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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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New to Osteosarcoma - Recent Diagnosis
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Here and Now


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18 January 2009 - 2:36 am
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DaneDad said:

… having their nuerologist look and the exrays they took of her neck vertabrae…


Good idea. Be sure to check out the story of Moose – a Harlequin Great Dane who beat cancer and Wobblers Syndrome by Loving Life On Three Legs for more than two years!

Glad to hear you got your big baby back home. Thanks for the update and best wishes for good test results.

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19 January 2009 - 9:16 am
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Thanks for the story on Moose, it's quite an inspiration!!  I guess the “Wobbler's Syndrome” isn't actually something she has, but maybe somethingthey can detect might happen later on in life…. 

Thanks Sue and nova for taking an interest to my unfair circumstance.  Everything I hear and read, just makes it that much easier and why this website is sooo very effective.  I'd still by chasing MY tail if it wasnt for this place.

No word yet from the College, hopefully today or tomorrow.  Fingers Crossed!

Trevor and Alexis

Here and Now


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19 January 2009 - 8:48 pm
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DaneDad said:

I guess the “Wobbler's Syndrome” isn't actually something she has…


Coincidentally, we just met Moose's pack leaders who now have Hazel, a big beautiful Harlequin pup.

It turns out Moose's problems may have derived from Megaesophagus, another neurological disorder presenting in the neck.

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3 February 2009 - 9:34 am
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Well, I am surely at a crossroads here…   All test are negative and Alexis can under-go any treatment we wish.  The only problem is that not only is it my decision, it is also the decision of my partner.  Unlike myself, she has had dogs in her life growing up, I waiting 27 years to get my first dog once I lived on my own.  I gave her all the treatment options and explained them the best I could, but her answer is that there is no right answer.  Meaning that you can only buy time and not cure the disease.  Money isn't even an issue because the college has a study going on which she qualifies for and they pay for the amputation surgery ($2000-$3000) and we are left to pay for Chemo, which could run upto to $2000 itself.  I'm all about fighting this cancer, i don't believe such a terrible disease should take over without a battle, her on the other hand just wants to keep her comfortable till it takes over.  I never thought this would be an issue or so challenging!  Everyday that goes by untreated means that the cancer is getting away easy and slowly taking over.  I think I will get the college Dr. to talk to her and maybe that will change her mind……..

Linden, MI
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3 February 2009 - 10:26 am
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Hi Trevor,

I was so glad to see an update on Alexis.  I am so sorry you are in this position. Perhaps you can convince your partner to go through with the amputation, then take more time to discuss the chemo afterwards? I have been told over and over that the pain of osteosarcoma is excrutiating, and is much more pain for the dog than an amputation. If your partner's goal is to keep Alexis comfortable, the amp gives you a much better chance of spending the rest of your time with Alexis being “herself” rather than being doped up on pain meds. I am sure your doctor has mentioned the risk of bone breakage, which would mean even worse pain. When Nova went in for her amp, they noted that the bone had already fractured so we made it just in time.

It's true that the chemo just buys more time. We all have to decide what is important to each of us. My husband and I did not agree on Nova's chemo, and it got to the point where he just opted to look the other way and stop arguing about it. That's not ideal, but our discussions got us to the point where he backed down because it meant so much to me to try. I love my dogs like my kids, so I would want to do anything for them that I would do for my kids. The decision was easier with Nova because the chemo has had no side effects, if chemo affected her the way it does a human, I probably would have not done it.

Is your partner concerned that the chemo will make Alexis sick? Is she worried that Alexis won't adjust after the amputation? Have you shared with her any of the information you've found here on Tripawds? I wish I could help you more, but I think having the Doctor speak with her is the best thing. My Doctor was very adamant with me, actually she scared me so much that I had the surgery done the next day.

Please know that we are thinking positive thoughts for you and Alexis every day.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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4 February 2009 - 2:10 pm
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There are no wrong answers here either. Best wishes with whatever you decide. Just remember – and remind your partner – that your cancer treatment plan should be all about quality of life, not quantity. Thanks for the update!

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 February 2009 - 2:20 pm
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DaneDad, yes, your partner is correct in saying that the amputation doesn't cure the cancer, and chemo is just buying more time. But like Sue said, does your partner really want to see your fur kid in a dopey haze those last few weeks?

I like Sue's suggestion; do the amp, and wait and see if that will be a good compromise with your partner. My pawrents opted not to do chemo at first. They waited until over a year later to investigate it, and put me on the Metronomic protocol. To be honest, chemo was something they didn't really understand at the time, and they didn't feel it was right for our situation. All they saw were the bad aspects about the treatment, and they were scared. It took a while for them to see that there were ways of helping me to fight the cancer that would work for all of us. And it did. I lived almost 2 years, past my diagnosis. Not all dogs will go this far, but many have, including lots of giant breed dogs.

You are in such an incredibly fortunate situation, being with a university that will pay such a huge brunt of the cost.Wow. What college is it again?

In a way, every one of us is buying time on this earth, aren't we? Whether we be dog or human, all of us want to spend as many days on earth healthy and happy, don't you think? Nobody truly wants to rollover and not give life a good fight, I think.

Yes, take your partner to talk to more experts about the treatment options. Sounds like she just needs more information to be comfortable about it. We feel for you, and send our good vibes your way. Good luck.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 February 2009 - 10:15 pm
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jerry said:

In a way, every one of us is buying time on this earth, aren't we? Whether we be dog or human, all of us want to spend as many days on earth healthy and happy, don't you think? Nobody truly wants to rollover and not life a good fight, I think.


AMEN jerry…well said.

Dane Dad – we are sending pawsitive thoughts and healing energy your way as you and your partner make your decision.

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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7 February 2009 - 10:23 pm
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Dane Dad

I know it is a tough decision. That is great if they cover the expense of some of this treatment. I wouldn't bother doing the biopsy. Each case affects every dog different so it is tough to say the life expectancy. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Heidi

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9 February 2009 - 12:58 pm
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Well, lots has happened since I last posted….  Because Alexis was able to be enrolled ina  study, I think this helped sway a decision, although my mind was made up.  Alexis is booked for her first Chemo treatment of Doxorubicine on Thursday at 1pm.  They will do 2 Chemo treatments before, do the the Amputation, the follow up with four more Chemo treatments. Once the study is complete they will reimburse us $2400.  Basically we pay for the Chemo treatments, or other way around.  Chemo will be between $300-$400 each time because of her size. 

We had a scare Friday night, I took the dog into town to do some running around and we went for a short walk ito the bank and then back home.  Friday night she was limping much more then usual, she would hardly put any weight on her front left leg.  We though we would sleep on it and Saturday morning was no better.  We called the Ontario Vet Clinic at the University of Guelph, and asked if was possible to start her on Tramadol.  They said yes , they could call in a prescription for us, but were concerned that there could be a pathological fracture…..and since the College is 3 hours away, we took Alexis to our local vet for X Rays.  Another scary time waiting for results, if the bone was fractured, that would put an end to the study and change everything.  Thankfully a little good news came from the situation when the vet said her X Rays were clear, no fractures!!  I guess looking back I did just a little too much with her on Friday and maybe caused some inflammation.  Now Alexis is on Tramadol and Deramaxx and seems to be doing just fine.  Just need to be super careful these next 5 weeks before surgery. 

We also started her on a non carbohydrate diet, ever so slowly mixing it in with her regular food. I really surprised she ate it, I know I wouldn't!  So much garlic and tofu and cabbage tomatoes, yuck!  but i guess the beef and liver in some what yummy, we saved the water we boiled the meat in and use it as a gravy/broth. 

Anyway, had so much to say, Anyone know much about Doxo?  I read that its very Cardiotoxic?  and that Vitamin E can help stop the toxicity??  I'm sure the College is aware of this and will have recommendations as well. 

Thanks Again all for reading and posting your help/concerns! 

Alexis and Trevor

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 February 2009 - 3:05 pm
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Trevor,

That's good news that you've come to some decisions, it sounds like progress is being made! Alexis will be feeling better soon, that's so great.

These dogs hide their pain so well, we're glad that she didn't hurt herself. Part of the recovery process that you'll go through, is gauging the amount of activity she can handle. It's a real learning experience to learn how not to let her overdo it, but it's very critical that she build up enough muscle strength in her remaining legs to handle even the shortest of walks during the first few months. Be sure to check out our Health Tips page in the section about diet and exercies.

About vitamin E…our friend Tazziedog (resident vet) said during our last chat:

Water soluble vitamins like B,C are okay because the dog will urinate out what it doesn't need. You have to be careful with fat-soluble ones like A,D,E because they are stored in the liver and can be overdone

Definitely talk to your oncology folks about supplements. So they're doing the chemo first before the amp? I don't believe we've run across that scenario before. Did they say why?

It's so great she's liking her new diet too! What a girl!

Thanks for the update. Hang in there.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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10 February 2009 - 12:11 am
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Trevor,

The vet school will surely do an ultrasound of her heart and maybe a heart enzyme test (BNP test) prior to using Adriamycin since Great Danes are a breed that is prone to cardiomyopathy (occult heart disease).  Vitamin E does not prevent heart damage due to chemo but there is a drug (Zinecard?) that serves this purpose.  I would not give any antioxidants, even Vitamin E without checking first, since she is in a study.  They might have special rules!

Pam and Tazzie

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10 February 2009 - 1:15 pm
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Yea, I definately have a lot of questions to ask when I get up there.  I'm not 100% sure on why 2 rounds of Chemo before the Amp, but it has something to do with the effects it has on the cancer.  Another thing I'll have to find more about.  So many things you read about what stops this and cures that,. it's quite overwhelming!!!  They did mention an UltraSound before hand and I'm sure they are aware of the effects of the drug, but doesn't hurt to ask questions, it's all new to me! 

The only thing she is on now is DeraMaxx 150mg, once a day and Tramadol, 100mg every 12 hours.

The rest is her normal food and the new diet we are slowly introducing… I noticed she doesn't like the texture of cabbage so that it put into the blender along with everything else!  Oh and the vet suggested an Omega capsule, looks like a capsule full of stinky fish oil, so we purchased those and give her that once a day.  He said it would help with the Chemo.  I'll bring everything up to the College on Thursday and see what they have to say, or if it interferes in their study.

Trevor and Alexis

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