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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My boy, Otis, is almost 4 weeks post amp. He’s doing so well! I have a couple of questions.
1. His incision, which has been beautiful from the day we brought him home, is still a teeny tiny bit red and when you press on the area with any pressure you can tell it’s still painful. Is this normal and how long until the swelling and pain is gone/done? We are still on Gabapentin every 10-12 hours, just fyi. That’s me making the decision to give it to him based on his behaviors when I took him off of all meds.
2. We received our final biopsy results back and here is what the orthopedic surgeon said. We are meeting with Oncology tomorrow and will know more then but based on these results…what questions should I be asking?
It is indeed a synovial cell sarcoma and there was no apparent invasion or spread to the lymph node which is great. There were quite a few mitotic (abnormal) cells there so I will run this by our oncology team and see if they have any further recommendations. I have a meeting with them on Tuesday and will send more information your way regarding our discussion.
I am thinking I should expect some chemo to kill off those “quite a few mitotic cells”. Does anyone have any knowledge about this situation?
Hi Colleen and Otis!
First off, I am not a vet. I have to ask, is the area swollen? Is the incision totally healed? When you press is it like pressing skin or is it mushy at all? It should not be tender a month in. Did he have any sutures that were dissolvable or were they all removed?
When you meet tomorrow, ask them to palpate the area to make sure he doesn’t have a seroma or infection.
All dogs (like people) are different. If he had dissolvable sutures, they can take longer to dissolve than simple suture removal. If there’s one not healed it could be picking at him and causing some discomfort. That’s why i ask.
Eating, drinking, activity ok? No fever? Just things to keep in mind and talk about tomorrow.
I cannot help you in the chemo department, just don’t have enough knowledge, sorry.
I’m sure others will chime in with suggestions though.
Good luck in your visit! I will be looking to see how you made out.
Jackie and Huckster ❤️
Hi Jackie and Huckster!
So many questions….I like it! Otis had disolveable stitches. As his incision healed there was a small, long skinny scab over the incision area. Very thin scab. All has looked totally normal. In the beginning, I thought maybe he had a seroma at the top of his incision but I think it was just swelling and it has gotten much smaller over time…but it’s still there. It looks like it’s healing beautifully, just very tender when pressure is applied. I don’t mean simply touching, but putting pressure on it. Not a lot of pressure, but some pressure.
When you press it isn’t like pressing skin. It’s like it’s still swollen in some areas. No, not like. It IS swollen in some areas. At his 2 week check up they said he looked great and he could stop all pain meds. I tried that and it was obvious…quite quickly…that he was not ok. He was trembling and panting. So I put him back on pain meds until 3 weeks. Then again I stopped the Gabapentin and at 14 hours past last dose he wouldn’t lift his head. He was on the couch and when I came home he wouldn’t even look at me. So I knew he was hurting. I gave him a Gabapentin and an hour and half later he was literally running all over the house. So I have kept him on it and is now going 10-12 hours and doing fine with that.
So I’m guessing he should be further along?
Yeah, it might be a reaction to the dissolvable sutures. That does happen and it can be treated. Some dogs have a reaction to them, or.. sometimes that suture doesn’t dissolve properly and they may need to manually take it out. They may follow up with some antibiotics also. It’s usually not a huge deal and can be taken care of. Like i said, I’m not a vet but i was a surgical tech and I’ve seen that kind of thing before.
I don’t know if Onco will deal with that. You may need to bring it to regular vet attention for treatment.
Please let us know how you make out!!
Jackie and Huck ❤️
25 April 2007
Yay for Otis having a good all-around recovery! That’s wonderful news. I wouldn’t be so concerned about the incision area if there’s not obvious sign of infection, but you do want to let your vet know about it. To put it in perspective as best I can, I know that with my own surgical incision sites it took several weeks for the areas not to hurt like heck when I touched them.
As for the chemo question…I can’t be of much help there either, other than it sounds like a toss up whether or not your onco will recommend chemo. I’m guessing yes, but every situation is different. Let us know what kind of recommendations you get OK?
Until then, remember to celebrate that Otis is moving on from recovery and moving up! Congrats!
18 September 2017
So happy to hear he is doing well ! We did not do chemo as we were told it was unlikely to spread. It turns out that wasn’t the case and chemo would have helped and may have changed the outcome.
Regarding pain medication, we kept him on pregablin (similar to gabapentin) long term. It really made a difference in pain management .
Also Bulldog skin (thick and fatty) is very different and takes longer to heal. Keep an eye out for fluid collection and infection .Bender ended up with a staph infection at the surgery site.
Lastly, ask your doctor about cartrophen injections to help protect the rear joints.
Soooo….our oncology appt went fine. So much info. Basically they told me that they do not recommend Chemotherapy for Otis. There is a 20-25% chance of metastasizing and they recommend chemo if the chances are more than 30%. They said they would do it if I wanted them to though. She said if I go home and I’m a complete mess and I can’t sleep because of the “what ifs” then to come back and have it done.
They advised getting a chest xray (which we did and it was clear) and to repeat the chest xray every 3 months for the first year.
I asked what chemo would look like for him. There are 3 options and the option that is easiest and with the smallest risk is the one that they don’t think will help him. In fact they said they couldn’t confirm that any of them would because of the type of cancer he has. There just isn’t enough research on it. He has Synovial Cell Sarcoma.
The other 2 types of chemo come with more risks than I expected and she explained it all and started with “this could happen…but it’s rare”.
That’s where we are. I left knowing his lungs are clear and an appt to come back in April. Everyone at home seems very happy that we aren’t doing chemo as he’s been through so much already. I’m still not sure how I feel about it all.
So glad your appointment went well and the incision is ok! There are many that end up not doing chemo for lots of different reasons and they do ok so please don’t worry too much.
All in all it sounds like everything looked good. I think this is where the term Be More Dog comes in to play. He is happy and bouncy, just enjoy your time and love each other. None of us has a time stamp on our back end. This is what you have worked so hard to get to. Make the most of it and spoil your Otis boy Oh, and pictures would be just pawsome if you have the time to share them
Jackie and Huckleberry
12 May 2018
Thanks for the input. I think every 2 months would give me better peace of mind.
I would love to post pictures, and tried, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it! I got the pop up box but didn’t understand what it was asking me for. No copy and paste options.
Otis had his first physical therapy appointment today. I loved the doctor. What a wealth of knowledge. She said after she read his records from his local vet and Uc Davis and everything he had been through and for how long his struggle had been going on…she wasn’t expecting him to even be walking on his own!!! What !! I know it has been a long hard journey. Very long….but this is Otis!!! haha! She said he’s in GREAT shape and she’s thrilled. She says he is going to make a fantastic long term tripawd!!
18 October 2009
22 February 2013
Yes indeedy, THIS IS OTIS and Otis is a RockStar!!!!! Such a great update! Keep em coming!!!
Continue to be pre dog and con to live in the moment treasuring your boy!
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!
I am so glad Otis had a good visit! I was not home yesterday when I posted and a bit rushed so I just copied the link for you. So good to get good news after everything you have both been through. I am thrilled for you!!