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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Newbie... Sharing our story :)
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Member Since:
13 January 2014
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13 January 2014 - 4:57 pm
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Our sweet 10 year old golden girl, Meg, was diagnosed on 11/1/13 with a classic Osteosarcoma tumor in her front left leg.  Devastated doesn't begin to describe what we felt.  I know many of you can relate.  It's a struggle to keep your emotions at bay while gathering information, making all these new decisions quickly and knowing that you made the best possible decisions, too.

Initially, the median survival time we were given was low.  They did not grade the tumor.  They said that our situation was "poor to guarded".  When we did the amputation of her leg, they found the same cancer had spread to her armpit lymph node and to her spleen.  We opted to take the spleen and immediately start on Carboplatin.

On December 30, 2013 we found that the Carboplatin wasn't doing its job.  They found another small tumor in her right kidney.  Bad news, BUT... that means we could start on Palladia.  The oncologist and our regular vet were very happy with this outcome because, as many of you know, Osteosarcoma usually starts in a limb and moves to the lungs.  The fact that this cancer is acting so differently might be what helps us here.  We are SO grateful that we have more options right now!

So, it's a waiting game.  In the meantime we celebrate small victories like going up and down the stairs, chasing the ball, kicking the anemia she had after the amputation and the fact that all her blood work as been amazing throughout this entire process.

Things I learned... Palladia is all about keeping the stomach happy while they are on it.  I give her 1/2 c. of cooked white rice with dinner on the nights of the treatment and she gets prilosec otc 20.6 mg every single day.  It really helps!  I also did some research on the tripawds blog and got the harness (that we only needed for the first 10 days!) and covered our house in those foam interlocking squares so she'd have traction and shock absorption.

We're scheduled to move from California back to Raleigh at the end of this month.  Meg loves car trips and I know that she's going to be thrilled to be reunited with all her friends back in Raleigh.  We can't wait!  There are also osteosarcoma studies at NC state, so we are definitely going to look into that.

I'm looking forward to browsing the tripawds website and forum look forward to getting to know your stories as well!

 

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On The Road


Member Since:
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13 January 2014 - 6:08 pm
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Hello again! I just approved your previous post not having seen this one first. I'm so glad you shared your story here, thank you! Meg is AMAZING and gorgeous and you have a fantastic attitude. YAY! clap

As I said in your other post, cancer often does what it wants but I'm so happy to hear the vets are optimistic about how it's going. And when you go to NC, you'll be in great care there too! We also have quite a few members in NC so be sure to stick around and post in "Tripawd Parties" to try and arrange a meet-up, they're so much fun!

We're happy to have you here and greatly appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience with Palladia, lots of folks come here looking for it. If you'd like to write a guest blog post about it we would be SO grateful!

P.S. Thanks for ordering the harness with us! Even though she doesn't need the assistance now you'll find that when you least expect to need it, it will come in handy so be sure to keep it around :)

 

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

Member Since:
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13 January 2014 - 6:49 pm
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Hi Jerry!

 

Thanks for posting back :)

 

I'm looking forward to checking out the tripawd parties... how fun!

 

I would love to do a guest post on Palladia (after I do a little bit more research on it)!  Especially if I get into a study in Raleigh.  I guess it's the newest and best oral chemo for cancer out there, but it's still not widely used.  My mobile vet in Northern California is AMAZING and she knows a lot about it, too.  She does holistic medicine as well as western.  I may ask her if she would be interested in writing a little bit about it, too.  If anyone is interested in contacting her for service, she's in Pleasanton and the east bay.  I LOVE this vet so much!!  She has helped me every step of the way:  http://www.triv.....levet.com/

 

So happy to be here and thanks again!!

 

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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13 January 2014 - 11:49 pm
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Oh Meg is sooooo sweet! What a beautiful girl with such a gentle happy soul shining tnrough!

So glad you posted here and feel privileged to be on this journey with such an incredible dog...and mom!!

Meg isn't playing the "waiting game"...no siree!! She's getting on with living life to the fullest! She's living in the moment and isn't worried about any silly diagnosis or unreliable statistics! Meg is only focused on how to train yo to spoil ner even more than you already are!!

I keep scrolling back up to look at that photo.....a d each ti e my grin gets wider and wider and she melts my heart more and mlre!smiley

You are not alone, that's for sure!. We are all here to support you anyway we can. We'll all be cheering for Meg! You can just tell she has an exceptionally joyful attitude and that k d of vibrancy is ao implrtant!! and YOU have a wo derful attitude also! All that plsitive energy will surround Meg and help her stay healthy. Good job mom!clap

Wishing you the very best!

Sally and Hapy Hannah

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
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14 January 2014 - 7:53 am
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Oooh yay, thanks for your interest in sharing your Palladia experience. When you're ready, contact me via email or send me a Private Message via the Forums (see the PM button to the right here?) and I'll send you details.

You're so lucky to have such a fantastic vet! Yes, we would LOVE a guest blog post by her. If you want to check with her and ask that would be great, or I would be happy to as well. Let me know and thanks!!

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

Montana
Member Since:
1 February 2013
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14 January 2014 - 8:42 pm
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Welcome Meg! You are beautiful with that happy Golden smile. Thanks for sharing your story.

How odd that the OSA spread to the spleen. Usually that is associated with Mast Cell. Glad they were able to move you to the Palladia as there seems to be some good success with it.

We'll look forward to hearing updates. Have a safe move.

Luanne & Spirit Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

Member Since:
13 January 2014
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12 February 2014 - 1:36 pm
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Here's an update...

I'm sorry to say that as of last week the cancer has spread to both kidneys, the lungs and possibly one of the back legs (aspiration showed "spindle cells".  Oncologist thinks it's probably OS, but too dangerous to biopsy).  We are heartbroken.

We moved from California back to North Carolina (since everything was looking so good!) and she started coughing & breathing harder on the trip.

We stopped the palladia and she got her first round of Doxorubicin immediately.  She has had the most side effects with this drug.  Loss of appetite, diarrhea and lethargy.  Our girl is not herself right now.  I'm hoping that the outside factors (driving across country, staying with our friend that has two little uppity dogs) have contributed to the non-interest in food... but... we won't know until next week when we get another CBC and then more xrays, ultrasounds etc in 2 weeks.  Thankfully, we're moving into a first floor apartment that is close to grass and has zero stairs next week, after the snowpocalypse.  Right now, she is very interested in the foot of snow we are currently getting... she loves to stand out there and sniff around as it falls on her head.  She gets occasional bursts of energy and interest... it's fantastic.

If the Doxorubicin works a miracle and stops it in the lungs, kidneys and any other spread, we'll do radiation on her back ankle to help with the OS back there.  But for now, it's just a wait and see game.

In the meantime, I've tried every single food I can think of to jog her appetite.  Baby food, smoked meats, hamburger, cheeses, dry foods, peanut butter etc etc.  Every day is different, but lately she's been loving milk bone dog biscuits, something we have never given her in the past and peanut butter cookies for people (way too much sugar, but it's something).  And she got very excited for a fancy $9 unusual gourmet cheese my friend had.  Anything she wants, right?  She is on appetite stimulants, but the doctor says that should only be a temporary solution.  Eventually, they stop working and if she doesn't want to eat on her own, then... it's probably the disease and we are close to the end.

I've never had to put a pet down... and she feels more like a daughter than a dog.  This is my first dog and not a family pet, which we didn't have many of.  I've never been directly involved with anyone who had to watch their animal slowly decline.  This is all new.  I'm SO scared for the next few months.  I don't want her to suffer but how do you make that decision??  Even when my Grandmother wasn't eating, not getting fluids and on more oxygen than anyone on this planet, I was in complete denial thinking she'd come home.  It all doesn't "register" in my little brain, you know?

Thankfully we have a support system here that we did not have in California and Meg loves SO many people here... so, that's a plus, I suppose.

Thanks for your support... I was hoping we'd be sharing great news and I could give encouragement to other folks dealing with OS.  But, maybe... we'll get some good news?  Stranger things have happened.

 

On The Road


Member Since:
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12 February 2014 - 5:11 pm
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Oh guys my heart sank when I read this, I'm so sorry. I know this is tough, but please hold out hope, you're right, stranger things have happened and we've seen dogs bounce back after a root cause was uncovered. I hope this is something that can be alleviated with lots and lots of great food and treats (yes, anything they want!). Did you see these Tripawds Nutrition Blog posts about appetite simulation?

When it comes to coping with loss, I encourage you to visit  the Tripawds Chat Room some evening where you'll usually find folks, and tune in to our Tripawd Talk Radio episode about Pet Hospice Care, this weekend. You will learn a lot from these great folks.  You may also want to scan through these Coping with Loss posts about how to get through this very difficult scenario.

I hope that she has a lot more time left with you to enjoy these fun new new surroundings. Hang in there and please keep us posted, we are thinking of you.

 

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

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 February 2014 - 10:55 pm
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You have a very empowering outlook and that's very important for you AnD Meg.

Glad to hear the snow gives her a burst of fun. Goldens seem to find funin anythingmthedo!

My computer ekyboard (tavlet)#is freezing up so I'll have to right more later. Too muc snow zi guess. I'm in Virginia and we're getting the same as North Carolina as far as snow and sleet. Ugh!

ZFor now, just take it day by day. Meg will probavly have somemups and downs, some good days and "less good days". If she's still engaged and fi ds joy in just being with you and all her friends, that's a good sign.

Is Meg n a steroid prednisone) to help with the appetite?

It could definitey be the chemo treatment causing the loss of appetite.

Will write more i a.m. You hang in there okay? You two are together now and that's all that matters to Meg! Stayin the moment and let NOTHING rob you of this sacred time togetherz! Nothing!

Sendingnyou love nd healing energy.

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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7 April 2015 - 8:44 pm
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I went back and read my posts and I don't even remember posting a few of them.  We were so wrapped up in what was going on, you lose time and memory.  We lost Meg on 2/25/14.  A few days earlier, she collapsed and couldn't get up.  Her back legs were so swollen from whatever cancer was in them, that she couldn't stand.  We got her a little cart to take her on walks and she loved it.  On the night before we had to let her go, she could no longer control her bowels.  She wasn't eating, but she was drinking.  She wouldn't look up at us.  The vet said that the only way she would survive is to be hospitalized and put on fluids in a hospice type setup.  I knew she would hate that.  The alternative was unthinkable.  So, we said goodbye.  I hope we did the right thing at the right time.  I hope we did right by her.

We were told 4 months, we got just under that.  I look back at the amputation and wonder if it was the right thing to do.  Then I look at videos of my happy, wagging tripawd rolling in the sand, the grass... barking at squirrels, sitting up in the car and holding her head out the window.  When we got back to North Carolina, she was the little social butterfly, hopping door to door to see each of our old neighbors... it was so wonderful.  She was pain free.  It was quality time that I am SO grateful for. 

Here she is in her cart...

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It's cliche... but I've never loved and hurt like this.  But that face... it is SO worth it.

 

p.s... I had a VERY hard time absorbing all the news, especially any bad news, and sort of... argued with the vets more than I should have.  Every time we saw a vet, we were getting bad news so my "silver lining" machine was close to broken.  Coincidentally, Meg's main oncologist (one of the many that I was hard on) did a Q & A in the SF Gate Newspaper about osteosarcoma, urging people to consider amputation and to be realistic about diagnosis.  He's the type of doc that would tell you how it is, not sugar coat it.  I appreciate his honesty, but it made me want to yell and fight... I guess this is just another life lesson, don't shoot the messenger!  An insightful article, if you are interested AND he links to tripawds.com:

http://www.sfga.....386978.php

Member Since:
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7 April 2015 - 8:57 pm
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And here are more pics of her and 2 videos... because she is beautiful (and I can't help myself)

 

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Nutmeg Goes for a Ride! from Rather Large Robot on Vimeo.

 

Nutmeg Eats Cheerios from Rather Large Robot on Vimeo.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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7 April 2015 - 10:07 pm
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Our Dear Sweet Meg...we are all crying with you. This part of the journey is sooo darn hard.

You did everything PERFECTLY for your beautiful Nutmeg...just perfectly and wrapped in so much love!

As we cry with yoi, we also smile with you as we look at these delightful pictures of your girl! And yes, she does love her little carriage custom designed for the Royalty that she is!!! She looks so content, so secure, very much at leace.

And that picture of her as a puppy...OMD! Soooo cute!! And riding in the car with her cool dude sunglasses..adorable!!

Meg, Nutmeg was so lpved and so cared for. You released her from hre earthly body that no longer served her. You did it with love and selflessness. She k ew she could count on you when she needed you most. You NEVER disappointed her, you always protected her and made every single day a joyful one for her.

Those four months were "worth" it indeed!! More tummy rubs, more treats, more snuggles, more bliss in nature, more loving and spoiling than most dogs get in a lifetime!!! And ya' know what? In doggy hears four months is clpse to three hears! You bet Nutmeg says it was worth it!!

This journey is so intense. "Outsiders" could never understand the depth of love and the unbreakable bond we have with our tripawds. And the grief is seemingly unbearable and never ending. The void after caring for a tripawd and the break in the routine of watching their every move and caring for their every need...gut wrenching. I cried every single day for two months. I still cry, but time does dull the grief most of the time. Every nlw and then it can sneak up on you with a raw intensity as though kt just happened all over again.

We know our dogs want us to be happy and we knkw they left us with thousands of days of happy memories for us to help heal our hearts. And from the looks of these pictures, you have a gazillion happy memories to warm your heart and put a smile in your face!!

Nutmeg is at the Bridge now running free and frolicing in huge snowbanks! He then runs over to heated pristine lakes for a wonderful swim. She has all the gourmet cheese she wants for breakfast and she uses Milkbones as her crackers!

Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos of Nutmeg. I'll have to come back and look at the videos in the morning. My tavlet isn't working veey well right now. PLEASE stay connected and share more of Nutmeg's adventures as one of the world's sweetest Goldens!! And more pictures of course!

Nutmeg IS an I spiration! She never let that liece of crap disease touch her Spirit or weaken her Soul! She loved her life to the fullest and loved having n you as her Soul mate!!

Surrounding you with Nutmeg's eternal grace

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Norene, TN
Member Since:
21 October 2014
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8 April 2015 - 1:32 pm
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You're right, she is absolutely beautiful. What a gentle face. We went through a similar experience with our Harmony, just a different kind of cancer. From the sounds of how sick she was you were so lucky to have her for the length of time you did.

What beautiful pictures and memories. :)

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 April 2015 - 11:17 am
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I wish I had the words to adequately say "I'm sorry for your loss." All of us are very, very sad to read this. I was so hoping for a happy update but I understand that isn't how life always works and I'm just so sad for you.

Please just know that you did the most compassionate thing for your beautiful Meg. It's not cliche at all to feel the way you are, our dogs are miracles on paws and they change our lives in so many beautiful ways. Letting go is a tough thing to do, who wants to say goodbye to that kind of love right? We've all felt that here.

Thank you for sharing more photos of her. I hope that looking at them, and the adorable videos, helps you cope with your grief and start to heal. Would you mind if I shared your story in our Tripawd Tuesday feature? Realizing that not everyone is so fortunate to get more than the time you had together, your perspective on everything that happened is so helpful to others.

And thanks for the article of Dr. Shaw's. Getting a referral like that from a vet is the highest honor we can receive and I'm trying to get in touch with him to thank him. How great you got to work with a forward-thinking doc like him.

We are here for you, now and always, and celebrating Meg's life with you and the community. She was one of a kind.  xoxo

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

Martinsburg, WV
Member Since:
3 June 2014
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9 April 2015 - 1:16 pm
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I am so sorry for your loss of your precious Meg.  She's a beautiful girl!!!  And those eyes...just heart melting!  I know the loss of a Tripawd is extremely hard.  I truly believe through this journey of amputation that our bonds become even deeper with our precious fur kids.

Just know that your girl was greeted at the Bridge by all her Tripawd brothers and sisters who've gone before her.  She's up there romping through fields playing with her tripawd siblings.  She is again young and healthy.  And she will be there to greet you when it's your time to leave this earth. 

Sahana and her Angel Leland

Leland

November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

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