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Maddie's tripawd story... so far!
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Forum Posts: 64
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8 October 2020 - 10:44 am
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Hi all, I'm Jessica. My spouse Jeremy and I are caretakers to Maddie. Maddie is an 8 year old Doberman mix. Her mom was picked up pregnant as a stray, and they told us she was a red Dobeman. No idea about her dad. We did one of those DNA tests that confirmed she was Doberman on one side and so much mutt on the other side that they had no idea what she was. We just say she is a pure bred Doberdufus -- that we are confident about. 😊

About six months ago, we lost our other dog, Barley, who was a 14 year old German Shepherd mix. After losing him, Maddie seemed pretty content and we think she was actually enjoying being the only dog for a while. As Jeremy and I were getting used to life with one dog, Maddie developed a bit of a limp. Other than her leg pain/limp, she showed no signs of discomfort or being sick. She was eating normally, interested in moving around, playing with toys, happy to see us, etc. We didn't think too much of it at first. She is a 100 lb leggy dog who jumps up on stuff and bounces around pretty frequently, so we just assumed she had tweaked something and limited her activity so she could recover. After about a week, the limp was still there and we thought we noticed a bump on her leg with the limp. We thought it might just be swelling, as it was right next to the wrist joint. After another week, I was convinced the limp was worse and the lump bigger, so to the vet we went.

The vet was immediately concerned about possible cancer. She did some imaging and took an aspirate test, and both were consistent with her initial diagnosis of osteosarcoma. A few days later, we got into an oncologist, and we decided on a front-leg amputation. Although Maddie is big (both weight and height), her overall health has been good her whole life, no hip issues, etc., and the oncologist thought Maddie would likely recover and adjust well to amputation. Surgery was a week later, and we are now 9 days post-op. It is four week ago to the day that we had that first vet appointment, and it has been a bit of a whirlwind.

It all happened so fast. Within a month we went from getting an initial diagnosis to amputation surgery. That being said, those weeks were the worst. I cannot even describe the immense sense of relief I felt in dropping her off for her surgery. While post-op has its challenges, it was much worse waiting to actually do something and watching Maddie’s pain noticeably increase in such a short time.

Post-op has mostly gone okay so far. She has already got the hang of the ramp I built off our back deck. Maddie’s incision looks good – no sign of infection. We weren’t able to use a cold compress on the incision those first few days because Maddie just would not have it. (We took it as a sign that her stubborn personality was still in there.) She was also against the heat compress, but I found a work-around. I got a heating pad and put it in her crate. It may not be quite as effective as a warm compress directly on the incision, but I figure it is better than nothing.

Our biggest post-op challenge so far has been pain management . It is so hard to tell whether Maddie is in pain, and whether the pain level is reasonable and tolerable. After the first few days, Maddie became more mopey, spent hours not moving, and seemed reluctant to move at all until desperate. She just seemed even more miserable, and while she hadn’t been moving a lot immediately post-op, it was a notable change. Around the same time, her medications changed from codeine, carprofen, and gabapentin to tramadol and gabapentin. After a day or two of this behavior change, I observed her stress-panting, shaking, and teeth-chattering about an hour before she was due for more medication. I concluded it was likely pain. We increased her meds a bit, and it made a huge difference almost immediately. I really wish she could tell me what she is feeling and what she wants!

Maddie’s prognosis is currently unclear. They aren’t sure whether her cancer has metastasized. There was nothing obvious on her xrays, but things that could potentially be metastasis. But our vet and the oncologist have all been very open with us that it probably has, since osteosarcoma is a fast and aggressive cancer and that it has usually metastasized by the time it is discovered, so we are assuming that. We are planning to do some chemo to hopefully slow the cancer down, but we know that her cancer will likely take her life and it will likely be much too soon. Despite the prognosis, we knew we wanted whatever time she has left to be pain free and active.

She’s a stubborn lady, and I can’t wait to see how she bounces back and to watch her learn how her new body moves!

Virginia




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8 October 2020 - 11:23 am
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Thank you so much for taking the time to share Maddie's story with us.  A

She is very lucky to have you as her hoomans!  You are taking great care of this strong  Warrior!

I know Barley  is being  a good Guardian. Angel watching  over your sweet Maddie💖

Kudos to you for staying on top of pain management   and recognizing  her pain signs.  Souns like you have that under control now...good job!

As we say around here, prognosis schmognosis.  Every dog is differe t and creates their own "statistics " specific  to them.  Nitro, w beloved Dobie Warrior, blew statistics  out of the water and crossed over from old age after thriving as  a tripawd  for two uears due to osteo.

Thanks again for chronicling  Maddie's recovery.  And it still gets vetter and better!  Promise!

Would love to see pictures.  Here's a link to help...adding  images 

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 October 2020 - 7:30 pm
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Jessica and Jeremy, thank you so much for sharing Maddie's story with us. The level of detail you included is incredibly helpful for everyone to not only help you on this journey, but for future members looking for hope and some sense that they are not alone in their journey. Maddie is such a lucky girl to have such thoughtful parents.

You are giving her every advantage to fight this cancer, from getting rid of the bad leg to hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. Keep up the pawsitive attitude through it all, because you just never know. Many dogs have beaten the osteosarcoma odds and gone on to live longer, healthy lives on three to everyone's delight. We hope with all our heart that Maddie has the same good fortune.

Please keep us posted and let know what we can to do make life easier for you guys OK? We look forward to pupdates!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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9 October 2020 - 10:52 am
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Thanks for the welcome. I am so glad our oncologist told us about this group. It has been really helpful and calming to poke around and see that other people have the same questions and confusions I do, and that other pets have responded similarly as Maddie. 

Sally asked for pictures of Maddie -- twist my arm! I'd love to show her off. 🙂

This is Maddie about a week before her surgery. You can see the lump on her front left leg.

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Day after the surgery -- this was bringing her home from the hospital

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Her incision two days after the surgery.

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Sorting out her ramp.

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And for fun, here she is being a big goofball earlier this summer. 

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I can also share her leg xrays from about two weeks before surgery if people are interested.

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 October 2020 - 12:24 pm
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She is ADORABLE! Thank you for sharing the photos, we would love to see more, and especially of the x-rays (we geek out on stuff like that here, and I would also love to share them in our image gallery if that's OK by you?).

I'm so impressed that she maneuvered on the ramp so well. Many dogs don't do ramps, period, even with training and treats. Only a few out there are OK with them so YAY Maddie!

Please thank your oncologist for telling you about us. Who is your oncologist? 

Did you know you can provide the clinic with free Tripawds Outreach brochures? Just send us a request and we will mail them to you or the clinic, whichever you prefer. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 October 2020 - 11:23 am
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I too was impressed at how quickly she sorted out the ramp. Although still a few kinks to sort out. This weekend she was so desperate to pee that she made it halfway down the ramp and then peed on it. *eyeroll* Silly dog.

The results of the biopsy of the removed leg came back on Friday and we received confirmation of osteosarcoma. Next step is to see the oncologist again and likely start up chemo. (If there are other treatments people would recommend that we should be asking our oncologist about, I'd love to hear it.) I'm anxious to decide on our next step and to get started on whatever that is, but am also aware that this needs to be on Maddie's timetable given her recovery status. 

Much of recovery have gone faster than I would have expected. Her incision continues to look good -- she should have her sutures removed this week. The seroma has all but gone now -- I think the heat pad in her crate ended up working well. Her pain signs have decreased, and we have cut back the tramadole again. Not only did her pain seem better, but we started seeing signs of stress/anxiety about an hour after giving her mediations so the surgeon suggested pulling that back a bit, which seems to have helped.

She is getting more comfortable moving, although she still isn't interested in moving much yet. But there are little glimmers that her normal personality is coming back despite the big life adjustment. She nosed at a toy. She got to see a couple of her favorite people, and she was full of tail wags for them. She has come over and demanded butt scratches. She woofed at someone walking by the house. They seem small, but when I think back to just a week ago, it's huge.

Here are the two xrays of her leg. I found them fascinating (and horrifying!).

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The Rainbow Bridge



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12 October 2020 - 1:19 pm
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 (If there are other treatments people would recommend that we should be asking our oncologist about, I’d love to hear it.) 

Sorry you got the bad news about osteosarcoma, I know that even when it's a likely diagnosis getting that confirmation is still a gut-punch. Check out these Questions to Ask Your Vet Oncologist to see if you have all your bases covered. I would definitely ask if they are participating in any Clinical Trials, like the Yale Cancer Vaccine or other immunotherapy studies.

I'm so glad her seroma reabsorbed. I'm sure it was that heating pad! What kind did you get? We are always interested in learning what products folks are using during recovery.

Sounds like everything else is on track, which is awesome. I love that you are noticing the little glimmers of her progress and celebrating each and every one. That makes such a big difference in how recovery goes. Your pawsitivity is the best medicine! 

Thank you for posting the photos of Maddie's break, poor girl! Amazing what pain levels animals will tolerate compared to us wimpy humans. 

Not sure what happened to her other pics, the links no longer work. I think that happens sometimes on Facebook photos, it's a caching thing on their end and photos will disappear 🙁 It's one reason we encourage people to start their own Tripawds blog, that way the photos will never disappear. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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12 October 2020 - 10:10 pm
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Oh no! The x-ray photos disappeared too. icon_cry

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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13 October 2020 - 11:39 am
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How strange about the photos! They are still showing up for me in the posts. I just made a Dropbox folder and checked that the photos are all still there. Should I post the photos another way?

I don't recall what brand of heating pad I got -- I grabbed it at Target -- it was sized x-large. I ran the cord along the edge between the bed and crate wall, with the on/off switch on the outside so I could turn it on/off w/o making her move or invading her space.

Maddie had her post-op follow up appointment yesterday. Things are healing, sutures were removed, and we are now weening her off of all meds. Tramadol is stopped and gabapentin should be done in a few days. No exercise restrictions (beyond her own comfort, strength, etc.).

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 October 2020 - 12:38 pm
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Thanks for the scoop on the photos, and the heating pad (so glad it worked for you and Maddie!). The way you set the heating pad up was spot-on, good thinking smiley_clap And YAY on her recovery! A++!!! Don't forget, the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit for her, we highly recommend a consult just to find out what her capabilities and limitations are in her new life on three legs. 

As for the photos; weird! You're probably seeing them because they are cached on your device. Maybe. Hmmm. Were they originally in Dropbox or on Facebook when you first shared them? The URLs are sooo wacky. Not even Admin isn't sure what's going on with them, I just had him look. When you copy/paste the image URLs, do you see a big long string of characters? An image URL needs to be a lot shorter/cleaner than the ones we are seeing. 

Dropbox isn't a good sharable format for a situation like discussion forums. Long story. For better results, you can try a true image sharing site like Imgur.com, or start a Tripawds blog for the easiest way to ensure the pics will always show up. Feel free to message me and I'll try to help, we'd love to see the pics again (and more in the future!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 October 2020 - 3:10 pm
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Sorry for all the photo problems! I tried a blog but ran out of space before posting the few photos I had already posted here. So I set up imgur instead, so hopefully that works! (Please let me know if they still aren't working.) This post will be to reshare the photos posted above -- I'll do a second post with an update. smiley4

This is Maddie about a week before her surgery. You can see the lump on her front left leg.

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Day after the surgery — this was bringing her home from the hospital

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Her incision two days after the surgery.

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Sorting out her ramp.

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And for fun, here she is being a big goofball earlier this summer. 

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Here are the two xrays of her leg. I found them fascinating (and horrifying!).

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22 October 2020 - 4:08 pm
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Maddie continues to make good progress post-surgery. She has started doing her old normal behaviors again, like coming to say hello when we come up, squeaking her toys at random times, etc. We have been going on short walks around the block and she has even asked to go for walks a couple times. Her interest in trying to chase squirrels and crows has returned, as has her stubbornness.sp_hearticon2

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Watching her walk is so cute. She is sorting out her new gait, and watching her ears flip-flop is just about the most adorable thing I've seen. https://i.imgur.....m2O5Oz.mp4

She has been going up and down our stairs for the last week. After her surgery, we kept our stairs blocked until she could recover a bit, gain some strength, and have a chance to try a smaller flight of stairs. That was the plan, anyway.  Her favorite cozy spots are downstairs, so she was not pleased with us making her stay upstairs. I would sometimes come to the stairs and find her standing there looking at me. "Excuse me, lady. I'm supposed to go down there now."

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Maddie had other ideas and did not agree with our plan. She managed to have her first effort at our stairs on her own, without us to make sure she ready and didn't hurt herself. There was a ten minute period where we were outside and thought the stairs were blocked. When I came back in, I found Maddie standing in the kitchen, right where I had left her. A couple hours later I went downstairs to find a wet spot where she was grooming herself. The stubborn big-red-doberdufus somehow managed to figure out going downstairs the first time, lay on her spot long enough to lick and make a wet spot, and then get back upstairs without me having any idea it had happened. She was clearly feeling better...

Despite her, we decided we still wanted to limit her access for a few days to times we were around to make sure she didn't hurt herself. The next day we let her down -- again she did it without any real problem.

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And now she handles it like a boss: https://i.imgur.....cueE.mp4 

All-in-all she is acting very normal now, just with one fewer leg. The only major change we have noticed is that she has started licking her bed or bedding while laying down. I'm not sure if it is self-soothing, obsessive, or a combo of the two, but it is new.

Given how much her personality has returned to normal, we find it easy to forget why she lost her leg in the first place. She has her first post-op oncology appointment tomorrow. We anticipate she will have her first dose of chemo, after they do some new baseline blood-work and (likely) chest x-rays.

Thanks for listening/reading. It is nice to share what is going on with people who understand the process and what we are going through.

New York, NY
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22 October 2020 - 6:56 pm
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Hi Jessica and Jeremy!  Maddie looks amazing!  I love the videos showing how easily she is moving.  You have done a great job handling her recovery!  My pup, Griffin, had his right forelimb amputated and Maddie's new gait with the flopping ears is very similar to his.  I love how smart she is going down the stairs where each of her 3 legs is on a different step allowing her to descend so smoothly.  Griffin steps down with his front leg and then hops both of his back legs down, so his movement is not nearly as agile as Maddie.  Best of luck for continued forward progress and good luck with chemo! ~ Stacy (Griffin's Journey)

Griffin lived an amazing life for 11 years! Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on March 17, 2020, Griffin's right forelimb was amputated on April 2, 2020. Ten days later he was running and playing fetch! Lung metastasis discovered in July 2020 did not slow down Griffin and he lived joyfully for the next 7 months, passing peacefully at home on February 11, 2021. https://griffin.tripawds.com

The Rainbow Bridge



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22 October 2020 - 10:10 pm
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WOW what pawgress! She IS a boss!!!smiley_clap I'm so hoppy you found a workable way to share her images and photos. These are fun and she looks GREAT ! How is the ramp working out? Is she still using it? And the stairs, wow! Would it be OK if we uploaded that to our YouTube channel? People always want to know about how Tripawds do on stairs!

I hope the oncology visit goes well. Let us know!

P.S. Sorry for the blog issues. You can still have a blog if you want, and just embed the images into the blog posts as you did here. I wish we had enough storage space to host everyone's photos at original sizes, but we don't. To save storage space, free blog owners either must resize images before uploading to their blog, or become a Tripawds supporter and get much more storage space and no ads. When photos are stored off-site there's always a risk that the storage host may hold them ransom at some point (it's happened, sadly) so that's something to keep in mind, but we guarantee that will never happen in our network if you decide to store them there. Hope that all makes sense.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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22 October 2020 - 10:44 pm
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Oh by the way that bed licking thing is so weird...our Jerry did it and so does Wyatt Ray . Even the carpet got licked, and the target was/is always fabric or fiber, no smooth surfaces. We’ve never been able to figure that one out!

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