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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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Chemotherapy advice/experiences
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Forum Posts: 3
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25 March 2020
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25 March 2020 - 2:46 pm
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Hi there, I’m new here and our 11-(almost 12)-year-old German Shep Abby was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 2 weeks ago and had her right back leg amputated 2 weeks ago tomorrow.  We had to wait for the official pathology report before we could be referred to the oncologist but that has come back now positive for osteosarcoma.  There are no visible mets and she is very healthy and well otherwise.  The diagnosis was made because we thought she  had pulled a muscle and took her to the vet.  Anyway, long story short, I heard from the oncologist today and we are supposed to go for a consultation for chemotherapy on Friday.  My concern is the chemotherapy itself.  Is this something that is worthwhile?  Is this going to make her quality of life better?  Should we put her through this?  All the usual questions that people have I guess.  I know someone who used to be a vet tech who told me not to do chemo but then I have another vet tech friend who is current working who said to do it.  I’m torn because I want to have more time with our girl and want her to be healthy but I just don’t know what to do.  If you have chemo advice or stories I’d love to know your experiences and opinions.  Thank you

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 27267
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25 March 2020 - 5:05 pm
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Hi Abby and family, welcome. We are so glad that you found us. This is a tough time for sure and we are here to help. How is Abby doing as far as her mobility? Is everything OK there? Her appetite? Spunkiness? 

Ok about the chemotherapy decision. First, know that there are no right or wrong choices. All dogs are different and nobody knows your girl as well as you do. What is right or wrong for one person is not necessarily the same for another. Nobody should ever tell you what to do in that department, only you can decide because you are the only one Abby is counting on.

You are doing the smartest thing by having the consultation to get educated. Information is power! Once you have it, you can decide knowing that you have all the information in front of you. And whatever you decide, you will know that you left no stone unturned. Be sure to check out this list of Questions to Ask Your Oncologist to make sure you cover all your bases during the consult.

Some people do chemo and some do not. It’s a very personal decision. Most dogs do very well without any side effects other than a lack of appetite and nausea, but that is very short term and temporary (usually). If a dog doesn’t handle it well, the parent always has the option to stop treatment altogether, knowing they gave it their best shot. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

When it comes to chemotherapy and osteosarcoma, technically it gives a pet better odds at longevity. But not always. Some dogs will live up to those longevity hopes, and some, sadly, will not. We have seen that it really is a roll of the dice. If you have the funds and Abby is OK going to the vet, it’s worth considering.

Here are some blog posts that may help you right now. Please let us know what you decide OK?

Tripawd Chemotherapy Candidates and Alternatives

The Chemotherapy Decision: Joys and Regrets

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 3
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25 March 2020 - 5:42 pm
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Thank you for your reply Jerry.  I truly appreciate all the information and advice.  Abby is doing amazing since her amputation.  She had a week of some lethargy and depression but once she finished her antibiotics she was back to her happy self.  She can more around like a bullet and we are having to slow her down as she isn’t even 2 weeks out of surgery yet.  She did get at her stitches and had to go back on antibiotics to be safe but these new ones aren’t as tummy upsetting.  

We are going to the oncologist on Friday and will do the referral and possibly the 1st chemo round if we decide at that time.  We live on Vancouver Island and have to take the ferry over to Vancouver for these treatments, not easy in this current world climate but she’s our life and we’ll do anything for her.  Luckily, we have great pet insurance and have already gotten pre-approval for the chemo should we go that direction.  

I want to make the best decisions for her and my husband is usually the one who helps me stay grounded during these types of situations but she is his baby and I want to be there for him too.  It is a very difficult time and I’m so glad I found this site. 

Virginia




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25 March 2020 - 9:11 pm
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Well Miss Abby is certainly  a well loved doggy!!   So know thst every decision  you are making for Abby is out of love…..and that is always the “right” decision ❤

I can only ditto everything Jerry said about chemo, etc.  Truly, no right or wrong whether you do it or not.  It really is pretty much a crap shoot.  For me, when I made the decision  to proceed with Carbo for my Happy Hannah, one important thing was I could always stop if she had bad side effects.  Alao, she didn’t  mind going to the Vet at all.  Fortunately her clinic set up actual appointments  so she didn’t have to stay all day.  So if I recall,  our visits were less than an hour.  At that time, the Clinic worked to some degree on a payment plan so that helped.  Also, I had to weigh if I would second guess myself if I didn’t  try chemo for her.  Also, the Onco suggested four rounds.  Some suggest five, some six.  I don’t  know if I would have done it had the Onco suggested more than four.  Happy Hannah had no side effects and always got a drive-thru cheeseburger on the way home, so she thought chemo was great!!   

As Jerry said, though, some do NOT do chemo and seem to get extended time.  I know a member here named Clyde is over two years post amo snd lpving lofe!  Some don’t  get that much time.  And same goes for chemo…some more time, some less time.  And on occasion, side effects are rough and dogs stop and return to normal.

No matter  what path you take, THE most important  lesson of this journey is to make every moment count!!   Be More Dog .  Live in the moment, live in the now.  Abby isn’t  worried about a thing!  She doesn’t  care about any ole’ diagnosis  and certainly  doesn’t have a  timeframe  stamped  anywhere on her  butt!

Can’t  wait to see pictures of your beautiful  girl…your beautiful `naughty” girl who tried to take the stitches  out without medical assistance!😉   So glad to hear she’s doing so well this early in recovery!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 March 2020 - 7:52 pm
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Aww we are glad you found us too. Sounds like you have everything lined up so that if you did pursue chemo it should be relatively smooth. What pet insurance do you have? Just curious.

Abby has a spunkiness that will serve her well! 

Let us know what you decide to do. I thought I heard from a Canadian friend of mine who lives on the island that ferry service was being cut off to and from the island for “non-essential” traffic, starting very soon. If you haven’t already I would look into that to see how it would impact your chemo appointments (I hope not!).

Keep us posted on how the appointment goes tomorrow.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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