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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My life is centered around animals. I KNOW I was given a special gift, and have the ability to sooth the most distressed creature. Sadly, I have a sweatheart (young Newfoundland) who is a VERY special and angelic creature who has been diagnosed with Osteo carcinoma in her upper right elbow. They all stated by the radiographs and bone biopsy, it clearly is OsteoCarcinoma. Sadly, as you well know it is a VERY quick, aggressive and painful.It is killing me to know her future is this, when at this moment, although with a now 2 month chronic limp,I see a happy tail wagging loving soulmate, wanting to only be by my side. I do voluntary animal rescue. All creatures I hold dear to me, far more than what would be considered the norm. It is my life , and I am theirs when they come to me in need. At the moment she is in some pain, yet is comfortable with my being on top with minimal pain meds.. My prayers are to possibly cure or at least put this horrific deadly cancer into remission without radical options, but I am told it is these radical options that will prolong her life.But it seems these options only will give her at most an extra year if in fact they are all correct, and radical would be complete amputation of her front leg, which to me for SUCH a large breed would be emotionally and physically horrific for her. ESPECIALLY My dear Faye Raye, who's favorite is to cup a Carrot or bone between her front legs. I have obviously been all over the internet for miracles for this precious dog, who was so abused before she came here, and FINALLY has a chance to have a loving home, and know what love is. I and am very organic, but am fearful I will do more harm. I have been looking in to what might halt this horrific disease and too, what will increase her immune system. I am getting so many mixed answers, and have so little time to decide what is best for her . So little time to find answers, if there are any. Whatever choice you chose, I would love to hear from you . Thank you for reading/listening……
14 August 2009
I'm so very, very sorry to hear about Faye Raye. We have a special love to newfies here! We have two newfie mixes that are older with osteosarcoma here at tripawd, Sammy and Cooper. I'll let them tell their own stories.
However, as bad as the news is and as horrible as the thought of possibly losing your precious Faye Raye is - amputation is not only to rid the cancer of the bone but more importantly to us - it is to rid the pain of the bone cancer.
There is unbearable pain associated with bone cancer. Dogs don't show it like humans do. (- the weak get killed in the wild) I had a friend who father had cancer and when it went to his bones, there wasn't strong enough narcotic drugs to eliminate the pain. It's unbearable whether Faye Raye is telling you it is or not. It is.
It's almost imperative the leg is removed and removed rather quickly.
We are not vets (except tazziedog, who graciously comes and gives her advice). But most everyone here has bone cancer and do very well without the leg.
Please don't think about the cosmetic aspects of a dog without a leg. For a dog, they don't think about it after they figure out how to hop instead of walk. After they figure out they need to hop instead of walk, they are fine - which is almost instantly.
I lived with a 3 legged dog for 12 years. My Comet's leg was deformed from birth. She didn't care about not have 4 legs! Her only concern was could she have another cookie! She was pretty normal.
So, please consider the aspect of pain for Faye Raye which is there. Amputation is the only way to remove the pain.
BEST WISHES - keep us posted.
Comet - 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.
29 October 2010
Hi Eileen, so sorry you had to join the group nobody wants to join...
As Comet's mom said, the amp will take away the pain. Our dog, Abby, does great on three legs, but she is a smaller dog (50 lbs). But there are several large breed amp dogs on Tripawds and I'm sure some of them will chime in with words of encouragement.
It is hard to get educated so quickly about this awful disease and the decisions seem to come so quickly as well. With Abby we found out on a Monday she had cancer and by Friday she was in surgery for her amp. It all happened very quickly, but we've had no regrets.
All the best to you and Faye Ray. Keep us posted on what you decide. Remember, there are no wrong decisions!
Jackie, Abby's mom
Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!
28 November 2008
I know all the 'what if's' going through your head. Making that first decision on how to treat is so horrible. Our Trouble had a right front amputation. When she was diagnosed, the diagnosing vet gave us very little hope. She didn't think Trouble was a good candidate for surgery because she was overweight, and a bull dog breed that carries so much weight up front. She sent us home with a bottle of pain killers and instructions to make her happy and comfortable. She would live a couple of months.
Not being one to take such a final prognosis, I scheduled a second opinion visit the next afternoon. It turned our decision and her life around. The second opinion vet was the one who made us understand how important it was to stop the pain. He was willing to take the chance on getting the weight off after the surgery. He was confident in his approach, he guided us through the recovery, chemo, and the arthritis that finally took her from us 27 months later.
Was I confident in our decision the morning of her surgery? Not at all, but I believed in this vet we had chosen. It wasn't until I saw Trouble come hopping out to meet us two days after surgery that I knew in my heart we had made the right decision.
Having a vet you believe in makes all the difference in the world. I encourage anyone making this decision to go out and find this person.
Best of luck to the both of you.
Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul. Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.
27 October 2010
Eileen, I am so sorry for you and Faye Raye reading your post for me was like going back in the past to last October and reading about myself and Cooper. It was the smiling tail wagging I want nothing but to be here with you that led me to go ahead with amputation of Coops left front. Today, almost 8 months later I have absolutely NO regrets for having made this decision, I was told last October I would not have my dear boy for more than one to three months... it has been almost 8 and we have made SO many new happy memories and friends and it still isnt over yet. Even if it had only given us 3 months with him we would have accepted that gladly! I look forward to hearing more about Faye Raye. I will write more later!
Coopsdad/ Kenneth Blackburn
the monkeydogs only THINK they have invaded the tripawd state
25 August 2010
I too know exactly what you are saying. When I first found out that my newfie mix Sammy had bone cancer I was horrified, I couldn't imagine removing his leg! He was 8 at the time and about 117 lbs. I tried to find all the info I could, there had to be another way. But, within 4 days of his diagnosis his leg fractured and it was all decided for me.
I had made the choice to go ahead with the proceedure beforehand anyway but his leg breaking made the choice sit easier with me. He was in immense pain once the leg broke and after the operation I was amazed at how fast he learned and how happy he was to be rid of the pain. He must have been in alot more pain than he showed me, because he was his bright bubbly self again and alot more playful than he had been in awhile. I encourage you to go to youtube and check out his videos, there is one of him walking on all four of his legs the day before it broke. You could barely see his limp! It is under tripawd sammy
Also, there was a purebred Newfie here named Oslo, he has many videos that I watched over and over that helped me feel okay about this. Check out Sammy's Smile it is our blog and may help, Cooper too.
There are lots of big dog's here. We know how you feel, this all happens so fast. Just read up on what you can, and get plenty of sleep while you can because it helps to make good and clear decisions. I hope you will post pictures of your precious girl, I am a newfie fan.
Elizabeth and Sammy
Oh, if you click on the http:// in the box at the end of our posts you can read the blogs from here and don't have to go and find the blogs under the blog box.
Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right front leg 8/23/10,
leg fractured 8/27/10,
leg amputated 8/30/10
I couldn't begin to say how special Sammy is to us. Living and laughing with and loving this wonderful boy is priceless.
24 September 2009
…radical would be complete amputation of her front leg, which to me for SUCH a large breed would be emotionally and physically horrific for her.
"Radical" for you perhaps, but for FayeRaye it is the only way to eliminate the tumor pain which will only continue to get worse as it grows. dogs are incredibly resilient creatres, and if she is otherwise fit and healthy, she should recover quickly and adapt well. As far as thinking in terms of "only a year" we suggest you try to focus on quality of life rather that quantity. Review some of our recent oncologist interviews in the Tripawds Health Video Playlist for discussion about amputation being the only way to totally eliminate tumor pain, but if you are definitely set against amputation, ask your oncologist about bisphosphonates for bone cancer in dogs.
Search these forums and the blogs for plenty of success stories about big dogs Loving Life On Three Legs . Or, just look at how well Nova the Great Dane and Anatolian Shepherd Cemil are doing on three legs.
Hope this helps. Good luck and thanks for joining. Please try to Be More Dog , and keep us posted on the difficult decisions you face. If you want fast answers without having to search or wait for replies, consider downloading Three Legs And A Spare wich includes hundreds of direct links to the best blog posts and forum topics full of helpful advice.
I know the decision you face is difficult. My slightly overweight golden retriever (75 pounds) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in April, and we amputated her right front leg and shoulder blade in June. Like you, I was willing to try just about anything short of amputation. But the truth of the matter is that osteosarcoma is so incredibly painful for dogs, and even the experimental procedures (leg sparing, targeted radiation) oftentimes result in amputation. Colorado State University's Animal Cancer Center has a free consultation service. I sent Millie's x-rays and labs. Expecting a resident to call me back, the founder of the clinic himself called me back almost immediately, confirmed the diagnosis and discussed all of the options with me (and even the reputation of my veterinary hospital, which is quite good). It helped me understand that, unfortunately, with this disease, there really are no other good options. Amputation seemed too severe, but the pain relief it affords is well worth it.
Five weeks post surgery, I am certain it was the right decision. We live in New York City, and for two months (one month pre-surgery, one month post), it was all we could do to get Millie to walk across the street and do her business. She had stopped playing with our other dog, and didn't even run to the cabinet when we asked her if she wanted a treat - a sure sign she was ailing. Today, she hopped happily the whole way through our short walking route, greeting many people and enjoying the extra attention she received from everyone who wanted to know what happened. She also has started rough-housing with our other golden retriever (who is huge - trim at 90 pounds) just like she did before the surgery. And the sign that warmed my heart the most was that she is again "asking" my husband for her vitamins and treats - something she hadn't done in months. Her old signal was to paw him as he was sitting on a stool putting his shoes on. I was shocked yesterday morning to see her put all of her weight on her back legs (while sitting) and paw him with her remaining paw. For good measure, she then added a head butt, and when he said "let's go get it!" she ran (it even seem like she happily skipped) to the cabinet. Our tripawd is happy. She has a cold nose, she is out of pain, and she's on the mend.
Thank you all.One of my fears is I have heard that the chemo seemed to bring back the cancer even MORE aggressively. This same person mentioned trying Hydrazene Sulfate. Is anyone familiar with this avenue? And too, regarding Biophosphonates, is that WITH Chemo? My biggest fear is the Chemo will lower her ability to fight the metastatic(sp?) part of the disease. What IS the average lifespan after the chemo and amputation? And how much >OF< that is true quality? I am trying to be completely selfless, and focus on what Faye Raye would want? If removing her leg is the answer, I would take off 2. There is nothing I would not do. But if Chemo causes her to have more bad days than the good days she knows as good I would not put her through that no matter HOW crushing it would be for me. And too Would keeping her leg as long as it can stay without her being in pain be threatening her longer survival even IF she had Chemo? I ask for it clearly has been a good 3 months she has had this and sadly was misdiagnosed. She was positive for Anaplasmosis, and the Vet insisted it was due to the Tick Disease. I am so fearful this delay in an accurate diagnosis has robbed her of her life. I go tomorrow to see an Oncologist. She has all her results. I honestly do not know HOW bad the results are. I will find out soon enough.
I was curious, and went to the Colorodo Clinical Trial site. The statementPreliminary data suggest that in dogs with metastatic OSA, a combination of Palladia, piroxicam, and low-dose cyclophosphamide significantly prolongs survival beyond the median of 2 months previously reported for dogs with metastatic disease treated with chemotherapy, indicating that this triple drug regimen may have biologic activity against OSA. The purpose of this proposal is to perform a randomized clinical trial to determine the impact of Palladia/piroxicam/cyclophosphamide on the disease free interval and overall survival of dogs when administered following amputation and carboplatin chemotherapy." Is my biggest concern. What I am interpreting in that statement is the average survival after Chemo is 2 months. I would NOT put her through that for 2 months. I feel it would be selfish of me to put her through all that for 2 months of MY wanting her here. Again, I would be curious how many who have had the full front leg removed, and are doing well for how long so far? I ask for It seams the front leg is far more likely to go to the lungs. My Mom died of Breast Cancer years ago. She had a lump, had a mastectomy, had chemo, radiation was told she will have a long happy life, 1 month later it spread to her bones,lungs and for 3 more months was in agonizing pain I am still so many years later unable to forget those last 3 months. I could not bear to let FayeRaye experience a fraction of that. I am VERY in tune to animals emotions. I know how little it takes for them to be unhappy with their situations / moments under even normal every day issues. Sorry….Really torn, and also know I must put my energy in a better place so Dear Faye Raye does not pick up on my fears/concerns. They're Soooo connected to all that. And so are the rest of my 4 legged herd who are asking to go for their last walk.
Have a good evening…...
The speed at which you amputate the limb with OSA does not necessarily have any impact on the rate of metastasis. The tumor is either more or less aggressive. Despite the best pathology, there is not always a clear answer. Pain control is the driving force behind rapid amputation.
Chemotherapy is not mandatory and it too, is a palliative therapy. Again, there is no reliable predictor to determine which dogs will do well. There are many dogs on both ends of the treatment spectrum who outlive the odds, and just as many who don't. I chose not to do chemo and treat my dog holistically. Her amputation was a little over 9 months ago and she does not yet have visible mets. You just never know what an individual outcome will be. Mean survival rates are just that....they aren't even an "average"
I have no doubts about any of my choices for my dog and didn't from the day of her diagnosis. We have had nine terrific months and neither of us ever missed her leg.
You cannot change anything that occurred over the past three months and cannot afford to allow those events to impact the difficult decisions you must make for Faye Raye. Dogs don't make those kind of choices and don"t have a preference. They really don't care if they have three legs or four as long as they aren't in pain.
You don't have to make all your treatment decisions immediately. Addressing the pain is the most important issue and should be your first priority. There will be time to select a treatment plan later. Make peace with whatever you choose, because you are the only one who truly knows what is best for your dog and your personal situation.
Best of luck,
Cynthia & Isabelle
Your reply was most comforting .Thank you…. Ihave had days of very little sleep with my brain in overdrive, trying to come to "the right answer". I leave soon for a consult. Tomorrow I will than see a Holistic physciacian. Personally, I am VERY holistic, which is where my battle of what is best fir my sweet girl begins. I hear as much good as bad, and as much bad as good in both avenues, and my beliefs and the amazing strides conflict. I will let all know with my appts…….. I WOULD love to know WHAT holistic approaches you have made, so I may compare my readings.
5 February 2010
I hadn't had any experience with holistic things before my dog was diagnosed. I found a post about Dr. Charles Loops on this website and contacted his office. He put Roxy on a remedy and suggested things like fish oil, etc. That's all we've done. I should back up and say that Roxy did not have Osteosarcoma, she had a mast cell tumor. But I just wanted to let you know there are several people on here that chose to go the holistic route rather than doing chemo or radiation. You just have to decide what is best for your family. There's no wrong answer.
I hope your consult went well.
First- check out a couple of resources here. In the Tripawds Nutrition blog there is lots of information on diets and supplements. There is also a link to information on Dr. Charles Loops who Leslie mentioned.
I agree with Cynthia about taking things one step at a time. The choices for treatments both traditional and holistic (or a combination) seem endless. First you have to decide if amputation is right for your girl. Once that decision is made you can move forward.
In my case I choose to to chemo for my pug Maggie. Maggie, like Roxy, had mast cell cancer. Mag was given 6 to 9 months WITH chemo. She lived almost 4 years post amp and passed from a second, unrelated cancer. She definitely beat the odds- but it shows that stats are just stats. And if you do choose to try chemo there is nothing that says you have to continue, if your girl didn't tolerate it, or you didn't like any effects you can stop.
As has been said- some live a long time with or without chemo- some live a short time with or without chemo, there is no real way to tell.
So you have to decide what is the best path for you and Faye Raye. Once decided move forward with confidence. There is never a way to know what would have happened if you chose a different path- and those 'what ifs' can really bring you down. What ever you choose will be right because you are choosing with love for Faye Raye.
Karen and the pugapalooza