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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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Griffin's Journey
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Virginia




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12 October 2020 - 4:35 pm
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💜💜💜Rene💜💜💜

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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13 October 2020 - 6:29 pm
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Hi Stacy.  If I were you I’d try a healthy stew for Griffin, see if he’ll eat some meat and healthy veggies that have been simmering for hours…how could he resist that?  I’ve done that for Jake and fed it to him for days warmed up just a little with kibble in it.  He adores this.  Good luck.  I hold you guys in my prayers sp_hearticon2

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13 October 2020 - 9:33 pm
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Hi Jackie!  Before Griffin started having issues with his appetite in mid-August, he was eating home-cooked food (ground meat with vegetables) as a portion of his daily meals but then went off of all of his regular foods for months.  I started cooking for him again after we took him off Palladia a few weeks ago, and he was getting back into a groove with a mix of wet and dry dog food with homecooked meals each day until the last round of chemo, which reignited his inappetence/nausea.  I would love to get back to cooking regularly for him (I have a few meals frozen for now), but until he is stable and eating regularly, I don’t want to push it or waste good food! sp_hearticon2

Update since Sunday: Griffin has been eating a mixture of wet and dry dog food with shredded chicken for 3 days.  Unfortunately, his wet food of choice is not a particularly high quality one, but right now I’m just interested in getting him to eat consistently, and since it is mixed with quality dry food and white meat chicken, I can live with this compromise for now.  Griffin was on Entyce for 3 days, which caused diarrhea, so I discontinued it.  I have been giving him 2 doses of Zofran (anti-nausea meds) daily, which I will step down to one dose for a few days, and then discontinue.  We were at his local vet’s today to drain his aural hematoma (now filled with blood and not fluid as was present when it was drained twice previously), and he has lost 1.6 lbs in the last 6 days.  His oncologist has consistently rated him as ideal body condition, but he has lost 7 lbs since the date his stitches were removed in April (and 15 lbs since prior to surgery), and I would ideally like to get him back up at least 2-3 lbs.

We are heading to Lancaster County, PA on Thursday for a long autumn weekend of country delights with some of our favorite people, so hopefully the fun and activity will keep Griffin motivated to eat well!

Even the rainy day yesterday didn’t slow down Griffin now that he is feeling better!

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14 October 2020 - 11:13 am
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Well hey we all need a little junk food now and then right? Whatever works! I agree, the compromise is worth it to keep him in a good body condition.

Love that orange rain coat. He looks so ready for fall! Have fun this weekend, hope he has a blast with his fans. Can’t wait to see pics 🙂

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14 October 2020 - 11:30 am
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Omgoodness handsome fall pup💖💖💖

You got him eating,  i agree that junk food is better than no food,  right? Glad you got the poops under control.  That’s always so worrisome for dehydration. 

I hope you guys have a great visit and get to relax💖💖💖

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Virginia




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14 October 2020 - 1:58 pm
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As we continue to say, Griffin is being Griffin and that’s the best. news of all!

And if his food isnt very. nutritional, he’s probably still eating a higher quality than. most dogs!

We sooooo love seeing pictures of Griffin stylin’his outdoor attire.  Looking forward to more pf his vacay pics.  Have a wonderful time👌👅

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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19 October 2020 - 5:56 pm
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Things are definitely looking up since my last post!  Griffin slowly regained his appetite after we stopped using Palladia and had gained one pound by his next oncology appointment on October 7th.  On that day, he was administered a round of Doxorubicin (IV chemo), ate a McDonald’s cheeseburger after his appointment, and then did not eat again for 3 full days.  Oy vey!  Griffin was prescribed 2 different meds – Zofran for nausea and Entyce as an appetite stimulant.  Entyce caused diarrhea, so we discontinued it after 3 days.  He remained on Zofran for 8 days during which time I regularly lowered the dose and discontinued only after I was confident that his appetite had fully returned.  Griffin has been eating consistently for about a week now, a mixture of his regular dry food (Taste of the Wild) with a low quality wet food and shredded chicken breast.  While the wet food he currently enjoys is not up to my usual standards, it is a compromise I’m willing to make if it keeps him eating.  Griffin weighed in at 53.5 lbs (a loss of 1.5 lbs) six days after his chemo treatment, and I am hoping that he will be back to about 56 lbs when we return to AMC next week.

Despite his lack of appetite some days, Griffin is always up for our morning walks, even if he is hitching a ride!

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As if the issues with appetite and weight loss were not enough for him to deal with, Griffin has an aural hematoma that formed in his left ear flap from his excessive head shaking after swimming for hours each day on our summer vacation in August.  Our local vet has drained it 3 times, but it keeps returning and so it needs to be dealt with surgically.  I am thankful that Dr. Spector, the surgeon who performed Griffin’s amputation, will also handle his hematoma.  He assures me that the procedure is minor (15 minutes) with a great rate of success but putting Griffin under anesthesia always makes me nervous.  His procedure is scheduled is scheduled for November 13th, sandwiched in between his upcoming oncology appointments on October 28th and November 19th.  My understanding is that Griffin’s ear will look a bit Frankenstein-ish with a lot of stitches, so it’s too bad the timing didn’t allow for him to have a cool look for Halloween! 🎃

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While October has certainly presented a good number of challenges, it has also been filled with good times!  We have been able to visit locally with family and friends who have big backyards, which helps with social distancing and allows for great games of fetch!

This past weekend, we scooped up 3 of the godchildren and headed back to Beaver Creek in Lancaster, PA (where we vacationed this summer) for a long weekend of autumn fun with our Baltimore family.  Griffin did not understand why I wouldn’t let him into the pond, although you can see what happened when I turned my back for a minute…I guess it was really too cold since he didn’t manage to get all the way wet! 😆

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We are back home in NYC and looking forward to enjoying the crisp weather and watching the leaves slowly turn to beautiful fall colors! 🍂🐶🍁

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19 October 2020 - 7:25 pm
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Oh goodness,  LOVE the  photos!! Stacy,  the hematoma will make his ear look kind of like a cross stitch,  but it should do the trick.  They end up like this most times because the ear flap keeps filling up with a bloody serous fluid.  The anesthesia for this (when i was a tech) is lighter than a regular invasive surgery.  He will likely need a cone if shame so that it can heal properly,  but if he shakes too much sometimes it needs to be redone. I say this because i know how well you care for him and i know you will do whatever you need to help it heal correctly.  

Im sorry you’re going through this on top of everything else but I’m thrilled he’s eating and still loving life💖

If I can help at all with this, let me know,  ok? 

Hugs, 

Jackie and Huck💖(the cat that won’t let me get a picture of him in his Halloween costume!!)

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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19 October 2020 - 8:38 pm
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Thanks for the reassurance, Jackie!  I’m glad to know the anesthesia will be lighter – that makes sense! He actually hasn’t been shaking his head at all aside from whole body shakes occasionally, such as after a roll in the grass.  I think his new 3-legged gait now causes his ears to flop more forcefully just with his regular movements (his ears can touch over the top of his head when he runs!), so the hematoma is having a hard time healing.  The e-collar is going to be difficult because of living in an apartment with not too much room to spare for him to move around, so I’ve been checking out softer collars that would prevent him from reaching his ear with his back leg or even using a head wrap to protect the ear.  He never was interested in his stitches after the amputation, so maybe we’ll be lucky and they won’t bother him too much after this procedure.  The surgeon explained the procedure of stitching the 2 layers of cartilage together, but he hasn’t actually seen Griffin in person yet, so I’m not sure if anything will change once he has a chance to examine Griffin.  To me, it doesn’t seem like the hematoma is between layers of cartilage but rather beneath the layer of skin on the inside of his ear.  I’ve seen photos of other hematomas online and Griffin’s seems relatively minor in comparison, so hopefully his procedure and recovery will go smoothly!

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20 October 2020 - 4:08 am
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That is really good that it does not look bad in comparison. He does have some adorable ears! Yeah, they will make a slit in the skin, drain and clean, and suture it together in enough places to try and deter the ear from filling with fluid again. I hate to say it, but it will probably bug him more than the other sutures… (fingers crossed I am wrong) … Griffin is so chill, maybe not. I think they tend to get itchy with all those little sutures in there. 

You know, a light wrap might do the trick if you can manage something that will still allow the skin to breathe. That may make it more comfortable for him too. I would def ask the doc about that! If you can do that and he leaves it alone you might be all set sp_hearticon2

Do his ears normally stay clean and dry? Sometimes they can get irritated with the long heavy ears and build up yeast. If you have ever seen/smelled it you will know exactly what I am talking about. We used to tell people that had dogs who swam a lot to get a good ear cleaner like epi otic that has a good drying agent in it and just give a couple squirts in each ear, massage, and then go in there with your finger and a bit of gauze to wipe dry so that the water would not give them an ear infection. I used it myself with my dog Pepper who was a Choc Lab and it always seemed to do the trick preventatively. She had long floppy ears and a tendency to get yeast infections in the humid parts of the summer. You may already do this, but if you don’t it is definitely worth a try so that he can still enjoy the water after his ear heals. 

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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20 October 2020 - 11:27 am
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Well you’d never know Griffin was having all of those eating challenges and a thingy on his ear, that boy looks HOPPY! smiley16 

Low quality canned food is like spoiling him with canine fast food. Whatever works and no harm done in the short term if it gets him to eat! I’m all for that.

Yeah I would think the surgery wouldn’t require general anesthesia. Fear not, when you go to a great clinic like you are, anesthesia is so safe now that a procedure like this is a breeze.

Looks like a good time in PA, glad you two were able to get out and enjoy the country. It’s so pretty.

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




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20 October 2020 - 2:38 pm
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Griffin is truly living THE best life a dog could ever want, regardless  of whether he has three or four!!!

Love the fun pictures of family and friend gathering.   Shhhh…..don’t  tell the hoomans, but Griffin  is the most photogenic  of everybody!!  

Glad Jackie chimed in kn the ear thing.  I know my I’ve had a dog through the years develope something similar (or maybe the same).  My Vet called it a cauliflower  ear and didn’t  suggest a aurgery.  This was years ago and probably  not the same thing.

The photo of Griffin on the lap of his young boy is do adorable!  Not sure who looks the happiest!!

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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28 October 2020 - 1:37 pm
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Griffin’s cancer has spread.  He had an oncology appointment today for another round of Doxorubicin.  Last week I had noted a new small, hard nodule on Griffin’s ribcage and during today’s exam, the oncology team noted another one in his armpit.  They aspirated both, and while the ribcage one was benign (fat), the armpit one was deemed “sarcoma” by the pathologist.  Chest x-rays revealed that existing lung mets have grown larger and new ones are present since his last set of radiographs taken on September 26, 2020.  While Griffin completed only one round of Doxorubicin on October 7, 2020 after we stopped Palladia, the oncology team determined that it is not working.  We have decided to restart Piroxicam (NSAID) and will be starting Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) once I am able to place an order with a compounding pharmacy.  Griffin had been taking many supplements that were suspended mid-August when he started experiencing appetite issues due to Palladia.  He is currently taking Ellevet CBD oil, fish oil, Cosequin Maximum Strength Plus MSM, Stamets 7 (mushrooms), and Cobalequin (B12).  I will begin gradually adding back the others (Turkey Tail, Colostrum, Stasis Breaker, and Wei Qi) to ensure that we are leaving nothing on the table in terms of treatment options.

I have re-read Razbeg’s blog, and so I am aware that a potential side effect of Cyclophosphamide is hemorrhagic cystitis.  Griffin is scheduled to return to AMC in a month, but I will ask about testing his urine at home or taking him to our local vet for more frequent urine tests if warranted.  Griffin will start at the highest dosage of Cyclophosphamide every day (12.4mg based on his weight of 53lbs), so I will be vigilant about monitoring his water consumption and ensure frequent pee breaks throughout the day.

This was not the post I was planning to write because the last 2 weeks have been great.  Griffin is eating regularly, has great energy, walks over 1 mile each day, and stopped losing hair.  He resolved his aural hematoma on his own, which will avoid a surgical procedure – doubly nice since it was estimated to cost $2,000!  The Yale clinical trial vets contact me last week to say that Griffin was producing antibodies in response to the vaccine.  So, this post should have been one celebrating successes, and instead it is overshadowed by his cancer spreading.

I know fighting cancer is a marathon, not a sprint.  And I know that what works for some dogs will not work for others.  And I know that everything we are trying has no guarantee of working.  And I know that I need to stay positive and focus on the present, where Griffin is joyfully living his life.

I just feel like we cannot catch a damn break.

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28 October 2020 - 2:31 pm
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Oh Stacy, I am so sorry. Seeing how well our creatures adjust to life on three legs makes it possible to forget for a moment why they lost the leg in the first place. And then a random lump slaps us back into reality and overshadows all the other little good things. I’m glad to hear that Griffin is all-in-all feeling well and living with joy! I hope that continues, regardless of the marathon fight against the cancer. *hugs* Well, hugs to you, ear scritches to Griffin. 

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28 October 2020 - 4:32 pm
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Oh Stacy,  damn! Im really sorry,  yes, I can only imagine you feel like a punching bag right now. 

Im sitting here literally staring at the screen trying to find the right words,  any words? 

I’m keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers that Griffin does well with the new treatment and that you get lots and lots more time to enjoy your time with each other. 

This must be the biggest kick in the gut,  but Griffin is still being Griffin.  Thank goodness.  He’s not worried about any of this right now,  he just wants to keep enjoying his days with his mama.  

Please try to keep breathing.  Im sending you a ginormous hug ❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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