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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Member Since:
3 September 2020
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3 September 2020 - 1:16 pm
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Hello everyone...

I'd like to introduce Olina, my harlequin great dane. She just turned 6yrs old on August 25 and has been with our family since she was 8 weeks old.  She was born in Hawaii and traveled with us when I was serving in the Navy. So, this is kind of hard to write at the moment. About a week ago she started limping on her front right leg and we noticed that her wrist joint was slightly swollen. This was highly unusual for her as she has always been healthy as a horse! We decided to take her into the vet to get checked out and gave them the ok to run whatever tests needed since we aren't allowed to stay with her due to the covid restrictions. So, i dropped her off yesterday around 9am and waited for a phone call to from the vet to say she was ready and it was nothing but that is not what I received. Her doctor was on the phone and gave me the news... bone cancer. I didn't know what to say and instantly teared up. She is my baby.. my support.. my love! On top of all this my wife is away on a family emergency with her mother. So, these past few weeks and days have been quite the struggle and challenge. 

After a long conversation on the phone yesterday with her doctor and going over the options/choices of how to move forward, I just want to make the best decision for us all. I was told she has 3-6 months if we do nothing but pain management and minimal activity; 6-9 months or longer if we do amputation and chemo along with pain management . We understand that every dog is different and that everyone has their own story but I think I need the support and the words from others on how and what they dealt with and went thru in their situation. 

Thank you for reading our story and letting me ramble on during this time... 

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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3 September 2020 - 1:57 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Sorry you are facing these difficult decisions now, I hope your wife's situation resolves positively.

My little Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to mast cell cancer.  She was given 6 to 9 months with chemo and she lived almost 4 years!  Of course this doesn't always happen but I gave her a chance.

We've had many Dane's here, the big boys and girls usually do fine.  I had a Anatolian Shephard friend who lost a front leg to OSA. Cemil weighed in around 150 pounds!  He lived years after his amp and did not pass from cancer.

Then there was Eurydice, a Dane who lived just over 13 months past her amp as she traveled around Europe.  Here are her forum posts.

Queen Nova was a Dane who lived for at least 4 years after her front amp.  She even went blind and continued to thrive!

Our Required Reading List has links to lots of information on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

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

new hampshire
Member Since:
26 June 2019
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3 September 2020 - 9:09 pm
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Hi Olina and family,

Im so sorry that you find your in this situation. Your not rambling at all, we're here to listen and offer all the support we can. the initial diagnosis is definitely a gut punch but it sounds like youve done a great job researching your options. Its a hard decision but please remember there are no wrong answers. You know Olina best and your love an comitment to her will lead you down the right path.❤

As the mom of a big girl (130 lb anatolian shepherd) i can tell you that they bounce back from surgery and can definitely enjoy life on 3. As you said every pup is different. The first days of recovery can be rough some big girls take a little more time and others a little less. Meds may take a few days to tweek and get the right dose. A chat with your vet about a pain managment plan maybe a good idea. Most dogs go home with an antibiotic, a pain med and an anti inflamitory. After that lots of rest and love for a few weeks. 

We optted for amputation and no chemo. Others have had great results with chemo. Again no wrong choices. As for the prognosis on procedures,  many dogs here have out lived the numbers. As long as Olina is happy and loved she's not worrying about any old numbers.

Whats your living situation like? Stairs? Flooring, hard wood or carpet? These are all things that can be tweeked to help her move around more easily. There are some great options for the big gals as far as harnesses to help move around during recovery. I was a little concerned about recovery because of our roanes size (she out weighed me be 10lbs and was pretty tall.) We used a canvas bag cut in half as a sling for the first couple of weeks. I think it ended up being more of a reassurance for me than for her.

We're here to Q&A if you have concerns or just need a little support and reasurance. 

Big hugs to you all ❤

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 September 2020 - 9:21 pm
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  We understand  all the emotions and fear and uncertainty.  We under6 what a kick in the gut it is to hear this.  Of course your BEAUTIFUL  Olina heard nothing  and is blissfully  getting on with life.

It sounds like uour Vet thinks Olina is a good candidate for surgery.  You , may  want that confirmed with an Orthopedic  Surgeon just  to give you some extra reassurance. 

As I'm sure the Vet told you, amputation is the best way to give Olina a chance at a quality  pain free life full of loving and spoiling.  Quantity  with no quality  is not what Olin would want.

Recovery is no picnic for the first two weeks some recover slower...some faster.  Larger dogs generally need more time to recover and to get their sea legs.  pain management is important in the healing process as is lots of rest. 

If you have hardwood floors, you'll want non slip scatter rugs for traction .  A good firm bed is import for large dogs during recovery.   A bed too squishy can cause the dog to slip when trying to get up.  

Stay connected and let us know as questions  arise and how we can help yoj best support your sweet girl.  

Please give our best to your wife as she's going through this tough time with her Mother's emergency.   When it rains it pours, right?   Hopefully we can help make things a little less stressful for you.

Oh, I wanted to add another Great Dane who blew statistics  oit of the water.  His  name was Atlas.  He had Wobblers 2hen the osteo diagnosis  came along.  I believe  he may have even had some arthritis.   Two Vets suggested  that, because  of his size and the Wooblers, he was not a good candidate  and to jist go home and enjoy what time he had left.

Atlas's hooman knew her dog and knew he was a fighter.  She found a third Surgeon  who said he was a good candidate and they proceeded!  Atlas lived a full and vibrant pain free life for two years after amputation!


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.  Check out our ebook Loving Life on. Three.   Three Legs and a Spare

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!

Member Since:
3 September 2020
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22 September 2020 - 9:03 am
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Thank you for everyone's kind words, stories and thoughts 'n prayers!!  It has been a couple weeks since her last update... she has had multiple radiology tests completed and consultations.  The result is that they cannot find the cancer anywhere else but in her front leg.  So after some hard and long thinking about the quality and quantity of her life and the time she could possibly spend with us, we've decided to amputate.  She goes in today for bloodwork and then her surgery is next Monday, 28 Sep.  We are trying to do all we can to prepare ourselves and of course our home for Olina's quick recovery.  She is still active as ever... she just won't slow down and wants to run and chase everything still even though we try to slow her down as to not injure herself even more.  We have high hopes and thoughts that she is going to bounce back to her old fun loving, active puppy energy real soon!  Well, thanks again for everything!  smiley4


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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22 September 2020 - 10:43 pm
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Jeff, thank you for taking time to update. Olina has some great peeps looking out for her, good job getting everything lined up for the surgery recovery. Whatever we can do to help, please let us know. With your great care, you can have your bouncy puppy back before you know it!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 September 2020 - 2:33 pm
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You have a plan now and can move forward.  Of course, Olina is oblivious  to any stress her hoo,and are experiencing over maki g this decision.   She's just blissfully  happy veing Olina!  She a great role model for you!

We'll be sending  all sorts of pawsitive  energy to sweet Olina on Monday.  Stay co and let us know as any questions s comemup.  Recovery  is  no picnic at first, but it doesn't  last furever!


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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