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To amputate or fix
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1 June 2018 - 6:24 am
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I’m really struggling with any decision right now. I took my baby girl karma into our regular vet a couple of weeks ago due to her collapsing on her back leg. She was struggling to climb up on the bed and was spending more time holding her leg in the air and it was just obvious something was causing her pain. The vet gave her a quick check over and said it’s slight arthritis and gave us some rimadyl tablets and sent us on our way. Well the rimadyl made her sick and did nothing for her pain so we decided to get a second opinion as I felt there was more going on then just a little bit of arthritis. The second vet wanted xrays which I was grateful for, but what we found was more than just a knee problem but it turns out her hip is a total mess. Now we’ve been given the option of knee surgery first then putting her through a hip operation and told she will likely never be good on that leg again, would still be in pain and would be on anti inflamatories and pain killers for the rest of her life (she’s only 2). Or to take all the pain away in one surgery and remove the leg completely. The amputation is what they recommend but the whole thing is kind of overwhelming. This dog is my heart dog, don’t get me wrong I have 3 others who I love dearly but karma is so much a part of me, I just want to do the best by her. How do you decide and know what the best choice is? 

Here and Now

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1 June 2018 - 9:13 am
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kateandkarma said
…told she will likely never be good on that leg again, would still be in pain and would be on anti inflamatories and pain killers for the rest of her life…

There’s your answer right there. What quality of life is that? Of course, only you and your orthopedic surgeon can know what is best. If necessary, get a third opinion.

But far too many times, we have had heard from others putting their dog through multiple painful expensive surgeries in an attempt to “save the leg” only to end up amputating anyway. Recovery pain after amputation may last a couple weeks, with proper rehab Karma will be Loving Life On Three Legs before you know it! And at such a young age, she should live a long happy healthy pain-free life.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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1 June 2018 - 9:57 am
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Hi Kate and Karma 🌺🐾

Ditto for the above !

Amputation means getting rid of pain for good, a couple of weeks recovering and then a whole lifetime of love, happiness and fun on three 💗

I never, ever looked back and would do it all over again. 

Sending you lots of hugs and cuddles 😘😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

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 :-) 

Virginia
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1 June 2018 - 10:49 am
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Awww, so sorry your sweet Karma is dealing with this.

Obviously  making a decision  about amputation  is not to be taken lightly .  It is major surgery and recovery  is ruff for about two weeks. 

That said, the points made by Admin and by Teresa are spot on.This is ONE surgery, ONE recovery and then Karma will be pain free and back to being her happy self!

I have a tripawd (adopted as a tripawd) who recently  had cruciate knee surgery.  My Happy  Hannah (see signature) had amputation  due  to osteo. Her recovery was less painful than his knee surgery recovery.  Obviously  because he is a tripawd already, surgery on one of his remaining  three legs was not easy on so many levels.  But as far as pain and a quicker recovery…amputation was “easier”.

Continue  to ask questions and let us know how we can help suppprt you.  We’ve  all been through it, so we pretty much know how to help you  navigate  through recovery and onto helping Karma live life tonthe dullest PAIN FREE!!  It spunds like she is in a lot of pain right now.  It also sounds like she will be so happy once that painful leg is gone!

Sending  ypu hugs and clairty

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!

Livermore, CA
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1 June 2018 - 1:11 pm
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If limb saving surgery could give her a pain free life it would be a good option in my opinion.  She is so young!  But if the surgery is going to result in chronic pain then I would definitely consider amputation.

My Tripawd Elly lost her right rear leg after she was hit by a car at 7 months old, I adopted her when she was 10 months old, she is now about 3.5 years old.  Elly can do pretty much anything a dog her size and age can do- she is a little Pug mix.  I do take some precautions because she has her whole life to live on three legs.  We don’t do long walks, I try to avoid a lot of burst type activities, and we do spend time on building core strength and work on her balance.  Of course it would be better if Elly had all four, but she doesn’t know she is different!

Look through the photo galleries and watch some of the videos available here.  You will see dogs being dogs!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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1 June 2018 - 9:16 pm
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Thank you so much for the replies, I’m so grateful to know there are people out there who you can talk to. If it’s based on her being in pain or living pain free I am all for amputating the leg. I guess I’m just surprised that they say she’d still be in pain if we went with the surgery to save her leg, I’m honestly still shocked at how damaged her hip is, it looks like it is something she was born with but never showed signs of it earlier. I will admit I’m getting a second opinion just for my own piece of mind but it’s good to know she can still have a happy life on 3 paws 🐾 

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2 June 2018 - 12:41 am
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Hi Kate & Karma! 

Getting news that something is very wrong and hearing ‘amputation’ is gut wrenching. I’ve been where you are. We thought our pup had arthritis as well and she got on pain meds and anti inflammatories. 2 weeks later she broke her leg due to bone cancer and we were faced with the exact same situation you’re in. When I heard amputation, at first it sounded so cruel and barbaric. I didn’t think her quality of life would be good. We’re 4 weeks post amputation and it was THE best choice we made. It’s hard at first, and I questioned my decision for a few days. But now, I have 0 regrets and would make the same choice in a heartbeat. Sadie is running (yes, running!) and swimming in the pool on her own. It’s amazing how strong and resilient animals are. Follow your heart, trust your gut. Please keep us updated!! We are all here and rooting for you guys!  💕

Virginia
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2 June 2018 - 10:56 am
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Gonma pass this link on to Clare.  She’s  MEG A STAR’S hooman and jas some gteat vidoes of Meg living  life to the fulledt on three ….and I mesn to the fullest!!  

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!

London, UK
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2 June 2018 - 1:02 pm
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Thanks for flagging this up Sally, I would not want to have missed it.

Kate and Karma, Hi!

I’m so sorry you find yourselves in this position. I strongly relate to what you are going through as it has some parallels with what happened to us.

My Meg was three years old when she suffered a spontaneous, non traumatic explosive fracture of her right elbow, the result of an undiagnosed bone condition. Her elbow was repaired with a huge amount of metalwork and months of rehab, but in less than three years she has developed end stage arthritis. In our case, I was advised that amputation was not an option for her, because the condition which affected her right elbow also affects her left one. It was a question of salvage surgery or euthanasia (as I was advised). For nine months we fought to save her leg, by means of a custom made elbow implant, and multiple follow up surgeries when the surgical wound failed to heal. Ultimately she developed an infection in the joint (a common and potentially devastating complication with implants) and, after months in hospital, and a vets bill stretching into multiple tens of thousands, the only thing left to try was amputation. Meg has now been living very happily for more than two years on three legs.

I would certainly agree re getting a second opinion, but I would also be very grateful to your vet for their frankness in stating the options  (as they see them). Salvage surgery can work well, but there are lots of potential complications, and I think it’s really hard to fully anticipate how you will cope with the various scenarios in advance.  You enter into it aware of the risks, but obviously hoping, and believing that it will be successful. Then something goes wrong. What then? Do you back out? Or do you think having come this far you owe it to the dog to keep on going? And then something else goes wrong. What then? You’re even further into it now…. etc. etc. I can only speak for my own experience of course, but certainly I would never have imagined getting sucked into such a situation, or how vulnerable and desperate and trapped it made me feel. 

In terms of chronic pain, I don’t know specifically what your vet is referring to of course, but any surgery involving a joint, is, as I inexpertly understand it, highly likely to lead to arthritis, and severe arthritis can be very painful and very disabling indeed. Indeed, it is ultimately what cost my Meg her leg.

A top quality life is ABSOLUTELY 100% possible on three legs. I’m not saying that life will be exactly the same as it is on four good legs. It is different in some ways and one needs to adapt but I honestly do not believe it need be any less fun, or stimulating, or joyful as any life on four. And if the latter means living with pain then, as you yourself say, then there’s really no question about it.

As I say, I think you are absolutely right to seek a second opinion, and a third if that will help give you peace of mind. And do keep posting. We are here for you and will do our best to answer your questions and support you in making the best decision for Karma.

All best,

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 


Virginia
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2 June 2018 - 9:28 pm
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Clare, thank you so much for sharing your experience.   I know it’s  not easy to revisit.  You articulated  your processes and gut wrenching  emotions very well as you navigate the failed surgeries,  complications, etc.

As far as Meg is concerned, none of that matters now.  She is soooo happy on three !  The videos  speak volumes 

❤❤❤❤❤

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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7 June 2018 - 10:04 pm
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Sorry for the late reply, I can’t thank everyone enough for their kind words and support. We took karma in for our other opinion today and have learned that we were not given the full details by the previous vet. A specialist has looked over her scans and found her right leg is also compromised and amputating is no longer an option. So in two weeks time we are starting our journey down the path of knee replacements and hip surgeries, hopefully everything will go well and she can still have a great quality of life

London, UK
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7 June 2018 - 11:06 pm
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Hi there, thanks for updating. I’m sorry to hear  about Karma’s other leg. I guess from my story above, you could say that I’m bound to say this, but… How many board certified orthopaedic specialists has Karma now seen? (Seen in person, not just looking at scans. There is a huge difference between this and a clinical exam). I would strongly recommend that she see at least two board certified specialists before embarking on a series of surgeries like that. Which is not to doubt your vet at all, but just that different vets have different experience and approach things in different ways. I would also suggest seeing a rehab vet or certified physio at this stage to get their view. This is one thing I didn’t do, and very much wish I had. Rehab vets work with animals over an extended period of time and this gives them a different outlook. 

Good luck with it all. I have been thinking of you and wondering how things were going. 

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, 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 


Virginia
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8 June 2018 - 9:15 am
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It is sooooo clear how much you love your sweet Karma and are doing everything in the world possible to give her a great pain free life.  Two years old is so darn young to be dealing with all these issues.

I just want to ditto Clare about getting first hand evaluations from at least two Board Certified Orthopedic Specialists if possible.   You can google to find those available  in, or near your area.   Seeing a Rehabilitation  Specialist  was an EXCELLENT suggestion too!!!

Heck, who knows.  Maybe with a bit of professional Rehab therapy first, it may increase her strength  in her legs and make her a better candidate for just one amputation  surgery.

I kinda’ chuckle sometimes that we may appear “pro amputation” and that couldn’t  be further from the truth!  The majority  of us here are “forced” into that decision  because of camcer.  It’s  the only way to give our dogs and cats a chance at a pain free life and a chance to possible beat that piece of crap disease  and live for years!!  

However, once recovery from surgery takes place and we see how happy our dogs and cats are living life to the fullest on three….well….maybe I guess we are a little “pro amputation” as a really good solution for a really bad scenario!

All that said, obviously if she isn’t  a good candidate  for amputation, you are proceeding in the best way possible!!  Please know that!   We’re  merely stressing the importance of getting her seen by the various experts Clare already mentioned.  

We are all sending  the best wishes for you and Karma!   Your bond is strong and you will get through this.  If we can be of any help, please stay connected.  Whether recovering  rrom knee surgery, hip surgery, or amputation,  we have a lot of tips on how to help you navigate  through the recoveries.

Love and 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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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8 June 2018 - 8:05 pm
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I’ll just say x3 on the recommendations to get other perspectives on her situation. If you’ve already gone that route, forgive us. But I just want to reiterate that orthopedic surgeons do surgeries, it’s what they know best and so they are naturally going to lean toward surgery. Others, like rehab therapists, will try to find the least invasive options first — not that ortho surgeons won’t but it’s not guaranteed. 

And no matter what you decide, remember you are always, always welcome here! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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9 June 2018 - 10:22 am
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Ditto everybody 🐾

I am sure no-one here would have gone for amputation if there was any other option which would provide the same pain free results.

Amputation is the hardest choice but, as Sally said, we were forced into it.

It is very wise to get several opinions and I always say if a surgeon or vet get offended by this then they are not good professionals in which case we should run from them as quickly as possible. 

Sending you and Karma hugs and cuddles whichever route you take 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

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 :-) 

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