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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28 November 2008
MaurasMom, I know how difficult and shocking this diagnosis can be. I spent two days weeping, my eyes just would not stop dripping tears down my face. You are doing all the right things. There are many, many decisions to make along the way. Take them one at a time and make them based on Maura's quality of life. The decision for surgery is a big one, and one you won't regret. I questioned our decision until I picked her up after the surgery. When I saw her, I knew we had made the right choice.
Our next big decision was the chemo, again I didn't want to diminish her quality of life. I agreed to do one and then make the decision of whether or not to continue. I'm glad my husband talked me into that choice, as I know in my heart it is the one that will give her the chance of a longer life.
Having a great vet helps. Our diagnosing vet was not positive at all. The consulting surgeon has been a godsend. He is supportive, gives all the facts we need to make an objective decision and above all loves our sweetheart.
The costs for treatment vary considerably. We live in a relatively rural area and the surgery was just under $1000. Chemo is under $550 per treatment.
Resolve not to overwhelm yourself. Make decisions one at a time. Ask questions until you are satisfied you have all the info you need to make an educated decision. Stand by your convictions.
You have my thoughts with you.
Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul. Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.
Birthday and Merry Christmas dear, your dog is dying…
I know what you are feeling- our 3 year old Shepherd mix Wrigley was just diagnosed with cancer. She too spent about a month "limping" off and on. I thought at first she pulled a muscle as she as done in the past playing with our other dog so took her to our regular vet. He told me she pulled a muscle, but I felt there was more to this so I got her an appointment with another vet- we are lucky to have an orthopedic vet close. On first reveiw of the xray he thought she had "pano" - he thought she was old, but has seen older dogs get "pano" . After her not responding to the pain meds he gave her and she got to the point where she would not put any weight on the left front leg at all, we went back and they did more xrays of her shoulder area and lead us to believe it was cancer. (Turns out she probably did have "pano" earlier on in her life and it still so showed on the xray of her leg.) We did a bone biopsy that confirmed the vet's suspicions. However, he could not determine from the biopsy what type of cancer she had, but recommended amputation. He was able to do the amputation immediately, even though I could not get into an oncologist until after Christmas. I cannot tell you the difference in my dog. Although she in "uncomfortable" from the surgery- she is no longer living with the pain she had. According to the vet they took a very "large" tumor off her scapula. They took several xrays of her lungs and cannot see any sign the cancer has spread to that area.
She came home on Tuesday so we were able to have her spend Christmas with her family. For that we are very grateful. Even after 3 days she is doing great getting around. She wants to just "go" but I really have to restrain her for these "2 weeks" - she got strict orders from the vet to stay quiet. That is the hardest part. She feels so much better without the pain of the cancer. I have no regrets on the amputation.
We'll see what happens with the oncologist, but for now I am grateful for the time we get with our dog.
Good luck with your journey-
Wrigley's Mom -
You have made me feel so much better about what is going to happen on Friday. My husband still feels that we can manage her pain medically. I don't think he understands that at this point amputation or euthanization are our options - we can't let our Big Dumb Dog continue to suffer, and she IS suffering. She won't even play w/her kitten, no matter how hard he tries to coax it out of her. (Does anyone else have a dog who has a pet? 🙂
I am not certain that we will keep our appt w/the oncologist. I feel torn. I have not cancelled that appt yet, I want to give Maura the best chance, but I know in my heart we will be scraping to pay for the amputation, I doubt there will be funds for the chemo. I am withdrawing from most of my classes this semester, so there is some money freed up. I just hate this. One decision down.... 🙁
They think her tumor is confined to the distal radius and they recommended a partial amputation. Has anyone had any experience with that? The vet feels that because of her size she'll benefit from having a bit of a stump, but I'm worried about atrophy. Has anyone ever heard of a 'partial' amputation?
22 August 2008
I would definitely NOT do a partial amputation. You need to take the whole leg off, scapula included especially in a large breed. If you leave a stump a pressure sore may develop, and the whole point of the amputation is to remove as much of the tumor as possible so if you leave some of the arm there is the possibility that some cancer cells could have travelled up the bone marrow to the upper bone.
The partial amputation is easier for your vet to perform so it is probably cheaper so if that is all you can afford then it is better than nothing, but I would strongly recommend that the entire leg be removed!
As far as chemo goes both carboplatin and Adriamycin (doxorubricin) have a generic form which should bring the cost down quite a bit. I do understand that all of this does add up so instead of chemo you might consider Artemisinin or other holistic treatments post-amputation.
Good luck with the surgery; you will be surprised how much better your dog will feel without the pain of the tumor on her leg.
Pam and Tazzie
23 December 2008
Wrigley's mom here. We felt the same way when we made our decision. It was either euthanize her last monday or amputate. She was in so much pain. We were not ready to say goodbye to our Wrigley just yet so amputation was it for us. Even with what we are dealing with now I would not have changed my decision. It was our only hope. Our vets felt very good about her being a tripawd. I had no doubt she would be a great tripawd.
We are taking it one day at a time now. I have ordered books on canine cancer so I can inform myself and am asking anyone I know to share their experience so we can make a thougthful decision for our next course of action.
I can't say it enough how "pain free" Wrigley was when she came home from her amputation. I felt a big thank you as she buried her head in my arm.
These decisions are tough and I know that if someone else had rescued Wrigley and not us, she may not have been given the chance-so I am glad I can give her just a little bit of what she has given us.
Good luck and we'll be thinking of you.
Seanne and Angel Wrigley
My husband still feels that we can manage her pain medically.
Tell him the best (only) way to truly manage the pain is to remove it. Physically.
I would definitely NOT do a partial amputation. You need to take the whole leg off ...
Thanks so much Pam! It's great to hear tht from a great vet with a big three-legged dog.
We couldn't agree more. Why put Maura through such an extensive procedure if you're not going to try to get all the cancer?
I am not certain that we will keep our appt w/the oncologist. I feel torn. I have not cancelled that appt yet, I want to give Maura the best chance, but I know in my heart we will be scraping to pay for the amputation, I doubt there will be funds for the chemo.
Please try not to be so hard on yourself, and don't beat yourself up. Not everyone is in a position to do it. But if you know that you can at least afford the amputation to relieve her of the immediate pain, then that's what is most beneficial for the iimmediate time being. Also, don't forget to talk to your vet about payment options, like an interest-free loan called "Care Credit," which many vets and even human docs offer now.
We do agree with our favorite vet, Pam; a partial amp is just silly. Get rid of it all. The dogs we know of with partial amps have all had issues with the remaining stump.
Good luck talking to your husband, we hope that he comes around very soon, for Maura's sake. Keep us posted.
2 February 2008
Hello from me and Darcy in Manchester, UK.
Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear about Maura's diagnosis. As with everyone else, I understand the shock and horror that you feel.
My Darcy is a Deerhound, standing 30" at the shoulder and her tumour was also in the distal radius (front right). She sends big hairy kisses to her distant cousin Maura and to Maura's humans.
Good luck with your appointment today. I too hope that you can talk your husband around.
Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.
***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***
Maura, how are you? We've been thinking about you and hoping all is well. Drop us a line when you can OK?
With much love,
Your pal, Spirit Dog Jerry
Hi everyone - thanks for being so supportive and concerned. I am overcome w/gratitude.
Last Friday we took Maura in for her surgery. Her pre-op x-rays and bloodwork revealed that there was significant lung mets and also some other tihngs wrong. I wasn't ready to let her go, and my vet thought that we might have a couple more months with her, so I pretty much lied to my husband about her degree of involvement w/the cancer.
We went ahead w/the partial amputation, as a complete amputation is a two vet job and the vet who was going to be assisting was out on a housecall performing a unexpected euthansia for another unlucky dog owner. I just wanted the leg off. If it is going to spread it's already done so. Maura will not live long enough to develop pressure sores, so that was a moot point as soon as we saw the chest x-rays.
She seems to be getting along okay - her hips seem kind of sore. We are just taking things one day at a time. We moved her oncology appt to the 19th, to give her incision a chance to heal before we start dragging her around. She HATES riding in the car, so putting her in the car is a two person job and requires picking her up off the ground from a prone position. Easier to do once she's feeling better. I guess there was something not promising in her bloodwork that indicates she probably won't be a good candidate for 'extreme measures.' I am just going because I feel like I should at least talk to a cancer specialist to know better what to expect.
I'm sorry - I've just had the most incredibly bad year. My dad died. My mom (and her two dogs) had to move in w/us (and our 4 dogs in our 1400 sf home). She lost her house, two cars, now she has brain damage and I'm supposed to be putting her in a nursing home but according to the Soc Sec Admin she's not disabled, and I find out my freaking dog is dying, too. It's a bit much and I have a pretty bad attitude right now. I want to be more positive, and I was doing a pretty good job of keeping my spirits up, but I think I've reached my breaking point.
Hello there, sorry to hear you are feeling kind of under the weather. Don't let yourself get down and always see the pawsitive side. My Mowmy's 2008 pretty much was the same hectic year as your mowmie's. Her mom got sick and being that she lives in Puerto Rico, my mom had to be traveling back and forth. Unfortunately, she also had to make the decision of putting my grandmawma in a nursing home and eventhough it was tough and hard, she feels that it was the best thing ever as my grandmawma loves the home and is doing so good. In between, those news and traveling we found out I had osteosarcoma and had to have my leg amputated and chemo. I did great all summer long but unfortunately just before Thanksgiving I took a turn for the worst and deteriorated very rapidly. With much pain and I guess also love, my pawrents set me free from my pain and now I am a happy girl frolicking along with all my tripawd friends in doggie heaven. It will be a hard ride and a very challenging one but one thing Jerry always taugh us is to never give up. Make sure to cherish every moment you all have together as those are the memories that you will carry forever with you. We are here to give you comfort and to support you. Keep your chin up!!!! Lots of lickies, Kellie.
Dearest Maura's Mom,
I feel terrible about what you have been going through with your Dad passing away, your Mom being ill and Maura having the lung mets and her recent surgery. I know there are no words to take away your pain right now so I won't even try. Life can really deal out some profoundly difficult circumstances at times and you certainly have had more than your share of problems. Please, I know this is hard for me to say, but try to stay strong. If you feel like you would like to just talk to someone offline, then I am here for you. Please feel free to email me at anytime: email@example.com . I wish I could say and do more for you.
Love, Blazer, Kitty Kimber & Mom (Vicki)
... I was doing a pretty good job of keeping my spirits up, but I think I've reached my breaking point.
Whenever my people git this way, they would ask themselves, "What would jerry Do?" So the next time you're fwwling down, ask yourself ... What would Maura do?
I bet she would want you to live life to the fullest in the face of any adversity. As a human, I'm sure this is hard. Just try to Be More Dog ...