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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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6yr old 230lb Mastiff candidate for front leg amp?
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Member Since:
10 January 2022
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10 January 2022 - 4:40 pm
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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!!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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10 January 2022 - 7:29 pm
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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 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.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
4 April 2019
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11 January 2022 - 8:54 am
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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.sp_hearticon2

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:
22 February 2013
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11 January 2022 - 9:25 am
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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!

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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11 January 2022 - 11:04 am
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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:

Jessee the Dane

Atlas the Great

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.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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12 January 2022 - 10:15 am
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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.


Member Since:
29 December 2020
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9 February 2022 - 4:54 pm
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Hi there! I am sorry you are going through this! Our Odin was 5 years old and 185lbs (English Mastiff) when we discovered he had osteosarcoma in his hind leg/hip last year. It was shocking news to hear that amputation was the only real solution. We were terrified because of his size. We weren't sure if he would be able to get around or if he'd have a good quality of life. Then we found this website and read on and on about others who have gone through it - it was so reassuring. Tazzie was actually the one who sealed the decision for us - we saw the video Pam posted and knew we had a chance. While our situation was different, i wanted to share that Odin was up and walking within 2 weeks unassisted. We could not believe it! Dogs are so resilient and your commitment and determination is already setting her up for success. We chose to do Chemo and did 5 rounds. He is now 10 months post chemo (1 a year and a month from surgery) and is still getting a clean check ups. We're just now experiencing his remaining hind leg getting weak. We've added supplements to his diet and try to watch his weight. I just want to know there's hope for your big girl!!! We are so happy with the decision we made to amputate - it has given Odin an extended life! <3


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9 February 2022 - 5:47 pm
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Thanks for sharing your experience  with Odin....AND......wonderful he has been doin so well.  Such an inspiration!

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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