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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Chemotherapy-what can I expect?
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Member Since:
25 September 2023
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6 October 2023 - 4:38 pm
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Farley,  is a 9 y/o IWS was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (confirmed by pathology) in his distal left rear leg in early September. He had the leg amputated on September 20th. On Wednesday (Oct 4th) he had his stitches out and then his first chemotherapy infusion with carboplatin

He has gotten around fairly well on three legs since four days after his surgery, but has been inactive most of the time; two days after his infusion, he is still eating, drinking, pooping and peeing. I understand that he may have problems with nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea in the next couple of days and that he might lose his hair eventually

Any advice on helping him through the chemo and recovery from the amputation? Prior to the osteosarcoma, he was a top field competitor with a trip to a national field event in Georgia planned for late October. It's hard to see him down most of the time

Christine

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 October 2023 - 5:23 pm
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Hi Christine, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I didn't know what an IWS dog was, had to look it up! Irish Water Spaniel eh? Cool! Not all dogs lose fur after chemo (most do not). 

What you might want to have on hand is an anti-nausea medication like Cerenia, just in case. Again not all dogs will respond with GI upset so hopefully he won't.

What you really don't want to do is change up his diet right now, or add in a bunch of supplements. Oncologists recommend waiting until chemo is over. That way if there are side effects, they will know it's related to the medications and not anything else.

I'm sorry he lost his leg. As an active dog, I think he will surprise you with his ability to do much of what he loved before. We've seen many competitive Tripawds go on and continue in their sport, on a modified basis, but with just as much love and energy!

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6 October 2023 - 5:40 pm
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The oncologist gave me one maropitant (?Cerenia) in case I need it; she said it's really expensive so didn't want to give me more (but will do so if I ask)

Thanks for the prompt reply-this is a scary journey for us...

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7 October 2023 - 7:56 am
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Most dogs don’t have a bad reaction to chemo. Our 9 year old husky/aussie mutt Caroline had osteosarcoma and rear leg amputated in January. She has had 6 chemos without any nausea or other problems.

Usually on those chemo days I fed her her favorite upset-tummy food- rice and cottage cheese. Minute rice has convenient single serving rice that microwaves in one minute.

We did give her pain and anxiety meds before each chemo as the vet instructed, because being at the vet for the multi-hour chemo process was clearly unpleasant for her.

We used daily pain meds for a month or so after the amputation, I don’t remember exactly. We have been one of the lucky ones, to date there has been no other cancer found.

She got over her amputation much quicker than we did, and is a happy and active dog. I don’t take her on one hour walks anymore, I’ve cut those back to 30 to 45 minutes, but much of that time she is running. Most people we pass in the park don’t even notice that she is missing a leg!

I lift her 60 pounds into the car and into bed not she because can’t do it, but to reduce the stress on her remaining leg. It’s probably not necessary though.

The other thing I found helpful is to remember that if she only lives one or two years, while that’s not a lot of time for us, it is indeed a long time for a dog. 

I only hope that when I have a serious health problem I can react like she has.

Here she is a couple weeks ago when we were on vacation in SC.

Pennsylvania


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7 October 2023 - 8:20 am
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My Juno is currently on carboplatin and it’s gone well so far (4 of 6 treatments, 3 weeks apart) - we do cerenia 3-4 days post chemo since she has a sensitive tummy, but I like Paul’s idea of chicken/rice or chicken/cottage cheese. Chewy has cerenia a bit cheaper than most in case you want to have your vet send a script so you can order it ahead for upcoming chemo sessions. We do a trazadone on chemo days just to make it a bit easier - like Allen said.

Aside from being a little bit slower and lower energy the day after, she’s done great with no real side effects (maybe her coat grew in a little slower where she was shaved for surgery(??)

Also, just an option to consider in addition to chemo, both Caroline and Juno have gotten the Yale EGFR/HER2 vaccine cancer immunotherapy treatment. It’s not available in all locations right now (currently a clinical trial in the US and Canada) but should be in the near future when it becomes USDA approved.

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

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7 October 2023 - 3:11 pm
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Paul, I love the video!! I hope my Farley has such a good result...

Virginia







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7 October 2023 - 7:06 pm
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You've  gotten great jnput from Paul, Jerry and Natalie. 

You are spring am exdellnt job of caring for Farley as you move through recovery and treatment and onto living life to the fullest on three!

Just want to add that uour Farley can still compete  in field trials.  We were fortunate to know Bart a tripawd who still participated  in field trial programs.  

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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8 October 2023 - 10:57 pm
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Farley has been more active the last couple of days, but isn't interested in eating; I can usually cheerlead him into eating all of his breakfast and dinner. Tonight he refused over half of his dinner. Since he is now four days post chemo infusion, I presume this is the cause. He's on doggie augmentin for pneumonia so I do need to get some food into him. If he's still not eating tomorrow, I'll give him cerenia and get a prescription through Chewy (I have one cerenia pill now)

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9 October 2023 - 9:47 am
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Farley should probably still be on pain meds, right? It's still pretty soon after the surgery.

Caroline was on 50mg carprofen twice a day, 300mg gabapentin 3 times a day, and 100mg trazadone 3 times a day at first.

It's gotta be hard for them to get used to the big change.

Regarding food, after her surgery we went into the "spoil her" mode with Caroline. Almost every meal I mix something in with her normal dry food. Either some wet dogfood, one of those little wet food packets, maybe a couple squashed up vienna sausages (inexpensive, and they are actually made of chicken), or some cottage cheese. And every few days I do rice and cottage cheese instead of the dry food just for variety.

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 October 2023 - 1:04 pm
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Awww Farley, feel better soon sweetie.

Here are some appetite tips and pilling tricks that may help him get more interested in food. It's worth it to put the effort into these novel food approaches, just to keep them eating and drinking. Remember you can always add a no-sodium broth, Pedialyte, etc. to their water dish to get water in.

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9 October 2023 - 5:21 pm
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Farley is off his pain meds and NSAIDs; I did give him a Cerenia and then a couple hours later a small meal of chicken and rice which he ate. He then ate some of his breakfast. He then drank some water

I've ordered more Cerenia from Chewy so I can be "ahead of the game" with the next infusion

He was up and fairly active for the past two days which is why I've not given him the carprofen

Thanks for the input...

Virginia







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9 October 2023 - 8:50 pm
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How is Farley doing as far as the pneumonia? Does he seem to be getting over that hurdle?

Glad to hear he does seem to be feeling better and seemingly getting his appetite back too. Good news!

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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9 October 2023 - 10:37 pm
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YAY! Things are looking up! smiley_clapThanks for sharing the good news.

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9 October 2023 - 11:12 pm
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Farley doesn't cough much when he's up and around; since he's been down most of today, he's coughing more when he does get up. He ate some more chicken and then drank some water. He seems comfortable...I'm hoping he's more active tomorrow

The Rainbow Bridge



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10 October 2023 - 10:30 am
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Oh boy I remember coughing when I had pneumonia. His appetite is a really good sign that he's still on the upswing.

Feel better soon Farley, you can beat that crud. Rest up buddy.

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