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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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Forum Posts: 20
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7 May 2020
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7 May 2020 - 4:42 pm
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Hi everyone.

Today we just got the disagnosis of osteosarcoma in the front left leg. We are going to go through with the amputation and start chemotherapy 2 weeks after the procedure. I need all the advice I can get! also curious for others who did the amputation + chemo treatment, our vet said 12-14 lifespan left has anyones pet surpassed this time frame? HELP!

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7 May 2020 - 6:05 pm
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12-14 months

Livermore, CA




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7 May 2020 - 7:11 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

We all understand the feelings you are dealing with right now- it’s overwhelming!

First off- tell us more about your pup. Boy, girl? Age? Breed? Size?  Any underlying health issues- like arthritis?

Many here have lived longer than 12 to 14 months- some without chemo! Some have even lived years after amputation. There are also those who don’t make their prognosis.  Remember the numbers are just stats based on dogs that are not yours, it’s all the vet has to give you.  We like to say around here that there is no date stamped on your pups butt! 

As far as what to expect you might want to look through Jerry’s Required Reading list Lots of good info there on what to expect with amputation, recovery and treatment.

Other than time frames what other questions or concerns do you have? 

Lots of experience here, we can help.

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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7 May 2020 - 8:04 pm
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jetta is a rottweiler female, she just turned 6 on may 4th. She tore her left acl over a year ago, but other than that no arthritis or anything

New York, NY
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7 May 2020 - 9:14 pm
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Hi Taylor!  You have come to the right place for answers and support for Jetta. I know that you must be feeling overwhelmed having just received the diagnosis today.  I remember the day my boy Griffin was diagnosed – I was so angry, sad, and scared.  So here is my advice – take a breath, focus on Jetta who is still right here with you, and reach out for help here as often as you need.

After Griffin’s diagnosis, I was blessed to find the Tripawds community and I remember scrolling through story after story on this site, soaking in information and being reassured about how he would do living life as a 3-legger.  Griffin is a 10-year old goldendoodle who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17th and underwent right forelimb amputation on April 2nd.  He had his first round of chemo already and we have planned for 6 in total before participating in the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine trial.  You can read Griffin’s Journey for more about his story.  Another story that might interest you – Ziva is a female rottweiler whose dad, Steve, writes about her story as a forelimb tripawd in Ziva is becoming a Tripawd today.  

Creating a list of specific questions might help you channel your energy in a way that helps you feel more control about the situation.  I know the Tripawd community has answers to almost any question you could pose.  I’m sending hugs to you and Jetta from NYC! sp_hearticon2 Stacy

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7 May 2020 - 9:51 pm
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Hi Stacy,

I am beyond feeling overwhelmed. After receiving the news I just fell to the ground feeling unable to breathe.. a full on panic attack. I want to give her every chance possible by going ahead with the amputation, I cannot bear to have her in pain you know? I keep hearing about this yale vaccine trial, do you mind sharing more information about that? I would so greatly appreciate it!

New York, NY
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8 May 2020 - 11:56 am
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Hi Taylor (is that your name?)!  I know exactly how you feel and ultimately, it was my desire to remove the source of pain for Griffin that made me feel at peace with the decision to amputate.  In my post, there were links to the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine trial, as well as Griffin’s Journey and Ziva’s story.  Just click on those links to go to those pages.  Griffin will do the vaccine after chemo, but Finn the Dane started the vaccine first.  His mom, Casey, was the one from whom I first learned about the vaccine in a post on this site.  Is Jetta’s surgery scheduled yet?  Where will it happen?  Do you have any questions I can answer for you about anything else?  Hang in there!  ~ Stacy

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 May 2020 - 1:01 pm
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Welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join! I’m just now catching up on Jetta’s situation and want you to know that you are not alone in this. 

Karen and Stacy have given you great information already, so I just want to add:

It’s sooo important to remain calm and breathe. Jetta is going to look to you for guidance. Your reactions to this situation will set the tone for her recovery and healing. The more you are upset and showing it, the harder it will be for her to relax enough to heal. I know it is terribly hard to follow this advice when you’re in the heat of the moment of this awful diagnosis, but trust me, it works. You can vent when she’s not around, but do your best not to do it around her. The stronger and more pawsitive you are, the more she will reflect that right back to you. We call this learning to Be More Dog , and it’s a key ingredient in adjusting to life on three legs. 

You’ve got this. And we’ve got your back. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 May 2020 - 1:19 pm
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Stacy,

Yes that is my name 🙂 We actually got things moving along asap because we know how time critical this horrid monster is so surgery is scheduled today, they just called us & let us know they are beginning surgery. She is staying overnight and depending on how she does she could possibly come home tomorrow. I contacted the head doctor from yale about the trial he also suggested possibly waiting on the chemo and doing the vaccine first… I called my main vet (who is amazing) hes going to do some research & talk to jettas oncologist and were going to make a plan together regarding the vaccine. 

I have a million questions but I feel so jumbled with everything going on… the one question I can think of is a harness or collar? seems like the beautiful 3 legged friends on here majority have harnesses. suggestions & advice on that?

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8 May 2020 - 1:20 pm
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Jerry,

thank you so much! I think this is one of the hardest parts for me is to stay strong for her. Shes my daughter and I know I have to, its just so hard 🙁

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8 May 2020 - 1:27 pm
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I would love to upload a photo on here of jetta, but not sure how

Here and Now


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8 May 2020 - 1:39 pm
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taylorb said
…the one question I can think of is a harness or collar?

The short answer is, both. A harness will help you provide assistance as needed – going up and down stairs, getting in and out of vehicles, giving support on slippery floors, helping up from laying down as needed… When used with a leash, the harness will help reduce strain on the neck resulting from the quickened pace and bobbing motion of any Tripawd’s gait.

Which harness is best for you, depends upon your dog and your specific needs. View this chart to compare features on all the best harnesses in the Tripawds Gear shop. The Web Master Plus Brush Guard is an awesome all purpose support harness, and the Flagline harness is great for front-leg Tripawds.

New York, NY
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8 May 2020 - 1:47 pm
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Hi Taylor!  You are probably a bundle of nerves waiting for the surgeon to call – I know Jetta is going to come through with flying colors.  Since she is in great hands right now, you can focus on getting things read for her at home.  You probably want a harness with a handle that can be used to assist Jetta getting into/out of cars, up/down stairs, and providing some extra steadying support whenever.  You can check out harnesses in the Tripawd Gear shop.  The Flagline by Ruffwear is a popular one on this site due to its versatility and being lightweight (summer is coming!).  You want to also think about elevated feeders, nonskid rugs to cover tile/wood floors, and a supportive bed.  Griffin loves the FurHaven Cooling Gel Memory Foam bed because of the bolsters and the firm, yet very comfortable, sleeping surface.

On the tech side, you can insert photos in a forum post only if the photo lives somewhere online so you can copy and paste the image address (right click on the image online, choose “copy image address”, come to the forum post, and right click again to paste).  If you store photos in the cloud, I think that works.  I created a free blog on the Tripawds website just for the purpose of uploading photos for the forum.  If you go that route, be sure to resize your photos to the smallest (0.25 MP) option before uploading to as not to use all of your storage space quickly.  

Please let me know if you have any other questions and please provide an update on Jetta when she is out of surgery.  Sending healing vibes to both of you today! sp_hearticon2 Stacy

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8 May 2020 - 1:53 pm
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I started an instagram account so I can share photos with you guys… here’s my sweet girl 🙂

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8 May 2020 - 2:06 pm
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Hi Stacy!

Bundle of nerves for sure!! The whole thing that is getting me through this is knowing her pain will be gone. Especially after the exam yesterday last night was rough lots of crying and moaning in pain it absolutely breaks my heart.
Everything moved so quickly! we purchased a Big Barker Bed but it wont be here until Tuesday… so we went to a couple of stores and found some alternatives in the meantime. I had read that soft surfaces are a “no-go” so we got a couple of tougher beds for her to try. Gonna take a look at the bed you suggested also.

We put rugs everywhere and formed a little pin for her (which we did the same thing for her when she tore her acl.

thank you for the harness suggestions I am going to take a look at those now! how soon after can you use them? also seeing people using shirts for post-op to help cover the incision, thoughts on that?

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