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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The beginning – Our beloved Daisy Duke was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the end of February 2012 – we were devastated and terrified. We have been very fortunate not to have many experiences with cancer in our lives so we thought this diagnosis was a death sentence. Over the following days and weeks, we educated ourselves as much as possible so that we could be good advocates for our little girl. When the first oncologist said she had doubts about Daisy’s ability to cope as a 3-legged dog, we got another one who believed in her as much as we did. Despite having had two TPLO surgeries over the years, at almost 12 she was a lean, keen, rabbit-chasing machine It took us no time at all to decide on surgery and follow-up chemo.
Surgery & recovery – she pulled through surgery without a hitch – she had a scapulectomy so there is no stump left to get injured. We are fortunate that her surgeon is based at a 24 x 7 clinic so she spent 2 nights there with round the clock care. We had a fabulous nurse who advised us not to visit with her during recovery as it would just upset her when we had to leave. So she took a video do her and we also watched her from around the corner. It seemed harsh at the time but allowed her to get though the first 48 hours with minimal stress. We brought her home on March 9 and the first few days were good. I think that was due to the residual from the injectable pain meds but when they wore off the trouble started. The next week was hell as we tried to get her pain under control with a combination of Piroxicam, tramadol and gabapentin. We knew it was finally getting better when a week later she tried to roll on her back for tummy rubs. We stared 4 doses of carboplatin on March 21 and other than a couple of low white blood cell counts, she really didn’t have any side effects from the chemo.
Metronomic protocol and the next 8 months – we started the metronomic protocol on June 30 a combination of cyclophosphamide and Piroxicam. After a couple of months she started urinating in the house and acting really agitated. We had blood work done, urinalysis and even ultrasound on her abdomen to see if they could find any bladder issues. Other than a mild urinary tract infection no cystitis, tumours, etc. but our oncologist recommended stopping metronomic just in case. Her mood seemed better after that but she was still anxious and urinating in the house. Finally additional bloodwork was done and they discovered her thyroid levels were through the roof. To this day, I’m still upset that no one had checked/thought of that right away given that she was on thyro-tabs. Her dosage had not been adjusted after amputation and led to a buildup which caused the excessive drinking/urination and anxiety. I think that is one of the downsides of having multiple health care providers – sometimes they don’t each have complete records which can lead to misses. With thyroid levels down she returned to her old self and was enjoying life. In October we got her a front wheel cart from Eddie’s Wheels so we could get her some more exercise and she took to it right away. She would zoom around the trails at our local park so fast that Steve and I had to jog to keep up with her. We celebrated her one- year Ampuversary on March 7th having just had the latest clear chest rads on February 16.
Lung mets and hypertrophic osteopathy (HO) – early in the morning of April 19th I heard her coughing and then vomit. I got up, turned on the light and to my horror saw a froth, bloody puddle on her dog bed. We bundled her up an and took her to the emergency (the same clinic where she had her surgery and chemo). As her chest X-rays 60 days before had been clean, they checked for other causes – poisoning, etc. After finding nothing remarkable in the blood or urine, they decided to do X-rays and found a suspicious looking mass in her lungs. They recommended a CT scan which we did the following Tuesday and the news was devastating – a huge mass in her accessory lung lobe and enlarged lymph nodes near her heart. How could this be? We just had chest rads in February! HOW COULD THIS BE?!?! Our oncologist said that if we wanted to be aggressive we could do a lobectomy followed by chemo (Navilbene). This was a big decision – should we do another major surgery? Would she come through. Even with the surgery – prognosis was poor given the hugely enlarged lymph nodes near her heart. Median survival was only 90 days! This couldn’t be – 90 days?!? We sought a second opinion and when the other oncologist had the CT scan reviewed by different radiologist – devastating news – he saw 3, not 1 lung mets. Unusual metastasis for OSA but given the calcification the radiologist was sure it was OSA mets. The 2nd oncologist recommended Palladia so we started right away. Wen we went back the following week for bloodwork/urinalysis, we told the oncologist that her front wrist looked swollen. She looked concerned and told us about hypertrophic osteopathy (HO) which xrays subsequently confirmed. We felt like we were punched in the stomach – the news was getting worse. She only received 4 doses of Palladia because she started having bloody diarrhea and the HO was significantly decreasing her mobility.
Saying goodbye, guilt & grief – we talked to the oncologist about pamidronate which has been used with success in humans to alleviate pain associated with HO. So Monday we went in for the infusion. She was shocked at how swollen her leg had gotten in just a week and told us that it might be time to say goodbye. We refused and went forward with the pamidronate infusion. When we went to pick her up we were delighted to hear that while receiving her treatment, she had eaten 2 handfuls of dry kibble. She had refused to eat dry kibble at home for the last 5 weeks – it had to be good sign. We went home and sat in the backyard in the sun for a couple of hours. It was a good day. I had high hopes when I woke up,the next morning but she was not herself. She was able to stand to urinate so I think the pamidronate had a positive effect but once inside she started coughing up little blood clots and was drooling. This was not our happy little dog anymore. We made the decision early yesterday and made arrangement with the vet to come to our house so she could be in a stress-free environment at the end. We spend the day hanging out (even got some time outside in the sun). It all happened so fast and then she was gone and her body was driven away. I wanted to scream and run after her to get my baby girl back. I scoffed at the surgeon who gave me the 90 day timeframe less than a month earlier. What I would have done for 90 days . As I sit here crying I wonder what I could have done better or, different? Did they miss something in earlier X-rays? Why did this have to happen? I know none of those can be answered but right now I’m in so much pain that I can’t help but think them. I’m hoping that the pain will subside a little each day and look forward to getting my baby’s ashes back soon so I can have her close or me once again.
16 October 2012
I am so sorry to hear of Daisy’s crossing. She has been met at the bridge by many great Tripawd Warriors & Princess Warriors. Cancer just sucks. No matter how long it is or is to be with our babies its just never long enough. My heart breaks for you.
RIP Daisy. Run free, play and enjoy chasing butterflies until its time to meet your owners at the Bridge.
Michelle & Sassy.
Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013
05/04/2006 - Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19 fought cancer for 4 months.
"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."
3 December 2012
I am so so sorry to hear about Daisy. It sounds like she fought a great battle til the very end and you loved her with so much and she will be dearly missed.
Sending you lots of hugs and strength.
Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo
25 January 2013
I’m so very sorry. Daisy is whole again and pain free. She knows how much you loved her so please find comfort in that. You will always carry her in your heart.
Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13. Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14. She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self. Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14
22 November 2012
I am crying with you.. I know exactly how you feel.. Franklin had the same thing with the ‘Hack” and the foamy bile… I know exactly how much it hurts.. as do many of us here. Whenever I read of someone losing their baby boy or girl.. I live the pain again… and again.. and there has been so many over the last few months. But one thing I am smiling about.. and you should be too.. is 15 months together as a tripawd!!! How FAN FREAKING TASTIC was that? 15 extra months of hugs, snuggles, walks, slobbers, nose butts, snoring and maybe even the occasional farting in there somewhere? 15 months… you were so blessed.
I know how much it hurts.. I know how much your eyes will hurt and sting.. and I know how much it helped to be here… reading peoples comments, and being in the chat room and talking to some of us in the community. It was a great comfort to me knowing that I was in peoples thoughts and prayers.. and you know that you are too now.. you are in our thoughts and our hearts.
I hope Daisy Duke doesn’t mind.. but Franklin used to cut through any great dane’s legs when he was at the dog park.. he’d just walk right through under their belly. She’ll know who he is..
Christine…… with Franklin in her heart ♥
Franklin, he was the Happiest Dog on Three Legs! Diagnosed 09/26/2012 with Osteosarcoma, amputated 12/4/2012. Had a wonderful 5 1/2 months painfree until he ran for the Bridge on 5/15/2013. Always in my heart, and always a guardian angel of my pack... You can follow his Tripawd Adventures, before and after, in my blog, Frank'n'Farter!
28 November 2011
I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you will be in the thoughts of this whole community in the difficult days to follow. We all get it. And yes, the pain will ease as the days go by, but that is of little consolation right now when the sadness is so overwhelming. Many wishes for peace and strength.
Lisa and Angel Zeus
Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11. A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
13 September 2011
I’m so sorry to hear about Daisy. You were blessed with some wonderful quality time with her but no matter how much time we have it is never enough.
I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain. It does get better but only with time which seems to go on forever. Those feelings of guilt and “what ifs”will torture you (I can still remember how much they tortured me) but please try to see that you did everything you could. All we can do is make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. Cancer plays by its own rules and too often it ends up winning the battle but it can never win the war. Love never dies.
You are in our thoughts and prayers
Karen and Spirit Magnum
Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/
1 February 2013
All my thoughts go out to you for your loss of Daisy. What a loving family you were to her and you did everything possible to allow her to have the best life ever for her time remaining. I wish there was something to say that could ease the hurt and pain you feel, but plese know that you are not alone.
What a special guardian angel you have watching over you.
Take care – Luanne & Shooter
Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old.
Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.
27 December 2012
I’m sobbing. Oh man, this is tough. I hate this so much. It’s awful how fast it goes. Some times time is slow, enjoying the sunshine, enjoying a cuddle, etc. But then, as soon as that dreaded phone call is made, time zooms by. Too quick. Too quickly to process a single thing. And then they are gone. It’s awful. At least you gave her the sweetest, most loving gift of all. Her pain is over. She’s running free and fast and with all the limbs she ever wanted.
We can probably all wonder the What Ifs. We get it. But, it sounds like you threw everything you could at these dumb, evil, devastating diseases. You got more months with her. She wasn’t ever in pain, or pain that wasn’t managed. You did well. You did right by her. She really couldn’t have gotten any better of a pack leader than you.
Run free and fast, Daisy. We miss you.
ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12. Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ! No side effects. We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments. He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors! Our love. Our funny little guy!
25 April 2007
25 April 2007
My heart aches for you, I can’t begin to tell you how very sorry I am for your loss. Daisy fought so hard, she was a true Tripawd Warrior Princess up until the very end.
Please don’t be so hard on yourself, you did everything anyone could possibly do to help her fight this terrible, mean disease. No dog could have asked for a more loyal, loving human. Never forget that.
Our Coping with Loss “Grief Support Resources” post has some good information there to help you through this. And of course we are also here for you too.
Daisy may not be here physically any more but she will always be a part of your spirit. The love you shared will never fade, it will always touch your soul and guide you each and every day. Right now it hurts so much to be without her, but in time her memory will ease your broken heart.
Many condolences coming your way.
29 July 2012
I saw the notice go up on Facebook this morning and I was so sad to see the news. Peda and Daisy have shared some similar experiences on their journeys and I had developed a special fondness for Daisy and her amazing strength and resilience.
My thoughts are with you at this very sad time … always know you gave Daisy the best chance you could in fighting this awful disease. She lived life large until the end and you got to spend an amazing amount of time with her. I think sometimes the journey we travel with our cancer tripawds makes it so much harder to say goodbye because the bond that develops during their illness and treatment is so deep (and that is not meant to diminish relationships with have with our other furkids – it is just different). It is particularly unfair that we have to make that decision to let them go (even though we know it is the right and loving thing to do).
Be gentle with yourself during this time and give yourself plenty of space to just be.
20 January 2013
First of all, thank you so much for being brave enough to share Daisy’s story. It is sooooo clear that you loved Daisy so very much! I am so sorry for your loss. My heart is breaking for you. Cancer is just so terrible! I know that you would have liked to have more time with her, but the time you did have with her was a blessing. She will always be with you in your heart and in the wonderful memories of moments you shared with her. We will be thinking of you and your Daisy.
-Mylisa & Bailey
30 July 2010
It is always so sad to hear when another tripawd has crossed Rainbow bridge but you did EVERYTHING you could for Miss Daisy. You’ve had so much going on over the past couple months and now its all just gone, its definitely hard to lose someone you cared so hard and so much for.
All of us here are thinking about you, your family and Daisy and feel free to cry write (I’ve done that!), vent, or whatever you need as you go through your grieving process. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you during this very sad time.
Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog