TRIPAWDS: Home to 14454 Members and 1615 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG

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.
JUMP TO FORUMS

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!

REGISTER   |   LOG IN


Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Amputation in the Senior Years
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
29 May 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
29 May 2009 - 8:31 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Back in January my almost 11-year old Borzoi broke a rear leg. It was fixed before biopsy results came back – and although when they called me they said the results were clean, I found out later that they were actually inconclusive. At the 4-week check-up I suspected some extra growth at the fracture site but the vet couldn't make a determination as to whether it was osteo or not…at the 8-week check-up I was told it was. After an exorbitant price to fix what turned out to be a pathological fracture, I was given an estimate that was only $600 lower to amputate. After being financially drained, I couldn't afford it and brought Arthur home to see if I could find a vet to perform the amputation cheaper than the specialist. My vet refused – saying it was immoral to amputate on an older dog, despite his otherwise good health and condition. One would have never known he had a problem until they saw all the hardware attached to his rear leg – it couldn't be removed as the leg would likely give way.

So for several weeks he had on the external fixator and was even running in the yard. But then the other week the skin around his knee joint started to ulcerate…so something had to be done. His lungs showed clear in a radiograph taken the day of his last check-up. After speaking with one vet I was acquainted with who is a Greyhound exhibitor/breeder I was told I needed to “put on my bitch hat” and call the specialists and get the quote reduced…which I did. I still had to take out a personal loan…but Arthur is so special to me so I had to do everything I could.

His leg was amputated on Wednesday after another chest x-ray was taken (still clear) and he came home yesterday. Oh gosh…NOW he looks like an 11-year old Borzoi (his birthday was in late March). He's exhausted and has not found his balance yet – but he's eating, and I even at least got a grinny when I picked him up from the vet's.

Prior to this, one would have thought he was 7 or 8 years old – he was in very good shape for a Borzoi his age, and still very active. During the original surgery the vet even remarked on his good condition and muscle tone for a geriatric his age. He was a top racer in his day – #1 Borzoi in 2000/#3 all-breed and my first homebred champion finished exclusively from the Bred-By classes. He has a page on my website at http://www.gryf…..arthur.htm (although it's in need of some updating)

Any tips to help us through this initial time would be greatly appreciated! 

Thanks in advance,

R. Lynn

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
Member Since:
28 November 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
29 May 2009 - 9:14 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Give him some time, he will get adjusted and regain his balance.  The recovery period is appx 2 weeks, and it is the roughest 2 weeks you will face.  Lots of adjustments, but you'll see improvement just about daily.  Trouble is 9 1/2 and is better now than she was a couple of years ago. Hang in there, it gets better.

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.

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 11920
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
29 May 2009 - 11:06 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thanks for joining the discussion gryffyn! It is still very early, right now your pup just needs rest and time to rebuild his strength. Depending on what he's taking, pain meds can also cause side effects like panting, lethargy, whining, or pacing. Our post addressing the top ten canine cancer and amputation concerns is a good place to start. This topic should generate feedback too and you can also search the forums for specific concerns or post questions for tazziedog (Pam is a vet) in the ask a vet forum.

Best wishes for a speedy complete recovery! Be sure to connect with tripawd forum member borzoid for breed-specific questions, last thing we heard she was doing great!

Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
29 May 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
29 May 2009 - 12:15 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I later found the article regarding an approx. 2 week recovery. Hope I can be patient enough to quit second-guessing myself on this. A couple weeks ago I actually put myself in the hospital with an anxiety attack, of which most could be attributed to Arthur's situation.

My vet who refused to treat him in regards to amputation, had a bad experience with a personal dog (a yellow lab who was older, and, I suspect, quite overweight)…so I think she was projecting her experience on Arthur and his needs.

I suspect I know who “borzoid” is – and if so, I met her amputee last week at the Borzoi nationals. While there, some other folks who knew me and the situation sent over some folks who are familiar with a program at a Michigan (?) or Ohio university that provides free chemo drugs for canine cancer patients. Cannot remember the name  – want to say Dr. Chu? Although I've decided to not do chemo – anyone familiar with the use of Artemisinin or Turmeric as a protocol?

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 11920
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
6
29 May 2009 - 4:17 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

As with many herbal supplements, there are few controlled studies done on curcumin and dog cancer that give the medical community scientific proof that it does indeed have anti-cancer properties, and is not something commonly pursued by conventional vets. But, you may find hollistic vets that are more up on using it in your protocol. Since it is relatively harmless, we think it can be worth a try.

Here's a couple of links about it:

Land of Pure Gold Foundation: Scroll down to “Medicinal Herbs.”

Dr. Damien Dressler: More on Curcumin and Dog Cancer

Food Paper: Miraculous Tumeric

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 25
Member Since:
1 June 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
5 June 2009 - 12:14 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

gryffyn said:

…Prior to this, one would have thought he was 7 or 8 years old – he was in very good shape for a Borzoi his age, and still very active.


I originally posted a question about dogs that didn't do so well, immediately following surgery…since pretty much every account I've come across describes dogs walking out of the hospital/clinic or at least by the next day.  It's day 7 and mine still isn't walking on her own for more than a few steps.  She took her first real steps on day 5.  I've subsequently kept a bit of an update going in that thread.

Like you, my tripawd is almost 11-years-old.  She's a Great Dane and, prior to getting osteosarcoma, the most common question I was asked on walks was, “How old is your puppy?”  When I've replied 7, 8, 9, and now 10, the person would invariably say, “Oh, 10 months.  How adorable,” or something like that.  I would always have to clarify that I meant years, not months…much to their disbelief.  (And don't get me started on the psychos who think Great Dane lifespan is 7, 6, 5, or as absurdly-little as 4 years.  10+ is very common nowadays, and is even higher amongst those who don't bloat or get cancer or have CM.  I've known 15-year-old Danes.  I know of 16-year-old Danes, and I even know one woman whose anecdotal account is of a Dane that died at 19.  If not for OSA, I dare say my girl stood a good chance at being one of these long-lived wonders, given her overall health and fitness.  …Darn it!  We used to jokingly say that she was going to live to be 20.  Hey…there's still a chance, right?) ;-)

It's going to be weird now that I probably won't get those puppy questions, and may even get “poor dog” kinds of responses, once we're fit enough to be out on walks in public.  No matter how much she bounces back (fingers crossed), I suspect that (slower) hopping gait, combined with the grey face, will have people assuming she's her age.  😉  One of the things this dog naturally had was a floaty, bouncy trot that had to be seen to be believed.  I didn't think about it until just this second, but I guess that's gone.  C'est la vie.  I had it for over 10 years.  That was plenty.  :-)

EDIT: Oh, and the cost was quite a surprise to us, too.  It cost us $2,000 just to get the OSA diagnosis.  When I had my pre-surgery consults with various specialists (oncologist, orthapaedist, cardiologist), that cost $1,300.  The next day was surgery, and I had to pay 85% of the estimate upon admission: so another $4,000 when I dropped her off in the morning.  She was discharged two days later, and the remaining tally was a few hundred dollars.  I swear, when I thought about amputation, I was thinking more like $1,500-$2,000, not over $6,000.  It was a shocker.  I expect chemotherapy to be another $2,000-$4,000 (but would love for others to give me a guideline on that, for a giant breed dog).

In any event, good luck with your pooch.  I am more than happy to share solidarity and support.  🙂

Alvin, TX
Forum Posts: 79
Member Since:
17 May 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
5 June 2009 - 1:37 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi!  I can't believe what your vet said! Don't worry about him being exhausted.  The pain meds and the stress of surgery and having to build up his other leg muscles would wear anyone out.  My poodle is (guessing) 9 years old.  I know it's 'younger' for a small dog, but she's still a senior and started having luxating patella about a year ago (in 1 leg, luckily it's the leg that was amputated!)  Our lives changed when a car hit her 22 days ago.  Our story is under the “Share your story” tab, her name's Angel.  Anyway, age doesn't matter so much as whether or not your dog is active and healthy.  And he is!  He just needs some time to heal and get stronger.  My Angel had her amputation on Tues and sleeps most of the time.  She wears out very fast, but I expected that.  I've doubled her dose of Dasuquin (joint supplement) and will probably keep it that way all her life since her only rear leg will be under more stress now.  It's good news that your baby's rear leg was lost since they carry most of their weight in the front. 

I also took out a personal loan and racked up the credit cards.  Out total bill now is $9000.  (phew!)  But what's money?  She's part of our family and we decided to do everything we could to try save her.  And now she's home with us and finally healing. 

Just give him time and lots of love.  Maybe think about a joint supplement.    Just work up to more and more excercise with shorter trips more frequently.  As for the cancer, I don't have any experience with that.  I have actually used turmeric on myself bc of a chronic skin pain issue I have.  I made a paste with water and let it sit for a few min and washed it off.  (Don't use it on wounds!)  I've taken it orally it for sore throat , etc, also and it works!  It's a great inflamation reducer. 

Hang in there.  We'll be here when you need to talk!

Forum Posts: 59
Member Since:
13 January 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
5 June 2009 - 4:58 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi there!  Welcome to the Tripawd family.   My dog Shadow is also considered a “senior” dog,  estimated at 11 years old.  Same as you described, nobody ever believed he was 11 years old before his diagnosis.  His energy level and personality had him pegged for much younger than he was.   Not all dogs are up and about as quickly as some of our fortunate tripawd buddies here.  Shadow laid around for the better part of the first couple weeks.  He only got up when we made him go outside for potty, and to eat with our assistance.  All dogs react to pain meds and anesthesia differently, so it's really hard to compare how fast they should be healing.   I received alot of support and advice here, everybody told us to take it just one day at a time and the first 2 weeks are the hardest.   Hang in there!  Your boy will recover at his own pace.  Here's to a speedy recovery!

Tina and Spirit Shadow

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
10
7 June 2009 - 11:02 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Armstrong said:

It's going to be weird now that I probably won't get those puppy questions, and may even get “poor dog” kinds of responses, once we're fit enough to be out on walks in public.  No matter how much she bounces back (fingers crossed), I suspect that (slower) hopping gait, combined with the grey face, will have people assuming she's her age.  😉  One of the things this dog naturally had was a floaty, bouncy trot that had to be seen to be believed.  I didn't think about it until just this second, but I guess that's gone.  C'est la vie.  I had it for over 10 years.  That was plenty.  :-)

EDIT:  I swear, when I thought about amputation, I was thinking more like $1,500-$2,000, not over $6,000.  It was a shocker.  I expect chemotherapy to be another $2,000-$4,000 (but would love for others to give me a guideline on that, for a giant breed dog).


People are so weird. It seems that unknowing people give one of two responses when they see a Tripawd. Either “oooh, poor dog,” or “Wow! They adapt so well don't they?!” We think it's very reflective of human nature; you're either an optimist at heart, or a pessisimist.

Our response to the “poor dog” comments is “Poor dog nothing! Are you crazy? Look at him! He doesn't care that he's missing a leg! He's loving life!” It's also an opportunity to educate kids who might hesitate to ask what happened. You can change their impression of “special needs” forever!

Regarding costs for large breed, check out these threads:

“What sort of costs can I expect?”

Transcript: Ask A Vet (search for “cost” and you'll see costs outlined from Titan and Tazzie, both mastiff's (and Tazzie's Mom is a vet).

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 25
Member Since:
1 June 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
7 June 2009 - 5:23 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

jerry said:

People are so weird. It seems that unknowing people give one of two responses when they see a Tripawd. Either “oooh, poor dog,” or “Wow! They adapt so well don't they?!” We think it's very reflective of human nature; you're either an optimist at heart, or a pessisimist.

Our response to the “poor dog” comments is “Poor dog nothing! Are you crazy? Look at him! He doesn't care that he's missing a leg! He's loving life!” It's also an opportunity to educate kids who might hesitate to ask what happened. You can change their impression of “special needs” forever!

Regarding costs for large breed, check out these threads:

“What sort of costs can I expect?”

Transcript: Ask A Vet (search for “cost” and you'll see costs outlined from Titan and Tazzie, both mastiff's (and Tazzie's Mom is a vet).


Thank you!  In reading, I see the upper limit should be around $5,000 for chemo.  (But the estimate for amputation was up to $2,000, and mine was $6,000.  So I'll assume maybe as much as $7,000 for our chemo.)  No matter what the figure is, it's just nice to have a ballpark.  Thanks (again) for the links.  I've read maybe 1% of this site so far, and should really get at reading the other 99%, huh? 😉

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
12
7 June 2009 - 7:45 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh, hope it helped somewhat. Whatever we can do to make this a little easier, let us know. Good luck!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 597
Currently Online: jerry, paws120, kaiserinmom, riotfromma
66
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1043
Members: 9824
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 15726
Posts: 220374
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG