a number and we've had lots and lots of senior Tripawds dogs do really well on three. The specialist can give you a better idea of how he can do, so try not to jump to any conclusions or decisions until you talk with them OK?

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List if you get a chance, there's quite a few articles about trying to decide. And keep us posted OK?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 March 2022 - 5:37 pm
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As you can see from the replies  of Jerry and Karen, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

I can only ditto wverything Karen and Jerry posted. 

YOU are the one who knows Sampson best.  The professionals are the ones who have evaluated him and said he is a good candidate for surgery..  ypYou are doing your research  and you have gained more knowledge  than "-others" who are well intended but uninformed.

You will be more clear on a path forward when you speak to the Special and get all uour questions answered.  

As far as a "sign" of how to proceed coming from Sampson, may already be showing you a sign by limping bec his leg hurts.  And, although it may sound weird, once you get all the Information from the Specialist,  ait quietly with Sampson.  "Connect" with him....with the dog Soul he is......"ask" him how wants to proceed.  You will feel a calm and a sense of "knowing" once you make that connection. 

Should you proceed with amputation  we will help you navigate through  recovery and  ove towards getting Sampson's sparkle back bigger and  lighter before!

Update when you can and ask any que at all as they come up, o,at?  We are here for you.

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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20 March 2022 - 9:06 pm
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Thank you all so much for the support! It’s tough feeling ‘alone’ as we go through this. Hoping for a good consult so I feel confident about the final choice for my boy. Will keep you updated.

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21 March 2022 - 2:12 pm
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Hi! I am sorry Sampson is facing this ugly disease. I have  a 5 year old Lab (her name is Joaquina) who just got diagnosed with osteo.  I am fairly new to this cancer journey however one piece of advise I would have liked to hear when I was waiting for the appointment with the specialist is: Wait until the evaluation, I know is very nerve wracking and if you are anything like me, you will be very aprehensive about all the number of scenarios playing in your head BUT, wait. Wait until the science tells you the options, wait until you talk to the specialist, ask as many questions as you need to have your mind at ease. I found that for me after the appointment with the oncologist, firs off she was amazing, presenting the facts with human/canine touch and at the same time being very honest. Every patient is different, every dog is different so wait until you have a more detailed evaluation of your boy.

Best of luck!!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 March 2022 - 6:13 pm
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Good advice from.  Joaquina's  hooman👍   Thanks for taking time to offer support♥️ 

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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21 March 2022 - 6:53 pm
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Ditto! Words of wisdom from people who have been there are priceless! We so appreciate your support, thank you.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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22 March 2022 - 12:22 pm
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Thank you all so much for your support and advice! Sampson’s appt was today the suggested course is amputation by both his oncologist & surgeon. I asked about radiation instead and since he has major hardware from an ACL tear when he was younger it makes radiation more challenging & the bone more prone to fracture. 

Still processing & thinking everything through as we wait for final test results but I am confident amputation is the best course. 

I’m sure I will have lots of questions as Sampson & I move forward. Thanks in advance! 

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20 March 2022
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22 March 2022 - 12:23 pm
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I hope Joaquina had a good appt today as well. Happy to provide support, a virtual shoulder or anything you need as we go through this unfortunate journey. 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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22 March 2022 - 1:26 pm
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Sounds like a very helpful and informative visit. You're so smart for asking about radiation. Even though it's not a good option for him, at least you thought of asking. Way to go, Advocate!

Two opinions saying "yes" is a really good sign that Sampson can do well on 3. 

Whatever questions you have, just bark. We are here for you!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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22 March 2022 - 1:47 pm
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You've  done a good job of research and gathering  informatio.  You know Sampaon gest. But it appears all the "professionals" agree that he is a good candidate for amputation.  We know that's hard to wrap your head around at first, but as you get closer to finalizing a path forward you will actually feel a sense of relief..  

We are all here with you to cheer for sweet Sampson.

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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20 March 2022
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22 March 2022 - 2:00 pm
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Hi Sampson Mom, have you checked out Dr Sue Cancer Vet on youtube? she has a full playlist on osteosarcoma, I will link it below. She has tons of info on treatments, how well they do on three legs, how chemo is tolerated etc etc etc. She actually recomends this community in one of her videos:

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20 March 2022
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30 March 2022 - 6:53 am
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Thanks for sending this Anairis84! it took me down a rabbit hole on YouTube & I got some great information!

We met with the surgeon yesterday & have Sampson's amputation surgery scheduled for next Tuesday. I am a little concerned that from diagnosis to surgery it will be almost 3 weeks. I asked the oncologist if we should be worried & do another x-ray to ensure it hasn't metastasized to his chest but she only recommended that if we were going over a month. Anyone think otherwise? I am just so scared since I have read how this is a very aggressive cancer. 

Thank you all for the support & advice! I know in my heart that this is the right choice & this community has been (& will continue to be) a big help.

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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30 March 2022 - 12:41 pm
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Oh Dr. Sue is also the co-author of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide so you'll want to check that out too.

Glad you met with the surgeon. Don't panic about the 3-week interval. That's not uncommon. Many people can't do amputation surgery for even longer, for whatever reason, and that's OK too.

To be absolutely certain there are no metastasis in his lungs, a CT scan is the ideal way to go. Pricey but ideal. X-rays can't pick up what CTs scan as far as particle size. But usually x-rays are used as a guideline for whether or not to proceed. Sounds like he is a good candidate all around, which is great. 

Easier said, but try not to panic. Yes, it can be aggressive but by acting as quickly as you have, you're giving Sampson the best chance at beating the odds and having a pain-free life for as long as possible.

Please check out our What to Expect articles and the Tripawds e-books library if you haven't already so that you're well prepared for the big day and recovery! And ask any questions you'd like OK? 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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