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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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Whether or not to amputate my 12 year old dogs leg!
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mandiandherdogbrandi
31
16 June 2010 - 3:28 pm
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It is cancer for sure, the vey said they dont know which cancer it is. She thinks its hemangiopericytoma. But they said it could be sarcoma or lymphoma. She doesnt show any pain no limping or anything. She even sleeps on her massive tumor on her knee. I talked to the front staff at my vet's and asked what wil the wedge biopsy would show that the fine needle aspiration couldnt show.  She said the needle aspiration only takes a small amount of whats in there. The biopsy takes a wedge shaped piece of out the tumor so we can see more. Does this sound like there trying to rip me off? Or does it make sense? Anyway I booked the biopsy for friday. And Admin, your right I should try being more like a dog lol. They are so happy going and no worries 🙂

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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32
16 June 2010 - 3:31 pm
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Wow  – you got some super duper friends!  The posters are cool!

Like Sophie's mom and everyone else, we'll support whatever decision you make but you may need to weigh the pros and cons according your life also.  I wouldn't disaude you either – but you have to decide if  you can handle what's ahead of you.  It's not easy.  It requires a lot of time, money and devotion.

I just don't want you to think that is a easy thing for any of us.  I would go as far as saying for many of us, it's one of the hardest things we've had to endure – emotionally and physically.  And I consider all of us a pretty strong bunch! 

I've had a 3 legged dog for almost 12 years.  I didn't do amputation because she has a birth defect and the leg doesn't function.  But I have gone through knee surgeries with her which made her a 2-legged dog for 8-12 weeks on each knee.   I can tell you it was the hardest thing I've done…from an emotional standpoint and a physical one.  I was able to be with her 24/7.  So, I can only imagine the heartache everyone here suffers knowing that their very loved furkid has a life threatening illness.

Going through an amputation has its risks like any surgery and once you get through it –  the hard work begins.  Someone will have to be with her all the time for at least the first few days.  And after you do get through the recovery, you are going to have a lot of ups and downs. 

If Brandi does have cancer, you have to prepare yourself that you didn't eliminate the cancer.  You can't in live in denial at all with a cancer victim.

Again, don't get me wrong – whatever decision you make will be the right decision because it was out of love.  And we are here for you.  It's very obvious how much you love Brandi.  We can tell you want to do right by her.

Best wishes,

Comet's mom

 

 

Edited to add since I didn't see your last entry while I was typing:

I don't know about biopsies but I'm sure they need more of a sample than a needle biopsy?  I doubt your vet would do an unnecessary procedure.

   

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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33
16 June 2010 - 4:05 pm
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we can tell you about our biopsies...  first gayle had a needle biopsy, actually two, on her tumor.  they were able to say there were spindle cells, and it didn't look right, but because the cells were damaged in retrieval, they couldn't be sure what they were looking at.  since her tumor was relatively small and hard to quantify with xray, etc.,  we decided to have gayle put under to get a 'chunk' taken out to biopsy.  based on those findings, we went forward with the amputation.  for us, the 'chunk' biopsy cost somewhere around $800 or $900 as i remember.  it definitely will give you more information, but does add to the final cost as well.  whatever you decide, decide it out of love and you are doing the right thing!

charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends

http://etgayle

Member Since:
22 December 2009
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34
16 June 2010 - 4:08 pm
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mandiandherdogbrandi said:

wil the wedge biopsy would show that the fine needle aspiration couldnt show.


 

I just wanted to share our experience with biopsies … we opted for the more expensive/invasive biopsy to give us the greatest chance of pinpointing what we were dealing with.  They spent several weeks studying the samples, trying to determine what exactly what growing in Harley's elbow, and they were not able to.  Harley only limped occasionally before the biopsy, but limped constantly after the biopsy.  It should be noted that they not only took tissue samples, but samples from the bones above and below the elbow.  

If I could go back and do it again, I would not have wasted the money (and time!) doing the biopsy.  I would have just done the amputation.  After Harley's amputation it was determined he had Histiocytic Sarcoma, and the cancer had spread to the lymph node; I often wonder if we would have amputated right away, instead of wasting weeks on the biopsy, would the cancer have been contained???  Most likely not, but I wish I would have skipped the biopsy looking back on it now, it put Harley in more pain for weeks, and it was very expensive.

Just our experience.  It's always easy to look back and wish you would have done things differently.

Amputation on 11/10/09, due to Histiocytic Sarcoma in left elbow. Angel Harley earned his wings on 06/24/10.

Linda
35
16 June 2010 - 5:21 pm
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I had amputation done on my 13 year old dog last September. The first 2 weeks were rough but she is now doing well. Can't jump on the bed or furniture, has trouble on tile or hardwood floor and needs help going up more than 3-4 steps. Fortunately they got all the cancer. She is happy- still plays fetch and walks up to a mile a day.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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36
16 June 2010 - 5:29 pm
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Linda said:

I had amputation done on my 13 year old dog last September.


 

Thanks for the feedback Linda! Please consider registerring so your posts will appear immediately without requiring moderation. We'd love to here more about your dog in a new topic or blog, and you will find lots of advice and support here. Cheers!

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

RuthieGirl
37
16 June 2010 - 6:20 pm
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Since Ruthie was just 6 I can't talk to the subject of age.  But she had a biopsy that was very painful and very expensive only to have the amputation the next week (I think the biopsy was more painful for her than the actual amputation).  If I had hindsight, I would have skipped the biopsy but it all happened so suddenly I didn't have time to prepare myself for an amputation so started with the biopsy.  So in that respect I agree with Hopalong Harley.  But each case is so individual that I would suggest that you go with your gut.  And I wouldn't listen to anyone but yourself.  You know your dog and you do what you think is the right thing.  If you love her, whatever your decision is, it will be the right one.

Pat & Angel Ruthie

Las Vegas, Nevada
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14 August 2009
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38
16 June 2010 - 6:42 pm
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There may be some good news witht diagnoses.

After briefing reading on hemangiopericytoma, why not just have the vet remove  the lump instead of a biopsy?  Lumpectomy is recommended on an older dog because it will grow back but at their age they may not out live the regrowth.  Younger dogs should probably get an amputation since it will grow back in their lifetime.   And it looks like radiation can cure 80-90% of the cases.

 

 

Treatment for Hemangiopericytoma

The recommended treatment for hemangiopericytoma is to remove the lump. If the veterinary surgeon removes the total lump and enough of the surrounding healthy tissue, re-occurrence of the growth is unlikely. If the lump is located in an area where this is not possible, there are two alternatives for treatment. Radiation is the first alternative, providing treatment to the tissue left after the lumpectomy.

 

 

 

There appears to be a lot of reading material out there on this.

 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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39
16 June 2010 - 8:46 pm
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cometdog said:

I don't know about biopsies but I'm sure they need more of a sample than a needle biopsy?


 

There are two types of biopsies, needle (aspiration) biopsies and bone (invasive) biopsies. As far as I know, it seems that when vets are pretty confident they know what's wrong they'll do a needle biopsy. I had one, which confirmed the OS. A bone biopsy is usually done when they aren't sure what they're dealing with.

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

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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40
16 June 2010 - 8:49 pm
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cometdog said:

After briefing reading on hemangiopericytoma


 

Comet, you're pawesome. Hemangiopericytoma isn't something we've heard a lot of mention about here, thanks for looking into it.

Here's another link for y'all:

Hemangiopericytoma of Dogs

Oncolink: Hemangiopericytoma

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

mandiandherdogbrandi
41
17 June 2010 - 1:09 am
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I am pretty sure it isnt a bone biopsy cause I asked what they would be doing and she said take a wedged shaped sample out of the skin and tissue. And we have already have a fine needle aspiration. I hope it wouldnt have to be a bone biopsy. And cometdog removing the tumor would be very difficult due to the size and location of the tumor. The vet said she would attempt the surgery, but both vets at the clinic said it would be very tricky. They would need to take a lot of skin from her leg to remove it, almost 3/4 of the skin on her leg. They would have to take skin from her shoulder to help sew the wound shut. The incision would be 12-16 inches to remove it and there is a chance 100% of the cancer might not be removed. And then you look at amputation which the incision would be 6-8 inches. Both removal and amputation would work out equal pain wise because removing it would be taking a lot of skin and there would be 2 incisions, her shoulder and the leg with the tumor. So we kind of thought amputation would be the best choice.

knoxville, tn
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12 February 2010
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42
17 June 2010 - 6:40 am
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sometimes these tumors are really imbedded.  when gayle had her 'chunk' biopsy, i was there with our vet, and she showed me the tumor in her front wrist.  it was buried deeply, under and around veins, tendons, muscle, etc...it would have been all but impossible to get out, and would have probably caused some nerve damage.  also, there wasn't an option to get 'margins', as it was just too crammed in at that specific location.  amputation was the surest way to get the tumor gone...

charon

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends

http://etgayle

Member Since:
27 February 2010
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43
17 June 2010 - 9:19 am
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Putting more of my 2 cents in this discussion .... 

We had Sophie's lump "debrided" 3 times. That is - they reduced the lump as much as possible 3 times before we finally went with amputation. She has soft tissue sarcoma and had a large lump growing on the upper part of her front left leg. Radiation was recommended to us as a first course of treatment - but we would have had to take her 3 hours from home and leave her there for weeks. It would have meant general anaesthetic several times a week, and being separated from us for extended periods of time. Knowing our dog - we knew that this was not an option. She would not have survived this treatment. 

So - after they told us that a 4th debridement was not possible because the tumor was down at the bone and was wound around the muscle tissue so invasively - there was no way to get enough of the tumor to make a difference - we made the decision to amputate. 

We spent a considerable amount of money having the tumor debrided - about $1800 each time. It came back more quickly, and bigger each time. Then the amputation surgery on top of that - plus the chemo treatments. It has been an expensive endeavour. BUT - she's my best friend. And we did what we could for her. We were blessed to be able to do as much for her as we have been able to do. I don't know how much more treatment we will be able to give her. But it has been over a year since they diagnosed her with cancer - almost 4 months since her amputation - so we are living on "borrowed time" every day - and loving every minute of it !

Tana and Sophie

Sophie (1998 – 2010)

"Going Dog" def: living every day in the moment

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."

–Unknown

mandiandherdogbrandi
44
18 June 2010 - 5:07 pm
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Im so glad you guys made the best deicision for your dog and enjoying every moment with them! I have never heard of debrided. What is it exactly?

Brandi had her biopsy today. It went pretty good, Brandi was kind of stoned when I picked her up but she is starting to come back to her normal self. The vet gave me some gauze to use to wrap Brandi's leg onto her chest so we can see how she handle's only using 3 legs. They said they tried it out there and she didnt do to good. Talking to her again, the amputation is becoming more scary. We talked more about trying to remove the lump, it might seem possible to do.  I get the results of the biopsy next week and make my mind up from there. Till then instead of focusing on what to do, remove tumor or remove leg... im just gonna focus on what questions im going to need to ask my vet after I get the results from the biopsy so I can make the best desicion

Member Since:
27 February 2010
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45
18 June 2010 - 8:27 pm
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Hi Mandi: 

"Debrided" is when they remove as much of the "bulkiness" of the tumor as possible. It is in no way meant as a cure or a treatment of the cancer. Sophie's tumor was impeding her movement because of where it was on her body. So - we had the bulk removed several times. Unfortunately, by doing that - we probably accelerated the growth of the cancer - it seemed to come back more quickly each time - and came back bigger each time, too. The last time, it came back bigger and so fast she had barely had her stitches removed. 

I'm certainly no expert - and not a vet - but maybe this would be an option in a very old dog - to buy them some time in comfort only. 

You could ask your vet about debriding and see what they say. 

Tana

 

Sophie (1998 – 2010)

"Going Dog" def: living every day in the moment

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."

–Unknown

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