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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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220 pound mastiff front leg osteosarcoma
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Forum Posts: 17
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8 January 2020 - 2:21 am
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Hello I am new to this forum. Our 6 year old 220 pound mastiff was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right front leg January 6th 2020.

Mouse has been limping for 6 weeks.  Everyday it gets harder for him to get up and walk and he is in more and more pain every day. From looking at his x rays my vetrinarian says that the cancer has weakened his leg so much the leg is at risk of shattering.  He said he could have his leg amputated but doesnt reccomend it due to his size.  I am looking for advise as to what to do and if anyone as ever had success with a front leg amputation with a dog of this size.

Time is not on our side as it may only be a matter of days that he will no longer be able to walk at all and being put to sleep could be inevitable.  

Mouse is your typical mastiff and is very laid back and not a very active dog.  Could this hinder his adapting to 3 legs if we would decide to go through with surgery?  I am also concerned that due to his size i may not be able physically give him the help he would need to recover.  Has anyone ever seen or used any type of hoist to help the dog stand up and to take on some of their weight while they start to learn to walk?

We are so heart broken.  This came on so fast and doesnt seem right to have to put him to sleep when amputating his leg could save him but he needs to be able to walk.

Anyone with advice please!

Kristen

Here and Now


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8 January 2020 - 10:56 am
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Welcome and best wishes for Mouse! Search these forums and blogs and you will find many stories of giant breed Tripawds Loving Life On Three Legs , including many Mastiffs of all sizes. Yes, larger, heavier dogs do tend to have a more difficult recovery – but usually, nothing that cannor be managed with proper diet, pain management , and rehab exercises.

Of course, every dog is different. Only you and your orthopedic surgeon can determine what is best for Mouse. Regarding any sort of “hoist”, the AST Get A Grip harness and Custom Pet Support Suit are specifically designed for extra large dogs, and have an optional shoulder strap or extra handles for providing assistance as needed.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Meanwhile, start here for help finding all the helpful Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Virginia




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8 January 2020 - 2:29 pm
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A 220 lb Mastiff!!! Great avatar photo.  I’m in .love!!!  So much dog to snuggle and cuddle with!!   

We understand  completely  the stress of hearing the diagnosis, trying to make the best decision for your veloved Mouse.

YES!  We have had very large dogs handle life in three!  I am so inadequate when it comes to trying to search on here, but techie skilled peiple eill come along and give you links.  A couple pf names come to mind:

Eurydice (a Great Dane) .  Tazzie (a Mastiff…I think she weighed 170 lb at surgery).    I k ow thete wete others in the 200 plus range…I just couldn’t figure out the right way to search.

I know time is of the essence, but do you have a way to get him in quick to an Orthopedic  Surgeon to evaluate is he is a good candidate? It sounds like the Vet doesn’t  really have any reservations…other than his size.  And as we’ve  seen in the site, size does NOT matter!  It also sounds like Moise is already a partial tripawd anuway snd is handling  it.

And what’s great about being a big cuddly  Mastiff is they  could care less about running a marathon!  What IS important  to them is being spoiled and being loved on and petted non-stop.😎

Again, if you can, have him evaluated  by an Orthipedic Surgeon and proceed with amputation  of you get the go ahead.   In the meantime, keep him on pain meds and as confined as possible.  

Amputation  gets rid of that awful painful leg and gives him a chance at a great quality  life!!!

Quick aside.  Cant  remeber  rhe exact weight, but Great Dane Atlas (I think around 170 lbs) was told by two Vets to put down because  of size and Wobbles!  Fortunately  the owner found an Orthopedic  Aurgeon who said Atlas was, indeed, a good candidate and Atlas thrived in three for over two years!

STAY CONNECTED!  Update when you can.  We are here for uou snd can help you navigate through recovery.  And yes, there are great harnesses to help during recovery.   If you have hardwood  floors you’ll need non slip scatter rugs for traction .  A good fim bed like The Big Barker Bed made especially  for large dogs.

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!

new hampshire
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8 January 2020 - 4:05 pm
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Hi kristen and mouse, im sorry that you’ve been put in this rotten situation but so glad that you found your way to tripawds. Mouse is so handsome! He looks like an absolute sweet heart!

As Sally mentioned we’ve definitely had many giant breed tripawds live life to the fullest. My own girl was smaller than mouse (130 lb anatolian shepherd, rear leg amp) another that comes to mind is Cemil who i believe was a front leg amp. 

Unfortunately some vets look at giant breeds and disqualify them based solely on size.  Im assuming mouse is otherwise healthy? I know time is critical with the bone weekening but if he’s in good health i would try to get a second oppinion.

As far as being laid back goes, it might be a plus as far as keeping him from injuring the leg further. The first few weeks of recovery involve ALOT of rest and short walks and potty breaks only.  He can max and relax and suck up all the love and belly rubs. 

In the meantime lots of deep breaths. No matter what you decide your making a decision out of love. We’re here to help and offer advice and support anytime you need it. 

Big hugs and belly rubs for that handsome fella

❤ Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel Roane & angel dog Gypsy 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 January 2020 - 4:13 pm
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Kristen, I’m so sorry, what a tough situation! Have you consulted with an oncologist or surgeon? How many opinions have you gathered? Sometimes two or even three are needed before a parent can feel good about making a decision. Yes, many giant breed dogs have done really well on three, that’s for sure. And most dogs don’t need to “learn” how to walk again the same way humans do. Most will walk out of the hospital but some giant breed dogs may be extra sluggish and require support via a harness like the one Admin mentioned.

If amputation is ruled out, did anyone talk to you about the possibility of a limb sparing procedure?  If so, and this is a long-shot but if you’re anywhere near Toronto you may want to consult with Dr. Sarah Boston. She performed this procedure when a giant breed dog needed an amputation, and the dog got lots of quality time afterward. Here’s our interview with her?

New Limb Sparing Surgery for Dogs Makes It More Accessible, Potentially Less Risky

Finally, radiation therapy is also something to discuss with an oncology surgeon. Hazel did great with it.

Unfortunately, both limb sparing and radiation therapy are far more expensive than amputation. If you have pet insurance that would cover either treatment, it’s something to consider. 

Try not to get so overwhelmed right now. I know I”m throwing information at you that could delay this even further, so try to keep her pain as under control as possible while you decide. What is she on right now? 

We are here to help. Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 17
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9 January 2020 - 6:14 pm
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Thank you everyone for your responses.  After posting this I spoke with my vet again and he refused to do the surgery and said he doesn’t recommend having it dont because I would be putting him through more misery.

So I contacted UW Madison and we have an appointment with oncology Wednesday at 9am.  They will be able to tell us our options after they run the tests they need.

Mouse is in good health and does not have any issues with his other limbs or joints.  I spoke with a surgical technitition at the university and she said size does not matter but if they are over weight that does.  I am not real concerned if he is over weight because I know he is losing weight now and of he has surgey will lose even more.

I am going to check out the harness reccommend and will post an update after we get him to UW Madison.

I am still trying to figure out the ins and outs of how this website works but please feel free to Private Message me.  We need all the help and advise we can get right now

Thank you

Kristen and Mouse

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 249
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9 January 2020 - 7:59 pm
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Hi kristen,

Im so sorry that your vet expressed his oppinion that way. It seems that there are some vets that still get closed minded over the size issue. Its a bit silly really, if it was a human they certainly wouldnt refuse to do surgery based on weight. I applaud you for hanging in there and advocating for your sweet boy.

UW Madison sounds optimistic which is wonderful. I agree with you and the tech, Weight can certainly be managed. Mouse can still have a great life on 3 even if they think he’s a little to “fluffy” at the moment. If i remember right brownies mom has had good luck with dr damien dresslers cancer diet to take off a few well loved pounds.

Ill be crossing my fingers for you both on Wednesday. 

Hugs,

Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel Roane & angel dog Gypsy 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

The Rainbow Bridge



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10 January 2020 - 11:28 am
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Hi Kristen,

I’m sorry your vet feels that way. It’s not the first time we’ve heard something like that but you did GREAT by reaching out to UW. GO BADGERS! They have the best care and most current protocols, you will get a definitive answer there. Also be sure to mention the limb sparing by Dr. Boston to them if you get a chance. Because they’re a research and teaching hospital they may be interested in a surgery like this and consulting with Dr. Boston.

Wednesday’s a long way off though. Until then make sure his pain is well-managed and be super cautious with his activity. Also be prepared when you go to UW to leave him for surgery that day. It may not happen, but it could if they have an opening. In the mean time you may want to prepare your house with no-slip rugs/carpet runners and elevated feeders. Just a few things like that can make a big difference in his recovery.

By the way I redacted your phone # from the Forums. The internet is a crazy place, you don’t want any wackos calling you. Our Private Messaging system is available to registered members like you to reach out to one another, privately. 

I’m happy to give you a tour of the website’s features. Have you seen Our Start Here page

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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10 January 2020 - 5:38 pm
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Mouse is so handsome!!!

Some vets are against age, size and weight. Brownie had a double negative. He was 10 days from being 12, and 15 lbs over weight at time of amputation. It has been almost 11 months and doing great getting around on three and did drop the extra 15 lbs he was carrying. He will be 13 in a couple of months, so having issues due to being a senior, but no issues being a tripawd .

Brownie had left front leg amputation due to OST bone cancer. I didn’t feel chemo was right for Brownie and the vet said ‘no chemo three months max”. Well as I said it has almost been 11 so each dog is different. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking chemo. Actually years ago I had a Shepard that had chemo and she did great! I just felt it wasn’t for Brownie. You know your dog better then anyone, so whatever decision you make will be the right one.

Sending positive thoughts your way.

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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15 January 2020 - 3:36 pm
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UP DATE ON MOUSE

Just a quick update.  We just got back from UW Madison.  Mouse will have his leg amputated tomorrow and then followed up by 4 rounds of chemo theropy every 3 weeks by IV.  We are exhausted so going to nap but will write more this evening.

Kristen and Mouse

Virginia




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15 January 2020 - 4:19 pm
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Okay, you have a plan and can now move forward!  I’m soooo glad you were able to get an evaluation  from the team at UW.  

We know getting to this point is exhausting  mentally and physically.   Of course, Mouse is oblivious  to your worries and concerns.  Ahhh…the bliss pf veing dog!

Giessing they will keep Moise at least one night, if not more.  Being a big fella’, they’ll give him .pts of time to shake off the anesthesia  and help with his mobility.  And yes, larger dogs to need more time to get their sea legs (usually, not always), so no worries if  he needs help getting up and/or taking some steps at first.

We’re  here to help you and Moise navigate  thru recovery in any way we can.

Hugs to all….extra big hug to Mouse ❤

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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16 January 2020 - 6:16 pm
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His leg was amputated today.  Everything went well so far.  We may be able to bring him home Sunday.  I would rather him stay longer then come home too soon.  They have an epidural stint in him to manage pain.  They have him on ketamine now.  They will try to get him up in the morning.  For now they just want him to rest.

Does anyone have opinions as far as chemo theropy after amputation? Maybe I should post this question under a different topic.  Not sure.

Kristen and Mouse

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 January 2020 - 6:23 pm
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Yay Kristen and Mouse! The surgery is over! Yesss! That’s wonderful.

It sounds like his pain management is top-notch. Yes, rest is what he, and you, both need. Your vet will let you know if he’s ready to come home. Some dogs stay a day or two longer, just to make sure they’re mobile and feeling better.

As for chemotherapy, it’s a personal decision. There are no right or wrong choices and we will support you no matter what. Oh yeah it would be helpful to post elsewhere. You may want to check out this discussion in our Treatment and Recovery area:

https://tripawd…..to-chemo-1

Keep us posted on his homecoming. I hope it’s soon!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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16 January 2020 - 9:37 pm
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YAAAAAY!!  SURGERY IS DONE!!!  Mouse is resting  comfort and probably  seeing a few pink elephants right about now!

Now is the time for you to decompress and get some good rest.  I’m  glad the clinic is keeping Mouse until Sunday so he can be properly monitored.

As Jerry said, there is no right or wrong when it comes to chemo.  It’s  pretty much a crap shoot.  Some dogs seem to get extended  time with chemo, some don’t.   So don’t do chemo and seem to get extended  time, some don’t.    Needless to say, we support any decision you make. 

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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17 January 2020 - 8:13 am
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I kept my own Mastiff Tazzie in the hospital for 3 nights just to let her get stronger.  We did do the chemo for 5 injections and overall she handled it really well.  You are in good hands at UW Madison.  I went to vet school there and they do a lot of cancer research.

Pam

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