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My 13 year old pit/hound mix Nutty had her right hind leg amputated for an osteosarcoma
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Member Since:
25 February 2023
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26 February 2023 - 2:22 pm
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Hi, this is my first time posting here and I am very much in need of some support and advice right now. A little over a week ago we brought our 13-year-old pit mix Nutty to the vet for a GI upset. When it still persisted, and then she stumbled in a way that made me nervous, our vet agreed we should bring her back in for X-rays. That's when they discovered what looked like an osteosarcoma on her hind right femur. We immediately booked an oncology consultation and had a CT scan done that showed a lytic lesion — which 3 separate radiologists then analyzed and felt 95% certain was in fact osteosarcoma.

The oncologist told us that without any treatment, it would probably be just a month or two before walking would be really difficult for her. She recommended we immediately amputate and follow with chemotherapy (she said amputation alone had an average survival rate of 3-5 months, but that plus chemo had an average survival time of 1-1 1/2 years with good quality of life). As with most people, I'm sure, this was devastating to to me and my husband. Nutty is such a happy, healthy, active dog—even at her age—and besides 24 hours of walking a little funny, she hadn't been exhibiting any symptoms. The vet said it was great that we caught it so early (no signs of metastasis yet), but it still felt like we were choosing to ruin her joy.  

All the vets we spoke to agreed about the recommended course of action so we went ahead with it. Unfortunately, we didn't find tripawds.com until yesterday, 24 hours after her surgery, so we were not at ALL prepared for how difficult the recovery would immediately be. She spent the night of her surgery in the hospital and when they called us afterward, they told us she'd been able to walk on her own that very night. The next morning they called and told us we could come get her. I have to say they really oversold "walking on her own," as this is not exactly the case so far. Her remaining hind leg has been sort of bent like a German Shepherd's this whole time, causing her back to slope down and her butt to hover above the ground rather than holding her up straight. She needs a lot of help from us, and we weren't given any advice on that ahead of time — only discharge papers, so we didn't know to be prepared with anti-slip mats for our hardwood floors or to get a sling to help her walk (thanks to reading as much as I could here yesterday, I've now ordered those things but they don't arrive until tomorrow). The surgeon and the oncologist are only available to speak to us a few days out of the week at specific hours, so right now we feel completely on our own. She's not yet able to stand up on her own, can walk a few feet before taking a break and lying down. She has a great appetite but isn't all that interested in water (the discharge info said to expect the opposite). She's not complaining though, so I think the pain meds they gave us are working.

It's just so hard to see her struggle to move, especially when so many of the videos we watched showed dogs walking on their own within 24 hours of surgery. Most of the conversations I've read here have people finding comfort in knowing this recovery pain is better than the pre-surgery pain, but in this case she didn't have any pre-surgery pain so it's all really hard to take. We're supposed to start the chemo as soon as the recovery is completed and I'm scared we're making the wrong decision.

Day 2 so far has been slightly better, which does give me hope, but it's all still really scary. She has been my best friend and my whole heart for almost 13 years now and I feel completely broken by this but I’m trying really hard to keep it together for my baby. Any pearl of wisdom you might have would be deeply appreciated…

A few things we don't know that are currently freaking us out:

- Is she allowed to sleep on the side where her surgery happened, or is that side always supposed to be facing up? 

- Can we keep giving her the Phycox, Turmeric, Scoot Away, and CBD oil supplements we'd been giving her prior to surgery — along with all the new meds she's on?

- Are we crazy for planning on doing chemo?

THANK YOU ALL. So happy this place exists. It's already provided us so much relief.

Here and Now


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26 February 2023 - 2:27 pm
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nutty said
Are we crazy for planning on doing chemo? 

No, and you are not alone! Welcome to the best club nopawdy ever wants to join. When it comes to any medication or supplements, please consult with your vet.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Meanwhile, start here for help finding all the helpful Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Here and Now


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26 February 2023 - 2:27 pm
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Don't miss this popular topic with plenty of feedback about chemotherapy over the years.

Virginia







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26 February 2023 - 8:44 pm
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Okay..deep breaths....B R E A T H E......you have been in unchartered waters, drifting out to sea without  a life jacket.

Well we are here to pull you back to shore, give you tons of recovery information and assure you it does get better!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Like you, I had not found  this site prior to amp.  Like you, I had virtually  no discharge information about recovery, what to do, what it would look like, etc, etc.  I joined this site with the title of my thread something  like..."Day six after amputation  and I fear I have made a horrible  decision!"

I learned very quickly every dog is different  and every dog recovers at their own pace and in their own way.  Do NOT compare  your dog's recovery  to another.  

I'll tell you that my Hap py Hannah,  like your Nutty did not want to drink water.  She ate just fine but I had to entice her to drink water with a bit of chicken  broth, tiny bit of ice cream....what it took.  Like you, I felt like she was more painful than before the surgery.  

We've found that mature/senior dogs need more time to get their sea legs.  Continue  to help her up and help her walk just to go potty and then back in for rest, rest, rest.  If need be, you can try and put puppy pee pads down if she has too much trouble going outside.

Keep in mind, this is MAJOR  SURGERY!  Humans would still be in the hospital on a morphine drip.  Your sweet Nutty is on some good paun meds (hopefully), very, very early in recovery, all while trying to adjust to three.

How much does Nutty weigh?  What pain meds is she on, dose and frequency?

She does need to drink and peeing is important.   Pooping may take several days (or not).

While it did take my HappynHannah several weeks before she laid on her inc side, some dogs do it much quicker.  No right or wrong.  If it isn't  too sore, she'll lay on it.  If it hurts, she won't. 

Keep in mind that statistics are jist "guidelines".  It's impossible  to take each individual specific dog into the equation.  Just know that some dogs blow statistics out of the water with years of longevity, AND  some don't.   The most important  thing is to stay in the present,  live in the NOW just like Nutty.  Make each moment  the best moment  ever.

As far as chemo, there is no right or wrong.  It really can be a crap shoot.  Some seemingly get extended time WITH chemo, some don't.   Some seemingly  get extended  time WITHOT chemo, some don't. 

For me, what ot boiled  down to is would I second guess myself if I didn't  try it, or could I be comfortable  with my decision  not to try it.  I did proceed with four rounds  of Carboplatin know I could stop of she had issues.  She sailed through it.  We had a blissful extended  time of fourteen months.  Another doggy comes to mind named Brownie who did not do chemo and had sa blissful extended  time of fourteen months.   So again, no right or wrong decision  and no guarantees  one way or another.

One thing guaranteed, Nutty doesn't  care about days on a calendar  and doesn't have a timeframe stamped  on his sweet butt.  All she cares about is being  with you and being loved and spoiled  and getting tummy rubs.

St6 connected  and know we are right by your side, okay?

Hugs

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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27 February 2023 - 10:51 am
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Thank you so so so much for this, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!!!

She had really bad diarrhea before the surgery so the dr gave her metronidazole along with her other meds —of course the generic discharge instructions say to watch out for constipation and diarrhea, but she’s on medicine and food meant to cause constipation and the diarrhea was present pre-surgery so I have no idea what means what there 🙄. But in any event, she just took her first poop with us!! She has been peeing thankfully and drinking a little more water now. 

I'm not gonna lie, the first 24 hours were some of the worst of me and my husband’s lives and as we wrote that post I felt so unbearably hopeless. Each walk had been devastating so when we mentally geared up for another one about an hour after posting, we were bracing ourselves for another painful one. Then, out of nowhere, she got up on her own and started hopping around the apt with her tail wagging!! And we just uncontrollably wept with joy. By the time we got outside, she had sort of exhausted her back leg already and was stopping to sit/lie down every few feet but wanted to stay out and we had to figure out how to awkwardly wrangle her back home so she wouldn’t injure herself. I’m terrified of that happening ugh. The third walk was less coordinated and started out with the sitting constantly. This morning she did even better — but it still just looks so exhausting. Will that always be the case?

One problem we have is that we live on the 5th floor of an apt building with a long walk from the elevator to the front door on slippery lobby floors, so by the time we get to the street for what should be a 2-minute walk, she’s already tired. We were trying to carry her through some of the journey to get outside and if she seems overexerted, carrying her back, but we don’t know what the best way to pick her up is since her whole stomach is COVERED in bruising and we don’t want to hurt her. We called and emailed the surgery dept to ask for advice on this but haven’t heard back. Any tips for that? 

Her sling arrived last night so we got to switch from towel to that, but the non-slip flooring hasn’t arrived yet and we don’t have natural enclosure areas in our apt to set up baby gates so I’ve basically just been spooning her on the couch 24/7 as her human baby gate .

Nutty is about 53.5 lbs (or was before surgery…) and she was given:

rimadyl 75mg tablet - 1 tablet every 12 hours for 14 days

gabapentin 300mg -  1 tablet every 8-12 hours as needed for 14 days

clavamox 250mg - 2 tablets every 12 hours for 7 days

amantadine 100mg - 1 tablet every 12 hours for 14 days

fortiflora - once a day

metronidazole 250mg - 1 tablet every 12 hours for 10 days

again, thank you thank you thank you for your help, it feels so good to have people to talk to

all our best,

genevieve Stefan and nutty

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 February 2023 - 12:05 pm
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Hi guys, welcome. I'm so sorry you are going through recovery, it's not easy at all but we can hopefully help make it better. Keep in mind this is every early in recovery. Everyone doubts their decision to do amputation, at least for the first couple of weeks. The best thing you can do is not compare her recovery to others. Every dog is unique, and how they recovery is too. She will get to full health again on her own time, so be patient, and pawsitive, it will rub off on her.

To answer your questions;

- Is she allowed to sleep on the side where her surgery happened, or is that side always supposed to be facing up?

Sure, if she's sleeping on the amp side already that's a really good sign that she is comfortable. Based on her pain management , she is probably feeling really good. I'm impressed with the medications they gave you. Yes they will make her wonky, but right now you just want her resting anyways. Walks aren't really walks for a few weeks. She simply needs to get up, go outside, go potty, and come right back in until stitches are out. If the weather is good she can lay outside, supervised, but that's it. Keep things mellow.

- Can we keep giving her the Phycox, Turmeric, Scoot Away, and CBD oil supplements we'd been giving her prior to surgery — along with all the new meds she's on?

Ask your vet. But the oncologist will probably want you to stop everything while she is in treatment. That way if there are any side effects they know the cause. 

- Are we crazy for planning on doing chemo?

Not at all. About half of members here do it, so you're in good company.

One problem we have is that we live on the 5th floor of an apt building with a long walk from the elevator to the front door on slippery lobby floors, 

That's one of the toughest situations. The more you can use a sling to help her walk for a few days, or even if it's just sliding her on a blanket across the lobby (some dogs will tolerate that, others won't), the better. As she gets her sea-legs she'll be more capable but that might not be for a while.

If you feel panicked you can always call the Tripawds Helpline 844-TRIPAWD. Keep us posted OK? 

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27 February 2023 - 12:29 pm
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Thank you so much!!!! Is the sling better than lifting her up completely? We’re only walking until she pees, no further than a block or two, using the sling the whole time.

the frustrating thing is that we’ve been trying to get in touch with the dr for a couple days to no avail, or any dr at the hospital. we don’t understand why they would be so unavailable for guidance right now. I guess it’s part of an emergency hospital so they’re just busy?

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 February 2023 - 12:40 pm
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Monday is the worst day of the week at vet clinics everywhere, try not to take it personally.

I would definitely use the sling over throwing your back out. Try to make her pee as close to your building as she can. She'll keep walking and walking until she finds the right spot, and tend to overdo it in the process. Try to limit her choices.

I am in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk.

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1 March 2023 - 8:07 am
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Day 5. She's been doing a lot better. But yesterday we couldn't get her to drink water all day. Poured a little water in her food to trick her into having some and she had that, but that's about it. Then late last night she suddenly started panting like crazy and it felt like her heart was beating out of her chest.

Then this morning, she's been super-lethargic. And when I presented her with a bite of chicken and a piece of kibble, she turned it down—which never happens. Her heart isn't racing right now but still feels like it's thumping really hard.

Really freaked out. Waiting to hear back from the vet. Any thoughts on what might be going on?

Thanks so much

New England
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1 March 2023 - 9:53 am
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Adding water to food is a good idea.  You can also add some plain chicken or beef broth to water to make it more appealing.  

The panting and racing heart makes me think anxiety, but this is definitely not my area.  

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 March 2023 - 10:29 am
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Hi there, sorry I missed you in the chat. How is she doing?

A lot of times, a spike in pain can cause symptoms that look like what you are describing. Did those symptoms start suddenly out of nowhere or after she came in from a potty trip? Did you check her gums?

Also, try mixing some gatorade or other tasty add-ins into her water (tuna water is a good one) to keep her interested in drinking. 

So she's doing a lot better otherwise. You mean her mobility? 

Hope you got to talk to the vet by now to put your mind at ease. I'm in the Tripawds Chat for a bit if you want to talk.

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1 March 2023 - 10:41 am
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Her mobility yes but not today. We just ran her over to our vet since the hospital won’t get back to us and they did an X-ray and bloodwork and said theres a spike in her white blood cell count which either means infection or something called paraneoplastic—which the vet says would basically mean hospice time if it’s that. So they gave us antibiotics and our options for determining which it is are to wait and see if the antibiotics resolve the problem in 24-48 hours or take her to the hospital for another ct scan that she’ll have to go under anesthesia for again and we can’t afford. 5 days ago her pre op bloodwork was normal, I can’t wrap my head around the idea that we took her leg and 5 days later it’s just another unrelated cancer takeover that means the end. This is actual hell I don’t know what to do

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1 March 2023 - 11:17 am
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A dr from the hospital just called finally and said it could also be inflammation that’s causing the spike. She’s groaning and shuffling nonstop I feel so bad for her this is the worst 

Virginia







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1 March 2023 - 2:30 pm
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Definitely a roller coaster ride for you right now. And that's exactly  what we call the first week or two of recovery  because  it's fill of ups and downs like a roller coaster.

Couple of thoughts that come to mine.  Other than the pain meds, the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory, check with the Vet about eliminating a thing else (CBD,  metronidazole, etc)

Another thought since she's not drinking, dehydration can cause all sorts of "issues' like raising heart, lethargic, etc.  I know you don't  want to to have to take Nitty back to the Vet, but maybe you can go pick up aome fluids and do SubQ at home (if you are comfortable  eping that).  Since she had a GI upset before and had diarrhea off and on. she may never have been fully hydrated enough as a result.

FWIW, Vets almost always paint a worse case scenario,  and often that does not ever happen.  Going to look upparaneoplastic  now as I'm not sure what that os and why the Vet would jump to that conclusion. 

Also, try massaging  her gently  up and down her spine, her shoulder, neck, etc.  It is so very possible  part pf the "shuffling " is due to strain muscles, etc.  Although  you jave been helping  her with the stairs, slings, etc. it's still a lot of effort on her part and energy  is zapped very quickly will adjusting to three.

Oh, and incision  looks good?  No excessive  warmth or oozing?  Excessive bruising?  Certainly  an infection may have set in as we DO see that happen occasionally....maybe more than that.

Okay, hang in there for others to chime in.  Deep breaths, we'll get thos figured out, okay?  Continue to update here.as we'll be cheering for   Nutty to get over thos hump. 

((((((((((((((( Hugs )))))))))))))))

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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1 March 2023 - 4:41 pm
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Thank you! The vet gave her a hydration camel hump which she absorbed instantly, an anti nausea injection as well as an addition antibiotic (baytril 136mg) and told us to just monitor her symptoms to see if that works. I got her to eat some scrambled eggs out of my hands a little earlier while lying on her side, which was a little relief, but nothing else. She’s settled down and has been sleeping for a bit now. The unknown factor of the high white blood cell count is giving ME heart palpitations too. The incision site looks good and there’s no oozing or anything like that so I don’t know where the infection would be—could one arise elsewhere in the body after surgery?? 
they said we can increase her gabapentin from 2x a day to 3x a day but didn’t say how far apart to spread the doses out. Thank you so much for everything, I can’t tell you how helpful your words are

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