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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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Would you amputate when CT shows small deposits of metastasis in lungs
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Member Since:
2 August 2015
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2 August 2015 - 4:01 pm
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My 11 yr old German Shorthair was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in June.  We had a needle biopsy done to confirm along with a CT.  They found 4 small noids/mets (?) in her lungs, smaller than a grain of rice.  The CT also showed signs of arthritic changes in her hips.  She has been very active, running our field with her full brother, hunting, playing etc with only a minimal limp - why she went to see the vet.  The oncologist didn't think she was a good candidate for amputation due to the presence of her lungs.  We went with chemo and Zoledronate.  She had her first treatment 10 days ago and handled it quite well.  She is on rimadyl and tramadol.  I see a change in her. Her limp is more pronounced and just appears to be in a lot of pain.  We upped her tramadol but I don't think it really helps.  I am rethinking on amputation. I know each dog is different on the recovery/rehab.  I know she will do fine on three legs, she's almost doing that now.  The change seemed to come so quick.  I understand that the amputation will take away that pain.  We all want our buddies to be pain free and give them that extra quality of life .  Am I thinking clearly, is it worth putting her thru that surgery and rehab?  I understand the pain would be different and have an ending date.  Sorry to ramble, just could use some advice/opinions from those who have been there.   Plan on talking to the oncologist on Monday.    She has had no issues with her lungs.   Very glad I found this site.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.  

On The Road


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2 August 2015 - 4:58 pm
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Thank you for joining! I apologize for the brief reply, I'm on my mobile. Do a search for 'Zeus' and you'll find a similar story in our fourms and news blog. More later.....

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


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3 August 2015 - 7:09 am
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Ok, well I hope your appointment with the oncologist goes well today.

I know the thought of amputation on a senior dog is scary and many people do opt for palliative care. Sadly it doesn't last that long, the pain of osteo is just too much to control with pain medication alone. Bisphosphonates (a bone building drug) and radiation therapy can help, but it will not do the same job that amputation can. Sometimes if that's your only option, then that's OK, but if he has other options, then it's good you're exploring them.

The debate about amputating with mets has been around for a while. But here's some reading from one of our favorite oncologists that might help put it into perspective for you:

and
In my opinion, whether metastases are detected or not at the time of diagnosis, surgical amputation of the affected limb in an otherwise asymptomatic dog is something I will recommend in nearly all cases. I didn’t always feel this way, and this stance is something I’ve adopted through my years of working as an oncologist trying to medically manage the discomfort of dogs with bone tumors.
 

And here is the story about Zeus and how his people amputated after lung mets were found:

http://tripawds.....-all-odds/

Finally another great convo about a similar situation

Should amputation be done if mets found in lungs.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Norene, TN
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3 August 2015 - 9:28 am
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Oh, I'm so sorry about the diagnosis for your sweet baby. It is a very tough situation.

I'm so glad you're here. I don't have anything in regards to helping you make your decision, but I can sure-as-heck be here for you.

Our Harmony had MCT. She survived the surgery, but went to the Bridge 11 days later due to the spread to her liver (they removed her spleen as well). When I think about it today, would I have allowed them to take her leg knowing how sick she was on the inside? Well, I'm still not sure I could answer that question knowing now what I didn't know then.

She was only 9 years old and still had loads of life left in her. But we didn't know the extent of her illness until it was too late.

What I'm trying to say is any decision you make, you'll question. It's only natural when we love our fur-babies so much. We want the best for them and God-forbid they suffer. You might as well put a knife in my gut and twist it, it would have the same affect as not being able to take away their pain.

God love you for being her caretaker, but put all the blame on cancer.

Update us when you can and tell us about your sweet baby. And we love pictures!

xoxo - pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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4 August 2015 - 12:49 am
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Thank you both for your replies and support.  I have read the links, it is hard to read them with dry eyes.  Needed to step away a few times.  Love Zeus's story.  We probably would have done the surgery just based on the x-rays.  Her chest was beautiful, clear.   We had a CT done when they did a needle biopsy.  Both her regular vet and the oncologist were 95 to 98% sure the leg x-Ray was bone cancer.  But both said it was odd looking.  So even though her bloodwork didn't show a fungus, we were hoping for that 2 to 5% chance that it was.  I believe that her oncologist and vet are relying on the statistics of shorter life span with amputation with lung mets.   After reading the links, I don't think I am that crazy to reconsider amputation to relieve her of that pain.  About 5 months in 2012, my girl Keenan battled and rehabbed from mediated immune poly arthritis.  It attacked her entire body.   It did leave her with a limp now and again after some hard playing but some rimadyl and a day of rest would clear it up.  So when she started limping end of May wasn't worried.  With her history of arthritis and CT showing some wear and tear, I know that is another concern.  I read many positive posts on the quality of life after surgery no matter how short or long of life.   And reminds me that our babies don't know they are sick, just in pain.  Keenan is still full of life and energy.  As mentioned, she has had her battles before and I need to give her the opportunity to live her life to the fullest.  Her oncologist said he has had only 5 dogs that Zoldronate didn't work.   He said amputation is still an option, just reminded of the odds against her.   

Thank you Pam for sharing Harmony's story.  It must have been hard.  Thank you for reminding me to keep the blame on the cancer and not the decisions I need to make.

i am going to take a couple of days, breathe and look into her eyes and make a decision.  I will keep you posted.

Virginia




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4 August 2015 - 8:48 am
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As you can already tell, you are not alone! No one should be faced with the decisions this piece of crap disease makes us deal with.

Pam and Harmony's story is important because it does show you that the rarity of the unforseen can happen. I've always respected her commitment to honor Harmony's legacy by staying here and providing balance and insight......and her commitment to doing everything possible for sweet Harmony.

I think one of the underlying reasons we all go forward, at least speaking for myself anyway, is that we must TRY. Even with risks, we feel like we must try to give them a chance at a pain free life. For me, I knew I would second guess myself MORE if I didn't try, and LESS if I did try.

As far as the xrays being clear, most of us here just had xrays done on our dogs, not the CT scans too. And if the xrays were clear, that gave us the green light to proceed without hesitation. I imagine that, had manynof the same dogs had CT scans too, it may have shown tiny mets also.

As you've seen from Jerry''s links, many Oncos now have adjusted their "way of doing business" and proceed with surgery even if mets show up in XRAYS. As you've already acknowledged, every dog is different! NO dog has a timeframe stamped on their vutt!

I was absolutely against amputation for my beloved Happy Hannh, my beloved, somewhat chunky, "mature" Bull Mastiff......until the lain in her leg intensified soooooooo quicklu. Like your pup, she was still so full of life and I knew she wasn't interested in stopping!! I actually scheduled the surgery and then cancelled because I was so torn in what path to take! Recovery was NO picnic, that's for sure. But once recovery ended and her sparkle came back bigger and brighter than ever, we had THE most glorious extended time for of loving and spoilin and extra treats and tummy rubs!

I want to take a moment to commend you for really doing your researw and for really knowing your dog and taking her "opinion" a d her "wishes" into
consideration!! As you said, Keenan is "still full of life and energy" and you need to "give her the opportunity to live her life to the fullest".. Quality, pain free, loving and spoiling...that's all dogs care about. Days on a calendar don't mean squat to them. And they certainly don't give a rip about a "diagnosis"! They sure doncare about ice cream and steak though!!

BTW, her avatar picture is PRECIOUS!! Would love to see more pics when you can! For now, B R E A T H E.....B R E A T H E......losten to Keenan, she'll tell you what she wants.....and eat tons and tons of CHOCOLATE!!!

Sending you lots of love

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!

Norene, TN
Member Since:
21 October 2014
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4 August 2015 - 9:01 am
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benny55 said 
. . .
I think one of the underlying reasons we all go forward, at least speaking for myself anyway, is that we must TRY. Even with risks, we feel like we must try to give them a chance at a pain free life. For me, I knew I would second guess myself MORE if I didn't try, and LESS if I did try.
. . . 

Sally said it perfectly. You will doubt yourself no matter what you decide, but I can tell you that the guilt of not trying will eat you up if you don't satisfy that need for yourself.

That is the one emotion that doesn't haunt me today because I know to the core of my being that we tried.

xoxo

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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4 August 2015 - 10:08 am
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I would agree with all that .... as much as I wanted Shelby to beat ALL the statistics, I can take comfort in that I tried hard and I did do EVERYTHING in my power ... like her vets told me... if $$$ could have saved Shelby, she would have lived forever!

Hugs and love and peace ... 

alison with spirit shelby in her heart 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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