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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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Huckleberry the Great Dane
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Maryland
Forum Posts: 384
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5 December 2015 - 3:39 am
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Is Huck still on any kind of pain meds? I ask because our Ellie got really weirded out on Tramadol. She also became hyper-sensitive to noise. Ellie was always a bit of a Nervous Nelly (thunderstorms, fireworks etc) so we knew how much anxiety was normal and Tramadol made it about 100x worse. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Melbourne, Australia.
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5 December 2015 - 3:03 pm
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annapyr said
Is Huck still on any kind of pain meds? I ask because our Ellie got really weirded out on Tramadol. She also became hyper-sensitive to noise. Ellie was always a bit of a Nervous Nelly (thunderstorms, fireworks etc) so we knew how much anxiety was normal and Tramadol made it about 100x worse. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Hi, no, he’s just on daily peroxicam at the moment. He was a nightmare on tramadol, like he had supersenses. Just wired and freaked out the whole time.

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 December 2015 - 6:19 pm
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Tony, thank you for posting all these details and the WONDERFUL photos of your gorgeous Huck. As I mentioned earlier I’m so sorry about the mets but I do think metronomics would be a really good route to take. It did stabilize our Jerry’s tumors for 7 more great months together and it has for others too, so hopefully Huck will get that kind of result too. As for the price…those are spot on prices here in the U.S. Can’t believe how much metronomics has gone up though…it was less than $200 when Jerry was on it way back in 2008. Yikes.

Hugs to all of you. I hope there are no more storms to worry Huck.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Melbourne, Australia.
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6 December 2015 - 12:08 pm
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Thanks Jerry. We’re up the vet’s tomorrow to get started, I’ll report back on how we get on. Emma has an old college who quit the corporate game to pursue a career in alternative veterinary care too, she’s currently working up a supplement & diet regime for him too. No to “beat” the cancer as such, more to keep in as fit and healthy as possible to try and counteract some of what the new meds might do to him. Cheers.

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 December 2015 - 12:16 pm
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Awesome! How fortunate to have your holistic friend helping out too, I’d love to hear what she comes up with for him.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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2 March 2016 - 12:51 pm
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Hi all,

Time for an update. As much for me as anything, just need to get some thoughts out and on a page to help me cope I guess.

The metronomic protocol seems to have been working well. We had to stop the Doxycillin part as it made him really sick, even on a tiny dose. So basically he’s only been having the chemo drug and diuretic every other day. He tolerates that really well, no real obvious signs of discomfort and he’s been plodding along well.

Over New Year he got really sick, it was pneumonia, likely as a result fo his lung mets. We didn’t think he’d make it, but a strong course of anti-biotics and he came good after about 5 days. Then 3 weeks later, same again! It really knocked him, the second time he got it we really thought that it was the end. We gave him a week and decided if he was no better at the week mark then we’d let him go. Once again, day 5 he came good.

He spent most of February looking and seeming well then about 2 weeks ago a lump appeared on his right flank, then the next day another on his left. Within 3 or 4 days the right side lump was the size of a golf ball and the left one the size of a pea.

He was due to see his oncologist anyway. By the time we got down there the next day or so the lumps were bigger again and another one had started on his face.

Whilst we were in the vet practice and I was comforting him I kept finding more and more. They are all over him basically. He has small ones under his belly, a couple of pea sized ones in his neck and another large one under his armpit and on his chest.

Today, a week later, the larger one on his right flank is the size of a tennis ball and also very swollen all around it and all of the other ones continue to grow.

The vet visit last week biopsied and confirmed malignant carcinomas, nor related to his osteo or lung mets.

During our vet visit we decided that at his age, (7 years 3 months) and the fact he has had two rounds of cancerous skin lumps already removed 15 months ago, that we wouldn’t go surgery route this time. There’s just too many all over him and the anesthetic really knocks him about, I’m not sure he’d come though another major surgery now. His vet is lovely. She actually said that she never says what she would do it it were her dog, but as they all love Huck in there and have a soft spot for him, she calmy looked at me and said if it were her dog, she wouldn’t operate either.

Plus, he’d still have the lung mets to contend with anyway.

His vet thought we should do another CT scan, primarily to see if the lung mets are still responding to the chemo, but a CT scan would also entail full sedation.

He gets pretty stressed out from his vet vists, (he is so good there, he lets them do anything to him, but he’s so tired and low afterwards from the stress of it), so we didn’t give him his next chemo dose. we thought we’d let him have a break of a day or two. The day after he should have had it he was amazing, playing and “talking” and much more like his old self. We realized that although he’s tolerating the chemo well, that’s all he’s really doing, tolerating it.

So, we decided that we shouldn’t do the CT scan as the results wouldn’t change anything.

We decided we’d leave him off the chemo for a week and if he was a lot brighter then we’d stop it altogether, as these new lumps could be the beginning of the end and we’d rather him enjoy his last time drug free and happy.

He IS seeming brighter off the meds for sure, but just in the last day the lumps are getting huge and I’m now completely lost as to what to do.

I think I read somewhere that the chemo won’t have an effect on these lumps anyway, so no point starting him back up on it for those and the way they are growing they’ll likely be the cause of his demise before the lung mets, so no point giving him chemo for the lungs if the lumps get him first!

I just feel lost now though, like there’s nothing more we can do and it’s so hard because he’s so alert, looking well and happy.

Last night we discussed perhaps surgey to remove at least the large, fast growing lump, but then what good would that do? It’s already right through him with all the other lumps, we remove the big one and he’s sore and hurt for a week or two and during that the other continue to grow?

We’ll go see is oncologist again Monday/Tuesday so she can check all the lumps again and decide on a course of action, but I’m not sure there is a course of action left if we are to stick to our original decision of no more IV chemo and no further surgery.

I know deep down why we made the decision of no IV chemo, and the reasons for no more suregy all still make sense to me. For him to have the best quality of the life he has left and not quantity for the sake of it, but now we’re getting closer to the end I just feel helpless and that I have given up on him.

He’s had such a hard last two years, bloating in May 2014 and surviving coming through that, then the first round of carcinoma surgeries December 2014, more carcinoma surgeries and a mastell (sp?) removal February 2015, the leg cancer and amputation in May 2015 followed by the monthly IV chemo, then the lung mets in December 2015 and the metronomics since along with the out of town treks up to the vet every 3 weeks. The big guy has been through so much and has just gotten on with it, part of me thinks it’s time for him to let go and be at peace but the guilt is crushing.

Thanks for listening.

Maryland
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2 March 2016 - 1:16 pm
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I’m so sorry. There isn’t a one of us who doesn’t know the agony and pain you are feeling. But you said this:

he’s so alert, looking well and happy

That is all any of us could want as the time draws near. It is not giving up on him, to force yourself to look around the corner and know what is coming. And when the time does come, you will know that you are doing what is best for him, and only him, no matter how much it hurts. He’ll let you know when it all has become too much. And in the meantime, just love him and spoil him and take each day one at a time. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie. 

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Livermore, CA




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2 March 2016 - 1:48 pm
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My pug Maggie lost her rear leg to a mast cell tumor.  Her prognosis was 6 to 9 months with chemo, which we did.  She far outlived that prognosis and was a happy pug for a couple of years. 

She never did well with surgery- we almost lost her twice when she was under.  When she turned 10 I decided there would be no more surgeries, no more invasive tests, no more chemo.  She did have recurring MCTs which we removed with a punch and a local anesthetic. A check up ultrasound saw lesions on her liver (one of the places mast cell goes).  The vet wanted to do a biopsy and maybe start chemo again.  I said no, if it is the mast cell let it take its course.

She started losing weight and then she was diagnosed with early kidney failure- which was manageable.  Then she got really sick, didn’t eat for 5 or 6 days and ended up in the hospital, we almost lost her.  Then the big blow- she was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma tumor in her mouth. Recommended treatment was surgery to remove the tumor and part of her upper jaw, with follow up chemo.

I was tempted just a bit to do it.  But then I thought back to why I had decided to stop all aggressive treatment for her. She didn’t like the vet, she wasn’t good under anesthetic, she was very mopey after surgeries… it took her 6 weeks to get over her amp. And there was the kidney issues… and she still had mast cell, probably in her liver.

I said no.  I didn’t ask for a prognosis but I knew our time would be short.  She made 3 months after the second cancer diagnosis.

There were times during those three months and after she passed that I questioned myself.  Did I not give her a chance?  I did the amp and chemo for the first cancer, did I just give up on her with the second?

The answer was no, I did not give up on her.  Her body had had enough. It would have been for me to try and keep her around, and that would not do, she deserved better.

It was not easy letting her go on ahead, but I have no regrets about my choices and I am at peace with my decision.

You know in your heart what is best for your beautiful boy, you will make the right decisions for him.

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

Virginia




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2 March 2016 - 2:17 pm
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Tears are flowing…not so much for Huckleberry as for you! I loved that Denise pointed out Huckleberry is alert and happy. That’s the memory we all want to have. That’s the way we all want to send our puos to the Bridge when we know things can only continue downhill.

I’m not saying that’s the case right now for Huckleberry. He certainly sounds like nothing is hurting him badly or interfering with his happiness and that’s good!! . I’m just mentioning this because, IF…IF… things do start to take a downward turn, you are able to help Huckleberry transition while he still has some quality left. And that’s the experience that won’t haunt you to remember. Right now though, Huckleberry isn’t showing you any signs of a downward turn. IF he does, then you can determine at whnt point you want to release before its gets bad.

I so hope I’m making sense without scaring you or misreading what you are grappling with. The Onco may have some suggestions.

I’m going to “copy” something you said in an earlier post. It’s clear that nothing has changed in yiur commitment to ensuring Huckleberry’s quality.

“We’d rather the time he has left be spent in comfort and enjoyable than over-drugged, sick and knocked about with sedation for scans, etc. At the end of the day, dragging it out as long as possible is more for us than him, the kinder thing to do is leave him be to some extent, and allow him the grace to enjoy himself, after all, he doesn’t wake up and wonder how many days he has left – that’s our burden to bear for him.”

Right now it is clear Huckleberry is still enjoying himself!! I know, because of these recent developments, it’s hard not to fast forward to the “transition”. Reality is, he’s not there yet!

I’m sure if you asked Huckleberry if he was ready to go to the Bridge two uears ago and not have to “go through all this”, he woukd say HECK NO!!! I wouldn’t miss all this loving and spoiling for anything!!!!

At the start of this journey, we all make the vow…the commitment…not to let kur dogs suffer if at all possible. And it’s soooo unbelievably hard ro keep that commitment as the earthly journey gets closer ro being over. So hard!

I’ll share with you my Happy Hannah’s time leading up to transition. So often we are told, “they will tell us”, the look in their eyes, not eating, not alert, etc. However, there’s a huge factor that all of us consider when we are on this journey. There comes a point when nothing else can be done. There comes a point that we know our dogs do NOT want anymore poking and prodding…we just know….And there comes a point when a few “symptoms” start to show up, we know it will only get worse. For me,I did have to see some symptoms beyond just being tired. Laying around getting tummy rubs worked just fine for Happy Hannah. If symptoms show up that effect his behavior, then it just makes more sense and it’s a little easier (nothing’s easy..you know what I mean)…for me anyway.

My beloved Happy Hannah still ate (NEVER missed a meal…even on transition day), she still wagged, she still jad a sparkle in her eye. But she was very tired, going out to pee was exhausting. And the other “sympton” she showed, she was starting to get restless at night and just seemed unable to sleep. The rotten lung met was preventing her from sleeping. I decided that, although she wasn’t in lain per se, she was starting to get more and more uncomfortable. She was starting to jave to pau a price for more loving and spoiling. She didn’t need to jang around anymore for that. She had enought of thst to last an eternity…and didn’t have to “pay a price” to get it! I jave good memories (if you can call it that), of her transition. She had a plate of steak and ice cream AND, her favorite food…a scoop of deer poop! She had cupcakes and the vet was helping me feed her M&Ms!!

You still have some great time ahead with Huckleberry! Take Huckleberry’s lead! And this is just me, but give him any junk food he wants! Pizza, cupcakes, a couple of M&Ms a day, deer poop!

I know I’ve rambled. I hope it some of it helps somehow.

Now Mr. Tony! I know you jave a lot going on. Just remember, Huckleberry is clueless about all your concerns and isn’t worried about a thing! You are still with each other and enjoying each other!!

I do jave to fuss though…..hes, I do! A post with no pictures of this magnificent Huckleberry, not acceptable!!! I’ll be waiting!!

Much love to all!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

We are all right here with you.

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!

Melbourne, Australia.
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2 March 2016 - 4:20 pm
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Thank you all for your kind words and support, it really helps. I’ve been so upset the last few hours, staring blankly at my screen at work and hoping no one talks to me so they don’t know I’m fighting to hold back the tears.

I called his oncologist earlier, I’ve booked him in for 11am tomorrow morning, just doing that alone has helped even though I know really that we’re not going to do anything different. I guess I just want them to see how quickly those lumps have grown and maybe get some information as to what we can expect over the next few days/weeks/months?

Just the act of making the appointment has helped.

I did waiver this morning and thought again about starting up the chemo, possibly trying Palladia but then I read about some of the side affects, (he already has a heart murmur too). He is at home with Emma today when I called her to see how he was she said he was bouncing off the walls! Full of energy, alert and wanting to go out. This is the first time he’s been like this since November/December when he started the metronomic. Today will be about a week since his last chemo tablet so it could be that it’s now all well and truly out of his system and he’s just feeling good. We both agreed that if he stays “up” like this for a few days then there’s no way we’ll put him back on drugs and we’ll just deal with whatever this thing keeps throwing at us all.

Anyway, enough of all the sad part, by popular request, here ares some photo’s of our big handsome boy! All taken between Christmas and last week…

Mum on the left, Aunty on the right….

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1463/25360455791_9bda284314_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Hanging out with his mum ' aunt by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

Getting some bottom tickles off mum!

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1701/25360413831_ca4e44e96a_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Bottom Tickles by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

Having a quick nap at work before the afternoon shift…

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1517/25427194276_85970dbe56_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Quick nap at work! by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

His ear makes a great ankle warmer!

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1626/24826653053_255b460cfa_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Keeping my ankle warm by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

My Superman!

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1529/25334893682_5327331d90_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Superman by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

He does this most nights after dinner, before he curls up to sleep he rests his head on the sofa and stares right into my eyes for a few minutes and it breaks my heart.

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1703/25085723269_4d070d64cd_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Sofa Stare by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

Huck and me just hanging out on the kitchen floor like good old buddies…

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1538/24826678973_99b7e26589_c.jpgImage Enlarger

Chilling out with dad by Anthony Besterfield, on Flickr

Thanks again everyone, just posting the photo’s helps. I’m tearing up from happy memories now, not just from sadness. I’ll update after we get back tomorrow.

Virginia




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2 March 2016 - 4:38 pm
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Tony, you and your family are really, reslly, really doing a great job of evaluating Huckleberry’s attitude; actually evaluating everything involving Huckleberry!!!

And THANK YOU for the pictures. Huckleberry could not be more loved, more revered, more content AND more handsome!!! I love every single photo! The first one though, really shows you what a big, really vig, boy he is!!!

That jead, those jowls, those eyes…spectacular!!! And yiu know what? That picture where he gazes into your eyes every night, honest to goodness, my thought was, “No worries Dad. I’m okay. We’re one.” Yeah, I felt like he gazed past your humanness and straight into your Soul, your heart.

And those paws! OMD!! Everything about this Huckleberry is special, even down to his toes!!

I’m soooo glad yiur seeing Huckleberry feeling so good! And I know Huckleberry is enjoying feeling so good. Days on a calendar mean nothing to him. Feeling good and being in the mo.ent by your side means everything!

And the crowd yells…MORE PICTURES!!

Love to all!

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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2 March 2016 - 4:56 pm
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Awww Tony…

Im so sorry that the lumps appeared and are getting bigger….

I lost my Zeusy a month ago today after a traumatic night that I did not plan on…I should’ve planned better…

I planned on after seeing all the signs; (not eating, not drinking, no happiness when friends came over,) then I would know what to do, (put to sleep), but that never happened. Sure he was fatigued and losing weight but I never expected his lung to collapse.

It took awhile to get help that night and the whole time I was still debating what to do….Getting him out of respiratory distress would bring him back to what? He still had lung mets, probably lymph node involvement too. 

Being a RN I would’ve taken care of him as long as possible but the truth is cancer effects dogs differently than us; much quicker, deadlier being there’s no cure.

I’m still second guessing myself, he was my baby, 1/2 of my life, his sister Belle the other 1/2. There’s a hole in my heart but I promise the community here will get you through this. God is in charge and prayer will help. 

What Im saying is sometimes its better to make that plan; have a party, give him every favorite food he can eat, massage, pain meds, friends and family. Then hug him until he takes his last breath; has he breaths the fresh air at the Rainbow Bridge .

Love never dies.

Deb, Belle and Angel Zeus

Virginia




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2 March 2016 - 5:50 pm
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Tony, if I may, I’ll hijack your thread a seond.

Deb, thanks for sharing your insight while your emotuins are still sp raw. I cannot stress enough, so often this piece of crap disease gives NO warning, NO symptoms, or none that would raise a red flag. That happened to Zeus. We’ve seen it too often here. I was “lucky” in that Happy Hannah avoided any crisis. It could jave just as easily gone the other way. Fluid in the lungs, seizures, or any number of completely unforseen things, can happen without warning and sometimes while people are a work. If there’s anything you can hold onto Deb…you were there the whole time. Love to you.

Thank you Tony!

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!

Los Angeles, CA
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2 March 2016 - 6:26 pm
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I know how tough this is …. and I can’t say much more than has already been said but I wanted to send my love and hugs too. 

And those photos … talk about melting your heart!!! So precious!!! 

I wish I could help but just know that we are all here for you. Always!!!

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 March 2016 - 8:02 pm
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Awwww Huckleberry, your handsome face just made my day. It’s great to see you gettin’ so much love from wonderful people around you!

I’m so sorry about the current status of things. It’s a major part of the journey that many of us are familiar with. The ups and downs, the questioning yourself about making more medical decisions….it’s a lot to deal with. We’re so glad you shared with us, so that we could help you through this by sharing our own experiences.

When Jerry was at that point where we knew for sure that the treatments for his terminal, worsening condition would be worse than the disease itself, that’s when we threw our chemo pills out the window (ok not literally but…), and breathed a big sigh of relief. It was one big celebration of sorts, knowing that there would be no more yucky vet visits, forced pills or distasteful routines. All we had was every precious second, and not very many left, so we were going to make the most of it. Reaching that point and committing to move forward without further treatments was so hard, but freeing at the same time. We could all rest easier knowing that the inevitable was near, but until then we would have a great big party. And we DID.

Like Deb said, however, it is really good to have a plan so you’re not forced to make heartwrenching decisions on the fly. Accept what is ahead, deal with what needs to be dealt with while you still have your wits about you, then move forward and keep partying with Huck until he says it’s time. Later, you will be glad you put together a plan for his last days.

This podcast about pawspice may help:

http://download…..illalobos/

My heart goes out to you and the pack. Thank you for updating and sharing those wonderful photos. Remember, we might be an ocean away from you but we are always here for you to lean on OK?

Give Huck a big smooch from us.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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