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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10 January 2022
Jinx is a beautiful 6yr old 230lb Mastiff who was just diagnosed with a likely primary tumor on her front leg 2weeks ago. Having trouble getting a definitive answer on the tumor, the vet sent us to oncology specialist because she couldn't x-ray Jinx's chest (her machine was too small) and she didn't want to do a biopsy, but can't get in to Onc for 2 more weeks (1 month from when it was found!).
I've been doing a ton of research while we wait and I'm seeing that amputation is the go to fix, but also hearing she is too big, especially because she has bilateral TPLOs and some arthritis in her other front leg. With that said, she's a strong as an ox and the TPLOs have never given her a lick of trouble, she walked out of surgery after each one and healed like a champ.
Because she's so big, very front heavy, and the other factors she has going on I really think a partial leg prosthetic would be the best option for her to thrive.
I've researched prosthetics and there is a company that custom makes them after the amp, the tumor is at her ankle and small (so far) so there would be plenty of strong bone left for the fit, but I've called around for a surgery consult so I don't have to wait another damn month to get in, and none of the surgeons near me are willing to do the partial amp that it would require to fit a partial leg prosthetic. They won't even consider it as an option. Curious why there would be so much resistance to the surgery.
I had chest x-rays done three days ago and they're clear (yay!) and she's on pain meds, Meloxicam for her arthritis and I had a bunch of leftover gabapentin from her last TPLO, so I have her as comfortable as possible while we wait. Extra med's okay'd by the vet.
We do plan on doing chemo, and would love to follow it up with a vaccine if it's available.
Thoughts? Recommendations? The waiting is driving me crazy!!
25 April 2007
Welcome and bless you for doing your homework about prosthetics . Don't give up!
Are you able to travel to the nearest veterinary teaching hospital? Have you searched the AAHA Directory for a specialty clinic near you? And depending on the type of tumor, some oncologists believe removal of the primary tumor might actually speed metastasis, so don't be in too much of a hurry until you know...call the Tripawds Helpline and we may be able to help you find a clinic. Where are you located?
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.
4 April 2019
Hi, and just wanted to say I am sorry you are going thru this. We do understand how heartbreaking this news can be. There are lots of large dogs on this site who have gone through amputation and have done just fine.
I know that Sally will chime in soon, who is also a mom to a Mastiff who is named Happy Hannah.
Just remember this is not the end, but a new beginning.
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!
04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020
22 February 2013
While I can't address "alternatives" to amputation, I can tell you that large dogs do very well if amputation is the path forwa4d. And yes, even with arthritis and TPLO!
As far as the prosthetic, a lot , a whole lot, of preliminary work up, measurements, etc need to be coordinated between the surgeons and the Prosthetic maker. So it would make sense a Surgeon wouldn't proceed with amp for a prosthetic unless working g spclosely with the manufacturer. Just my FWIW
While my Bull Mastiff was a mere 125 lbs, our Volunteer Vet originally joined here with170 lb Mastiff with a front leg amputation and adapted very well. We currently have a gorgeous Great Dane who I believe is around 200 lbs and just celebrated her 11 yr birthday and one year ampuversary.
Too often Vets dismiss larger dogs not good candidates for amputation. Our "size and age thread" chronicles so many success stories.
Anotherlarfe dog comes to mind. A Great Dane named Atlas. Forgotten the exact weight, but probably arou d 200 lbs? But Atlas also had Wobblers as well as arthritis (or it may have been hip dysplasia?). Anyway, two Surgeons suggested euthanasia. Atlas's Mom knew she could handle life on three, but needed a surgeon who believed the same also. A third opinion from another Surgeon agreed Atlas was a good candidate.
The surgery was a success and Atlas loved a full quality life full of joy and happiness!
Glad that all the xrays are clear, etc! Sounds like she's a Warrior....a strong and fit Warrior!!!
Who is the prosthetic company you are researching?
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!
25 April 2007
Hi and welcome! I love your enthusiasm for looking into all your options. Jinx is a lucky dog to have you as a parent.
Here are the doggos that Sally mentioned:
Thurston the Saint Bernard is another good example.
I'm hoping you are near a vet teaching hospital. Any VTH ortho team would likely be willing to try for the prosthetic route. They are also your best bet to find an experienced, confident ortho surgeon. One of the world's best ortho vets told us that neither size nor age should exclude a dog as an amputation candidate. My guess is that the surgeons you contacted aren't willing to try for the prosthesis because they aren't confident about her overall candidacy. A VTH team will be honest and let you know if it's possible to enjoy a good outcome.
22 August 2008
Is she overweight? That is pretty big for a female Mastiff. If so I would use this time to get some weight off of her. My dog Tazzie also had ACL surgery in both of her rear legs prior but her remaining front leg did not have arthritis and she was a normal weight. She did okay but did require 3 nights in the hospital and never was able to do steep sets of stairs again. She lived an additional 14 or 15 months after chemo and tolerated that well and was quite happy until the tumor recurred in her spine.