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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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Morgan's situation - Is amputation right for her
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East Greenville, PA
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16 February 2010
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9 September 2010 - 8:25 am
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Morgan is my 8.5 year old Rottie.  I took her to the vet last Friday (September 3, 2010), and she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.  She has a pretty obvious tumor in her left front leg. 

She had been limping on this leg for quite some time, but we figure she had pulled something.  She had ACL surgery on her rear leg of the same side back in March.  We thought that she may have been compensating for the rear leg and injured the front. 

She is a very petite Rottie at only about 70 lbs.  So the vet seems to think she will adapt ok to the amputatuion. 

She has had ACL surgery on both rear legs, and I am very concerned about the extra stress that amputation will put on those legs.

Anyone have any advice ? ? ? 

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 9:10 am
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Hi Robin, thanks for starting a topic to share Morgan's story! If you aven't already done so, be sure to bookmark Jerry's Required Reading List for lots of answers to common questions, recovery tips, and diet/nutrition advice. You should also check out Nikki the Rott's blog for inspiration from another Rottie cancer hero.

Below is a video interview we did with Nikki's pack. Her packmate Buddy was also diagnosed with cancer and they chose not to amputate, proceeding instead with radiation and alternative treatments. He did not fare so well, but the last we heard is that Nikki is still doing great.

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

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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9 September 2010 - 9:32 am
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The thing to remember is that with dogs (4 legged) they place ~60% of their weight on their front legs.  For Morgan, it might be better that she have a front leg amputation because if she had a back leg amped, she would have only one back leg with a previous surgery trying to support the rest of her back end weight.  In that case she might be more likely to injure it.  

However, since Morgan will have a front amputation, she will probably have more even weight distribution on her back legs, which might work out better for her in her situation. If you are still worried then you can always go to another vet or oncologist and see what their opinion is about her having a front leg amputation. 

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog


Member Since:
22 August 2008
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9 September 2010 - 10:48 am
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My Tazzie was a 185# pound Mastiff and she had both of her ACLs replaced prior to the amputation of her RF leg (due to osteosarcoma).  She did really well and lived for 14 months until the cancer came back in her spine.  I did notice that she developed some arthritis in her remaining shoulder but she was a giant dog so that front leg did have to take on a lot of weight.  She was able to run and to walk up short flights of stairs although we did try to limit those. 

If your vet thinks that your dog is a good candidate for surgery then I would pursue that ASAP since bone cancer is a painful thing.

Pam

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24 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 11:27 am
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@tazziedog Thanks Pam!

@rlukens FYI: Pam is a vet.

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

East Greenville, PA
Member Since:
16 February 2010
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9 September 2010 - 11:44 am
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We just can't decide if amputation is the right thing to do for Morgan.  We want to do what we can to make her feel as good as possible for as long as possible.   I had pretty much decided that amputation was the right option, but now that she has been on the pain meds since she was diagnosed on Friday, she is feeling so much better.  It is such a difficult decision !!!

Thank you all for your support! 

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 11:59 am
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But she's only feeling "better" because of the meds, and the cancer continues to grow.

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

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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9 September 2010 - 1:27 pm
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Welcome Morgan and family!

 

So very sorry about the diagnoses of Morgan.  It's a gut-wrenching decision but unfortunately, it has to be done and done quickly.  You just can't waffle on this. The pain meds are only masking the pain and probably not too well.  Dogs can handle so much more than we can and bone cancer is seriously painful.  Think,  breaking a bone and not getting it fixed - the pain is almost unbearable for humans.

 

Also, we see too often being here that the leg bone can break so easily.  Sammy's mom will probably chime in since it happened to her boy.  It happened just a couple of days before the amputation and he was in the most unbeleivable pain and was hospitalized prior to the amputation.  I promise you, you don't want that to happen and the chances are extremely high!  Plus, everyday you don't do it, the cancer can spread.

 

We are here for you and will help you, but please don't hesitate on the surgery.  It's the only option.

Best wishes,

Comet's mom

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 2:47 pm
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Hi Morgan's Mom, after our chat this week, I came across this post you might be interested in:

My Dog is Limping, But No Pain

If you decide against amputation, you can also look into bisphosphonates and limb sparing.

Bisphosphonates: When Amputation isn’t an Option

Bisphosponates will not get rid of the cancer, but help with better pain control. Limb sparing is still in its infancy but has helped some dogs live longer lives without amptation. However, it's an expensive procedure with a high failure rate. But it's something to look into if amputation isn't right for Morgan.

No matter what you decide, we will support you here. All of us understand what a difficult decision this is.

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

East Greenville, PA
Member Since:
16 February 2010
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9 September 2010 - 3:57 pm
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OK, so here is the plan… I think.  I will schedule the surgery next week.  No chemo, just natural suppliments and diet adjustments.  My shipment of K-9 immunity plus should arrive on Monday, I'll start that right away.  I have an order in for Wysong's new Starch-free kibble, that should arrive on Wednesday, and I will begin to work that in to her diet.  I am still learning about the recommended diet, there is so much to learn.  Sound like a reasonable plan ? 

Arizona
Member Since:
28 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 5:12 pm
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 My girl, Tasha, was 8 years old when diagnosed with osa in her lf leg. She had her amputation a little over 11 months ago.  She is about 15 pounds heavier than Morgan and has done really good on 3 legs.  I  am glad to read that you are going to do the amputation and soon that painful leg will be gone. 

 

 Jo Ann & Tasha

Tasha 8 years old, First cancer diagnosis 6/26/09, Last cancer diagnosis 9/26/09, Amputation 10/01/09, Loving our girl moment by moment.

Tasha lost her battle and became my Angel on May 4 2011. Forever in my heart….

East Greenville, PA
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16 February 2010
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9 September 2010 - 5:18 pm
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Thanks Jo Ann!  It's nice to hear encouraging stories like Tasha's.  How was the recovery after surgery for Tasha?   Did you follw up with Chemo after the amputation? 

Arizona
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28 September 2009
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9 September 2010 - 5:31 pm
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 No we did not do any Chemo with Tasha. Tasha had a few really bad days during her recovery on days 4 & 5 we had to increase her pain meds for those two days but on day 6 things turned around for her and by day 9 she was off all pain meds. Today she is active, happy and spoiled, and I wouldn't want it any other way. winker 

Tasha 8 years old, First cancer diagnosis 6/26/09, Last cancer diagnosis 9/26/09, Amputation 10/01/09, Loving our girl moment by moment.

Tasha lost her battle and became my Angel on May 4 2011. Forever in my heart….

East Greenville, PA
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16 February 2010
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9 September 2010 - 6:03 pm
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Wow!  Off all pain meds by day 9, THAT sounds great!!!  Morgan is a pretty strong willed girl, I can only pray that she bounces back that well!  We adopted Morgan when she was about a year old, she had been malnourished & abused.  She has come so far from the scared, skinny little pup we adopted.  We just want to do whatever is best for her, and protect her from as much pain as we can.   

Los Angeles
Member Since:
2 November 2009
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9 September 2010 - 9:02 pm
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I'm just catching up. First of all so sorry you are faced with this diagnosis.  My Mackenzie (golden - 80lbs) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a year ago.  When we first got the diagnosis we decided not to opt for the amputation but instead do palliative radiation. Big mistake because Mackenzie ended up not responding to the treatment because she fractured her leg due to the cancer and we didn't know it at the time.  She was in incredible pain - much more than I ever realized.  It was 2 months later that we finally decided to do the amputation as it was the only option left - either that or lose her which wasn't an option.  I'm proud to say that she's still doing great - 10 months now as a tripawd and we have no regrets whatsoever.  It was the best decision we could have ever made.  I was one of those dense owners that just couldn't fathom the idea of amputation and I regret that I didn't make the decision to amputate sooner knowing what I know now.  Mackenzie swims, runs, climbs hills and does everything she used to do before her diagnosis.   So I've become such an advocate now of amputation - it really is the only option that gives your dog back the quality of life it so deserves.  I know you have to make your own decision and whatever decisioin you do make will be the right one for you.  And if it's any consolation to you, I didn't think Mackenzie could handle this amputation either when we went through this but she proved me totally wrong!

Good luck with everything! laugh

Kami (Mackenzie's Mom)

My sweet golden Mackenzie.  She became my angel on Dec 29, 2010 at the age of 8 1/2  although she was always my angel from the time we brought her home.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Sept 2009 and officially became a tripawd (front leg) on Nov 5, 2009.  She will be forever in my heart and now she's running free with all of our other tripawd heroes.  I love you Mackenzie!

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