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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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Going in on Friday for front leg amputation on 150lb mastiff.
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Forum Posts: 28
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1 March 2016
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5 April 2016 - 10:44 pm
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So I have had a hard time making this decision.  Some say because of Coopers weight close to 160 and a 8 year old mastiff we shouldnt think about it.  It is also his front left leg.  This guy was a rescue a few years back and continues to show me how strong of a boy he is… finds a way to come up two flights of stairs everynight to sleep with his family.  He takes it real slow coming down and I know sooner or later he will break his leg.  So I put him to some tests.  1.  when we went in last they did a chest xray.  Found something small in the xray but vet said lets send to radiologist.  Got a call next day it was ok and had not spread (the cancer that is).  So first test he passed.  2.  The second was if he can walk around on three legs.  So we tied or put up his bad leg like the vet said.. and he hopped around.  So for me he passed the tests I was giving him.  I understand his life will probably be cut short because the cancer spreads eventually but what if he is the one that lives a little longer?  I am I doing the right thing for a guy this size or should we be putting him down because of the pain?  I have heard get rid of the pain and enjoy your dog pain free for the remainder of his life because the cancer will ultimately get him.

Any thoughts?

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19490
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5 April 2016 - 11:16 pm
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Hi Cooper and family! Soooo sorry you find yourself here. Under the circumstances though, there is no better place to be for support, information and the sharing of first hand experiences.

As an aside, I’m all.about “anything .Mastiff”! Such gentle, sweet,cuddly Souls! Cannot wait to see pictures!. My beloved Happy Hannah was 125 lb Bull Mastiff, 8 1/2 at the time of amputation, osteo, rear leg. I was petrified of the surgery and could not make a decision…until the pain was getting so bad and the .meds were having to be increased. Other than that piece of crap disease, she still was enjoying life and looked forward to everyday with a smile and a wagging tail…and some slobbery kisses! Recovery was no picnic, that’s for sure. She adjusted to three legs right away though. Some dogs adapt faster than others. Really larger ones take a bit longer.

Now, as far as apples to apples, yes, we have jad several Mastiffs and other XLarge dogs go through amputation and deal with it like champs! Two Mastiffs come to mind instantly…Tazzie and Leo (Big Lou). Recovery was slow and adjust to three legs didn’t happen overnight. O ce recovery was over though and that painful leg was go e, they got on to livi g life to the fullest pain free!

You havd a clear perspective about the reason for the amputation…to get rid of that painful leg and make everyday the best day ever, full of ore lovi g and spoiling than you coukd ever imagine!!

Does the surgeon feel.like he is a good candidate?

No one has a crystal ball.on this crazy journey. Nor do any of the dogs have timeframes stamped on their butts.

For me, I felt like I jad to try. I k ew I would second guess muself forever if I didn’t try. I also had to be prepared for the fact that, if I did try and she only got a very, very short time, coukd I still justify my decision?

I did try and Happy Hannah and I got the most glorious bonus time of one year and two months!

Besides, in doggy years, six months is over three human years!

I see your inline now, so I’ll stop typi g and see if I can answer any questions.

Yiu are not alone, okay. We understand like no others can!

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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!

Virginia




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5 April 2016 - 11:18 pm
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Here’s a link to Big Louie’s blog

http://sreusche…..pawds.com/

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 April 2016 - 8:16 am
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Hi and welcome. I hope you don’t mind I moved your post here, but since Cooper is a big pup, this forum topic is a great place to share his story. Future members are also helped tremendously by seeing how giant breed dogs do in this forum topic. Give it a search and you’ll see that many giant breed dogs can do great on three legs. I think the largest we’ve had here is about 165 pounds and that was Tazzie:

http://tripawds…..ff-tazzie/

When you say that “some say” Cooper shouldn’t be a Tripawd, who are they? Are they vets? Experts in giant breed dogs? Well if not, forgive them and move on, they’ve never been in your shoes or paws. The real question is: How does your vet feel about Cooper doing on three legs? If it makes you feel any better, get a second or even third opinion from an orthopedic specialist. Sometimes that makes all the difference.

I can’t blame you for being on the fence about this. We’ve see through the years that most dogs do great on three, and of course there are exceptions. Some have harder times than others but it’s rare. For giant breed dogs, recovery is a little slower, but not impossible. If you are strong enough to cope with recovery, Cooper will be too…so much of it is about the parent’s attitude and the vet support they receive.

In searching the Tripawds Member Blogs, I’ve found these examples of Mastifs on three legs. Keep in mind most of them were here for osteosarcoma, so it’s always better to start reading from the beginning. Check em out:

Hurricane Rosie

Cole Porter the Mastiff

Ti the Tripawd Mastiff

Our Best Friend Billy

Elgin’s Journey

French Mastiff Jules Fights Bone Cancer

Baby the Mastiff

Zeke the Bullmastiff

There are no right or wrong choices here, and we’ll support you no matter what you decide OK? Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1454
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6 April 2016 - 9:57 am
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So it sounds like Cooper pretty much aces every test he takes.  Sounds like he’s got a Warrior spirit that one.  I will be keeping him in my thoughts for Friday’s amputation and sending healing vibes his way for Friday.  Bet he aces this one too!  Try to not focus on what tomorrow will bring because it only robs us of our today’s.  Cooper is only worried about his today and being out of pain.  You are taking the first step to doing that for him.  Please keep us posted on this Extreme Warrior.

Linda, Ollie, Riley & Spirit Mighty Max

Forum Posts: 28
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6 April 2016 - 11:26 am
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Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts and helpful answers.  This has made my decision easier and I will take some pics and update how our journey goes later this week.  I was off a little he now weighs 160lbs. and will be on a diet. lol.

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6 April 2016 - 12:51 pm
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Don’t let others that don’t know Cooper influence your decisions.  We have a 150 pound St. Bernard with Osteosarcoma on a front leg.  We waited 8 long weeks because of people saying that he could never survive the surgery let alone recover.

Finally we had no choice because Patchy developed an infection in his leg, and yet he still showed so much desire to live.  So on March 25th we had the nasty leg removed and today he is recovering nicely and in much less pain.

It is tough to watch a big guy stumble on 3 legs but he is learning to navigate and adjust to life with 3 legs.

My only regret is that we waited so long to make the decision.

Hugs to Cooper and you –

“Live in the Moment”

Summer and Patchy

Livermore, CA




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6 April 2016 - 2:31 pm
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Hi and welcome.

I’m sorry you have to face cancer and this decision.  I can’t help you directly with the big dog part, my current Tripawd Elly probably weighs less than Cooper’s bum leg (15 lbs).

However, my local friend Cemil is a 150 pound Anatolian Shephard who lost his front leg to osteosarcoma back in 2009.  Cemil is still hopping, although not too far these days, more than 7 YEARS after his amputation!  Here is a blog post about Cemil.

Most are not so lucky with the crap-shoot that is OSA- but Mary gave him a chance and he annihilated the odds! 

This is a decision for you and your family and your vet, you know Cooper the best.  If you decide amputation is the right way to go then you are taking away a bum leg that will only become excruciatingly painful, and you are giving him a chance at more quality, pain free time with you and your pack.

No matter what you decide this community will support and help you.

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

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7 April 2016 - 6:39 pm
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I was recently in a similar situation. My girl Meekka is a 8 year old, 130 lb English Mastiff, who developed a limp and a lump. We pretty much knew it was cancer, we just didn’t know what kind. They did a chest xray, which was clear, and we scheduled the surgery. It was almost a month from when she started limping to the surgery. As for the amputation, she’s doing great! Its been exactly 2 weeks now, and she hops like a champ, and shes fast! So at 8 years old and 130 lbs, yes, for me it was a good decision! Now we just received the results of the biopsy, and it is osteosarcoma, so now more decisions….

Norene, TN
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8 April 2016 - 9:09 am
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I  have to say something as simple as tying up a leg to see how a pup navigates on three before a decision is so simple yet brilliant. Many fur-babies are already hopping on three before they’re relieved of the “dead weight” and the pain. Kudos to you for doing all your homework. It’s easy to see you’re a responsible, caring and thoughtful pawrent. Cooper couldn’t be in better hands or hearts.

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Virginia




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8 April 2016 - 9:45 am
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Paws crossed for you today. Sending love……………..

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!

Livermore, CA




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8 April 2016 - 10:12 am
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Thinking of you guys today- I’ll be checking for an update.

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

Forum Posts: 28
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14 April 2016 - 9:00 am
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Unfortunately at 630 in the morning after a restless night for my wife and I the surgeon called in sick.  So surgery is tomorrow and could come sooner as Mr. Cooper’s leg is more swollen and he looks uncomfortable.  Will share our results tomorrow.

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 April 2016 - 9:19 am
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Oh drats! I’m so sorry. Please keep us posted.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19490
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14 April 2016 - 11:05 am
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Oh gosh! Stressed out much?? Geez!! I know this is nervewracking!

Tha ks for updating us. We’ll be “standing by” for more!

The avatar picture is pure ADORABLENESS!!

Hugs a d love!

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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