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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Rottweiler mix with Osteosarcoma - please help!
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Member Since:
21 June 2024
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21 June 2024 - 5:54 pm
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My sweet 12 year old Fannie Mae was diagnosed at the end of May with an osteosarcoma and soft tissue tumor in her back left leg. 

Fannie is very resilient, very smart, intuitive and independent. She’s been through a lot healthwise with a liposarcoma a few years ago we treated and she also had to have a kidney removed when she was 3 months old. We have been through a lot. She got a tear in her left knee that we did surgery on as well in 2020. 

I have been going back and forth with the impossible decisions to make:

1) treat her pain and give her all the cuddles and love and filet mignon until her pain becomes unmanageable (hospice)

2) remove her left leg and also perform a knee surgery on her right as that one has a small tear and the vet said she would not do well on three legs without fixing that tear

3) keep the leg but do palliative radiation to treat pain and help slow the growth of the tumor

I am at a loss. I hate that I have to make these decisions. She is my favorite girl in the world. My very best friend who has been through so many ups and downs with me, never leaving my side. I want to do right by her and I want her to feel safe and loved. 

I am nervous to remove her left leg knowing the issues she has with her right and putting her through two surgeries. But is it cruel of me to provide hospice and not remove her leg? 

Fannie is the type of dog that hates being poked and proded. You look at her funny and she will hide whatever you’re looking at or whip her head around like leave me alone. I am not confident in my ability to change out her bandages or clean her wound as she gets so upset when you even touch her feet. But then I think I need to be stronger for her and remove what’s causing her all of this pain. Will the recovery on both her hind legs be less or more painful than the hospice care? Is the radiation worth it if we don’t remove her leg? 

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or guidance. What is the decision that will give her the most peace and quality of life? I know her passing is inevitable. The vet has let us know that the cancer will get her whether we remove the leg or not it’s just a matter of extending her time with us and the quality of that time. The vets recommendation is to remove the leg. But I want to make sure that time is as pain free and happy as possible and I am not sure if the recovery of removing her leg and performing surgery on the other will achieve that. I am devastated and at a loss. Thank you in advance for reading my story, I appreciate you making it this far. 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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21 June 2024 - 6:30 pm
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Hi Claire and Fannie Mae, welcome. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I'm sorry about this place you are in, and especially sorry for the double diagnosis! That is pretty unusual to have two tumor types at the same time. Your situation though, is pretty common here, most of us have been where you are right now and we understand the difficulty in deciding what to do. So if I can offer anything it's this: that pain needs to be dealt with asap, however you decide to treat it. There are no right or wrong choices in treatment, but the #1 thing that anyone needs to do in this situation is help their pup with that pain. Osteosarcoma pain is the worst kind their is. So it's important to not delay in your decision.

It sounds like Fannie is a good candidate for life on three? Your vet is confident? If so that's awesome! 

Even senior dogs can do well on three, and even giant breeds. We find that it's the people who have a harder time, not the dogs. But every dog is indeed different so you really have to follow your heart and ask Fannie what she wants. Listen closely, she will tell you!

I am sorry I have to run now but stay tuned for feedback from others. Oh and if it helps check out Jerry's Required Reading List and our What to Expect articles to give you some idea of what you might be facing if you decide to amputate. And no matter what, know that we will back you up with whatever path you take. 



Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 June 2024 - 8:52 pm
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One thing  that comes through loud and clear....your deep lpve and unbreakable  bond you and Fannie Mae share.  You two have been through s lot.  Your love and care has gotten her this far. the name Fannie Mae for a Rottie. 

One other step you might want to take asu try to navigate through what is best for Fannie Mae is to talk to a Rehabilitation specialist. It may be a path to take to get more reassurance that Fannie Mae can handle life on three, with one leg healing from repair surgery.

Just to clarify, the surgeon wants to do the amputation and operate on the remaining rear leg for a cruciate repair at the same time? I guess because of her size it would be a  TPLO surgery.?  BTW how much does she weigh??.

You mentioned radiation..was stereotactic radiation mentioned. 

Oh, and just want to mention that generally bandaging, removing bandages, changing dressing Etc not involved with amputation at all. So need not worry about that.

Sorry to be asking more questions.  

Deciding on amputation is never an easy one, and then we have some extra challenges it just makes it that much harder. You're doing a good job of gathering as much information as possible.

Stay connected!  You are not alone!  

Tripawds is having a zoom call on tuesday, June 24th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time. If you can, try and join and talk with others who can offer more insight and support.




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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