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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Nicholas, 8 year old Newfoundland goes in for surgery tonight (Newf, Newfie)
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Member Since:
15 June 2023
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16 June 2023 - 11:44 pm
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Hello.  My 9 1/2 year old Saint Bernard was just diagnosed with bone cancer yesterday.  Otherwise, she’s the picture of health.  I’ve taken her to physical therapy once per week for the past 18 months just to keep her in good shape.  She eats homemade food and better than i do.  She weighs 130 lbs though and is old for a Saint.  

We have two appointments with oncologists on Monday.  I feel overwhelmed, depressed, but mostly afraid of the decisions that are going to need to be made soon.  This came out of the blue, and i think that i might still be in physical shock from the diagnosis.  

here are some questions that are causing me to lose sleep:

Are there any successful stories of older Saints doing okay with amputation?  

Are prosthetics a real option?  

Does anyone have experience with the ELIAS Animal Health's ELIAS Cancer Immunotherapy?  

Any advice, or encouragement, would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you all.  

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17 June 2023 - 7:09 am
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First, huge congratulations on keeping that weight down!! (as you can see, Nicholas could loose 8 pounds). Your girl must be in great shape, which will give you more options and help your decisions. It was 2 1/2 absolutely awful weeks from the time the lump appeared on this otherwise healthy boy to his amputation. I seemed to spend a lot of time arranging things and nervously waiting for phone calls and not as much time as I wanted to with Nick. Once you have seen the oncologist and they have walked you through the options, it will get better. 

Though we hadn't yet decided what to do, during those two weeks I learned a lot about how Nick moves through our large house, and how to adjust it for him, and he learned how to navigate safely on three legs.  So I wish you the best on Monday. What's most important is what kind of life you want for your dear girl. You'll find a lot of support and information here.

Suzanne and Nicholas

 

Safety Tip: Your girl has probably learned to move through your house and property with good manners  but don't discount what choices she might make if you change boundaries around suddenly. Last week, we were in the process of blocking the steps down from our terrace, when Nick got wind of a bobcat who had been after our chickens. We ran out to see him sailing over the stone wall, six foot drop, and taking off down the side pasture, cancerous leg and all. He did that once as a teenager and we added steel fencing along the wall which we have dug out of the garage and replaced. But anyway he survived. Dogs!

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17 June 2023 - 10:08 am
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First morning home, second day, two days post amp: Nicholas and I slept in the family room last night. He usually sleeps on the floor by my side of the bed but we thought we would not do the two steps to our bedroom on his first day home. I woke up at four AM and he was looking at me. He gave me a little air kiss and went back to sleep. So his spirit is back! I'm most thankful for that.

This morning he had two eggs and some canned dog food and then was looking at me intently, still hungry, so he had Kibble (!) soaked in tuna water and four tuna chunks/ He's taking his meds willingly in hamburger and cream cheese and drinking lots of water. Newfs like deep buckets of water so they can stick their muzzles way in, like horses, and drip all over the place. He didn't get that at the vets!  Now he's resting.

I'll record it if something happens, but I think now we just need to let him take the rest he needs and think about mobility next week. He does get up and walk around a bit, needs encouragement to go about 20 feet back to his yard and pee. Will check in after the vet call on Thursday.

Thanks for all, I keep reading all the posts, not keeping up with international news these days... smiley9

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 June 2023 - 12:40 pm
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That sounds like a really good night! And the weekend is shaping up nicely too. His appetite and energy level is really impressive, usually larger dogs are a bit slower ti get around the first few days. Go Nicholas!

And yes rest is medicinal right now, you are on the right track. Relax and cuddle, his body is healing and will be over the big recovery hurdle probably sooner than most people think.

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 June 2023 - 12:41 pm
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Michael I saw all your questions and answered that post you wrote here, and it's over in this Forum topic ok?:

https://tripawd.....diagnosed/

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19 June 2023 - 12:59 pm
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Just a log. 

NIcholas's amputation was Thursday AM. Today is Monday AM . His incision looks good, I have been icing it and he has been lying, by preference, on cold stone. He is wearing a man's 2XL Tee shirt and I am hoping that by the time the incision starts to itch, it won't occur to him to scratch it, so no collar of shame. Also I can wash his shirt so it keeps the area clean, if not sterile.

This morning, he studied the two steps down from our room to the terrace and executed them perfectly after a little slip the day before. Much more active. Our daughter and son in law came up from LA to see him, lots of waggy tail and leaning. He loves the company but also puts out a lot of Newfie social energy, so he was tired and seemed disoriented last night. Today he's more relaxed and really resting.

He had a full meal in his dog bowl last night and this morning, so the time for treats is over, just his usual sardine/scrambled egg/green bean, carrot etc toppers and fewer topper calories because of the pills wrapped in ground beef or cream cheese. I cooked him some liver cubes from our own organic Jersey beef, which are a huge hit.

 

Incidentally, I did buy what were supposed to be the best ice packs, but little green frozen peas wrapped in a towel work much better, more flexible to conform to his body, the towel gets cold gradually so it's less of an immediate shock. He's still enjoying "being iced".

I seem to have uploaded the images so I can't access the url, but anyway if you want to see a Newf in a 2xl tee shirt, the link works!

https://nichola.....com/?p=586

Here and Now


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19 June 2023 - 3:12 pm
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suzanne52515 said
I seem to have uploaded the images so I can't access the url...

Welcome Suzanne, and thank you for your support!

Not exactly sure what you mean by not being able to access the URL...but we've approved your first blog post. Your future posts will not require moderation.

The URL you added when creating your site is:

nicholasnewftripawdscom.tripawds.com

That may be the reason for any confusion. If you didn't receive our welcome emails, please check your spam folder. You'll find details about the Help Videos in your dashboard. Search or post in the Tech Support Forum anytime if you need additional assistance.

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19 June 2023 - 3:54 pm
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Thanks. I'll do that. I had actually started a different blog yesterday with different pictures and then couldn't locate it. but I'll figure it out.

Virginia







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19 June 2023 - 4:10 pm
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Over the moon Happy to see this handsome, smoochable, huggable fella'..  Sky blue is definitely  his color😎

He really is doing so very well this early on.  Really!  I love how he was confident  e ough to handle those two stairs, even after a stumble before.  So gentle,  but clearly strong willed and determined 😉

The vision of Nocholas  doing the Newfie lean hug.....so sweet.  I'm sure there was a lot of mental and physical "exhaustion " that came with all the excitement  9f seeing  ore of his hooman family.  A good day of resting today is the perfect anecdote.

Yiu are taking such good care of your boy.  And you are quite the Chef for him!  Very lucky boy!

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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19 June 2023 - 5:42 pm
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Thanks for the note. You really understand my boy! He's my best helper in the kitchen. I got him some canned pumpkin for constipation, which I've never used. It's been almost five days and he's not straining but I thought a little help might be in order. Does this work for amputees? He's quite the gentleman... always goes way at the end of the dog park away from the people, so the position might be confusing him too. He got peeing down right away.

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 June 2023 - 6:12 pm
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Awwww he is SOOOOOO handsome! 

I think it's wonderful he is doing so well, and that frozen green peas ice pack trick is spot-on. Thanks for sharing, I always forget about that one. Many dogs will lay on their incision side on a cold floor, it really feels good I guess.

Yes canned pumpkin is fantastic for getting things moving along. Really amazing you've never needed to use it. Ironically pumpkin pulp works for loose stools too. A little olive oil may help move poopiconalong too. Maybe 3 tbsp for a pup his size. Let us know how it works. 

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21 June 2023 - 10:49 am
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Log:

Day 4 yesterday. He's getting lots of pets and cuddles from the family and Truman's music students. It tires him out a bit because he tries to keep track of where everyone is, and be a good host to everyone, but he's using his heart and brain and that has to recover too. He found a little "cave" under a tree in his yard with a pillow of long dying iris leaves,  and we stayed out with him for a couple of hours. Couldn't get him to stand up and come out until I realized that he was concerned about tangling his good foot in the leaves, so I cut them off  and enticed him with liver cubes and we made it back. I'm realizing with a giant dog, I need to look at the path ahead from their sight angle and clear the path of things that obstruct their view or seem hard to walk through Very tired in the evening. Also since he's heavy and staying in one position for a longer time, I expect his hips and back legs get a little stiff, and it's hard to balance getting up, so it's good for him to change positions.

Day 5 This morning, for about 2 hours we had our old Nicky back. He woke me up, took the steps by himself, went out to pee, tail wagging and bouncing around,  told me the pool water was down and found his water bowl, let me know the gate to his yard was shut and went out to poop and came back, all by himself. I told him "Watch out" for the hose on the terrace and he stopped, looked, and hopped over nicely. Now he's resting, but I think he feels much better now that he knows he can be independent and he has mapped how to get around safely. We'll do this for a couple of days and then tackle the back yard (2 wide steps down)

The Rainbow Bridge



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22 June 2023 - 10:25 am
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Day 4 and that sounds like a TON of progress! I'll bet the students really cheered him up, even if he did get tired. And you're so right, his heart and his brain, and his body, need to come to an understanding. In time, they will.

Day 5 ... WOOOHOO!!!! That boy is making incredible progress especially for a giant breed. He's so smart figuring out his route and what he needs to do to carry on his work.

Hoping that today and the coming days are even more spectacular!

Virginia







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22 June 2023 - 12:27 pm
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Nichol really is on the fast track for a solid recovery.....especially  for a bigger fella's.  👏👏

Love how he's navigating  through recovery at his own pace.  And good for you understanding  his needs so well and being  so tuned I to him.  Clearing the path from obstacles, "listening" to him when the gate is closed.....smart dog....smart hooman!

Might try giving him lots of massages up and down his spine, neck, etc before getting him to stand and after he's trying to settle down for a nap.

YAAAAAAAAY  FOR. poopiconpoopiconpoopicon

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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23 June 2023 - 11:19 am
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Day Six Lots of rest today, oing well, moving around independently, staying in the shade and going out to pee on his own.. His recovery spot includes two three rooms in the house and about 60' of outdoor space, roomy enough for a big guy.  I researched friction tape with a glow in the dark border for the front steps, which are pretty wide, and a six step Pet Loader staircase to handle the kitchen to family room descent more gradually Quite a bad scare this afternoon. Everyone had gone out and he had hopped up on his wicker couch (he’s very proud of that), but he got stuck in his tee shirt and the pillows and I had to disentangle him and then he got his good leg stuck under the railing and sticking out the back of the couch to the elbow. He and the cushion were too heavy for me to move away, so we spent about an hour and a half, just stroking and resting there until everyone returned and set him free. If he had panicked, he might have hurt his good leg. I worry about it.

Day Seven:  He was snoring when I woke up, which means he's really getting restful sleep at last. He got his pills but I told him no more breakfast in bed, and let him get up, take the two steps down to the terrace, go out to his outside area and come back for breakfast by himself.  Just as I was standing with his bowl, the family came to say good-bye to him. So I asked him what he wanted to do. He gave a little greedy lick, then pressed his head back against my daughter, clearly "I want my breakfast now, they’ll wait for me" and they did. He raced through most of his breakfast and came way around the front of the house for more goodbye cuddles. We watched the car pull out, which we like to do when visitors leave. If Newfs were running the world, it would be a much more peaceful and fairer place I do believe.

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