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9 Year Old St.Bernard Lab Mix Amputation Today | Treatment, Recovery and Oncology

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9 Year Old St.Bernard Lab Mix Amputation Today
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14 September 2018 - 3:05 am
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Hello Everyone.  I am so glad I found this sight.  I have had my beautiful girl Chance since she was 4 weeks old.  She was a rescue pup, half st. bernard and half lab and has been like my “first born” ever since. She’s grown to be a strong, happy healthy, 90 pound dog until this diagnosis.  We do everything together, work, hiking swimming, car rides, she even comes with me to pick up the kids from school and she has been amazing with my children.  Up until the limp began she was full of life, even now she still tries to hop around and play with the hurt front leg.  We had taken the initial XRay a week ago yesterday and it was barely visible and the vet wasn’t 100% sure so we rescheduled some more testing. a few days ago I noticed that her bone looked like it was protruding from her chest so I called and she had more testing yesterday.  The progression was so fast in the bone that we have decided to do the surgery immediately.  God I hope I’m doing the right thing for her, all I knew was when she looks at me I don’t see a dog whos ready to go.  I’m not trying to be selfish and just keep her going for my sake I just want to give her a chance and I definitely didn’t want her last days to be spent in agonizing pain.  Anyway  I have no idea what to expect when I bring her home or what I should do to prep the house and myself.  My floors are laminate and slippery, so I imagine i’ll have to find some runners or carpet squares.  Do you think I should get her some sort of harness before I pick her up, or will she not be able to wear one until the wound is healed? Onto Chemo.  My vet is amazing and I trust his judgement but he is against the chemo.  He told me he studied in Colorodo at a university that is top in onchology in the country and that from all he experienced that the dogs have a really hard time dealing with the chemo and that even though they may last a year longer, more than half that time they are very sick.  Like I said My goal here is to make her last days happy and as pain free as they can be.  To me it is not about quantity but quality, well Quantity would be nice but not if my poor girl is suffering.  Anyway thoughts and advise for when she comes home and continuous treatment would be greatly appreciated

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 September 2018 - 7:50 am
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Hi and welcome, we are glad you found us too! 

Sorry to make this short but I’m on my phone now so I will be back in a bit with more to say, I just wanted to get your post approved so others can see it.

I have a suspicion that your vet is a much older practitioner? Because I doubt any vets graduate from CSU now feeling that way. Please see all of our posts about Colorado State (we are huge fans) at https://tripawds.com/tag/csu

Stay tuned!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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14 September 2018 - 10:19 am
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!  YOU NOW HAVE A WHOLE NEW TRIPAWD FAMILY  RIGHT BY YOUR SIDE!!

YOU ARE DOING THE “RIGHT” THING!!!  You are making  a decision  out of LOVE and that is ALWAYS a right decision!! You are giving  Chance a “chance” at a pain free quality life….and that is exactly  what he would expect from you❤

Keep thi gs chunked down for now.  One step st a time.  Younjave a couple  of weeks to pursue of you want to do chemo.   And as Jerry alluded to, chemo treatment is NOT as he described.  We can fillnuou in more on that later.

Yes, you will need nonslip scatter rugs for traction .  Raised food and water bowls help so he doesn’t have to strain.  

The first two weeks of recovery  are no picnic! If like many of us, you will doubt  your decision  off and on during this part of the ups and downs of recovery.  That’s  “normal”.   This MAJOR SURGERY and a human would probably  be in the hospital for weeks on a morphine  drip!

Rest, rest, rest.  Just short potty breaks, no stairs, no jumping, just rest, rest, rest!

Peeing and drinking  are important,  but he may not have much of an appetite or may not poop for a few days.  Just keep lots of yummy food on hand.

Does your Vet have overnight staff?  Most dogs spend  the first night at a staffed clinic.   Not everyone  has that option though.   Let us know about that and we can help support  you during  that first night.  Vets shave a lot of fur, so be prepared for that.

Now, very important, PAIN MANAGEMENT!!   Hopefully  your Vet will send you home with TRAMADOL,  RIMADYL  (or similar), GABAPENTIN  and an antibiotic.  The first couple of days he’ll have strong hospital  pain need from surgery in him (hopefully).  But after that, it is really important mis pain is managed.  Most dogs, not all, need a supply for at least two weeks, some longer.  Some are off pain meds a bit sooner, but it’s  always  good to be prepared  just in case.

Keep us updated and, again, stay connected!  Chance mis going to feel so much better with that bum leg gone!  It may take several  days before he takes his first hop or two, big dogs need some more time sometimes to get mobile.  You can use a towel  sling to help.

Check out Loving Life On Three Legs ebook for more tips.    

And btw, Chance does not have a timeframe  stamped on his butt and he sure doesn’t  count says on a calendar!  All that matters to him is being painfree with you and going to pick up the kids at school!!  

Extra hugs….take deep breaths…..and eat chocolate!!

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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14 September 2018 - 10:30 am
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Welcome.  Sorry to meet like this, but we’re glad you’re here.

Just a couple things . . . I have two dogs with cancer, one with osteosarcoma (Casey) and one with hemangiosarcoma (Jet).  Casey lost his left arm and was treated with Carboplatin.  It was a piece of cake, with few if any side effects.  Jet had surgery to remove his tumor and was treated with Adriamycin (Doxorubicin).  That was a whole different deal including appetite issues (for maybe three days after a treatment) and hair loss, primarily on his face.  We’d still do it again.

Casey wore a T-shirt after his surgery, and we gathered the T-shirt into a top knot, securing it with a hair tie.  The top knot created a great handle for supporting him in those early days, and the shirt distributed his weight across his chest.  Worked great.

We had quite a few carpet tiles in the basement that we moved upstairs to cover our tile and hardwood floors, but Home Depot has bulk rug runners at $2.27/ft. that they can cut to most any length.

Best of luck as you move forward here.

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 September 2018 - 10:45 am
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You’ve gotten some great insight here and I “x2” it! Meanwhile to answer your questions:

Do you think I should get her some sort of harness before I pick her up, or will she not be able to wear one until the wound is healed?

Onto Chemo.  My vet is amazing and I trust his judgement but he is against the chemo.  He told me he studied in Colorodo at a university that is top in onchology in the country and that from all he experienced that the dogs have a really hard time dealing with the chemo and that even though they may last a year longer, more than half that time they are very sick.  

Chance will most likely be a bit wobbly and may need assistance. You can make a DIY dog sling for the first few days and see how she does. We recommend waiting until stitches are out to use a Ruffwear Webmaster harness but if you absolutely need to assist her on stairs in your home and such, you can put a t-shirt on to keep the straps from rubbing the incision.

Meanwhile, about chemo. First let me say that there are no right or wrong choices when it comes to chemo. About half do it, half don’t. We were one of the ones who did not. But everyone’s reason for choosing what they do is different. If you think that Chance doesn’t mind being at the vet clinic, then chemo should be a breeze!

Some dogs do get chemotherapy side effects like nausea and lack of appetite, but modern day veterinary oncology knows how to deal with those issues, through medication and such. Very few people report such serious side effects that they would not do chemo again. Perhaps when your vet was attending CSU it was early on in veterinary oncology. Things have changed sooo much over the last 10 years, so I encourage you to consult with an oncologist about what you can expect. Here’s a list of questions to ask your oncologist to help you get organized for a meeting.

Good luck with surgery and keep us posted, we’ll be cheering you and Chance on for a speedy recovery!

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14 September 2018 - 1:08 pm
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I’m sure today will be fraught with worry for you – I know I couldn’t keep my eye off the clock waiting for an update. We are about 3 weeks out from surgery and I’m here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel! The decision was the hardest part, now your girl is on her way to being cancer and pain free and in a few short weeks things will be almost back to normal. We have hardwood and laminate floors so I got a whole lot of carpet runners and rugs and made paths were he was most likely to walk. I also got a raised food and water bowl and made a sling out of a canvas shopping bag (just cut down both sides). I also got some canned food and hotdogs in case he needed encouragement to eat. Things I didn’t have but needed to get as the experience unfolded: nonstick pads – like gauze pads but that don’t stick to the wound – I found some at Walgreens that were 3″x9″ or similar which covered the length of the wound and then i used self-adhering bandage to hold it in place (The first few days I left it alone and let it breath but as the drugs wore off he started to want to lick it constantly so I had to cover it). Try to confine her for the first few days to a small area and rest lots. Keep us updated on progress – we are here for you!

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14 September 2018 - 1:17 pm
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So sorry to hear about Chance. It sounds like she has a wonderful, supportive family to get her through this though! This is all pretty fresh to us as our dog had a rear leg amputated for sarcoma just over two weeks ago. We went on a buying spree for yoga mats and have them over all slippery spots on the floor. We’ll extend our runners in the near future but this is an inexpensive temporary solution and it works like a charm. We bought a harness and at this point Murphy just needs the support up the stairs but it was great in his first wobbly days too.

I totally understand the mixed feelings you’re having regarding the decision to amputate but we don’t like to see our babies suffer and as the days go by post amputation you’ll realize it was the best decision for Chance. I can’t address chemo as this is in our near future. We haven’t started it yet but this site is an amazing resource and the people on here are so wonderful and supportive. Keep us posted on Chance.

Valheart

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14 September 2018 - 4:17 pm
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Hi Chance and family 🐾🌸

You’ve got some great input from others, as you see we are all here for you both ☺️

I am a proud Mom of a huge Great Dane (now the happiest of Angels in the sky) who lost her right front leg to osteo. 

I used a tshirt under a soft harness 24/7 until she got her stitches out and then switched to a ruffwear harness .

As she was so huge and heavy, I would never have been able to assist her if it weren’t for the soft harness but your boy being so much smaller and lighter maybe you won’t need it.

In any case, I would still ask the hospital to lend me a soft harness, if they have it.

My baby did carboplatin, metronomics and Doxorubicin and there were zero side effects throughout. 

She did take Cerenia for nausea during carboplatin so no nausea and no loss of appetite. 

Chemo is no big deal for dogs and it is a personal choice, some of us do it, some don’t.

I personally went for it because I wanted to fight osteo with all the weapons available but there are never guarantees either way.

The most important thing is getting rid of the pain and you’ve already done that!

Make sure Chance has plenty of rest and ask any questions, big or small, we’re all here.

Hugs and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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14 September 2018 - 5:41 pm
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I keep forgetting how we explained to Casey that we got him a really big boo-boo that would get better so that the boo-boo that was getting worse could go away.  In the week before his surgery, he would sit on the couch and hold his sore leg out to us, so we knew which one hurt.  We fixed it, and he’s been pain free for eight months now.  Casey just turned twelve.

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14 September 2018 - 10:04 pm
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Chance is now home and I have to tell you the experience was horrible.  Firstly the vet I spoke with the past couple times was not the vet who performed the surgery.  So here I am sitting in the room waiting for her and the surgeon comes in.  He had this disturbing look on his face and was just looking at me not saying anything so I said So how did it go and he replies, I would have never done that to my dog, I had to remove all the way past the shoulder blade.  I almost called you to tell you that I would not do it and if you were adamant on continuing with it that you would have to take her somewhere else.  So I sat there finding myself trying to justify my decision and how his brother (the vet that I had initially spoken with) responded when I asked what he would do if it was his dog, I would do the amputation to stop the pain and then keep him comfortable until the end and that he would not do the chemo because of what he had seen during his education.  I told the him about this website and all of the positive stories and videos I had seen of all these amazing  animals and he said i don’t need a forum I’ve removed thousands of legs.  I literally was just baffled and started to cry.  My father was with me and he turned the conversation into what needs to be done when we get her home.  Mind you I hadn’t even seen her yet.  A few minutes later she comes in and I completely lost it.  I have to say it is a scary sight and with the way I was just made to feel I am completely feeling guilty. Anyway we got out of there and she’s home now.  She’s been home since noon but she has not wanted to go outside to pee.  She is drinking and I’ve given her some chicken and steak strips, though i’m not sure if I should keep the food to little amounts.  The medicine I received was Novoxlco(I can’t read his writing)cephalexin and tramadol.  every 12 hours i’m to give her one of the 1st 2 and 2 of the tramadol.  I am so happy to have been able to get on this sight just now and read all the wonderful things.  You all are great.

Virginia
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14 September 2018 - 10:35 pm
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Okay, deep breaths….no, not just for you, but for myself and all the others who will be reading  this!!!!!   Because  no one here can believe  what you just went through!!! I am stunned and shocked!!  

But first, we have some celebrating  to do!!  Chance is home and surgery is over!!!!   And good that she is drinking  some and eating some!! Great news!!  Yeah, give her small meals  of anything  she will eat for now.

For now, but all those UNPROFESSIONAL comments in the trash can, because  that was the most awful trash talk I’ve ever heard!  And these two Vets are brothers????   Clearly  they wouldn’t  know “bedside  manner” if it hit them in the face!  Okay, I really need to say anything  else at this point.  Right now it’s  all about supporting you and getting Chance thro recovery and onto feeling better!!!!

Bringing  dogs home the day of surgery is not easy, but it’s  much better than leaving  him unattended  overnight, and certainly  better than leaving  him in the care of either of those Vets! Oops! Sorry, didn’t  mean to go there!!

Chance will still be shaking  off the anesthesia.  It may make him very vocal and whiny.  Just be with him and try and comfort  him as best you can.  And the next several days may be more of the same.

At least younjave Tramadol  for pain and an antibiotic.   I’m  not sure what the first med is you mentioned…. may be an anti inflammatory maybe?

I’m not a Vet and not giving Vet advice, HOWEVER, to give the Tramadol  every twelve hours is a long tim in between.  You always want to stay ahead of the pain.  It’s  much harder to get under control  if it gets a head start.  In my Happy  Hannah’s  case, she could have the Tramadol every EIGHT hours,  and even every six of needed.  

How much does your Chance say? Is the Tramadol 50 mg?

I’m  just so very sorry you had to deal with those inappropriate , unprofessional and cruel comments.   To say this to you AFTER surgery is completely  out of line.  And I’m  not impressed with Mr I’ve Done Thiusands Of These either!!  Hopefully  though, since he’s such an expert know it all, he would not have recommended  surgery  if he didn’t  think it was a good idea!

Just curious,  do you have any idea why the Surgeon had to take more than the shoulder  blade…and what exactly did he mean by that?  Mayve uour Dad can call  him tomorrow and find out exactly  what the surgery entailed.   He should then call the first Vet and let him know what his brother said.

Okay, again, let’s  get back to Chance!!! Chance is home!  That bum leg is gone and recovery  is starting!!

STAY CONNECTED.   STAY CLOSE.  We’ve  all been through  recovery  and we k ow better days are ahead once recovery is done!!!

Lots and ,lots of 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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15 September 2018 - 6:44 am
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Thank You so much for that.  I couldn’t even believe what was happening.  Like I said in my first post “my vet is amazing”  so to see the way he dealt with this situation was completely a shock.  Anyway I think I misspoke he removed the shoulder blade down.  Update for my girl this morning.  She has not gotten up except for one time to readjust herself.  I feel so bad because I know she must have to go to the bathroom.  Should I try to pull her up or just wait until she’s ready.  Also advise on cleaning the wound and how often.  The  vet said to dab a paper towel with some hydrogen peroxide but he didn’t say how often.

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15 September 2018 - 8:31 am
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Our guy had his amputation 1 month ago. He is a big boy and also lost a front leg. We just let him rest and he did pee and poo in the house for a couple days. We were told to leave the incision alone and keep it covered with a tee shirt. I was told to cold compress 4 times a day for 3 days post op then switch to heat for an addition 4. We used the help me up harness starting 1 week after surgery and that was the turning point for him! He hated the sling so it was great for us. Also to massage the other front leg regularly and heat/ice it as well for swelling also from over use 

Virginia
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15 September 2018 - 10:31 am
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Glad that Chance didn’t  have too restless of a night.   Sometimes  those first nights after  surgery  can be much harder.

Good advice from Howard’s  mom.    Wouldn’t  do anything  to try and “clean” the wound at this point.  And besides, I don’t  think hydrogen peroxide is what is recommended  anymore as it can tend to break down tissue.  I could be completely  wrong on that!  A little bit of oozing is “normal”.  

If you do a cold compress,  you can use a bag of frozen peas, or something  like that.  Put a washcloth  inbetween rhe bag and his skin, so the cold  isn’t directly  on the skin.

And yes, if he peed in his bed, that’s  okay for now.  The important  thing is that he pees.  He’s  still got hospital  meds in him and he may just be too loopy to even realize he needs to go.  You may even pick up those doggy pee pads.  They have a scent on them that makes the dogs want to pee on the pad.

And btw, it is not unusual  for a Surgeon  to take the shoulder blade in certain  cases.  So no worries there, okay?

Continue  to try and give him water and some yummy food (especially  with his pills).  Again, poop may take several days, but he does need to pee more frequently than poop.  

You’re  doing a great job!!  Hang in there and stay connected!

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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15 September 2018 - 1:46 pm
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Wow!  Sorry yesterday was so rough.

I’m disappointed they didn’t prescribe Gabapentin; it works miracles for phantom limb pain after an amputation.  You might inquire about it.  I’m also with Sally here, 12 hours between Tramadol doses is a long time, and you don’t want the pain to break through.  Remind me how big Chance is.  As I recall, Casey took 100mg of Tramadol 3 times daily for the first few weeks, and he was 53 pounds post-surgery.

it is my understanding that removing the shoulder blade is standard procedure when removing an arm.  You end up with a more aesthetically pleasing result and lower risk of complications as the shoulder is of no value without an arm attached.

I’ve also heard that hydrogen peroxide is to be avoided.  We just kept Casey in T-shirts to cover the wound, and he had no problems whatsoever.

Keep us posted, but please, don’t hesitate to advocate for adequate pain medication.

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