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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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Copper's story
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Forum Posts: 31
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15 March 2020 - 3:43 pm
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Hello, new member here with a pup named Copper – who is now 1 month and 2 days post-op left hind amputation due to Osteosarcoma. Copper is an ~8.5 year old mixed breed (true heinz 57) – and the little brown shelter mutt who owns my heart & soul. In addition to her recent issue Copper also had spinal surgery 4 years ago due to a bulging disc at L7-S1 (so yes! her back end has really let her down). 

Copper originally came up left hind lame on the evening of 11/3/19 – at which point i called my boss (who is a DVM) in a panic and she kindly saw her at her home at around 10pm. Based on what she found on exam she thought Copper had some how injured her knee, so i took her straight to the ER the next morning for x-rays and a consult with a Orthopedic/Soft-tissue specialists. I went in expecting to hear she had damaged her CCL – but was completely shocked when her x-rays showed punctuate lesions in the L distal femur (but also sclerosis of both tibias and less obvious lesions in the R distal femur). Given the odd presentation and multiple affected bones they thought she might perhaps have a fungal infection, so a full body CT scan and a bone biopsy of the L distal femur were done. The bone biopsy came back as a “low grade sarcoma” and because they were unsure what was going on with the changes in her right hind monitoring her and palliative radiation were the only options given to me…  

After she healed from the biopsy Copper did well again with the addition of Carprofen and we were back to our ~daily hikes and work-outs with only occasional minimal off-loading of the left hind. X-rays taken 6 weeks later showed radiographically stable changes and her misdiagnosis continued… Copper steadily declined after these x-rays and became prominently lame on her left hind again in early Feb. (2020) when i went in for repeat x-rays and mild progression was noted (but again no changes to the right hind). At this point i scheduled her for palliative radiation to try to help with her comfort and long story short – the radiation oncologist’s reviewed her x-rays including some she had, had from her previous back issue in 2015 and (with the assistance of the radiologist) concluded that the RH was normal “for her” and his recommendation based on her level of lameness was amputation. Given the initial biopsy report we went into the surgery being told that amputation could potentially be curative – but when the Histopathology report came back as Osteosarcoma the surgeon was shocked and my world again came crashing down…

I am of course extremely upset that due to the initial bone biopsy/misdiagnosis she went so long with this terrible disease – but am now trying to remain hopeful (despite what i think is a very bad histopathology report even for OSA) that Copper can avoid becoming a statistic. 🙁 We have begun Chemotherapy with a local Oncologist and are going in for our 2nd (of 6 planned) Carboplatin treatments on 3/17. So here we are on this forum hoping to get some good vibes and any helpful advice after this difficult diagnosis. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 March 2020 - 6:34 pm
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Hi Copper and family, welcome! I’m sorry you had to join our club but glad you found us. You had quite a journey to get here. Yikes! The important thing is that you know what is going on, you’re taking action to give her the best odds for a long happy life, and Copper is all healed up from the amputation. That’s terrific!

My best advice is this: you just don’t know what tomorrow may bring, so hope for the best and live each day to the fullest, just like Copper is. She doesn’t care that she’s got cancer, or that she’s missing a leg. All that matters to her is that she feels good again. Follow her lead and you can’t go wrong. We call this learning how to Be More Dog .

If you haven’t already, please consider taking advantage of our Tripawds Foundation Rehab Reimbursement fund. It can’t hurt to have her evaluated by a canine rehab therapist so that you can find out the best ways to keep her strong and healthy. The best part is that the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab consult, so please check it out. 

OH and don’t forget to post a few photos of Copper, we could love to see her! Follow the instructions for adding images to the forums or reach out to us for help, we are here for you.

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




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15 March 2020 - 9:02 pm
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Well one thing for certain, Cooper is a very, very loved dog!!  Goodness knows you did everything  possible to get her properly diagnosed.  You left no stone unturned.  For whatever it’s worth, a misdiagnose  is not unusual.  So just push that out of your head and put your focus back on Cooper and she continues  to enjoy her pain free life!!!

No, Cooper is NOT a statistic and does NOT have a timeframe  stamped anywhere on her  Heinz 57 butt!!!   Prognosis–schmognosis! Cooper is worried about a thing and doesn’t  care what any ole’ report says.  She doesn’t  count days on a calendar.

What she does do is live jn the moment….in the now…in the present!  As Jerry said, Be More Dog …..be. ore Cooper.  Cooper just wants to enjoy her tummy rubs, her treats, her snuggles and hearing you tell her all the time what a good girl she is ❤❤❤

Oh, and just a little inspiration for you!  Pug Maggie was told ahe had three to six months.  She didn’t  listen.  She passed four years later.   Senior Brownie was rold three months. She passed a year later at thirteen.   Cemil and Queen Nova….can’t  remember  exactly, but each went on at least another five years or so into old age.

Really glad to hear she’s  doing so well.  And yes, we must have pictures!!

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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17 March 2020 - 12:44 pm
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Thank you for the kind words and advice Jerry. I know my post was a bit long – so i didn’t include that we have actually already begun physical therapy. Copper has had 1 Underwater Treadmill session and 1 Pool session (which was her first time swimming really ever and i was very impressed with how good she did!) so far.

Went to Onco for her second treatment today – but were unable to do so due to a low WBC count. :/ I guess the good news is that it wasn’t concerningly low, just too low for more Chemo. Re-scheduled for Monday – wish us luck. 

And is there a way to attach images without using an external website? I’ve got a very cute one of her doing Rehab. 

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17 March 2020 - 12:52 pm
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benny55 said
Well one thing for certain, Cooper is a very, very loved dog!!  Goodness knows you did everything  possible to get her properly diagnosed.  You left no stone unturned.  For whatever it’s worth, a misdiagnose  is not unusual.  So just push that out of your head and put your focus back on Cooper and she continues  to enjoy her pain free life!!!

No, Cooper is NOT a statistic and does NOT have a timeframe  stamped anywhere on her  Heinz 57 butt!!!   Prognosis–schmognosis! Cooper is worried about a thing and doesn’t  care what any ole’ report says.  She doesn’t  count days on a calendar.

What she does do is live jn the moment….in the now…in the present!  As Jerry said, Be More Dog …..be. ore Cooper.  Cooper just wants to enjoy her tummy rubs, her treats, her snuggles and hearing you tell her all the time what a good girl she is ❤❤❤

Oh, and just a little inspiration for you!  Pug Maggie was told ahe had three to six months.  She didn’t  listen.  She passed four years later.   Senior Brownie was rold three months. She passed a year later at thirteen.   Cemil and Queen Nova….can’t  remember  exactly, but each went on at least another five years or so into old age.

Really glad to hear she’s  doing so well.  And yes, we must have pictures!!

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  

Hello Sally and crew,

Thank you for your kind reply as well. It is hard for me to not feel guilty about this whole thing as i will probably always feel as though i have let my dog down. :/ However i will keep trying my absolute best for her and hope that counts for something. It’s so nice to hear these inspirational stories of dogs defying the odds. Much appreciated! At least with all her appointments/etc. we’ve had loads of extra time to spend together recently – what a gift that is 🙂 

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17 March 2020 - 1:28 pm
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Hi Cooper and Family.  Sally is right. My Brownie was told he had three months and lived an additional one year and eight days. And it was a good year! Unfortunately senior issues along with the cancer it was time to say goodbye. 

The only advise I can give is to live each day to the fullest. That is what Brownie taught me.

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"

Here and Now


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17 March 2020 - 2:13 pm
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cophops said
And is there a way to attach images without using an external website? 

Yes, you can start a free Tripawds blog anytime.

Images must be hosted somewhere publicly online to display in posts.

Livermore, CA




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21 March 2020 - 12:22 pm
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Hi and welcome.

Although very different cancers our pups journeys have some parallels.

TriPug Maggie was my girl- she lost her left rear to a mast cell cancer.  Going into surgery I thought the amp would be curative but the path report  on lymph node removed with the leg showed lots of cancerous mast cells which means the cancer had most likely already spread.  Her prognosis WITH chemo was actually 6 to 9 months. 

About 6 months before her amp surgery Mag had a mast cell tumor removed from her side, it was low grade and chemo was not recommended. I should have been checking her for new lumps at that point but somehow I didn’t get that message, it was my first brush with dog cancer.  When I found the tumor in her knee it was already too big to be removed without losing the entire leg.  I was thinking I really screwed up there, if I had found it sooner maybe it could have been removed (guilt trip starts) then I find out I had removed her leg and she still had cancer (guilt to the extreme and now add devastation).

It took me a while but I realized that I had done my best for Maggie with the information I was given.  She never limped or otherwise gave me any indication that her leg was bothering her, and she was quite the drama queen! I immediately took action when I found the tumor.  And as far as the amp not being curative- I came to understand that with the amputation I had given her a chance. I’m actually glad (in hindsight)  that her pre-surgery tests were clear because if they weren’t I would not have done the amp surgery and she would have certainly been gone within a few months.  By doing the amputation I gave her a chance and she really beat the odds.  She lived almost 4 years post op and passed from a second, unrelated cancer.

This is a hard earned perspective on my part! Please, give yourself a break. You do the best you can with the information you are given.  Cancer is a sneaky bastard, this is cancer’s fault! 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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12 April 2020 - 5:16 pm
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Thank you Brownie’s Owner – for the kind words. Speaking of fullest… Copper was 8 weeks post-op this past Friday and has been very full of herself recently. Yesterday was the first time (i’ve let her) run her hardcore zoomies since surgery. Needless to say the rear brakes don’t perform like they use to and the first attempt at a hard circle didn’t go too well. Oh well, she had fun 🙂 and hopefully she’ll get better at it!

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12 April 2020 - 5:51 pm
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krun15 said
Hi and welcome.

Although very different cancers our pups journeys have some parallels.

TriPug Maggie was my girl- she lost her left rear to a mast cell cancer.  Going into surgery I thought the amp would be curative but the path report  on lymph node removed with the leg showed lots of cancerous mast cells which means the cancer had most likely already spread.  Her prognosis WITH chemo was actually 6 to 9 months. 

About 6 months before her amp surgery Mag had a mast cell tumor removed from her side, it was low grade and chemo was not recommended. I should have been checking her for new lumps at that point but somehow I didn’t get that message, it was my first brush with dog cancer.  When I found the tumor in her knee it was already too big to be removed without losing the entire leg.  I was thinking I really screwed up there, if I had found it sooner maybe it could have been removed (guilt trip starts) then I find out I had removed her leg and she still had cancer (guilt to the extreme and now add devastation).

It took me a while but I realized that I had done my best for Maggie with the information I was given.  She never limped or otherwise gave me any indication that her leg was bothering her, and she was quite the drama queen! I immediately took action when I found the tumor.  And as far as the amp not being curative- I came to understand that with the amputation I had given her a chance. I’m actually glad (in hindsight)  that her pre-surgery tests were clear because if they weren’t I would not have done the amp surgery and she would have certainly been gone within a few months.  By doing the amputation I gave her a chance and she really beat the odds.  She lived almost 4 years post op and passed from a second, unrelated cancer.

This is a hard earned perspective on my part! Please, give yourself a break. You do the best you can with the information you are given.  Cancer is a sneaky bastard, this is cancer’s fault! 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

  

Hello Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls, 

Thank you for the welcome. What an inspirational story – Maggie was very lucky to have you (and of course – you her).

And TriPug i like it! I’ve been calling Copper – Hoppy Coppy these days. 🙂 

Cop is going in for her 3rd Carboplatin tomorrow and will be getting her 1st set of chest x-rays since surgery. I’m extremely nervous and trying to stay hopeful that she can fight like Maggie did. 

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12 April 2020 - 5:56 pm
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Here’s some picture of my girl finishing an Underwater Treadmill session (for PT) and looking super cute in her bed. 

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The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 6:11 pm
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Hoppy Coppy is soooo adorable, I’m really glad you figured out how to post those photos! Her sweet eyes make my heart go pitter patter.

Good luck tomorrow at the vet. I hope everything goes really well. Paws and fingers are crossed here!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 6:12 pm
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I forgot to ask, how did she like the rehab session?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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12 April 2020 - 6:12 pm
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She is absolutely adorable! Don’t worry she will learn how to use one break.  You will find she will do everything she use to, but will find a different way of doing it.

Glad to hear she is doing well, and please tell Cooper thank you for making me smile this Easter!

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"

Virginia




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12 April 2020 - 9:24 pm
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Oh Cooper!  You are melting hearts, that’s  for sure!   What a gorgeous gal!  That face, those eyes, I just want to smooch you through  the screen.  You just look so darn loveable❤ 

Cooper looks like she enjoyed the treadmill.  Did she?  Some dogs do, some don’t. 

Thanks for the update.  AND great pictures!!!

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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