TRIPAWDS: Home to 15179 Members and 1691 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG

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.
JUMP TO FORUMS

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!

REGISTER   |   LOG IN

Be More DogNEW! Be More Dog – Learning to Live in The Now

Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
14 February 2020 - 10:54 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Our 8.5 year old German Shephard has been diagnose with ulna osteaosarcoma. I have gone to UC Davis and they have ruled out ulnectomy as it is too close to the elbow joint and Stereotactic radio surgery as they are worried it is too close to the skin. He is 112 lbs and big chested dog. He is pretty active despite the bone tumor. Now I am down to either fore limb amputation + chemotheraphy or paliative radiation. I asked the oncologist what he thought our dog’s chances of amubulating are after amputation and he is worried and said that there is a 10% chance that amputation may not be good for him. I am completely confused on how to make the trade off. Any help would be great in reassuring me that he will adjust to amputation. Thank you!

thanks

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 26570
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
15 February 2020 - 7:24 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi and welcome. Thanks for joining, your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

I’m sorry to hear about your pup. What’s his name? He is still a young dog and has lots of adventures left in him. That’s good, because you’ve gone to one of the best places in the world for treating bone cancer in dogs. UC Davis rocks! Who is your oncologist?

Your dog is big, but not giant. We’ve had much bigger breeds join us here and do just great on three legs. They may take longer to recuperate but most do very well. My guess is that the “10%” figure is the oncologist giving you the odds that there may be an issue with mobility. Vets do that, in order to give clients every possible scenario and cover their bases. Chances are very good your dog will do great if he is otherwise healthy. Are there any other health issues going on? What else did the oncologist say? Did he specifically recommend against amputation? I’m kind of doubting it because in the big picture, 10% is not a big risk so try not to get hung up on that number.

Yes, your dog will have a “new normal” that isn’t quite as active as before. He will sure try to be, but it’s for his safety that you do your best to keep his activity at a level that won’t compromise his joints or muscles. Front-leg amputees can do really well if we are vigilant about their weight and making sure they get appropriate, not risky, physical activity.

I know this is a scary time. But stick around, you will see that dogs handle it much, much better than we do!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
15 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
15 February 2020 - 8:55 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi nesamoney and Jerry, 

nesamoney – I just hopped on to this website as our boy Kaizer just got diagnosed with osteosarcoma 3 days ago. We straight away got his chest scan and bloods tests ( ALT and others) given thay were clear we went ahead with an amputation right away. 

Now considering its an agressive type of tumor so how the chips fall in coming days for the him we will let nature decide that. However amputation gives him firstly instant relief of the pain and the fact a chance to slow the spread, which leades to giving him a fighting chance to prolong his life while keeping a high quality too. 

We considered the radiology option but found amputation brings quality to life ( whater they have in store) and dogs just want to go back to normal life rather than frequent vet visits.

We considering however chemo options (new treatments are being tested with good out comes at the monet in Australia) non invasive and at home capable of care options. We are totally going to talk to oncolgists here as soon as his wound is healed. Having said that its NOT our primary option we will consider his tolerence and quality of life over a prelonged one.

Hope this helps in any way. Please reach out if you like to discuss any worries, can only offer to share our experience.

jerry – Kaizer is only 17 months , we were just not ready for this specially being ucommon in dalmations. Hes the “best dog ever” a true gentleman and doesnt deserve it. We reaching out to your comunity here for any help with post suergery care and other cancer treatment options.

Thanks for your support in advance. 

Kaizer’s mum

 Tash

sp_hearticon2

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 12181
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
15 February 2020 - 2:39 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

kaizer15 said
We reaching out to your comunity here for any help with post suergery care and other cancer treatment options…

Welcome and best wishes for Kaizer! Please consider starting your own topic where members can provide the specific feedback you deserve.

You’ve come to the right place for plenty of recovery and care information and support from others. Start here for help finding the many Tripawds Resources. Bookmark Jerry’s Required Reading List , read the many FAQs and posts about what to expect, or download the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns.

Please keep us posted in your new topic, or feel free to start a free Tripawds blog to share your story. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
15 February 2020 - 9:01 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thanks Jerry and Kaizer. Our oncologist is Dr Rebhun and he is fantastic. I have also spoken to Dr Kent and they have consulted with Dr Culp! Sunny has osteosarcoma in the Ulna. They looked into Radiotactic surgery but Dr Kent said there was tumor near the skin and he would not do it as he would create an open wound. They looked into partial ulnectomy to save limb but Dr Rebhun thought it would be more surgeries more radition etc. So it is really coming down to amputation or paliative radiation and chem. Sunny is a strong dog. he does have a bit of an issue in his hind leg but nothing major. His hips are really good. We have done chest xrays, CT scan and abdominal ultrasound and no evidence of metasis anywhere yet. I have also spoken with fidocure and they said with amputation, chemo and vaccine he would have some more quality months/years. I am just worried about his size and getting used to chemo. Dr Post from fidocure was even suggesting looking at the decision week to week but I am worrying about metastis as well. Since it is in the ulna, sunny is still running around though limping a bit and is on remedal twice a day and is not expressing huge pain though maybe he is being stoic. He is still putting a lot of weight on the front limb because his radius is fine. I think this is where i am confused about whether I am rushing into amputation.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 26570
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
16 February 2020 - 12:07 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Oh wow you have an incredible, smart, amazing vet team! I’m talking two of the best, most brilliant minds in the field. In fact we’ve interviewed Dr. Kent and most recently Dr. Rebhun, you may want to check out those interviews.

I know it feels like you’re rushing into amputation, this can be a whirlwind and so confusing. But in the case of osteosarcoma it’s best to move as quickly as you can. Try to put yourself in Sunny’s paws, how would you feel if you had a tumor growing in your leg? It’s pretty awful and painful, and dogs are much, much better at hiding their pain than humans. 

It’s hard to imagine our pets on three legs but the reality is, most do very well. Sunny sounds like a very strong dog with every chance in the world of bouncing back after recovery. Whatever you decide, don’t wait too long, you don’t want that leg to fracture and end up in a very bad situation with your sweet pup.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 243
Member Since:
26 June 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
16 February 2020 - 3:05 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi nesamoney, & sunny,

Im sorry to hear about sunnys diagnosis. It sounds like you have an absolutely wonderful team pulling for sunny to give him the best care possible. Ive read lots of wonderful things about UC Davis!

I cant speak to the chemo question but i can tell you that size shouldn’t hold sunny back. Our girl was an anatolian shepherd. 130 pounds and very deep chested and she did very well with the physical aspect of amputation. Dogs take it so much better than us humans. Some bigger fellas take a few days more to work into life on 3 and some bounce right back. The only hurtle we ran into was a bit of achy joints after we stopped her pain meds. Our vet opted to do a daily dose of rymadyl. Definitely the lesser of the evils and an easy fix in my opinion.

As for time frame dont rush but the sooner the better. if sunny is an active guy try to tone him down a bit. Even though he’s sort of using the leg it can still fracture. We had this senario with roane. She took off up the porch steps as i was pulling in from work and her week leg went out from under her and she fell fracturing the leg. I dont mean to cause you to worry but it’s not an experience i would want anyone going through. Im suprised i got the car in park before i bailed out trying to get to her. 

Sunny sounds like a wonderful guy with alot of living left to do. What ever decision you make we will be here to route you on and help in anyway we can. 

❤ Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel Roane  & angel dog Gypsy 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
16 February 2020 - 9:39 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

jerry said
Oh wow you have an incredible, smart, amazing vet team! I’m talking two of the best, most brilliant minds in the field. In fact we’ve interviewed Dr. Kent and most recently Dr. Rebhun, you may want to check out those interviews.

I know it feels like you’re rushing into amputation, this can be a whirlwind and so confusing. But in the case of osteosarcoma it’s best to move as quickly as you can. Try to put yourself in Sunny’s paws, how would you feel if you had a tumor growing in your leg? It’s pretty awful and painful, and dogs are much, much better at hiding their pain than humans. 

It’s hard to imagine our pets on three legs but the reality is, most do very well. Sunny sounds like a very strong dog with every chance in the world of bouncing back after recovery. Whatever you decide, don’t wait too long, you don’t want that leg to fracture and end up in a very bad situation with your sweet pup.

  

Thank you Jerry! Yes Dr Rebhun is amazing and his resident Rachel Brady is awesome too. I am associated with Stanford medicine and I completely believe in teaching hospitals and Rachel is exceptional too. And of course Dr Kent is awesome too! If Sunny was showing a lot of pain ( he is on remidal twice daily perhaps this is why he is not showing that much pain). was not eating or laying around or it was in the radius not the ulna or was much lighter, this would be a no brainer. He is putting about 1/3rd of his weight on this leg and about 2/3rd on the other one. This afternoon, he chased a cat and took off at 90mph and almost flattened me!When i showed his legs to the surgeon, they said that his other fore limb is not perfect and may have some arthritis and his hind left leg may have a small cruciate tear but she would still recommend amputation. When I asked Dr Rebhun who I trust incredibly, he said that there is a 10% chance that amputation could be a problem. I am trading off this 10% with the risk of metasis if I just do radiation and chemo. Has anyone just done that and still have the their pet around? I am going back and forth.. and keep praying that i get signs to go one way or the other!

I guess my choice is amputation + chemo or

Radiation+ chemo + vaccine or some other immonotherapy.  I am struggling trading off whether he will adjust have pr

Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
16 February 2020 - 9:45 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello Bev

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I have to admit I am having a really hard time choosing between amputation +chemo or radiation + chemo + bisphosonates. My vet and Dr Post from fidocure want me not to rush but I know those darn tumor cells are multupliying by the day.

We are keeping Sunny in the house a lot and letting him out when we are out. Today when he was sleeping his rear legs were twitching and I got so scared. Oh well, this is the new normal.

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 243
Member Since:
26 June 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
17 February 2020 - 9:12 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I totally uderstand agonizing over the options. On the one hand medicine has come a long way and options are good but terrifying. You want the best for sunny and between diagnois and treatment options its like a whirl wind and very emotional. No matter what you choose there are no wrong decisions. You love sunny and he loves you and any decision you make will be made out of love.

Do you have another appointment?Maybe see if you can have a sit down with the specialist. Make a list of pros and cons for amputation + chemo and one for chemo + radiation + vaccine or immunotherapy. And any other questions you have. I know that 10% that he mentioned is weighing heavily so maybe ask them to clarify that as well. 

Its a hard decision to have to make and over all its a toss up since every dog is diferent and will react to treatment differently. Hopefully you can get some clarity to help you feel solid in your decisions. No matter what theres no judgement and no wrong answer. 

Sending you both extra hugs and lots of good vibes. 

❤ Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel Roane & angel dog Gypsy 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

Forum Posts: 57
Member Since:
28 July 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
22 February 2020 - 4:33 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Nesamoney – 

So sorry to hear about Sunny’s diagnosis. My 10 yo Great Dane Grover was diagnosed with a mid-ulnar osteosarcoma 8 months ago. He had pre-existing osteoarthritis, angular limb deformities, lumbosacral disease resulting in hindlimb neurologic deficits and some cervical compression. There was a lot of concern with our team of vets that amputation could end poorly. Ultimately we did 2 doses of palliative radiation followed by an amputation the next week. 

it was, without a doubt, the best decision for us. I think maybe Grover took a bit longer to bounce back than some of the dogs on this site (I think 3 weeks was when he was really him again) but he was up and walking independently at 24 hours after surgery. 

We are 8 months out and Grover is back to hiking, killing his stuffies and generally being himself. To be honest, he’s doing everything now he did before surgery. When we lived in WA (we just moved to Iowa) he was back to hiking in the mountains for up to 1.5 hours at a time. He’s gotten through chemotherapy, started a vaccine protocol and as of his most recent 8 month met check still does not have radiographically visible pulmonary metastases. He does have a rib metastasis that was present at the time of amputation and is has been static for about 6 months. 

It was a really scary time. Wondering what he would have wanted, what was best for him, if we were making the right choice etc. Lots of tears in the shower! 

Wishing you and Sunny the best – you have a great team behind and with you – 

Jamie and Grover 

Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
22 February 2020 - 6:35 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you Jamie and Grover!

Sunny had his first round of radiation and bhisphosanate on thursday and did fine. I am really confused whether to continue the radiation for 4 weeks and then chemo or switch to amputation this week.

No metasis anywhere. CT scans, done, Abdominal ultra sorund done. Aspirate showed malignancy in the ulna and they did a alko phosphate stain for the cells and it stained indicating most likely osteosarcoma. They were going to do a PET but that would not have changed treatment so they did not do it.

If Sunny was not running around and putting so much weight on that leg ( because it is the ulna and bears only 20%) weight and was in a lot of pain  ( i am giving him 1 remedal once a day). No whining, has a slight limp but in good spirits though slowing down. Today he was chasing the birds all over the back yard.

Why did you switch from palliative radiation to amputation. I asked Dr Kent today and he said the idea in the best situation is to shrink the tumar, help with the pain and arrest the growth. In the best case scenario is the tumor will be controlled. The chemo is to chase of the cells outside so they do not metastasize.

So many questions

1. Can chemo really work when the primary tumor is not controlled

2. can the primary tumor really be controlled with palliative radiation

3. As we are waiting are we increasing the chance of the cancer spreading else where – to this Dr Rebhuen and Dr Kent are saying the horse left the barn on this one and really chemo is the only thing that can potentially curb this

My husband is saying by basically choosing this path I am signing Sunny’s live away for mobility and if I have any intention of longer live we probably should amputate.

I don’t know what the nuances are. The oncologist also said that there is now eveidence that when there is still some local tumor, the body’s immune system works on killing it and hence helps in delaying metasis..

Ideally I would love to say his leg if it is possible not to impact his life but here is what Dr Rebhun is saying

We can choose to “palliate” the tumor with radiation and bisphosphonates /oral pain medication and treat with chemotherapy.  This will allow Sunny to use his leg for as long as he can do so comfortably.  My “guess” is that eventually this will progress to the point of him not using it or being very painful and essentially being in scenario #3 above, where we would need to decide on amputation or euthanasia.  I know you mentioned that this could be considered “lost time”, and while I understand that, I think that it is giving him some additional quality time with improved mobility (could be weeks or months).  In this case, the goal would be to maintain the best mobility for as long as possible while also controlling systemic disease and extending time with chemotherapy.

He also said this which is confusing but I think it goes back to the fact that the horse has left the barn i guess

“In my opinion and experience, the timing of amputation has no effect on survival or progression of disease. In other words, amputation now or later doesn’t matter if you pursue chemo and pain control”

It would be great to hear from folks that dealt with their beloved dog’s ulna osteosarcoma. What would Sunny prefer..being able to chase the squirrels and cats as he is doing now? Or amputate and then chase on 3 legs

Forum Posts: 57
Member Since:
28 July 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13
22 February 2020 - 7:06 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Nesamoney – 

I was pretty gung ho about amputating Grovers leg (also an ulnar tumor) from the beginning because I wanted the option that I thought would be most pain free for him and I thought would give him the longest quality of life. I worried because I know he had been masking the pain – we had been hiking just 5 days before his diagnosis and I didn’t notice anything was off – but there’s no way looking at the radiograph that he could have been pain free. For me personally, I knew that if I didn’t amputate and in 4 months he had pulmonary mets I would regret my decision (not that amputation was a guarantee that that would not happen). HOWEVER, this was a very personal decision and not a “right” or “wrong” decision. 

We did 2 doses of palliative radiation 12 hours apart before amputation for (3) reasons: we wanted to buy him some pain control time while he saw the ortho, neuro and rehab specialists so that everyone could weigh in on their opinion on whether or not he would be successful as a tripawd, I had a trip for work I could not cancel (and my husband wanted me home for the surgery) and one oncologist we spoke to subjectively felt like dogs that had radiation a week prior to amputation had delayed onset of metastases because it helped activate the immune system. Radiation made him feel great again – and we did briefly reconsider our decision to amputate – until he fractured the leg playing. That sealed our decision. I was terrified to amputate his leg – but he hasn’t looked back much. 

We led a pretty active life style for a 10 yo Great Dane pre amputation – we hiked 3-5 days per week – and he’s back to doing everything he did pre amputation. Honestly … I don’t think he cares. He runs, he chases the cat, he plays with his toys, he jumps up on the bed, he hikes. He gets to do everything he used to do before, but without pain. I was hung up on three legs and how he would feel about it and it did take us 3 weeks to really find our groove (again prolonged compared to other dogs I think) but I think he’s more active than most Great Danes’ his age even with only 3 legs. 

Ultimately, your oncologists are best to answer your three questions. Our oncologist’s opinion was as follows: 

1. In her opinion, chemo was not effective with the primary osseous tumor left in place and she did not recommend it if we decided to go with palliative radiation. 

2. The pain can be lessened with palliative radiation and the tumor slowed, but not fully controlled. I think she said her average survival was 6 months until the pain was no longer controlled or other metastases occured. 

3. 90% of dogs have micro metastases at the time of diagnosis in their lungs. So, will waiting a few weeks matter – probably not. But, our oncologist said that the longer you wait the more likely they are to be bigger (or more of them) as the primary tumor keeps “shedding” them and the ones that are already seeded keep growing. In her opinion, once there were radiographically visible pulmonary mets it was too late for amputation and chemo. We started chemo 7 days after his surgery. 

Those were just her opinions in speaking with us about our dog – so they may not apply to your specific scenario or your oncologist may have different experiences! There are few hard and fast rules in veterinary medicine. 

After amputation the rib lesion became evident and we treated it with two doses of radiation and it has been static since. we added losartan to our chemotherapy (carboplatin) protocol and then followed up with the Yale vaccine. Now … we just enjoy life. Occasionally he gets his antibody levels checked for a possible booster vaccine and we have stayed on the losartan. 

Not sure that our experience helps you bc this is such an individual position to be in but the good news is that you have a great oncology and veterinary team and you guys clearly love Sunny and I know will make whatever the right decision is for you all. The best advice I was given was, once you make your decision never look back. Don’t wonder what if, what about … live in the moments that you get together. 

Virginia




Forum Posts: 18563
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14
22 February 2020 - 8:48 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Okay, my head is spinning from the recommendations you are getting from these specialists.  Obvioisly  more “cutting edge” ideas that, to some degree, are against  the norm (so to speak) more than I’m used to…and that means nothing of course!!   

Of course if Sunny isn’t  a candidate for amputation, then your decision  is made as to your path forward with “treatment”.

I’m  really glad Grover’s hooman took time to share their experience.  It appears their two cases are similar. 

Do I’m.zero help other than to say any decision  out of love is the right decision.  And yes, squirrels  know first hand that three legged dogs are unstoppable!!

Hugs to Sunny for us!

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!

Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
14 February 2020
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15
23 February 2020 - 9:34 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Thank you! Grover’s case seems more like Sunny’s.

I think the UC Davis folks have been beyond fantastic. I think they are trying to assess Sunny’s body, his test results and my own goals and resources to figure out the best plan. I have to admit with a busy schedule sometimes I am not even feeding sunny. In the last month, I have fed sunny every mean that we make at home, ground farm raised beef with basmati rice, carrots, beets, brocchili and cauliflower. i am Indian and make a lot of Indian meals so today I am going to start using turmeric which I put in everything for us humans! I also give him a glucosime and remedal. I think I am going to look at supplements.. omega 3, some aptops (sp?) I am aware that if I go down the radiation +chemo route I am committing to another 4months without amputation. Dr Kent said the best case scenario is that they we can get local control of the tumor for many months and that we can keep him comfortable and save his leg. As Even with amputation the disease is usually still fatal because of cells that have already spread microscopically they hope that radiation kills most of the cells locally but with chemo they are hoping that we can keep his leg while slowing the risk of spread – this is most commonly to the lungs. The not so good outcome of course is the tumor still grows with radiation then amputation or euthanasia.

Of course no one can tell how Sunny will do and only time will tell.

I am going to spend some time today really thinking of goals.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: raphaela
Guest(s) 62
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1075
Members: 10550
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 16092
Posts: 225246
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » YOUR PRIVACY » RANDOM BLOG