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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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Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Tucker's Story
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Minnesota
Member Since:
25 June 2014
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27 June 2014 - 1:54 pm
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Hi Everyone:

I stumbled on this site because I was looking for some information regarding soft cell sarcoma. This is the first time sharing Tucker's story, even though I tried writing this many times, just haven't been ready. So....here goes.

Tucker is a 5 year old Yellow Lab he loves to play tug of war with dish towels that he's not suppose to have. He also loves to swim, and play catch. My husband and I got him when he was 4-5 months old and it's been an adventure every since.

About three weeks ago he was playing with another dog in the neighborhood, Tucker plays kind of rough so when I noticed he was limping I thought nothing of it because he just "shook it off" and was fine. A couple of days later I noticed he had a bump on that same leg. We thought it was just swollen due to the rough housing so I continued to monitor it. However, it seemed to be getting bigger. I took him to the vet last week, they took a small cell sample and noticed the cells were abnormal. At that point, I lost it. About 5 years ago we had to put Hunter down because he had lung cancer and was very aggressive, so this brought back a flood of memories. They did a biopsy last Friday, results came back as soft cell sarcoma. They started talking about leg amputation, I was devastated that they jumped to this so fast. In my mind I thought how will Tucker walk with only having three legs, how would he run and play. I turned to the internet for answers, this is where I found this site. I also watched some videos on You Tube. I started to come to the realization that Tucker will do great. I also had to stop focusing on me and my feelings about the situation and focus on the up coming surgery. I now know that this is the best thing we can do for Tucker. All of his x-rays came back great, no issues.

Surgery was scheduled for today, we were all prepared. But, the last two days Tucker came down with hives. The vet wants to get this under control then do the surgery. We are looking at July 10th for the surgery.

This website is truly amazing, it really makes my husband and I feel at peace with the decision for amputation.

Sincerely,

Melissa

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 June 2014 - 2:49 pm
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Hi Melissa, Tucker and family, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join. We're sorry you're coping with cancer again, it's got to be devastating, but I'm really glad you found us. This community of caring individuals is amazing, and will be here to help you every step of the way (or "hop" as we like to say here!).

Tucker is a young dog and he's got lots of fight in him, he's going to kick butt! Will you get a final diagnosis & staging after amputation? Do you know exactly what kind of soft tissue sarcoma you're dealing with yet?

If there's anything we can to do help just holler. Have you checked out Jerry's Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books Library yet? Lots of good info there and other members will chime in soon so hang in there.

Oh if you'd like to post some photos here's a post that explains how.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Minnesota
Member Since:
25 June 2014
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27 June 2014 - 3:11 pm
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I believe the vet is calling it a soft tissue sarcoma stage 1-2. I will double check.

Thank you for your words of  encouragement, it really means a lot. smiley 

Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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27 June 2014 - 3:34 pm
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Hi Melissa and handsome Tucker,
So sorry you are dealing with another cancer diagnosis in one of your fur babies. As you can see from my avatar, I have a huge soft spot for Labs. I very much know what you are feeling about losing your pups to cancer......I just lost my precious Polly back in February to hemangiosarcoma, which she lost a front leg to, and less than 3 years ago, I lost my sweet black Lab Maggie to this same ugly cancer. It truly sucks the life out of you, I know. The only positive for me and Polly, was that she beat this crappy cancer's prognosis by almost double the time frame, my Maggie was not so fortunate. But you certainly found the right place to help you through this new, difficult journey. There are so many others here that have gone through this journey as well, and a lot of experience and helpful knowledge. You will never be alone here.....

Please keep us all updated with your handsome guy, and I am keeping you both in my thoughts.....
Bonnie & Angel Polly

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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27 June 2014 - 3:39 pm
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Melissa,

 

I am so sorry to hear about Tucker but glad you found us. I lost my girl, Shelby, to hemangioscarcoma and she had lost her leg as well. She did GREAT on three legs and did outlive her initial diagnostic expectations. It's still awful and horrible and I miss her every day but this group has been one of the most supportive in the world. We are ALL here for you. We send you lots of hugs, healing energy and love as you go through this. And remember, Tucker has no clue about his diagnosis. He lives in the moment and I hope you can as well. Shelby taught me the greatest lesson in life - Be More Dog , live each day to the fullest and love much! 

So lean on us. We are here for you. We will make you laugh, cry and everything in between! And we love photos so the more the merrier!

Hugs and love,

Alison & her Shelby fur-ever 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

Member Since:
18 September 2013
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27 June 2014 - 4:17 pm
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Hi Melissa and Tucker,

My ten year old chocolate Lab, Tucker, had his right front leg amputated nine months ago due to an invasive sarcoma.  Tucker has done very well as a tripawd despite arthritis in his left hip.  Tuck has just started rehab to strengthen his core muscles and his hip.

Please read the ebooks that Rene (aka Jerry) suggested.....they are filled with all of the important things you will need to know about being a pawrent to a tripawd :)

The first two weeks post amputation can be a bit rough.....Tuck will have to get accustomed to his new reality, will be recovering from a major surgery......and the meds he will be on may make him a bit "loopy".  After my Tuck had his sutures removed (two weeks post surgery) and he no longer needed to wear the dreaded cone of shame , the old goofy Tuck was back.

Your pup will be an amazing tripawd.....he is young and has lots of energy.

Keep us up to date on how things are going....and don't hesitate to post questions or come into the chat room if you need to vent or check out information.

Linda and Tucker :)

Member Since:
18 June 2014
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28 June 2014 - 6:40 am
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Melissa,

So sorry about Tucker.  You have done all the right things.  Tripawds are amazing! The first 2 weeks really suck (We are at day 14). Things are going well! We have the whole set of labs- Because nobody can have just one lol... Keep in touch and lean on us for support.  This site is what helped me through it.  Tucker will do well. In our thoughts...

Laurie aka Jake's Mom

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 June 2014 - 11:28 am
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Hi Melissa and Tucker!

Sorry about your loss of Hunter. I know he's watching over you and Tucker and everything will turn out okay!

I can't add anything to what others have said.I know it feels liken you are stuck in a nightmare...for now. ButM once surgery is over and recovery begins you will feel the stress fade away. Tucker'sM painful leg will be gone and he'lol be back to swimming and ripping up dish towels in no time!

HA! You think you love him and spoil him now...you just wait! You'll be buying him fish towels everyday in assorted colors for him to play with!

Can't wait to see. more pics of your handsome boy!

As everyone has said, we are here for you...you are not alone. Rember that Tucker is blissfully unaware of any upcoming surgery or stupid ole' diagnosis! He's living in the moment not worrying about a thing!

Be sure and take deep breaths and eat lots of chocolate! It helps!

Hugs!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Virginia
Member Since:
14 March 2014
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28 June 2014 - 9:05 pm
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Hi Melissa, so sorry about the cancer diagnosis but as others have said, you'll be amazed at how well Tucker will do on 3 legs.

And the fact that he's young will help him with recovery. Do you have hardwood floors? If so, get lots of throw rugs and runners. We found a carpet outlet that did custom cuts and binding of remnants and it was very reasonable; made a big difference with Lexie getting around more confidently.

Is Tucker on pain meds pre-op? Lexie also had a soft tissue sarcoma and Gabapentin, Tramadol and Yunnan Baiyo helped her a lot.

As you've seen already, this is a wonderfully supportive community...you've come to the right place.

Take care and keep us posted. Tucker is lucky to have a great mom!

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

Minnesota
Member Since:
25 June 2014
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10
30 June 2014 - 10:14 am
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Hi Everyone!

Thanks for all the support, love, and words of encouragement, it brought tears to my eyes.

I talked to my vet to see what kind of cancer Tucker has and she said it was a soft tissue sarcoma. Are there other kinds of sarcoma's that are soft tissue?

Also, I think we are going to get a second opinion at the University of Minnesota just to make sure that we have looked at all the options.

Once again, thanks, you guys are truly amazing!

Melissa 

Minnesota
Member Since:
25 June 2014
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11
30 June 2014 - 3:21 pm
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Hum.....I'm still having a problem posting some pictures.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 June 2014 - 9:11 pm
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Tucker1100 said
Hum.....I'm still having a problem posting some pictures.

What exactly is happening? Any error messages? Are they hosted somewhere like Photobucket or Facebook? Give me more of a description and I can help you better. We'd love to see some!

There are many types of soft tissue sarcomas, fibrosarcomas and nerve sheath tumors to name just two, and there's an even larger group that cannot be defined with biopsies (the Dog Cancer Survival Guide goes into lots of details about this subject) Each have their own unique treatments & prognosis. A second opinion from the university is a fantastic idea, we think vet schools rock in situations like this. Good thinking!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia
Member Since:
14 March 2014
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13
30 June 2014 - 10:33 pm
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Hi again! Great idea to get a second opinion.

Just FWIW, we ended up starting with palliative radiation to try to shrink Lexies's tumor (her STS actually morphed into two tumors by the time we started treatments -- hers ended up being a more aggressive STS than most, and she also had lung mets). The radiation did shrink the tumors but unfortunately she got an infection and was in a lot of pain. I wished we had amputated sooner in hindsight, but every situation is different.

From what I've read and from what our onco said some STS cases may not be not as clear cut as many other forms of cancer in terms of pathology, staging, etc. The good news is that they are often a less aggressive form of cancer and depending on margins may have a better long-term prognosis.

Please feel free to read my earlier posts if you think they might be helpful to you (click screen name under avatar to see profile, then click on Posts Started By). Keep in mind that Lexie is much older than Tuck and hers was an unusually aggressive form...so please don't let that scare you.

One thing I would keep an eye on is the size of the tumor and how it is growing. I took pictures every few days when Lexie's started getting a lot bigger. If you decide to do the same you might want to hold something near it to get a sense of proportion -- like a quarter, or even a cut-out of a larger circle depending on its current size. Hopefully it won't grow dramatically but if it does seem like it's growing a bit faster than expected you'll at least have a reference point to show your vet. (And in the off-chance it does get a lot bigger in a very short amount of time I'd get him seen ASAP.)

So glad you saw all the happy, hoppy videos, too -- they made me feel so much better about amputation.

Hang in there and keep us posted!

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

Minnesota
Member Since:
25 June 2014
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14
1 July 2014 - 3:08 pm
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Hi, I have pictures on Facebook that I would like to post. When I go into the picture, click on options to get the link, then paste it by using the insert\edit image button, it just gives me a box with an x and no picture. Any words of advise would be greatly appreciated. big-grin

Melissa  

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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15
1 July 2014 - 3:37 pm
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Ok, this will be easier than you think! Promise.

So, when you go to Facebook:

  1. right click on the picture you want to share
  2. select "copy image location" from the menu
  3. return here to the Forums, reply to this topic to open your post editing box.
  4. choose the little text box icon above the reply box (6th icon from the right, with the mountain shape in the box)
  5. paste the URL from your clipboard into the box field that says "Source"
  6. Click OK

And that's it! Try it and let me know if this helps.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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