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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Mazie\Senior Amputee
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A.Runner
1
5 February 2024 - 1:22 pm
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My wife and I adopted Mazie, a Golden-yellow lab mix, in 2014 when she was 3 1/2. She's been going hiking, swimming, sledding, and camping with us ever since. In mid-May of '23 we noticed a golf ball-sized mass on her right, rear leg. We thought it to be a bug bite but called the vet anyway and was told to come in immediately. Xrays were taken and our worst fears were confirmed; she had bone cancer.

The vet estimated Mazie had from July to September. We were given three options: comfort measures, amputation, or chemo. We asked everyone for an opinion and referenced this site for insight. Looking at some of the stories here were hit or miss, with some dogs living a while after amputation and some living an extra month.

My supervisor advised euthanasia based on her recent experience, saying her dog was only 8 and too old for amputation--ours was almost 12 and a different breed. A few friends wondered if a few extra months was worth the cost. After about 3 weeks, Mazie's leg grew to about twice its size and she could no longer support herself. We called the vet and decided to amputate; even 3 more months with her was worth it, we concluded, and if she made it past September it would be a win.

A month after her diagnosis, her leg was amputated. That same day she was able to walk out of the vet\'s office and out to the car. After coming home, she slept for a full two days. We laid down a carpet runner with a rubber backing across the kitchen to the deck so she wouldn't slip on the tile.

On the second day, she was able to walk outside on her own and, with help, go down the steps to the back yard to do her business.

By post-surgery day 5, she was able to walk half way around the house. By day 9 she was running around the living room chasing her toys.

After the staples came out, she was back to playing on the beach and going swimming. We slowly acclimated her back into walking through the woods with us, reaching up to a mile in length. One mile is a far cry from her pre-amputation days, but it was about all her back leg could handle--even if her mind wanted more.

We tried some Walkin' Wheels, but with the days getting shorter and colder we just couldn't find more than a weekend's time to practice with her; certainly not enough for her to get fully used to them.

Life has pretty much been back to normal for us and Mazie considering her circumstance. She made it to September, past her 12th birthday, and into the new year--all milestones we were not certain we'd see.

On February 3, 2024 we noticed her breathing beginning to change and she was not eating. Taking her to the vet confirmed her cancer had finally spread to her lungs. Our vet didn't give us a timeline, but we know we're close to the end of our time with her. We began feeding her canned food as its easier to swallow. She's greatly improved and is back to normal spirits and activity. All tha\'s left is to keep enjoying our time together while closely monitoring her breathing to make sure she's not distressed.

We're hoping for another few weeks, but that's up to her and her cancer.

Mazie was very healthy at the time of her diagnosis--getting walked nearly every day. Had she been a more sedentary dog or in poorer health, we may not have made the same choice. The choice to amputate or not is a very personal one with factors such as quality of life, age, and health all coming into play. We never second-guessed our decision and feel blessed to have been able to spend 8 extra months with her.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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2
5 February 2024 - 11:16 pm
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Maize and furmily, welcome. Thank you so much for sharing so many details about your journey together. I know that wasn't easy, especially at a time like this. I'm so sorry the cancer metastasized.

You have given your sweet girl such a great life, and done everything possible to ensure her quality of life stays high through cancer. You're so spot-on in tune with her. Now just enjoy every day as it comes and treasure her moments. 

Something you said really struck a chord in my heart:

The choice to amputate or not is a very personal one with factors such as quality of life, age, and health all coming into play. We never second-guessed our decision and feel blessed to have been able to spend 8 extra months with her.

Absolutely 100%. Every situation is different. A blanket statement about whether or not someone should or should not do amputation just isn't possible. Every pet parent, every dog and their physiology has their own response to this situation, you just can't predict what will happen as you saw during your research. Dogs don't have an expiration date stamped on their butt regardless of prognosis or what. So we applaud you for being able to follow your heart and listen to Maize, so that you have this quality time together to honor her life and all she's meant to you while she is still here.

If we can do anything at all please just holler OK?  We are all sending tons of Tripawd Power your way for more happy days together. 

A.Runner
3
14 February 2024 - 8:14 am
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Update:

Yesterday (02/13/24), we made the difficult decision to say goodbye to our companion and fur child. Her breathing had become more labored, she had again stopped eating, and the look in her eyes said she was done fighting. 

She lived every moment to its fullest, whether swimming, hiking, rolling on dead stuff, or finding a random package of braunschweiger in an empty field.

We will miss her immensely. 

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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14 February 2024 - 10:14 am
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Ohhh I'm so very sorry. icon_cry My heart hurts for you, Maize was such an incredible girl. I'm so glad you decided to post her story here.

Never forget ... you did all you could for her, always, and she left this earth knowing she was treasured. It's never easy to make that decision to set our dog free, even when we know it's the kindest act of love. It's tough. Be kind to one another right know and know that you gave her the dream life every dog deserves. May all those happy times help heal your hearts and take away the tears.

If you feel up to it we would love to see photos. Adding images instructions are in the link but if you'd like help just reach out. We have to hear more about her braunschweiger find smiley2

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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14 February 2024 - 2:37 pm
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Tears flowing as I read this.  You definitely  did everything possible fornyour sweet girl.  Mazie  had your name on her heart the day she was boit just took 31/2 years to find the loving furever   home she had been waiting to find.

For some reason I hadn't seen the post prior to this one.  Cannot tell you how courageous  it was to come here and share her journey in the earlier post and then the post today.

You and Maisy have proven what we say here so often. "Statistics don't mean much......  and no dog is a statistic. No dog has a time frame stamped on its butt. 

Mazie proved all the naysayers wrong. I'm just so glad you got the extra quality time you had and did not listen to anyone but Mazie.  You knew she wasnt ready to throw in the towel

Maisie Knew she wanted to soak up some more of your loving and spoiling before she ran free to the Rainbow Bridge you did everything right by Mazie y You listened when she told you she wanted more extra quality time and you listened when she told you she was ready to run free.

She got to experience love and care with you ever since 2014. It is such an honor to read about her journey. Please know she will continue to inspire and has left my legacy of Hope and a "kick ass attitude"!

 

And yes, we would love to see your pictures. As Jerry said, just let us know if we can help with that.

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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