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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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14 year old Lab mix may need rear leg amputation
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Forum Posts: 8
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31 March 2016
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2 April 2016 - 9:25 pm
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Hi everyone, I’m looking for some advice. Our 14 year old baby Luka is a Lab mix, we think Chow and Border Collie. She has the normal old age slow down, but will still jump up and down at the back door barking when you don’t get there right away to let her in, and she still has a pep in her step. About a week and a half ago I noticed she wouldn’t go up just one small step. At first I thought it was just old age, but then I realized her foot looked a bit swollen. When I checked it out, I saw what I originally thought was an abcess between her toes on her rear leg. 

I took her to the vet the next day where they confirmed it was in fact a tumor, which the vet thinks is benign. She recommended toe amputation because it was large and was actually pushing her outside toe out of place. They did all the requisite X-rays and blood work to confirm she was healthy enough for surgery, and other than elevated liver enzymes, she is extremely healthy for her age. 

Even so, I left the vet in tears, thinking that putting her through this type of surgery at her age would be a terrible idea. After speaking with my husband and mother in law, they were both like are you kidding me, look at her she will be just fine, we should do the surgery. So we scheduled for about a week out. Unfortunately she got ahold of her foot and chewed it open a couple days before surgery, so when I dropped her off, the vet informed me it was infected and swelling up her leg. 

They were unable to operate and we have additional antibiotics and pain pills. The vet explained that if the swelling doesn’t go down they will need to amputate her rear leg this Monday. We have been doing the betadine soaks the vet recommended and the swelling has been going up and down, but she is more herself than she has been since this began. 

The problem I am having is that even though my husband is still very supportive, my mother in law is not convinced that doing an amputation is a good idea. I know she is 14, but she is so happy and full of life that I can’t imagine putting her down because of this. I know that recovery will be rough, but I feel it would be selfish of me not to try because it may be difficult for us humans. 

I am looking for advice, specifically in regards to older dogs with rear leg amputations. I have read and researched for hours and hours over the last couple of days, but I’m looking for personal experience. While I feel it would be selfish to end her life because it may be hard, the feedback I’m getting is the opposite. Any help or stories anyone can provide would be so helpful.

Livermore, CA




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2 April 2016 - 9:39 pm
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Hi and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

The ones that make the decision need to be you and your husband. You know Luka best and know what is best for her.

It really doesn’t matter what her age is, it matters how much life she has in her.  How are her other joints?  Sounds like she gets around well.  Does the vet think she is a good candidate for amputation?

Losing a rear leg is a bit easier on dog since they take most of their weight on the front legs.

Hopefully the infection will subside and you are only dealing with a toe.

You can read through some of the topics in this forums for stories on older pups and how they coped.

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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2 April 2016 - 10:04 pm
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She is 14 so of course there is some creaks and it’s not like a young dog.  I feel pretty confident in our decision to move forward with surgery if necessary, I think we owe it to her after all these years.  I think some of this is generational, like 20 years ago you didn’t do an amp., so it’s hard for them to understand how this will work out. Our only concern was that about 5 years ago she had a partial ACL tear which resolved on it’s own, but my thought is she is a tough old girl.  In fact for years we have called her the honey badger because she doesn’t give a s**t lol

Green Bay, WI


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2 April 2016 - 10:28 pm
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Hi, I was just in chat with you…..Karen is right, you and hubby need to make the decision. My family wasn’t on board with our decision to amputate our 8 1/2 yr old dobes’s front leg – “how can you do that to him!”. It’s been almost 2 years, and he’s still going strong. He had a toe removed on one of his hind feet several years ago. As I agonized over this, my vet said “these dogs do great on 3 legs, losing a toe will be nothing”. Hopefully you can just lose a toe, but if not, they DO AMAZING, on 3 legs. The recovery can be difficult, but it was the best decision we ever made. Good luck, keep in touch – thru chat, the helpline if you want to talk instead of type…..

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Forum Posts: 8
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3 April 2016 - 9:03 pm
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Thanks everyone! The swelling seems to be a little better today, but the vet will make the ultimate decision in the morning. She was super snugly today, so I know we are making the right decision. I’ll post an update tomorrow

Virginia




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3 April 2016 - 10:14 pm
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Just catching up

Qill be looking for your update tomorrow. I know this is sso scary. I also know your love for Luka is so strong, as is hers for you. You are doing everything possible to give her a quality and pain free life…whatever that may look like.

We are all right here vy your side, okay? You are not alone!

Lots of love to all

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!

Forum Posts: 8
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4 April 2016 - 8:30 am
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Well, after her exam this morning, her leg was still really swollen and the tumor is still infected, so we are moving forward with the amputation.  I am extremely nervous at the moment, hoping we made the right decision.  She was clearly in pain this morning. The doctor will call this afternoon when she is out of surgery, and she will need to stay until at least Wednesday.  

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19490
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4 April 2016 - 9:06 am
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When we are given “forced choices” we do the best we can with the circumstances we are given. You are doing the best you can to relieve Luka’s pain. It has to be done to give her a chance at quality.

Luka will be nice and druggy the next couple of days and not feeling any pain. Of course, you will be an emotional wreck worrying about her! We’ve nad many seniors here adjust to three legs just fine! It may take a bit longer to adjust, but when they do, they do just find…and without pain!!

We’re all cheering for Luka! And you’re doing great…even if it doesn’t feel like it!!

@ove

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie!

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




Forum Posts: 3952
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4 April 2016 - 9:35 am
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Well, I was hoping to read this morning that it was just her toe but you prepared yourself for this possible outcome.

I’ll be looking for an update this afternoon.

Karen

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

Schofield, WI
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4 April 2016 - 11:00 am
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My thoughts and prayers are with you and Luka today.  You are doing what your heart is telling you is the right choice for Luka.  Please keep us posted and let us know how we can help.  Hugs (((())))

Linda, Ollie, Riley & Spirit Mighty Max

Forum Posts: 8
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4 April 2016 - 2:46 pm
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Surgery was postponed until tomorrow morning.  They had 2 emergencies today that required surgeries, and they would rather wait until tomorrow than rush through it today.  They have her on IV antibiotics and fluids, so she’ll stay overnight.

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4 April 2016 - 3:10 pm
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The waiting is probably stressful, but sounds like she is getting good care, and no one wants a tired surgeon operating, so waiting is the best option.  We will all be thinking about you tomorrow!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3952
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4 April 2016 - 3:15 pm
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That happened with my pug Maggie too!

I waited all afternoon to get the report and when they finally called they said they had to postpone!  But I was happy they did because they had been overrun with emergencies too and the surgeon was exhausted. 

Take the time to rest up and make sure your house is Tripawd ready.

I’ll be thinking of you guys tomorrow and will check in for an update.

Karen

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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31 March 2016
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4 April 2016 - 4:19 pm
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So is there someplace l can read up on how to make our house ready for her?  Besides no stairs of course. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 April 2016 - 4:30 pm
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It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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