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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Ronnie, suspected Osteosarcoma amputation this week.
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Forum Posts: 54
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27 April 2019 - 4:11 am
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Well, like many on here i’m sure i never thought i would ever be writing a post such as this. My beloved 5 yer old F2 puggle ronnie started limping around 3 weeks ago and struggled to shake it off. We attended the local vet here in Tottington (We live in Lancashire in the UK) Pennine Vets and they examined him and initially prescribed meloxicam 1.5mg once a day to see if it eases up.

It initially presented itself as a left sided limp on the front leg and after a week of no improvement we went back to the vet for x-rays. This is where i choke up… the results showed severe shadowing on the lower radius of the front right leg, the perceived left limp was a false positive as it was actually just him leaning more heavily on the left to take the strain off the right side. 

Initially i was presented with it being 1 of 2 things. Either the ‘better case’ of osteomyelitis or the worst case of osteosarcoma. The x rays where sent to a specialist who advised it was 90% chance of a sarcoma by looking at it so we where referred to what our vet describes as ‘the gold standard’ of care and oncology which is Liverpool small animal veterinary school on the Wirral. 

We set off on the 90 minute drive yesterday and i left ronnie with them around 11:30 and returned home and then went back to collect him around 18:30 (with traffic a good 7 hours in the car yesterday!) They sedated him for examination and carried out a myriad of tests. CT scan, bone aspiration (small needle sucking the cells from the tumor site) as well as bloods and lymph samples.

This is where it gets slightly more hopeful. Firstly the CT scan showed no sign of spread to the lungs or liver (yay!) just a mild touch of early onset arthritis in the rear legs and the blood tests where clear. We’re still waiting on the lymph samples however the bone aspiration which was done by the head of oncology Dr Ricardo Finotello took 4 separate samples from the tumor and found no presence of cancerous cells? 

Now the feeling is that yes it is still bone cancer however who knows perhaps not as advanced as we feared? also potential however unlikely that it is Osteomyelitis still.

Presented with all the facts and based on my research i didn’t hesitate in opting for amputation. While limb sparing and bone removal analysis options are there, my primary concern is Ronnie having the healthiest longest happy pain free life possible and we both agreed (the doctor and I, not Ronnie and I) that amputation seems inevitable so lets go for it and not waste time or put him through further unnecessary pain. 

Being only 5 years old and super active regardless of the limp we feel he has a good chance of some quality time ahead of him still. Honestly none of the vets can understand how he is still wagging his tail and running around wanting to play in spite of whats clearly a painful tumor for the last few weeks! 

He has been discharged with Gabapentin 300mg twice daily. paracetomol/codeine half a tablet twice daily and continuing the meloxicam, and we are due a call from the ortho ward on Monday to arrange the operation for around wednesday or thursday so I’m frantically now preparing myself and trying to arrange time off from work and the necessary equipment to make this as easy on him as i can. 

Thankfully we are insured through Petplan, which is bloody fantastic and while its by far the most expensive insurance provider it is worth it’s weight in gold. heres the rundown so far. 

X-rays at our local vet this included GA, 1 day hospitalization and 6 x rays £657

CT scan, bloods, lymph and bones samples from SATH £1500

The estimate for the amputation is £2000-2500 

I have a £4000 limit on the policy that runs december to december so i’ll definitely be shelling out some money but thank god i had this policy in place!

Now, how much i spend depends on the next part… post amputation the leg will be sent to be decalcified which will take around a week, from then they will know definitively what is the tumor and what the next step is. Assuming that it is bone cancer as we expect we are looking at 4-6 sessions of carboplatin chemotherapy. These range between £400-£450 a session every 3 weeks so another £1600-1800 out of my pocket over the next few months which is manageable.

And as of today, that’s our story! I will update this thread a lot over the next 2 weeks as i feel it will be a good outlet for me to get my feelings and fears out there and hopefully receive some guidance as I’m terrified about what to expect for the week post surgery.

And without a doubt my biggest fear and question is around life expectancy. He is 5 years old and strong as an ox even still but i’ve heard even after all this life expectancy is around 6-12 months with around 20% of dogs making it 2 years. i just can’t understand why it’s still so short?

If you made it this far thank you so much for reading and please leave a comment or question.

My name is John and ronnie has an instagram here @ronniethepuggle

JB

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 April 2019 - 10:32 am
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John and Ronnie, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join. We are so sorry about the diagnosis but rest assured you are doing everything possible to kick this cancer’s butt and give Ronnie a long, happy life ahead.

You have such a great attitude, it shines through! Ronnie is lucky to have such a great advocate, and a veterinary team as well. What you described as far as treatments and costs are just what our members go through here as well. Would you mind, when you have a sec, reposting the costs in our Forum topic called “Costs of Amputation and Chemotherapy for Dogs: What Did You Pay?

I’m so glad you decided to post here and started your own Tripawds blog, to document even more about Ronnie’s journey. You’ll see we have other UK members doing the same for their dogs, like the Meg-a-Star! Maybe at one point we can even get all the doggos together at a UK pawty!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and our Tripawds e-books library if you haven’t done so. If you’re totally confused about where to begin, visit our Tripawds Start Here page for a tour of all we have to offer OK?

And in the meantime we apologise in advance for the slowness of the site. There are major tune-ups happening this month to make it faster and better. Thanks for your patience. Keep us posted on Ronnie!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 April 2019 - 3:52 pm
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Well just a quick update, Ronnie had his surgery this afternoon around 1pm, i got a call from the surgeon within 30 mins of surgery finishing just to let me know it all went as planned with no complications, so i could finally take the first breath of the day and concentrate on work which has been a real struggle!

He is staying overnight in the hospital as it’s standard procedure with this to fit a drain for the first 12-18 hours just to ensure no chance of cellulitis from infection, but all being well i can bring him home tomorrow afternoon.

staying positive!!!

Livermore, CA




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30 April 2019 - 4:12 pm
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Hello and a late welcome.

It must be a relief to get the surgery behind you! On to recovery.

My current Tripawd Elly lost a rear leg after being hit by a car when she was 7 months old.  The rescue claimed she was a Puggle but it turns out she doesn’t have any Beagle (2 DNA tests).  She is about 45% Pug though and a bunch of other stuff, I call her my Pug-Mutt.

I have a friend who has a Puggle named Sophie.  We dog-sit twice a year and I have done some other dog walking for them.  I can attest to how strong they are!

Good job staying positive!  Recovery can be a bit bumpy although a few lucky pups seem to sail right through.  Keep up that positive attitude, especially when you see him tomorrow. 

Let us know when you get him home.

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

Virginia




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30 April 2019 - 6:58 pm
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Just catching  up on your beloved Ronnie.  And YAY For surgery done!!!   And yes, you can indeed breathe a sigh of relief! Ronnie is beautifully  doped up and seeing lots of punk elephants  right about now!

Get a good night sleep and let us know when the homecoming  takes place.  And yes  spending  the first night at the clinic is best for Ronnie.

Stay connected.   Recovery  is not picnic fot rhe first couple of weeks.  Let us know as questions  pop up, okay?

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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1 May 2019 - 3:28 am
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Thanks for the kind words and support everyone, I’ve just called the hospital this morning for an update and they’ve reported that he’s comfortable on the painkillers at present, he’s been up and taking his first tentative steps with some assistance and they will try and increase activity throughout the day although he isn’t that interested in food.

As soon as i heard he had the cancer he was switched to a raw diet for 5 days pre-op which he LOVED, i have never seen him so excited for dinner time, so I’ve asked they try and maintain this as opposed to kibble.

They did state that the drain fitted is still there and it is draining well which is positive but as long as it’s draining fluid they won’t remove it and dress the wound for him to be released so it’s possible he will be staying in tonight also, which frankly broke my heart as i miss him at home and HATE the idea of him alone in a cage as he’s such a social dog and sleeps next to me every night, but i guess it’s a case of whatever is best for his recovery at this point.. 🙁 

jb

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1 May 2019 - 8:05 am
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Sounds like Ronnie is in good hands and doing well. Take this time to prepare your home and prepare yourself for a quick and safe recovery. Best wishes, please keep us posted!

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2 May 2019 - 1:23 am
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Well i got an update from the hospital on Ronnie and they say he is comfortable and doing well having transitioned from the post operation nerve blockers onto painkillers and his appetite has improved and generally he seems well.

The drain is still clearing though so they cant yet remove it so that being the case they have opted to keep him in a 2nd night. All being well i will get an update this morning after 9:30am so that i can find out how he was wednesday evening/ thursday morning and potentially pick him up today if the drain came out yesterday evening. 

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2 May 2019 - 3:09 am
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Well I’m presently sat in my house doing a little happy dance because….. Ronnie is coming home today!!!!

I called the hospital for an update and they say he has transformed now the drugs have worn off, he is bright and alert, eating like a horse and ready to bust outta there!!

They will take his drain out in the next few hours, currently 10:05am here and i can pick him up before afternoon surgery starts at around 2pm, so i’m going to set off around 12 for the long drive back over there with my mum joining me so she can sit in the back with him on the drive home to keep him calm.

COULD NOT BE HAPPIER RIGHT NOW!!!!!

I will take lots of video and pictures and update periodically over the day and finally update his insta with the news so please give him a follow at ‘ronniethepuggle’

WOOP!!!!

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 May 2019 - 8:58 am
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Wheeeeeee! What wonderful news! Oh hoppy day, your boy bounced back beautifully!

Be sure to share some photos here too, you can paste your IG images into the forums pretty easily. We are so excited he’s coming home!!! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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2 May 2019 - 2:56 pm
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GRRRRR3AT NEWS!!!   WE’RE  DOING A HAPPY DANCE RIGHT ALONG WITH YOU!!😁   Made my day to get this great update.  And yes, we want video and pictures of your RockStar Ronnie!!

Remember  Mr Ronnie…..slooooow and easy.  Short potty breaks and then back in for rest and more rest!

And YAY for eating  like a horse!!  Sometimes  appetites  aren’t  the best right after surgery.  Not the case for you though!!!

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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4 May 2019 - 2:37 am
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well apologies for the delays everyone, as im sure you all know from experience, its very full on bringing your pupper home post surgery for the first few days and i’ve been exhausted!

Pickup day went well, he was discharged with 5 days of meloxicam 1.5mg 22kg dose (2kg down now hes missing a leg!) 300mg gabapentin 1 tablet twice a day with food 8am and 8pm, and codeine/paracetomol half a tablet 3 times a day, 8am 2pm 8pm.

very quiet and subdued on the ride home which was good as he rested well, when we got home he pretty much slept apart from a break to eat, and i managed to get him outside for a wee and a poop which is good as im conscious on this amount of painkillers that we keep him regular and hydrated.

1st night was fine he slept straight through bar waking me up once crying, he just needed turning over onto his other side as he didnt know how to when he was lay on my bed next to me. 

1st full day started fine with lots of rest as usual and i was able to work from home without issue. This is where it becomes tough…

around 4pm we went back upstairs, got on the bed so i can continue working and he could spread out and lay down on the bed to be more comfortable. around 90 mins into his nap he suddenly lifted his head awake and let out what i can only describe as a scream, which really shocked me, i quickly went over and he beared his teeth when i tried to sooth him so i know he must have been in a huge amount of pain. after around 20 seconds it subsided and he switched sides and lay back to sleep.

I had a fairly good idea that sudden pain related to nerves could present after the initial hospitalisation drugs wore off and then PLP phantom pain could well present quickly after surgery, but my word nothing prepares you for that noise your baby makes! 🙁

This happened again in the night around midnight when he was in his bed and i stumbled over to him half asleep and received a bit on my toe for the trouble! this wasnt a skin breaking bite, he has never ever bit with force it was clearly a frightened protective ‘stay back’ warning. again it quickly passed and he slept again. 

This has happened maybe another 2 times around 4am and 7:30am. He was fed and given his pain control around 8am, and while he did jump up in the same way around an hour later, it was clearly well numbed as he gave no more than a wimper. 

Hopefully this will pass with time or certainly lessen in terms of the pain he experiences. However i’ve noticed that while it flares now and again, it will be onset if i try to lift him to go up and downstairs (hardly surprising considering such a huge surgery, so im now using a towel sling when lifting him and this seems better.  I’ve added some photos and videos below showing his scar and his movement so far.

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4 May 2019 - 2:53 am
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4 May 2019 - 3:16 am
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OK the board seems to be running slowly and im struggling to share images either via tinypic hosting or icloud, not sure if theres an issue at the min but i will try again later…

View this post on Instagram

Well… it’s been a hell of an emotional few weeks. Ronnie had been suffering with a limp for a good few weeks and the vet administered ibuprofen and rest but after it persisted we went forward with x rays and then it all went to hell. Ronnie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma an aggressive form of bone cancer. Wanting to do everything possible to give him the longest happiest and pain free life I made awful choice of amputation. Ronnie spent a few days with the amazing team at the university of Liverpool small animal training hospital who took amazing care of him and he’s now home this afternoon. There’s still a long journey ahead with follow up chemotherapy and Ronnie learning to cope as a tripod dog but he’s young strong and ready to fight. He helped me through every step of my cancer and I’ll be doing the same with him. #tripoddog #tripawd #puggle #fuckcancer

A post shared by Ronnie (@ronniethepuggle) on

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Holy cow Ronnie…. #tripawd #scar #tripoddog

A post shared by Ronnie (@ronniethepuggle) on

Virginia




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4 May 2019 - 9:44 am
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Love seeing the pics and video of Ronnie.   He really seems to have mobility  well under control.  very handsome fella with “heart melting” Soulful eyes😊

Kudos to you for being such a strong and knowledgeable advocate  for Ronnie.  Based on what you described,  it certainly  does sound like phantom pain .  You can try GENTLE  massage AROUND the incision  site IF he will let you.  There may also be a bit of stitch  pulling/sticking foing on too.

Great news that he’s earing and drinking  so well.  And we have poopiconpoopicon We love to celebrate poopiconaround here!

Try and get some rest yourself.    Sleep is kind of rare the first week or so of recovery.

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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