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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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Bella 9 yr old Saint Bernard
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Forum Posts: 3
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11 September 2021
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14 September 2021 - 11:02 pm
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Hello,

My sweet girl Bella was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a few weeks ago. We are very fortunate to have got into to the Flynt Animal Cancer Center with CSU within a week of reaching out. She also potentially will be the first dog to participate in a particular clinical study pending the official diagnosis post amputation.

In the beginning I was a bit hesitant about amputation as Bella has had hip issues in the past. We have her on some joint supplements and fish oil to help her out without many issues since.

We have had a couple long days there while they complete the required tests for the study. She met with a fantastic oncology team and I trust their opinion that she is a good candidate for surgery and seemingly will do well. I've talked to the surgeon and he said she scored high on the 3 other legs during his orthopedic exam. She does do a weird twisting motion sometimes with her back legs sometimes but it didn't seem to hinder her in the physical tests. Bella is scheduled for amputation the day after tomorrow in her front left leg, then will begin the clinical study medicine along with chemo after.

I am having a really hard time with it. It seems so overwhelming and everything is happening quickly. I know it will be devastating to see her without her leg but also understand her pain will be much better. Bella is a bigger girl weighing 120lbs but is playful and resilient. We think she will do okay with everything but are so scared she will be mad at us or not want to go to the vet after. We hope physical therapy will help but want to consider a wheel chair later on if we need to.

Can anyone with a large breed older dog give some advice? I know this will be a good thing in the long run but struggling to find the strength to do it.

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 September 2021 - 10:18 am
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Hi Bella and family, welcome! Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this disease, and anyone who's been through it understands your hesitation. It's so hard for us humans to imagine our dogs being happy on three, but it's true, they get past it much quicker than we do! If you poke around here you'll see lots of stories about giant breed dogs on three legs, like Thurston the Saint. There have been quite a few others too, and really 120 pounds isn't nearly the biggest Tripawd member we've had here, some have weighed as much as 175 lbs!

Although some larger dogs will take longer to recuperate than younger, smaller ones, for the most part they do really, really well. Be patient during recovery and you'll get there. Plus, since she's getting surgery at CSU we know she will get effective pain management , and that makes recovery smoother. It's not always perfect even with the best of surgery teams, but you have one of the world's best there that will work with you to iron out any challenges that might crop up.

We are huge CSU fans and know the team really well. EXCELLENT care! Have you seen our CSU interviews? Yes, the Flint Center is amaaaazing! We are also friends with CSU's Orthopedic Medicine and Mobility team, who did amazing work on our Wyatt Ray for many years. Regarding wheel chairs, be sure to check out our post. Anyhoo, you couldn't get better help than CSU. Go Rams!

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library if you haven't already. And stay tuned for feedback from the community.

P.S. We are in Laporte, not too far away from the hospital!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 3
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9 October 2021 - 2:20 am
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Update on Bella!

Bella went in for her limb amputation on 9/16. Everything went well during surgery. She stayed in the hospital for 3 nights since she was having a difficult time adjusting. While in the hospital she had a few sessions with the physical therapy team to help her acclimate. We picked her up and she was tired and full of pain meds. We prepared the house to be tripawd ready and slept downstairs with Bella for a couple weeks while her wound healed. Fortunately, Bella is very resilient and had no complications following surgery. The med schedule was crazy especially when adding in the clinical trial nebulizer treatment, but we made it through. Bella ate just fine after bringing her home and the pain meds schedule paid off because she did not seem to be in pain the 2 weeks follwing surgery.

It's been almost one month since surgery and she just had her first round of chemo this week. She wears her help em up harness daily but is walking independently and just this week began standing on her own. Bella had physical therapy before her chemo treatment so they worked on standing during that session and it helped so much! She had a small saroma around her incision so we weren't able to take out stitches but got the go ahead to take her upstairs. This was a difficult decision but glad we made it. Bella seems to be in a lot less pain and has decreased her pain meds. 

Chemo did not seem to have any side effects on her. She ate dinner the night after treatment and didn't show any signs of stomach upset. Everything is so far so good just working on getting stronger so she can walk easier. Thank you for all your kind words going in to surgery!!

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 October 2021 - 12:51 pm
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WHEEEE! That is suuuuuch great news! I'm so hoppy you decided to come back and let us know. It helps newcomers to see that YES! Even giant breed dogs can recover and do well on three. 

As you discovered, sometimes you've got to leave a dog longer at the clinic, but the payoff is great. She kicked butt with chemo too? YEAH!

And that's super cool that Bella got rehab therapy so soon after surgery. Where is she getting care? It sounds like an excellent clinic. 

I'm over the moon for you guys, what a terrific update. Can't wait for more of Bella's adventures!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 October 2021 - 11:30 pm
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Hey Jerry,

Thank you for all the support and kind words! We are working with the team at CSU for oncology and therapy. They are amazing! They work together seamlessly and the physical therapist team always try to squeeze us in right before chemo since we live in Denver. 

Bella is still doing good. She has different exercises to help her with strength in remaining legs and core. They noticed that her scapula is riding very high on her back so trying to monitor that. Otherwise she seems to be doing well. Stitches were able to be removed this past week and we go back Monday for some blood tests. 

Everything is going as good as it can be righy now so we are thankful for that!

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 October 2021 - 12:31 pm
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Oh good lord I'm sorry I had forgotten that you are working with CSU, very sorry about that, just read through the posts. Sheesh! So yeah Bella got excellent therapy with Sasha and Laura in rehab, yay! Yes, oncology, ortho and rehab do work together like a well-oiled machine! And please, if you guys ever need anything while you are up here, let me know. It's a long drive for ya! We will be here through mid-November.

I'm so happy she is doing so well! WHEEEE!!! Hope you are enjoying the fabulous fall weekend!

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




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17 October 2021 - 4:32 pm
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Just catching up on uour sweet Bella in time to say YAAAAY!  Delighted to hear how well she is doing  and that she sailenthrunher first chemo.  

As you and Jerry noted, you really do have a great team to keep Bella strong and fit.

And ties, we would love pictures of sweet Bella!  Here a link to help

    adding images  

Hugs

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!

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21 October 2021 - 8:44 pm
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So happy to here Bella is doing well. By the way, I love the name Bella!

Brownie wasn't as large as Bella. He was 90 lbs an time of surgery. However, he was three weeks from turning 12. You were asking how older dogs did. As you already know older dogs take a little longer to get their personality back, but they do. 

Sounds like Bella is going to be just fine! The best advise I got was To be patient and I am the most inpatient person on earth. Bit they were right. 

Sounds like Bella is getting excellent care and has an awesome team on her side . 

As Sally said, pictures please...

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"

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