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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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4yr Old English Mastiff
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Forum Posts: 6
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12 July 2019
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12 July 2019 - 10:02 am
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Hi,

Just signed up as I’ve been told today that our English Mastiff has bone cancer in his front left shoulder….this was just over the phone earlier and we are going to talk through options at 6pm tonight. 

He (Sam) developed a very small limp 3 weeks ago which was there for a day or two and we put it down to a twist as it cleared up quite quickly. We were then on holiday and the boarding place we use advised he had limped again for a couple of days so they gave him some metacalm and was then fine and when we collected him he seemed ok but just still had minor limp. We just thought he had probably not rested at the boarders as the dogs are always out playing with each other.  We decided last  night to get to the vet and get him checked out just to be safe and just had the news there after x-ray that it’s cancer.  We don’t know how bad it is yet or what the vet might suggest as options. 

I’ve done a bit of reading now and looks like at 154lbs it might not be out of the question to amputate the leg? I worry about him being so big but I’m desperate to keep my boy for as long as I can (so long as he’s not in pain).

What’s everyones thoughts on amputation at his size/age etc? He’s very healthy otherwise.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Steve

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12 July 2019 - 10:42 am
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Hi Steve and Sam, welcome. We are sorry you found yourself here but hope to make this situation easier. Hope you don’t mind I moved your post here, but this is a good place in our Forums to see how other giant breed dogs have done on three legs. Scroll around to the different stories and you’ll find that even big dogs of Sam’s size can do well on three.

Does Sam have any other health issues that might prevent him from being mobile as a Tripawd? What does your vet think about his candidacy as a Tripawd?

We have been told by the world’s best orthopedic vets that if a dog is otherwise healthy and strong, neither size nor age should be a limiting factor in the decision to amputate. The vast majority do very, very well, including Mastiff dogs. Here are a few search results from the Tripawds News blog to inspire you:

https://tripawd…..ant-breed/

Stay tuned, as I know we have other Mastiff crazy pet parents among us, they will certainly chime in shortly. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 July 2019 - 12:44 pm
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Hi Jerry….thank you. 

Sam’s only other challenge is he’s got a couple of allergies but other than that he’s totally fit and healthy.

My wife and I have just been and picked him up from the vets and he was great under anesthetic and came round fine although he’s a bit spaced out and wanting loads of cuddles.

The vet has run through the x-rays with us and it’s clear from one leg to the other the cancer challenge. The vet has indicated we have caught early so now wants to refer us to a specialist for more CT’s to check his lungs etc and then think about the options. I asked about amputation and she said would not rule it out but given he’s 154lbs it might not be the best option but the specialists will advise further. Federal being made tonight so may be able to get him in tomorrow. I’m really keen to progress what ever is required asap to give him the best chance. 

Just in a state of shock right now as we didn’t expect this at only 4 and lost our previous Dane/at Bernard cross early due to cancer too.

Thanks for the links…will start reading up as I want to be as well informed as I possibly can be before getting to specialist.

Many thanks….will keep the thread updated with progress.

Steve

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12 July 2019 - 4:02 pm
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Hi Steve, im so sorry to hear about sam but glad that you found this site. There is a wealth of knowledge and support here ❤

We found our selves in a similar situation not long ago. Our girl Roane isnt quiet as big as Sam, shes a 6 yr old 130 pound anatiolian shepherd. We were given the same diagnoses except it was a rear leg. Like you i was apprehensive because of her size. I think it maybe a bit of a misnomer that giant breeds dont do well on 3 legs. What ever you decide sam will love you for it. There is no wrong decision.

We went a similar route to the one your going as far as options. #1 the leg diagnosis. #2 xrays to make sure the lungs are clear. (Roanes chest xray was) #3 amputate the leg. In Roanes case her surgery was moved up because she fell going up 5 stupid stairs and fractured the bad leg. 

Roane is now a week and a half out of surgery and doing very well! There were some challenges the first few days as far as moving around because shes so big. Im not saying you should follow exactly what we did. I just want you to know it can be done and Sam can be happy on 3 legs. Im sure some of our other big dog lovers will chime in with there experiences. 

Most of all trust your instincts every dog is different and no one knows him better than you! Stay in touch, ask questions, vent what ever you need, we’re all here to support you ❤ 

❤🐾 Bev & Roane

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

Virginia




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12 July 2019 - 10:36 pm
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As you can swe, you have come to the best place for support and information  from people  who understand far better than anyone can.  We understand all the stress, fear, uncertainty, exhaustion, tears, etc.  We also understand  that, once you proceed thi a plan, oddly you will feel a sense of relief. 

Good job of doing your research and speaking  with the professionals. 

And based on what you’ve said, it does, indeed, appear that Sam will be a good candidate  for amputation surgery. 

A couple of large dogs who successively adapted to three legs and thoroughly  enjoyed .ovo g lofe yo rhe fullest as a  pain free tripawd!!!

Now I may be off a few pounds as far as their weight, but pretty darn close.

Tazzie, an English  Mastiff, 170 plus pounds.  And btw, his hooman is a Vet.

Atlas, a Great Dane, maybe around 180 lbs.  Also had “Wobblers” and was advised not a good candidate  because of that, as well as size and should be euthanized.    Told by two different  Vets.  Atlas and his hooman weren’t  buying it.  They got a THIRD opinion  from a Vet who saw that Atlas could, indeed thrive in three.  And he did!  For over two years!!

Eurydice, another beautiful Great Dane in the 180 lb range.  Thrived like a ballerina and traveled  the cou try with her Mom, romped and played with other pups.  Truly loved life to the fullest.

So just mentioning  these Gentle Giants to reassure  yoj vig dogs get on with living and enjoying all the spoiling and loving you throw their way!  

My Happy Hannah, like Roane, wasn’t quite as large as your Sam, but as 125 lb Bull Mastiff, she was  exactly lap size (although  no one ever told her😉)  Plus she was “mature” for a large dog at eight-plus years old.  Her recovery  as far as some mobility within 24 hrs was quite miraculous.  The recovery  from the surgery  and mastering  her tripawd gait, tweaking the pain meds, etc…not exactly a picnic!

Keep us posted.  Know that what6 defin uou make we support you 100%!  And remember,  her Angel Great Dane buddy will be watching  over her.💖💖

Can’t  wait to see pics of your sweet Sam.

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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12 July 2019 - 11:57 pm
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Thank you for the replies….it means a lot and it’s encouraging that there’s a few larger dogs out there that have done well on three legs.

I’m hoping that by Monday latest we will have Sam at the specialists and can then hopefully figure out the best plan for him. 

He’s come round fully this morning from the anaesthesia and bar a small limp doing great. As usual he demolishing his breakfast so I’m hoping the painkillers are taking most of the pain away (He’s not reacting in any way, flinching or licking to anything so praying that’s the case). 

 Life is just so unfair sometimes. Sam is just such a great boy (our 2nd English Mastiff) and I’m gutted this has happened to him at such a young age. 

Fingers crossed we can find away to give him quality time.

Virginia




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13 July 2019 - 10:14 am
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You WILL find a way to give him quality  time.  You’re  already on the path.

The news is always such a shock.  And yes, you do feel gutted and stunned and it IS soooo damn unfair!!   And Mastiffs are such sweet gentle giants.❤

This whole journey is a crap shoot.  One thing we know for sure, Sam does NOT have a timeframe  stamped  anywhere on that massive Mastiff butt of his!  And Sam didn’t  listen to a single word the Vet said about oseto.  Nope, didn’t  hear a thing!  Nor did large dog Cemille or large dog Queen Nova!  They lived life to rhe fullest for many, many years!  I believe  Nova for five years and Cemille at least that long too!  

The most important  thing we can do is to make every moment the best moment  ever!  To stay fully present in each moment with no worries about the tomorrows.  That’s  called Being More Dog.  Being more Sam!  Days on a calendar  mean nothing  to Sam.  Spoiling,  tummy rubs, treats, laying in the sun, laying in the shade, laying  next to you, breakfast, more breakfast, then lunch and supper, and all pain free….that’s  all that matters to Sam.

We’ll be waiting for an update when you can.  And we would looooove pictures!  Here’s  a link to adding images .

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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13 July 2019 - 3:26 pm
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He is such a big softie….always wanting a cuddle and never accepted that he’s not a lap dog. 

I’m counting down the minutes to Monday so can figure out with specialist what’s going to give him best time possible.

I’m hoping the pictures work below. These were taken today out in the garden.

sam

Sam2

Sam3

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 July 2019 - 4:03 pm
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I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Just catching up, more thoughts in a sec…

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 July 2019 - 4:09 pm
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Oh my dog what a cutie!

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I’m so glad to hear that he has no other challenges and is bouncing back from the diagnostics. This is a great sign!

There are more than a few larger dogs who have done well, we’ve seen a lot here. When a dog has all other factors on their side, life on three isn’t as bad as one might think.

And I just want to add that I think it sounds like you have a great vet. The fact that s/he is willing to refer out to a specialist without imposing their opinion on you is terrific. 

We will keep our paws & fingers crossed for a good consultation with the experts!

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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13 July 2019 - 8:31 pm
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OMD!!!! My heart just melted….flat out melted all over the floor! I just saw all three pictures and am smooching Sam right through the screen!!  OMD!!!  I want to come over and tickle his hug him soooo badly! And those jowls, I bet they can hold more slobber and drool than any hundred dawgs!

Thanks so much for posting these.  Such a lovely Soul.

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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14 July 2019 - 4:54 am
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I do think he’s absolutely gorgeous but then I might be more than a little bit biased.

The jowls do indeed hold some amount of slobber and he definitely likes to cover everything he can in it. We tell people when they come to visit us to wear old clothes that they are not attached too as they will get covered in slobber and it can be hard to wash out!

The vet we have is great. We changed after some bad experiences with our last one that I’m don’t actually think liked animals and it was just a business to them. The current vet absolutely loves animals and really likes Sam. We got a tip on him from another local large breed owner that has a st Bernard. 

Sam has been fine through the night and slept really well. He’s been absolutely fine in himself and you really would not know there was anything wrong with him other than the limp and fact he’s holding the leg up a bit when standing. He’s on metacam and tramadol so think they must be working and hopefully it’s just discomfort rather than pain. He will still fly back into the house if he thinks there’s any food available.

Still reading loads in preparation for tomorrow hopefully at the specialist.

Thank you for the replies …means a lot.

Another one of my boy enjoying a bit of bone this morning below.

Sam 4

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14 July 2019 - 7:08 am
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Oh isnt he just the most beautiful boy!!!! I just want to snuggle that neck ruffle forever!!! Im more than a little biased when it comes to a big dog too 😉

Roane and i are wishing you all luck with the specialist tomorrow. I know after we had a good q&a and came up with an actual plan of action i felt much better. 

Give that hunk a big hug from us. 

❤Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

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16 July 2019 - 10:52 pm
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All….it’s with a very heavy heart, and tears in my eyes, that I’m updating this post to advise that I had to help my boy cross the rainbow bridge yesterday😭

The CT scans let us see that Sam had really developed cancer not only in his leg but.also throughout his lungs. The vet advised, given the severity of the cancer, that he would not have had long left regardless of any treatment we might have been able to give him. We therefore took the decision to do the right thing by him and put him to sleep before he started to suffer. 

Sam crossed after my wife and I had one last opportunity to give him tummy rubs, cuddles and a big bowl of chicken so we let him go a very happy boy. 

To say we are devastated would be putting it mildly. We are better people for having had him and we know that he knew he was loved. 

RIP Sam…. 2/7/2015 – 16/7/2019♥️


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16 July 2019 - 11:45 pm
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It is very sad to lose these big dogs so young…. I am so sorry!

Pam

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