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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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Just diagnosed with osteosarcoma
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Member Since:
10 April 2012
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6 May 2012 - 12:50 am
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Hello everyone. I am sorry I have been MIA. Today is Bruno's 1 month anniversary since his limping. I am excited to report everything seems to be well. I just got another month's supply of Rejuvenate(joint supplement) from Banfield Pet Hospital and ordered more Tramadol and Rimadyl. Bruno continues to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, and convince me he needs one more treat.

 

Portermom, I appreciate your referral. I meant the WSU on Riverside. They have an animal clinic. I think they may speaicalize in eyes there. I am not sure. Lets have a playdate. I live on the northside by Hillyard. PM if you would like to connect.

 

Angel, I really wished Bruno was a candidate for amputation, but his hips are arthritic and doc says not a good idea. I just order a month's supply of K9 Immunity Plus, K9 Transfer Factor and K9 Omega. I hope to slow the cancer and manage his pain.

 

Kate, I am sorry about your loss. How old was Jack and what were his 1st signs of OSA? Please give me a brief timeline of his and your OSA experience. I agree about the biopsy issue. I do not want to cut or disturb the cancer area in fear of it spreading or increase in pain. There is something about oxygen and disturbing the cancer that makes it go rampage it seems. Doc said that his pain will become too unbearable before the cancer makes the bone weak enough to break. This was somewhat conforting to me because I felt that a break was not as near in time as I had imagined. The cancer is on one side of the bone right now. He had his first xray on the 9th and 2nd xray on the 23rd. The xray showed that his cancer grew(about 1/2 cm) and the bone was getting weaker, but the bone will not break without the cancer on both sides. Thank you for your offer of the harness. I think we are fine at this time. I hope you can find a home for it. I will let you know if we need it. I worry about how quickly his pain will increase and need to get my emergency lesson plan updated. We have a good routine for feeding, meds and eating. I just want to be prepared to stay home if he is having a bad day.

 

Cometdog, I appreciate your uncandid advice. I will contact Dr. Ryan Brown at Indian Trail Animal Clinic as recommended by Portermom. I watch Bruno and his limp appears on the days that he is very active. I associate a limp with pain. He has not limped in a week, but does trip on his leg at least once a day. I want to make sure he is not in pain and that is why I really wanted the amputation. I think Bruno is a fighter and will recooperate well with an amp. Now I just need to find a doc who believes the same. If he is a candidate for amp, I feel strongly about following up with chemo or radiation so that it does not spread. My husbands aunt's cancer spread rapidly after she was operated on. I fear this for Bruno.

 

My attitude is that we don't live forever. Bruno came to me as an abandoned dog who was abused; I gave him a high quality life and he lived up to his life expectancy. I want to do what is right for Bruno which includes living with little to no pain. I have been told time and time again that I will know when it is time to let him go. Right now he has pep in his step and is loving life. I'm living one day at a time happy to make it to another refill. I worry about the Rimadyl taxing his kidneys, but I am told that the affects could take months-a year.

Thank you to all for your prayers. Stay tuned......   big-grin

Lucas, Ohio
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6 May 2012 - 11:12 am
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First off, I love the name Bruno! (that was my dad's namesmiley) I'm am really hoping that you get some more encouraging news with a second opinion. I absolutely realize that it's Quality of life that must be the determinant, but as a member of the "not an option to amputate club", I can tell you that this is not the club you want to join if possible.

Without amputation, you need to be aware and prepared that Bruno might only have a matter of weeks at this point. We had to let our girl go after only 31 days from diagnosis. I think with Kate's dog Jack, it was only 3 1/2 weeks. Every dog is different of course.

But,I also want to add that with our girl, we were able to manage her pain so that I know she was still enjoying life for most  of that short time. I knew her well enough that in the last days when I saw the inevitable decline in her spirit that it was time. It all happened pretty fast at that point.

Sending you and Bruno pawsitive thoughts for the best outcome.

 

Anita, mom to Xena & Roger, and my angels, Spammy & Chloe

In your heart, where I belong.
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6 May 2012 - 1:47 pm
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Redbud is right. Not having any options at all would be the worst possible scenario.

Having some arthritis does not automatically preclude amputation. My dog lost a front leg even with arthritis in his shoulders. His surgical team said to me, "No amputation and he dies; amputation and he lives and we control the arthritis with meds or supplements." Dakota did not have OSA but he did have cancer.

Almost 15 months later, he is a lazy dog who sleeps, eats treats, asks for love, sniffs around, barks at rabbits (too lazy to chase them) and does pretty much whatever he wants. Sure he still has arthritis. But he had an amputation and his arthritis only impacted his life minimally. Here's hoping Bruno can get rid of his OSA and deal with his arthritis and get on with the business of living. smiley

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

On The Road


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7 May 2012 - 9:14 am
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Glad to hear Bruno is hanging in there. It's always good to find another opinion just to confirm either what you suspect, or what your regular vet suspects. We hope that he's a candidate but we also understand that not every dog is. Only you know him best, and can make that call after getting some opinions. Either way, we are here for you. Remember that if you decide to go the palliative route, talk to your vet about Bisphosphonates to help manage the pain.

Oh and to add images to your post, this should help.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

St. Louis, MO
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8 May 2012 - 8:23 pm
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Hi Bruno!

Welcome to you and your mom!  Tripawds rule!  I'm a front leg amp.  The first 2 weeks are a bit rough, but it improves everyday!  I felt soooooo much better on day 13 when my staples were removed.  They were uncomfortable and I just laid around and wasn't even hungry….and I was a 2 year old lab when I had my amp.

I had OS in my left front leg (proximal humerus) and I had my leg and scapula amputated.  I did 5 rounds of carboplatin chemo and it didn't affect me at all! 🙂

Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to you for a super speedy recovery!  You'll be running and playing soon!

Hugs and chocolate labby kisses,
Charley (and my mommy Ellen)
18 Month OS Survivor…and counting!

Charley's Blog:  CHOCOLATE KISSES


DOB: 3-29-08, male chocolate lab  
Dx: OSA L proximal humerus 10-19-10

Amputation: L front leg & scapula 10-28-10

Chemo: 5 rounds of Carboplatin

Video (12 weeks post amp):Tripaw Charley Playing

♥♥♥ Lots of supplements and love!!! ♥♥♥

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10 May 2012 - 10:42 pm
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Redbud thanks for commenting. I am worried that with the cancer leg, Bruno's pain will increase without notice and this bad situation could get worst quickly.

 

Dakota Dawg, we visited the doc that Porter's mom suggested and he said that he thinks Bruno is a good candidate and will do fine. Bruno is an older dog, 11-13 years old; I want his last months/years of life to be pain free. The pain meds don't remove the issue. My husband was able to go to this appointment and his only concern was recovery in an older dog. I told my husband what I read on this forum, the sugery is harder on the humans than the dog. Doc says recovery should be fine. I am looking forward to removing the ill leg so we all can get on "with the business of living." I love how you put this. I have been a worried mess since April 9th.

 

Jerry, we were worried about Bruno's back legs holding up, but Dr. Brown said he checks out. We have a lot of stairs and I am starting to think how we are going to set up his recovery space. I am thinking about our slick garage and basement floor. I think I may restrict Bruno to the entry and garage until he can do a few stairs to the basement. We have a split level. I just want to sell this house.....sheesh.

 

Hi Charley's Mom. Bruno has a lot of life to live and I expect him to bounce back. I am trying to prepare myself for his first few days home when I look at him and wonder if I did the right thing or not. I appreciate everyone's stories on this forum, because I know that I have to be a strong pack leader and keep telling myself that he will be fine and we made the right decision. I am prepared for the rough first few days.

 

I have a friend with 4 pugs who does not like the idea of amputation. She said that Bruno has lived a quality life and that I need to provide Hospice care to make him comfortable until it is time to let him go. I think it is stupid to keep Bruno's leg, especially if that is the only issue. She thinks it will cause too much trauma to go through the surgery. I think the daily pain is torture. Sure he is masking his pain and the meds alleviate the pain, but why not remove the source so he can live pain free until there is a real reason to say goodbye. Any words of wisdom to deal with the nay sayers would be appreciated. I will not tell her about our decision to amputate.

 

Doctor told us to go home and talk about our options. They said there is no right way to do this. He said Bruno would have 3 months at best if we keep the leg. He was surprised that the cancer was not closer to his shoulder. Nonetheless, he has pain that can be removed. Might as well remove the dead weight. After an amputation mets could be the deal breaker. I am going to run as fast as I can from the mets.

I am calling Dr. Brown tomorrow morning to see when he can fit us in. I plan to continue to work. He said Bruno would be dropped off in the morning and released later that afternoon. I think going to work and keeping my schedule will prevent me from going crazy by watching him sleep/recover.

 

What have other parents here do while their pup was healing?

 

Stay tuned! I am not sure what I would have done without this website! Thank you all.  

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10 May 2012 - 10:49 pm
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Oh I forgot to mention, I ordered K-9 Immunity . Bruno had his 2nd dose this evening.

He has gained 4 lbs since April 23rd....I need to lighten up on the jerky. He is fed once a day at night.

I find it interesting that the leg with the cancer had a fatty mass removed August 2011. This fatty mass was outside of his elbow and grew to the size of a small lemon or 1.5 times the size of a golf ball.

Last night my husband was awaken by Bruno making some weird noise. I awoke after my husband called for Bruno. I didn't get a good listen to the sound he was making, but I hoped it wasn't anything with mets in lungs. I believe he was dreaming? Stay tuned.

 

OK enough stories, good night 🙂big-grin

Oakland, CA
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30 April 2012
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10 May 2012 - 11:22 pm
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Hi Bruno and Char -

 

My Holly just had her amputation a week ago today.  She is about 9, so a little bit younger, but she does have mild arthritis in her back hips.  The decision was excruciating for us, especially because, like Bruno, she was doing really well on pain meds and didn't seem to be in the severe pain that some of the other dogs around here have experienced.  In the end, the fear of such a short time left with her, thinking about her pain increasing, and the fear of the leg breaking were just too much to overlook.  It's only been a week, but I am really happy with our decision so far.  The first couple of days were really rough - she seemed so confused about how she was supposed to get around.  I was terrified that she wasn't going to figure it out.  Fortunately, as the folks here had predicted, she bounced back very quickly and started to get the hopping down within a few days.  As of now, she's on less Rimadyl than she was before the surgery and no Tramadol (we were able to ditch the Tramadol pretty quickly).  I am of course still watching her like a hawk and nervous about our next steps, but seeing her in what appears to be no pain and feeling pretty optimistic that she will be able to run and play again makes me incredibly happy.

 

It sounds like you've pretty much made up your mind to go ahead with the surgery, but just wanted to give you the perspective of someone who is pretty much still in the thick of adjusting to this.  Any surgery has its risks, but I couldn't disagree more with your friend that the surgery is too traumatic...I imagine that living with the pain is far more traumatic, so you are improving quality and quantity of life at the same time.  Holly had a bladder stone taken out a few years ago, and that surgery was far more traumatic, painful, and harder to recover from.  Logically, it makes sense that it is more invasive and so was more difficult, but obviously the psychological impact on the human for something like that isn't as great, so it is surprising to see how much easier this is for her...as surgeries go, this isn't nearly as traumatic as some!

 

Good luck!

Holly & Alex

Sydney, Australia
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13 September 2011
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11 May 2012 - 12:47 am
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I'm glad to hear you have a plan of attack for Bruno.  You might find a harness very useful in helping Bruno up and down the steps.  Magnum had a rear leg amputation and we tried to avoid steps altogether after the amputation.  Although, she could manage them OK if she had to. Non-slip floors and a slim physique are a must.

 

As for the nay sayers.  Dogs can walk on 3 legs fine and they don't care what they look like.  Magnum had another 8 months of wonderful living after her leg was removed.  That extra time was priceless. Good luck!  Thinking of you.

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/

In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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11 May 2012 - 8:08 am
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For naysayers: "I know you say you wouldn't amputate, and I hope you're never faced with that decision, but I've made the best decision for Bruno and we both really need your support." Then hopefully they learn by example and if their day ever comes, they remember Bruno. We've had more than one conversion here.

Stairs: Dakota is a front amputee and has no choice but to descend 15 stairs to go out to pee. Then he has to come back up. He does it all with no help. I just get the heck out of the way because he's so fast. So it will happen in time.

You will want to ease into it but Bruno will let you know when he's ready. I remember writing in our blog the day that Dakota went out the dog door on his own and then walked around the outside of the house with me (I was outside). I think it was about day 5. I wasn't ready; he was.

Flooring: You can go to the thrift store and buy a bunch of throw rugs. Somebody here said their house looked like a clown threw up or something similar. It can be true, so make the best of it and decorate with lots of color! I went to Target and spent $20 on 2 yoga mats. They're long and rather narrow, perfect for the area I needed to cover for him. They're non-slip and easy to vacuum. Trying to confine to a couple of rooms after recovery is over is really hard if the dog isn't used to it. Just go for color and remember it's temporary and an outward sign of Bruno's second chance.

Coping: The online chat here is always open. Sign on and put it in the background if no one's there. Wait awhile. (It barks when someone comments.) Just make sure to say "here I am, let's talk." The forums here are wonderful, as you've found. You WILL get answers right away. We have an "ask a vet" forum and Dr. Pam is amazing.

Guarantees: You get none. Bruno may not do well at all. He may have difficulty during surgery or early recovery. HOWEVER, he will not have cancer pain (hideous). He will likely do great. He will be given the chance to keep living the best life he can live. YOU will not second-guess yourself. You will never say "if we'd only amputated." You will get to keep loving Bruno for however long you get to keep loving him! You get to keep getting offers to scratch ears and rub a belly. Bruno gets to try again. 

Now go get ready to welcome your dog into the new phase of his life, the one where he feels well again and knows you didn't give up on him! Keep us posted and take lots of pictures for us.

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

Rock Hill, SC
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28 November 2011
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11 May 2012 - 8:12 am
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princess said
 

As for the nay sayers.  Dogs can walk on 3 legs fine and they don't care what they look like.  Magnum had another 8 months of wonderful living after her leg was removed.  That extra time was priceless. Good luck!  Thinking of you.

I could not agree more.  Zeus is 5.5 months post-amp and they have been fantastic.  He is a "mature" fellow and, to be completely honest, it took him about a month before we started really seeing his personality return (which may be partially due to him tweaking his back 2 weeks after surgery so we had to keep him on pain meds longer).  It took about two months post-amp before he was really back to normal - bouncing, running, playing, etc.

Every dog is different with the recovery, but most dogs tend to do really well once the new normal 'clicks' with them.

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...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

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10 April 2012
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12 May 2012 - 2:32 am
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Hi Hollybeans. Thanks for sharing your story. Bruno is scheduled for Thursday the 17th. Doc says xrays on opposite elbow, hips, lungs and blood work need to look good just before surgery. I am very excited for him to get rid of this bum leg. He was not as chipper today. I understand this cancer can take a turn quickly. I just told Bruno to hold on, Thursday will be here soon.

 

Hi again Princess. I think Bruno will love life again once he recovers from the surgery. The vet will send us home with a loaner harness. Tomorrow we are going to get a piece of carpet the size of our entry so that I don't worry about rugs slipping.

 

Dakota Dawg I appreciate your responses. I do believe Bruno will be one more senior for us all to use as an example that the amputation is a no brainer. I did talk with my 4 pug friend today and she supports my decision and wanted to make sure I was not acting on emotions. How old was Dakota when he had his amp? I plan to limit Bruno to the entry until sutures come out. We can sleep downstairs that has only about 6 stairs as opposed to going up about 15 stairs. I just want him to know that he is still apart of the family. Yes, I will be looking to this forum for continued support during this time.

 

Zeuspod thanks for your words of encouragement. I will keep you all posted on Bruno. I am going to try to add pictures.

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12 May 2012 - 2:39 am
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Jerry thanks for adding the link. I can barely keep my eyes open so I am hitiing the hay. I will try agian later.

In your heart, where I belong.
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12 May 2012 - 8:17 am
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To answer your question, we think Dakota was having his 9th birthday and his amputation within days of each other. He was probably about 6 months old when he found us, so we gave him Valentine's Day for a birthday. Other dogs have been older (like Mr. Zeus) so that should give you encouragement!

And we do love pictures, so we always bug newcomers to post them. We want to see your handsome and beautiful pooches. Goofy, serious, whatever. Just so we can see who we're talking about! I'm talking about these two:

Image Enlarger

We will be thinking about you this week, because we've been through it and understand. The only thing you have to promise to do is let us know right away how Bruno's doing, because we'll worry if you don't. Bruno just inherited a whole bunch of nervous Nellie godparents!

 

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

Rock Hill, SC
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28 November 2011
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12 May 2012 - 9:40 am
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Dakota Dawg said

Flooring: You can go to the thrift store and buy a bunch of throw rugs. Somebody here said their house looked like a clown threw up or something similar. It can be true, so make the best of it and decorate with lots of color! i

HA!  I'll never live down the clown comment, will I?  Zeus is an older pup, so e already had long runners over the hardwood in the foyer and hall and the kitchen tile to form a runway to get from room to room.  But after his amp I think he intentionally circled the kitchen island and breakfast area just to scare me.  So, yes, I pilfered all the throw rugs from the bathrooms and covered all the smaller areas, too.  We have red, beige, blue and green rugs and one puke-green colored yoga mat.  It is definitely not attractive. aw-shucks  If you have long stretches to cover, you can buy the runners off a roll at Home Depot or Lowes and they will cut them to the exact length that you need.  BUT, they are a bit expensive and we actually think they don't work as well as the throw rugs b/c the pile is shorter and they don't have the rubber backing to make them thicker so his foot slides across instead of 'sinking' in and giving him traction .

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...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

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