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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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FINN 5 months since front leg Amputation and losing use hind legs
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Member Since:
6 April 2023
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3 September 2023 - 8:07 pm
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Background: Finn started to limp in March and had his front leg removed at the beginning of April due to bone cancer in the shoulder.  He had been doing so good since I last posted here in April.  Chasing his ball and living his normal life on three legs.  He has been on CBD and other supplements to fight the cancer. 

https://tripawd.....s-surgery/

Tuesday (8/29) was a good day for Finn.  However, that night he woke me up panting and seemed to be in pain. 

Wednesday he had an arched back and seemed to be hurting.  He did not eat. 

Thursday he was still arching his back so I gave him a carprofen and gabapentin.  He still was not eating. 

Friday morning I gave him another carprofen and gabapentin.  Still not eating I made him a ribeye steak and he still would not eat so I called the vet.  On the way to the vet he started to lose coordination... like he was drunk.  The vet took his blood which came out perfect.  He ate some hills canned food the vet gave him.  The vet also gave him some entyce.  That night he still was not walking good.  I was thinking it was the gabapentin so I have not given him any more.  He ate the steak that night.  Not really arching his back, just struggling to stay balanced.  

Saturday I tried to give him another steak but he would not eat... he would not eat the canned food either.  I gave him 1 carprofen and the entyce.  And he still is having major problems walking.  Like he is drunk and cannot hold his balance.  

Today/Sunday his back legs barely work.  No coordination and struggling to get around.  Not motivated at all.  Not wagging his tail at all today.    I was able to spoon feed him some home made bone broth.  He was able to do his business but it was in the house - which he has never done.  I have given him 1 carprofen and plan to give him the entyce when he wakes up. 

The vet is closed tomorrow for Labor Day.  I am thinking that either the gabapentin has not worn off (unlikely) or that the bone cancer has spread to his spine and he is losing his nerve connections.  He does not seem to be in pain other than the fact that he won't eat.  He has not yelped or whinned.  He just does not want to move.  I was able get him motivated to walk earlier today... but this evening I had to carry him.

Just looking for advice or if anyone has dealt with this progression.  He is at the 5 month mark.  

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 September 2023 - 9:38 pm
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Oh gosh, so sorry Santa's having these issues.

Guess I have more questions than answers at this point. Did the vet take any x-rays?

What Diagnostics did the vet do in what did the vet believe the issues could be? Disc issue possibly? Has he had any strenuous activity recently that could cause the sudden onset?

When you massage up and down his spine and around his neck does he show any areas of tension? If you pinch his toes and pinches Paws because he show a reaction?

So basically, other than an anti-inflammatory, the vet really hasn't given you any treatment at this point, is that right?

Did the vet mention any neurological issues? Is he drinking and is he urinating okay?

The fact that he doesn't seem to be in pain is at least a good sign. I wouldn't try to make h8m move much at this point and just try and let him rest.

I know you want to avoid a visit to the ER if at all possible. I guess the most important thing at this point is to make sure he isn't in pain until you can get a visit with your vet tuesday.

Sorry I'm not helping by asking more questions and not giving you very many answers.

Others will chime in. We are all hoping the best for your magnificent fin. It's wonderful that he has thrived these past 5 months and we are hoping for many more months to come.

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:
6 April 2023
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3 September 2023 - 10:38 pm
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No treatment, diagnosis or xrays since he was not showing any symptoms of ataxia until we were on our way to the vet.  At the time, I assumed the ataxia was just a side effect of the gabapentin I gave him earlier in the day.  She recommended lowering the dose, and I said I would stop altogether.  The vet visit was primarily due to him not eating in 3 days and arching his back... at that point, I was hoping either he pulled his back or had a stomach bug, and praying the cancer hadn't spread.   But now the ataxia has gotten worse not better.

I just pinched his paws and got a reaction... had to pinch hard.  I have massaged his back numerous times, but no signs of pain or tension.  He only seems to be in pain since he won't move unless I persuade him and he is reluctant to eat.  He is drinking and urinating fine once he is up.  I won't move him except for a potty break and drinks.  

Thank you for your support and comments.  It helps.  

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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4 September 2023 - 4:29 am
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Sally has some great questions/suggestions. I can't think of anything to add. I'm sorry to hear about Finn's struggles and I hope you get some answers soon. 

Minneapolis, MN
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23 April 2016
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4 September 2023 - 8:53 am
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Hello. How wonderful Finn has had such a vibrant post amp life for these five months and enjoyed summer - that is much to celebrate!  But I am so sorry for these alarming recent developments.

I do think x-rays of spine are the next logical diagnostic step. I'm not sure what else you can do in the interim, but I would continue with pain management . Sending very best thoughts 

Lisa

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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4 September 2023 - 12:30 pm
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Scott, first, I'm glad that he's been doing so well up until now. That's a good sign that whatever this is, his body is strong and he has it in him to fight back.

It's hard to say what this could be without any diagnostics, but it's worrisome. If you are able to get him in the car, I wouldn't wait to take him in to an ER clinic. Pain is very tricky to pinpoint in a case like this. Dogs hardly ever show pain signals the way we imagine they would, but the arched back, ataxia, and unwillingness to eat crazy good food is a sign that something is wrong. Hopefully it's nothing serious and can get under control right away. But in the meantime ...

If you can get him to a clinic today, the ER vets could at the very least give him some additional pain control until your vet sees him. They will probably want to do x-rays or even an MRI or CT if they are equipped. Being that it's a long weekend, it may be a while until your vet can squeeze him in for a visit. I wouldn't wait.

Please keep us posted.

Member Since:
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4 September 2023 - 4:36 pm
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Thank you everyone.  I called the ER and they only could take xrays.  All of the specialists were off today.   I will take him to the vet tomorrow.  I will keep you posted.  

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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4 September 2023 - 5:15 pm
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Okay Scott.  Thanks for checking  in.  Your trpawd family is sending  pawsitive healing energy🙏

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:
6 April 2023
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5 September 2023 - 10:31 am
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Xrays… no signs of cancer. They are going to send out to radiologist. Couple vertebrae are compressing. Gave him some steroids.   

They said there is really nothing else to do except maybe surgery which would be difficult for him to handle and recover. They recommended a neurologist who is going to look at his records and say if it is even worth meeting with him. In the meantime, I have scheduled an in home euthanasia for Thursday afternoon.

They don’t think he is in too much pain. Just low quality of life. And depressed.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 September 2023 - 10:49 am
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Oh Scott, I'm so sorry to read this. Fin is sich a fighter and has lived life to the fullest on three....and now this ....just so very sorry.

I do think he may get some relief with the steroids to keep him comfortable.   And maybe the Neurologist  may have some suggestions and insight too.  It seems like, because  of the not eating, something  neurologic  may be going on as well as the disc issue.

Anyway, hope you get some answers and clarity  needed to  confirm a path forward,

FWIW, I had a four legger with a disc/spine issue that steroids did help regain use of his back legs for awhile.  Like your Vet, she said surgery was risky and not always successful  anyway.  Plus a looong recovery time of confinement. 

Whatever the outcome, you have always had Finn's best interest  at heart and you will always do right by him.  And Finn knows that.

Holding you in our thoughts♥️♥️

(((((((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:
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5 September 2023 - 11:59 am
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The radiologist confirmed there is cancer in his lower back/spine.

Putting him down Thrusday...

Thanks for your support.  I am broken.

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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5 September 2023 - 12:01 pm
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I'm very sorry to read this update.  You are doing the right thing for Finn.  I hope you are able to enjoy the next couple of days with him.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 September 2023 - 1:55 pm
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Was hoping against hope and nust gut punched to read the outcome.  Our hearts break with yours.

Such a nasty, brutal, barbaric disease.  We've seen this several times recently.  While we expect that maybe lung ,Mets may appear sometimes, ot just seems like more and more spine mets are showing up.

The only thong I can say, and as hard as it is, still stay in the present with Finn.  Each moment is precious and cannot be wasted.  You can still cuddle and snuggle and tell him what a good boy he is.  I know  he's not eating, but maybe he'll lick  some ice cream or. Maybe even the chesse off a pizza with bacon?

Scott, I know you are devastated  as we all are.  Finn jas been sich an inspiration  and shall continue  to be.  The bond you two share can NEVER be broken.  It is so clear how mich you love him and how much he loves you.

Releasing  him from his earth clothes that not longer serve him is the most loving and selfless act you can give him now.  You will be se ding him k to his next adventure  at the Rainbow Bridge free from pain and surrounded by your love.  He will have a huge feast of steak and buttered bread topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup awaiting his arrival.

We'll be with you Scott....even if you cant see us....we'll be there as we celebrate Finn back home.

((((((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



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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5 September 2023 - 8:02 pm
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Ohhhhhhh icon_cryMy heart hurts for you and Finn, I'm really sorry. This cancer can be SO MEAN! ACK! smiley7

Please know we are sending you so much love right now. When one of our furmily members here gets news like this, it's a blow to everyone. We all cheer each other on. We are all furmily. And we all feel your grief at this awful news. You are not alone in this, or after.

Love that boy up. Spend every second you can with him, spoil him, let him know he is our hero and always will be. Your brave warrior is always part of what makes this place so special. Thank you for the honor of being part of your life together in some tiny way.

If you just want to talk and vent we are here for you OK? Sending much, much love.

Member Since:
6 April 2023
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6 September 2023 - 10:19 am
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Thank you everyone.  Having this resource is comforting.

So Finn is doing great these past 24 hours... since his steriod shot. Eating (steak, treats, etc), drinking, playing ball, and even wagged his tail today. No pain. He can prop himself up on his own so not laying flat.  Otherwise, completely immobile so potty is messy and he hasnt done his business since Sunday. Finn is such an active dog so being not able to move is devastating.

Anyway, obviously i would love to have him hold on a bit longer but not sure if it is right for him. The vet will be calling to confirm this afternoon and right now i am thinking about getting back on the fence.

Just thinking outloud.

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