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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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Buddy diagnosed with bone cancer. Very limited options for us
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buddysmom
1
3 September 2010 - 3:54 pm
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Hi everyone,

My name is Beth and I have a 10 year old Labrador named. Buddy. Buddy was just diagnosed with bone cancer(osteocarcinoma). The hardest part is. I have very limited options. My husband refuses to have his leg amputated plus we cannot afford it. This stems from our Great Dane that spent weeks in the hospital from bloat last year and racked up a 12,000 bill which weare still paying for. (He is fine by the way thank god). I will be calling an oncologist to see what options we have but I know that treatment can be costly too. I have a three and four year old and cannot endanger their welfare by putting us further in debt however they love Buddy and that makes it even tougher.  I did some searches on the board but did not find anyone in this particular situation. I just want to keep his pain down but I feel so guilty not being able to do some of the options available. If anyone can help to let me know if they have been in this situation to tell me what you did to at least make your dog comfterable. Any advice would be great. I have read about the bisphosphontates and will ask the oncologist about this also. Of course with my luck she either does not do it or it costs thousands to do it.  Thanks for being here to help me through this!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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2
3 September 2010 - 4:09 pm
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Buddysmom, this is so heartbreaking, we are deeply sorry to find out about Buddy's circumstances. This is really, really tough and it's got to be very upsetting. Unfortunately money plays a huge role in how most people deal with cancer and the resulting treatments.

What you have to know is that all you can do is your best, and no matter what, Buddy will love you. That is the beauty of dogs. He will not fault you for what you feel you cannot do, he only knows that your decisions are made with love and care.

First off, don't give up hope. There are things like clinical trials that can help absorb costs for whatever treatment you opt for, and even some groups who can help with financial assistance in certain circumstances. Here are some links that might help:

Bisphosphonates can be expensive, but if you happen to live near Santa Fe New Mexico, this clinic has a trial that covers the cost:

Bisphosphonates: When Amputation isn’t an Option

If you could get help paying for surgery, why is it that your husband is against amputation? Is Buddy a candidate otherwise? Has your husband seen the videos and photos here?

Here are some groups you can try to get help from, either for amptuation alone if you can convince the hubby, or possibly for pain control.

Financial Help Resources for Pawrents

Are you near a university vet school? Have you checked our Clinical Trials listing on our Resources Page? You may be able to recieve assistance for help with pain control.

I hope this helps somewhat. Our hearts go out to you, we will try to help however we can.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

buddysmom
3
3 September 2010 - 4:54 pm
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Thank you! I will check out these sites. Unfortunately I live nowhere near Santa Fe. I am in pennslyvania. But I will check things out. There is a big vet hospital through universitity of pa here maybe I will see if they offer any options. Buddy would be a good canditate for amputation but last year our Great Dane when in for a simple cruciate repair but ended up bloating and cost thousands of dollars. I think that is still on his mind. He feels that something will happen and I think he just does not want to deal with it. Believe me, if I had unlimited funds I would do it on my own in a heartbeat.  I have no problems keeping him on pain medication as does my husband. Oral pain meds are definately affordable for us.  I just will feel so guilty not doing SOMETHING for him. His life expecectancy at this time is three months. If I cannot do the amputation or chemo I at least want to make him as comfterable as possible and give him extra special attention during the last remaining time we have.  He is the best dog I ever had and is terriffic with my kids. When they were babies and they were crying he was right there making sure everything was ok. If my mother-in law was changing diapers in there room, he was right there laying on the floor till she finished.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4
3 September 2010 - 5:02 pm
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OH anytime. It's a slow day here in the Forums, I think everypawdy went on vacation. But, if you register as a user (see orange Sign Up button above) your posts won't need moderation and you can get other advice a lot faster.

The university might have some kind of clinical trial that can help.

Keep in mind that that "three months" number is the standard number given with a bone cancer diagnosis. Most of us were told that and many of us lived far beyond anyone's wildest expectations (two years for me!). Others don't, sadly, it's just so unpredicatable. Doctors give out that prognosis to prepare people for the worst. But hope for the best, you unever know what can happen.

I can't blame your husband for being nervous about amputation. Just this week we had a very sweet pup, JD, start to make a great recovery from surgery but sadly died from bloat. It was tragic and broke all of our hearts. While it's a rare circumstance, these things do happen.

Hang in there and see what you can do. Start making some phone calls, there are things you can do to make his life easier that won't cause you to go into more debt.  We'll be there for you no matter what.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet


Member Since:
22 August 2008
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5
3 September 2010 - 5:12 pm
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If you can only afford oral meds then a good combo is an NSAID (like meloxicam) plus gabapentin plus tramadol.  The dosages can be gradually increased as needed.  Also the older bisphosphantes are cheaper than the newer ones (consult your oncologist for prices).

Pam

buddysmom
6
3 September 2010 - 7:35 pm
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Buddy is on tramadol and rimadol for pain relief. He seems happy tail is up, eating, goes for a walk with the kids. I just want to keep him happy and pain free at this point. I really appreciate the support here and the fact that I am not being judged for financial issues. This is a great site  and I appreciate the support!

Edmonton, Alberta
Member Since:
11 January 2010
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7
3 September 2010 - 8:24 pm
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Beth, my heart breaks for you. I don't have any advice for you; you've already had some good suggestions here. 

It's clear you love Buddy dearly and find yourself in a nightmarish situation of limited options - hubby's nervousness about amputation and financial constraints. 

We all do the best we can. 

I hope there are some clinical trials going on in your area that may help you and Buddy. I do hope he's not in too much pain.

Sending many, many positive wishes.

Catie -

Birthday – November 4 2003

Amputation – January 13 2010

Crossed the Bridge – June 2 2011

 Catie Caitlin 

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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8
3 September 2010 - 8:44 pm
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Oh Beth,

I'm so sorry.  Please don't feel bad about anything.  This is not a judgmental site when you love your dog.  And you do.   Many, many of us all feel the strain of the costs.  Too bad you don't live in Ohio, one of our members only paid $450 for the amputation! ($50 an xray!)

We've even had some that did fund raisers! 

I totally understand where your husband is coming from.  I had one die 2 days after a cruciate ligament surgery, too WHILE I was waiting to take her home from the vets ! (blood clot)  My neighbor had one die after a cruciate ligament surgery from supposedly ulceration of the stomach.  He will only go to the vets for emergencies now!   Even when I had to do another cruciate ligament surgery on my Comet, I wanted the best ortho surgeon.  My vet was relieved since he didn't really want to do it on Comet either after losing my other dog.

FYI - Pam (above) is a vet so you can take her advice to the bank.

Best wishes to you and your family.  Times are so tough right now universally so don't feel  bad.

 

Comet's mom

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.

Member Since:
10 March 2010
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9
4 September 2010 - 10:19 am
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just know that we are all here to offer support and a shoulder.  It is awful that it cost so much to fight this enemy but the reality is that it does.   Come often and call those numbers...there could be a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't a train...

Member Since:
4 September 2010
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10
4 September 2010 - 10:38 am
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Thank for all that responded. I am going to talk to the oncologist about the bisphosphonates option. Does anyone know an approximate cost for this treatment? I have applied for care credit too so that will hopefully help a little.  I also looked into the clinical trials and unfortunately there are none available at this time. But I will keep trying!

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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11
4 September 2010 - 10:43 am
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Beth,

I am so sorry to hear of Buddy's diagnosis.  Please know that no one on this site is going to judge you.  You are willing to do whatever you can to keep Buddy comfortable.  It is easy to tell you love him very much.  The truth is, that no matter how we wish it were different, finances have to play a part in your plans.  

My prayers are with you.  Please build up memories in your heart, take lots of pictures, and if you can you might want to get Buddy's paw prints done in plaster of paris so you have them to comfort you.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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12
4 September 2010 - 11:03 am
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Buddysmom,

I'm exactly where you are because of dog health issues--there's no easy way around it.  I'm so sorry about Buddy's diagnosis.

What if you took a trip to Ohio where the surgery is less and have your own vet do the after-care?  There are several here who have opted against chemo (I'm one) and have done natural supplements and a good diet instead.  That's much less expensive and the outcome can be just as good.  Cemil just had his 19-month ampuversary. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there aren't with chemo either.

Mary and Cemil

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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13
4 September 2010 - 3:45 pm
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Beth, the others have made some great suggestions, and hopefully you will work something out that brings you peace.  This is an ugly disease and it isn't cheap to fight the conventional way - surgery and chemo.  Choosing an alternative does not make it wrong.  You make the decision that best suits your situation.

If there is any way for you to opt for the surgery, I would consider that option.  Our vet strongly recommends it if the dog is a good candidate or even a marginal candidate (Trouble needed to loose a few pounds, but he still encouraged us to to with the surgery).  His position is that it is the only way to stop the pain, and osteosarcoma is a painful disease.  It also is the only way to insure there won't be a fracture at the cancer site.

Sending lots of good thoughts your way as you weigh your options and make your choices.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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14
4 September 2010 - 10:08 pm
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What ever you decide to do, everyone here on the Tripawd website will support you.  Things are always more complicated than they seem especially when finances are involved. Best of luck.

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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15
5 September 2010 - 9:04 am
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we're sorry to hear about buddy.  something we read about in this morning paper - http://www.brow.....on.org   you might want to check it out, maybe this organization can offer some assistance.  choices like this are never easy..follow your heart and you will do the right thing!

charon & 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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