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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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Should amputation be done if mets found in lungs.
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Forum Posts: 16
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1 October 2014 - 10:25 pm
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   My baby Buddy was scheduled for amputation and preliminary  radiographs revealed mets found in lungs.  Should I still go ahead with amputation.  Drs telling me it’s too late and he might just have a couple of months.  I am devastated.  Any suggestions would greatly help.  Alina

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 October 2014 - 7:12 am
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Hi Alina & Buddy, I’m sorry to hear that you’re faced with this tough decision, I would be devastated too. Have you gotten a second opinion preferably from a vet oncologist? Sometimes mets can be too advanced but there are times like Zeus’ case when you can still have a good quality of life for much longer than anyone thought. There’s also palliative radiation therapy and bisphosphonates that can offer good pain relief without amputation (I just talked to a woman yesterday whose Newfie was going for an entire year on radiation therapy for osteo, no amp). A second or even third opinion can often change the outcome dramatically.

I’m sorry, I will respond more later, and others will chime in too, I have to run out for now. {{{hugs}}} and welcome.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 16
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2 October 2014 - 7:35 am
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  I  took buddy to a specialist where radiographs discovered his OSA, at the time no mets were revealed in chest and lungs graphs.  This week I took him to UF oncology department to schedule amputation and pre-opt radiation revealed mets in his lungs, that didn’t seem to have been there two weeks ago.  My heart is breaking because my options have now changed.  I am not ready to let him go and he is not ready to go.  We did discussed palliative radiation and was told this would be a process of 4 weeks, but then what?  I just want to prolong his life as much as I can.  How long can they live with mets in the lungs and whats the best protocol to slow this process.  Any input is greatly appreciated.

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 October 2014 - 10:19 am
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Darn, I was hoping you hadn’t seen a specialist yet. I’m glad you’re working with such a great team. Palliative care has grown tremendously with different options, and there are many ways to give him a good quality of life. Lung mets are by no means an instant death sentence, some dogs last longer, some do not, you never know…but I hope this can comfort you…

here’s something we all learn on this journey, which is that to our pets, the concept of tomorrow, of calendars, number of days, prognosis….these things mean nothing to animals! They don’t count time the way we do, to them every day is GREAT, every day is a chance to make the most of what we have, this gift we have that’s called “the Present.” It is so true, when you see that nobody can predict how long anyone will live, all we have is now, with cancer or without, so make the most of it…your pup will show you how, all you have to do is slow down long enough to follow his lead.

On this journey it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s a hard lesson to come to grips with at first, but remember that Buddy is still here, he’s living, he’s thriving, he’s enjoying every day. Do not mourn him yet, he’s still here! He wants you to be happy and be present, live every day to the fullest! There is a concept known as “Anticipatory Grief” which is covered in this awesome book, the Legacy of Beezer and Boomer, which I highly recommend you get, it will help you tremendously, as will we. Even if Buddy doesn’t lose his leg you are still part of this community so always come here when you need help or have questions or want to vent or tell us about your sweet doggie.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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2 October 2014 - 10:32 am
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First of all Alina…take some deep, deep breaths…..B R E A T H E. In slowly…..exhale alowly….B R E A T H E…..B R E A T H E…

Yoh are not alone, okay? We are all here with you. As Jerry noted, you DO have options!

Remember, Buddy does NOT know he is sick and could care less about any ole’ stupid diagnosis. Buddy is an INDIVIDUAL and doesn’t give a hoot about statistics!

And also remember, in “dog years” six months is the equivalent of over three years!!

I’ll have to call on others with a better memory and better computer skills to give you the “link”…but not too long ago there was an interview on here by a vet who, if lung mets were found, advised against amputation. HOWEVER, through the years she has subsequently changed her mind and now advises to PROCEED with amputation! If I recall, her decision to amputate was based on pain relief and seeing dogs get extended quality time regardless of mets.

Michelle and Sassy will chime in….it was discovered Sassy had mets several months after amputation and got an additional seven months of pain free loving and spoiling!

This journey is just a “crap shoot” in so many ways….with or without amp., with or without lung mets, with or without chemo…..it just stinks that any of us have to be here in the first place!

Buddy was not born with a time frame stamped on his butt! Yes, this is a difficult position to be in, no doubt. And to not have visible mets two weeks ago and to have them now…that’s just crazy!!

Continue to do your research and continue to get more opinions…even if it means a phone consult. You know, as I write this, I think it may have been Dr. Sue Ettinger, co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide Book who now will sometimes proceed with amputation with mets. You’ll see a link on jere to that book. Maybe she would be a good one to consult with. She’s out of New York.

Buddy is feeling great now and he has no intention of going anywhere anytime soon ,okay?

And remember, iBuddy is blissfully unaware of anything going on! Use Buddy as your guide and stay in the present with him…just enjoy being by his side and seeing how happy he is! Give him a treat and watch him wag his tail!!!

You hang in there….we’ll help you come up with some good options! Any decision made out of love is the right decision!!

And when you can, PLEASE post pictures of Buddy! He sounds delightful!

Sending lots of hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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3 October 2014 - 8:09 am
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  Thank you Jerry and Benny 55.  I will be reading your post over and over again for inspiration.  You guys are right he doesn’t know time and is wondering why he keeps seeing me cry.  I will try to stay in the present.  I will be making a decision this weekend as to amputate or not.  I want him pain free as quickly as possible.  May God help me make the right choice.  Thank you again, I will post a picture of him today. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 October 2014 - 9:43 am
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One more thing to consider; there are no “right” or “wrong” decisions when your choice is made with love. We all do the best we can for our animals, it’s clear how much you love Buddy, and he knows that every ounce of your heart is filled with love and care for him. Nothing you do could ever be wrong when his comfort and quality of life is your #1 thought. Promise!

Here’s info for adding photos. If you have problems let me know and I’ll help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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3 October 2014 - 12:14 pm
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This is such a hard decision. If only we had crystal balls to know what the outcome would be. Having macro mets does make for a less good prognosis, but I know a human who lived for almost 3 years with primary lung cancer and there are stories on here about dogs overcoming the predicted lifespan with mets.

The only thing you can know for sure is that removing the primary tumor will stop the pain. We can’t know for sure how well or how quickly each individual dog will recover or how long they will live after.

We decided against amputation. Not because of mets but because Millie’s age and overall condition made her seem like a not very good candidate. We only got 4 weeks with her & the last week was not a great one. I don’t think she would have been a good tripawd but I will never know. If I had to do it over gain I would have talked to at least one specialist right away, maybe even two or three (we have a lot of good specialty hospitals in the area). I probably would have made the same decision, but I would have more information to back up my decision.

My advise would be to get another opinion from an oncologist and one from a holisitic vet. A holistic vet I used to work with tried to treat Millie. It didn’t work for her but another OSA patient of hers was treated for about a year.

I’m sorry you are having to face this right now. We all know the pain of learning our babies have cancer and how hard it is to decide which direction to go. There are so many choices and none come with any guarantees Jerry is right–whatever you decide is OK. You will be doing everything you can to do what is best for your Buddy and he will appreciate all of it!

Sonya & "Millie"--born Feb 1999, diagnosed with OSA 8/27/14, set free 9/27/14
(RIP baby girl)

Virginia
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3 October 2014 - 5:59 pm
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Hi, Alina — So sorry about the mets. I had a similar situation with my Lexie and the vets discouraged me from amputating originally because of the mets and her age (you can see a quick timeline in my signature). I wish I had gone with my gut and just done the amputation because we ended up doing it anyway a month or so later, and in our case it was *much* better to see her pain free and enjoying life again.

We had an amazing four extra months post-amp and she was acting like a puppy again when she turned 14. I’m on a tablet now and not sure I’ll be able to post a video, but I’ll try to go in and add it.

As others have said, it’s a very individual decision and there isn’t a right or wrong.

I’d be happy to talk to you about our journey and why I would have amputated sooner even with mets if you want to PM me. I also can tell you about some alternative therapies in the form of Chinese herbals that seemed to help us with the lung mets in terms of slowing their growth (you can probably search to find that thread).

You’ve found a fabulous support group here and we’re here for you whatever decision you make, so let us know how we can help. Meanwhile, thinking good thoughts for Buddy and for you and your family.

sns=em

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

Virginia
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3 October 2014 - 6:06 pm
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One more video, around 6 months after lung mets diagnosis. Best vacation ever!

sns=em

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

Virginia




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3 October 2014 - 11:20 pm
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DEB – LEXIE. and. SEVYDOT – MILLIE

So glad you both chimed in. You’ve both brought great balance from first hand experience..very kind of you knowing that you are still grieing for Millie and Lexie. Yet, make no mistake about it, you are both carrying on the legacy of your dogs in a very life affirnpming way!

Itt so great to see these videos….smiling…huge smile through a few tears!!

Jist want to add that Millie was 15 */2!!! And a large lovely Dalmation on tipmof that! Yeah, an amp. and major surgery in her case could have tipped the scales towards a downward spiral.

Sending hugs to all!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

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!

Virginia
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4 October 2014 - 2:35 pm
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A related thread: http://tripawds…..-bleeding/

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

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7 October 2014 - 7:59 pm
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I want to thank everyone who has replied to my post.  I haven’t been on the computer lately because I have been dealing with my personal frustration with the oncology dept at UF.  After such a roller coaster ride, I finally decided this past weekend that I would have Buddy amputated so he could be pain free and then proceed for a treatment protocol.  Only to find out later via email that the dept was not comfortable amputating unless they did a Neurologist consult and a bone scan.  More money, more diagnostic testing only to tell me what I already know and what previous test have diagnosed.  This is so frustrating because now I am back to square one.:(

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7 October 2014 - 8:25 pm
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How frustrating! I feel so lucky that we have several good specialty vets all within an hour of me (one is only 6 minutes away!). If I ever found that I was unhappy with one of them, it’d be easy to get a second opinion.

Is there someplace you could go for a second opinion?

Sonya & "Millie"--born Feb 1999, diagnosed with OSA 8/27/14, set free 9/27/14
(RIP baby girl)

Virginia




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7 October 2014 - 8:52 pm
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Whoa! I guess you are frustrated!!! And to deal what you’re dealing with…talking things over with Buddy…coming to a decision….and you get an EMAIL…an. EMAIL!!!!! GRRRRR……..

I completely agree with Sevydots….can you go somewhere else? I would even jave a second pair of eyes look at those xrays too! I mean, cleat two weeks prior and now showing mets?

No, you are not at square one. You have found this site…you are doing research and you are proceeding with whatever you and Buddy determine will give him the best quality life. Yeah, can you get a second opinion without all those other tests? I’m certainly no vet, but we are all big on 2nd and even 3rd opinions around here.

Stay connected to us…..cry, vent, scream…here….and then go hug Buddy and watch his tail wag! Remember, all is well in Buddy Land!! Spend all sorts of time giving tummy rubs, treats snd taking lots of pictures and videos! Try and do your research and appointment scheduling when Buddy is asleep. Awake time is time for the two of you to stay in the moment! Hang in there!!! We are here with you!!

Let us know if you can get another consult, then you can t take it from there.

Hugs and love!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

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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