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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Abner is six months post amp and we have lung mets
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16 September 2012 - 1:47 pm
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As per a recommendation from one of the members that I continue Abner’s story on a new topic and since it has been almost three months, I figured I would start over.  His amputation was March 5th and was followed up with a confirmation from the pathologist who analyzed the removed leg bone that he did indeed have osteosarcoma in his right femur.  At 15 days out we had a single session of Carboplatin which he didn’t tolerate at all.  After dealing with three infections and a clearly miserable dog I suspended chemo.

He has had a moderately good summer.  Some days his energy is better than others although in truth he has never really accommodated well to having only one hind leg.  He does the best he can but it tires him out quickly.  He is still being treated for the possibility of discospondylitis although that infection has never been confirmed.

As of Friday we now know that he has at least three visible metastatic growths in his lungs.  They are small but visible and I am once again confused by conflicting advice and information on how to proceed.  It seems the two principal options are to just let things progress and treat symptoms until he just isn’t having a good quality of life any longer.  At this point there don’t seem to be any obvious symptoms of the disease in his lungs.  The other option seems to be to begin a course of Palladia.  I have read differing opinions on who well this works, in what percentage of dogs, and how much one can expect to delay the inevitable progression.  I have a request for information from the director of a study done at NC State Vet School this past spring and am hoping to get very current stats.  I do understand that many of the dogs who are put on this regimen have GI distress and that one should probably treat with Prilosec or similar from the outset.

I don’t want to subject Abner to anything that is going to extend his life but make him miserable for the time that he has.  This was why we gave up on chemo in the first place.  I would be interested in the thoughts of people with large and giant breeds who have used this treatment for mets from Osteosarcoma after amputation.  One more issue to consider is that Abner turned 10 in July so he is not a young dog.

I have already perused a few posts from people whose dogs had digestive tract issues but I would like to hear specifically from others with giant breeds as I gather the reactions are different in the bigger dogs.

Thanks, as always for the existence of this forum and for the help of the people who follow it.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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16 September 2012 - 2:48 pm
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I do not have anything to add about the Palladia you probably don’t already know.  I’ve read about its use, but do not have personal experience with it.

I’m sorry Abner had problems with the carboplaten.  Like you, I believe the whole goal is to give them quality of life for the time they have left.  I was horribly apprehensive about choosing chemotherapy.  Our vet and my husband finally got me to agree to one treatment.  If there were side effects we wouldn’t continue.  We were lucky and have very minimal effects.

Sending good thoughts your way as you pursue the options for the next step in the journey.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Orange County, CA

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16 September 2012 - 9:09 pm
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What a handsome fellow Abner is!

I have a large dog (90 lb Labradoodle), but clearly not a giant breed. He had his right hind limb amputated for OSA 7/3/12 and a single lung met was found earlier this month (after 3 treatments of chemo). He has also been on Palladia with no side effects other than he is losing the “beard” on his face.

Fortunately, my dog has been tolerating his chemo and Palladia extremely well and we are continuing with both. But I am with you… if the chemo was making my dog miserable, I would stop. 

I think it’s very hard to say how effective Palladia might be at this point, especially since it’s a newer drug and there is a lot less experience with it. I guess my feeling would be that if it might help, it’s worth a try. You could always stop it if Abner was having problems with it. 

Right hind limb amputated 7/3/12 for OSA, started on alternating cycles of Carboplatin and Doxorubicin and oral Palladia. Single lung met 9/1. Met in the neck muscle removed 9/30. Large mass in sublumbar lymph node 10/2. Rescue chemo with ifosfamide 10/6. Mets to the rib and axillary lymph node 10/21. Started Leukeran and Pred 10/25. Wookie left this Earth for a far better place on 12/4/12. I miss you, Boo, you were my heart.

The Rainbow Bridge

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17 September 2012 - 7:42 am
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It’s great to hear from you, I’m glad to hear that Abner has had a good summer. I hope you don’t mind but I moved your post here since you are asking specifically about giant breed dog issues. 

If you search the Forums you’ll find lots of experiences from others who have gone the Palladia route, although I’m not sure how many will be giant breed pups. If you get that info about Palladia from the researcher, please share it with us if they will allow you to, I’d love to see it as we need more content here in the Forums about it.

One thing I will say about the lung mets; we’ve seen many dogs with mets go a very long time while living with them. I thrived for 7 good months after lung mets were discovered, while others have made it up to two years. They can be unpredictable so keep that in mind when making treatment decisions.

We appreciate your updates and candor in how Abner has adapted as a Tripawd, it’s something that I know other pawrents of giant breeds will appreciate reading about. 

Good luck with your research and decisions, keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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San Diego, CA
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17 September 2012 - 9:44 am
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Sorry to hear that Abner has lung mets. Abby had lung mets for over a year. We did Palladia off and on for 3 months, but had to ultimately stop due to GI issues that started out not too bad, but got worse.

Good luck with your decision. I hope you still have a lot of wonderful times ahead with Abner.

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

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25 October 2012 - 9:03 pm
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Hello to you and Abner. I’ve read about your Carboplatin experience with Abner. We have a Great Pyrenees also who had his front left leg amputated in June. Originally, we planned to start chemo shortly after the surgery, however, Logan got a nasty pressure sore on his remaining elbow right after the surgery when he hadn’t figured out how to get around yet. It progressed quickly and went quite deep so we didn’t want to risk infection and held off on the chemo. Now that the pressure sore is finally healed enough to start chemo, I’m not so sure I want to do it. I don’t know that I want to put him through more trips to the vet (2 hours each way) where he now hates going – the last four months, the back and forth trips for bandage changes etc has soured him on vet visits. I don’t blame him. I’m curious about Palladia though and I’m anxious to hear what they say in NC. 

The Rainbow Bridge

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26 October 2012 - 7:21 am
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Hey Logan I’m glad your pressure sore healed up! I don’t blame you for wanting to stay away from the vet after that experience.

Thanks for bringing Abner’s topic up again, I’ve been wondering how he’s doing. What’s up Abner?

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