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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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Probable amputation looming for an older dog.
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Member Since:
11 September 2013
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11 September 2013 - 8:55 am
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Hi all. A fortnight ago I took my 11.5 year old (estimated, as she was a rescue) greyhound girl in to the vets as she was limping. The guessed diagnosis was a muscular strain, and she was given anti-inflams. Last Friday she went in again as her limp had worsened. X-rays were taken and a referral to the animal cancer specialists was given. Her left fore humerus bone seems to be where the osteosarcoma is, although I think further x-rays to see whether it has spread into her chest will be taken.

 

The options we were given were amputation + chemo, radiation therapy, metronome-something or else just pain killers until it got too much.

 

Having read through a lot of the stories on here, I'm leaning towards amputation and then metronomic medication. I am worried about her recovery though. She has slowed down quite a lot recently. As of the end of last year she was having trouble keeping up on walks, although I had put that down to the scorching summer heat. She tried going for a little zoomie run yesterday, much to my alarm, so there's life in the old girl yet.

 

Nothing will be definite until tomorrow (later today, actually, as it's almost 1 in the morning in Australia) when I get the call back from the cancer people and if I can, book her in for surgery.

 

I guess what I'm looking for here by posting is more good stories about your older dogs recovering from surgery and any advice you can give me. 

 

Random background: I adopted my girl 9.5 years ago and she has been with me through five address changes, countless boyfriends, depression, having a baby, and now puts up with the array of animals I bring into our house - and onto her bed - through rescue fostering. I love her so much, and she means the world to me. I don't want to hold onto her and make her suffer through selfishness, but I also don't want to cut her life short due to my fears either. If only I could know whether surgery would be worth it for her! I don't want her to have to go through the pain of recovery only for the cancer to reappear somewhere untreatable. It just wouldn't be fair. 

 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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11 September 2013 - 9:48 am
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Welcome to Tripawds, the club nobody ever wants to join! Your future posts won't require approval.

It sounds to me like your girl is getting some great care and will have an awesome medical team on her side no matter what you decide (and we will support you no matter what too). I know it's a scary prospect especially for an older dog, but we've seen lots and lots of seniors do great after surgery. Did you check out our "Size and Age Matters" forum? Be sure to stop by, many members have shared their senior Tripawd experiences there.

You seem to have done your research here (you probably saw Jerry's Required Reading List , right?). What we can tell you beyond that is this: every dog is different and only you know her better than anyone else. Most times once that bum leg is gone the dog goes on to get back to business as usual and loving life as a Tripawd. While front leg amputees and older dogs will experience significant reduction in stamina, they still have great quality of lives. There are exceptions of course, and a few dogs through the years did not do well as the pawrent had hoped, but I can only recall one or two times out of 5,000 members that the pawrent had said they regretted the decision.

If anything, even if you decide not to pursue chemotherapy (or metronomics ), your girl will be free of the horrible pain of osteosarcoma and you'll get some quality time with her.

I hope this helps! Let us know what you're thinking, how we can ease your fears and help you decide. And oh we have quite a few members in Australia, where exactly are you? Maybe you can arrange to meet with other Tripawds pawrents, seems like most folks are always willing to meet in person and share their experience.

 

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

Rock Hill, SC
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28 November 2011
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11 September 2013 - 6:50 pm
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Hi and welcome.  Our Zeus was 11.5 years old at the time of amputation and he did fantastic.  Although he had a lung met already showing at the time of diagnosis and his prognosis was not optimistic (vet's best guess was six weeks), we decided to amputate and do chemo and he lived ten great months.  That may not sound like very much time, but anyone here can attest that the bond with a Tripawd is unlike any other you have experienced and, at least for us, that ten months seemed so much longer.  For us, it was a no-brainer - Zeus was still happy and had a spark in his eye.  He didn't seem ready to give up, so we wanted to give him every opportunity to keep living as long as he was happy.  But, everyone's situation is different as to the dog's overall health and ability to recover from a serious surgery, the pawrent's ability to care for a recovering dog, and finances.  Only you can make the decision for your little family, and it is a hard one, but follow your heart.

Good luck!

Lisa

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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11 September 2013 - 7:07 pm
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Hi Hippo! Hi Hippo! Love sayint that greeting!

You jave defi itey come to the right place for support no matter what your decision!

Yoj are i a tough spot...we can all relate. You are not alone! We are here with you. Take a deep breath, look to yor pup's eyes and remember,she doesn't care avout statistics, she doesn't care about diagnosis, she nly cares about your love and being spoiled!

It's possible, jist saying possible, that she jasn't been nerself recently because of the bone pain. T could be that she's slowing down due to age or so ething else Yoj and your vet and your girl will all make the right decision.

Is she n anypain meds right now?

Age is a factor, but over-all attitude is just as important

This whole joirney is about quality! Yes, we yearn for quality AND quantity, bt most of eveolve t beng blissfuly napy with great quality.

For me, my Happy Hannah is considered "older" in Bull Mastiff" years. She's considered chunky by any standards! Great zest ofr life in a large dog sort of way. With great fear, stress, seco d guessng, cancellation of surgery appointments, I proceeded with amputatin almost seven mnths go. She must turned nine August. Recovery was rough, slow and even harder if it's just you 24/7. BEST DECISION EVERclap

Everyday is a gift Every slobbery kiss is like nectar! Well, more like slime! She is pain free! We are living in the moment.

Whatever you decide it will be from a place of love amd that will be the right decision Do your research, navigate the site, look ito her eyes.....she will tell you.

Keep us posted and let us kow how we can help. We would LOVE to see pictures! No.....not the exboyfrieds.....the REAL love of your life...your dog!winkerwinker

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

New Jersey
Member Since:
25 May 2013
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11 September 2013 - 7:07 pm
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Sorry to hear of your diagnosis for your girl. It's difficult, we all know but welcome . Here you'll find a great support group, willing to share their experiences and lend a shoulder when needed.

Well we have a 9.5 yr old mixed beautiful boy Snoop. We were given his diagnosis of osteosarcoma on right front the fri before Memorial Day and we had our surgery on Tuesday. We had about two weeks recouperation. He did really well post surgically We have opted to do chemo, carboplatin for Snoop. We are doing our fifth chemo tomorrow, originally it was for last Thurs but our WBC was low( which is common)

Snoop has done great so far. He's active, plays and is enjoying life. I have no regrets on the decisions we have made. Good luck in what ever you decide is the best course for your girl. Keep posting on your progress.

Best
Esther and her Snoop

Montana
Member Since:
1 February 2013
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11 September 2013 - 10:14 pm
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Sorry about the diagnosis, but glad you found the site. Shooter was 13-1/2 at the time of his amp and he adapted incredibly well. He made it 7 months and, yes, the cancer did reoccur, but he was without major pain for the remainder of his life. The day before the surgery he could barely walk 50 yards because the cancer was draining all his energy and after he was even able to go on a mile walk.

Whatever your decision it will be what is best for youand your girl.

Luanne

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

Member Since:
11 September 2013
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12 September 2013 - 4:57 am
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Thanks :) I'm in SE suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria if there are any tripawds around here.

 

Lily has never really gotten the hang of slobbery kisses. The most I get is an awkward tongue dab.

 

We are going in for a chest x-ray on Monday. It should be done in the morning, and if clear, the amp will be done later in the day. And maybe a dental if they can squeeze it in. And heck, they can paint her nails too.

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11 September 2013
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12 September 2013 - 5:15 am
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I've just made a blog to post some of her photos up :) http://hippo.tr.....pawds.com/

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 September 2013 - 10:01 am
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Aww I just saw your blog and the photos, what a fun bunch! Thanks for sharing and starting a blog with us. You need to approve some reader comments there, be sure to visit your blog dashboards "Comments" section. Once someone is approved to comment on your blog you won't have to approve them again.

In the meantime, there ARE folks in Melbourne! Check out this Tripawds Parties discussion.

P.S. I hope that everything goes well on Monday. FYI, we were told by vets at Colorado State recently that it's not recommended that a dental cleaning be done at the same time as surgery, because doing so can throw bacteria from the gums into the bloodstream and cause infection. Who knew eh? But they didn't say anything about not being able to do a pawdicure!

 

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

Member Since:
11 September 2013
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16 September 2013 - 7:07 pm
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Update:

 

Lily has multiple lumps in her lungs already, some up to 3mm thick. I have opted not to amputate the leg after all. She is getting along very well on her pain meds though, and the vet has advised that I can quadruple her daily dose of Tramadol so she is currently not taking that much.

 

She had a little off-lead walk today, and was feeling good enough to prance about a bit :) Back home and had a kangaroo tail as a treat, and now for her day-long nana nap.

Montana
Member Since:
1 February 2013
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16 September 2013 - 9:58 pm
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Sorry to hear about the lumps in the lungs. Will be sending good thoughts Lily's way.

Luanne and Spirit Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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16 September 2013 - 11:15 pm
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No, not the news one would hope for. But keep in mind that Liy doesn't know he's "sick" and doesn't care avout any stupid "diafnosis"

Right Now Lih feels good enough to donthe "Lily Prance" and that's a great ndicarion that she intends t hang around awhile longer. It's good that sne's on such a low dose of pain meds as that means there's lots of "wiggle room" down tne road.

There are still options.....still possibilities to give Lily a good extended quaility time! Check out "The Dog Cancer Vook" by Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger. You'll find holist and conventional siggestions. Dressler s based outof Hawaii and both do phone consults. Navigate around this site as there are dogs who, for the same reasons, were u able to pursue amputation, but did well with so eother treatments.
Stay in the moment with Liy! zTake her lead.....she's not worried, she just wants to lap up all the spoiling a d loving you can give her! Take lots of photos and make each day a treasured memory to keep forever Do not let ANYTHING rob you of your tme together!! Make her tail wag non-stop everyday!

Heck, who kows? Kangaroo tails may have healing properties not yet recognized!! Dogs here eat pig ears but they may need to switch over to kangaroo taiks! Lily doesn't catch her own does she?

We are here foryou! You are not al e! We walk beside you on this journey. Look forward to more photos of your sweet Lily! Keep loving and spoiling. And remember, in a dog's life, several mo tns is a real long time and that equates to a lot of love shared.....and a whole lot of kangaroo tails!!

Surrondiing you with love and strength and serenity,

Sally and Happy Hannah

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


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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17 September 2013 - 9:50 am
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I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope with all my heart that she continues to live a long life with some great days ahead. Keep hope in your  heart too and remember that she doesn't care what the x-rays said, she's just going to keep living with all the enthusiasm she always had.

Also, you may want to ask your vet about bisphosphonates, a pain-relieving drug that can do a lot more than Tramadol and has helped a lot of dogs when amputation isn't an option. Chuck the Saint can tell you all about it, he's been using them and hasn't had an amputation either.

In either case, we are here for you and will support you throughout this journey, so please keep us posted OK?

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

New Jersey
Member Since:
25 May 2013
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17 September 2013 - 6:50 pm
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Sorry to hear of your news, but wish that Lily stays as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

Esther and her Snoop

Crossing the rainbow bridge
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18 September 2013 - 10:53 pm
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So sorry to hear the news.  Sending hugs and good thoughts your way.

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