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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Member Since:
19 April 2015
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11 October 2015 - 3:30 pm
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Hi. I would like to share Tex's story with osteosarcoma if it would help anybody go through their own situation.  Maybe it is a bit of therapy for me since we just lost him three days ago.  

Tex was 9 years old and started with a limp on his front left leg back in December. The vet originally thought arthritis or a sprain, so we started with anti-inflammatory pills.  That helped for a short time, so we went back for further tests. In March, he was diagnosed with cancer. We had lung x-rays that were clear, so we proceeded with amputation on April 6.  Tex stayed at the hospital two nights, then came home. He was heavily drugged and in a cute red bandage. We pulled out the camping air mattress and slept by his side for two weeks, until he got his 60 staples removed. He was walking on his own within a week. He was brave and so resilient to try his new situation. 

A couple weeks after surgery, Tex began his chemo treatments. This went surprisingly well and had no problems. He only was tired about 3-4 days after treatments. He wasn't overly tired, but he layed around a little more than normal.  That was it.  After 5 treatments every 3 weeks, he received a good health report and we started him on some chlorobucil pills.  All was good and Tex seemed to have beaten his cancer.  It was early August.  We went for shorter walks and he seemed like a happy dog. 

In September, he was over using his remaining front leg, so we put him on some anti-inflammatory pills, which cleared up his problem within a few days.  

On Saturday October 3, we noticed Tex not want to put weight on his left rear leg.  My heart sank. He was fine with 3 legs, but 2 wasn't going to work. We took Tex to the vet on Monday and had him examined. The vet found nothing. We tried a few pills for pain and something else that I can't recall.  Tex only got worse, and actually was putting no weight on that back leg. We took him back for more x-Rays on Wednesday morning.  They found nothing, but now he was in more pain.  Nobody could identify the problem, and Tex was hurting unless he was laying down. We tried some heavy pain pills just as a last ditch effort. Wednesday night was hard. He was unable to stand. He was in pain and could not live like that. 

First thing on Thursday morning, October 8, we had to borrow the stretcher at the vet's office to get him out of the house and over to the vet.  We came to the only conclusion that we could come up with-that Tex was succumbing to his cancer. I think that he may have had another tumor somewhere that we didn't find that affected his leg. Even picking him up caused a yelp in pain. There was nothing else we could do for him. Even heavy pain medication could not curb the pain. We had to say good-bye. 

It was so sad because Tex seemed fine other than this mystery pain, that may have been spine related, not sure. He was fully alert and had that same look in his eyes that he always had. What other option did I have?  He was unable to get up at all, not even go to the bathroom.  It was the worst day in a really long time.

the house is so quiet and I can't believe all of that happened within a week.  Has anyone had something like this happen so suddenly? 

Thank you eeveryone at Tripawds for your support.  The stories I read helped prepare me for what would occur with the amputation and chemo.  We even bought a cute orange harness that worked perfectly. I am grateful for this support group.  

Maryland
Member Since:
28 March 2015
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11 October 2015 - 3:52 pm
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Hi Tex's Mom,

Unfortunately, your story ends just as our Ellie's ended. Nine or so months post-amp we thought she had strained a muscle. It seemed really logical, since she always "dug" holes in the living room during thunderstorms and it was the middle of summer. We thought she had strained her leg doing it. We tried some rehab and some muscle relaxants but we also knew something just wasn't right. But it went form 'not being right' to very very bad in the course of probably 3-4 days. Ellie could stand, but she couldn't move once she got up. Still, she did not yelp or cry in pain. She would just stand and not move. Her right front leg was also way out towards one side---like she was trying to keep weight off it but of course with only 3 legs....

We also ended up having her stretcher-carried into the emergency vet. And by then we also were pretty sure what we were facing. But it all happened so quickly. What was going on? Whatever it was, it wasn't good. They sedated her to do X-rays and they said when they manipulated her head for the x-ray she cried out in pain, even though she was sedated. And they found what they were pretty sure (given her clinical presentation) was an area of lysis in her cervical spine. They couldn't be 100% sure it was a tumor, but we knew she was in such pain that we knew we had to say goodbye.

It was wretching, it really was. We had always promised to keep the pain away and we felt like we didn't live up to that promise completely. But it all happened so fast. 

I'm sorry you've lost your Tex. I'm sorry it was so traumatic. I know the worst day feel, I really do. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Idaho
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12 March 2013
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11 October 2015 - 4:20 pm
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Our Murphy was a Tripawd due to an accident. He went through eight surgeries, including a total hip replacement, and came out running on the beaches, swimming, playing with his old buddy Gus and happier than ever. He did weeks and weeks of rehab work to recover from his hip replacement and loved going to therapy.

We lost Gus in January to sudden heart failure. Murphy took his death in stride and immediately assumed the mantle of alpha dog. If we would ask him if he wanted to visit our daughter's dog, he would get excited. If we asked him if he wanted Gus, he acted like he had never heard that name before.

Periodically he would do something to tweak his back and we would go back to rehab for some more sessions and acupuncture/laser treatments. He would bounce back from those like a champ and proceed down the road for several more months. In April he again got a sore back and hip area, so we took him for an acupuncture session. This time he didn't improve at all. The rehab vet sent us to our regular vet's office for x-rays. The radiologist diagnosed an "aggressive bone lesion" in his remaining hip and suggested a bone biopsy, which we scheduled. The night before he was to go in for the biopsy, he was in such pain that even massive doses of Tramadol didn't stop it. We both looked at Murphy and asked him if he wanted to go see Gus. He perked up his ears and started wagging his tail. Right then we told him that he did not have to go through any more procedures or pain and made the terribly difficult decision to let him go join Gus at the Rainbow Bridge . When we look back on it, we really cannot say that we made the decision. Murphy made it and let us know what he wanted.

In hindsight, it really wasn't as sudden as it seemed. We are now of the opinion that he probably was masking some significant pain and wasn't using his rear leg as much as it looked like. The muscle had atrophied, but it was so gradual that it wasn't as noticeable to us on a day after day basis. When I look back at the pictures of his last month compared to earlier ones, it really shows.

After losing both dogs so abruptly, we got into the travel mode and were gone for most of May and June. By the latter part of June, we knew that we weren't ready to deal with a house without the litter patter of "little" feet and we found our Ollie (the Labradork) at a shelter a couple of hours from here. We love him dearly, and he has helped enormously in filling that huge hole in our lives.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Member Since:
19 April 2015
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11 October 2015 - 4:20 pm
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Thank you Denise, Bill, and Ellie.  It is comforting to know that someone understands.  I am sorry for your loss of Ellie.  She looks like a pretty girl in her photo.  

Dianne

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19 April 2015
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11 October 2015 - 4:26 pm
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Kathi -

Your story about Murphy wanting to see his brother Gus is touching, especially when Murphy didn't reat to that name before.  You are right, he made the decision. 

It is hard to see them in pain. I also believe Tex was masking some pain for awhile, in hindsight. At least now, they are pain free and perhaps all playing together. 

Los Angeles, CA
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13 June 2013
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11 October 2015 - 5:15 pm
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I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Tex. Your story is sadly familiar to me as well. Shelby was a tripawd with a rear amp. She was great until she was not. We had a different kind of cancer but cancer sucks. We sailed through the amp, through chemo... even found tiny lung mets... my girl was a fighter. But she lost use, also, of her remaining rear leg. We thought it was a tight muscle. But when she refused to move and yelped ... I brought her to the ER. We'll never really know but we do believe she succumbed to cancer in her brain... she had seizures at the ER vet and a day or two later, she crossed the bridge by our home at the beach. It was peaceful and what she wanted.

Cancer is never fair and never plays by the rules but our pets always know that we love them and do everything with LOVE in our heart...

Hugs and peace to you... the silence is indeed awful. We would love to learn more about Tex and his amazing life!

Hugs,

Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Idaho
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12 March 2013
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11 October 2015 - 5:45 pm
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Dianne-I got so involved in letting you know how much I understand where you are that I completely forgot to tell you how sorry I am to hear about Tex crossing the Bridge. I know that our guys are having a pain free ball together.

Kathi

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

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19 April 2015
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11 October 2015 - 6:40 pm
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Alison, thank you for sharing your story about Shelby. 

Tex was a shelter dog that was considered unadoptable because of an encounter with a cat.  We didn't have cats, so they let us take him home.  He was about 2 years old at the time. He fit right in with our older dog Pepper. When Pepper died of kidney failure at age 14, Tex would howl at night. He never did that during any other time; he missed his brother. 

He loved people and if you paid him any attention, he would immediately fall down for a belly rub. He was a special guy with a big heart. I miss him terribly.  

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11 October 2015 - 6:44 pm
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Kathi - no need to apologize.

Hey, I see that you are from Idaho. i was there in 2007 for vacation. You live in a beautiful part of the country.  

Livermore, CA




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18 October 2009
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11 October 2015 - 7:08 pm
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I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to Tex. I hope the fact that you did your very best for your boy gives you some peace in the coming days.  Cancer is a bastard that does what it wants, no matter how hard we try.  All along you did what you thought was best for Tex, letting him go on to the bridge was an unselfish act on your part.

All of us who have made it to this point in the cancer journey have experienced that 'worst day' and understand what you are feeling. 

Feel free to post in 'Coping with Loss' if it helps, and tell us more about the Tex's journey in this thread.  We like pictures too when you feel up to it.

 

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

Member Since:
12 October 2015
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12 October 2015 - 9:54 am
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Hi all.  Tex's dad here.

I wanted to thank you all for sharing your stories with us.

It was a very difficult decision to make when we couldn't find out what was wrong.  Without a definitive diagnosis, it is easy to cling to the hope that it may be something short term and curable.  Logically, a recurrence is what happened, but it is still easy to second guess that.

Hearing others with essentially identical stories is comforting.  I guess having that precedent makes it easier to accept.

Thanks again all!

 http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/efpeter/Dogs/IMG_1577_zpsfvw3udl0.jpgImage Enlarger

Livermore, CA




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12 October 2015 - 11:52 am
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Hello Tex's dad, thanks for posting here.

It is so hard not to second guess our decisions, especially the final one.  Please keep in your hearts that every decision you have made on this journey was FOR Tex's best life quality.   When you start to question your decision remember that.

My pug Maggie beat the cancer that caused her amputation.  But she developed a second cancer a few years later.  The first cancer fight and the effects of aging had taken their toll on her and I decided against aggressive treatment because I felt it was the best thing for her. She passed just 3 months after that second diagnosis.  And yes, the thoughts would run through my mind...what if I had done more chemo? what if I had done a couple more tests?  Would she have had more time?

But then I would think back to why I made the decisions I did- I made them FOR her, for her life quality.  And when the quality was gone I let her go on ahead.

 

Karen and Spirit Maggie

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

Carpentersville, IL
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7 May 2015
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13 October 2015 - 9:48 am
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Sorry to hear about your loss.  The same thing happened to our Maya.  She recovered just fine from surgery and chemo only to develop back issues in a matter of days that resulted in her not being able to stand so we had to let her go.

Owned by Maya the Basset Hound

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