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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This is just some info on our situation before our dog was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on her right rear leg. She had tumors on her hock and lower femur. The leg was amputated in February 2008.
Our dog is at this time 10 years old. She is a golden retriever/black lab cross ~90 lbs. She has always been very active and during the last few years we would notice limping after heavy exercise. In the last half of 2007 we noticed that the limp was pretty severe after exercise and both we and our vet thought it was arthritis. We would give her aspirin after heavy exercise. The limping didn't improve and by late 2007 she was reluctant to use the right rear leg. At this time our dog's sister (from the same litter, owned by my parents) had developed a very similar limp. Her X-rays revealed a blown out knee. We were hopeful that our dog would have an identical prognosis and so we scheduled her for X-rays. Unfortunately, her prognosis was the osteosarcoma. On the bright side, her hips actually showed no signs of arthritis and her sister is recovering well from knee surgery.
Right now our dog is going on three weeks after her amputation and doing great! I realize that amputation is a major decision, but after having the operation we have absolutely no regrets!
Thanks for sharing the details. Glad to hear things are going well!
My people couldn't notice the mango-sized growth in my front left scapula because it was growing inward. I just presented with a persistent limp that wouldn't go away. My vet at the time just thought it was arthritis and kept prescribing different meds.
Meanwhile my limp got worse. One night Jim pushed on my shoulder thinking I might have a small fracture that wasn't appearing on the x-rays. I yelped! Next thing you know, they're taking me to UC Davis teaching hospital where powerful digital x-rays revealed the lump.
Here's a picture of Bella right before her operation. She is giving us her "snow report", letting us know that it is snowing hard out and it is wonderful winter weather. You can see that her right rear leg was quite atrophied from lack of use. She had been not using it for acouple months at this point and we had just received the osteosarcoma diagnosis.
Here is she is working on a snow report post-operation. One should always make sure there is a ball close by, too. Sagely doggy advice.
Hi, I see one dog with a rear leg amputation. How is it going? I have a 10 year old rottie with possible rear leg osteosarcoma found through x-ray. We'll go for a biopsy next week, but I am online educating myself about prognosis with different treatments. So anybody with an older, large breed dog and rear leg amputation, please tell me how you are doing. Sounds like Bella is doing well. Thank you.
We hope that your beloved Rottie is OK and won't have to go through surgery. We know this is a tough time for you, but know that if things work out that way, life on 3 legs ain't so bad, not at all. You'll find lots of great support and advice here.
There are lots of big ol' dogs here that are living great lives as tripawds. My friend Finnegan, an Irish Wolfie, is now almost two years post-amp. And then there's Me, for example! I'm over 9 years old, 75 pounds, am now over 18 months post-diagnosis, I have lung mets, and I'm still loving life! I can swim and play and wrestle with the youngest of pups.
Now, I'm not saying that recovery is a breeze, or that there won't be any complications. Things like this are always a gamble, you never really know for certain how things will turn out. But what I can tell you is that amputation will give your pup the immediate gift of getting out of awful pain, fast. And no matter if your pup makes it three months or three years past surgery, the important thing is that that extra amount of time together is a blessing, icing on the cake.
Please let us know how things are going Ok? We are here to help. Thanks for writing.
Daian Hennington said:
Hi, I see one dog with a rear leg amputation. How is it going? I have a 10 year old rottie with possible rear leg osteosarcoma found through x-ray. We’ll go for a biopsy next week, but I am online educating myself about prognosis with different treatments. So anybody with an older, large breed dog and rear leg amputation, please tell me how you are doing. Sounds like Bella is doing well. Thank you.
Hi Daian. Thanks for asking about Bella. She is doing well, some days are harder than others. But she is still with us and we are giving her as much love as we can! I hope your Rottie is OK and whatever the diagnosis is I'm sure you'll provide the best care.
So glad to hear Bella is holding her own! Yeah, we have good days and bad days, but every day is still such a gift, isn't it?
Thanks for the update and be sure to show us some photos when you can.
16 June 2008
Next thing you know, they’re taking me to UC Davis teaching hospital where powerful digital x-rays revealed the lump.
My dog riley it is his right shoulder and they cannot find the tumor either. he's having surgery today and they are doing extensive bone samples. I wish I read this to see if they could have xrayed the shoulder better.
I wish I read this to see if they could have xrayed the shoulder better.
Hey RileyDog ... tell your mom it's far to early to wish she had done this or that! She's got enough to think about – think, not worry – in the coming weeks and shouldn't be shoulding all over herself.
The nasty thing about this cancer thing is ... it is what it is. Guilt, fear and blame will do nothing but make the coping worse. Of course, we hope your biopsy results come back negative, but what you need now is lots of positive energy and thoughts!
Daian Hennington said:
So anybody with an older, large breed dog and rear leg amputation, please tell me how you are doing. Sounds like Bella is doing well. Thank you.
I am a 10-11 year old (rescued not sure) retriever/shepherd mix one week post amputation. I am about 70 pounds and also have hip dysplasia. So far so good as I am hopping around pretty good thus far. Right now I am still recovering from the surgery so I am a little lazy, but hoping to be back to normal in a few days. I am definitely in a lot less pain already and glad to have done the surgery.
Good luck and licks,
PS Glad you are doing well Bella. My leg was hanging just like yours before the surgery!
I just read your post. I realize it's been awhile, but my 10 1/2 year old choc. lab just had a similar problem. Hers advanced over the course of a week, though. She dug a HUGE hole in our year, then started limping a little. I thought she had broken her paw or sprained it. Over the course of a week, the limp got worse until she started dragging her leg, putting VERY little weight on it. She started panting heavily (I later found out that was from the pain she was in). The vet did blood tests, x-rays, etc. The x-rays showed what looks like arthritis, especially in the joint on her left front leg, and the blood work was 100% normal. However, 2 of the vets in the office looked at the x-rays and are pretty sure my dog has the early stages of bone cancer. They said they cannot be 100% sure and saw no definite indications of bone cancer but do know that she has almost total muscle atrophy in her leg. They recommended amputating her leg in the hope of maybe eliminating the cancer (if it's early enough), and getting rid of the pain.
I have read ALOT of blogs on this subject, and I am extremely confused about what to do. They put her on Deremaxx on a Thursday, and by Saturday, she was jumping around like she was 1/2 her age. The alternative to amputating her leg is to basically keep her medicated and watch her deteriorate and then put her to sleep. After seeing her move around so much better and more energetic, I believe my dog still has alot of life left in her.
Any insight you can give me would be great.
... I am extremely confused about what to do. I believe my dog still has alot of life left in her ...
Thanks for asking SBaker, you've come to the right place.
Sounds like your pup has plenty of life left indeed. Amputation is the only solution to enhance that quality of life, the only way to get rid of the pain. Medication like Rimadyl will only provide temporary relief, tear up up her intestines, and won't stop her degrading physical condition.
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Daian: We believe you may have accidentally hit the report button instead of quote or reply, since we just received this comment as a questionable post report …
Thank you for your support. I have to say that our beloved rottie Nazeem died in December 2008 at 10 years 10 months. The hardest thing was to try to make decisions for another being about what sort of pain to live with and for how long… My heart goes out to Bella's family too.
While the vet said that the breed and her prior TPLO surgery put her at risk for osteosarcoma, I have to say that if people are told to avoid cancer by NOT EATING processed foods, then why are dogs fed the most highly processed foods and if the meat meal is not fit for human consumption why do we give it to our pets? I think that if researchers study the effects of nutrition on cancer in humans they ought to provide similar info to vets and pet owners. Sending love to all beings. Daian