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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Our first-born doghter, Beast Ann (almost 7yo), has had recurring issues with her front right forearm for the past four years or so. She would lick and occasionally gnaw on it in cycles, about a few times a year. Our primary vet at the time would take an xray, run bloodwork, see nothing and say it is probably allergies while prescribing Tramadol and Carprofen.
Starting in mid-April the joint started to really swell so we took her back to that vet for another xray and bloodwork. They could not figure anything out so they referred us to a specialist for further poking and prodding, who we could not get in to see for another couple of weeks. In the meantime, a co-worker recommended that I get a second opinion from his daughter who is a vet at a local animal hospital as she is not the type of doc that pushes unnecessary tests. She took one xray and immediately knew it was an osteosarcoma (I later found out that she cursed her dad and said he is no longer allowed to send sick patients to her). She also took xrays of her lungs and other limbs to make sure that nothing was spreading. She immediately recommended amputation to cut the pain and minimize the cancer. This was a rough day and the start of a rough few days. Our sweet puppy who is always full of wiggles when we or a family friend walks in the door. I could not begin to imagine how she would be the same pooch on three legs. How would her quality of life be? Do we just manage the pain and prepare our good-byes? My head was spinning and sleep evaded me for days. Since we already had an appt at the specialist we figured we would get another opinion so we could weigh all of our options.
The specialist looked at the xrays and laid out a few options including pain management , radiation therapy, and amputation/chemo. They seemed opposed to amputation due to her age and size (115lb). He also said that he could tell by the look on her face when he touched her back knees that she had some issues with her back joints. Their oncologist was booked for the next month and a half so they advised that we look into University or Missouri for cancer treatment options. So the next appt was scheduled…
Last week my wife went out to MU for that initial consult and conferenced me in for a breakdown at the end of the visit. This was the first time we seemed to get an enthusiastic response from a doctor. After their initial battery of tests they said she is in perfect health except for that front leg. They could not find any issues with her back legs and said that she would be a perfect candidate for amputation. This is where we started to see the world in a different light with a bit of hope. They laid out the typical amputation and standard of care options with chemo. They also offered a few clinical trials including: amputation/chemo along with a drug trial and amputation with immunotherapy (ECI-OSA-1 study). The wife and I usually take time to think things out and prepare for a discussion at a time after the kids are in bed so that we can really focus. Once we finally had time to settle down we both immediately thought that the immunotherapy study was the right direction. After studying this site for the past few days I am absolutely convinced that she will be more herself than she has been in a long time once we get that pain off of her mind.
Two days ago we scheduled the aspiration and bone scan to confirm the osteosarcoma and verify that the other limbs were in the clear. She was admitted into the study and we are scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. She’s been getting comfortable with her new helpemup harness and we’re going to Ikea tonight to find some carpet runners. She’s spending today at the office with the wife since she won’t get to go back for a couple weeks. I think we’re ready and I intend to give updates over the next couple of months during the study. We would certainly appreciate if you would keep our sweet sweet pup in your thoughts over the next few days.
Mike, Jess, and Beast Ann
25 April 2007
Welcome Mike. Thank you for sharing these details, and best wishes for Ann. Sounds like you’ve been doing your homework and she’s in excellent hands. Please keep us posted with progress reports about the study.
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13 August 2015
Welcome to the best place on earth for love and support! Wow! You have really dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s! Kudos for doing your research and homework so diligently. Beast Ann obviously have pawrents who love her and are great advocates for her. The larger breeds sometimes take a few days to figure out their new mobility but usually they’re fine. Ours was 110# very long legged GS boy and by day three or so he’d figured it all out. There’s been many as big or bigger than your cutie. We will be keeping your sweet girl in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow surgery day. Update us when you can and if you need any help or have questions we’ll be here for you! Someday you must share how she got her name Beast Ann! Love it by the way! Hugs to your entire “pack”.
BEAST ANN!!! Looove the name!! Cannot wait to see pictures!!!
I’m soooo vlad you jad a second opinion where you were told Beast Ann IS a good candidate! 🙂 🙂
My Happy Hannah was a …er…”fluffy” Bull Mastiff at 125 lbs. She was 8 1/2 yrs at the time of surgery. As Linda saif, many large dogs do take a couple of days to get mobile. However my Happy Hannah was up and mobile within 24 hrs after surgery! Just trying to say EVERY dog is different and EVERY recovery is different. And goodness knows, we’ve
pretty much seen it all here!
It is surgery and every surgery has risk. Obviously, it’s a riskypk here we were all willing to take. We had to try!!
The recovery itself was rough though! It took me three weeks before I could say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her! Be sure and stay connected, especially the first couple of weeks, and we”ll answer any questions you may have. And for some, the recovery was much easier! Again, every dog is sifferent!
Guess she’s spending at least one night in the hospital. She’ll be high as a kite, so try and get some good rest before she comes home. You may have a few sleepless nights!
.Most Vets send you home with Tramadol, Gabapentin, Rimadyl and an antibiotic. The hospital meds stay in their system acouple of days. Sometimes arpund the third day kr so they have a bit of a crash.
May not feel like eating much and may not poop for a few days. Drinking and peeing are important though.
You are giving Beast Ann a chance at extended quality time…..pain free quality time…chock full of more loving and spoiling than you ever dreamed possible! Beast Ann doesn’t care about anynp ole diagnosis or statistics! She doesn’t count days on a calendar and does NOT have a timeframe stamped anywhere in her butt!
And you are so right, she will really sparkle once that bum leg is gone!!
Update us when surgery is over! Give that sweet girl an extra tummy rub for us to ight.
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!
Thanks in advance for the support that we’re sure to need.
We just checked her in and they will re-run the chest x-ray and bloodwork one more time before amputation to ensure she is still eligible for the study (something about falling behind schedule). Assuming all goes well they will proceed with the surgery and hold her for two days. Fortunately this is not our first rodeo with surgery as we had some difficulties with our daughter when she was first born (perfectly healthy now :D). We’ve learned to go with the flow and be patient. With just a couple days of contact the hospital staff were already bonding with her, so I think she is in good hands.
Beast Ann has a cousin whose name is Belle and every Belle needs a Beast. Since she is a lady dog we had to make sure that people knew it so she took her mothers middle name as her own. She fills the name out very well.
I’m in love❤❤❤
Smooching the mugs through the screen!!
Sounds like your daughter has prepared you very well for this! You have a calm and confident attitude and that will help Beast Ann!
Looooove the pics! Can’t get enough! There’s a whole lot of Mastiff in the mix..definitely a lot!
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too .
OH I just want to SMOOSH that pretty face of hers with tons of kisses!
Thanks so much for joining us here. Whatever we can do to make the journey easier don’t hesitate to ask OK?
She is in great care. We love the oncology team at Mizzou! Let us know how the pre-op diagnostics go.
Sorry for the delayed update we were not able to pick our princess up until this morning and even that was in question. We decided that she will be most comfortable to recover at home.
Backstory – We received a call around 3p on Friday letting us know that the surgery went well and that Beast Ann was beginning to wake up and to look forward to another call that evening. During the later call we were told that she was running a bit of a fever (103.9) but she also had been running a bit of a fever when she was admitted. They were cooling her with a fan. During the bloodwork early on friday they had also noticed that something was high in her liver (elevated ALT?) possibly due to the extended use of Carprofen. They cut the Carprofen which may be contributing to the temperature spike, cancer apparently can work in very odd ways. They said they would keep her in the ICU and give us another call on Saturday morning to give us an update. Things didn’t really change on Saturday morning but she was enthusiastic to go outside for potty breaks and not so enthusiastic to go back in. They devised a scheme to let her walk to the end of the yard and then they would roll a cart out to collect her 🙂 They wanted to hold her for the full two days to see what happens with the temperature and to see if she would begin to eat.
This morning they gave us an update on everything and were concerned that her temp was still bouncing up and down. They listed a bunch of scary things that could be making her temperature fluctuate. They were still also concerned that she wasn’t eating. They left it up to us to decide if we thought she would be more comfortable at home or to continue testing to see what the temperature issues are coming from. We opted to bring her home to see if good rest and a familiar place could help settle her down and get her to eat something. Starting tomorrow morning they will let her back on another anti-inflammatory (Previcox). She is also on Gabapentin, Tramadol, an antibiotic, and an antacid.
She is home resting on the amputation side which we understand to be positive as she was not doing it at the hospital. We understand that it can take a few days to come around on eating. The good news is that she enthusiastically drank some water when we first got to see her at the hospital (she went full snorkel) and she took a super long pee when she got to our yard. Hopefully we can get some eggs or chicken in her today when she’s up and around.
Thanks for listening and any thoughts or pointers are surely appreciated.
17 November 2016
I’m afraid we can’t offer any advice at this point as Zato is not yet a tripawd, but we just wanted to say that your girl is beautiful and we are so happy things are going pretty well after her surgery. We will keep her in our thoughts! I’m sure she is much happier at home with her people :).
Tracy & Zatoichi
Tracy & Warrior Angel Zatoichi 💓
Zato was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in October 2016. He triumphed through radiation and amputation with dignity and grace. After living a life of love and happiness, Zato earned his angel wings on February 19, 2018. Read his story here.
So last night was not so great. She would yelp (very unusual sound for her) when we tried moving her and she was not lifting herself with her front leg. We carried her outside to go potty and carried her back in. She still would not eat and we had to hold her mouth shut until she took her pill pockets (at least she’s getting some calories there). Her temp has been much cooler than it was at the hospital, her gums look good, and her incision looks good.
This morning started the same way as last night except now her front paw looks a little puffy. We’re concerned that she may have injured it but it may have something to do with the meds we’re pumping in her on an empty belly.
We started the new anti-inflammatory this morning and sure enough she got up and moved on her own and even ate a bit of yummy food. No kibble yet but definitely a step(hop) in the right direction. Hopefully this is a good sign and we’re on our way to recovery. We have not yet heard from the Oncologist since the surgery.
17 June 2017
Oh gosh you poor guys! She’s on some good meds, maybe just needs an adjustment? You can also ask about throwing Amantadine into the mix, it’s often helpful when other pain medications aren’t enough. It works well in conjunction with Gabapentin to ease “wind up” pain when other medications wear off too quickly in the body.
Meanwhile did you let your vet know about the swelling? It’s probably nothing serious but always good to keep them in the loop. The swelling could be why she’s having mobility issues.
The fact that she ate a bit is marvelous! You may want to consider a tasty nutrition booster to get more calories into her. See:
I hope she starts feeling better soon. Keep us posted!
A@righty, we do hav esome IMPROVEMENT with Princess Beast Ann!! 🙂 🙂 And during recovery any improvement is a HUGE IMPROVEMENT!! 🙂
She’s peeing….drinking…eating a little…fever going down…..and showing signs that her mobility is improving!!! 🙂 YAAAAAAAAAY FOR BEAST ANNE! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hang in there! You still have a few more nights with little sleep…maybe not though. Update when you can!
Lots of hugs!
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
We’re happy with our progress so far. She’s up to a couple of chicken tenderloins a couple of times a day. We’re mixing in some rice, cheese, and kibble to get as many calories in her as possible. For a while she either had not been peeing when she went out or she was very sneaky about doing it while lying down for. We did finally see her actually pee this morning, Yay! She is a great patient and not too fussy. Fortunately she’s a pretty low energy pooch so she’s not itching to get up and run amok. They actually didn’t even send her home with a cone of shame . Today is her first day hanging out solo at home. I’m anxious to see if she’s moved when I go home for lunch.
As concerned parents we are telling the surgeon’s technician everything without much feedback. We can only assume that they’re satisfied with her progress. Since it is a learning institution they are very busy people. Things seem good so it’s easier to be patient.
Looooove Beast Ann’s avatar!
Yep, sloooow and easy! And YAY for eating a d YAY for pee! Drinking omay? And when we have poop, let us know! We celebrate anythiw around here! 🙂
How vout the fever…is that normal now? How ’bout the swelling in her paw?
My Happy Hannah (Bullmastiff) never needed a cone either! She never paid ANY attention to her incision, and, from what I’ve seen here, that’s pretty rare.
And how are YOU doing!!! Getting to this point is rough, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself!
Let us know how things are when you come home.
Lots of hugs!
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!