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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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choosing our path in a giant breed dog
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Member Since:
10 June 2013
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11 June 2013 - 7:05 am
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hi everyone, I'm new to this site, as I just found out my 172lb saint Bernard has bone cancer, most likely osa. it's a hard decision, one I can not believe I have to make. He's 5, so we are beyond ourselves having to make this decision so young in his life. We love him more than anything. if he were a smaller dog it might make the decision at least a little easier. We know we are going to lose him someday sooner than we'd like, but it's either now or later. I'll be honest, the recovery scares me. My husband is very strong, And I'd have family to help me during the day when my husband isn't home, but omg, what a tough decision. I guess I want to hear it's worth it, even if your dog only lived 6 more months. or even not worth it. j just want honest opinions so I have no regrets, no matter my decision. I've spent two days reading, and researching the disease and the surgery and chemo, so on one level I understand what I'm up against, buy on the other personal experiences with larger dogs are highly valued. I plan to start blogging. especially if we go through with the surgery, so that others can understand why we chose the path we did. We talk to a specialist next week to have our chuck evaluated to see what they think of him in regards to recovery. He's otherwise healthy, no visible signs of metastasis, no hip dysplasia, etc.

On The Road


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11 June 2013 - 7:26 am
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Welcome Lori, thanks for joining. Your future forum posts will not require moderation if you're logged in.

Search the blogs for more stories about Saints and other big dogs, and be sure to bookmark Jerry's Required Reading List for lots of links to helpful blog posts, forum topics and videos. Regarding "regrets", many members have found the book "Without Regret" helpful in coping with the decisions you face. It was the first book we read!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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11 June 2013 - 9:14 am
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Oh, you've come to the right place alright! We are here for you whatever decision you decide to make!

I also agonized....truly agonized... over the decision to amputate my 123 lb. Bull Mastiff's rear leg. Hysterical for all oste a month! Then, the pain meds had to be upped and she clearlly was starting to hurt more. Either "buck up" and do it or she probably would not be with me in another few weeks. Her attitude.....as I'm sure your dog's is.......is "heck no, I'm not going anywhere! I want as much
ain free time as I can get so I can be spoiled and loved!"

Sorry, computer acting up so will write. ore later.

Recovery was rough for two to three weeks......some dogs recover quickly......some, like my Happy Hannah took a little .longer.

BEST DECISION EVER:-) :-) :-) Four months from amputation, competed her four rounds of carboplatin AND LOVING HER LIFE!! LOVING IT!! No one knows time frames.
I do know that every time her heart beats, every time her tail wags (which is pretty much all the time) and every time she slobbers a stinky kiss all over my face........it's all the greatest gifts on the planet:-) :-) Everyday is an eternal gift of joy and love that can NEVER, EVER be taken away!

So yes, for me, it is sooooooooooooooo worth it!

You have a wonderful support system with your family and here! We are your new extended family to help you and your sweet pup!

Stay strong and your love will guide you to the best decision for your pup!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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11 June 2013 - 11:24 am
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My Tazzie was diagnosed with OSA in her RF leg when she was 6 years old.  She also had surgery on both of her knees in years prior so I was very unsure how she would do.  She was an English Mastiff who weighed about 190 pounds prior to surgery.  Luckily she was not overweight.

Anyway she did great!  I kept her in the hospital for 3 or 4 nights post-op but that was partly because she had a liver infection and needed IV fluids.  We did not have to help her get around too much although I did wait for 3 weeks to start her chemo just so she was a little stronger and could get around better.

Se was able to do short flights of steps and hop around the yard with our other 2 dogs but I kept her from using the steep flight of 12 steps going up to the deck because I thought she might tumble going down.

Tazzie lived almost 1 1/2 years after amputation and her quality of life was good right up to her last day.

 

Pam



Member Since:
16 October 2012
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11 June 2013 - 11:28 am
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I was only in the chat for a little bit last night when you stopped by.  Sassy 138 pound rottweiler when she was amputated.  Now down to 125-129 pounds.  Its always best to try to keep a tripawd as lean as we can.  To answer your question do I regret amputation.  HELL NO.  I want my baby here forever.  Friday is our 7 month ampuversary. 

 

Sassy was 6 years old when diagnosed from Osteoscaroma.   We did 4 rounds of carboplatin & was scheduled for our 5th when she coughed once and seemed to be slowing down.  We were scheduled for xrays anyway so i took her in a few days early.  She had lung mets.  She has now completed 3 months of metronomics and starting her 4th.  Still kicking cancer's ugly butt.  I will do whatever I need to make her happy.  She still waggles, eats (a little spoiled on what she eats) but everyday to us is a blessing. 

 

I was told maybe 6-8 weeks with the mets look we beat those odds too.  No one has a definate time frame Sassy sure doesn't and I don't either.  As long as she is fighting so am I. 

 

You know your dog the best.  I am sure he is a fighter too.  Its totally your decision but like Sally & Happy Hannah said we are an extended family here.  The best thing that ever happened to Sassy & I.

 

So all in all YES this whole journey is worth it to me.  I have my baby, I have great friends & a "new" family. 

 

Michelle & 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."

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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11 June 2013 - 12:33 pm
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Lori, it was nice chatting with you last night. I know you saw Cemil's story but I just want to share it here for others' future reference.

"Tripawd Tuesday Celebrates Cemil, a Four-Year Osteosarcoma Survivor"

Is his story amazing or what? It just goes to show you that anything is possible, you just never know. I hope that you and your boy are just as fortunate. Keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
10 June 2013
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11 June 2013 - 3:49 pm
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Thanks again everyone for sharing. I'm still so back and forth. I talked to another specialist today, who specifically deals with large breed dogs and even cats (tigers, etc) and he had major concerns given it being his front leg, and then how he would deal with chemo. thank you guys so much for your input as well. I'm keeping my appt with the surgeon next week as a consult, but I know time is of essence. part of me is so amazed by your dogs, and part of me wonders if he doesn't bounce back from amputation, did I put him through all that stress just to cause him more pain, then I think of if I don't try, how soon and how horrible is it for me to wait a few weeks to say goodbye? He's not showing much if at all pain right now, but what if he steps wrong one day and breaks his leg, did I do that to him too? and is it right to just put him down today when he's happy? God, I'm so confused. what complicates this, is that chucks vet up and closed his business recently with no notification, so I'm at a vet I don't know, who doesn't know chuck. she's very nice, and obviously very informative of all our options and the risks, but she can't give me a honest opinion of what she'd recommend doing. So I've now talked to several vets, mainly looking for advice, and I'm just left with different opinions. oy. vey. sorry for the random vent. my head is just spinning today and I feel like I have to make one of the hardest decisions of my life asap.



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11 June 2013 - 4:00 pm
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Lori,

I am going to be blunt here.  YOU have to be the one to decide what is best for you, your family & your baby.  You can ask a million opinions and each person will give you another perspective.  Each person (vet or otherwise) doesn't truly know how your baby is going to handle it.  We can give you our stories, how our dogs recovered and read different blogs on here.  But that still isn't going to answer that question you want us to.  We can't do it. 

 

I wanted someone to give me that answer too.  The major difference was I didn't have a definate diagnosis of Osteosarcoma.  "Possibly" with her breed, age etc.  I wanted the definate.  Well I never got it.  I had to make a decision after 2 biopsies that came back inconclusive.  Let her live in pain and possibility of it breaking if it was Osteo or take the leg.  Well, I knew something was going on so I decided to amputate.  My vet told me "We aren't sure how she will handle walking on 3 legs"  HA!  Sassy fooled them all.  She got up from the surgery, walked out to pee and wanted to keep on going out of the parking lot.  She tried to pull them. 

 

Recovery is different for each dog also.  Sassy had very few problems.  Sally's Happy Hannah seemed like she wasn't herself for about 3 weeks.  We kept telling Sally give it time.  She will be back to herself.  She did.  Now you can see that happy mug on some of Sally's posts.    Did she wonder if she did the right thing? Yep, she sure did.  Now does she regret it No way. 

 

I am glad I made that decision to amputate  but like I said, I can't make that decision nor can any of us.  You have to weigh what you think is best and how you think your baby will do. 

 

I know its not an easy decision at all.  The more opinions you get the more confused you will be. 

 

Michelle & 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."

New Jersey
Member Since:
25 May 2013
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11 June 2013 - 6:15 pm
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Lori,
My heart goes out to you. We are know we've been there ourselves with our babies and we all wish we never had to be. But as Michele said you and your family are the one who knows your dog the best. When we found out about Snoop( he was diagnosed with osteo right front and amputated two weeks ago today) we sat down and talk together as a family. We knew he could handle it. They don't put the emotional baggage on it we do. Again you have to make that journey yourself, it's not something anyone else can tell you. This site is wonderful in support, information, a resource that helps all of us. We all understand, and are there for each other.
We have no regrets with Snoop, he getting stronger each day, we have smiles and wagging tails. All is good, we take one day at a time. I think that's all anyone can do, isn't that just life.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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11 June 2013 - 8:24 pm
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Lori,

Nobody can blame you for going back and forth. Unfortunately there is no "right" answer and this is a time in life when you have to take a huge leap of faith and hope for the best.

I will say that we have had front leg dogs do great on three legs, like Dr. Pam's dog, Tazzie. I will also say that a few large dogs Chuck's size experienced a rough recovery, and had a hard time. One or two did not survive longer than a month or two, due to lung metastasis and an internal problem. But that can happen to any dog, not just a giant breed.

In our unofficial, non-vet opinion, it seems like one of the biggest factors in a Tripawd's recovery is the attitude of the pawrent. I say it often: we are reflections of each other. What you feel, what you think, Chuck will absorb. If you start this journey with the belief that he will overcome the temporary challenge, he will sense that. Yes, anything can happen, but if you focus on the pawsitives, he will have the strength to bounce back through the toughest challenges.

Many hugs to you and you decide what to do. Remember, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers.

And one more thing to consider: bisphosphonates . Here's more reading for you:

Bisphosphonates: When Amputation isn't an Option

 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
10 June 2013
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11 June 2013 - 8:39 pm
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ty guys so much I guess my heart knows all of the above but just needed to vent. I certainly will keep you updated on what the vet says tues and our choices :)

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