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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Hi everyone I am new to Tripawds
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Member Since:
20 January 2012
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21 January 2012 - 8:54 am
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Hi everyone,

I am very excited to be on this awesome and informative website.

Here is a little something about me: 

I have two wonderful, athletic dogs, a 11 1/2 yr old Golden Retriever named "Busteretta" and a 10 yr old Yellow Lab named "Roxy".  We have had them both since they were 8 weeks old and they have been such great animals over the years - even now with my 5 yr old daughter "Shannon".

The week during Xmas & New Years, Roxy was running around with Buster and she started limping.  I noticed swelling on her back right Hock, figured she sprained it.  Swelling did not go down, took her to vet after New Years (vet was on vaca the week it happened) looked at it and stated its either a tumor or infection, but needed a bone biopsy done.  Biopsy came back positive for cancerous tumor or better known as Osteosarcoma.  Vet suggested, (did not push only suggested) that it might be best to put her down due to her age and the start of hip dysplasia, not making her a good candidate for amputation.  I never thought twice, I knew in my heart that she was a strong girl and still had so much life to her.  She had the amputation done on Tues 1/17/12.  She is doing as well as any dog would only 4 days after surgery.  I visited her in the evening after surgery and to my surprise the vet stated she was doing great and I could take her home that evening!  I am so happy I made the right choice, she is such a lovable dog!  I know it will take some time for her to gain strength in her good back leg before she will be running again, but I know she will be able to do it.

Has anyone else gone thru an amputation with this situation (older, start of hip dysplasia)?  The vet said the cancer did not spread but can not guarantee if it hit the organs.  An xray of her lungs on the original visit showed no traces of cancer, but I am considering Chemo and have been reading about immune therapy also.  Statistics are saying that she could live a longer life with treatments after healing, than without.

Thank you to anyone in advance, who can provide me with some insight or suggestions! 

Linda

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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21 January 2012 - 10:14 am
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Welcome Linda! Glad to see you got logged in, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

We're happy to hear Roxy is doing well. You will find plenty of success stories here about senior dogs doing well on three legs. Use the search button above to find forum topics or search all blogs here. You'll find lots of recovery and care tips in Jerry's Required Reading List, and for immediate answers to the most common dog amputation questions download the new Tripawds e-book Three Legs and A Spare.

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

Member Since:
8 January 2012
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21 January 2012 - 1:08 pm
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Hi Linda,

My dog Crystal just had her amputation on January 11th and she's 13 years old so I can speak to the older dog aspect but not the hip dysplasia. She also had her front leg amputated so there may be some differences there too.  Do you have any specific questions that I can help with?  It took her a few days to figure out how to walk and balance on her own but now, 10 days after the surgery, she's back to her independent self.  It took her a few days after surgery to get up by herself but she's a pro at that now.  She has figured out how to walk on hardwood floors without much slipping (although her back foot occasionally slips a bit but her reflexes have gotten so much better so she always manages to catch herself).  She can also go up and down her ramp without my help and that was a major hurdle for her because she couldn't quite walk straight when I first brought her home so she would fall off the ramp if I wasn't there to balance her. Two days ago, she walked up stairs and this morning she insisted on going down stairs.  That was a little scary but I think more for me than for her.  Her major hurdle now I think is endurance as she doesn't want to walk very far but I'm not sure if that's actually because of her endurance or if it's because of the weather.  We are in Chicago now and we just moved from California a few months ago so the cold and the wind and the snow are all pretty new to us.  All in all she's doing great and she continues to amaze me every day.  We're also starting chemo on Thursday so I can let you know how that goes.

 

Christina

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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21 January 2012 - 4:59 pm
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Hi, Linda and welcome to Tripawds.

Our dog, Zeus, is 11 yrs old and had his front right leg amputated on 12/1/11 due to OSA.  This whole cancer journey stinks and you have a long road ahead of you, but it's great to see that you are trusting your instincts.  Our vet also gave us little encouragement.  After biopsy and diagnosis, we took Zeus in for a CT scan to see if it had spread.  The vet said he didn't see anything on the CT but would send to a radiologist to review.  Several days later he called with the news that the radiologist reported a small spot on the lung.  The tone to his voice said it all.  When I mentioned proceeding with the amputation and asked for his opinion, he said that it would help with the pain but they recently had a dog at the clinic that lived only 6 weeks after amp.  He just wasn't very encouraging at all.  Rather than put him through a major surgery from which he would just barely recover before succumbing to the cancer, we almost put Zeus to sleep.  Then it occurred to us that the CT scan is so much more sensitive than the normal x-rays that they take to check for mets.  We then asked the vet if, based on the size of the suspicious spot reported by the radiologist, would he have seen it on x-rays.  He said no.  So, in our minds that put us squarely in the statistics of 'x-rays show no mets therefore amputation and chemo is warranted'.  So, we decided to fight this hideous disease.  I don't know if that conclusion is logical or not, but it just seemed right to us.  Zeus was still so happy and full of life.

We are having his third round of Carpoplatin next Friday.  So far he's doing great.  As an older dog, his recovery was a bit longer than some but overall he is healthy and happy.  He does not have hip dysplasia, however for the last year or so I have noticed that his hips seemed stiffer so I'm guessing that he has some beginning arthritis.  So far, it doesn't seem to be causing problems, even after the amp. We had a couple of setbacks due to a back sprain, but he recovered fine.  I detailed alot of it in his blog, if you want to check that out.

It's nice to hear from someone else who decided to disregard the vet's pessimistic outlook.  Good luck to you and keep us posted on the recovery!!

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Columbia, MO
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10 December 2011
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21 January 2012 - 6:05 pm
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Hi Linda and Roxy!  I can't speak to cancer but Daisy had her front left leg amputated Dec. 9th due to arthritis in her elbow joint.  She is almost 7 years old.  She also has moderate arthritis in her hips (she has displaysia) and some arthritis in her spine.  Amputation was my vets recommendation.  I didn't think Daisy could handle it with all her arthritis but Dr. Julie felt she was still a good candidate. 

Six weeks post amp she is doing well.  Still cannot take very long walks (only about 1 block vs. 3-4 miles pre-amp) and she slips on the hardwood floors when she is too tired from exercising.

I'm glad you went with your gut and had the amp.  Roxy deserves to have as much time to enjoy life as she can.

Best of luck with the treatments!  We look forward to hearing updates.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

St. Louis, MO
Member Since:
16 September 2011
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21 January 2012 - 6:06 pm
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Linda,

Welcome to you and Roxy!  I'm glad she is doing well so soon after her amputation.  Roxy will continue to amaze you as a tripawd!

Charley was 2.5 years old when he was diagnosed with OS in his left proximal humerus and we chose amputation and 5 rounds of Carboplatin chemotherapy.  Charley is also a lab (chocolate lab) and tolerated chemo fine without any side effects.  It seems as though most labbies tolerate chemo well, so hopefully that will be Ruby's case if you choose that route. 

There is a link at the bottom of my signature to a video of Charley playing in the snow at 12 weeks post amputation.  It is amazing to watch!  Charley will celebrate his 15-Month Ampuversary on 1-28-12.

Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to Roxy!

Hugs and chocolate labby kisses,

Ellen & Charley

Charley's Blog:  CHOCOLATE KISSES


DOB: 3-29-08, male chocolate lab  
Dx: OSA L proximal humerus 10-19-10

Amputation: L front leg & scapula 10-28-10

Chemo: 5 rounds of Carboplatin

Video (12 weeks post amp):Tripaw Charley Playing

♥♥♥ Lots of supplements and love!!! ♥♥♥

Member Since:
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21 January 2012 - 6:18 pm
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Welcome to the greatest place on the planet...Tripawds Rule!!

 

Our senior Tripawd came to us minus a leg...not the result of cancer. We don't how she came to be that way. I will defer to all of our Sweet Friends here to guide you on handling that evil F-ing reality named cancer.

 But Miss Pegz has a lot to say about the limitations (or lack thereof) of a Senior Tripawd. You give that sweet Girlie Dog every minute that she can enjoy! And you enjoy it too!!

And when the Great Spirit sees fit to deprive her of her love for this life, then make your decision accordingly. And she will journey on knowing with all her heart... how much you loved her. 🙂

krun15
8
21 January 2012 - 8:56 pm
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Hi Linda and pack,

Welcome to Tripawds.  Sorry you had to find us, but this is a really supportive and knowledgeable community, there is nothing like experience!

I can't help with the age questions, Maggie was only 7.5 when she had her amp.  As for chemo- that is really a personal decision.  Unfortunately with OSA there is a pretty good chance that there is microscopic cancer cells in the body, even if the lungs are clear on x-ray.  But that does not mean there is no hope!  Queen Nova the Great Dane is over 3 years past her amp for OSA, I think she had chemo.  Cemil the Anatolian Shepard is also 3 years past his amp for OSA, and did not have chemo.  You have to do your research and decide what is best for you and Roxy.

And you should check out Maggie the Agile Cow Dog's blog (I call her the 'other' Maggie).  She is a rear amp that had her surgery at 10 I think, and is now 12.  Her amp was due to cancer, but not OSA.  Maggie's mom Tracy does lots of training and strengthening exercises to keep her Maggie on the move.  She is also treating Maggie holistically.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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20 January 2012
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22 January 2012 - 9:24 am
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Hi everyone!

 

Thank you all for your reply's.  I loved and appreciate all of your stories, information and suggestions!  It is so wonderful having so much support from each of you during this experience, with my fur baby Roxy.   I want to thank Tripawds for this great website to bring us all together and provide support for one another, you guys are the best!

 

Roxy will go to the vet on Friday to have her staples removed and discuss chemo options with the vet.  I will keep you all updated on what choices we are given!

 

Thanks again everyone!  big-blink

 

Linda

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20 January 2012
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22 January 2012 - 9:33 am
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Charley's Mom said:

Linda,

Welcome to you and Roxy!  I'm glad she is doing well so soon after her amputation.  Roxy will continue to amaze you as a tripawd!

Charley was 2.5 years old when he was diagnosed with OS in his left proximal humerus and we chose amputation and 5 rounds of Carboplatin chemotherapy.  Charley is also a lab (chocolate lab) and tolerated chemo fine without any side effects.  It seems as though most labbies tolerate chemo well, so hopefully that will be Ruby's case if you choose that route. 

There is a link at the bottom of my signature to a video of Charley playing in the snow at 12 weeks post amputation.  It is amazing to watch!  Charley will celebrate his 15-Month Ampuversary on 1-28-12.

Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to Roxy!

Hugs and chocolate labby kisses,

Ellen & Charley

 

Ellen & Charley

Loved the video, it was so great to see Charley is doing so well!  Give him many kisses for me!  Thank you for the support!

Linda

Member Since:
20 January 2012
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22 January 2012 - 9:42 am
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krun15 said:

Hi Linda and pack,

Welcome to Tripawds.  Sorry you had to find us, but this is a really supportive and knowledgeable community, there is nothing like experience!

I can't help with the age questions, Maggie was only 7.5 when she had her amp.  As for chemo- that is really a personal decision.  Unfortunately with OSA there is a pretty good chance that there is microscopic cancer cells in the body, even if the lungs are clear on x-ray.  But that does not mean there is no hope!  Queen Nova the Great Dane is over 3 years past her amp for OSA, I think she had chemo.  Cemil the Anatolian Shepard is also 3 years past his amp for OSA, and did not have chemo.  You have to do your research and decide what is best for you and Roxy.

And you should check out Maggie the Agile Cow Dog's blog (I call her the 'other' Maggie).  She is a rear amp that had her surgery at 10 I think, and is now 12.  Her amp was due to cancer, but not OSA.  Maggie's mom Tracy does lots of training and strengthening exercises to keep her Maggie on the move.  She is also treating Maggie holistically.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

 

Hey Karen and Pugapalooza!

Thanks for the information and the link to Maggie's video.  Maggie is a beautiful and amazing dog, especially since she is 12!  I have so much more hope from everyone sharing these stories!

Thanks again and take care

Linda

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20 January 2012
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29 January 2012 - 7:26 am
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Hey Christina,

I am so happy to hear that Crystal is doing well!  Im curious, did your vet recommend to start chemo due to traces of cancer in Crystal's Xray or blood work?  My vet suggested not to, but if I wanted to, we could.  There were no traces of cancer in her blood work or xrays.  What made you decide to do it?   I have been reading that leg amputation and chemo will extend life longer than just amputation alone, but then maybe thats if the cancer spread.  Our vet did state there is no guarantee if it hit the major organs, but thought Roxy's quality of life would not be good as far as GI issues with chemo.   She is 10 years old.

Look forward to hearing from you Christina!

Linda

cbyoung said:

Hi Linda,

My dog Crystal just had her amputation on January 11th and she's 13 years old so I can speak to the older dog aspect but not the hip dysplasia. She also had her front leg amputated so there may be some differences there too.  Do you have any specific questions that I can help with?  It took her a few days to figure out how to walk and balance on her own but now, 10 days after the surgery, she's back to her independent self.  It took her a few days after surgery to get up by herself but she's a pro at that now.  She has figured out how to walk on hardwood floors without much slipping (although her back foot occasionally slips a bit but her reflexes have gotten so much better so she always manages to catch herself).  She can also go up and down her ramp without my help and that was a major hurdle for her because she couldn't quite walk straight when I first brought her home so she would fall off the ramp if I wasn't there to balance her. Two days ago, she walked up stairs and this morning she insisted on going down stairs.  That was a little scary but I think more for me than for her.  Her major hurdle now I think is endurance as she doesn't want to walk very far but I'm not sure if that's actually because of her endurance or if it's because of the weather.  We are in Chicago now and we just moved from California a few months ago so the cold and the wind and the snow are all pretty new to us.  All in all she's doing great and she continues to amaze me every day.  We're also starting chemo on Thursday so I can let you know how that goes.

 

Christina

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8 January 2012
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29 January 2012 - 11:34 am
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gtplady said:

Hey Christina,

I am so happy to hear that Crystal is doing well!  Im curious, did your vet recommend to start chemo due to traces of cancer in Crystal's Xray or blood work?  My vet suggested not to, but if I wanted to, we could.  There were no traces of cancer in her blood work or xrays.  What made you decide to do it?   I have been reading that leg amputation and chemo will extend life longer than just amputation alone, but then maybe thats if the cancer spread.  Our vet did state there is no guarantee if it hit the major organs, but thought Roxy's quality of life would not be good as far as GI issues with chemo.   She is 10 years old.

Look forward to hearing from you Christina!

Linda

Hi Linda,

I'm so glad that Roxie is doing well!  Crystal's x-rays were clean and her blood work was pretty much perfect so I don't think that's the reason the vet suggested chemo.  When I was researching OSA online, I read on multiple websites that 90% of OSA cases have already metastasized by the time of diagnosis but the metastasis is just too small to be detected.  The oncologist also told me this statistic.  I'm not a vet and I'm sure every dog is different but I was told that without chemo, she would have 4-6 months (although there are plenty of dogs on this website who opted not to do chemo and survived longer than that).  With chemo though, the oncologist estimated 1-2 years.  The difference between months and years really made the decision for me.  

I'm surprised the vet thought Roxy's quality of life would not be good on chemo.  Does she have previous GI issues?  From what I hear from the vets and online, most dogs have minimal side effects from chemo.  Crystal just had her first round 4 days ago and aside from some diarrhea, she is completely normal.  We even walked half a mile yesterday (although it took us almost 2 hours with resting)!

Please feel free to PM me too if you want :).  I'm always happy to tell people how well she's doing.

 

Christina

Member Since:
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29 January 2012 - 11:39 am
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cbyoung said:

Hi Linda,

I'm so glad that Roxie is doing well!  Crystal's x-rays were clean and her blood work was pretty much perfect so I don't think that's the reason the vet suggested chemo.  When I was researching OSA online, I read on multiple websites that 90% of OSA cases have already metastasized by the time of diagnosis but the metastasis is just too small to be detected.  The oncologist also told me this statistic.  I'm not a vet and I'm sure every dog is different but I was told that without chemo, she would have 4-6 months (although there are plenty of dogs on this website who opted not to do chemo and survived longer than that).  With chemo though, the oncologist estimated 1-2 years.  The difference between months and years really made the decision for me.  

I'm surprised the vet thought Roxy's quality of life would not be good on chemo.  Does she have previous GI issues?  From what I hear from the vets and online, most dogs have minimal side effects from chemo.  Crystal just had her first round 4 days ago and aside from some diarrhea, she is completely normal.  We even walked half a mile yesterday (although it took us almost 2 hours with resting)!

Please feel free to PM me too if you want :).  I'm always happy to tell people how well she's doing.

 

Christina

I should add that Crystal was having some diarrhea issues off and on before she started chemo so my gut feeling is that the chemo is not actually the cause of her diarrhea.

Member Since:
20 January 2012
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29 January 2012 - 11:53 am
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Hi Christina,

Thanks for getting back to me.  See I read the same thing also and that was why I wanted to do the chemo.  I did not see an oncologist.  Maybe I should.  The difference between months and years would definitely make a difference for me. 

 

Yes she has had diarrhea issues on and off thru her life and is now on sensitive stomach food.  I did read somewhere also that most of the time the side effects do not effect some dogs.

 

I am so happy to hear that Crystal is doing well aside from some diarrhea.  That is great news how she walked so far!  I do see how quickly they wear down, poor things, it takes alot out of them.  Roxy had her back leg amputated, her other "good" leg had ACL surgery on it last year and she is arthritic and in the beginning stages of dyplasia.  I always said if worse comes to worse we can always get a wheel chair for her. 

 

I am concerned about the life span with no chemo though.  I think I may contact an oncologist for a second opinion.  Thanks for your information, always good to hear what others are doing with the same kind of results/information that we received.

 

Thanks again Christine!

Linda

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