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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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Chemo questions for Perdita
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Member Since:
3 November 2022
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3 November 2022 - 10:40 am
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Hi all. I’m here looking for some advice – sorry if this is long. I found out a month ago that my sweet girl Perdita has bone cancer. Perdita is a 12 year old 35 pound mix who, up until a few weeks ago, had so much energy people at the park would ask how old my “puppy” was. One day, she jumped out of my bed without using her stepstool and she limped after. After I few days I took her to the vet for the limp, but it “got better” and went away. Until it came back worse then before. When we did an x-ray to see if she fractured the leg, my vet informed me it looked like it was actually bone cancer. She had no other symptoms so it was a huge shock.

Fortunately, we got into a great vet for surgery, and the leg was off just 6 days after we found out (Oct 6-Oct 12). Surgery went well, her wound healed well, and she was up and hopping the next day (I stopped her per the exercise restriction of course). Overall she has less energy and motivation to move than before, but I have to say that she is getting around quite well – going up and down stairs, hop-running, jumping. She has a hard time getting comfy because she used to lay on her bad side, but overall she’s alert and seems happy.

After surgery, I called all over the east coast and luckily we somehow got two good consultations for exactly two weeks after surgery. One was at Tufts Vets, just 20 minutes away. We went to Tufts last week and Perdita got her first chemo exactly two weeks after her surgery. I feel so lucky that we got in to see doctors quickly. As of a couple weeks ago, they checked her lungs, abdomen, and lymph nodes and they were fine. I feel very fortunate given the circumstances. Her chemo was Carboplatin. They explained other chemo options and other options for down the line but  this is where we are starting. She’ll do 5 treatments total.

The other vet we met with said she sometimes does 6-8 or more if the patient is doing well. It was interesting to hear two vets’ different ideas. However, the Tufts vet assured me there wasn’t a big difference in outlook if we did more treatments. One thing that terrified me was we got a puppy less than a week before the consultations. I didn’t know we could start chemo at the first meeting and I didn’t think about the puppy being an issue honestly but the other vet refused to start chemo at our consultation because she was worried my new (shelter) puppy might give Perdita something like kennel cough and she could get really sick.

I eventually went with the Tufts vet obviously and she assured me that anything was treatable, and that she’d rather start chemo. She seemed confident that she could treat whatever came up. She said we could even go to dog parks or doggy day care. I don’t think I’m going to do that, I think I’m going to keep Perdita and her new brother Pongo (Perdita and Pongo are the names of the dogs in 101 Dalmatians :)) as a bubble. So far Perdita and Pongo seem healthy, he sometimes does what I think is a reverse sneeze and she sometimes clears her throat but I think they’re fine. If you can’t tell I’m anxious though… I had the biggest panic of my life when the first vet told me I messed up and she wouldn’t start chemo for a month to be safe. I felt like I ruined my sweet girl’s life. But I feel much better with the Tufts vet and I trust her. I’d still love advice and thoughts tho. Did you dog get sick with an infection/virus during chemo? Was your dog around other dogs during chemo? How did it go?

The other issue is food. Perdita has NEVER been picky about eating anything. She has that shelter mutt stomach of steel (ask me about the time she ate a full stick of butter, or the time she ate 12 double chocolate cupcakes haha!). But since chemo, and it’s been a full week now, she refuses everything. She’s been stubborn about water since after surgery. I’ve given her the anti-nausea meds not just the first 2-4 days when the vet said she might have GI upset, but every day since chemo.

The vet and the internet said dogs take chemo well and the main/only symptom was GI upset in some dogs for a few days. But it’s been a week and I feel she still needs the nausea and diarrhea meds daily. She refuses kibble, chicken, pumpkin, chicken broth, yogurt, her favorite fruits and veggies, even 80% of the many many yummy dog treats I have for her. I finally got her to eat only one thing – a meal topper from Petco, and she loved it so I bought out my local store. It’s all she’ll eat these days (it’s a mix of a meat, meat broth, rice, carrot so nothing awful but I assume it has lots of salt or sweeteners in there to make it so appetizing). For the last few days, I’ve blended the topper, kibble, chicken, and pumpkin into a smoothie which she thankfully accepts because she needs to eat her kibble for the nutrients and amino acids. But I wanted advice. Any tips? Was anyone else’s dog this picky after chemo? Did they experience GI symptoms for as long after?

She hasn’t thrown up yet because I give her the meds when she refuses food to prevent it, as my vet suggested. But I feel bad that she feels bad. I only felt okay doing chemo because I though she would only feel off for a couple days a couple of times. I’m worried this will happen for a week or more after every chemo. She really isn’t interested in anything besides the toppers, cream cheese, and 1-2 kinds of treats. And human food, but we’re not at the point in her journey yet where I’m willing to give her juman food constantly. I give her a small bite of what I’m eating if she can have it (pepperoni, a lick of vanilla ice cream) because she’s 12 and I want her to enjoy her life, but she also NEEDS to eat her kibble to stay healthy.

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The Rainbow Bridge


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3 November 2022 - 11:04 am
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Hi Perdita & furmily, welcome! I’m sorry you had to join our club but glad you found us. Don’t worry about your post length, we get it. Post away! We’ll try to help out however we can to make things easier.

Oh about the photos, this is how adding images works. Basically you need to host them somewhere like your own Tripawds blog, or on a photo sharing site like Imgur.com. Copy/paste the image or image URL then return here and paste into your post. Hope that makes sense. LMK if you want help, we can’t wait to see her! That avatar photo is adorable.

I feel confident you made the best choice for her by working with Tufts. We are all about vet schools if someone lives near one and can get in…they’re the latest & greatest science, brightest, most open minds, and have so many things at their disposal that private practice doesn’t. So smart move for Perdita, especially because as a senior pup there might be situations like this that they have seen before, just because they treat so many dogs.

To answer your questions:

Did you dog get sick with an infection/virus during chemo? Was your dog around other dogs during chemo? How did it go?

Our Jerry didn’t do IV chemo, and didn’t have siblings, so I can’t comment from firsthand experience. But what I can tell you after so many years of running the community here, is that some dogs need extra TLC and vet care during chemo, most do not. As for being around other dogs, that happens all the time. You just need to pick up the chemo dog’s poop as fast as it falls out, and try to make sure the non-chemo dog doesn’t spend extra amounts of time standing on or marking over the other dog’s urine. I can’t recall any issues with a chemo dog getting sick from another dog in the house. Not to say it can’t happen, but this is just based on my observations with members’ stories.

Regarding her lack of appetite. Chemo can certainly affect taste buds, so work with what she’ll eat right now. Even if it means home cooking some things your vet approves of, like lightly sauteed meats and such. Anything to keep her eating, give her what she wants within reason as long as she is in treatment. Have you seen our Tripawds Nutrition blog appetite tips? Hopefully you’ll find some ideas that will perk her appetite up. Also see our Eating Healthy Forum and feel free to start a separate topic there too. Finally, the Dog Cancer Survival Guide is indispensable. Do you have it yet? Tons of great ideas in there about feeding a dog through chemo and beyond.

I hope this helps! Keep us posted on what works for her, and stay tuned for feedback from others!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 November 2022 - 11:17 am
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I see Jer4y is 9n here now and will jave thorough  andmcomplete advice all while I’m “typoing”.

I’ll mention two things quickly just based on my experience with Happy Hannah.  Four rounds of carb were recommended by her Oncologist.   Her philosophy  was basically  more wasn’t  necessarily  better.  Her line of thinking  was more in line with the Tuft Onco.

Also. I had other dogs the entire time Hapoy Hannah was on chemo.  In fact, one traveled with her to each treat,ent.  Never was I told to be  concerned  about their interactions.   And agree 100% with Tift….if any issue comes up with the pupoy, etc, or can be handled.   

So, in my unprofessional  opinion,  no worries about those two things!

Jerry will cover  lack of appetite, but for now, feed a thing he will eat…including  people food.  It’s not unusual to be off food at first.

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!

Member Since:
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3 November 2022 - 1:01 pm
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Dear Jerry,

First of all, I want to thank Jerry’s pawrents for not only your reply, but for this website as a whole. I’ve been reading blog posts and forums nonstop since I found out, and it’s been a wonderful resource. Thank you for your reply, too. That’s really good to know about being around other dogs. We are making sure Pongo is kept far away from Perdita’s bathroom spots as our vet advised, and we have warned other dog pawrents in the area about the situation.

Thank you so much for all those resources and ideas about food! I think I found a good rhythm and I’ll try even more ideas from what you suggested 🙂 I’m just hoping her tummy issues don’t continue throughout her whole treatment :/ The most important thing for me is keeping her comfortable and happy.

Thank you again for your comment! We’re sad to be here under these circumstances but happy to be part of the community 🙂 – Bella and Perdita

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3 November 2022 - 1:07 pm
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Dear Benny55,

Thank you so much for your reply! It’s really comforting to have someone else confirm what I learned about other dogs and the chemo treatment my vet decided on. I trust my vet, but it’s also nice to hear stories from families that have been through it. Thank you so much!

Bella and Perdita <3

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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3 November 2022 - 8:25 pm
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Paw shucks you are so welcome. I’m so glad you find the information helpful, that made my day. It’s our honor to be part of this journey so whatever we can do to help just let us know. 

I forgot to ask, what is the anti-nausea medication she’s taking? If she’s not on Ondansetron, that one can be more effective than Cerenia for some dogs.

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4 November 2022 - 2:38 pm
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Hi! Ooh, that is great to know. She’s currently on Cerenia but I’ll ask about the other kind. Thank you!

I also learned how to upload photos 🙂

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The Rainbow Bridge


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4 November 2022 - 5:09 pm
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WOW! She is just stunning. What a pretty girl! Can’t wait to follow along in your blog, thanks for starting one.

Virginia




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4 November 2022 - 10:14 pm
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Perdita is just cute as can be.  I love the way her face is marked with the black and white fur. Bery unique.   Nice photo of her framed with the colorful Fall foilage.

Thanks for the ohotos.  Made me smile😊

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!

Member Since:
3 November 2022
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10
4 November 2022 - 11:02 pm
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Thank you so much Jerry and benny55! I’m biased of course but I think she’s such a beautiful girl. Thank you for your comments 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge


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5 November 2022 - 1:03 pm
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We think she’s beautiful too! You are 100% right!

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