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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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bad news for my zeus, cancer in lungs
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Member Since:
6 October 2008
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23 October 2008 - 9:39 am
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hi everyone! i dont post much, sorry! ive been trying to spend as much time possible with zeus.  its only been a month and a half since zeus had his leg amputation surgery. he hasnt been doing well. for almost a week, he was haveing a difficult time standing up and walking and he wouldnt eat much then out of nowhere he had this new found energy. he was able to walk AND run. i was blown away. hes still doing good with walking but hes had a terrible cough for almost 2 weeks now. the vet prescribed temaril-p but its not helping at all and zeus' cough isint getting any better. last week the vet told me that the cancer is now in the lungs. he also has 3 lumps on his body. the first one appeared within 2 weeks after surgery. DR. MAH said the cancer probebly started to make its way through his body before surgery. she took samples of 2 of the lumps and tested them right there in another room. a few minutes later she came back and told me she found cancerous cells. so, i feel like i put zeus through all this for nothing. his breatheing isint so good either. i can see his whole chest move every time he breathes. and the vet checked him and said his airwaves sound clear but he sounds a little "rough". she gives him about 6 weeks. i am just heart broken and i hate seeing him suffer like this. i offered zeus lunch meat ham lastnight and he refused it. he NEVER turned his head away from table food so this worrys me. is he nearing the end? and how do i know when hes had enough? i am so confused as to what to do right now. and ive been in tears for days just worrying about him.


also, has anyone heard of this drug called, hydrocodone bitartrate? the vet gave me a prescription of it for zeus to try for his cough but she says its very hard to find anymore. i tryed one pharmacy so far and they dont even carry it.



Member Since:
28 May 2008
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23 October 2008 - 9:52 am
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Oh god Tara....we are SO sorry for what is going on with heart is breaking for you both right now. I haven't been down this part of the journey yet with my Zeus but from what I've read on this site, you'll know when it's time...when the quality of life no longer outweighs him being's time.

Something that Jim and Rene recently wrote that has really stuck with me is that (paraphrasing here) it is our responsibility, as difficult as it is, to release them from their pain and help them cross the bridge...when it is time. I'm sure that Lalla, Jerry and Genie can offer more words of wisdom and comfort than I can at this time. Know that you are not alone and we're sending love and prayers your way.

I will say some extra prayers for you and Zeus for peace, comfort and strength.

Heather and Zeus.

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Member Since:
25 April 2008
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23 October 2008 - 10:44 am
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      I'm so sorry to hear about Zeus. There is a nice hospice guide on here to help and offering him palliative care so he is not in pain is all that can be done. If you can't find the rx tell the vet i'm sure they can substitute it so he can be comfortable. (or try the internet)Offering lots of love and your time will comfort him. You are a good pawrent, Tara, taking the best care of him that you can.... It the hospice guide it talks about letting them go even if we are not ready too.

    We are here for you during this difficult time. Zeus needs you now more than ever.... . You & Zeus are in our that drug is used alot for kennel cough can an animal hospital get it for you? Brand Name: Hycodan, Tussigon or Mycodone


Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

Member Since:
26 July 2008
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23 October 2008 - 1:58 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Zeus.  Please don't be hard on yourself - You gave zeus a fighting chance by going through with the amputation.  We can never know what the future holds we can only do our best by these wonderful dogs of ours.  And you did. 

One day you will look in Zeus' eyes and you will know that it is time to free him from his pain.  You will do what is best for him as you always have. 

Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Connie & Radar

Member Since:
26 January 2008
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23 October 2008 - 3:33 pm
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We are holding your paws and hands

Manchester, UK
Member Since:
2 February 2008
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23 October 2008 - 3:50 pm
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I'm sorry to hear that Zues isn't doing too well.  Sending best wishes for you both.

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

Member Since:
27 July 2008
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23 October 2008 - 5:51 pm
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Hi Tara, I'm not sure why the hydrocodone bitartrate is so hard to find because it is basically Vicodin without the Tylenol.  A narcotic that calm a cough.  I don't understand why the vet didn't just give you a prescription that is easy to fill and just as effective.  You may want to call that vet again, instead of trying to track down a prescription like that.  Time is of the essense for you and Zeus.  I'm sorry that the lung mets showed up so fast, but different cancers are more aggressive than others.  It's always a huge gamble when we have surgeries performed on our beloved dogs.  I am so sorry for you and Zeus.  As others have mentioned, it is very important to try to keep a very pawsitive attitude around Zeus as our animals are very sensitive to our emotions.  I know this is a very heartbreaking time for you, but now is also the time to begin planning for when the best time will be for you to finally release Zeus from his life on earth.  Will the vet be able to come to your home and bring peace to Zeus in surroundings he is comfortable with?  I know this so hard for you to deal with, but it is an unfortunate reality.  I'm very sorry nothing more can be done except palliative care for your beloved Zeus.  Our paws & fingers are crossed in prayer for you and Zeus.

Love, Blazer, Kitty Kimber & Mom (Vicki)

Member Since:
21 March 2008
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23 October 2008 - 5:53 pm
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I do believe Zeus is near the end.  If he is refusing food and it is in his lungs, there is almost no hope of things turning around.  My heart goes out to you.  I hope I am wrong, but the diagnosis sure does seem horrible.

Member Since:
16 February 2008
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23 October 2008 - 9:48 pm
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TARA_F said:

and told me she found cancerous cells. so, i feel like i put zeus through all this for nothing ... he NEVER turned his head away from table food so this worrys me. is he nearing the end? and how do i know when hes had enough? i am so confused as to what to do right now. and ive been in tears for days just worrying about him.


Dear Tara,

Don't beat yourself up, you made the decision to go with the surgery with the info you had at that point in time.   You didn't give up on Zeus behalf and have fought alongside with him. 

Don't give up hope yet, even though the diagnosis does not sound good.  What is his current diet?

Regarding your question "when it is time" ... you will know, if not, Zeus will let you know.  I didn't get a chance to think this over before I knew it.  Things happened unexpectedly, very sudden and drastic in a weekend, Genie had become paralyzed within a couple of days.  She was very vocal the night before, and even in the morning of her fateful day, as if she wanted to wake me up to face the reality.  I then realized that it was point of no return.

Hugs to Zeus, fight on until Zeus tells you "when".


Portland (Lake Oswego), OR
Member Since:
19 July 2008
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23 October 2008 - 11:58 pm
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Tara - I'm so very sorry to hear about Zeus - Smokey and I will be thinking of you both and sending along all the good thoughts that we can.

If anything, I don't think any of us on this forum can, or should, tell you that it sounds like it's Zeus' time... we don't know him like you do, just as no one knows Smokey the way I know him - I feel I can read his mind and vice versa... I'm so sorry to hear he's had some struggles, but of anything, only you would be the best person to know if Zeus is ready - you're the one who knows him and loves him.  I so wish there was something I could say that could help you right now...   if there is absolutely anything I can do, please let me know...

Member Since:
5 August 2008
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24 October 2008 - 8:15 am
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Tara, Butch and I are in the same boat.  Butch got diagnosed yesterday.  My heart goes out to you. 

Love and hugs from us both Annie and Butch

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 October 2008 - 6:54 pm
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Tara, we are so very sorry to hear about how things are going with Zeus, we had hoped that we would be hearing good news from you. We are so sorry.

It's so hard, but for his sake, do try to keep your spirits up. Tell yourself there will be plenty of crying later. That's how my Mom and Dad got through my last days on earth. 

I'm curious why your vet gave you a prescription for the coughing. My vet just gave me prednisone and over the counter Robitussin DM, which helped tremendously. You might want to try that 

How will you know when it's time? Well, in addition to the Hospice Guidelines, you will need to establish some benchmarks for determining when you think Zeus' quality of life is no longer meeting his wishes. For me, my pawrents decided that when I could no longer go potty on my own, without assistance from them, then they knew it was time. They'll talk about that more in a future blog post, but for now, I just wanted to mention that that was one of their indicators that made them move forward with releasing me from my pain.

While it does sound like your vet is right and that the cancer may be taking over much, much quicker than anyone expected, please hold as much joy and happiness in your heart for all of the good times that you have had with Zeus, and let that joy carry you through the time he has left with you. Cherish each moment together. I know that Zeus is grateful for all you've done for him.

Anything at all we can do for you, please let us know.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
30 March 2008
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24 October 2008 - 11:05 pm
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Tara, we are so sorry to hear about Zeus.  Please cherish all the moments you have left and make great memories out of them.  I am sure that when the time comes you will make the right decision in relieving Zeus of any pain. For some reason we have a way of communicating with our pawrents that always work and lets them know what is going on in our own little brains. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.


Member Since:
28 August 2008
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27 October 2008 - 4:20 pm
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Hi Zeus.  Please tell your mom not to be scared.  Tell her you need her to be happy and strong.  Tell her to think of all your favorite places and ask if she can take you to some.

I went to live at my mom's house because my big brother (who I never got to meet) had liver cancer.  Mom said it happened very fast and he let her know when it was getting close to the time.  She took him on a drive and lifted him out of the car really carefully so he could put his feet in the river.  It made him really happy.  the next day, he told her it was time for him to go.  He must have been a really special guy because he sent my mom a vision of me.  She says Gadget left the earth to be a Spirit dog so that I would get a chance to live with mom.  So Zeus, you give your mom  strength, tell her you love her and that she did the very best thing for you by doing all she has done for her.  You tell her not to worry, that you'll be sending along another pup who needs a chance to have her love because people with hearts as big as your mom's are there to help special pups like us.

We wish you love, Great Zeus


Member Since:
6 October 2008
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27 October 2008 - 4:23 pm
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I'm am deeply saddened to hear about Zeus.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Sherri & Dexter

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