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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In July, we adopted our first dog. We are both dog lovers, although neither one of us had owned one before. We knew it was a big commitment, but were excited to start our family. We fell in love with Luna at an adoption event brought her home. She's approximately 2 years old and about 40 lbs. She is an avid squirrel chaser, loves belly rubs, and wants to be next to us at all times. We did some basic training with her and she was the star of her class. She is a sweetheart who makes friends quickly.
I'm sure this part is a familiar story. In early September, Luna started limping. We thought it may have been from slipping on the stairs so we monitored it for a few days before taking her to the vet. The vet thought it could be a partial CCL tear or knee sprain. We kept her activity restricted and had her on some anti-inflammatories. She seemed to be recovering well, but then had a setback and started limping worse than she had originally. We became concerned and took her back in. The vet thought it might have become a full CCL tear and also took some x-rays. She recommended we follow up with a specialist and also advised to ask about the x-rays as she thought the bone density looked odd. On our consult with the specialist, they seemed to think it was still just a partial CCL tear but recommended surgery. They looked at the previous x-rays and didn’t seem concerned. We dropped Luna off for surgery the next day. We got a call saying that something came up in the pre-op X-ray. The bone density that our primary vet pointed out looked worse. The doctors were unsure what it was. They thought it could be a fungal infection or a tumor and some other tests instead of the surgery. They ended up taking an MRI and bone biopsy. The results came back as osteosarcoma.
24 September 2009
Ohhhh Luna is sooo pretty.
First, thanks for joining. I can only imagine what heartache you feel, she's so young and so new to your pack. This is not the way anyone should ever had to begin their life as a pet parent. I am SO sorry.
Sadly, this isn't the first time we've had someone join us, knowing their dog already has mets. If there's one thing about this community, it's that rarely is someone going through something nobody else has. Which means you are not alone, and we have information that can make this easier. And support from this wonderful community too.
See this post: amputation after mestases shown in lung xray?
My first suggestion: get another opinion. I know you saw an oncologist, but having a second opinion could expose you to other treatment ideas that this first one may not have considered. Even if you don't want to amputate, there are clinical trials that specifically target management of tumor pain and lung metastasis. In fact we just published a post about a trial at UC Davis that I believe does just that. We even met an incredible dog who's gone through the treatment and he's doing great 7 months after being diagnosed, without amputation surgery. See this post:
Where do you live? Maybe we can point you to a trial near you.
13 June 2013
Oh wow.... I am so sorry. .. cancer is always awful but in such a young pup.... my heart is breaking for you. You indeed have come to the right place and will get lots of support and information. Is it possible to get a second opinion? I know there are lung mets but if you can remove the painful leg, that will be best for her. Many dogs do do well on chemo w/mets (my girl had them too). She had a different cancer though.
I will say that amputation will reduce the pain. Dogs are very stoic w/their pain and from what I have heard, bone cancer is very painful and there is the risk of a fracture which no one wants ... perhaps the option is to proceed w/the amputation, knowing your time is limited but dogs live in the moment so each pain free day will be a lifetime to Luna.
I looked at her photos and she is beautiful!!! She has a brilliant smile!!!
Hugs and love to you!
alison with spirit shelby in her heart (and little jasper too)
Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.
October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014
Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife
13 August 2015
I'm so so sorry for you and sweet Luna. Cancer is evil and wicked. It just seems so unfair that this can even happen to a pup so young! Words fail me at this time. Maybe you can check into some holistic treatment that may help in some way? Many here have done so and say it has helped. Others I'm sure will come here shortly to help with suggestions too. There is a wealth of knowledge here. Sending you virtual hugs and know we are all here for you and your family.
22 February 2013
LUNA IS ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!! OMD!!! HER SMILE LIGHTS UP THE WORLD!!!
And I guarantee you everyone here has just now fallen head over heels in love with LUNA!!! Your description of "who she is" and the things that rock her world and bring her joy, are PRICELESS!!
As you can see, you are not alone! You are surrounded by your new family who understands the emotions, the heartache, the uncertainty, the fear and the depth of love you feel for Luna, like no others can!!
We also understand that Luna is not a statistic and does not have a timeframe stamped anywhere on her butt!! Luma doesn't give a rip a out a diagnosis or any ole xrays! She doesn't care about days on a calendar! She does care about more tummy rubs and squirrel chasing, and more spoiling and loving!
We are all big on second opinions around here, even third, especially is these kinds of instances. As Alison said, the ultimate purpose of the amputation is to remove the pain. Obviously, we all hope for extended quality time as an extra bonus.
Apologies, connection is not holding steady...jave to come back...
Lots of love and hugs to all
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!
31 May 2016
I'm so sorry to read this. You've had her such a short time! But I'm convinced that you met her and fell in love with her so that she got to have a family of her very own, even if its for a short time. I second the idea of another opinion, what can it hurt. We are all here for you!
14 February 2016
This is just heartbreaking. I wish there was something positive to say. The only thing I can really say (other than get another opinion so you fully understand your options) is enjoy each and every minute you have with her. Sometimes, there is very little we can do about how long we will have our furry babies. Quality of your time together is so much more important. And today is not the day you have to say goodbye.
Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016. Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016. Lung mets August 25, 2016. Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016. Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.
Wherever they are, they are together.
31 August 2013
What a beautiful girl you opened your hearts and life to, and adopted, just so sorry your first experience is taking this ugly "c" journey with her so darn soon. But like everyone has said, this is the best place in the world to be when dealing with awful cancer in your fur babies.
You have been given so much great advice already, so I will just speak from my own experience and say statistics mean absolutely nothing. There are many treatments out there, both medical and holistic that are well worth trying...... We are a group of fighting warrior advocates for our beloved pets, and we never give up for them. They change our lives in a most profound way, that's for sure.
In the meantime, enjoy every single minute of every single day, because the right now is all our pups care about, and the happiness that every day brings. 🐾
All my best to you,
Bonnie, Angel Polly, Pearl, and Zuzu 🐾💖
15 July 2016
Cute Luna. Way too cute and young to deserve this crappy disease!
When cancer hits the young ones, it tends to very aggressive, unfortunately. The degree of aggressiveness is usually hard to know without full pathology. Any chance they were able to estimate the mitotic index with the biopsy? That and the ALP (a liver enzyme) seem to be the strongest correlations to survival. The mitotic index measures what percentage of the cancer cells are in a stage of mitosis (think back to your high school biology class on cell division.) Good numbers age less than 5. Aggressive numbers are 10-20%. The scale ends with >21. Unfortunately for our family, our guy rocked a 40+. That means his cancer cells were doubling every 2 days! We got just 10 weeks post amputation, and loved every single one of those days.
Advice for a second opinion is always good. I suspect if I were in your shoes, I'd be looking into zoledranate. Here's a link to a clinicians brief titled Bisphosphonates for Osteosarcoma. ( http://www.clin.....teosarcoma) It contains info on the full paper. There's also an interesting paper on humans, osteosarcoma, and zoledranate. https://clinica.....016-0046-2.
In both papers, the dog and the people held the lung metastases at bay, at least for a while for the dog, and still going for the people. In my research, it appears to be most successful when the primary tumor is still there. Plus bisphosphonates are bone builder (think Fosamax for old ladies.) It may be a way to prolong comfort and possibly slow the metastases.
So sorry to hear about your girl. This disease sucks! So wish we could help you with the silver bullet.
Jenifer & Milo
27 May 2016
I'm so sorry to hear about your pup. I'm not a big responder to most posts, more of a reader. But I feel that I can relate to how your feeling. One thing that I have learned here is that everyone says their story is different but unfortunately a lot of the situations are more common than you think.
My Shea was diagnosed back in May. She originally started with limping, which led to inconclusive x Rays (not the typical presentation but suspected osteosarcoma), which led to inconclusive bone biopsy (sarcoma cells present but no definitive type identified), chest x Ray negative for mets, which led us to oncologist for treatment options. I was all for amputation if it meant that she would feel better. My husband was against the amputation because of a tendon issue in another leg. The oncologist presented us our options and my husband and I made the decision to move forward with treatment. That's when a 2nd chest x Ray was done and now we have lung mets. This changed the whole course of what we had planned. So we chose to do palliative radiation to her leg and then start chemo. After the radiation she stopped limping and seemed fairly comfortable. We were able to minimize her pain meds and she was doing great. We planned to keep a close eye on the leg with x rays every few weeks to see if the tumor seemed to be getting larger, therefore thinning her bone. When the oncologist reviewed the next x Ray she was still not convinced that it was osteo, she kept saying it doesn't look typical. So she did an ultrasound of her belly and that's when she saw a mass on her spleen. We really didn't want to keep putting shea through invasive tests because it really wasn't going to change her treatment. But the oncologist was convinced that was hemangiosarcoma that metastasized to the leg and lungs. We continued to do chemo along with biophosphonates to help keep her leg strong. Approx 3 months after her radiation she began to limp again, so we did another round of radiation. Again the limp went away. So here we are almost 6 months later and Shea is still with us. She has good days and some not so good days but I truely feel that these last 6 months have been good quality days.
She has recently started to decline and we know that we are coming to the end. But 4 months after Shea's diagnosis we found out our other dog had hystiocitic cancer in his lungs. That progressed extremely quick and A few weeks ago we had to put him to sleep. I really feel that is when Shea started to go down hill. I think the lose of Chase made her stop fighting as hard. We recently decided to stop her chemo because her broken heart from chase and the chemo side effects were really taking a toll on her. She is getting use to our new routines and is still a trooper. But I feel if Chase was here she would still be thriving.
So I do want you to know that there are other good options outside of amputation. As I mentioned we don't think hers was osteo so that may make difference in the way of pain. Don't ever regret the decisions you make. No one knows for sure what the outcomes will be. But remember that whatever you chose was done with your pups best interest at heart.
21 May 2016
Oh, I am so sorry you and Luna have to go through this 😔
We have seen younger dogs have less chances of fighting this horrid disease for longer than older ones and the fact she is your first dog makes it even more unfair 😞
May heart is right there with you and beautiful Luna 💗🌙
The pictures are so great, she is a real princess 👑
Keep loving and pampering her and enjoy every day with her, all she wants is being with you 💖
Sending you clouds of pawsitive energy, big hug and cuddles to your gorgeous girl 💕💕💕🐾🐾🐶
Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-)
21 October 2014
Very rarely do you find a pup who wears their personality on the outside. That's the first thing I noticed about Luna, she's beautiful!
No need for me to add anything more than what's already been said. Just know that you're not alone in whatever decision you decide to make.
Give Luna a big ole kiss from me!
Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.
"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."
- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey
4 October 2016
I'm very sorry to hear about your news and I know exactly how you are feeling. My dog Chance was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on Oct 3rd. He is only 2 1/2 years old. I have to say reading everyone's posts saying how much worse the disease is for younger dogs is a little disheartening. We went ahead and did the amputation last week. He is still recovering so I can't say with full confidence yet whether or not that was the right decision to make. It's so hard either way to know what to do. I really feel for you.
The one thing that made me feel a little better was what my Aunt told me. She believes that our dogs 'choose' us, not the other way around. So Luna chose you because she knew you would take the best care of her and you can look at that as an honor.
15 December 2015
She's such a gorgeous dog and so, so lucky to have found you. This is just incredibly tough. I'm so very sorry you are faced with this so heartbreakingly early in your life together. Ditto everyone else, re getting another opinion, and cherish every moment with your very special, precious girl.
Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx
Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie My life as a MEG-A-STAR