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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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Help! 8 y/o great dane with bone cancer
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Forum Posts: 13
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11 February 2014 - 8:19 am
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Hello!

I am new here and fount this site really helpful.

Kelila, my 8 y/o great dane just diagnosed with a bone cancer yesterday. We have her since she was 4months old and she became a part of family. We only found out two days ago that she has a big lump on her front lower limb just above the wrist and limping slightly. X-ray shows that her lungs are clear so she is a good candidate for amputation. But before that, the Vet did some bloodwork done to make sure her other organs are still doing fine. We will get the result today. We want the best for her but we are in a complicated situation. I work on daytime and hubby works night time. We have a 3y/o son and a 2month old baby. If my dog get the surgery, she needs extra time and support during her healing process.

Here are the things that I’m concerned about:

1. How we gonna manage our time ( or put extra time on her) if you have a baby that’s already taking your time?
2. My dog weighs about 100lbs, will she be able to carry her weight after front leg amputation?
3. Will she be happy after the surgery? I don’t want her to suffer.
4. Although she’s a candidate for amputation, the vet told us that she’s already old at her age and the decision is really on us.
5. Should we do the surgery or give her pain meds until its time? (Teary eyed)

We love her so much and just can’t believe that she is going through this.
I’m desperate and looking forward to hear your feedback.

Thanks a lot!
-Mae

Here and Now


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11 February 2014 - 9:34 am
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Welcome, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

We’re sorry to hear about Kelila, but gad you found us. Search these forums or the blogs and you will find many success stories of giant breed dogs doing well on three legs. Don’t miss Nova’s blog for sure. You will find quick answers to all your questions about recovery and care in the Tripawds e-books , and you’ll likely receive more feedback from members here soon.

Best wishes, please keep us posted.

Fort Wayne, IN
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11 February 2014 - 8:26 pm
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Welcome Mae.  I’m sorry Kelila’s diagnosis.  Our Libby was 9 when we had her right front leg amputated due to bone cancer.  That was 1 year ago and she’s her happy, hoppy self.

Everyone on this site will be supportive no matter what you decide.  It’s a very personal decision and you have many things to consider.  The following is just my personal opinion…

I can’t speak to your time management but I can address your other questions.   You will get lots of great advice from “pawrents” here.

She will be able to carry her weight.  There are many dogs here with hip and joint issues that manage just fine, a lot of times with medication.

Will she be happy?  I strongly believe yes!  You don’t want her to suffer but bone cancer is a very painful disease and she is most likely suffering now.

There are many senior dogs on here who have had amputation later in life, mine included.  You will be amazed at how quickly she adapts to her new normal.

I can’t answer your last question. As I said before, it’s a very personal decision.  From our experience with Libby, I would do it all over again.  We have had no regrets, she still does everything she always did on 4 legs, even swimming!

Keep reading and researching this site.  It’s filled so much helpful information and you will be able to use it to come to a decision.  Good luck and keep us posted.

Amy & Libby

Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 February 2014 - 8:47 pm
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Hi Mae, I’m so sorry to hear about your pup. I know it seems overwhelming but hang in there and know that you aren’t alone, we’ll help as best we can. I’ll start by giving you some feedback on your questions:

1. How we gonna manage our time ( or put extra time on her) if you have a baby that’s already taking your time?
Most dogs generally need about two weeks before they’re back to a typical, modified routine. Most don’t need constant attention or care after about the first 48 hours. At most you’ll need to supervise her to make sure she doesn’t slip on any floors (but you can prevent that with non-slip rugs), and walk alongside her when she goes potty the first few times. It probably won’t be that much different than your ordinary routine and if anything you’ll have a little more downtime because a patient needs lots of R&R to recuperate nicely.
2. My dog weighs about 100lbs, will she be able to carry her weight after front leg amputation?
As long as she’s cleared your vet’s approval, yes. Keep her slim and monitor her activity and she’ll be fine. We’ve had dogs as big as 175 pounds do fine.
3. Will she be happy after the surgery? I don’t want her to suffer.
If you are happy, she will be. If you are strong and believe she will do fine, she will to. Remember, dogs look to their humans to lead the way,.
4. Although she’s a candidate for amputation, the vet told us that she’s already old at her age and the decision is really on us.
We’ve had many members with senior dogs of all breeds who did well on three legs. It all depends on the dog, and only you know her better than anyone else. If she’s strong and healthy and gets around pretty good there’s no reason why she can’t make it as a Tripawd. Yes, the closer a dog gets to the end of their life expectancy the closer you want to scrutinize major decisions like this, but keep in mind that no dog comes with an expiration date. Everyone is different.
5. Should we do the surgery or give her pain meds until its time? (Teary eyed)
I hate to say it but only you can answer that. I will say that we’ve done surveys here and in all seven years we’ve been a community, less than a half-dozen people (out of over 5,000 members here) say they regret the decision. While nobody can say how long she’ll live after surgery, what’s important is that any time she has left will be pain free and not doped up on pain meds. Osteosarcoma is a painful disease and this is one of the only ways to alleviate the pain. You can try radiation therapy or a limb sparing surgery if they’re within reach for you, but most people who opt for amputation are glad they did it.
 
I hope this helps! You ask great questions. Let us know how else we can help, we’re here for you.
 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Westminster, MD
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11 February 2014 - 9:00 pm
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Hi Mae, just want to add my support for you…..Amy and Jerry gave really great advice, so I don’t have much more to add. Just know that whatever you decide for your sweet Kelila, will be the right answer. You know her better than anyone, so truly go with what your heart tells you. You will have plenty of support here, so keep us updated on her when you can.

Sending positive thoughts,

Bonnie & Polly

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12 February 2014 - 7:39 am
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Hell to all of you!

Thank you for all the support! This site is helping me a lot. No wonder everytime I’m doing my research about OSA/3 legged paws, it always takes to this site. That’s why I decided to join. We are so down that we don’t know what to do. But all of you are right! We know her better. She might be old but young at heart. Aside on that nasty tumor on her leg, she is healthy and active as a puppy. We decided to pursue a surgery. My brother is willing to stay with us to assist and support her during the recovery period. We are hoping that everything goes well in the surgery. We’d rather see her pain free on her remaining days than seeing her in pain and miserable.

I never thought that this site will open up our mind to all possibilities. We know there’s a lot of money involved but it’s nothing compare to the joy that she brought to us. We just have to be strong.

Thank you for all the support!

We’ll keep you posted for any updates.

-Mae

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 February 2014 - 8:55 am
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Mae, it’s great to hear you sounding so upbeat. That’s what your girl wants, all she wants in the world is for you to be happy.

Yes, it’s a scary leap of faith but if you have a great vet and you know she is young at heart then things should be fine. I’m sure you have a great vet but for your peace of mind be sure to ask your vet about things like:

  • Will she have overnight monitoring by a vet tech? If not, she should come home with you. It’s harder but better than leaving her alone after surgery.
  • What kind of pain meds will she have?
  • Who can you call after hours?

Write down all of your questions and ask them before you bring her home, so you can help remain calm and ready for her.

We’re glad you found us. Keep us posted!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Westminster, MD
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12 February 2014 - 9:04 am
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Hello back, Mae!! Sounds like you searched your heart and came up with a great plan of action. No lie, this is NEVER an easy situation, with easy answers, and it may be rough for a few days, but once they are pain free, healing and home, they do great after amputation. Keeping our beloved fur-babies free from as much pain as possible, is the best thing we want to achieve, along with quality of life……no matter what the future may bring. Our pets can really surprise us, so happiness for them is the main factor.

Keep the updates coming!!

All the best,
Bonnie & Polly big-grin

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12 February 2014 - 9:12 am
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Hello Jerry!

Thank you for all your wonderful advice. I really do appreciate all the help and support I’m getting here.
As of the moment, we scheduled her surgery tomorrow. The nurse is not available at that moment so I wasn’t able to ask other questions. I will make a note to all the questions that need to be asked.

With your experience, is there anything that we need to get like medical supplies?
Will she be fine on her bed?

Thanks!
Mae

Virginia




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12 February 2014 - 9:21 am
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Hi Mae and Sweet Kelila!

As you’ve just learned from all the responses, you are not alone!! We are all family here and we understand ike no others can!

This is such a terrifying time. You feel like yo’re stuck in a nightmare and will never wake up. You will though! And once recovery is over and your pup is pain free, you will be amazed at how well she does!

Now let me be clear…recovery is no picnic! EVERY dog is different and EVERY dog handles pain, pain meds, adjusting to three legs differently. Actually, the adjusting to three legs is probavly the easiest part for most dogs! This is major surgery and has it’s risks.

My Happy Hannah, who is now 9 1/2 and moving forward (knock on wood), is just now getting ready to celebrate her ONE YEAR AMPUVERSARY (knock onwood)! She’s a “plus Sized Model” at 122 lbs., The kind people on this site refer to my chunky Bull Mastiff as ‘fluffy”, “big boned” and “well muscled”! So weight and age were not in her favor. Like you though, I saw nothing but a zest for life! Vitality and happiness and just loving life! I agonized and agonized over the decision…even cancelled the surgery once! While the pain meds helped for several weeks, in a very short time I had to start increasing them and I knew if I didn’t proceed, I would have to part with her.

So that, along with one other factor helped me decide. And that was…in a dog’s life one year equals seven. So three months of pain free QUALITY time of lovi g and spoiling equals 1 1/2 years in “dog years”. Six months equals three years and on and on! As you’ve already grssped, it’s about QUALITY!! It’s about living in the moment just like Kelila does!

Kelila isn’t worried avout any ole’ diagnosis or stupid statistics. She’s living in the NOW! We call that BEING MORE DOG around here! Living like a dog!

Couple of suggestions. If you have stairs to outside, you’ll want a ramp. In fact, if I can find it, I’ll post a video of my Happy Hannah using hers. She loves it! As a rear leg amp., she can go down stairs, just not up. In fact, the first time she went up the back deck steps was at seven months amp!

Raised food and water bowls are good.

In my opinion, THE best bed for LARGE dogs…and they only make beds for large or extra large dogs, is the Big Barker DOG BED. You can click on the Amazon site here and find it, as well as links here to dog bed reviews. Anytime you order anything from the Amazon link here, it helps tripawds.com.

Anyway, the bed is like a Tempurpedic for dogs. It’s supportive for joints and firm enough to stand on without losing their balance. She’s had hers over a year now and it has not shfted, bunched up or lost it’s shape in any way. It’s an investment vut well worth it.

When you pick her up from surgery, just look straighti to her eyes…not at the incision…her kiss her and hug her and tell her what a good girl she is!

REMEMBER, stay connected to us! The first two weeks can be pretty tough to watch…maybe, maybe not. It was during that time that I thought, “What have I done TO my dog!” Ow, I can assure you, it was someting I did FOR my dog! We are having the most glorious time loving, laughing, tummy rubs, too many treats and all the spoiling a dog could ever hope for! We stay inmthe NOW grateful for every sacred second!

NOW THIS IS REALKY AN IMPORTANT STRATEGY TO HELP YOU PREPARE………stock up on mounds and mounds of chocolate! Anything chocolate! And lots of ice cream too! You’ll do fine!

You have a great outlook and you are strong! Keepusposted and we would love to see more pictures! We love pictures around here!

Sending you love and hugs!

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!

Virginia




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12 February 2014 - 9:27 am
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feature=youtube_gdata_player

feature=youtube_gdata_player

Here sheis goingup and down her ramp. My brother built this…..sounds like you and I both have pretty good brothers!!clap

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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12 February 2014 - 1:04 pm
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Hi Sally and Happy Hannah!

I am happy and well touched with your story. Very inspiring! You only have proven that nothing is impossible. It makes us feel alive more and more whenever we hear stories from you guys. Some people thinks that having just three legs will make her life miserable. At first, I thought the same thing. But with all your support, we realized that we are wrong. Kelila is a very strong and so we should believe on her. We also need to be strong for her and show her that we will always be here for her.

We do have stairs but inside the house but we will have her stay downstairs. Did you have to put happy hannah on a special diet? And they are right, she is fluffy and beautiful. She looks completely normal just like the 4 legged dogs. I’ll check online about the bed.

I really do appreciate your time reading my story and for sharing yours as well.

Mae and Kelila

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 February 2014 - 4:18 pm
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Oh Hannah your videos just made my day! It’s so fun to watch you!

As for the Big Barker , here’s a link to the blog post we did about it (thank you for the info Sally!).

When it comes to things you’ll need at home after surgery, I would say that lots of extra towels (in case of incision leakage), some surgical bandage and tape (just in case you need it) and lots and lots of chocolate are mandatory 😉  A few extra sheets over her dog bed might help too but usually aren’t necessary.

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 13
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14 February 2014 - 9:18 am
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Kelila is doing very well from her surgery. She is still in the hospital and we’ll get her this afternoon.

Any suggestions on harness for support? Also, what kind of supplements will you recommend?

Thanks!

Mar and Kelila

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 February 2014 - 10:26 am
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Yipeeeee! So glad that she’s doing well! I know your homecoming will be so sweet.

Do check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books , they’re a really great way to prepare you for what’s ahead. Meanwhile….

As for harnesses, keep in mind that they don’t technically support a Tripawd, they help you support her when she needs it. This post, Which Harness is Right for My Dog, explains more.

When it comes to supplements and nutrition, that’s a huge topic. Our Tripawds Nutrition Blog explores all sorts of diet, supplements and nutrition topics for dogs with cancer. This page on Supplements is helpful too.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is also a great investment. The book and the kit are so educational, we highly recommend them.

Let us know how her return home goes!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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