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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Sadly, our 11 year-old Finn, our Rhodesian Ridgeback-Lab mix, has joined the ranks of the other tripawds on this site. Thank you for having this site available-it has been a great resource during the last two weeks as we have dealt with this diagnosis.
Finn's osteosarcoma was found in the ulna of his right front leg. It was amputated last Thursday by the wonderful people at Washington State University. I was able to pick him up on Saturday night. He has slowly been making progress. He has no issues with appetite, going to the bathroom, etc. He does shake some. He does not have a temperature. Has anyone else seen that as their dog recovers?
I am easing him off of his pain pills and plan to start him on Rimadyl as soon as he is off the pills. I have him on a diet of cooked locally raised hamburger, kale, spinach, apple, and carrots. He also eats Wellness dry. I supplement with fish oil as I was told by my vet that dogs do not digest flax seed oil as well as people do. I bought some K-9 Trans-Factor and Immunity but I am waiting until this weekend to start him on that so I can monitor how he responds. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Finn starts chemo and radiation with bisphosphonates , carboplatin as far as I know this next week. I just want to share my story and ask for any feedback on what else I could be doing. Obviously, our goal is to give Finn a good quality of life and keep him healthy for as long as we can.
22 August 2008
Sorry to hear about your dog Finn. My dog Tazzie had her right forelimb amputated Aug 26th. She is doing well and has had 2 doses of carboplatin. She did not do any shaking but it could be due to pain meds or could be secondary to having to use the other muscles in different ways.
You are in good hands at WSU. We live in Puyallup so we are using an oncologist in Seattle. I am curious about the radiation. Are they irradiating Finn's chest? Usually radiation is done for pain relief if amputation is not an option. More info on that would be appreciated!
Sounds like you are doing everything else right. It is just a matter of time until Finn is stronger and back to his normal self.
Pam and Tazzie
2 October 2008
Poor Finn! He sounds like he's getting great TLC, and I agree with Pam that he should be feeling better soon!
Regarding the shaking, my dog, Sophie, also had some shaking after coming home from her surgery (2 weeks ago). My vet wasn't sure what to make of it, but thought it might either be a way of expressing pain, or muscle fatigue from the other muscles getting used to bearing the weight (she had her front left leg amputated, and the shaking seemed most notable in her hind legs). I found it happened sporadically for a few days, and then resolved. It seemed to me that cuddling with her helped her stop, maybe the combination of warmth and comfort?
Good luck and keep us posted!
Christine and Sophie
Sounds like Finn came through the surgery like a champ! We are sorry you're having to cope with the whole bone cancer thing, but so glad you found us and are sharing your story. Finn's story will in turn help so many other pawrents who, sadly, will find themselves in your shoes some day.
Perhaps the leg shaking might be due to the fact that Finn is distributing his weight differently now. It takes a while before the remaining front leg can build up muscle strength, so perhaps that's why his back legs are a little tired?
As you can see in my Health Tips page I took flax oil, and fish oil during the two years I lived with cancer. I'm not sure why your vet believes that flax oil isn't as good. But my pawrents based the flax on the Budwig Protocol, and they believe it had a lot to do with my longevity.
One thing you can do that will help you out tremendously, is to seek the advice of a vet who is knowledgeable in holistic therapies, nutrition and eastern medicine. I know you've got plenty to choose from where you are!
My pawrents waited almost a year before they saw one for me, and they wished they had seen her a lot sooner, as her nutrition/supplement advice and acupuncture therapy made a tremendous difference in my health.
Hope this helps. Keep us posted and let us know how he and you are doing!
Spirit Dog Jerry, Jim & Rene
Thank you so much for your support and replies. Jerry, I just read your latest posts and know that you and your family are in my prayers. You continue to be an inspiration to dogs and families dealing with this diagnosis. Two years living with this disease is a long time-you rock-and I pray Finn can do as well as you did.
Maybe I am wrong on the radiation-my vet is at a conference and I should be talking to her on Monday. Tazzie-I will get back to you on that.
Thank you for the info on the holistic vet approach. I will look into that in our area and see if there are offerings. I am not sure if I have any in the eastern washington area but I will check around and maybe go to the west side of the state where I am from anyway-I know they are probably plentiful over there!
Finn looks good-less shaking today-thanks for the ideas on what that might be. It makes sense. He seems pretty sore but he already had a TPLO (?) surgery on his back right leg and his back left leg ligament is not doing so hot right now. We will just keep putting him back together as long as he is not in pain and his spirits are good.
Oh thank you for the kind words. We are so glad we can be of some help to you as you go through this.
So glad to hear Finn's looking good! Bet he was happy to see you.
Where in Eastern Washington are you?
Just remember, as you look into new supplements and such, try not to let it overwhelm you. There's so much info out there, it can get crazy trying to decide which ones to focus on. K9 Immunity is a great one, for sure. I was on that and did really well with it.
25 October 2008
7 June 2008
I just went through three months of chemo and the side effects were not bad at all. Just a little diarrhea was about it. Maybe a little lack of appetite, but this was nothing compared to lack of appetite after the surgery.
From my experience so far, the only thing that would really enter into the equation is can we afford it (very expensive). And of course we had to go to the vet every week which I really enjoy anyway! Other than that, I see no reason not to go ahead. Of course, some dogs may have (mostly minor we are told) side effects, but this appears to be a small minority. So far my lung xrays are clear so it seems to be working!
Just as a side note, I did a "newer" osteosarcoma chemo program with a combination of carboplatin and gemzar (gemcitzbine). Our doctor has had very good results with this combination thus far.
PS Hope you are feeling better Finn! Fyi - We discussed radiation with a few doctors and ended up doing chemo only. See what your doc suggests.
Am I doing the right thing by letting him go through chem?
Plenty of readers will tell you, by all means yes! But the truth is, you'll never know unless you do. And if you don't do it, you will always wonder if you should have. Every dog's story is different ...
The chemo can't hurt. Unless your pup experiences serious side effects, in which case you can stop the treatments then. We've heard of dogs lasting nearly two years without chemo treatments – like me! – and others who lost the battle within a couple months after chemotherapy.
The best thing you can do is focus on quality of life, not necessarily quantity, and share your experiences here to help others. Which you've already done, but please feel free to start your own topic in the Share Your Story forum.
Thanks for joining the discussion!