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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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Billy-Bearess my 13 year old angel
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
14 July 2021
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14 July 2021 - 3:54 am
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My baby Billy-Bearess is 13 and almost 3 months.

Was limping for a week and a half and stopped using her back leg so took her to vet and xray revealed an aggressive bone cancer. and I decided to amputate to hopefully give her a better quality of life. Whilst under anaesthetic she also had a lump removed from her belly. Biopsy later revealed the same aggressive cancer. I dont know if it has already spread but vet said bone cancer spreads to lungs and I didnt want her to suffer. So amputated on Wednesday last week.

Today is day 7.

Vet said give her Meloxican but after just one dose she grew weaker so I stopped it. She was on 3 different pain killers - Buprenorphine, Tramadol and Gabapentin but I researched and learned that Buprenorphine should not be given with Gabapentin due to drug interactions. Annoyed and angry I asked the vet and he said "oh we give those drugs together all the time". Anyway I stopped the Tramadol and Buprenorphine as it was also lowering her haemoglobin. Shes just on gabapentin for pain and fingers crossed is doing ok.

I also researched and learned they say amputation alone doesnt guarantee your doggies survival, that doggies' survival rate is 3 to 6 months. The vet never told me this. I wouldn't be putting her thru chemo at her age but Im in two minds and feel devastated I took her leg, if I hadn't and just gave her pain relief or unsure how soon it could have spread if I hadnt. I think Ive made the right decision.

I couldn't afford the CT scan prior to amputation $2k plus hospital charges etc $3k to determine if it had spread. I just wanted what was best for my angel.

I lost her brother Cubby-Bear 30 October last year to Cushings and be so devastated if it has spread.

She back to walking on 3 legs today ie after 1 x dose of Meloxicam she couldn't even stand up. My view NSAIDs are dangerous drugs especially for old dogs.

Im not happy with my vet been going to him since 1988. I challenged him about Tramadol dosage. Billy needed 100mg and he was just breaking a 200mg tablet in half. Well Tramadol SR is an extended release pill and its dangerous to break them. He said "oh the slow release is just in the coating". I had researched this and called the pharmacist so I told him he was wrong and he could have killed my girl. 25% of the slow release pill is released in first 2 hours and remainder throughout the 12 hours! What an idiot! So folks beware if your vet tells you to halve an extended release or slow release pill, I wouldnt!

Thanks for reading if you are still reading. Im working from home with the covid situation in Sydney Australia thankfully so can care for my angel. Im praying she beats this and recovers in the speed of light.

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 30563
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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14 July 2021 - 10:21 am
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Hi Billy and family, welcome! We are so glad you joined but sorry you had to. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

It sounds like Billy is getting around OK? How is her appetite and thirst? Day seven is not a long time after surgery, especially senior dogs, so patience is a must. How are your floors? Are they slip-proof with plenty of traction ? Raised feeders are also super helpful. Tripawd-proofing your home goes a long way.

Osteosarcoma is a tough diagnosis to receive, and many of us here have dealt with it. The prognosis is just a general guideline for life expectancy. Some dogs live way longer, and sadly some don't, you just never know so try not to put too much weight on that prognosis. The important thing is that you helped Billy get out of the horrible bone tumor pain. Every day is a gift after this, and she will show you that it's true! Cancer is a reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Billy will show you that she just wants to make each moment count. Follow her lead and you can't go wrong.

As for the pain management your vet prescribed, those medications are commonly given here in the states, together and apart depending on the animal. Our link has tons of info for you. 

We typically see Buprenorphine given to cats. Other than sleepiness, the majority of members do not have serious side-effects from the drugs Billy was given. That's not to say it's not possible and your concerns aren't valid, but those medications are generally recognized as safe and effective for amputation recovery. The only thing is that, time release version or not, when it comes to major surgeries, recent studies show Tramadol is one of the least-effective pain drugs. Many vets still use it all over the world, however because it's generally believed that it can still work synergistically with Gabapentin. Few alternatives to Tramadol exist right now.

The important thing is you want to bring down inflammation during recovery, those severed muscles take a beating. I know you are worried about NSAIDs but they really are the best way to do it. If Billy shows intolerance to NSAIDs based on her lab work, or you just dont' want to give them, ask your vet about an alternative called Galliprant. It does the same job as effectively but without the possible side effects of NSAIDs.

And whatever you do, don't feel badly about what you cannot afford to do. We all do the best we can with the resources we have, and our dogs will always be grateful to us for that. Billy loves you no matter what.

Keep us posted on how she's doing! We are here to help any way we can. Thanks again for joining.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 2
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14 July 2021
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15 July 2021 - 12:22 pm
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Thank ypu so much for the kind advice, guidance and reassurance it is very much appreciated.

I will look into the Galliprant.


Billy's Mama.


Forum Posts: 21152
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15 July 2021 - 1:08 pm
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Sorry your Cubby Near has transitioned to The Rainbow Bridge .  I think you and Billy Beareess have a good Guardian Angel watching  over you.

As Jerry said, we wll so this vest we can with the information  we have and based on our own personal  circumstances.  For whatever it's worth, many cannot proceed with CT scans or anything  beyond xrays.  And generally, if osteo is going to spread, it is to the lungs. 

Many aren't  even able to proceed with am, so you are already doing more for your Billy than many could.  It os clear how mich you love your sweet pup♥️

And just for more reassurances, the all the drugs uour Vet prescribed  are used TOGETHER  here in the States.   The Buprenorphine is used more with cats generally though.   Unless there is some underlying  issue that Billu's bloodwork showed, the Meloxicam  should have been ojay... especially  with just one dose.

All that said, every dog reacts differently  to pain meds, so glad you are figuring  out what is best for her.

What is the dose of Gabapentin  now and how frequently?  It's jmportant Matt uoj fid a way you feel com6 with to manage her pai.  Amputating  a leg is MAJOR SURGERY  ad recovery can be hard  at first.

All Billu cares about is being  paid free, being  spoiled  ad loved, ad getting  treats and tummy rubs.  Days on a calendar  Jean nothing to dogs and your Billy certainly doesn't  have a timeframe  stamped anywhere on his butt!!  Billy is her own dog and not a statistic.  


Live in the the present.   Jist flow effortlessly  f om one moment to the next....just like Billy Bearess👍  Let nothing  interfere  with your time together.  Now is all that matters.

Let us k ow jow she's  doing.  We know recovery  is not fun, but doesn't  last furever.  She's a strong "mature" gal and she'll recover  at her own pace.

Stay connected!  You are not alone!


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

Forum Posts: 30563
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15 July 2021 - 1:56 pm
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You are so welcome. Keep us posted, we are here for you two!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 1239
Member Since:
4 April 2019
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16 July 2021 - 6:56 pm
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Hi, I am so sorry you and Billy are going through this horrible disease that just isn't fair.

My beloved Brownie was diagnosed with the same cancer three weeks before his 12th birthday. I just wanted to let you know that because of amputation Brownie lived an additional one year and eight days. And he was happy! I feel we were blessed because the vet only gave him two to three months. So don't go by statics. Brownie breezed through recovery but it took about three weeks for him to get his personality back. I thought I made a horrible mistake . I decided to do the amputation because I felt like Brownie deserved the right to fight. I learned from this site that older dogs take a little more time to get their mojo back. But when it came back it came back bigger then ever!

So, even though amputation is not a cure, with amputation Brownie lived a full life.

Billy has the right to fight as well. She will surprise you every day. So just hang in there and be her cheerleader.

Sending positive thoughts your way...

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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