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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Urgent questions about treatment options for my 8yr old Great Pyrenees
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The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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18 April 2024 - 8:31 pm
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WOOHOO! Ella is home! Going as planned is a very good thing! smiley_clap

Now you can start a new topic in Treatment and Recovery. Congrats on moving to the next phase of life on 3! Holler with any questions.

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12 April 2024
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29 April 2024 - 12:48 am
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Have we heard any updates on Ella? I'd love to know how she's doing as we sit on a similar decision. 

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3 May 2024 - 11:47 pm
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Hey Sam and Nova,

So the latest updates are Ella is still doing relatively well. I say relatively because we had a slight setback with her incision yesterday. The cone the surgeons staff put on initially was too short and Ella was able to reach edge of wound and lick apparently. We never noticed until day before appointment. It really didn’t look bad to my wife and I, and had no infection, but surgeon felt she needed some staples put in, and sentenced to much larger cone for 3 weeks. We were all quite bummed about that. It’s literally a 2” section, but everything else is good 

She did her first round of chemo and handled it well. No eating issues or anything. Next comes blood work in 2 weeks to check white blood cells and then in 3 weeks hopefully cone removal with staples and 2nd round of chemo.

she is very alert now and basically getting 300mg of Gabapentin and a trazadone 2x a day now with her antibiotics. She definitely has realized she can play up the situation to get extra belly rubs.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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4 May 2024 - 5:20 pm
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Hey thanks for the update on Ella! I'm sorry for the 2nd coning, but better to be safe. How awesome that the vet saw the damage!

I hope she sails through recovery and the latest coning! She's a real trooper sf-kiss

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19 May 2024 - 12:13 am
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Well, I had hoped to post an update after Ella's second chemo treatment which is next Friday, but things began taking a turn for the worst last week.

Ella began experiencing random pain and crying episodes. At first, I thought this was Phantom Limb Syndrome because her episodes mostly occurred at night. My wife recorded a video, and we sent it into our surgeon, but she quickly pointed out that Ella wasn't turning back toward the area where the limb was amputated, and then informed us of how she takes careful effort to reroute the nerve to another muscle. she recommended increasing her dose of trazadone as she felt this was more likely related to arthritis and anxiety. We had never given her more than 200 mg of trazadone prior to that, and she is a 130lb dog. We were informed she could have up to 400mg 3x a day, so we instantly gave her 400mg as she was in the midst of another episode, but this time it had started occurring in the day also. Her crying uncontrollably did subside, and she slept through the night. the next day we were able to get her outside in the morning, but then she just laid in the same spot until dinner time, but then got up to eat.

We dropped back down to 200 mg after seeing her reaction, but she seemed fine but a little stiff. We took her in on Fri for her white blood cell checkup after her first round of chemo and had no issues. Everything looked good, and she even had approval to have her cone removed. It seemed like things we back in a positive direction, but yesterday morning around 3am she began having another crying episode. I gave her the regular 200 mg trazadone and 800mg of gabapentin and she went back to sleep. Around 6am I took her out and she went and did her business, but I noticed she was really stiff moving. We have had a lot of rain, so I thought maybe it was her arthritis. she laid down when she came in, and around 10 am she was in a full-on crying episode, but now her back leg isn't working. It would just hang their lame and she couldn't put any weight on it.

We gave her 200mg of trazadone and 800 of gabapentin and headed to the ER. By the time we got there her pain had subsided for the most part, but they heard it when we initially called. Upon inspection of the leg there appeared to be no structural damage. My wife and I never saw her fall or anything, so this wasn't surprising. What was a bit surprising was there appeared to me no real pain reaction to movement of the leg at all or really anywhere around the leg or hip that I saw. the doctor thinks it may be related to the spine, maybe a slipped disk, or perhaps arthritis related, but not really sure.

She gave her a carprofen injection and prescribed her 125 mg carprofen 2x a day as an anti-inflammatory, but really, we are just in a wait and see mode here. We carried her out not really feeling we knew anything more than when we took her in, which is a little frustrating, but I understand every animal is on their own unique journey in recovery. the first 3 weeks I thought I was on easy street as everything was going relatively smooth, but the last week or so have changed that opinion dramatically.

Needless to say, it's been a real workout carrying her around everywhere, and I'm pretty mentally and physically spent at the moment. I'm hoping someone has some ideas or experiences that are maybe similar to what we are seeing with complete loss of limb function. I can see in her eyes she is scared, and she can probably see the same in mine though I try to stay positive around her. We are hoping this will pass and she stays on schedule with her next round of chemo, but right now just waiting to see what happens. smiley6

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 May 2024 - 3:26 pm
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Kevin I'm so sorry for this turn of events. I can only imagine how worried and exhausted you are. When you were at the ER, did they do any kind of diagnostics like an x-ray of her spine, or refer you out to a CT scan? 

ER vets do a good job triaging pain situations like this, but you're more likely to pinpoint the cause with your regular vet who knows Ella better. Don't worry about the chemo for now, it's more important to find out why this is happening. There could be any number of reasons so try not to think the worst.

Is her pain under control now? Addressing pain takes a multi-modal approach so adding acupuncture and other methods to the mix will probably help her feel better. Are you working with a rehab therapist? 

There are ups and downs in recovery for sure, even this far out. See our Hard Recovery stories for a few examples.

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19 May 2024 - 4:22 pm
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Thank you Jerry. Her pain is under control, and her anxiety is relatively under control with 200mg of trazodone. She still has out bursts as she wants to be pet 24/7, but she is better than before. There were no x-rays at ER. I requested but they didn’t feel confident based on checking leg and hips that they would see anything. I was already scheduled to go in this Friday for evaluation by surgeon and then chemo with oncologist.They documented everything on Sat, so I’m hopeful that maybe someone more specialized can isolate what is going on. The plan now is to treat pain/anxiety and mix in anti inflammatory and stick with appointments and get evaluated on Fri. I guess they think it’s possible she might get better with rest? My wife had a chihuahua once that had a slipped disk and couldn’t walk for a period of time and got better with rest, so I guess it’s plausible. I don’t have a rehab therapist but definitely open to that. Will wait and see how the week goes and what they say on Fri. Currently when we take her out she is more and more to put weight on rear leg while I’m holding her up. It has definitely affected her ability to go to that bathroom so we are working through that. We also are doing a bit of physical therapy on our own moving the leg, which she has no problem with. However I’m not entirely sure how much she is feeling. Certain things we did before she hated like cutting fur on her paw she seems pretty indifferent to now on the back paw.

Virginia







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19 May 2024 - 5:40 pm
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Geez, not what you were expecting for a "restful" weekend.   You are doing a great job of caring for Ella and advocating  for her care.

Couple of thoughts.  Try massaging up and down her spine, neck, shoulders, rear back.  Does she show any signs of tightness or tension   in any of these areas?

Pinch her toes and see if she has a "pull back" reflex.

FWIW might want to hold off on any leg exercises jist in case there's  a  slim chance the move may exacerbate her issue.

Regardless, rest sounds like the best therapy now for any spine ossue, pulled muscle,  etc .As you already know, the Traz does nothing for pain but can sedate.  So try and stay consistent with the Gabapentin 

If I read this right, the Vet suggested  400 mg Traz 3 X day??   Gaba  800 mg??  Of course NOT a Vet and anot giving Vet advice but seems like you even have a bit more wiggle room to up the Gaba IF necessary  for 130 lb dog.  I think you mentioned  you weren't  using sich a high dose of the Traz, so IMO that's  good.

A steroid is another good antiinflmmatory for short term of any spine issue A washout period between that and the Carprofen is what most Vets suggest depending  on length of time of Carpeofen.....again....Vet guidance  would be needed if uou go that route.

Patience  is hard right now, especially  helping 130 lb tripawd be supported for potty outings.  Hopefully you'll see "some" improvement soon.  Again, FWIW, would try and get jer in for an appointment  sooner than Friday if she gets any worse.

Give that sweet cuddly girl a smooch for us and some extra tummy rubs!

Higs

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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19 May 2024 - 7:03 pm
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Great advice Benny. I think the surgeon was saying she could handle that dose of trazadone by her weight, but wasn’t exactly making the suggestion. I only gave her that dose once when she was in complete hysterics. Never above 200mg again. Is seems to be the right amount to keep her anxiety manageable.

regarding pinching the toes, her reflex Was growling to let me know she didn’t like it, so I think she does have feeling. I massaged the spine and shoulders and didn’t get a whole lot, but I might not know what I’m doing. I’ll keep you posted as this week looks like it might be quite challenging.

FWIW she had some nice barking episodes on the porch, so any activity as annoying as it might be that resembles her old self are quite welcomed. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 May 2024 - 8:02 pm
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I think it's smart to wait for the diagnostics on Friday. I'm sure it feels like a million days away but it'll be here before you know it as long as her pain is managed. Glad she still has that spunk in her, that's a good sign! 

I hope this is an easy week for you guys. Keep us posted.

Virginia







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22 February 2013
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20 May 2024 - 9:10 pm
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    she had some nice barking episodes on the porch, so any activity as annoying as it might be that resembles her old self are quite welcomed. 

Good sign indeed!    What could be "annoying" before this crazy journey is now something we celebrate as  delightful 😊

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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20 May 2024 - 9:56 pm
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You guys are doing a wonderful job by her. If it helps, we went through the exact same crying episodes with our dog, Ava (11 year old pitbull, osteosarcoma diagnosis in August last year and had her right front leg amputated). For the first 4 weeks she would cry out in what we thought was extreme pain. We took her to the emergency vet multiple times and they did many "pain" tests on her and every single time came back and said she was fine. I even posted on here many times out of desperation because we were so concerned about the constant crying and shrieking.

I know it may seem counter intuitive, but our holistic vet (she is trained in both traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, and we see her in addition to an oncologist and primary vet) had suggested that the crying could be coming from feeling TOO medicated. We tested the theory by reducing her gabapentin and traz doses (per her specific recommendation) and there was a HUGE difference. Much less crying and her personality was coming through again. 

If I had to say, I believed it was over medication and phantom nerve pain that contributed to her crying. 

Hope that helps or offers a new perspective. 

(Ava our pup is still doing great 9 months later. We just learned her cancer has reappeared in her lungs as two small tumors but we have a treatment plan and feel very hopeful for more quality time with her. It does get better, we promise!)

Proud of you for navigating everything and continuing to do right by her.

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1 April 2024
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21 May 2024 - 2:17 am
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It’s with great sadness I have to report Ella’s journey has come to an end. Probably the hardest decision of my life, and we’ve been completely devastated, so I apologize for the late reply, and thank you all for all the helpful feedback and kind words. We rushed Ella in to ER for neurology yesterday morning.Sunday night was the absolute worst. I’ll spare the details but lots of pain. 

The neurologist was very good. Ella had completely lost function of her hind leg. There was no feeling or control. It was most likely a spinal issue but she wasn’t able to isolate. She said it would require an MRI, and a wide variety of treatments depending on possible diagnosis. After talking with her I felt we were doing more harm than good. It was becoming increasingly difficult to move her around, and I suspect with a spinal injury movement isn’t something we should be doing a lot of. My wife asked the neurologist what she would do, and paraphrasing here, she thought Ella was amongst the worst cases and there was definitely no shame in releasing of her pain. While listening I was searching for any sign of hope, but if it was there I really wasn’t seeing it. I could barely say the words when I told her we want to put her down.

Ultimately when we started the journey the goal was to remove the pain and Ella had way more pain than the tumor was initially causing. This in no way reflects on our decision to amputate. I believe the cancer and spinal issue are more than likely independent though I guess the cancer could have spread to her spine. As a tripawd she was exceptional IMO, walking after 3 days and doing quite well despite having a cone on her head. I was very proud and inspired  by her short term progress, and feel she would have adjusted well. I’ve been racking my brain in what could have caused her spinal issue but I have nothing. Maybe her weight, or always laying in the same side? She had some stumbles getting her sea legs but nothing too bad, gettin in and out of the car with assistance? I’ve come to the conclusion I’ll probably never know and I shouldn’t burden myself with that. I would rather focus on memories of her life an what an amazing best friend she was. She was always the fist to greet me when I came home or woke up in the morning. A constant presence that always made me smile. She was a master food thief once stealing 4 ribeye steaks and consuming in under 15 min when I wasn’t looking. Also a masterful escape artist and professional sleeper. A guardian dog like all Great Pyrenees and as loyal as any K9 I’ve ever seen. 

i want to thank everyone here for what they do to help people like me who are lost and have no direction. Without the feedback and others stories I don’t know if I would have found the courage to give her a shot as a tripawd. 

Virginia







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21 May 2024 - 10:14 am
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Shocked, stunned and crying g to hard to even begin to process. 

The one thing I can say quickly os that we jave seen this crap disease  hit the spine undetected  until symptoms  like these appear so suddenly.   Release is the only "treatment".

The inlymother thing I can seek out thru the tears is, no ,matter jow fitted you are, the wisdom you have shown in your post is exactly  why Elle had the best love and care and attitude  every single moment she was here in her earth clothes. 

I'll come back, but just had to send you the love of your entire tripawd family.  Our hearts break with yours.  

With love

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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25 April 2007
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21 May 2024 - 11:45 am
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Ohhhhh icon_cry I'm just heartbroken to see this news. 

Kevin, my heart breaks for you and your wife. I'm so terribly sorry. Cancer can be so unpredictable and mean, and show up in the worst way when everything is going well. There is no way to predict or prepare for such a rare situation like this. It was nothing you did wrong, really! My own unscientific guess is that it was in her spine, and the symptoms started up without warning. This doesn't happen often, but we've seen it.

Your choice to focus on the good times is so smart, and says so much about how Ella taught you to be an amazing human. Remembering her loyalty, the way she loved mowing down the rib eyes, and greeting you at the door are all beautiful memories that will never fade. Keep them close to your heart, they are her gifts. And while her time with you wasn't long enough, her purpose was complete.

You did right by your girl, and you put your own grief aside to help her out of the body that no longer served her. She left this earth knowing she was loved and adored, no dog could ask for more. I'm just so sorry you are having to go through this heartache.

If you'd like to post a tribute please do, we would love to celebrate her life with you.

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