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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Amputation on 7 and a half year old great dane, 170 pounds
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Member Since:
21 August 2022
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21 August 2022 - 3:56 pm
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First post. My 7 and a half year old great dane (Kendrick) is scheduled for amputation tomorrow. He has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the head of his left femur.

I live very near Michigan State University and the surgery will be at the teaching veterinary hospital. My primary vet does not support amputation due to his age and size (normally 170 pounds when healthy and fit). He recommended palliative care including radiation therapy. However, the MSU oncologist did not feel that he would benefit as much as other dogs from this due the location of the cancer. 

After blood work, x-rays, etc., they feel he is a good candidate for surgery with follow up chemo therapy.

My concern is rehab. He has lost nearly all muscle in his left rear leg and is down to a skinny 154 pounds. He is only using 3 legs now but it exhausts him and he really fights using a ramp to go up steps. I would love to hear about rehab for older dogs of his size.

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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21 August 2022 - 7:09 pm
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Hi and welcome to you and Kendrick. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I'm so sorry for the diagnosis! Ironically, it was a Great Dane named Moose who inspired us to go forward with amputation for our Jerry. Without Moose, this community would not exist. We thought our 75 pound dog couldn't handle amputation. Moose, and many, many other Danes like Jessee, a long term osteosarcoma survivor, continue proving everyone wrong!

I am sooo glad you got another opinion. You are both in GREAT hands at MSU! They know their stuff better than anyone. Many of our members went there, like Nova the Queen, another Dane and long-term osteosarcoma survivor. Unfortunately many vets who don't do a lot of amputations are not comfortable amputating on a dog Kendrick's size. That's not their fault, they just don't see a lot of giant breed Tripawds. Specialty centers and vet hospitals do. In fact, a top orthopedic surgeon from UC Davis told us that neither size nor age should automatically exclude a dog from surgery if they are otherwise healthy.

So regarding Rehab, that's great it's on your top of mind. Did you know the Tripawds Foundation can cover the cost of your first rehab visit ?! It's true! It really is the very best thing anyone can do for their new amputee. Rehab makes a huge difference in recovery and overall fitness on three legs.

Yes, Kendrick has probably lost muscle mass from not using the leg, and compensating with the others. That is very common. A therapist will help get his muscle strength back and right where he needs to be as far as weight. He is likely very tired right now just from dealing with the pain of osteosarcoma. It's exhausting for the body. I'll bet once you see that pain and bad leg gone, he will have a bit more energy. 

As far as rehab on giant breed dogs, oh there are so many examples!

Canine Rehab Helps Tripawd English Mastiff Odin Stay Fit and Strong

Free Physical Therapy for Front Leg Tripawd Arwen

Dock Diving Dog Ruger Benefits from Free Tripawd Rehab and Hydrotherapy

Free Rehab Helps Tripawd Saint Thurston

Free Rehab Helps Tripawd Saint Chief

Free Rehab Consult for Tripawd Akbash Lammi

I hope this helps! Please stop by tomorrow and let us know how things go. I'm usually in the Tripawds Chat during business hours, Pacific time. We'll look for news! 


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21 August 2022
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22 August 2022 - 7:10 am
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Thank you for all of the references. I'll look through the list while  I'm waiting for Kendrick to come out of surgery. It's wonderful that you offer assistance for a Rehab evaluation. I hope to speak with the rehab department today while at MSU. Also hoping to be able to fold that expense into surgery and Chemo charges and develop a payment plan.

The advice to wait for a rehab visit before investing in equipment is so helpful. Of course we all went to make things better for our dogs after surgery. Looking at all the options has been so confusing. It makes so much sense to take a breath and wait for expert advice.

I'll  try to update asap.

The Rainbow Bridge


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22 August 2022 - 10:40 am
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You are so welcome! That's why we are here. Sending lots of pawsitivity to you and Kendrick for an uneventful surgery!

The Rainbow Bridge


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22 August 2022 - 10:40 am
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You are so welcome! That's why we are here. Sending lots of pawsitivity to you and Kendrick for an uneventful surgery!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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22 August 2022 - 8:13 pm
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Just catching  up on your magnificent Kendrick.  Jerry has given you superb  feedback and great links.  I think you'll find tremendous reassurance about how well"large" dogs can do👍

Update when  you can.  And we would ove to see pictures of Kendri.  Here's a link to help..adding images  

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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28 August 2022 - 1:53 pm
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Kendrick update. His surgery was successful and came in at just under $5000. He went in on a Tuesday morning and came home on Friday morning. He was sent home with a helpemup harness, but can only use the front part until the incision is more healed. The current challenges are finding the right device to keep him from licking the incision and where to potty. I have created spots on a small back deck and a covered front porch. There are several steps to get into my house and I am also worried about keeping the incision clean. Kendrick really wants to go down to the lawn, so we are struggling to find a compromise! I am very pleased with his progress in walking on 3 legs but it is a slow process with such a big dog of his age. I would love to post a picture but despite the posted instructions I don't think it's likely. I avoid social media like the plague and have few digital skills.

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
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28 August 2022 - 5:58 pm
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YAY for Kendrick! I'm so glad you posted and good to know he is doing well. Some thoughts for ya:

 The current challenges are finding the right device to keep him from licking the incision and where to potty. 

It sounds like he can reach around his cone of shame ?

About the potty spots: yeah it's pretty hard to get a dog to change habits overnight. We once had someone put potty spots and turf on their apartment balcony but the dog wouldn't go there so he had to go outside of the building anyways. How many steps do you have? Do they have traction tape so he won't slip? Usually for a big dog, a couple of steps aren't a big problem as long as they have a no-slip surface. You can get traction strips/tape at a hardware store.

We would love to see your photos! Dont' worry, you don't need to go on social media to do it (I hear ya!). This how it works in our Forums:

  • Upload pics to a photo sharing site like imgur.com or your own Tripawds blog (https://tripawd...../supporter). Pictures and video have to be hosted (live) somewhere other than in the forums.
  • Once the photo is uploaded somewhere, right click and copy the Image URL or just copy the image if you’re on a phone
  • Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself) in your post. It should automatically appear. 

If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 August 2022 - 9:03 pm
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WELCOME HOME KENDRICK!!  Surgery is done and recovery  has started👏👏

Stay connected connec6 and let us know if any questions arise.

(((((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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