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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8 July 2011
My sweet Callie girl was diagnosed with lung mets today after getting some chest xrays done : ( She was initially diagnosed with OSA on 7/3/11 and amputation on 7/14/11. Callie had an easy recovery and bounced back to her old self after surgery. She has been coughing off & on for almost a month now, and more frequently in the past week but still not all that often. She has coughed up a small amount of blood twice..once the week before Christmas and again on Friday night. We knew in our hearts what this probably meant, but finally decided to get the xrays done today for confirmation. We did not expect them to be as bad as they are….her lungs are full of mets, and several large ones at that. We had already decided that chemo was not something we wanted to do, and the vet said it is not an option at this point anyway. We were given tramadol to help keep Callie comfortable and pain free. She doesn't even seem to be in pain though…she is eating normally and has a good energy level. But the vet assured us she most likely is with the size of the tumors, and she also told us there is a chance the tumors could rupture at any time which would be very painful for Callie. She recommended putting her down sooner than later before Callie begins to really suffer.
We are so torn about what to do…we love our girl to pieces and our 3 year old son is VERY attached to her…he made card at chuch this morning that says “God Loves You” and was told to give it to someone he loves. Guess who he wants to give it to to help her feel better??? It was so hard not to break down right then in front of him! We absolutely do not want to watch her get worse and suffer, but at the same time its so hard to put her down now when she doesn't seem to be in pain to us.
This decision is so hard, but we ultimately know what has to be done. I think we have decided to spend a few more days with our sweet Callie and give her lots of love and attention, and try to prepare our son the best we can for his age. Any advice is welcome and appreciated as we go through our last days with Callie…
1 February 2011
I am so sorry for your news. It’s tough to know when is the “exact” right time to let them go, but I know you’ll make the best decision for your girl. Hugs to Callie and your family during this difficult time. Enjoy the heck out of her while you can.
We’ll be thinking of you,
Micki and Rio
~ ~ Rio ~ ~
12 February 2010
we are so very sorry to read this, we agree cancer really sucks!! callie doesn't know she has mets, she just knows how much she loves her family and what a happy girl she is. our cancer experience took a different turn, so we have no 'mets knowledge' to help you. but, having lost two girls in the last year, trust me when i say, you will know when it's time. hopefully you can take the next days to help your son understand, and to keep callie comfortable. whatever time we are given with our furbabies, is never enough.
charon & spirit 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
14 August 2009
Oh! I am so very, very sorry that Callie's journey has come to an end. It's so, so sad to receive this devastating news.
And yes, you will know when it's time.
Sadly, when lung mets take over, it is so hard for them to breathe and can be a difficult death, which is why your vet suggested sooner than later. From what I've been told, it feels like one is suffocating which is a terrible, terrible feeling.
Perhaps the next day or two will give you a chance to prepare.
I'm just so very, very sorry. My heart goes out to you. We are here for you.
Comet - 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.
23 September 2011
What devastating news, I am sorry for you. When Fergus had his second OSA diagnosis, we decided to give him the best week ever before we said goodbye. He was still doing well…eating, running, etc. but it was just a matter of time before his leg broke. We couldn't put him through that pain.
Someone on the site recommended making a list of all of his favorite things to do and eat. We made sure we crossed all of these items off of the list. We took daily walks down the driveway, ate lots of table food, had Frosty Paws as a main course, snuggled with his brothers both 2 and 4 legged, lots of kisses and MANY photos. I was so glad I had the list to be sure I didn't forget something he enjoyed.
This part of your journey will be very hard but you are truly doing the best for Callie. You will be freeing her from her pain, a final gift. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers while you are going through this difficult time.
Tara & Spirit Fergus
29 October 2010
Believe me – I know all too well what you are going through. We were just there with Abby last week. She’d had a cough off and on. Suddenly last Thur afternoon, she started to have a hard time breathing. On Friday, the oncologist gave us some prednisone to try to help her breathe a little easier and give us a few more good days with her. The pred did help with the cough and it helped her breathing a wee bit. She was able to sleep through the night without getting up and moving around/coughing and seeming uncomfortable.
We had 4 more days with her – going to her fave places and eating lots of wonderful things: pork chops for breakfast, a frosty paw for lunch, a Flying Dutchman or steak for dinner.
It was so hard to help her get that final fitting for her wings when she was still walking and wagging her tail and eating and seemed so happy, but that last day she started to have serious trouble breathing again while trying to take her nap. I couldn’t risk putting her through a whole night of that. I woke her up and she looked at me and I knew it was time. She went happy, and surrounded by love, but it was so hard.
Love her up as much as you can – but be ready. Things can change quickly, and above all I know you don’t want her to suffer.
PM me if you want to talk about any of this!
Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom
Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!
9 February 2011
I can't help you decide when Callie's time is done. Those who've already replied to you have done a good job of helping you answer those questions. As for your son, you might want to send some PMs to our members who have recently gone through this with small children. Spirit Chili Dawg's family has two little ones (ages 2 and 4) and Spirit Jewels had a family with 3-year-old twin boys. Spirit Bo's family had no human children, but Meghan teaches second grade (I think) and likely had some conversations with her class about Bo.
You might want to make a new post and make sure the title asks about talking to preschoolers about this. I know that Spencer's family has 3 young ones and they are in your shoes at this very moment.
Personally, I think you need to let your son know that Callie is not getting better. He is old enough for you to tell him a variation of the Rainbow Bridge , if it is something that echoes your beliefs. I personally cannot fathom an afterlife without our pets, and I don't really want to go there if they can't be there. If the dog goes before me, I want him to play hard with all our angels who are there. And then I really do want him to run like hell to greet me when I show up.
The only thing I would really stress in terms of your son is not to use the euphemism “put to sleep.” Children that young can't differentiate between these wiggly terms, and sleep is what he does every night. He shouldn't ever be scared to go to sleep, thinking he might not wake up.
Good luck to you, and I really encourage you to post with this in your title to get help from the real experts out there, the other parents of preschoolers.
From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.
Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/
19 September 2010
I am so sorry to hear this…I know how difficult this journey is. My own Brindy died of lung mets, nine months after her amputation. Ultimately, we did not have to make the decision to give her rest…she passed on her own after coming in from a little playtime with the kids outside. A howl, and then she had crossed over to the bridge…She was still eating some, seemed happy, but we were continually watching her breathing, which was getting more rapid and difficult…
This is a very very hard time right now…just take it one moment at a time. You will know…
Hugs to you…
20 June 2011
Yes, cancer REALLY DOES SUCK! I am so very sorry to hear this about your girl. Like Shari mentioned above, we just went through this with my girl Jewels. If you like you can read more about it here. I must warn you that I wrote a pretty detailed account of Jewels' passing which seemed to have made many others here who have read it cry. But it might give you an idea of what to expect when the time comes. My girl passed peacefully in the comfort of our home. Like everyone says, we cannot tell you when it is time. But you will know because you are paying very close attention to her every move.
My twin boys are the same age as your son. They weren't as attached to her as it sounds like your son is attached to Callie; probably because they are busy with each other and we also have another quadpawd to keep the presence of a pet in the house after Jewels passed. So unfortunately I cannot give you the best advice in this regard. My boys knew that Jewels was not feeling good. After the vet left with Jewels (the boys were upstairs watching a video without a clue about what really happened), they saw me crying as I sat in front of Jewels' pillow staring at the empty spot where she last lay. They kept asking me what was wrong. Through the crying I would just say Jewels went “bye-bye” and that mommy misses her. Of course, my boys were assuming that meant she would come back someday. To toddlers, time is very relative. So to this day whenever I am sad and my boys know it's because I miss Jewels they just keep telling me to not be sad because Jewels will come back. I told them she went to Doggy Heaven, although I don't think they really understand what that means. But they seem okay about her absence. They just go about their usual business. I think you will find that kids this age are very resilient. Your son might be upset at first when Callie is gone, but you might also be pleasantly surprised at how he will bounce back. They cannot yet understand the gravity of death. You know your son best–so only you know how to handle this delicate issue with him.
I know exactly how you are feeling right now and my heart goes out to you. Don't forget we are here for you. PM me if there is anything I can do for you.
Jewels was a gorgeous Lab-Shep mix that found us at the pet rescue when she was just 3 months old. Born June 2000; Diagnosed OSA on June 1, 2011; L-front Amputation September 12, 2011; Crossed Rainbow Bridge December 30, 2011. My "baby dog" will always be in my heart. Now she is running fast and free on all four legs after the rabbits and squirrels! Jewels was loved by her crazy-busy mom, even-keeled dad, pesky twin human brothers and monkeydog sister Aspen. Read about Jewels' Tripawd Journey here.
25 April 2007
We are so torn about what to do…
So sorry to hear this news, but it is no means the end if Callie still seems full of life. Yes, you do want to what is best for her when the time comes, but for now, enjoy every moment you have together.
Searching the blogs and forums will reveal a number of posts that may help:
Ask A Vet Forum: what is the prognosis with metastasis to lungs
Hope this helps. Jerry survived for about 8 months after we discovered his metastses. Every dog is different, but they can all remain comfortable with much less lung capacity than people can. Jerry was happy until the mets had consumed nearly 80% of his lungs.
Best wishes, and please keep us posted!
6 November 2011
Im so sorry!!
I cant help with the cancer but we have a 5yr old and a 3yr old and we have recently gone through this with their beloved pup Chloe (she was only 1) and while it is hard on kids they bonce back pretty fast – its much harder on us grown ups. Personally I havent mentioned to our kids about heaven etc I think that is too hard to explain to a child, and they can’t understand why they cant visit if the person/animal is just somewhere else, but that is just our choice, our kids are very matter of fact about everything so we didn’t think that would help much, but if you think that would help your son then go with that or the rainbow bridge , we all have to do whats best for our own children. We found the best way to explain it to the kids was that she got sick and her body just wasn’t working properly anymore, you son obviosly knows Callie is sick so that might make it bit easier for you, not that these things are ever easy. Prehaps this is a good thing but they quickly forget about it, there are more important things to worry about in the eyes of a child after a few days. that may seem horrible but I guess thats the good thing about being a kid. It will also help your son deal with other losses through out his life. Our kids have lost too many pets and elderly relatives over the last few years but it has made them very resiliant.
Enjoy the time you have left with your girl and have lots of furry hugs and kisses 🙂
8 November 2010
I am so, so sorry to hear about Callie’s lung mets. My heart aches for you and I hurt thinking of your indecision about what to do.
Everyone says you will KNOW when it is time, but I vacillated during the last few months of Sammy’s illness despite the fact that he was eating well and seemed happy. As his mobility lessened and he seldom moved from where we brought him after potty trips, I watched for signs and worried I missed them. I fretted incessantly about whether he was in too much pain — about whether we were doing what was right for him, or being selfish.
But, everyone was right; you do know when it is time.
For us, it was after two weeks of carrying Sammy outside to go potty. After we brought him in one night, he began to whimper. I offered him food and water, which he declined. I rolled the ball to him and he played for awhile. As soon as I stopped rolling the ball or petting him, he cried again. Since we were spoiling the heck out of him I thought he was just being demanding and I said, “Enough.” He subsided, but stared at me eloquently. My heart sank. The next morning he couldn’t stand and I knew my worst fears were coming true. When we carried him outside, he just laid on the grass showing no signs of want to pee but every sign of enjoying his last minutes outside. We still held out another day, waiting to see if the situation changed. It didn’t. We called our vet and she came over a few hours later.
You WILL know in your heart when it is time. It will break your heart, but you will know you are doing the right thing at the right time. Good luck to you and your family. Your son may not, almost certainly will not, understand and I wish I had solid advice for you. We had Sammy’s littermate and brother, Sosa, in the family room with us while our wonderful vet euthanized Sammy. The next day when Sosa came to our house — for the first time since we got them as puppies eight years ago — he did not look for his brother. He knew Sammy had died. He was devastated, but he also knew it was final.
Deciding for your son is a much more complex decision. Euphemisms like “putting him to sleep” are misleading and confusing. Death, while a fact of life, is a scary concept — even for us big people. However, ” The Rainbow Bridge ” poem represents what all of us who love their dogs soooo much want to believe in and I think it is easy for children to understand. It also holds out hope that one day we will be reunited with our beloved furbabies. I can’t believe that it would be otherwise.
Love to you,
Beth and Spirit Sammy
Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.
We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.
25 April 2007
Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Callie's x-rays. We know all too well how devastating that news is.
Everyone here has given you such great advice. I just wanted to add that Spirit Bo's Mom wrote this GREAT post about using “Penny Jars” to determine quality of life. I think you'll find it very helpful.
One last thing…it's so hard to make that decision to set your best friend's body free, but when you think you are getting to that point, just keep asking yourself: how do you want to remember her? For many people, making the decision sooner rather than when things get really bad, is a way to ease the grief of saying goodbye, because it helps humans to know that there was no suffering involved. It's not a selfish thing to do, but rather a merciful one. I know it's hard to see that at the time.
So many hugs are being sent to you right now. We are all here to help if you want it OK?
30 July 2010
It is so sad to read about your Callie, lung mets are never fun and the decision can be a hard one. We had a dog Bonnie, over ten years ago who was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymphnodes), she underwent chemo, was deemed “in remission” and we thought that was that.
But we too discovered lung mets on a routine xray check up. We knew it was “time” when she no longer acted her usual self. She never coughed blood, but she was lethargic, she rarely moved anywhere except to eat or go to the bathroom and when I looked deep into her eyes, I believe she was telling us it was time. She was my childhood dog growing up, never easy to let go.
Wishing you courage through this tough decision. Listen, look and she will give indications when she is ready to go.
-Nicole and Chloe
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