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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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A fall and its consequence - Pofi could use good thoughts and prayers
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Minneapolis, MN
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15 October 2016 - 11:31 am
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Hello:

So I have been a bit quiet – our streak of things going well and going our way has come to a halt and we hope beyond hope it is temporary.  

  • Pofi’s benign lump was removed a few weeks ago
  • He was scheduled for removal of sutures a week ago yesterday
  • I had to run to the vet for a cat wellness check up that morning and had trouble putting my hands on the cat so was running late
  • I neglected to put his cone back on him due to my haste
  • In the hour I was gone, he removed the bandage, pulled out all his sutures and opened up what was a well healed incision
  • U of MN got me in early (our appointment was late afternoon) and decided we could work to heal it without any restitching
  • They mega – wrapped again and the surgical resident volunteered to make time for us again the next afternoon (Saturday) to rebandage and check to see it seemed like it was starting to heal
  • Saturday went well – surgeon sent pics to the original surgeon who was at a conference and they agreed it looked good and to proceed  – they re-wrapped 
  • Sunday we went to dog park  – a man was shocked at his age telling me he thought Pofi was probably about 4 and nowhere near 12
  • Monday late afternoon another appointment with his original surgeon to inspect and probably leave unwrapped
  • An interview I agreed to be part of at work got moved to late afternoon causing me to again have to rush after that concluded to make the appointment
  • Pofi had trouble getting into the back of my Rav4 – he normally hops in pretty gracefully, but didn’t get all the way up – front leg and chest in, but hit his pelvis against the frame and was sort of stuck there with back legs splayed till I assisted
  • At the hospital, despite trying to help him out, I had not had forethought enough to put a harness on him and he still landed badly – it is a blur, but he definitely crash landed a bit though I had his collar hoping to protect his front leg from too much force – but his back legs again didn’t do so well sliding out from under him
  • Still, he pulled the surgeon like a freight train trying not to go with him and coming back
  • We got home still wrapped and a plan to get unwrapped early morning Friday with the surgeon – before I let him out of the car, I did get a sort of support harness onto him and really gingerly got him out
  • He was acting a little sore and exhausted – seemed little tenuous on back feet, but still went upstairs that night on his own and of his own volition and slept on our bed
  • He came downstairs Tuesday with me at his side and the harness out of caution, but was getting around okay – to prevent him from overdoing it, all animals were sequestered to part of the first floor via doors and baby gates – I had to be in the office that day and attend, briefly, an after hours meet and greet
  • I called home from that event and Ken said Pofi had been on his feet, but shakey and Mia knocked him over in her ebullience and he was now whining
  • Switched him to another support lift for rear legs that night and got him out for bed time potty
  • Closed doors to upstairs to sleep downstairs with him that night – he got up for water, but lost his balance and slipped to floor in kitchen – I helped him back to a bed and started giving him Tramadol and Gabapentin to try to sedate and relieve pain
  • But morning his mobility was severely compromised – called and left message for surgeon or other at U of MN
  • Surgeon called back and we discussed – said it sounded like he pulled his groin badly
  • We decided on continued meds and rest till Friday morning appointment unless he seemed very uncomfortable
  • He continued to need serious assistance, but is using legs and getting out to potty with steady assistance, but gait is odd
  • Eating very well – no issues
  • Brought him in yesterday morning for wound and mobility issue assessment
  • Was not at all happy with cart provided – surgeon ended up getting him out of card and walking him with the harnesses back to treatment
  • Assessment – very clear painful groin muscle pull – this is the good news
  • Also – for some reason, some neuro deficit – could be damage to spine, could be tumor, but he thinks tumor highly unlikely – least likely given all we know and can observe
  • Most likely scenario – FCE, fibro cartilaginous embolism, in the spine caused by the bad landing or the subsequent tipped over fall – and effect is exacerbated by the bad groin pull
  • Could recover from this with time (and presumably PT)
  • But first, we also have to heal the groin pull
  • He barely permitted us to use the cart to get him back to the car
  • Got a “Help ’em Up” harness at the hospital because they had them, but it is not ideal and I have ordered a Get a Grip
  • Added a muscle relaxant to the drug mix
  • He was chill all the rest of the day
  • Still eating well
  • Rough time with a potty break when he finally wanted one at 11: 30
  • Plan is to only do potty breaks when needed – keep up with meds and let him rest – back to see surgeon in a week to see if we have some incremental improvement

Oh, and did I mention we have plane tickets (non refundable) and hotel reservations for my college homecoming leaving this Wed night and that I prepaid someone to stay with the dogs every night while we were gone?  And my bffs are only going because I insisted I was – we have been planning for 2 years.  Obviously, we are not going – at least not both of us.  Wait and see if I can consider going alone perhaps leaving a bit later and coming back a day earlier.  Ken would have the days off to be home.  But only if Pofi seems like he is improving.

I am deeply worried we may be at an impasse on this journey – but I also know how strong this dog is.  But I can’t let him suffer and have to figure out if recovery is possible and how meaningful that recovery is.  Right now he is bright eyed and loving and eating well and waggy tailed despite this immobility.  But I don’t know if that would last if he does not regain decent use of back legs.  

We thank you for good thoughts and prayer and vibes – my spirit is pretty crushed knowing my haste is at play in what should have been avoidable trauma.

Thank you,

Lisa (and Pofi)

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Virginia




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15 October 2016 - 11:56 am
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HOLLLLLLLY S**T!! NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT!!

UNFLIPPIN’BELIEVEABLE!!!!!

Okay…DEEP BREATHS….and I’m taking them right along with you!! B R E A T H E

I’m gonna cut to the “chase” This IS doable! ABSOLUTELY DOABLE!! It wontq be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but POFI IS POFI!!! POFI WILL GET OVER THIS HURDLE LIKE HE GETS OVER EVERY OTHER HURDLE THROWN IN HIS PATH!

I KNOW it’s unbelievably hard not to jump ahead. This is where you REALLY have ro focus on one day at a time. A d, without getting discouraged! I KNOW that’s a tall order, but this recovery will take time and patience.

Pofi is wagging and alert! He’s a smart boy and knows he needs to rest.

And kick anh guilt to the curb right now!! You have been in this journey long enough to know that is a complete waste of energy AND distracts you from staying completely focused o. Pofi!! And goodness k ows that silly boy ks going to great extremes to make sure he has your attention!!!

And for goodness sakes, lean on us kiddo! A bit of screaming a d yelling is in order right now! And we’re really good at that around here! It helps!!

Lots and lots and lots of love and a gazillion hugs!!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS..just so you’ll k kw how loved you and Pofi are, a dear friend to all of us (shhh…it’s a secret..PAULA),emailed me out of concern because she knew I don’t have gacebooger. Just after I got ner PM I saw your post. She was hoping you would post here…so glad you did!

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!

Green Bay, WI


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15 October 2016 - 12:28 pm
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I’m so glad you posted here Lisa…..I can’t even imagine how difficult this is for you all. And I know it’s really hard to stay positive, and not jump ahead and imagine all the terrible ways this can play out. But like Sally said, now is the time to Be More Dog ! You know Pofi is (well, what else could he be :)…..its huge that he still wants to eat, and wags his tail at you. And of course this couldn’t have happened at a worse time for you, that always seems to be the case.

I know you and Ken will do your very best for him! And NEVER underestimate the power of Tripawd Nation. We are all here for you, pulling for you, cheering you on, praying for you. 

Paula and Nitro

P.S. I knew Sally would have great words of wisdom and encouragment

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

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15 October 2016 - 1:52 pm
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Lisa,

So sorry to hear you and Pofi are going through. How frustrating that a stupid slip and fall can throw such a wrench. All of us have watched our babies faceplant, and stuck somewhere with the angelic but pathetic look that just rips our hearts out and makes us feel guilty. But it’s life. We can’t protect them from every slip and fall.

To share an experience of ours with similarities…. years ago Milo hurt his back and hips.  We weren’t able to prove it, but we think something happened at the groomers. They were running late, and we think he heard my voice on the other side of the door and tried to jump off the table. It was 4 or 5 days later — not that day — that he started showing weakness and shaking in his back legs, and found walking more than 20 yards was too much of a challenge.  He couldn’t get on the ottoman, his favorite sleeping place.  We did x-rays but nothing definitive. We ended up treating it as pulled muscles. Rest. Slow gentle stretching and massage when he was ready.  That was when we first added Glucosamine in case it was joints.  It took 4-6 weeks before he was fully recovered, but after 7-10 days he quit shaking so much when standing and was showing signs of improvement.

The fact he’s happy and eating is huge. It also supports the theory that he pulled his groin muscle and inflamed his spine. It might take what seems like forever for him to recover, but it’s certainly doable. We’ll be sending positive healing thoughts to Pofi.

Peace,

Jenifer & Milo  

Los Angeles, CA
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15 October 2016 - 2:03 pm
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Oh wow.. I am so sorry you are going through this right now. I can only imagine how frustrating and terrifying all at the same time this must be. The others have given you some great advice so I am here to offer my love and support!!! 

I do know that Shelby would get muscle strains from time to time and a little massage helped. I don’t know about a groin injury though. 

I would say eating is a very good sign!!! 

Sending you love and keeping you in my thoughts. Please keep us posted!!!

Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart (and little jasper too)

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 October 2016 - 2:03 pm
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Lisa, I’m so sorry, what a rough time Pofi and you are having. Admin filled me in that you were chatting the other day. Thank you for the Get-a-Grip order, we’ve got that underway. Meanwhile…

I see SO many things on Pofi’s side that say this is NOT his time. He’s feisty as all get out, he’s eating despite being on pain meds, and he is in good spirits overall. That is HUGE and all indicates that this can be overcome with TLC and rehab. I know it’s easy to think the worst but try not to, because I have a feeling he’s got waaaaaay more hoppy days ahead.

Many dogs have overcome much greater obstacles. And in fact we’ve had a Tripawd with a FCE. His story will inspire you:

Tripawd Charlie Shows There’s Life After FCE Paralysis and Amputation

One more thing: please don’t beat yourself up or look back with “What ifs”. It doesn’t change anything, you are ALWAYS doing your best with him, and besides, Pofi isn’t looking back, so just follow his lead.

We’re all thinking of you and sending lots of love. Hang in there and keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




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15 October 2016 - 2:10 pm
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First- follow Sally’s advice!

If it is a FCE there are some positives.  After the initial injury they are not painful and most dogs recover without further issues or episodes.  It is also good that he has some mobility after the injury and was not immediately paralyzed in one or more limbs.

This is all complicated by the groin injury and the fact that he is a Tripawd.  I would be encouraged because he is bright eyed and interested in what is going on around him- and of course the appetite.

What was the neurological deficit? Was it in all his feet or one or two?  How bad was it?

It won’t be easy to help him around but you should see some improvement in his mobility in a couple weeks (again assuming FCE) and the down time now will hopefully help the groin to heal. 

My quad-pug Tani was at one time diagnosed with a FCE so I did a bunch of reading.  Turns out it was most likely not a FCE because she had ongoing episodes which we finally concluded were strokes.

Sending all the positive and strong energy I have for Pofi!

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

London, UK


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15 October 2016 - 2:22 pm
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Gosh, Lisa. I’m so sorry to hear this. What a horrible, stressful, upsetting ordeal. But please, please, please, please, please will you stop beating yourself up about it? It is absolutely impossible to cover every single eventuality, every single time. Impossible. This is bad luck. End of. I’ve certainly had near misses. I’m sure everybody has. You are an amazing, amazing Mum, and Pofi is incredibly lucky to have you.

I agree with the others, the fact that Pofi is eating and wagging is a very good sign indeed. The fact that Pofi is Pofi is also good, because Pofi is an amazing dog, a true survivor (he chose his Mum and Dad well), and he will come through this. With time and rest and TLC, and the Tripawds Nation cheering him on, Pofi is going to be fine.

Sending love,

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 




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15 October 2016 - 3:18 pm
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How about laser, acupuncture & massage.  I know it helped Jazz and prevented a surgery for us.  It might help speed up the healing process. 

I am glad you posted.  Sally always has great advice.

thinking of you guys

xoxoxo

Michelle & Angel Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Minneapolis, MN
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15 October 2016 - 4:28 pm
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Thank you all.  Sally, Paula, Jenifer, Alison, Clare, Rene, Karen and Michelle. Your support and advice and positivity is so comforting.  He was just doing so, so well, lately – my shoes and slippers were disappearing and turning up wherever he was sleeping. And he was spending time on the couches, which he had barely done in the months before the cancer was diagnosed.  So this just hurts.  In addition to the short trip Ken and I were taking, we had to scrap a planned return to a beach house on Lake Superior (we stayed there last year when Pofi was only missing a toe) due to work stuff.  To make up for not getting him (and Mia) a week on the lake, we just decided last weekend we would rent an RV again and head south to Dauphin Island the week of Thanksgiving. He loved the RV so much the last time we rented one and we all could use a kick back week in some warm, but not hot weather. We had identified a dog friendly RV Park on a beach and even sites in the park that were available and fairly close to the beach path in consideration of our Tripawd.

I got the confirmation on the Get A Grip – thanks Rene.  I am hopeful it can help us navigate this period better. Michelle, I am sure PT, laser and massage is in the future, but I don’t want him to have to go anywhere at the moment – yesterday’s hospital visit was very stressful and I think the groin has to heal first.  I can probably find an acupuncture therapist who does home visits, but I wonder if anyone brings a laser as part of a mobile service?

Karen, yes, he does have limited mobility – the gait is strange, a little wide and some odd high stepping.  He seems to sometimes be able to stand without support when I have gotten him on his feet.  As to the neuro deficit – a little bit of knuckling – seems like more on the left back leg, but hard for me to say since I am walking with him.  Of course, he is just reclining now and has not gotten up completely on his own since Tuesday late night, but he does move around, sometimes gets himself into a more upright recline (a “down” position”).  And he stretches those back legs when he first wakes up or when I am rubbing his flank for him, just like he does almost every morning when I am giving him some attention.  And he pulls them in to his body sometimes, too.  And when he is up with our support, he is actually striding with those legs – just not well and a lot of sliding around.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Livermore, CA




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15 October 2016 - 4:56 pm
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One thing I did with Tani was to massage her feet and flex them when she would let me, she didn’t often like to be touched. The theory is that it helps the brain connect or re-connect with the appendages.  I can’t say for certain if it helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

When Pofi normally gets up does he push himself up with his front leg into a sit or does he rise with his back end?  I’ve only had rear amps but I would think that a severe groin pull would make it difficult for a front amp to get up?

This has got to be so hard for you and Ken.  I hope that you will see some improvement in the coming days.

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

Minneapolis, MN
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15 October 2016 - 5:11 pm
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krun15 said

When Pofi normally gets up does he push himself up with his front leg into a sit or does he rise with his back end?  I’ve only had rear amps but I would think that a severe groin pull would make it difficult for a front amp to get up?

Karen:

Glad to hear you say this – I am flexing his legs and feet because it just seemed like a good thing to do, though I couldn’t say why!  He is quite tolerant of it.

Yes, he does really push himself upright with his rear legs which is exactly why, I think, he just can’t do it right now. And taking that first front let hop when he is up seems like something he has to talk himself into as I am sure it hurts to transfer more weight to those back legs. Doctor said the sensitivity / pain reaction from pressure on the groin was VERY clear and immediate. 

Thanks, 

Lisa

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Michigan
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15 October 2016 - 7:20 pm
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Oh Pofi ~ I would think that this type of injury would take a while to heal…so give him time.  I don’t know anything about that FCE injury.  But it sounds like he’s in really good spirits, and you have a great team working with you!

You know we’re all here for you!

heartDonna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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London, UK


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16 October 2016 - 2:45 am
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Hi there, just wanted to second Michelle re acupuncture, massage and laser. I don’t know anything about FCE, but certainly for the groin strain. When Meg pulled a muscle in her shoulder six months post amp (almost certainly from overdoing it, scrambling in and out of streams. Did I beat myself up? Yes.), these were extremely beneficial for her (together with strict rest and anti-inflammatory medication). 

In terms of the practicalities of getting someone to come to you, you’d obviously have to find somebody willing but, practically speaking, I really don’t see why not. Meg has had laser in three different places, each using a slightly different machine, but in all three cases, the machine they used would have been completely portable, just plug in and play, or that’s how it looked to me.

Sending healing vibes to Pofi….

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 




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16 October 2016 - 6:40 am
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Hi Lisa and Pofiheart

So sorry to hear Pofi’s news but truth is he is the ULTIMATE warrior so he will pull through this!

I always remember the videos you posted of him coming down stairs and, oh boy, talk about steep stairs!!!

You’ve got great advice from everybody, it will just be a matter of time (and rest) before Pofi springs back to being his old  super active self.

Sending you lots of pawsitive energy and lots of hugs and cuddles to our Heroe Pofi heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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