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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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11 yr old 75 lb super active pit/boxer w/osteosarcoma front leg, can he be happy on 3 legs?
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Member Since:
25 February 2022
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25 February 2022 - 3:28 pm
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Just got the bad news 2 days ago. Brando has been limping on/off for months but since he's always running through and into things he's had various sprains etc in his time. So a bit shocked to hear the cause from my primary vet, who said the x rays show the tumor in the bone (front right shoulder/leg) but not yet in the lungs. Going to see an oncologist next week, and will get more specific advice from them. But reading here and having a friend who just went through this with their dog, it sounds like amputation + chemo is the most direct way to combat it. That, or just manage the pain, keep them on all 4s until they are not happy any more. btw, he's had tplo knee surgery on both rear legs when he was 5 years old, but otherwise in great shape and vet says the rears and the other front leg are healthy for his age

Brando is a full on charger, loves high speed adventure, surfs, backcountry skis and more up until the recent limping. It's hard for me to picture him on 3 legs, being happy that way, but i've seen some pics and posts on here that suggest he could happy if not in the same way he was. 

It would help if anyone who has a similar kind of dog/experience can chime in on how their decision went with a similar older but high-energy type of dog, specifically on these topics....

- anyone who decided not to amputate/chemo etc and just let them live it out naturally as long as they could? what was that like?

- if amputation was the path...

-- were they able to swim again? swimming is his favorite thing in the world

-- able to play in the snow again? second favorite thing

-- able to go on real hikes, mile + or anything close to that?

thanks for any thoughts or help!

On The Road


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25 February 2022 - 5:35 pm
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Hi Eric and Brando, welcome. We are so sorry you had to join our club! Glad you found us though, we are here to help.

The short answer is that yes! Brando can absolutely have a good life on three legs. And he will be able to do all the things he enjoys. The only difference is that you will need to moderate his activity so he doesn't overdo things and hurt himself. It takes some doing, but you'll get the hang of it. The best way to do that is by booking a consultation with a canine rehab therapist soon after surgery (they like to see Tripawds about 10 days later). Those folks are the experts that can evaluate his current fitness level, and explain different ways you can help him get his mojo back and stay there. And Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so it's a win-win!

- anyone who decided not to amputate/chemo etc and just let them live it out naturally as long as they could? what was that like?

That is always an option when amputation isn't the best way to go. But no amount of pain medication can alleviate bone cancer pain after a while. Most dogs last about 4-6 months, tops, without amputation or other palliative care like stereotactic radiation therapy.

- if amputation was the path...

-- were they able to swim again? swimming is his favorite thing in the world

Totally! Our Jerry and Wyatt loved swimming! Check out our YouTube playlist of Tripawds swimming:

Again, you'll want to moderate his activity, and a Ruffwear Float Coat is ideal to help him have better endurance in the water. A rehab therapist can direct you on how much swimming is safe for him.

-- able to play in the snow again? second favorite thing

Absolutely! It's a ton of work to move in snow on three legs, but when you get him into rehab and strengthening exercises, he can pick it up again. Here's a fun video of Boone that you'll enjoy:

-- able to go on real hikes, mile + or anything close to that?

Honestly, it really depends on the dog's previous level of fitness. Some 3-leggers can, like mushers and hunting dogs. Others, not so much. Our Jerry was not able to do much longer than 1/4 mile at a time. Wyatt, about the same. All dogs will try to keep up, and go until they collapse. So the question is not, can they do it, but should they? A rehab therapist is the best person to ask about Brando. We beat that rehab drum a lot around here, but honestly it's the #1 way you can get educated about what he is and is not capable of doing after surgery, or later into the future. So please take advantage of the rehab reimbursement program OK? I'm happy to help find a therapist if your vet doesn't refer you to one.

Oh and these questions to ask your veterinary oncologist will come in handy next week.

Stay tuned for feedback from others and keep us posted!

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

Member Since:
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25 February 2022 - 7:57 pm
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Sorry to hear the news about Brando. When my choc lab three weeks before his 12 birthday was diagnosed with bone cancer in his front left leg.  the vet told me without amputation Brownie had between 3-5 weeks. I took him to the vet on the 2nd day of limping so he must have been in pain for awhile. I thought the same way you are. He is not going to be happy. I will just leave him on pain meds then say goodbye when it was time. Exactly three weeks a lump started to appear. I noticed the pain meds were not working anymore. Everytime I called the vet to see what I could do he always gave me the same answer. Aputatuon. I started doing research and found this site. I saw senior dogs running, young dogs diving into the water and even doing agility. I decided to let Brownie make the decision. We would amputate and if he wasn't happy we would say goodbye. I knew Brownie would tell me. Brownies recovery was amazing. He never bruised or seeped. He was hopping on his own on day three which is pretty amazing for a senior dog at 90 lbs. So proud to say that Brownie lived happily for one year and eight days. I know it doesn't seem like a long time but it gave me time to accept it and to spoil him. We even went on a camping trip two months after his surgery. The way I look at it is if I was to use an arm or leg Brownie would of stood by me so I need to stand by him and let him make the decision.

The first time they hop on their own or take that first pee you are going to feel so proud Like you have never before.

You will make the right decision on Brando's behalf. But yes,  dogs can be happy on three!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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4 March 2022 - 8:49 am
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thanks so much for your reply, all the info, and inspiration! its been a week processing this, talking to a lot of friends who know brando, who've gone through similar things with their dogs, and got more info from a visit with the cancer specialist who said more or less "it's early, the bone is still strong" so that was as good as news gets in that department.

we're are still looking at all the options, but certainly in short term focused on showing him a good time (he went hiking in the snow this weekend and then swam in lake tahoe, still crazy, ha!) and keeping the pain down. on that note, have people found cbd to help and if so what kind, dosage etc? i've seen it help a lot in dogs with severe arthritis in terms of reducing pain or the perception of it.

the other thing i just learned about from the oncologist is zoledronate, any experience people have had with that for bone cancer?

thanks

eric and brando

Virginia




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4 March 2022 - 10:04 am
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Hi Brando and Eric.....you've  gotten great input from Jerry Nancy (Brownie).

Kudow to you for  doing your research and finding  the best option for your Brando.

Jist popping g in quickly  with a link o. Zoledronate.  It's an older one, but a starting point.  Jerry will come along with updates on CBD as well as specific cases of dogs who have done  Zoledronate

  https://tripawd.....an-option/

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!

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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4 March 2022 - 10:44 am
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Good find on the Zoledronate post, Sally, thank you.

Eric, I'm glad you are getting information you need, and speaking with others who understand this experience (not all pet parents do). Good to know Brando is getting pain control and enjoying some excellent days with you! Be careful out there though, you don't want a pathological fracture to happen.

Zoledronate is a bisphosphonate, given for pain relief, especially when amputation is not on the table. It's an additional tool. Here's a discussion with CSU oncologist Dr. Seguin:

Tripawd Limb Cancer Treatments with Bisphosphonates, Palladia

Regarding CBD. While it can certainly be another tool to help Brando feel better, it's best done under the guidance of a veterinary professional who can direct you to a quality product that will help not harm. About 90% of cannabis products for pets and people are garbage, and do not deliver what they promise. Those good products exist, but having an expert match their exact formula with Brando's needs and health condition is the best way to go. Students at the Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting organization, which trains vets and non-vets like myself in the safe and effective use of cannabis for pets, always needs dogs and cats for case studies. If you're interested, here's a post:

https://tripawd.....e-studies/

If you're interested in connecting with a VCC counselor, post in the Forum or message me.

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

On The Road


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4 March 2022 - 10:45 am
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Oh and you might want to check out these Tripawd Nutrition blog posts about veterinary cannabis:

http://nutritio.....g/cannabis

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

Member Since:
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5 March 2022 - 3:14 am
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Hi Eric, Brownie was on CBD called Rovers Relief. I chose this brand because it is made for pets and is approved by scientist. You can go to their website. Just Google Rovers Relief.  If you have any questions the owner will email you back or call you. I also started making Brownies food and treats. I believe there is a forum called "eating healthy" with recipes. 

Sending positive thoughts...

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Member Since:
4 April 2019
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5 March 2022 - 3:16 am
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By the way, I don't advise buying CBD from a smoke shop. Pure garbage!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Member Since:
4 April 2019
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10
5 March 2022 - 3:23 am
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By the way, I don't advise buying CBD from a smoke shop. Pure garbage!  As what Jerry said about CBD and the vet is spot on. I did take a sample of Rovers Relief to Brownies hollistic vet for approval first.

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 March 2022 - 2:16 pm
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GREAT suggestion to take the Rovers info to the vet, Nancy, thanks for chiming in!

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

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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23 March 2022 - 9:44 pm
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Eric, just checking in. How are things going with Brando?

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

ericwwthomas
13
24 March 2022 - 8:53 am
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jerry said Eric, just checking in. How are things going with Brando? 

thanks for checking in!

well, we've decided that amputation + chemo is not the right path for brando and are focused on keeping him as happy as possible as long as possible. i'm still trying to find any actual experience with Zoledronate and/or that plus radiation as ways to slow the destruction and reduce the pain in the meantime. looked at the threads here and online but hard to find anything definitive. rnany case, since zolendronate seems easy to administer without lots of vet and downtime leaning toward trying that.

i have to look more into radiation, but my one friend who's dog is going through the same thing now had radiation but said it did little/nothing for pain or to slow the growth. hard to get data on these things to make a call beyond that, i'm taking brando on a beach trip next week since the #1 thing he loves is swimming in the ocean, so he'll enjoy himself with that 

ericwwthomas
14
24 March 2022 - 8:55 am
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jerry said
Eric, just checking in. How are things going with Brando?

  

i did just find this report, which is the most detailed w/data that i've seen on all the options. might be of use to others. suggests that biophosphates+radiation is a good combo

https://vetmed......arcoma.pdf

On The Road


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24 March 2022 - 11:42 am
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Eric I'm so glad you came back to let us know. Amputation isn't always the answer and that's OK, we all learn from everyone's unique experiences.

That paper is helpful. It doesn't have a date on it though, I wish it did.

Radiation results can vary, every case is different. Have you looked into Stereotactic Radiation Therapy? Hazel's people were very happy with the outcome and it bought her a good quality of life. Also, if you're anywhere near the University of Wisconsin @ Madison (go Badgers!), they have this new radiation treatment

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

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