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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Mervyn lives in Ireland and is 6 years old next month. Mervyn is an amazing dog and is a central part of our family and we love him dearly.
11 days ago he had his right forelimb amputated due to a high grade mast cell tumor in his paw. He is doing really well in his physical recovery but it has been a tough 11 days.
It all happened so fast, we found the lump and were in the vet the following day, test results were back in a few days and in another 2 days his leg was gone.
Thankfully tests so far show it has not spread but Chemotherapy has been recommended starting Monday 20th spanning 12 weeks.
We are giving careful thought to proceeding with the chemo and we are waiting to see if we can establish prognosis from a proliferation panel test. We are looking at forums re chemo or no chemo and mast cell tumors.
We are very grateful this community exists, it has been an incredible source of support and advice so far and we have downloaded the e books which are extremely helpful.
I’m sharing Mervyn’s story to thank those who have done the same because only for the other incredible dogs who have gone through this and their parents telling their stories, we could not have coped as well as we have done so far.
updates to follow…
I am so glad you decided to move over from The Chemotherapy Rewards and Regrets post and tell the world about Mervyn! Thank you! It is sooo helpful for others to know about.
This ordeal is so overwhelming for us, but to Mervyn and other dogs and cats, well they are just happy to have that painful leg gone. Don’t forget to celebrate all the little victories, things we all take for granted during the pre-amputation life.
Regarding the diagnosis and chemotherapy. I just want to throw this out there but did you happen to ask your oncologist about electrochemotherapy? It’s not too common here in the U.S because of the lack of studies behind it, but in Europe and other countries it’s frequently given to pets with all sorts of cancers, including mast cell. We will have more information about it in our news blog soon, but for now see:
In this study, ECT can be applied successfully as an exclusive therapy in smaller MCTs as an alternative to surgery. ECT can be combined with surgery either intra-operatively or post operatively for larger lesions without significant toxicity.
We can’t wait to see photos of Mervyn! Here’s a post that explains adding images to the Forums Let me know if you’d like help.
Hello and welcome.
My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to a mast cell tumor. You can read her story and about her amp and chemo if you are interested, the links are in my signature below.
Electrochemotherapy wasn’t around when Mag went through her treatments, but it does sound very interesting. Palladia was also not available for Mag so that was not one of the drugs we used. It was recommended for Mag’s younger sister Tani when her mast cell cancer re-cured but for many reasons associated with her overall health I declined. Tani never lost a limb but did have between 12 and 14 cutaneous MCT’s during her life. We did remove some tumors but then switched to a more holistic plan. Tani lived to be almost 15 and the cancer was a not a factor when she crossed.
As far as Maggie, I did elect to do chemo after her amp. I think in part because I was surprised her amp was not curative. I’m not sure if I missed something in the pre-surgery discussions or was in a sort of denial, after her surgery her prognosis was listed as good. When the pathology report came back on the lymph node removed with the leg she was down graded to a poor prognosis due to lots of cancerous cells in the node. With chemo she was given 6 to 9 months- without chemo a couple months maybe. I remember thinking that I had to do chemo since I had put her through the amp. I don’t think it was the clearest, most educated decision I had made but that’s where I was then.
In hindsight it was the best decision since Mag lived almost 4 years. She handled the chemo fairly well, only a little nausea.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Mervyn had his first Chemo treatment today (Vinblastine). We will need to keep an eye on him for side effects and have our meds just in case. Otherwise he is in good form, he gets tired easily and rests alot but its early days at only 17 days post amputation. We have his ruffwear harness and are trying out best seat belt for him based on recommendations. He has had one session of rehab therapy with a veterinary physio and was exhausted afterwards. Trying to remember to Be More Dog which is a challenge! Trying to figure out how to attach photos so as soon as I do I will add some: )
Sounds good so far!
Instructions for Posting Photos in the Fourms. Can’t wait for pictures!
Looks like you forgot to log in when you posted this- that’s why it didn’t show up right away. All guest posts have to be moderated.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Oh I can’t wait to see photos and hear more about the physio. Please share when you can, as we learn so much from members around the globe.
We are keeping our fingers crossed for no side effects, do keep us posted. Oh and holler if you’d like help with photos.
Sorry for delay.
Mervyn is 22 days post amputation and doing great. Chemo session 1 had no side effects.
Chemo session 2 was scheduled for today but could not proceed because his white blood cell count too low so he’s on an antibiotic and due to return to check bloods on Wed.
He seemed off form when we got him home but maybe he was just tired. He’s eating as usual.
It makes me wonder about the chemo in terms of ‘what are we putting him through and has he not been through enough already?’
I will have to read photo instructions again and hope to get pics up here soon. Im doing this from an iphone so ill use a pc and see what happens.
Don’t panic, low white blood cell count is pretty typical and not a sign that it’s too much for Mervyn. That he’s eating and mostly acting like himself is a GREAT SIGN.
Here’s a good article series about that topic from Dr. Ettinger of the Dog Cancer Blog, hope you find it useful.
Let us know if you’d like help with photos. Remember you just need to host your photos somewhere then come here and paste the image URL into the forum post you are working on.
22 February 2013
Catching up on handsome Mervyn and glad to hear he’s doing well! I loooove his avatar picture.
My Happy Hannah had four rounds of Carboplatin for osteo. One reason I proceeded with it was that she could stop if there were side effect. So I assume it’s the same with Vinblastine.And yes, having to delay a treatment until the WBC returns to normal is not unusual at all. In fact, there is some “theory” that the low WBC means the chemo is working. It doesn’t sound like Mervyn is having any “bad” side effects, but you know your dog best and you’ll know if he needs to continue or not. My Hapoy Hannah actually liked going to the Vet and liked carrides, so that made it easy to proceed.
And yeah, adjusting to three legs can be a vit tiring and require more naptime. It takes about a month or more for tripawds to get all the kinks worked out in their tripawd gait. Muscles are used in new ways as they become stronger and the gait takes less effort
Give that sweet voy ab extrz trrat for us 😎
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!