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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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Liverpool, UK
Forum Posts: 50
Member Since:
2 May 2020
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2 May 2020 - 1:50 pm
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Hazel is a 10 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross and she lives with her mummy nyoom in Liverpool, UK. 
Just under a month ago we found a lump on her right foreleg which we quickly found to be a mast cell tumour. Unfortunately for Hazel this meant a rather big change as she was used to taking care of her mum as a PTSD therapy dog not the other way round! So as a now officially retired therapy dog we started on tests and treatment. 
We found out that this tumour appeared very aggressive yet fortunately hasn’t seemed to have spread yet, so we started Hazel on chemotherapy (Palladia, one dose every other day) but Hazel immediately fell ill with gastroenteritis days after her first dose so we’ve had to put it on hold.

After talking with a soft tissue surgeon and the vet in charge of her chemo we decided surgery would be the best option. Due to the position of her tumour the surgeon realised she would have to remove the leg in order to remove the whole tumour, but seeimg as Hazel is limping and not using the leg as is, they hope she will recover well. 
So I just got off the phone with the vets and Hazel will have her leg amputated on Wednesday. If anyone has any tips or just comforting words it would be greatly appreciated. 
Thank you and I’ll keep you all updated,

nyoomsp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28356
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2 May 2020 - 2:02 pm
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Hey there nyoom it was so good chatting with you today. I’m sorry you had to join us but you have come to the right place. Many dogs of all ages have lost a leg to that mean mast cell cancer. We totally get where you are coming from. 

Here are some posts about mast cell cancer in dogs.

And don’t forget to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List , our e-book Three Legs and a Spare and our What to Expect articles, where you’ll find tons of practical tips there. 

In the meantime I just want to reiterate that age really is just a number to dogs. If your vet thinks Hazel is a candidate for amputation surgery, that’s fantastic, she passed the test! Your sweet girl will surprise you with her adaptability and strength and you will become closer than ever as you tackle recovery. Try your best to stay strong and pawsitive, and she will reflect that right back to you! 

Stay tuned for feedback from others and don’t forget to check out our Size and Age Matters Discussion Forum topic for examples of mature pups living life on three legs.

Let us know what questions you have and keep us posted on how things are going. We are here for you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3994
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2 May 2020 - 2:15 pm
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Hello and welcome.

My Pug Maggie lost a back leg to a mast cell tumor.  Although she had lymph node involvement (found after surgery) and her prognosis was 6 to 9 months she lived almost 4 years and did not pass from mast cell cancer.

If you are interested you can read her story and about her amp and treatment, the links are in my signature below.

And I agree that age is just a number- what is most important is how healthy and full of life a dog is- and it sounds like Hazel still has some living to do!

In our case Maggie’s tumor wasn’t causing her pain, it was near her knee.  It was really hard for me to come to grips with the fact that amputation was the best course of action, it seemed awfully drastic for a bump in her knee.  Mag was a stubborn, set in her ways type of Pug who hated any changes to her routine.  It took her six weeks after surgery before she started playing with me again- you will see that most here are back to themselves in 2 to 3 weeks.  We had no medical complications and her pain was managed well, she was just being stubborn accepting her new normal.  But she got there in her own time and was back to being the obstinate, devious and playful Pug she had always been.

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

New York, NY
Forum Posts: 519
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24 March 2020
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2 May 2020 - 3:15 pm
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Hi Nyoom! It was good chatting with you and Jerry today.  As I said earlier, you are definitely making the decision you know to be best for Hazel’s quality of life.  I’m betting that she is going to surprise you as to how quickly she adjusts and starts walking downstairs so you don’t need to carry her down!  Sending hugs from me and Griffin in NYC! ~ Stacy

Liverpool, UK
Forum Posts: 50
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5 May 2020 - 1:48 am
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Pupdate!

Hazel ended up at the OOH vets last night due to bleeding from the biopsy site on her leg. The vets ended up keeping her in to monitor her and do some blood tests to check for clotting issues, and thankfully all the tests came back fine. The vets said there might be a possibility of moving her surgery forward a day as the surgeon is in tomorrow (tuesday) and will have a look at her. 

So I just got off the phone with the surgeon and she said it would be in Hazels best interests to remove the leg as soon as possible and would like to start surgery within the hour. So I accepted and am now waiting for the call back once the surgery is complete.

I’m feeling many mixed emotions, first of all I’m happy that the thing that’s causing her pain is being removed, but I’m also upset that I didn’t make more fuss of Hazel when I dropped her off, that we didn’t get to celebrate her last day of having 4 legs the way I had planned it… I’m trying to Be More Dog , but I find it hard with sudden changes. 

Hazel is probably in surgery as I type this so please send love her way and I’ll update again when she’s out!

nyoomsp_hearticon2

Liverpool, UK
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5 May 2020 - 10:53 am
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Hazel is out of surgery and resting at the hospital! 

The vet said it went really well and she just needs to sleep off the anaesthetic and painkillers for today. I probably wont be able to see her for a few days but she’s in good hands. 

nyoom sp_hearticon2

New York, NY
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5 May 2020 - 1:20 pm
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Hi Nyoom! It sounds like you’ve had quite the day!  I am so glad to hear that Hazel’s surgery went well and she is on the road to recovery.  I remember thinking about how to celebrate Griffin’s last day with 4 legs, and I have to tell you, I don’t even remember what we did.  I think I felt the need to mark the occasion as momentous somehow, but ultimately, it was just the last day he was in pain from bone cancer.  You sound very confident about the vets and how they are supporting Hazel, which is a blessing.  I am sending healing vibes to Hazel and hugs to you! ~ Stacy

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 May 2020 - 2:49 pm
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Oh my gosh I just got caught up and am sooooo glad she’s out of surgery! I hope she gets to come home soon. Don’t worry about that celebration she missed, you will get to have an even bigger one when she is back in your arms and feeling better! Keep us posted.

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




Forum Posts: 19897
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5 May 2020 - 3:24 pm
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YAAAAAY!!   BEAUTIFUL  HAZEL IS OUT OF SURGERY AND THAT BUM LEG IS GONE!!!👍

BTW, love her avatar picture and can wait to see more.

Clearly she’s in good hands and having  her pain well managed.  This is a great rime for upu to catch  up on your rest.  Getting  to this poi t has to be physically  and emotionally  exhausting.  Glad they are keeping g her at least one night, maybe more

When you do go pick her up, don’t  even bother to draw atte tion to her incision.   She just wants to see your smiling  face telling her she’s a good girl and she’s going home!!

The first two weeks it’s all about managing  the pain (it is MAJOR surgery), taking a couple of short leashed  potty breaks and then back to bed for rest.  No jumping, no stairs, etc.  If you have hardwood floors, use non slip scatter rugs for traction .   She may or may not poop for a few days, that’s  normal.  She may not want to eat much either at first.  Drinking  and peeing are important though.  

STAY CONNECTED  and let is know how we can help, okay?  Update when she comes home.

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!

Livermore, CA




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5 May 2020 - 7:30 pm
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Tough day for you but I’m happy Hazel had her surgery and is recovering. 

I’m not surprised that she had some bleeding issues after the biopsy- it’s not unusual for a mast cell tumor site to have trouble healing even with just a needle biopsy.  It happened to my Pugs a couple times.  I was told to think of a MCT sort of like a fried egg- the yoke is the lump you can see but the white part has lots of cancerous cells and as a result the often won’t heal.  That’s also why they want such a large margin when removing a MCT.

Anyway- today is the first day of Hazel’s new life! Let us know when she gets home.

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

Liverpool, UK
Forum Posts: 50
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2 May 2020
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6 May 2020 - 6:18 am
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Thank you all for your kind words sp_hearticon2

I’m feeling a lot better after reading them and getting some sleep, I just can’t wait to get Hazel home now! 

Still waiting on updates, Hazel has apparently been too sleepy to eat much so hopefully her appetite improves today… I’ll post as soon as I get some news!

nyoom sp_hearticon2

Southern California
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6 May 2020 - 8:35 am
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Hi nyoom and Hazel,

There have probably been a million thoughts and worries running through your mind since this started, but you’re on the right path. This community is amazing and so supportive and informative. I hope you’re able to find the answers and reassurance you need.

My 11 year old husky just had her left front leg amputated less than two weeks ago, due to MCT. And even at her age, she’s handling the recovery better than I could have hoped for. I’m sure Hazel will surprise you as well. The appetite will come back with time.

I wish Hazel a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her updates.

Liverpool, UK
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6 May 2020 - 4:50 pm
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I’m starting to get really stressed out.

I’ve been told multiple times to expect a call from the surgeon that performed Hazels amputation for a detailed explanation of the surgery and post op care but it just hasn’t happened. I was told she would ring me when Hazel was out of surgery on Tuesday afternoon and didn’t get a call, a nurse rang and said that things went well but Hazel is sleepy and doesn’t want to eat so they’ll try food later and to ring back if I hadn’t heard from the vet by that evening. So I ring back in the evening and get told the same thing about Hazel and that the surgeon will call me in the morning (Wednesday) I wake up at 5am on Wednesday and wait by my phone, it’s only when my partner returns from work at midday do I realise how late it has gotten… I ring the vets at half 2 and get the same story about Hazel being sleepy and not eating and how I need to wait to hear from the surgeon before they can discuss anything loke when they expect I can take her home and to ring back in the evening if I want another update but the surgeon will call me tomorrow morning…

I’m really upset and frustrated. I would rather they say that the surgeon is busy and likely wont call for 2 days if that’s the reality of the situation. I’m upset hearing that Hazel isn’t eating as no one has given me any indication if that’s normal or something to be concerned about. I have complex PTSD, and OCD which Hazel is trained to help me with and I’m really suffering without her here to comfort me the way only she knows how. And I keep spiraling into a panic thinking she isn’t going to make it and I’d have put her through surgery for nothing…

I don’t want to be upset at any vets or nurses I know they’re doing their best for Hazel. I’m just finding it more difficult the longer I’m away from her.

Sorry for the outbust, I feel a little better writing it all out though… I hope I get some good news tomorrow.

nyoom sp_hearticon2

New York, NY
Forum Posts: 519
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6 May 2020 - 5:09 pm
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Hi Nyoom.  Your current level of stress is completely understandable.  Hazel is a member of your family and a lack of information will of course make you worry and think the worst.  It is not okay that the surgeon hasn’t called – keeping families informed is part of the job.  It is normal that dogs are not interested in eating not only immediately after surgery, but also while on meds for the first few weeks.  It is also normal for dogs to spend 1 or 2 nights in the hospital after surgery, but not usually beyond that, so hold onto hope that she’ll come home tomorrow.  I’m sorry that I don’t know more that you could be doing/saying to advocate for Hazel, but I’m sure Jerry and other experts on here will weigh in soon.  Hang on, Naomi – Hazel will be home soon!  Sending lots of hugs! sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2Stacy

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19897
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6 May 2020 - 5:22 pm
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Ditto everything Stacy said and to add a few things.

I DID not have mich beyyet access to Happy Hananh s surgeon.  It  woil6d be a Vet Tech or staff person calling.   And, it would be normal that the te h would not discuss anything further other than what they told you.

Now, that said, I would  get back on the phone and DEMAN….ABSOLUTELY  DEMAND  you talk to the Surgeon.  And tell them of you jave to jokd for an hour or more, you will hold!!!     And I’m serious!    Yoi are paying big bucks and a little conversation with the Surgeon is NOT too much to ask!!!

And yes,  some dogs DO stay longer than two nights, or three or four even  sometimes,  so no worries.  Vets prefer to have a dog somewhat  mobile.  If your pup is having a hard time shaking off the anesthesia  and dealing  with strong hospital  meds, Hasel is not too interested in eating or walking!  

Grrr…now get on the phone, grab some chocolate  and stay in hold until……

(((((((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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