TRIPAWDS: Home to 19860 Members and 1995 Blogs.

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.

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!


Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

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.

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Wyatt's Fibroblastic Osteosarcoma Story
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Member Since:
16 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24 June 2014 - 8:41 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Today I learned a bit more about Wyatt's cancer so I wanted to share my story, share what I have learned though research, and hopefully hear about similar experiences.  Part of this is copied and pasted from another post I made:


Wyatt is an 8 year old, intact, Irish Setter.  He is my best buddy who has been with me through college and back and forth across the country.  He was my "starter kit" show dog, agility failure, and fanatic bird chaser.  He loves chasing RC cars and airplanes.

4legsImage Enlarger

He began limping a bit towards the end of April and just very suddenly acting like an old dog so I brought him into his regular vet to be checked out. At the time I thought he had pulled a muscle or something.  We could not find a specific area of pain so they prescribed him Rimadyl and sent him home where he seemed to do better but not perfect.  A month later I brought him in again and insisted on an x-ray.  The x-ray showed a fracture on his femur near the shoulder joint and some "suspicious activity that was cancer-like".      

xrayImage Enlarger

We made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist and were in the office for a biopsy within a week.  We were hopeful that it wasn't going to be osteosarcoma because the x-ray and what they found visually when they did the biopsy were not very stereotypical of that type of cancer.  Sadly the biopsy results returned 4 days later and he did have osteosarcoma cells.  I received that news Monday evening and he was in the hospital having his leg removed Tuesday.  That was the worst night and day of my life.

I wasn't sure if amputation was the right thing to do and I felt sick to my stomach until I went to pick him up from the hospital and he came hopping and wagging into the room happy to see me.  This is my goofball the day I brought him home from the animal hospital:    

3legsImage Enlarger

Photo of his incision site:

staplesImage Enlarger

He is doing better than I ever dreamed possible, even managing to hike his leg to pee on bushes still.  He is mobile, happy, and acting like a young dog again. This photo is 2 week post-op.  Honestly, I'm having to slow him down:

Image Enlarger

 So far all of his chest x-rays have come back clear so today we went in to discuss chemo.  At this visit that told me that because the fracture and tumor site had looked so atypical of normal osteosarcoma, they sent the entire bone off for another biopsy.  The diagnosis came back as fibroblastic osteosarcoma, which makes since considering the xray as the tumor was more "fibery" than "bony".  This is a better diagnosis than the typical osteoblastic or chondreoblastic osteosarcoma and his prognosis is much better as it has a much slower metastatic rate.  It seems there is a good chance that they took the leg off in time and that chemo will help us a lot.  Wyatt's doctors are being cautious in their optimism, but I do sense it.  My husband and I have been researching the disease and I will reply to this post with our findings, including the questions we will ask at our next appointment.  We have our first round of chemo scheduled for Tuesday.

While the fibroblastic osteosarcoma is a better diagnosis, the one downside is that there seems to be less research and studies that provide data than the more typical osteosarcoma.  Regardless, I will post my findings in a reply to this post.

To be continued....

Kelly & Wyatt

Member Since:
16 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24 June 2014 - 8:55 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
Below are pieces of research we've found regarding fibroblastic osteosarcoma. First I will provide a summary of our findings as pertains to our specific situation as well as the questions we will have for our vet at the next visit:
  • Tumors in the front legs have lower metastasis rates than the rear legs (Wyatt's tumor was front leg).  If the tumor size is less than 5cm, foreleg tumors didn't metastasize at all.  (This perplexes the authors, but the sample size is reasonable so it must be real)
  • Small tumors that didn't invade soft tissue (<10cm) didn't metastasize.  Invasion of tissue, or worse, blood vessels were indicators for metastasis, but the paper gives percentages which is good info.
  • Necrosis was also indicative of metastasis
So we will ask the vet:
  1. Was the tumor purely fibroblastic or a mix of fibro and chondroblastic?
  2. Generally how large was the tumor?  0-5cm (about 2"), 6-10cm (about 2-4"), or larger?  We might estimate this from the xray, I suppose.
  3. Was there significant necrosis around the tumor?  or minor?
  4. Did the tumor penetrate the soft tissue around the site?  Did it reach any blood vessels?



The breed of dog is an important factor in determining the incidence of osteosarcoma. In the study by Kistler,(21) the German shepherd had the highest incidence, followed by the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, boxer, Irish setter, Labrador retriever, Doberman pinscher, and collie. However, when these data are compared with the relative risk of a dog of any breed developing osteosarcoma, the Saint Bernard has a relative risk of l2.77 followed by the Great Dane (7.27), golden retriever (5.27), Irish setter (4.34), Doberman pinscher (4.03), and German shepherd (2.52).(39) These findings are similar to those of Tjalma.(45)


Poorly differentiated and fibroblastic OSAs have a pleomorphic to fusiform cell population with minimal deposition of osteoid or production of bony spicules. Poorly differentiated OSA is a highly aggressive neoplasm. Fibroblastic OSA begins as a lytic tumor. Approximately 50% of these neoplasms transition onto a combined type as the neoplastic spindle cells begin to form matrix material. The fibroblastic type of OSA has the most favorable prognosis.
The clinical prognosis for OSA is variable. A poor prognosis is associated with high serum alkaline phosphatase activity, tumor extension into soft tissue, tumor origin in a hindlimb, and the presence of pulmonary metastases. The best prognosis is associated with the fibroblastic subtype of OSA that has the lowest grade of malignancy. Dogs between 7 and 10 years of age have greater survival times than younger and older dogs.

I got a copy of the reference for the above, but couldn't actually find the bit about the fibroblastic subtype.  Still some good info:

[Request] - via. ScienceDirect, Rosenthal R (ed): Veterinary Oncology Secrets. Philadelphia, Hanley and Belfus Inc., 2001, pp. 139-146. from Scholar

In the present study we did not detect a significant correlation between histological type of the tumor and other variables studied, although Misdorp and Hart21 reported that dogs with fibroblastic osteosarcomas have a better prognosis than dogs with other variants of the tumor.

I requested a copy of the Misdorp paper as well, since it seems like the info we need:

Fibrosarcomatous type.-This characteristic was assessed separately because of its prognostic, favorable significance in human oncology.
In Holland (23, 24), the fibroblastic type of osteosarcoma was found to be associated with a favorable prognosis.

I can't paste a link to it, but check out Table 10 - it basically says that for tumors that were purely fibroblastic, none of them metasticized (spread) regardless of the size, except for a single example of a massive >15cm tumor.  However the downside is that, for tumors that were a mix of fibroblastic and chondroblastic there was really no improvement in the metastasis rate as compared to pure chondroblastic tumors.


Sadly I can't find a copy of those #23/24 Holland papers because they're in Dutch.  Might be a dead end.

New York, NY
Member Since:
3 December 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24 June 2014 - 9:08 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi there! Like Wyatt my Jill was diagnosed with a more rare form of osteosarcoma as well. It was rare enough that she is a cat, but her tumor appeared in her toe and is also a rare form known as giant cell OSA. Bravo to you for doing the research. I KNOW how frustrating it can be with a rare diagnosis to get more info. I was in the same spot almost exactly two years ago (it will be two years since we got the diagnosis on Friday!). Good luck to you wishing you all the best. Let us know if you have any questions about the chemo or anything else!

Erica and tripawd kitty Jill

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at xoxo

Tolland, CT
Member Since:
7 March 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24 June 2014 - 9:09 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Welcome from CT to Kelly and Wyatt!  I'm sorry that cancer has brought you here, but you are in the best place to be for help and comfort and caring, and sharing of wisdom.  What a handsome boy he is - I LOVE the pic of him - 2 weeks post-op????; ears-up, tail-up and loving life. 

You've already come a long way, and much the same path as we took with Angel Roxie,  our Samoyed/GSD mix.  Limp.  Vet.  Rimadyl.  Limp worsened.  Emergency vet (Merry Christmas).  X-ray that the vet was happy to report didn't show cancer.  But only because it was not in the "usual" area for osteosarcoma.  2 months later a lump was palpable, so off to the new oncologist.  And osteo it was, hiding way up at the top of the leg.  Rear leg amp, chemo, short-term palladia, then palliative care.  And she had the best last 6 months of her old lady (by then 12) life.  We lost her in September.  We don't regret any of the steps we took; only that we didn't have the vets look harder and that we didn't have more time. 

Great call on your vet's part to check out the bone!!  I wasn't familiar with this type of osteo but that it translates into a better prognosis is cause to cheer!  To borrow one of Sally's phrases, this "piece-of-crap disease" is gut-wrenching.  But you've got a plan and sounds like great support, a great attitude, and a great goofball of a dog!!

Best of luck to Wyatt with the first chemo - I found that more anxiety-causing than the surgery (but maybe because that decision was very fast); Roxie had a few days of avoiding food after her treatments, but nothing that a good steak or frozen yogurt didn't help.  Thank you for sharing what you've learned so far and keep us posted!  We're all pulling for you.

Liz and Angel Roxie Roo


Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
24 June 2014 - 9:20 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Wyatt is a very, very handsome young man AND he has an amazimg advocate on ihis side!!

Kelly, you are very kind to post all this invaluble information and share your journey. We are certainly sorry you have to be here but, under the circumstances there is no better place to be!

Oneof the greatest lessons we all try to master is attaining the art of being more like Wyatt, in the present and not worrying about anything! You have already given Wyatt one of the most amazing gifts any of us can do forour animal partners and that is a pain free quality life A life were Wyatt will be getting more loving and spoiling than either of you could imagine possible!!

While yo are doing your research...which you are doing masterfuly...... make sure you enjoy every sacred second with yor ha dsome Wyatt....and take loads of pictures! We love pictures arou d here!

so very glad he is doing so well ad feeling stromg amd fit...especially this early in recovery!!!

Sending you lots of healing energy and lots of congratulations to al for a job well done!


Sallyand HappyHannah

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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
25 June 2014 - 9:34 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Well leave it to Wyatt to be different! ;)

Thank you so much for sharing his story, I just might have to make this a Tripawd Tuesday feature if you don't mind? We do appreciate all of your research, it's great. If you're interested in putting together a guest blog post about your research for fibro osteo, we'd be so grateful. We've never covered this specific type in detail so it would really help others. Drop me a line and let me know.

Wyatt is darling. Got more pics? We'd love to see them. I'm so glad he's doing so well!!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
25 June 2014 - 7:34 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you to all for your warm welcome and sage advice. I have been lurking on this site since the day I heard the words "cancer" and "amputation" and it has been an unbelievably huge help. Oddly I feel better about the chemo than I did about the amputation... thank goodness for my husband who was strong when I was weak. I wasn't sure amputation was the solution and he was my rock who helped me to make the right decision quickly. If I have done anything correctly at all it is because of him and this website. So thank you!!

Jerry: please do whatever will be helpful with this post! I would be happy to do a guest blog after Wyatt's next vet appt... I would like to ask my questions to the vet next week.

And I have many, many pics! Which I love sharing!

Playing with the puppy post-amputation (she has a slight advantage): 


ppImage Enlarger

rw2Image Enlarger

asdfImage Enlarger

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
25 June 2014 - 9:08 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh what a fun pack! They are just having a ball out there, it's so beautiful to see.

Thanks for all of your enthusiasm. Yes, do keep us posted on the vet visit and answers to your questions, I see at least two great blog posts here! Thanks for contributing this knowledge to the community, someone at some point will be very thankful you did. Awesome!

Oh, maybe I missed this but who is the puppy?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 June 2014 - 7:19 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello!  What a detailed post.  Cool with the research links, too.  That speaks to me.  For other types of OSA, tumors in the proximal humerus have far worse outcomes than anywhere else.  Interesting divide, huh?

He seems to be doing SO well!  Keep the updates and pictures rolling.  He's a handsome guy!

~ Katy & Jackson

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Member Since:
16 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 July 2014 - 9:43 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Sorry for the long lapse since the last update.  We are actually preparing to move across the middle of the country right now as well as handle Wyatt's amputation and treatment.  For a quick update he is doing really, really well.  Completely mobile and happy.  He had his first round of carboplatin chemotherapy almost 2 weeks ago and had zero side effects.  His next round will be in our new home state of Colorado.

Once we get finished with the move next week I'll come back and update my research and how it applies to Wyatt! 



Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 July 2014 - 9:55 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Great to hear from you and to know all is going well with your beautiful Wyatt! He is just so darn handsome!

You certainly have your hands full with everything going on! But I think you'll find Colorado with all it's beauty to be a very healing place!

Can't wait for pictures!!

Thanks again for the great update

Sally and Happy Hannah and Myrtle 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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13 July 2014 - 7:29 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh gosh no apologies necessary, just glad to hear things are good!

Congrats on the move to Colorado, it's a great state. We are there now, until Fall. Right now we're in Lake City (near Gunnison) but we'll be back at our "Jerry's Acres" in September. If you're in either area let us know, it would be fun to have a get-together.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 June 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8 March 2015 - 5:09 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

Hello Everyone!

I took a hiatus from the website for several months because after Wyatt's amputation and chemotherapy when we were in the 'wait and see' period, I found myself obsessively reading all the other cancer stories on the website. I have a tendency toward pessimism (I like to think I am just realistic , but my husband laughs when I say this) so ultimately I was only looking at what could go wrong. It wasn't healthy for me and as I had no new decisions to make during the wait period, I decided that there was such a thing as too much information and chose to live in the now with my boy.

I have come back to give a good update and fill in more of Wyatt's journey so that anyone else with a fibroblastic osteosarcoma pup has a bit more information that I did at the offset.

So now it's time for the good news: Wyatt is 9 months post- amputation and 3 months post-chemo. He is happy, healthy, and active. He sleeps more than he used to, but I can't blame him. He had his big checkup including chest cavity x-rays and so far we can not find any evidence that the cancer has spread. We are cautiously- so cautiously- optimistic. We will go back again in another 3 months for another exam, work up, and more xrays.

Summary To-Date:

  • Bone tumor and fracture found on left front femur May 30. Does not have the appearance of osteosarcoma.
  • Initial biopsy confirms tumor is a type of osteosarcoma.
  • Complete front left leg amputation on June 10. Vet exams tumor after amputation and it still does look stereotypical of normal osteosarcoma.
  • Biopsy came back from amputation as Fibroblastic Osteosarcoma
  • 4 rounds of carboplatin chemotherapy, 6 week intervals, beginning 2 weeks after amputation and ending September 2
  • In October I found a tumor in one of Wyatt's testicles. It turned out to be an interstitial (Leydig) cell tumor. This is the most common type of testicular tumor in dogs and not very malignant. Ultrasound confirmed it remained isolated to testes and our vet did not think it was related to his osteosarcoma. He was neutered. 
  • Big check-up 3 months post-chemo on February 6. So far so good!

It's been a big year for my boy! Shortly after the amputation and first round of chemotherapy we also moved across the country. His hair has grown over the scar and it is amazing how long it can take people to realize he only has 3 legs.  He's a little grayer in the face, but after what he's been through and at the age of (almost) 9, that's to be expected.  Our one year old puppy also does her best to keep him young :-)

I have found a couple products I would like to mention that have worked for me, as well. A couple of these I found through this website. I have absolutely no affiliation with these products, but it's nice for me to see what works for people so I thought I would share.

  1. Web Master Harness. This thing was my saving grace the first few months post-amputation. I seldom use it now, but like to keep it handy for camping.
  2. Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips . We have hardwood floors and this can be rough on my tri-pawd. The toe grips are not the perfect fix- mostly because they fall off over time- but they are helpful to give him a little bit more control if he wants to play with the puppy on the floors. 
  3. Neo-paws dog shoes. For even more traction and protection, these things rock. Those dog boots you find at the petstore have NOTHING on these. They have better rubber tread than my gym shoes do! https://www.neo.....-1890.html

I think that's everything!  We're back in the waiting game, but in the meantime Wyatt and I are going to have a good time.



Wyatt54Image Enlarger

wyatt55Image Enlarger
wyatt56Image Enlarger

Member Since:
27 July 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8 March 2015 - 5:24 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Ahhh Wyatt is so beautiful. I just love Irish Setters. I stole one once. Well it wasn't actually a steal, more of a find. I was walking with my co-workers during a coffee break and found an Irish Setter running on the streets. So I took him back to work. Within about 30 minutes the "owners" came to pick him up, I guess the neighbours told on me. I like to think I saved his life.

Thanks for sharing his story, I'm sure it gives others hope. Enjoy your good time with Wyatt. I know I would.

Kerren and Trikitty Mona

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Member Since:
17 May 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8 March 2015 - 5:56 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Beautiful photos, and well done, Wyatt !  Johnnie is also 9-month post-amp, we are also living the moment.  

It's funny you mention that people take some time to realize that Wyatt's front g is missing.  Same happens with Johnnie.  His fur has grown back on his amp site and when he is lying down it is hard to tell.  The "tripawd hop" is what calls peoples' attention and THEN they realize they are looking at a happy, active tripawd golden retriever.

Keep on hopping, Wyatt!

Daniela & Johnnie

Our awesome Golden Boy was diagnosed for OSA in April 2014 in the proximal humerus, front-leg amp on 05/20/2014. Finished chemo (Carbo6) on 07/10/2014. Ongoing treatment: acupuncture + K-9 Immunity Plus ( 3chews) and home-cooked no-grain diet.   Stopped Apocaps because of liver issues.   Liver issues: controlling altered enzymes with SAM-e and Milk Thistle.  October 17:  started having seizures.  Taking fenobarbital for seizures.  April 18: started prednisone.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: admin, mischief, cloud23, leaux
Guest(s) 86
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1180
Members: 14816
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 17525
Posts: 244205
Administrators: admin, jerry, Tripawds
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.