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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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Recently diagnosed osteosarcoma on 8yr old dog
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29 September 2019 - 7:10 pm
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Hello Everyone:

I guess I’m here because if anyone can understand what we are going through it will be the people in this community. Less than 2 weeks ago, our beloved JJ was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. There is a tumor on his right front limb. He is 8 years old german shepherd lab. We were told we caught it earlier. Tumor is small and have not spread. Best chance of prolonging his life is with amputation and chemo. I guess I’m here for support and guidance on what to expect next. Perhaps, some sort of comfort that we are doing the right thing. I do have some questions as well. I do know that it varies from dog to dog but if you can share your experience that will be much appreciated:

Time of recovery after surgery? Will he be in pain afterwards?

how much time do they need before they start walking on their legs? How about stairs? We have lots of it.

do they still need to be on pain meds after they recover form surgery? He takes metacam currently

on average how many chemo sessions? 

We have receive quote for surgery but they could not give us a chemo quote as of yet. Any estimation on this will be helpful. Just wanted to be ready. 

Thanks so much.

Lor

Here and Now


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29 September 2019 - 7:47 pm
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Welcome to the best club nopawdy ever wants to join!

Jerry hopped out of the hospital the next day, most people see vast improvement within a week, and typical time to full recovery is 12 to 14+ days. But every dog is different and there are various factors to consider.

You will find answers to all your questions in the FAQs, the Reading List, and by searching these blogs. You can also search all blogs here , or consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns, or subscribe to receive some of the best tips by email.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Meanwhile, start here for help finding all the helpful Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Virginia




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29 September 2019 - 9:40 pm
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Oh yeah, we understand alright….the fear, the panic, the uncertainty,  the mental exhaustion,  the lack of sleep, the second guessing…oh yeah, we get it-

Amd YES, you are making the right decision!  You are making a decision out of love for JJ and that is always the right decision!  And that loving decision  is giving JJ a chance at a pain frre quality  lofe si je can continue to ne his marvelous self😎

Althpugh it is MAJOR surgery, generally…and I stress generally…dogs are mobile within 24 to 48 hrs.  larger dogs may take a little longer.  My Happy Hannah, 125 lb Bull Mastiff hopped out of the hospital after an overnight stay.  Again, some need more time to get their ‘sea legs”.

Most dogs come home with Tramadol,  Gabapentin,  Rimadyl and an antibiotic.  Some also have a Fentynal  pain patch.  Some dogs are whacky snd restless the first couple of nights, some are zonked out.  It really does vary dog to dog.

After all the hospital pain meds are out of  their system  (usually  around day three), tweaking the pain meds that work best for JJ can take a bit of…well…tweaking! The Vet can work with you if doses need to be increased or decreased, etc.  

The first two weeks should just be SHORT potty breaks and then more rest, rest, rest.  If at all,possibly, steps should be avoided during recovery.  If necessary,  you can use a harness or a towel sling to help iff stairs  can’t be avoided. If building  a ramp of feasible, I would try and do that if he needs stairs  to go in and out.

Generally pain meds are given for approximately  two weeks.  Some tapering may take place a few days earlier,  just depends on how JJ is doing.  Some dogs need pain meds  for three or four weeks.  My Happy Hannah did.

In my Happy Hannah’s case the Onco recommended  four rounds of carboplatin.   Remember, doing chem or not is a personal  decision.   No right or wrong. 

If you have hardwood floors you’ll want to get some  nonslip scatter rugs for traction

Eating may be off a bit at first due to the meds, so keep lots of yummy food around.  Pooping  may take a few days too.  Drinking and peeing are important  though.

Stay connected  to is, okay?  We’ve  all been through  it.  Once recovery  is done, you will be so happy to see your JJ’s sparkle come back!  

Oh, and keep lots of chocolate  on hand for you!!  It helps!!

Love the avatar  photo of JJ.  We’d love to see more pics! Here a link for adding  images. 

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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30 September 2019 - 6:13 am
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Hi. Brownie, a choc lab was 10 days before his 12th birthday at time of front leg amputation. He stayed at the hospital for two days. He is such a light weight when it comes to medication I thought it would be best. On day two of being home he was walking on his own. He had no complications during recovery, but it took about 3 weeks for him to get his personality back. And now he is back to his old stubbrand self! It has been seven months since he was diagnosed with OST and is doing well.  He has slowed down some and having minor issues, but it is due to his age of being 12.5 years.

Good luck to jj. The best advise I got was “be patient” he will get his mojo back”. And he did!

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"

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30 September 2019 - 1:53 pm
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Welcome. Sorry you’re here, but glad you found us.

Rocky spent the night at the hospital, but was moving around pretty well the next day. Most dogs are up and walking the next day, although some do take a little extra time. Be prepared for a “crash” a few days to a week after surgery when the hospital meds are out of JJ’s system. That’s normal. He should bounce back pretty quickly after that.

We came home with Tramadol, Deramaxx and an antibiotic. I think Rocky was on them for about three weeks after surgery. JJ will need to take it easy at least until the stitches come out, which is typically about two weeks after surgery. So no stairs or jumping on furniture for two weeks. Even afer that, it’s still good to take it slow with things like stairs. I kind of let Rocky choose his own pace with the stairs once the stitches came out. And even after he fully recovered, I tended to carry him down (going down stairs is harder for a front-legger and vice versa for rear-leggers).

We were advised to do six rounds of Carboplatin. Most dogs handle chemo very well with little to no side effects. For Rocky, each session was about $500. Chemo is a personal decision. It’s effectiveness varies. Some people opt against chemo and their dogs do fine. I opted for it because I wanted to eliminate as many “what-ifs” as possible.

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

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30 September 2019 - 5:24 pm
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Hey! Our 5 year old American Bulldog was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in August 😩 last Friday we had her front leg amputated. She’s a big girl, around 135 pounds, so we weren’t sure how well she would do, but we had to give her the chance of a pain free life. After surgery, which didn’t take place til late Friday evening…..(September 20th) the hospital called Saturday morning to give us an update and they were not able to get her up, so we decided to let her stay longer and they called back Saturday afternoon and said they still were not able to get her up, so we knew we had to go get her. She needed us, so we drove the hour and a half and loaded her into the back of our SUV and I rode in the back with her. Even though she was still drugged, you could see her relief. We stopped at Wendy’s and got her a cheeseburger and frosty….she was so happy. The weekend was extremely difficult…..my husband and son had to get her out via towel on her backend and sling on the front end. The problem that happened was she had been laying on her back left leg for so long, it started “knuckling”. So here we are on day 9, and she’s able to get around to go outside, but her back foot is still curling under. We’ve talked to vet several times, and they do think it will correct itself, but this has definitely made it really hard on her and us to see her struggle even more. We have no idea how we’ll get her back to vets to get her stitches out if her back foot isn’t cooperating yet. We are planning on chemo treatments for her…..we just have to get through this little “rough patch” or at least I hope it’s just a rough patch😩I know we made the right decision…..and I know they say at least 2 weeks recovery…..longer for larger dogs. Praying for your dog and trust me, this news completely flips your life upside down. ❤️🐾

new hampshire
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30 September 2019 - 7:31 pm
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Welcome jj & mom i’m so glad you found our community. We have all been there and totally get the emotional drain and the second guessing, we will absolutely be here for what ever help we can offer you and JJ.

#1 your making a hard decision in an even harder situation. you are making the right decision, because its made out of love.sp_hearticon2I think its harder for us as people to accept. Dogs don’t second guess they just go with it and know there loved. JJ will be so much happier and much more comfortable with out that bad leg causing him pain.

what to expect as far as recovery. as sally said with proper pain management JJ will surprise you. Our girl Roane was a 6 year old 130 lb Anatolian shepherd, rear leg amp in her case. She spent a night at the vet and came home the next day. By the next morning she was able to stand up and move around on her own. we had an improvised canvas grocery bag sling that we used going outside just to be on the safe side. Roane was on carprophen, gabapentine before surgery to keep her comfortable and keep the swelling in her leg down. she had both of those and an antibiotic when she came home. Don’t be afraid to call your vet and work with them on tweaking the dose sometimes it takes a sec to find the right mix. the first 2 weeks are all about rest. some dogs can be tapered off meds around the time that stitches come out. Some dogs stay on a maintenance dose indefinitely. Roane was on a maintenance dose since she was so big. i always thought about it like us humans taking an aleve, no sense having soar knees if you don’t have too.

What are your floors like? carpet was a big one for us, we have tile in the kitchen. area rugs or non slip runners work great. i had a very large stretch to cover so i got some of that thin carpet from home depot and cut 4 foot wide sections to make a path and used double sided carpet tape to keep it from moving. 

most of all if you have questions, concerns or just need a little support we’re here.

Big hugs and lots of luck,

Bev & Moe cat

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

Virginia




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30 September 2019 - 7:42 pm
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Hey Bev, very kind of you to offer support.  Just shows everyone  that Roane is still touching lives and having  a pawsitive impact on everyone here.  We thank her, and you, for that❤❤

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 hampshire
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30 September 2019 - 7:56 pm
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awwww thank you sally! This community gave and continues to give so much support, friendship and love to Roane and I when we needed it most sp_hearticon2 For that you will all have a special place in my heart foreversp_hearticon2

Big hugs!

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

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30 September 2019 - 8:26 pm
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Thanks so much for all your support, encouragement and sharing your experience.

Surgery is scheduled October 9th. As days go by I feel anxious, worried and doubts keep creeping in. But I know JJ is strong and a fighter. He survived parvo  when he was a pup. 

We have hardwood staircase but we have placed non slip track. We also bought ruff wear harness which came recommended. For two weeks as he recovered he will be staying with us at another place (he is familiar with) and less stairs.

He is doing well considering. He still chases squirrels and unfortunately a skunk got him yesterday. It isn’t so bad as it was not his entire body but the skunk got him good on the left side of his face and his eye. 🤷‍♀️ He is still getting to some mischief. No dull moment with him. Here’s to having more adventures with JJ.

The Rainbow Bridge



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30 September 2019 - 9:18 pm
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rachelie1967 said
Hey! Our 5 year old American Bulldog was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in August 😩 

 

Hi Rachelie, welcome! We are sorry about your pup but glad you decided to join us so we can help with recovery. Sounds like there are some issues with her gait and knuckling? I have some thoughts but please post in Hopping Around OK? Thanks!

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30 September 2019 - 9:19 pm
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momofjj said

He is doing well considering. He still chases squirrels and unfortunately a skunk got him yesterday. It isn’t so bad as it was not his entire body but the skunk got him good on the left side of his face and his eye. 🤷‍♀️ He is still getting to some mischief. No dull moment with him. Here’s to having more adventures with JJ.

  

Yikes! Getting skunked is the worst! Glad he’s OK and really, it’s that kind of mischief and sparkle that will serve him well in his recovery. You are holding your own too, I love your attitude!

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8 October 2019 - 8:56 pm
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So tomorrow is the big day. I can feel myself grow anxious and scared. We won’t be able to see him until Friday when it’s time to pick him up. I know we are doing the right thing but it’s hard. It’s even harder knowing that JJ gets stressed and anxious when left alone and  he has to go through the operation without us. I know that he will be in capable hands and I pray that he will find relief and adapt to his tripawd self. I look forward to having lots of tripawd adventures with him. 

Virginia




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8 October 2019 - 9:21 pm
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Junk food, lots of it, helps calm the pre surgery nerves!  Of course, JJ is probably sleeping  like a log right now with no worries whatsoever!

Your JJ will have so many good drugs in him while at the Vet, he probably thinks he’s at home sleeping in his bed eating bon bons!

When you do go pick JJ up, don’t even bother to look at the incision or draw any attention to it.  JJ  just wants to see your smiling face telling him he’s a good boy and going home!

Let us know when surgery is done, okay?

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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9 October 2019 - 11:35 am
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Oh it’s so hard waiting! I’m sending lots of love to you today. Please keep us posted.

To keep your mind occupied be sure to read our Tripawds What to Expect Series, which has an article about what your pick-up day will be like. Yep, don’t look at the incision, just look into his eyes and know that you have your boy pain-free, and ready to recover and romp and roll again.sp_hearticon2

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