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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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To Wait or Not, That is the Question
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
26 April 2021
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26 April 2021 - 6:12 am
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Hello and thank you for this forum. My Buddy has been diagnosed with grade 1 soft tissue sarcoma in his left rear leg and amputation has been proposed as the best viable solution as the mass is interwoven in his quadricep muscles.

Our regular vet noticed a lump on March 31st, he had x-rays (cancer had not spread) and a needle aspirate which was not conclusive. After a lot of deliberation and research, he was referred to a canine oncologist and had a CT scan and incisional biopsy performed on April 16th. He will have his sutures removed on Friday, April 30. We will opt for amputation, but as the mass has not spread and is grade 1, would postponing the surgery several weeks be ill-advised or not make much difference?

My reasoning: Buddy is absolutely terrified of loud noises and he is beyond sick and terrified every July 4th week with all the fireworks. He refuses to go outside after sundown and hides, shaking and whimpering every night. He won’t eat and is very stressed by these noises. Thunderstorms affect him as well, and this will be prime season for this. I was thinking -right or wrong- of postponing surgery until about July 1st and have him sleep/be sedated through this crazy fireworks period. No drugs have worked on calming him previously, whether OTC CBD oil, through Xanax and Selio.

My vet thinks that surgery should happen sooner rather than later and I think keeping him strongly drugged longer (for the period of the amputation and then again come late June into July) seems worse than waiting. The mass doesn’t appear to be growing at an aggressive rate and is not causing him any discomfort now…if we hadn’t taken him for a routine vaccination, we would still be none the wiser for the mass. He is not in pain and is eating, running, jumping and barking like normal.

I know the mass is there…I’m just looking to make this a more comfortable transition for him and getting through the worst time of the year for him (firework season) is my only motive in delaying the inevitable. I guess I am a bit selfish in wanting to wait, it pains us terribly to see how he suffers with noises and the hospital experience/ amputation is not going to be easy for him or us.

Please help me with my decision! Would you wait to combine two miseries into one? Thank you for thoughts!

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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26 April 2021 - 10:54 am
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Hi Elaine and Buddy, welcome. Your future posts won’t need to wait for approval so post away.

First, you are not being selfish at all. You are putting Buddy’s temperament and needs above everything right now, by wanting to do what’s best for him, and coming here to ask questions. That’s far from selfish, give yourself a pat on the back for being a great dog mom smiley_clap

Poor Buddy, if even the latest rx doesn’t work for him (Sileo), that’s a tough situation. What if you tried this: get the amputation done sooner, and then take him and your family to a place where fireworks aren’t an issue, like a cabin in the woods where fireworks are banned? We have friends doing that this year for their noise phobic Tripawd. They’re taking their new RV and heading for the hills. Could something like that work for you guys?

Waiting would likely increase the chance of the tumor growing faster and invading more tissues, possibly metastasizing faster too. Nobody wants that. Plus, try to put yourself in Buddy’s paws: what if you had a tumor in your leg? It would likely be making you tense and nervous, and you’d want to get it out ASAP right?

Also keep in mind that most post-amputation dogs are only on seriously sedative medication for about 2 days tops, then their pain medication drugs like Gabapentin give them enough relief without drugging them so much they cannot walk or go potty. Odds are that Buddy will bounce back quickly like other dogs, only on those meds for 10 days, and not be so out of it that he won’t notice fireworks. Also, many dogs become even MORE anxious when they’re dopey and exposed to things that make them nuts, like fireworks. Their bodies are wonky and out of it, but their brains don’t stop so they cannot physically try to do anything about the situation, which freaks them out and makes them more nervous. I’m sure you’ve seen that happen with the other meds, and we saw that with our Wyatt.

In other words, your vet is giving you good advice. There’s got to be a way you guys can get away from the fireworks this year right? Would be something you can start researching now so that everything is lined up and Buddy can take the trip all healed up and ready for a peaceful holiday. 

I hope this helps! Keep us posted OK?

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The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 29607
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26 April 2021 - 10:55 am
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One more thing: you may want to see if electrochemotherapy or intralesional chemotherapy treatments are an option, to avoid amputation altogether.

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