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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Toro's Story – a hoppin' Havanese hoping for happy ending
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Forum Posts: 5
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14 November 2020
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16 November 2020 - 10:48 pm
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Hi all, I am so happy to have found this forum. As I have read, it’s not happiness that brings us here, but it sure is helpful to see there is a community of humans who have been through this.

My story is long, but I want to share my experience in case it helps anyone.

Toro, my almost 10 year old Havanese boy, had his right hind leg amputated 12 days ago. He is going in on Wednesday to have his staples removed. I am so proud of my boy – he has been a real trooper through a really tough few months. 

How we got here is a bit of a roundabout saga. He was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in August when I brought him in to the vet to get a limp checked out. They ran x-rays and determined that the injury would heal in a couple of weeks if he took it easy. They gave me Gabapendtin and Rimadyl. The Rimadyl made him nauseas so they switched that to Tramadol.

When he continued to limp a few weeks later, and I was having trouble getting a hold of the vet (a whole other story), I took him to a dog physical therapy center to get him on track. They did a thorough exam and noted that he was putting very little weight on his right hind leg. They also noted that he had a swollen lymph node. Before they would begin a 6-week treatment that would require 3 visits a week, they said I should get the lymph node checked. 

I brought him to a new vet who aspirated the node and found it was just a reactive, not cancerous. He recommended surgery to correct the partial tear. On the day of the surgery, the doctor anesthetized him, shaved his leg, and then noticed a mass on his leg. The vet called and told me he had osteosarcoma and I should have the leg amputated, so that he could have 3-5 months quality of life, but that would be the extent of it. 

Devastated, I scheduled the amputation in a dazed shock, but the next day I decided to call an oncologist to confirm I was doing the right thing. In a phone consult, the oncologist said it was incredibly rare for small dogs to get osteosarcoma. She said she’d only seen one in the past two years, while she sees 3-5 a week in bigger dogs. This all made her very curious about what was actually happening. I canceled the amputation and brought Toro in for a battery of tests – a fine needle aspirate of the mass, ultrasound of his tummy and a thorough x-ray review. The cost was about $2000 for these tests. 

They found no signs of cancer anywhere else. The pathology of the mass came back as “suspicious of sarcoma” and she recommended I move forward with the amputation so we could do a full screen of the mass. She did not recommend a bone biopsy as it would very painful, weaken the bone, and make it prone to breakage, which would likely lead to amputation. So amputation it was, but now I knew for sure I was making the right decision.

Toro’s pain was clearly escalating – he was no longer eating very well and put zero weight on his leg, which he just held up so it didn’t touch the floor.

I booked the surgery with the original surgeon (Dr Patricia Simon) who discovered the mass. Her fee was reasonable at $2000 (far less than any place else I called) and she came highly recommended. 

She did the surgery and he came home with me that day. They used Nocita to ease the pain for the first few days. He was also put on a week of Metacam, as well as Tramadol and CBD. 

He had a rough first night coming off the anesthesia. He cried a lot. Poor baby. But with each day, he has gotten a little better. His appetite returned in 2-3 days. He had some bouts of trembling and shivers in the first 5 days. 

The pathology came back last Tuesday and the surgeon informed me that his cancer is a soft tissue cancer and is likely all removed. I can hardly believe it’s true. His oncologist has asked for a couple more slides to be run, assuming to figure out if he should have a round of chemo or not. I should hear this week. I’m cautiously optimistic. 

A COVID blessing is I’ve been able to be by his side the entire time. I can’t imagine having had to leave him to go to work. 

Thank you for wading through my long story! 

Toro is my first dog ever and he is my baby. It’s our agreement. I’m the mommy – he’s the baby.

He loves being mom’s baby. Always has. smiley9

May our agreement continue for years to come. sp_hearticon2

Virginia




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16 November 2020 - 11:16 pm
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Well Toro, first of all your ava picturemis adorable, and second of all, you are clearly a well loved and very adored pup!

WOW!  What an ordeal getting to this part of recovery!.  It sou ds like you’ve been through the hardest part, alth it’s still early in recovery.  I’m glad you are avle to ale home with him.  Obviously  that leg was  painful and his sparkle will start coming  back bigger and brighter than before!I

I love the “agreement” you two have 💖  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.  I’m  glad you got to the right Vet who properly diagnosed her issue that was causing  all her pain.

Keep is posted on her progress…..and be sure and get some rest yourself!

AMD we would love to see more pictures of this cutie Pie.  Here’s  a link as a starting point.   adding images

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!

Livermore, CA




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17 November 2020 - 7:40 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry you are dealing with cancer and amputation but hopefully the amp was curative- best possible outcome!

My first Tripawd was a Pug named Maggie who lost a back leg to mast cell cancer.  Although her prognosis was poor she lived almost 4 more years.  She was 7.5 years old at the time of her amp.

Now I have Elly, a Pug mix who lost her right rear leg after being hit by a car when she was 7 months old.  Elly is now almost 6 years old and can do anything a dog her size and age can do.  I am careful with some activities and try to limit stress on the remaining limbs.  I have steps or stools near all the furniture she is allowed on (actually I’ve had small dogs for years so steps are the norm) and she uses them most all the time.  She can go up and down stairs just fine, sometimes rear amps have trouble going up but Elly does fine.  She has learned to wait for me to tell her to wait or come before she does stairs to save some wear and tear.

It’s great to hear that you are at staple removal day (tomorrow)!  That’s a big recovery milestone.

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

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17 November 2020 - 7:57 pm
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Thank you for your welcoming and kind words, @benny55 and @krun15! 

It’s so inspiring to hear Maggie so outlived her prognosis.

I am truly hoping for some grace – and a full life for Toro. But this has been such a lesson in being grateful for each day. 

I didn’t mention his little sister Dita, also a Havanese, 7 and a half years old. She is being such a sport while Toro recovers – giving him space, but staying part of the pack. The other day I saw her playing all by herself, which is like spotting a unicorn. It was so cute. He is the play instigator so this is new for her!

I will post pics of them both. 

Have a lovely night,

Juliet

Virginia




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17 November 2020 - 8:13 pm
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toro said
 The other day I saw her playing all by herself, which is like spotting a unicorn. 

  

🤣🤣😂😂   Love that line!

Dogs seem to know when sogs that are healing  need their own space.  She’s a good Sista 

Cant wait to see the pics😎

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 November 2020 - 1:12 pm
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Toro you are a rock star! So are you Juliet, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! smiley_clap I can’t wait to see photos of Toro and Dita too.

You are such a great example of how being an advocate at the vet really does pay off. Bravo to you on following your gut and getting answers. It can be so hard to keep a clear head at a time like this but you DID IT! 

We haven’t heard of Dr. Simon before, so if you’re impressed feel free to leave a review in our Veterinary Referrals Forum. Thanks for sharing and welcome. We look forward to following along with your pack’s journey.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 November 2020 - 10:46 pm
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Thank you, Benny and Jerry.

Toro had his staples taken out on Wednesday. It was quick and easy. He was thrilled to be done! He did get me a little busted for not using the cone – he managed to do a little bit of licking which caused some pinker areas. Oops. It was only a very little bit thought, because I’ve been super vigilant and kept him in a shirt, but he managed to wiggle out of it a couple of times.

His incision is healing up great.

I took both he and Dita out for a short walk yesterday and they were so happy. Toro did great hopping on his hind leg. He went about a block and half before I decided it was enough. He didn’t seem to mind being carried home. I am using the dog sling I got when he was a baby. It was too big for him then, but just a little small now. As he is 20lbs, I could not carry him for too long in it, but it was fine for a short while. We ran into a friend of his “Poe” and Toro was so happy and kept trying to engaging him in play (doing that little neck thing pups do). Poe does not play – hahaha.

It was wonderful to see him back in action. Dita was so happy too. She’s has to be very patient with the patient.

I still haven’t uploaded pics, but I will. 

I hope to hear back from his oncologist in the next few days to find out the results of the further testing she requested. 

I wish you all a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for all of you for sharing your experience and care. 

This is a challenging year, but we are doing it. And like all of life’s ups and downs, this too shall pass. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 November 2020 - 11:19 am
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WOOOHOO! Staples out is a HUGE step to the new normal, congrats! Don’t forget that the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit for Toro, so we hope you’ll consider getting him evaluated by a therapist, just to know what to expect and how to help him stay strong and injury-free.

I know how hard it is to stick with the cone. Thank dog the incision is good though, that’s a real win 🙂

Sounds like Toro is going to do really well. I love his spunky attitude! He must get it from you lol! You have a really hopeful outlook that is so important in life and especially when going through amputation recovery. Good job to you! I hope you, Toro, Dita and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving too. As hard as this year has been, we all have things we can be grateful about, like Toro’s big win! YAY!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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23 November 2020 - 5:57 pm
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Wow what a roller coaster. 

I’m glad to hear Toro is doing well and hope his recovery continues to go smoothly. 

Virginia




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23 November 2020 - 9:57 pm
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YAY FOR STITCH REMOVAL AND YAY FOR TORO BEING BACK IN ACTION!!👏👏👏

And it gets better and better!

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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