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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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Osteosarcoma in 1.5 Year Old Dog
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Forum Posts: 12
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11 April 2020
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11 April 2020 - 6:40 am
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Hi! 

Our young dog (rescue – we were told he’s a labradoodle) is scheduled for a leg amputation this coming Monday. He started having symptoms a little less than two months ago with a limp which quickly escalated to a huge (and still growing) tumor on his front leg/ankle. The pain has actually changed his personality entirely. He had a bone biopsy, and the strange thing is there were no cancer cells detected from their sample. The surgeon, oncologist, and our vet feel strongly this is the best route, and I feel confident in their recommendations. 

My question is, has anyone had first hand experience with osteosarcoma in such a young dog? I know there are other types of benign tumors as well that can occur in the joints. Since we don’t “officially” know what type of cancer/tumor we’re looking at, I’m still holding onto that hope that he might make a full recovery. I have heard that osteosarcoma in young dogs can progress even quicker.

Also open to advice for a very active dog going through this transition to three legs! 

Thank you in advance for any insight or advice! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 April 2020 - 10:36 am
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Hi and welcome! Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. What’s your dog’s name? 

You’re doing all the right things by getting multiple opinions and leaving no stone unturned. It sounds like the bone is already to the point of no return and must be removed? 

Young dogs can be a challenge during recovery. You’ll want to focus on mental activities like obedience training and interactive brain games that will tire your dog’s mind before his body. Believe it or not, brain games are just as exhausting to a dog as physical activity…and during recovery, so so beneficial. 

As for young dogs with osteosarcoma. Statistically speaking, yes, younger dogs under age 5 tend to have shorter life expectancies. But your dog is a one-of-a-kind pup, and will have his own story. For now try not to get too caught up in the numbers: every dog is different and you just don’t know what the future will bring. We have had many members whose dogs defied the odds, and you just can’t predict when or to whom that will happen. Take things on step at a time and don’t get too focused on things that haven’t happened yet, or are out of your control. Your pup needs you to be a strong pack leader right now. You can do it!

Let us know whatever questions you have that will make you feel better this coming week. We totally understand your worry and of course the pandemic is just making it so much more stressful. Lean on us, we are here to help OK? Meanwhile, be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and remember to Be More Dog . Your pup is going to teach you so much about how to be resilient when things get tough!

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




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11 April 2020 - 3:37 pm
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That avatar pocture of him is priceless!  Can’t  wait to see more pictures of his cute self!  What’s his name?

Bummer that you’re going through this, but remember  that your pup is blissfully  unaware any ole’ prognosis-schmognosis!!  Nothing has changed in h9s world!  

As Jerry said, he has his own storymandmit’s not defined  by statistics.   They really don’t  mean squat arpund here because  dogs  blow  them out of the  water  all the time!!

The most important thing is to make every moment count and to be fully present in that moment with uour pup.  

Check out our Gear shop for mind game puzzles to help keep your wild child occupied  during  recovery.  Sometimes they don’t  feelmso chopper right at first anyway  at the first part of recovery.  He’ll be on pain meds, most likely o Tramadol amd Gabapentin, as well as Rimadyl and  an  antibiotic.

Drinking  and peeing  are important.   Eating and pooping may be off  a bit at first, so no worries. 

If you have  hardwood floors add nonslip scatter  rugs for traction

Yoir pup is clearly  loved and clearly picked you. He picked you because nhe knew you would give him a chance while others would not.  In his mind, he’s the luckiest npupper around!!❤❤

Stay  connected  and know that we are right by your side!  We’ll be sending  all sorts of pawsitive energy to you Monday.  Is he spending  the night at  a 24/7 clinic?

Oh, amd here’s a link for adding  images.  Can’t  wait to see him!

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!

Forum Posts: 12
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12 April 2020 - 9:50 am
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Thank you both for the kind words! It really is comforting to hear. His name is Franklin, and he definitely is a special boy! As much as I’m dreading the surgery tomorrow, I have to admit that I am so thrilled that the pain he is experiencing now is about to finally be over.

I’m assuming the bone is beyond saving. The problem is, with the way it’s rapidly growing we don’t have the time to explore more options, but I do think full amputation is the best route. It’s a vet specialities practice (surgery, oncology, radiology, etc) so i’m pretty sure they do keep him overnight. I didn’t have the time to research before we scheduled the appointment, so I’ll make sure to double check! 

The lower level of the house, where we’ll all be sleeping until we can safely carry him upstairs, is totally hardwood. We have some carpets, but we won’t be able to completely fill the space. I was considering the toe grips, do you think that would be a good option about one week post surgery? 

Lastly, we’re going to order the Ruffwear Flagline harness for him, when is it appropriate to start putting that on him? 

Also, I didn’t see the link to share photos in your post, but I do have plenty to share:)

Thank you both again!!

New York, NY
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12 April 2020 - 10:04 am
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Hi, I’m Stacy, mama to Griffin (10 year old goldendoodle) who had front limb amputation surgery due to osteosarcoma on April 2, 2020.  I don’t have any experience with toe grips, but I did purchase the Ruffwear Web Master harness which Griffin started wearing a few days ago.  Having the handle has been very useful to support Griffin!  I think the important thing to consider when deciding the timing to start using the harness is how it fits over the incision site and how healed the incision is to make sure there is no rubbing or irritation.  Griffin did not have external stitches and is healing very quickly, but each pup will have his/her own timeline.

Griffin and I are sending lots of healing vibes to you and Franklin, and we look forward to following his journey!

Griffin modeling his Ruffwear Web Master harness!

Virginia




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12 April 2020 - 10:06 am
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Back in a bit….just wanted to try the link again.  ……   adding images

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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12 April 2020 - 10:21 am
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Hi Stacy! 

It looks like Griffin is doing so well! Such a handsome boy! Thank you so much for the advice. We’re between the flagline and the webmaster from ruffwear. How did you end up deciding to go with the Webmaster? I’m sure the differences are nominal, but we’re having a hard time deciding! 

New York, NY
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12 April 2020 - 10:33 am
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I chose the Web Master because it looked simpler than the Frontline and because the description on the Ruffwear website specifically mentioned its use for amputee dogs.  However, I know a lot of tripawd folks recommend the Frontline, so I think it is really just a personal preference.

What’s your name?  I know we refer to our pups mostly, but it is nice to know the names of their humans, too!  smiley4

Livermore, CA




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12 April 2020 - 10:58 am
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The big difference between the flagline vs. the webmaster is that the flagline has buckles on both sides of the harness which makes it easier to put on, especially a front amp.

I’ve used the webmaster for years with my small rear amp Tripawds as well as my quad-Pugs when they had mobility issues and I love it.  But with small dogs I don’t have any issues getting the harness on/off.  Elly, my current Tripawd, sits while I put her harness on and lifts her front leg through the strap herself.  Depending on which leg a front amp Tripawd is missing this can be a difficult maneuver.

I’ve not tried the flagline so I can’t comment on that.

Here is a Chart comparing harnesses, and when you scroll down a bit in the post each harness is pictured with a link to more information.

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

New York, NY
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12 April 2020 - 11:02 am
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Karen is right.  It just so happens that Griffin’s right front limb was amputated and the Web Master buckles on the left side, so we don’t have any issues with needing to put a leg through the harness as the straps go around from the right to left side.  I wish I had see the chart Karen shared before making a purchase as all the info is right there!

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12 April 2020 - 12:23 pm
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Hi, I have used the flag line harness by ruffwear for my front leg amputee, and I highly recommend it. You will find it on this site in the Tripawds Gear blog .

I have also used the toe grips which also work fantastic. My vet glued them on. It seems brownie would lay down in between two rugs then Have trouble getting up. The toe grips solved that problem and also seemed to give him more confidence. 

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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13 April 2020 - 10:41 am
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Thank you all for the advice! We might consider going with the webmaster since it’s his right front left that he’s having removed. 

Stacy- I apologize for not introducing myself! I’m Michaela, it’s nice to meet you all. I’m so grateful that this site exists! 

We dropped our boy off this morning. We’re all (his black lab brother included) missing him terribly and are so anxious to hear from the surgeon. We did confirm with them that their office will have a doctor and nurse overnight, so I feel really good about that. The waiting is really tough!

Here and Now


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13 April 2020 - 3:07 pm
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mspri894 said
We might consider going with the webmaster since it’s his right front left that he’s having removed. 

 

The Flagline is our new favorite harness for front-leggers since it does not require lifting a front leg to put in on. For help deciding, check out this chart.

New York, NY
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13 April 2020 - 3:15 pm
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Hi Michaela!  I hope by now that you have heard from the surgeon with an update about Franklin.  I remember missing Griffin so much that night but also being grateful that he was being well cared for by skilled professionals, which is what I would want for any member of my family who just underwent major surgery!

The Webmaster has worked well for us so far, especially using the handle to support him on stairs.  It’s funny – Griffin actually does better going down than coming up the four stairs in our building’s lobby.  He has figured out how to bring one of his back legs down onto the same step as his front leg when going down, but hasn’t figured out that same strategy going up and winds up trying to jump up the stairs.  We generally use the basement access with no stairs, but it’s been nice having Griffin conquer new challenges!

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14 April 2020 - 12:53 pm
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Franklin is home, happy, and sleepy!

His lungs are clear which we are so thrilled about and he’s getting around really well. He’s only had one tumble so far when he went to lay on his amputated side, but otherwise fine. 

I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy two weeks, but we’re just so happy he’s home 🙂 

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