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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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Senior Pup Just Diagnosed
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Forum Posts: 6
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28 November 2021
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1 December 2021 - 2:16 am
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My best friend was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma of his left front limb 🙁 initially opted for palliative care and didn’t get more imagining. Now that he’s home and I’ve been reading up on how painful it can be I am rethinking my decision.  My boy is an older pup around 12 years old but he is eating and acting himself. I don’t want him to be in pain. Just so confused and not sure what the best decision for him is! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2021 - 9:22 am
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Hi Jenn, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

We understand the uncertainty of trying to figure out what's best for our dog in a situation like this. It's not easy and when they are older it makes things more difficult. 

Is he on any pain medication right now? It sounds like you caught the tumor early if he is not showing any pain signals yet. That's good. Keeping him on good pain control as time goes on will be so important.

Amputation is a scary thought, but most dogs will go on to do really well on 3 legs. Some will outlive the prognosis, some will not, but in general the majority of Tripawd parents are glad they decided to amputate no matter how things turned out. See our Quality of Life Survey.

What does your vet think about him being a candidate for amputation surgery? Does your pup have any other health conditions?  Also, what breed type is he? Sorry I know I've got more questions than answers but the more detail the better so we can help with info.

P.S. What is your dog's name? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 6
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1 December 2021 - 9:34 am
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Sorry for the little information in my first post, my mind has been scrambled since we got the bad news!

his name is Koba and he’s a pit mix weighing in about 85 lbs!  Right now he’s on Etodolac 400 mg daily and they started gabapentin 300 mg q8 hrs but I’ve been giving it to him every 12 hrs because he doesn’t seem to need it that often. Also I started him on a cbd oil. He’s still doing his normal stuff just with a limp! Vet that diagnosed him was a new vet for us seeing Koba for the first time. Didn’t seem very compassionate and she recommended euthanization right then 🙁 

I have contacted an oncologist at another veterinary hospital but the earliest they can see him is the end of January. Makes me nervous that we will be waiting too long 🙁

he’s partially blind due to a retinal degeneration and has some skin allergies but they are controlled. 
just trying to make the time he has left as great as possible for him 

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2021 - 9:49 am
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Oh gosh no worries at all, we get it.

So it sounds like Koba is overall doing alright. Being partially blind isn't too unusual in this community, that doesn't seem to be an issue for most dogs. He sounds pretty spunky for an older pup, and he's not that big.

I'm sorry your vet wasn't very compassionate. Why did she recommend euthanasia? That is quite extreme to say do it then and there.

It's good you reached out to an oncologist. But yes, by January that pain will be extreme. And also, there is a huge bone cancer fracture risk that he is facing too. Is there any way to get into another clinic or at least on a cancellation list at the one you called? An oncology clinic will understand the time sensitive nature of an osteosarcoma diagnosis.

It's good you have him on some kind of pain control. Keep in mind that a limp is a pain signal, so he is definitely hurting. Dogs will do all they can to avoid showing pain but a limp is a sign that pain is present. Be really careful with him right now. Stay ahead of the pain and on schedule, even if you don't think he needs it. Once pain is present and visible it takes twice as long to control it. Staying ahead of it is key to keeping him comfortable.

The CBD oil probably isn't doing much, unfortunately. Most products are junk and cannot control this level of pain on their own. If you'd like help finding a good cannabis therapy that can complement the Gabapentin, the vets and vet nurses at Veterinary Cannabis Education & Consulting are looking for case studies and they can consult with you at no charge.. See: https://tripawd.....se-studies

We have talked to many vets over the years who tell us that neither age nor size should exclude a dog from amputation surgery as long as they are otherwise healthy. It sounds like Koba is, and if your gut feeling is that he will do well on three, then a second opinion would be worth your time and money. I know it's tough getting into a clinic right now, but if you mention that you're facing osteosarcoma, it should be a little easier (fingers crossed). Let us know how it goes and stay tuned for feedback from others.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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1 December 2021 - 12:14 pm
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Thank you thank you for the information! Giving his gabapentin on schedule now. Was able to schedule a consult for a surgeon specializing in osteosarcoma at a smaller hospital for Monday! Oddly enough I spoke with the same vet and she apologized for sounding rushed that day. She said she thinks Koba would be a good candidate for amputation as long as his tests don’t show signs of metastasis. Will be very anxiously waiting for Monday as then I’ll have a better plan 🙏 

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2021 - 3:52 pm
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You are so schedule and that is wonderful you got into a clinic a lot sooner. Wow that vet gave some great news too! I'm so happy for you guys, and hope that you'll have some solid info on Monday to help you decide. Here are some posts you may want to check out before your visit:

https://tripawd.....-and-cats/
https://tripawd.....ncologist/

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2021 - 3:55 pm
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One more link for ya. Check out Angel's update:

https://tripawd.....d/#p245836

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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1 December 2021 - 5:48 pm
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This is amazing! Thank you for sharing all this valuable information!

Virginia




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1 December 2021 - 8:54 pm
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Just catching up in time to say, all things considered, you have a bit of luck on your side. You were able to get an appointment  with a Surgeon Monday AND  your first Vet revisited her comment to you and changed it into a much more pawsitive one!!  Also glad Jerry was able to give you some good input and reassurance. 

And good for you for knowing  your boy best and following  through with research and coming up with a plan.  And it a life affirming  plan that give your boy pain free quality time for  more spoiling  and loving♥️

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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1 December 2021 - 10:29 pm
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Hi Jenn, I’m so glad you were able to get an appointment for Monday! I had the same problem; the first two clinic wouldn’t see us for two months. The third place I called was the one; they got us in for an emergency appointment the next week. That’s how you know you found a good clinic!

I will say my primary vet wasn’t super encouraging of us pursuing amputation/chemo, although he did tell us it was an option and encouraged us to see an oncologist. I think perhaps for many of his clients, surgery and chemo wouldn’t be an option financially. 

Our oncologist was so helpful in making the decision to amputate. He had us consider the looked at the condition of his other three joints, his overall health, and any evidence of metastasis. We got lung x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound before (our surgeon said the ultrasound was much cheaper than a CAT scan and would give us what we needed to know) that were clear. 

The decision to amputate is hard, but what did it for me was knowing how much pain my boy was in already. Osteosarcoma pain is like none other. I wasn’t comfortable with his pain getting progressively worse until the end. Amputation would take his pain away immediately, and give us some quality, pain-time. The first three weeks after surgery were really tough, I won’t sugarcoat that. But I’m really glad we chose to do it. 

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2 December 2021 - 4:08 am
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Thank you so much! That’s all I want for him is to be pain free!

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2 December 2021 - 4:10 am
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! That’s what they recommended for chest X-ray and abd ultrasound, so hopefully we can get all that done quickly and have a plan soon! Im so happy I got an earlier date but Monday feels so far away!

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