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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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Member Since:
11 January 2022
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28 September 2022 - 2:31 am
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October 3 is the big day and I am still on the fence about “how much to take off”.

A lovely person here contrasted her two tripawds, one total, one not and the “not” was “not as wonky” as far as gait.

The surgeon we are seeing used to do High femoral amputation years ago but says he “sees no benefit” in doing so anymore.

He mentioned the issue of muscle atrophy but it’s pretty much down to a third of the former strength, anyway.

I’ve read about “spasms” in partial amps but they seem to be related to front amps, mostly.

However, the risks of high femoral amputation surgery are much less, not to mention there would be something to cover Hrafi’s naughty bits, later and he would have something to sit on, rather than sitting sideways as I have seen total rear amp dogs doing.

The surgical scar seems to be much less, as well and I’m aware of the possibility of it touching the ground or floor and the necessity of keeping it very clean.

I intend to use post-surgery “pajamas” to try and avoid that.

I have to balance this with the possible “recurrence” of osteo in the little bit of femur remaining but the odds seems low as opposed to lung mets.

Hrafi is not longer using his leg to scratch his ear lazily, as is his habit and he keeps trying to use the leg when it’s no longer strong enough to do so and has fallen twice in the last week, while getting carried away trying to leap up his sofa step.

It *guts* me to take his leg but I have no options left.

It’s not even strong enough for a brace and I really do not want him to have discomfort anymore, not even a little.

Please, in the time we have left to choose, can you all offer pros and cons about amputation choices?

I am trying VERY hard to NOT mess up his life anymore than it already is.

The guilt I carry for failing him with the SRT is unbearable, already.

Forgive me for being a pain in the neck, but this is my whole world we’re talking about and since he’s my PTSD dog, I am borderline hysterical.

And as a last note, since he’s already had SRT and chemo, will he need chemo again, after the amp?

Six days is nowhere near enough to learn all this and make the very best choice I can for him, but here I am.

This is the website I keep staring at and even though it’s a tiny bit left, it might help him when sitting down.

https://www.paw…..20residuum.

Thank you for your infinite patience.

Shari & Hrafi

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 September 2022 - 10:22 am
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Without  question,  you abso have Hrafi’s best interest at heart.  Everything  you jave done or will do os out of love for Hrafi.  Do not spend one second  on “trying” something  that didn’t  work out.  You tried it with the hooe and medical input that it could, indeed help.  And that is nothing  to feel guilty about. So shed that negative  e energy that prevents  you from good pawsit energy  moving forward!

Trying to sort out the best path as far as the specifics  on the ampu itself can drive us bonkers!  Many of is, probably  most of us, didn’t  even have any discussions with the surgery as far as amputation “amount”.  So we didn’t  have to overthink and go round in circles the best “approach”.

Each “amputation  path” has a grade off so to speak.  One may be “better” in one way, but not as “good” in another way….and vice versa.

As you know, THE most important thing is to get rid of the pain and avoid any possible “hurdles” in the future

So put what I’m about to say in the FWIW category and just the “opinion” of one person, okay?  And I even hate to give “opinion” because it’s all about what you feel most comfortable with. Thank you for sharing all your thought processes as you navigate through all this

For me, I would go with the procedure  that would eliminate ANY possibiity of osteo remaining  in leaving a portuon of the leg.  I would eliminate any possibility  of facing the awful ordeal of dealing  with sores developing  on the remaining  stump.  Covering his”naughty bits”(as you say😉wouldn’t  even be  in my radar.  For me it’s avout removing  pain (of course), eliminating  any possibility  of issues down the road (as best we can), going with as easy a recovery as possible.

So , again, just throwing a couple of FWIW thoughts  out there that may, or may not have any validity for you. 

You are an amazing  advocate for your boy!! 

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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28 September 2022 - 11:52 am
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Shari, you are not a pain, I promise. Everyone struggles with this decision, it’s terribly difficult and makes us feel so guilty! But I think you will find that when recovery is over, and you see Hrafi getting his sparkle back, you will grow closer to him than you ever thought possible. He will inspire you with his ability to move forward and get on with life in a new and equally happy way. 

Amputation isn’t right for every situation, but for the majority of dogs it’s the best one to get rid of the pain immediately, and reduce the risk of a pathologic fracture. In all our years of running Tripawds, very few people have said they regret doing it. Usually those who do had a dog who had other conditions happening at the same time. Hrafi sounds very fit, exuberant, and ready to take on the world with one less leg. Your surgeon sounds patient and helpful too, a total bonus at a time like this.

As for chemo, I am going to say they will probably want Hrafi to do a few sessions, but every dog is different so only your oncologist can tell you for sure. Remember, that decision is very individual so ultimately you get to decide.

And since his surgery is happening on October 3, it doesn’t get any more significant than amputation surgery on Spirit Jerry Day 😉

Please keep us posted with all your questions and concerns so we can help you be the strong pack leader that Hrafi needs you to be.

Member Since:
11 January 2022
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29 September 2022 - 12:10 am
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So, just to make things even more insane, OrthoPets sent me an email wanting to work with his surgeon.
They think he’s a good candidate for a prosthetic since the tumor is so far down on his leg.
*If* his surgeon would go for it, I would too.
There’s also a place near Baltimore who literally does this commonly.
The videos are incredible.
But his amp is just 5 days away.
What *if* the prosthetic could work?
He could be “naked” in the house and wear it outside to minimize any issues.
I just feel like screaming all the time and now this new hope has raised its head.
Member Since:
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29 September 2022 - 12:14 am
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jerry said
Shari, you are not a pain, I promise. Everyone struggles with this decision, it’s terribly difficult and makes us feel so guilty! But I think you will find that when recovery is over, and you see Hrafi getting his sparkle back, you will grow closer to him than you ever thought possible. He will inspire you with his ability to move forward and get on with life in a new and equally happy way. 

Amputation isn’t right for every situation, but for the majority of dogs it’s the best one to get rid of the pain immediately, and reduce the risk of a pathologic fracture. In all our years of running Tripawds, very few people have said they regret doing it. Usually those who do had a dog who had other conditions happening at the same time. Hrafi sounds very fit, exuberant, and ready to take on the world with one less leg. Your surgeon sounds patient and helpful too, a total bonus at a time like this.

As for chemo, I am going to say they will probably want Hrafi to do a few sessions, but every dog is different so only your oncologist can tell you for sure. Remember, that decision is very individual so ultimately you get to decide.

And since his surgery is happening on October 3, it doesn’t get any more significant than amputation surgery on Spirit Jerry Day 😉

Please keep us posted with all your questions and concerns so we can help you be the strong pack leader that Hrafi needs you to be.

  

I don’t think I even have an oncologist, now.

When I couldn’t afford their $6300 amputation, they pretty much went silent.

Wouldn’t even refill his Amantadine for him.

My only other option is Leesburg VA, who charged me $850 for two phone calls and told me to go find myself a surgeon.

If somebody can do the prosthetic, I might put off the total amp.

God, I am falling apart here.

The Rainbow Bridge


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25 April 2007
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29 September 2022 - 12:29 pm
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I’m sorry this threw your plan off course. There are lots of what ifs in this situation but the one certainty is that you are dealing with a lot of pain that needs to be resolved, and can be in 5 days. If you cancel that appointment it could mean that you are looking at a much longer timeframe ti get that pain resolved.

Also keep in mind that prosthetics are not cheap, and generally start at $1500 and go up from there, plus the cost of annual maintenance. With that in mind it could end up costing as much as chemotherapy.

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29 September 2022 - 1:56 pm
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jerry said
I’m sorry this threw your plan off course. There are lots of what ifs in this situation but the one certainty is that you are dealing with a lot of pain that needs to be resolved, and can be in 5 days. If you cancel that appointment it could mean that you are looking at a much longer timeframe ti get that pain resolved.

Also keep in mind that prosthetics are not cheap, and generally start at $1500 and go up from there, plus the cost of annual maintenance. With that in mind it could end up costing as much as chemotherapy.

  

I’m just overwhelmed by all of it.

I don’t know if I’m doing the best thing for him now, having had the SRT wind up pretty much failing.

I don’t have enough time left before Monday to try and figure out the other options.

The surgical place can’t do the Torigen treatments as they say an oncologist has to do it but his oncologist doesn’t even reply to emails, now and I’d have to find another before Monday because Torigen needs a tumor sample.

For almost 10 months I have searched for the best options, fought to get him the best treatments and now, at the 11th hour, I am up against another wall.

His insurance would cover 90% of the prosthetic costs but if I had known it was even an option, I would have gone to the place near Baltimore that does that kind of thing, instead.

I was convinced it wasn’t possible but apparently it might be.

And now I’m out of time.

It’s impossible for me to not feel like I have failed him.

Member Since:
11 January 2022
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29 September 2022 - 2:04 pm
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Well, so much for that option.

Just got an email from the clinic and his surgeon does not recommend the prosthetic as the level of amputation will require a much more challenging prosthetic rehabilitation, and the diagnosis carries a poor long-term survival rate

Sounds pretty grim.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 September 2022 - 8:27 pm
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I’m so sorry yoir are veing thrown all these curve balls that keep muddying  up the plan.

There is something  that can give you some  peace of mind in these past ten months.  And that is this:  You have researched every possible option.  Up to this point you have tried every possible option made available…even pursuing  the prosthetic  possibility.

I know it’s hard to see right now, but if you read Jerry’s post regarding that, you really will see it’s fraught  with lots of challenges. As mentioned before when trying to decide how much ofthe leg to amputate, one small, very small possibility  was that some of the osteo could remain  in part of the stub left, versus a full amputation. And the same would be true if part of the leg was left to properly fit a prosthetic. 

With amputation  generally….generally…..it takes about two weeks to recover  from the surgery itself.  Most dogs, not all, are mobile and avle to hop out to potty during those two weeks.  And generally….generally….about thirty days to fully adjust to the new gait, master balance, developt the right pace,etc.  And yes, Rehab  with a prosthetic  would take longer than that.

As far as their “grim” prognosis, that doesn’t  carry much weight around here.  We cannot stress enough that Hrafi does not have a time frame stamped  on his butt and no one, no one, can predict  how much “time” he has…or any of us have for that matter.

What we do know, and we will stress this over and over,, Hrafi is not a statistic.  He is his own dog with his own make up specific  to him.  We have already cited many dogs who have exceeded  “staristics”. 

The most important  lesson of this journeymis to stay fully present  in the moment just like dogs do.  They do count days on the calendar and they don’t  think about the yesterdays or the tomorrows. Hrafi would not want you to think yoh have “failed” him.  It would crush him thinking  you thought that.  He KNOWS you love him and everything  you have done and are doing is out of love!  We all know that!  We all see how ard all this has been because  of your deep bond and devotion  to this sweet boy.

Althpugh it hasn’t  been easy getting to this point,  you now have a clear path forward to remove his pain and give him the best chance for a quality pain free life for more spoiling and loving.   

And always keep in mind that, no matter whether you proceed with amputation. or not, we all support you 100%  As silly as it sounds, sit quietly  with Hrafi, connect with him, and ask him how he wants to proceed.

(((((((((((((((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:
11 January 2022
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29 September 2022 - 10:54 pm
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I am so grateful for all the time you took to console me.

My last worry is, how long must I stay literally with him 24/7?

My ancient, feeble, “not all there” husband has major cardiac issues and bad leg from a femur break and gets extremely confused in all stores, and we have to get groceries sometimes.

All errands and shopping falls upon me and I totally cannot trust or depend on him to watch over Hrafi if I leave the house.

He is as far from dog savvy as it gets and I cannot risk anything happening to my boy, if I *must* leave the house.

Most of the time, if I see something wonky on the dog cameras, he doesn’t even answer the phone so theoretically, I would be watching my dog go downhill and not even be able to get him any help at all.

Someone told me 24/7 watch for 10 days and that’s gonna be a really squirrely proposition.

I have no idea what the future holds for my boy or how long the future may even be, but except for the limp, he is still a pistol and crazy happy.

I’m hoping that means he feels good because he’s somehow “beating” the cancer.

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11 January 2022
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29 September 2022 - 11:00 pm
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Also, for all this time, except for the radiation burn healing period back in March, he has paid no attention to his hock at all.

None of the normal licking dogs do to “ease pain”.

Tonight, he was fussing with it a lot.

I can’t get him to tell me what he wants “psychically”, unless this is his own way of saying “it’s time”.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 September 2022 - 9:22 am
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Goodness knows you have ýour hands full, that’s for sure!!  We appreciate  you sharing all aspects of this joirney you’ve been on, and continue to be on.  So glad we can be a suppprt system for you.

I can relate to being the only steward for my dogs and care giver. As a background,  It’s just myself and my dogs.  Currently  I’m owned by two Tripawds who weigh 70 lbs each and one blind dog weighing  125lbs. And I “ain’t no spring chicken”. 

So when my Happy  Hannah (125 lb Bull Mastiff) had her amputation, I was about the first five days.  On average I would say that’s  fairly normal or maybe a little less,  But no, do not believe  ten days being  homebound  would be necessary  at all!! After two days’ish the hospital meds are out of the  system  and that’s  when there may, or may not, be a bit of a crash and when tweaking  pain meds.

If you do need to go out during those first three to five days,  just make sure  you have  a confined space for him as best you can.  He will have a cone on when he comes home. So probably the most important thing is you want to make sure that is secure so he cannot get at the incisions. That’s probably the scary part about leaving them alone at first, is just making sure he cannot reach the incision to try in pull out stitches etc. 

Also you’ll want to make sure he doesn’t have any access to stairs , or any sofa he can try and jump on, etc. Most likely though, those first few days if you need to go out he’ll have ample medication where he’ll just rest peacefully. 

Hopefully that will put your mind at ease a little bit. You’ll adjust to the demands of recovery faster than you think. Not saying it’s not scary at first, but it gets less and less scary as recovery gets further and further in the rear view mirror. Besides, you have us for support!

Had to chuckle a little bit when you made the comment that maybe he was showing you it’s time. I think he gave you that little hint by biting at his leg a little bit that yes, it’s time! He’s such a good boy!

Continue to stay connected and hang on to us! Remember, you are not alone!

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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30 September 2022 - 11:27 am
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Isn’t Sally the BEST?! Thank you for being such a wisdom of knowledge and strength Sally! I’m sorry I missed this discussion yesterday and am so glad you were there to help Hrafi’s mom.

So, the prosthetic is not an option, I’m sorry for that. Other surgeons have told us that when a prosthetic is being considered for a dog with osteosarcoma, you have to weigh the prognosis against the time it takes for casting, fitting, training, etc. No, ostesoarcoma doesn’t have a good prognosis but like Sally pointed out, Hrafi is his own dog. You just don’t know what will happen!

The best we can do for our animals in this situation is hope for the best and make the most of every moment together. I mean life should be like that anyways right? Cancer just reminds us in a not so nice way. I know you can do this! Hrafi knows you can do this! You have not failed him at all, not even close. You have turned over every rock to help him and now it’s time, as he pointed out so adorably, to move forward with the decision and stay as pawsitive as can be. It’s the best medicine to be optimistic and realistic, hopeful, and even show a little tough love too so that Hrafi gets his sea legs back as soon as possible during recovery.

Be sure to stock up on things you might need next week. Groceries, Hrafi’s food, tempting treats and hot dogs for his medications, etc., Also make sure you have no-slip runners for the house so he gets good traction and feels confident.

Chances are, if you have to go anywhere during recovery, he will just lay by the door and wait for you. If it’s at all helpful, maybe having a veterinary technician come over to help with the early days of recovery might be an option. Ask your vet about that. Many vet techs will freelance in their off-hours, and some clinics even offer the service directly.

I also think that having Hrafi stay at least 2 nights will be easier on you. Dogs can be very anxious and wonky when they come home from surgery. Being in the vet clinic for a little longer so that they can fine-tune his pain management can make life easier for you if it’s in your budget for him to stay longer.

Otherwise, take it easy and know that Hrafi has everything it takes for a good recovery and happy life on three! And we will be here for you every step of the way. If you want to talk I have the Tripawds Chat open for a while.

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30 September 2022 - 10:06 pm
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So this morning at 6am, right after his pills, he decided that the amount of food I gave him was “inadequate” and found and chewed up a piece of craft leather.

The only mentions on the internet were “do not induce vomiting” for leather but now I wish I had.

I could only find a small unswallowed fragment so I assume he ate the rest which was a “canoe shaped” piece about 5-6 inches long and 2 inches in the middle.

The evet wanted him to come in [of course, but I cannot afford that luxury with Monday coming up] and his regular vet called me back and was not concerned right now”.

So I have shoved canned pumpkin, cat furball goop and soft bread into him and have been awaiting the poops.

So far, two poops, none containing leather.

I have no idea if he’ll get a blockage now and I am thisclose to going Thelma & Louise with him off the mountain.

Everything that could go wrong, has.

He is not currently exhibiting any signs of blockage.

No vomiting, no drooling, no lip licking or inappetence.

He just wants to eat again.

I am so close to the edge now, it’s not even funny.

I hope someone is up right now because I could sure use the comfort.

God have mercy on my broken soul.

icon_cry

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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30 September 2022 - 10:49 pm
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Well holy crap!!!   

No wonder you feel like pulling aThelma and Louise! By the way, that was such a great movie!

Take some deep breaths and know that this too shall pass, literally, one way or another. 

The fact that he has already pooped and that he still wants to eat are both good signs. One of my dogs is obsessed with eating socks and swallowing them whole. I only find this out when he regurgitates it the next day covered in slime with an awful smell. I have also found them to be released from his back end too. I think the fact that he has already swallowed it swallowed the leather without any harm as far as choking, Etc is good.  iyou’ll find that he will pass this. It doesn’t sound like he’s impacted.

I’m sure this does feel like you have jumped over the edge and will never find your way back. Just know that we have a Lifeline connected to you and we are holding on tight. So no matter how far you fall down that dark hole, we are here to pull you back out.

We’ll be watching for some good news. Hang in there, things can only get better, right?

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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