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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 Tripod-Lady Jayne
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
16 May 2019
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18 May 2019 - 12:39 pm
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My Saint Bernard, Lady Jayne (we call her Lady), became a tripod on May 8, 2019. I first noticed a lump on her right front leg about 2 weeks ago. When I saw it, I was immediately terrified. We had a dog about 20 years ago that had osteosarcoma and my mind immediately raced to this diagnosis, though I really hoped and prayed I was wrong. We brought her to our vet the next day and based on the feel of it and the xrays of the bone, our vet didn’t initially think it was osteosarcoma. She aspirated some fluid, and it showed some inflammatory cells along with some atypical cells. A punch biopsy was done a few days later, and that gave us my most feared diagnosis. Lady DID have osteosarcoma.

Lady is 11 1/2 years old and additional tests showed she has hip dysplasia in her rear hips and arthritis in her rear feet, which is not unusual for her breed and age. However her blood test results were more consistent with a much younger dog. Xrays also showed her lungs to be clear and our vet said it didn’t look like the cancer had spread. In fact she staged it as a Stage 1, which meant that along with chemotherapy, Lady should be able to do well as a tripod. I tried to do as much research online as I could and was very encouraged by You Tube videos that showed dogs doing amazingly well after amputation. Nevertheless, this was one of the most difficult decisions my husband and I ever had to make as pet parents. We adopted Lady just 8 months ago and have fallen in love with her! She is the sweetest and best behaved dog we’ve ever had. We felt like we were between a rock and a hard place. Do we do nothing and have Lady die in a few months? Or do we amputate her right front leg and possibly ruin the quality of her life? We opted for the surgery and the possibility of extending her life and her time with us.

Lady came through the surgery well and after a two-night stay in the hospital, she came home. It has taken us several days to figure out how best to help our Lady. Initially we had mattresses set up in the family room for her, since that is where we spend the most time. But the slick wood floors and the distance to the front door made it difficult to get Lady out the front door to the yard to go potty. So we moved her mattresses to the dining room, which is close to the front door and carpeted, which gave her much better traction . We used towels to support her and then switched to two fleece lined slings to help lift her. The slings are good but they slip. So then we decided to use the sling to support her back half and a harness with a handle to support her front half. This works pretty well but because she is so long, we really need a larger and longer harness. Thankfully, I found your Tripawd site online and have ordered a Web Master Plus Harness with brush guard. I think this may be just what we need to give Lady the proper support for walking and other daily activities. I can hardly wait for it to arrive in the mail.

Lady has truly amazed me at how hard she is trying to adapt to being a tripod. She is able to get herself up and walk a few steps on her own before getting tired. Mostly we try to give her support when she walks. She has been great about giving us signals and getting outside in time to pee or poop. We did have one bad poop accident, but it was our fault for not reacting quickly enough. We hope that with time and practice, we will all adapt to this new life. This Wednesday she will get her stitches removed and will have her first chemotherapy session. It is another hurdle that we aren’t looking forward to, but the sooner it’s all done, the sooner we can all hopefully get on with being optimistic about Lady’s future.

We are working at improving her appetite. Right now dog food doesn’t interest her as much as people food. She loves little wieners and cheese wrapped up in ham or turkey. At this point, I’m  just glad to have found something she will eat. Lady does seem to sleep a lot. I know she needs to rest to recuperate. I also know that she is not in pain because she sleeps so well. But I wonder if she is depressed about the change in her life and is that why she is sleeping so much? We do get her up and outside at least 4 times a day, and sometimes 5 or 6 times a day. 

I am so very glad to have found the Tripawd website!! You provide a wealth of information and I am so grateful to you!

Here and Now


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18 May 2019 - 1:20 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Lady! Thank you for sharing her story. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Start here for help finding the many other Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3503
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18 May 2019 - 1:22 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry you are dealing with OSA again! You said its been 20 years but I bet it still brings back some tough memories.

Lady sounds like she is doing well overall. She does need to rest, and I would guess that the sleepiness is partly due to pain meds, which ones is she on?  It is also very tiring for a new Tripawd to get around even with help.  Our surgeon told us that Maggie was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks, I think I took her out 2 or 3 times a day.  I probably took her more often if it seemed she had to go potty.

Picky eating is very common at this point, you are on the right track feeding her what she will eat.   Is she drinking OK?  If not you might try adding some low or no sodium added chicken broth to her water, or some tuna water.  Sally even swirled a bit of vanilla ice cream in her pup’s water dish!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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18 May 2019 - 2:15 pm
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Thank you for welcoming Lady and me to your group. I really appreciate your advice and encouraging words that we seem to be on the right track with Lady’s recovery. She is drinking but I will try to get her to drink more, and the chicken broth idea is great. She might drink more if she likes the flavor. She is currently on Gallaprant to manage her pain. Initially she was on the Gallaprant as well as Gabapentin for pain. Our vet decided to stop the Gabapentin in hopes that Lady would be more alert and therefore more willing to try to walk. That does seem to have helped and her pain seems to still be managed well.

After Lady gets her stitches removed and we go through a round of chemotherapy in a few days, I’ll report back. No doubt I will need more advice from all of you who have gone through this already. 



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18 May 2019 - 8:11 pm
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Welcome to the club no one wants to join.   I am sorry to hear about her diagnosis.    We tend to project our feelings on our dogs.  They live in the moment.  She probably is glad that painful limb is gone.  

Feeding her what she wants to eat is good so you can get those pain meds into her. 

Keep us informed on how she is doing

Michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17469
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18 May 2019 - 8:55 pm
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Clearly Lady Jayne picked uou eifht months ago to travel this special tripawd joirney woth you!  You have already done more mthan sone yo ensure Lady will have a quality  pain free life!

And ditto Karen and Michelle’s good feedback.  

Ot is still early after MAJOR surgery.  Lady is a big gal and a bit on rhe “mature” side.  She has a lot of things to deal with, recovering  from the surgery  all while adjusting to three legs. Many Vets say it takes a good two weeks to recover  from the surgery itself, and avout a month for the muscles to adjust to the new gait.

As you’ve  already seen, hardwood floors require  non slip scatter rugs fot  traction and confidence building any to prevent dangerous falls.

And of yoj ahve and sense at sll thst Lady is in pain (dogs are so stoic), so not hesi6 to reintroduce  Gabapentin, along with Tramadol.   Most dogs are on pain meds for about two weeks, and some three to four weeks with tapering.   It’s  better to have a pup a bit lethargic  rather than in pain.

The good thing about chemo is you can always stop if side effects are too harsh…..which is rare.  Some dogs may be a bit lethargic or maybe a bit nauseous  around day three to five. The Onco will give you Cerenia for that.  Some give their dogs a few doses of Cerenia just as case.  My Happy Hannah had four rounds of Carboplatin  and sailed through them with no problem.

Keep us posted AND we would love pictures of uour beautiful  Lady Jayne😎

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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19 May 2019 - 6:51 pm
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I can’t believe I am writing to tell you all this. My sweet Lady Jayne crossed over the rainbow bridge this evening. She had been doing so great post her amputation surgery and we were so amazed at her fighting spirit despite her advanced age and what she’s been through. We fed her around 5 pm and then she rested for about 1 1/2 hours before we got her up to go outside. When she got up we noticed her breathing seemed strained. It only got worse! She was soon really struggling to breathe. We called the nearest emergency vet and told them we were bringing her in. I was suspecting bloat. They examined her quickly and did an ultrasound and determined it was not bloat, but instead Lady had a build up of fluid around her heart. They said they could drain the fluid, but it would not buy her much time. So here we were faced with another horrible decision to make and we decided to not let Lady suffer any more. She died very peacefully. I am still in shock and numb. She was the sweetest fur baby and such a fighter. I will miss her so much.

i thank you all so much who wrote to me with encouragement and suggestions. You are all so wonderful and this website was a real source of comfort for me with Lady’s osteosarcoma diagnosis and her amputation surgery. Thank you so much!

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25118
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19 May 2019 - 7:53 pm
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Ohhhh noooo! Wow I am stunned and so sad for you guys, “sorry” doesn’t do it justice. What a heartbreaker.

Your sweet girl knew she was loved to her last breath, you were the best humans she could have asked for. Lady Jayne picked you out because she just knew you would always be there for her. And you were!! Now, as an eternal, loving spirit, she will always be there for you.

My heart aches for you, I wish I had something to ease the grief. Please do share more about her when and if you feel up to it. We are here for you.

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




Forum Posts: 17469
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19 May 2019 - 8:11 pm
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Noooo! I cannot believe  what I’m  reading! Completely  gutted to hear this.  Heartbroken  doesn’t  even begin to describe.the bone deep sadnessI feel for you and with you.

Zero words to say right now.  Zero.  

I want to come back when I can get my thoughts together without  so many tears.  I’m just so sorry, so very, very very sorry.

I can say this though without hesitation  and with absolute  certainty.   Lady Jayne never felt more love, more joy, more happiness  than she has with you these past eight months.  I hope with all my heart that gives you some comfort knowing Lady crossed over to the other side of this life surrounded by your love.

Surrounding you with Lady Jayne’s eternal light. A light as bright as hers can never be dimmed.💖💖💖

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie 

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!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17469
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19 May 2019 - 8:24 pm
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Screenshot_20180903-153052_Google.jpgImage Enlarger

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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20 May 2019 - 6:35 am
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so sorry for your loss,

I wish I had more to say icon_cry my heart aches for you



Forum Posts: 3467
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20 May 2019 - 11:14 am
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I am so sorry to hear about Lady Jayne’s crossing.   This is the hardest part of our journey especially when it is so unexpected.   Please watch for signs I know that Lady Jayne will be giving you some. 

Run free sweet Angel.

Hugs

Michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

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