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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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Don't know where to start...need advice
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Forum Posts: 4
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2 July 2020
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2 July 2020 - 7:57 am
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Our girl Emma was recently diagnosed with a Osteosarcoma in her shoulder. She is a 7 1/2 year old, 75 lb Labrador, she began her journey when a noticed a slight limp. I checked her foot and leg and could not find any problems. She had recently come back from the vet and was undergoing meds (Baytril) for a UTI. Literally three days later after her slight limp, a swelling appeared on her left shoulder about four inch in diameter and raised about an inch. Emma was at our vets office, a few days later. Our vet x-rays the area, a firm mass on her shoulder and we opted for a needle biopsy also to the scapular area. I asked if the mass could be from an injury (hoping) and was told he did not think so. Well results of the fine needle came thru yesterday and our worst fears were confirmed. It was an Osteosarcoma in shoulder and he felt was deep into the bone. He recommended a visit to a surgeon for further evaluation, which we will be seeing in a few days. Emma is eating normally, moving about maybe slightly less than her usually habits. Still shows that slight favor to her left front leg when walking. She seems about normal, maybe I’m looking at her too much. She sleeps through the night. I try to limit her trips outside for her business and her exercise as she has to climb the stairs in our house. She is getting her exercise. There are two other dogs in our house a Labrador and a Beagle (who thinks she is a short Lab) and she keeps up with them as usual running and playing. 

What should I be concerned with at this point, question to ask my vet? thanks for listening Dan

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 July 2020 - 11:35 am
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Hi Dan, Emma and family. Welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. I’m sorry you had to join us but we are here to help however we can.

Right now, Emma is doing what dogs will do: hide her pain signals to keep from showing her weaknesses. Only thing is, if she is already favoring a leg and moving about slower, the pain is already bad. It won’t be long until it’s really bad so you are doing all the right things by moving quickly and seeing a specialist. For now, you really do want to try to limit her activity with the other dogs. A dog with osteosarcoma in the leg is at risk for a pathological fracture, which is a terrible, scary event that forces you to make the amputation decision on the spot. So, don’t worry about her exercise right now, you really want to try to keep her calm (which I know can be difficult when you have other dogs in the house). At the very least, don’t worry about taking her on walks and that sort of thing.

As for what to ask your surgeon, you want to know things like:

  • How many amputations do they do in a month? A year?
  • Will your dog have overnight care by licensed veterinary nurses? If not, what are the options for getting your dog to a 24/hr staffed clinic?
  • Will the amputation be a full or partial? Why or why not?
  • Is the clinic AAHA-accredited

I have other question ideas but I have to run to a meeting. Back in a bit! Stay tune for feedback from others!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 4
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2 July 2020 - 12:39 pm
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Thanks for the reply. I believe that considering the location of the lump, that amputation would not be an option. The Osteosarcoma is not involving the front leg, as it is on or below the scapular high on top of her back, near the spinal column.  

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2 July 2020 - 12:43 pm
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Sorry you’re facing this, but this place is an awesome resource and everyone here knows what it’s like to have to make these hard choices. I’m typing this one-handed with my new osteosarcoma amputee pup lying on my other arm. This site has been key to helping me navigate over the past few weeks. I talked treatment options with my vet (amputation and not), informed by chest X-rays to see if they saw signs the cancer had spread to his lungs…



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2 July 2020 - 12:52 pm
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I’m sorry to hear about Emma’s diagnosis. My cat had her leg amputated with the scapula. I’ve heard about scapulectomies that preserve limb function. I have no clue how they do that.

I hope the surgeon has a good solution for Emma.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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2 July 2020 - 12:55 pm
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Considering the location of her Osteosarcoma, which on or below the scapula, high on her back, near her spine. I believe a leg amputation is not an option.  X rays of her condition seemed to say it has not spread to her lungs. Glad to hear you dog is on the road to recovery r3ard3nsm



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2 July 2020 - 1:02 pm
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This is the blog where I first heard about scapulectomies:

https://tripawd…..-recovery/

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2 July 2020 - 1:20 pm
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OMG did not know it was a possibility….will start read the blog, thanks so much for the information

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 July 2020 - 2:46 pm
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Kerren you are awesome, thanks for sharing Liam’s story.

Our Jerry’s osteosarcoma was in the scapula as well, but the tumor size ruled out anything except amputation. It’s definitely worth asking your surgeon about and hopefully Emma qualifies.

Have you seen Jerry’s Required Reading List or our e-books library yet? We have lots of tips in there too.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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