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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Ginger's Fibrosarcoma Recovery
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Forum Posts: 21
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26 September 2019 - 5:24 pm
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Ginger still isn’t eating.  In the past two days, she only ate her dinner when I hand-fed it to her, but tonight she won’t eat at all.  (She is taking her medication.)

She also doesn’t really want to be petted which is very unusual for her.

Maybe will try a car ride to the park tomorrow to let her sit in the grass.  I don’t want to make her struggle to get in and out of the car if she’s not going to enjoy it anyway, but it will be the first car ride since the hospital, so it’s probably good just to get her to realize that getting in the car doesn’t always mean going to the hospital.  (She’s not a big car-ride-girl to start with – she just sits in the back seat and doesn’t look out.)

But, no obvious signs of pain.  She’s not whimpering or moaning anymore.  She doesn’t flinch when she is petted – just turns her head away and eventually moves away which she’s never done before.

Just being patient.

Julia

Virginia




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26 September 2019 - 6:43 pm
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Patience is sooooo hard during recovery as we wait for their sparkle and normal routines  to return.  

Try and stay focused on every little improvement because they are HUGE victories these first weeks.  She just had MAJOR surgery a mere  six or seven days ago. Generally   it takes about two weeks to recover from the surgery itself  and about thirty days to adjust to their new gait.

I’m  sure you’re  trying every yummy food at this point.  Whatever it takes to get her to eat.  Cheese pizza, scramble eggs and bacon, cheeseburgers, warm chicken,  liverwurst.   Ight also try Fresh Pet.  It’s  in the refrigerator  section in pet area at Target and st Whole Foods.  Get the bag.

If she comtinues not to eat, ask your Bet to give her an appetite  stimulant.  One member is having good luck with Entyce.

As far as not wanting to be petted, animals in the wild try to find solitary places to hide and withdraw from the pack until they heal.  This could be what’s going on.  She doesn’t  want to be “fussed over” right now.  Rest is the best medicine  for her.  Just throwing  this out there for whatever it’s worth.

Is she drinking okay?  Cant remember,  did you change the hours between pain meds from twelve to eight?

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!

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28 September 2019 - 1:04 pm
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Ginger isn’t having the anxiety anymore around medication time, so I kept the medication at every 12 hours.  She’s almost finished with the antibiotic, so it’s just the anti-inflammatory and pain medication now.

Doing much better this morning.  I hand-fed her last night, but she eventually ate her whole dinner.  She slept in her usual places around the house overnight.

This morning she came right to me when I put on my walking shoes, like she used to on my days off.  We went for a nice (short) walk, and we’ve had several pets.  She’s napping.  We’re holding off on the car ride until tomorrow since she had the walk this morning.

All of her redness is gone.  Her skin around the incision site has shrunk up considerably.

It’s already a good day.  We’re recovering.  Being patient.

Julia

Virginia




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28 September 2019 - 8:53 pm
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A good day indeed!  Yes, this is what recovery looks like when the sparkle starts to come back little bit by little bit.  And to see Ginger start to reclaim her routines like coming to you when you put on your shoes, and sleeping  in her usual  places. Is soooo heartwarming😊

Thrilled to see this post tonight.  Keep on keeping on Ginger😎

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!

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29 September 2019 - 5:54 am
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So happy Ginger is doing well! What you said about walking shoes. My dogs always know. If I am putting on other then my sneakers they get sad because they know I am leaving the house. But when I put on my sneakers they get all excited because they know they are coming with! They are so much smarter then we give them credit for.

I bet Ginger is looking forward to the car ride!

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3 October 2019 - 12:33 pm
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Big day today.

Ginger had her sutures removed, and the doctor said she looks fantastic!

No restrictions – we just have to be careful that we don’t let her walk so far that she’s too tired to get back.  So, we’ll ease back into her regular walks.

We’ve stopped the surgery-related medication (pain and anti-inflammatory – the antibiotic finished a few days ago), so hopefully that will really let her get back to being herself.

She still needs a little encouragement to eat but eats her whole dinner and dessert once she gets started.  And, she still doesn’t sit on her amputation side.  I imagine that will take some time for her to consider trying that again

We also got another ultrasound of her spleen to check on the mass in the spleen.  The dimensions changed only slightly – so little that it could be explained simply by a different orientation for the image and not actual growth (it’s only 2 cm which the doctor said is relatively small – very low likelihood that it could rupture and since there’s hardly any change in the last 16 days it’s unlikely to grow significantly in the next month).  So, the doctor recommended we wait 2 to 4 weeks to let her continue to recover from the amputation before putting her through another major surgery.  It will be difficult waiting a month to get that out since we don’t yet know what it is, but it will be a good month watching a girl get back to herself.

So, we’re on the books for a Halloween splenectomy.

Thank you to everyone on this forum who has provided information and encouragement. 

Julia and Ginger

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 October 2019 - 4:19 pm
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Yaaay! smiley_clapWhat a great report! It’s always wonderful hearing about a mass that isn’t doing anything mean.

Things are moving along nicely for Ginger, I’m so glad that she will have a month just to relax and get her bearings. Enjoy this start to fall and give her some smooches from us.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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3 October 2019 - 8:18 pm
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Just a summary for history in case it is helpful to someone in the future who is facing something similar so they have a better idea of what to expect.

We had an excellent recovery – no complications – couldn’t have hoped for anything better.  I believe this is essentially the minimum we could have spent and the minimum timeline I could have reasonably expected since we spent very little time waiting for test results or doctor’s appointments.  I am so grateful.

Note that Ginger had no lameness prior to the surgery (didn’t appear to have any pain – was using her limb normally).  The doctor said that dogs who have pain in their limb prior to the surgery sometimes adapt more easily because they have gotten used to not putting much pressure on that leg or not even using it.  But, Ginger didn’t appear to have any difficulty in that regard even though she effectively had to adapt from 4 legs to 3 literally in one day. 

We are in the suburbs of Los Angeles in 2019 with access to several options for specialists.

Rough Costs for diagnosis and treatment of fibrosarcoma

————–

$500 fine needle aspiration and initial x-rays

$700 biopsy

$800 surgical consultation and additional x-rays

$400 abdominal ultrasound (to confirm no other health issues that might influence long term prognosis or ability to tolerate the surgery)

$3100 surgery and related expenses (medication, hospitalization, etc.)

$300 miscellaneous (ramp plus other miscellaneous things that we bought to be prepared for her recovery – not counting time off work)

Timeline

8/30 Discovery and fine needle aspiration

9/4 biopsy

9/11 surgical consultation

9/17 ultrasound 

9/19 surgery

9/20 home from surgery about 25 hours after the surgery ended – walked to the car (sedan) and hopped in/out but was carried into the house (we have a few steps)

evening of 9/20 walking in/out of the house to pee (up/down two steps)

9/22 redness deepened and spread across the abdomen

9/22 a short walk

9/23 first post-surgery bowel movement

9/23 walked about 200 yards

9/24 most of the redness is nearly gone or significantly diminished

9/28 walked around the block (typical residential neighborhood block – about 10 minutes – she seems to be walking faster than before the surgery, in general – maybe that’s due to how she’s learning to balance – and she really didn’t stop to sniff like she usually does)

9/29 reduced pain medication by half

10/2 walked around the block for the second time – about 15 minutes (stopped more often to smell the flowers and is starting to walk at a more normal pace)

Two weeks post-surgery 10/3:

10/3 digging in the dirt!  (I mention this because it takes a lot of balance for her to be able to stand on two legs and dig with the third, so I consider it a major milestone)

10/3 stopped pain medication

10/3 walked about 3/4 mile (up a relatively steep hill for part of the walk) – this is her normal nighttime route (she led the way – this is where she wanted to walk) – I think she was a little tired by the time we got back but was not in any distress

10/3 sutures removed

Here and Now


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3 October 2019 - 9:54 pm
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juliaginger said
Just a summary for history in case it is helpful to someone in the future…

Thank you for sharing such details! It’s exactly why these forums and blogs exist.

Regarding costs, if you have not already done so, please consider contributing to this well-documented thread of members reporting expenses related to amputation and/or chemotherapy.

Virginia




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4 October 2019 - 9:54 am
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GINGER, YOU ARE A TRUE ROCKSTARicon_lolsmiley_clapsmiley_clap

Sooooooo happy to hear how well she’s  doing!  It sounds like your Vet has a good handle on things and is monitoring  Ginger with great care.

And yes, thank you for taking rhe time to share this wonderful update with so many good specifics. 😎

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!

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4 November 2019 - 10:56 pm
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Just an update on Ginger’s status.

She is doing well on three legs.  She still struggles with stairs sometimes – and always hesitates before going up – but that’s getting better.  The most difficult item is getting in the car – she frequently hits her belly on the car edge but isn’t willing to try a ramp or any other step that we’ve tried.  So, we’re just not taking many car rides.  If we park at a curb, she has no trouble – it’s just a little too high from the street to the car seat directly. 

She also isn’t able to hop up on the couch.  She actually did it in the first few days post-amputation, but the two times she has tried in the past two weeks she couldn’t make it on her own.  So, we’re all disappointed in that – that was one of her favorite spots, but it’s OK.  We can work on that later.

She doesn’t want to walk nearly as much as she did before her surgery.  Some days she doesn’t go further than the end of the driveway.  But, we’re not pushing her yet given that she still has the spleen issue to deal with.  A few times she has gone for a 3/4 mile walk (we let her go where she wants).  But, she was clearly tired on the last quarter-mile home.

She had her spleen removed last week (Oct 31).  She is recovering well from that surgery.  Very little indication of any pain.  Still getting around fine.  The incision is over 8 inches long, but it doesn’t seem to bother her much.  The test results on the mass in her spleen indicate it is NOT another case of the soft tissue sarcoma that required the leg amputation, but it is otherwise inconclusive (atypical lymphoid hyperplasia).  We ordered a PCR test which will hopefully tell us whether it is another cancer or not, but it could be a few week until we get those results.

Our surgeon recommended that we get an appointment with an oncologist to get an opinion on whether to consider any additional treatments for the soft tissue sarcoma (or if he agrees that the surgery to remove the leg is sufficient since the analysis said there were good margins around the tumor) and to get an opinion on what to do with whatever the PCR test tells us.  So, I’m going to try to get an appointment with an oncologist in about 3 weeks.  That will give her time to heal from the spleen surgery, and we’ll have the PCR results.

So, our little girl is doing fine.  Not quite her old self, and maybe not out of the woods yet, but she seems happy and is getting lots of love and attention.  So, that’s what is most important.  We were hoping to give up a leg to buy her a few good years.  And, we still have high hopes that we’ll be able to give that to her.  Just a few more hurdles to get through.

Julia and Ginger

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 November 2019 - 10:31 am
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Hey thanks for the update! I’m so glad she’s holding steady. The plan with the oncologist sounds reasonable.

Now remind me, did you guys try a harness on her? It sounds like she could really benefit from using something like the Flagline or the Webmaster, at least once she recovers from the surgery. Our Wyatt Ray wears his every day and it’s the only way he could get into our tall truck or up the stairs to our home. You may want to try one if you haven’t already.

But otherwise it really sounds like a nice, steady recovery for your amazing girl!

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

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Virginia




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8 November 2019 - 9:41 pm
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I love that you redirect your focus to what she CAN do now, as opposed  to what she can’t  do.  Good for you for celebrating  that.

As far as the couch, you’ll love this story.  We had one member who sawed off the legs to their couch so their dog could still get on it!!  I didn’t  go that far, but I did take the cushions off so my Happy Hannah could get up.  Then I put  the cushions around her so she could snuggle on them.😎

Your Ginger has been through a lot in a short time.  She’s  gone from one recovery to another, all while adjusing to three.  She’s  doing what she wants to do at her on pace, all while getting  more spoiling  and loving  than she ever thought possible 😊

Give that sweet girl an extra treat for us…..in the form of a scoop of ice cream!!

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!

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