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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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Please help, advice needed for a senior with bad knees and hips
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Vanuatu
Forum Posts: 137
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27 May 2012
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27 May 2012 - 5:26 am
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Hello Everyone,

I have a beautiful 7 year old Pyrenean Mastiff called Porthos who was dx 1 week ago with bone cancer in his front right leg. He has had TPLO surgies in both knees (3 years ago) mild Hip Dysplasia and has a slight limp in his right back leg. We are having xrays done on his lungs on wednesday to see if the cancer has spread, we have also found a small hard lump on his ribs (right side) that we are also having xrayed.

We live in a very isolated location with one vet, we are also in contact with a specialist who is advising us and our vet here on different options for Porthos (limb sparing and amputation). We have changed his diet, put him on supplements and Art and Porthos also starts palmidronate on Wednesday.

My questions for you are- if the cancer has spread would you still amputate? and with his back end being so weak would you amputate?

Thank you for reading, I have spent alot of time researching over the past week, and after finding Tripawds and having contact with some other people that have amputated, if Porthos’ back end was stronger I would of amputated already. I just dont know what to do, im also a little emotional and tired so its hard to think clearly.

Thank you

Amanda

Angel Porthos, Pyrenean Mastiff, 7 years old Os front right leg, DX 18 May 2012, Amputation 14 June 2012, Hip Dysplasia, Two TPLO surgeries. Is now somewhere over the rainbow, 21 November 2013.

knoxville, tn
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27 May 2012 - 7:43 am
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hi amanda and porthos, welcome to the family no one really wants to have to join.  your future posts won’t require moderation.  you ask some very good questions, many of us have been in your shoes and understand the overwhelming fear that you are now working through.  your vet is of course a great resource for info, as he/she has first hand experience with porthos.  one of the concerns we have seen here with bone cancer, is that the leg will shatter.  unexpectedly, even when no ‘event’ causes it, the bone just breaks – the pain is unbelievable, and we all fear that for a pup diagnosed with osa. 

seven isn’t very old.  you obviously have been a great parent to porthos, and know how he is physically.  once you know if his lungs are clear from the xrays, that will help with your decision.  we’ve had several tripawds that had knee surgery, i’m sure some folks will jump in with their stories about this. 

read the ‘required reading list’ http://tripawds…..ding-list/  if you haven’t already.  we are all here for you, and will support you with whatever decision you make.  we’d love to see some pictures of your boy!!

 

charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends

http://etgayle

Vanuatu
Forum Posts: 137
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27 May 2012 - 9:25 am
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Hi Charon,

Thank you for the reply,

My vet here said that she doesnt believe Porthos is a candidate for amputation as his back end is so weak, she said that she doesnt think he would ever get up again after surgery and that it would cause him more pain and suffering. We have made a video of Porthos walking and are sending it to our specialist in Australia who originaly performed Porthos’ TPLO, he will have a look and guide us on a decision.

I have to say that in my heart, at the moment, I tend to agree with our vet here but I wanted to see if anyone at Tripawds have had any similar experiences. I have ordered him a double muttkneebrace to give him back-end support, I just hope it gets here it time.

 

I would love to post a picture of my boy! just not sure how to do it.

Angel Porthos, Pyrenean Mastiff, 7 years old Os front right leg, DX 18 May 2012, Amputation 14 June 2012, Hip Dysplasia, Two TPLO surgeries. Is now somewhere over the rainbow, 21 November 2013.

knoxville, tn
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27 May 2012 - 11:36 am
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i’ll try to help with posting pictures….as my expertice with knees is limited.  you need to have your pictures somewhere on the web – facebook, a blog (you can start a free blog here), photobucket, etc…  then it’s just a matter of posting the URL.  our friend cometdog did a picture tutorial for luddites like me, and it should help.  it’s located here:

http://tripawds…..t-account/

 

hope this helps.  it’s not that hard (i’ve been able to do it…aw-shucks).  sending best wishes to porthos!!!

 

charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends

http://etgayle


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27 May 2012 - 11:49 am
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Our English Mastiff Tazzie was 6 years old when she had her RF leg amputated and she weighed about 185 pounds.  Both of her knees were repaired in years prior (ACL rupture but she did not have TPLO).  She did very well and lived 14 months. Is your dog overweight?  How bad are his hips?  Tazzie’s hips were okay so that helped her out a lot.  Is your dog walking okay on 3 legs now?

I did look into limb-spare surgery but the surgeon I consulted said that due to Tazzie’s giant size she would be at increased risk for implant failure so we elected amputation.

Can you post a video here?

Pam

6
27 May 2012 - 3:19 pm
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Welcome Porthos and Amanda! So sorry that you have to make this awful decision. I don’t have any experience with the knee problems that Porthos has but I do know that front leg Tripawds depend on their rear legs to support them. It becomes extra hard for them to get around if their back legs are failing. I really wish this wasn’t the case with Porthos because I know you really want to have him with you longer. Only you can make the decision. Hopefully the specialist will help you figure it out. Good luck. 

Vanuatu
Forum Posts: 137
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27 May 2012 - 4:59 pm
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Hi,

Thank you for the replys,

Porthos is 50kg, which is lite for a Pyrenean Mastiff, the specialist should get the video today (I will get my husband to help me post the video and photos, im hopeless!) 

His hips are not really bad, but he does have a limp on his right back leg, so no, his walking is not great anyway. I think I saw Tazzie on youtube, so inspiring.

All the supplements I have ordered should arrive this week, k9 immunity, Btyrex, Artimix, Synflex, k9 Factor.

He is already taking Artemether 5 x 20mg. Wednesday get him started on the palmidronate.

Cant believe this is happening.

Angel Porthos, Pyrenean Mastiff, 7 years old Os front right leg, DX 18 May 2012, Amputation 14 June 2012, Hip Dysplasia, Two TPLO surgeries. Is now somewhere over the rainbow, 21 November 2013.

San Diego, CA
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27 May 2012 - 5:24 pm
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Welcome and sorry you had to find yourself here. We were able to do the amp with our Abby, so I don’t really have any advice on how to make the decision in your case, but if you do decide that amp is not an option, you might want to join the Yahoo group called “artemisinin_and_cancer”. I’m no longer on the group, so don’t know if the dog it still around, but there was a woman on that message group that had a great Dane that was not suitable for an amp. Their names are Penny and Jane, and the dog did great just with artemisinin treatment. Her vet even said the risk of fracturing her leg was gone. I don’t know if that is a total miracle, or something that could be duplicated, but it’s worth checking into. She has a file with her protocol (which is admittedly pretty detailed) in the folders there once you join the group. The folks there are quite knowledgable about dosing arte and Butyrex, etc.

I wish you all the best in your decision. I know how hard and overwhelming this all is. Hang in there and know that any decision you make will be the right one because it is made out of your love for Porthos.

Jackie, angel Abby’s mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Vanuatu
Forum Posts: 137
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27 May 2012 - 6:00 pm
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Hi Jackie,

I joined the “artimisinin group” and “bonecancer dogs group” as well. They have been so generouse with thier knowledge and time explaining everything for me. The amount of support that has been coming at us has been incredible. 

Penny is still there and her and Janes’ story is very inspiring, I have Janes protocal and am trying to work it to suit Porthos.

I want to make sure that we have researched every option for our boy, even if amputation is not the road for him, I have learnt so much about it and bone cancer, that if we ever are in this situation again, but with a dog with 3 good legs, I would not hesitate to amputate after seeing how well dogs adapt.

Its frustrating as I dont know the situation with Porthos’ lungs and also what the specialist thinks, but all should be clear by the end of the week. At the moment Im changing my mind every hour!

Angel Porthos, Pyrenean Mastiff, 7 years old Os front right leg, DX 18 May 2012, Amputation 14 June 2012, Hip Dysplasia, Two TPLO surgeries. Is now somewhere over the rainbow, 21 November 2013.

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 May 2012 - 9:51 pm
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Hi Amanda and Porthos,

I’m sorry you’re faced with this decision, it’s really so tough! My best advice is to get at least two opinions from specialists to determine if amputation is an option. We’ve had many dogs here who’ve had leg surgeries prior to amputation, ranging from double TPLO to FHO to hip replacements. Some do fine, a few took longer to recuperate than expected and it was challenging. What it comes down to though, is Porthos’ medical situation. I hope you get some answers soon.

As for amputating with lung mets. Well, the fact is that most dogs who are diagnosed with osteo already have lung mets, you just can’t see them on x-rays yet. Recently, Tripawds member Zeus was faced with the decision to proceed or not to proceed, when his pawrents discovered he had mets prior to surgery. You can read about their very unusual dilemma in this blog post: X-Rays versus CT Scans for Bone Cancer Staging.

We will be here to support you no matter what. Try to hang in there until later this week, and let us know how it goes OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Vanuatu
Forum Posts: 137
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27 May 2012
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28 May 2012 - 2:10 am
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Thank you for directing me to Zeus’ blog, just goes to show how much input from the pawrents is needed in caring for our babys.

Im thinking that if Porthos does have lung mets that I will sugest to the vet metronomic chemotherapy (i have just read about that on here too)

I will get two more opinions regarding amputation, I have to be really sure whether we amputate or not, both choices are big decisions in different ways.

Im scared for my boy, I dont want him in pain, he has sooo much life left in him, I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me.

I will let you all know what happens on Wednesday.

Thank you for being here, we are so isolated where we live that there really arnt many people to talk to about what we are going through with our boy.

x

Angel Porthos, Pyrenean Mastiff, 7 years old Os front right leg, DX 18 May 2012, Amputation 14 June 2012, Hip Dysplasia, Two TPLO surgeries. Is now somewhere over the rainbow, 21 November 2013.

Rock Hill, SC
Forum Posts: 875
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28 May 2012 - 5:51 am
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Hi and welcome.  I haven’t commented so far because we were lucky that Zeus’ other legs did not have problems (at least not diagnosed – his back end has been a bit more stiff the last year or so, but not too bad.)  But I do hope that his story gives some hope that these pups can beat the statistics.  Even with the lung met we are approaching six months post-amp and so far it appears to still be just one met and has not grown.  I know that we are lucky and Zeus is the exception to the rule but it just shows that it can be done.

This is such a hard journey.  Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!

Lisa

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

San Diego, CA
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28 May 2012 - 10:42 am
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Hope you get some good info at your appointment, hang in there!

Jackie

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

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28 May 2012 - 12:30 pm
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Our dog,Jack, had OSA in his front left leg. 7 month before the cancer diagnosis he had back surgery for a ruptured disc in his lower back. The surgery improved his back leg function but didn’t totally return them to full strength and mobility. We too were concerned that an amputation wouldn’t work for Jack with the damaged back end. Our regular vet and the specialist both told us no on the amputation because of the back leg weakness. I wanted so much for the hope and time an amputation migh give, but it wasn’t to be. I played so many what if, and best case scenarios but in the end I knew our vets were right. Some dogs aren’t candidates for amputation. I don’t mean to throw cold water on a what is already a hard descison, but you have to be realistic about what Porthos can and can’t handle.

Our time with Jack from diagnosis to the end was much shorter because we weren’t able to amputate. The pain is as bad as everyone says, but there are options for pain control. Without an amputation you will eventually exceed the pain control the drugs can offer. It isn’t a pretty picture to be caught between the cancer pain and an inability to amputate. I’m so sorry you find yourself in this position. We were so recently in your shoes that it pains me to give you such a bleak assessment.

No matter what you decide, start taking lots and lots of pictures, remember it is the quality of time not the quantity, and try to be very in tune with Porthos and how he feels and what he is trying to tell you.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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28 May 2012 - 1:32 pm
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A little tied up this weekend but I had to jump in for a quick note after glancing at your post!

 

I’m sorry to hear about Porthos.  Very scary stuff, we know!

 

Okay, first off Pam (tazziedog) is a vet, so she is the expert.  Second, please don’t let any vet tell you that a dog can’t do well with two TPLO’s!  If you were to ask me, I think they do better because the risk of blowing an ACL is gone.  Why do I know?  Because I had a front three legged dog that was born with a deformed front leg and had two TPLO’s when she was 7 and 8 years old.  She did great with the two TPLO’s!  She was like better than ever great!  After her TPLO’s, her mobility was fantastic.  I’m not vet, but it seemed to really help.

So!  Phooey! on your vet said! 

 

This is Comet wrestling the giant water hose snake after two TPLO’s and also, she was about 9 years old! I hope you can see that she wasn’t a disabled dog!

Good luck!  Please keep us updated!

 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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