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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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How do you decide what is best?
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UK
Forum Posts: 129
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1 August 2015
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10 August 2015 - 5:43 am
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I so do not know what is the best way forward

Like many we both said no way to amputation but watching him he is using 31/4 legs and quite often only 3 so obviously it isn't going to be that different for him if we do amputate although he does use the bad leg for stability (and sometimes forgets when he toilets that it doesn't work that well laughing)

We are waiting for the biopsy results to give us a picture of what we are dealing with, his extra XRays didn't show anything in the lungs so that is a good thing I guess, although realistically the cancer has probably spread crying

Are we best to go down the amputation and chemo route? I think that the amputation won't phase him too much but when is the best time to do it? do we go to amputation as soon as we can or do we leave him for longer with 4 legs? the Xray showed that there was a lot of damage to the cortex of the bone, what about the chemo? what is the best regime for him? how ill will it make him? how do we deal with it?

At the moment he is on tramadol, loxicom and a joint supplement as well as Turmeric paste (which we had just started before we found out what was wrong). We are endeavouring to reduce his carbohydrate intake by feeding him raw food, this comes as frozen mince, and have checked through all the dog treats and only give him the ones without 'cereals' and 'sugars' as best we can

He still has a wander round the paddock two or three times a day, although he is mighty fed up that it is with our old girl rather than with the younger girls - too worried about him bashing his leg and causing himself a traumatic injury. Thankfully he is happy in a crate when he needs time out, has always slept in one so it is not causing him any stress doing that

What else can we do? does anyone have anything to offer in the way of advice while we wait please that can boost him while we wait and make him fit enough for all this.

Judith and Jack

http://jackdog......pawds.com/

 

not forgetting Pepper, Storm, Finn and Solo too

 

http://www.toll.....lers.co.uk

Forum Posts: 33
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10 August 2015 - 8:35 am
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Just my opinion but I say take that leg off, the sooner the better. Osteosarcoma, I presume? It's not going to improve, and the pain is excruciating. It's worth it as a pain relief measure alone. You'll trade a week or two of discomfort and adjustment for months to years of happy, pain-free living--chemo or not. Max is 3 and a half months post-amp, and the last three months have been glorious. If that were all we got from it, it'd still be worth it. And I was thinking the very same thing as early as three weeks post-amp. 

As for the chemo decision, one step at a time. Your oncologist or internist can walk you through that, and there is a lot of info here. 

Your baby is frustrated with his diminished quality of life. Just get that leg off so he can get back to playing with the younger girls. My opinion only, of course. My heart goes out to you and your sweet boy. Wish it didn't have to be this way. 

Prayers for you both. 

Maryland
Forum Posts: 384
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10 August 2015 - 9:01 am
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I agree w/ Susanna. I bet the leg is causing him a lot of pain, even if he doesn't show it. I know you've said you're worried about a traumatic injury---not only would that be even more painful for him, it would be agonizing for you to see him in distress and you'd be making the decision to amputate in crisis mode.

If he has OSA, then amputation relieves the pain. It doesn't cure the cancer but (at least to my mind) gets rid of the source of the cancer even if it has spread at undetectable levels at this point. Whether you do chemo or opt not to is something to approach after the amputation. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Michigan
Forum Posts: 1456
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10 August 2015 - 9:16 am
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No one can really make that decision except for you.  You know your baby better than anyone else.  How is his overall health other than his leg?  Murphy was 7 years old when diagnosed and perfectly healthy aside from his leg, so we felt that we needed to give him a chance at a pain-free life.  Without surgery, the pain will just get worse, and the likelihood of a fracture is pretty high, it's just a matter of time.  Many people have opted not to do chemo, so once again, that's up to you.  Murphy had histiocytic sarcoma, so we did 6 doses of ccnu, along with denamarin to protect his liver.  Grain-free food is best, as grains turn into sugar and cancer feeds off sugar.  We have been finding more and more grain-free treats in the pet stores in our area.  We feed Murphy Blue Buffalo.  We've been luckier than most and have gotten over 2 years so far with Murphy.  The first 2 weeks after surgery were by far the hardest, but things got better.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 31074
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10 August 2015 - 9:54 am
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jackdog said
Are we best to go down the amputation and chemo route? I think that the amputation won't phase him too much but when is the best time to do it? do we go to amputation as soon as we can or do we leave him for longer with 4 legs? the Xray showed that there was a lot of damage to the cortex of the bone, what about the chemo? what is the best regime for him? how ill will it make him? how do we deal with it?

What else can we do? does anyone have anything to offer in the way of advice while we wait please that can boost him while we wait and make him fit enough for all this.

You definitely want to talk to have a more specific convo with your onco about this, here are some questions to ask.

Nobody can make this choice for you but we can share our experience, which is what this pawesome community does.

It's not an easy choice and we too said "no way" at first. But once we saw that our Jerry was in such awful pain, we felt that if he had any chance at all of having even a month of good quality time with us, without that bum leg, then it would be worth it. Without a doubt, it was for us and it worked out.

Not everyone has an easy time and some who go through this don't get the time they had hoped for. But overall, about 99% of members here were happy with the decision, as our Quality of Life survey indicated.

Everything after amputation is optional, but getting rid of that pain however you can, even if it means managing it with high quality pain relief (not just tramadol but stronger med and bisphosphonates , radiation therapy if possible), is so urgent. Try to imagine what it would feel like if you had a slowly disintegrating bone...ouch! Once we put ourselves in our pet's paws, it becomes easier to decide.

Do check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library for more guidance.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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UK
Forum Posts: 129
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10 August 2015 - 2:11 pm
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Thank you, much more reading to do

 

It is just so sad, he is 7 on the 29th of this month and very full of life - he is a fighter though, he fought an unknown virus when he was a year old and has lived with a bad hip all of his life.

Judith and Jack

http://jackdog......pawds.com/

 

not forgetting Pepper, Storm, Finn and Solo too

 

http://www.toll.....lers.co.uk

UK
Forum Posts: 129
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10 August 2015 - 2:33 pm
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Jack and FinnImage Enlarger

 

Jack with the dummy in his mouth, his half sister Finn is the other dog, this was a couple of years ago

Judith and Jack

http://jackdog......pawds.com/

 

not forgetting Pepper, Storm, Finn and Solo too

 

http://www.toll.....lers.co.uk

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 31074
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10 August 2015 - 3:25 pm
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Too sweet. What spunk that boy has!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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UK
Forum Posts: 129
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10 August 2015 - 3:28 pm
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Yes she was determined that she was going to get that dummy off him!

Judith and Jack

http://jackdog......pawds.com/

 

not forgetting Pepper, Storm, Finn and Solo too

 

http://www.toll.....lers.co.uk

Green Bay, WI


Forum Posts: 1080
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11 August 2015 - 8:57 am
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Amputation surgery is something nobody want to think about that's for sure! When we were faced with this situation last summer, the thing that brought me clarity was hearing the leg could break spontaneously and that pain would be unbearable! It needed to be done, the sooner the better, I thought, before the cancer spread, before the leg broke. After surgery, we opted for chemo - which dogs seem to tolerate much better than humans. When we were done with the 6 doses of carboplatin, we moved to metronomic therapy - an oral, low dose chemo pill - which he still takes daily. Now Nitro is almost 14 mos post amp and doing well. Good luck with your decision, this place is a great reference place to help you on your journey.

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

UK
Forum Posts: 129
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11 August 2015 - 2:05 pm
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That is one of my great fears Paula - the leg breaking and the decision having to be made in a hurry

We will know more in a few days I hope

Judith and Jack

http://jackdog......pawds.com/

 

not forgetting Pepper, Storm, Finn and Solo too

 

http://www.toll.....lers.co.uk

Clearwater, FL
Forum Posts: 18
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30 July 2015
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13 August 2015 - 7:55 am
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Tuesday was two weeks post amputation for us, his surgery was July 28th. I have to tell you, I don't regret my decision one bit. I was an emotional trainwreck in the vet's office every day. I could not cope with the idea of amputation although everyone told me that it had to be done and was the best treatment option. I finally had to just do it, as it was best for him, and it would be eliminating the primary cancer site. The longer that you leave the leg, the more time that you are giving those cells to continue to multiply and metastasis through the body. That's what helped me - It just had to go! I finally did it, the night before was the most I'd cried in my entire life. 

From a needle aspirate done on his left elbow (the cancer site) they originally told us that it was likely synovial cell sarcoma and that the survival rate was 2-3 years. So,  my mindset was "if he's going to live 2-3 years, why can't I try to save his leg?". Well, guess what? They were wrong. We were diagnosed with Osteosarcoma yesterday. They told us that osteo was highly unlikely because the cancer crossed the joint (destroyed the elbow and was above and below in the humerus and ulna). So, I am so happy that I amputated when I did because I wouldn't want to leave an aggressive cancer in his body any longer. 

The recovery was not that bad, he has really has done well with it and he is not a lean dog. He's a stocky, short pit bull. 

If I could do it all over again, I would've made exactly the same choice and I think you will feel the same way when it's finally done. The best advice I can give you is to make a decision and stand by it 100%. Just decide what's best and DO IT. No regrets, know that it was the best decision for him right now. 

Please keep us updated! 

Heather

Heather

Pit Bull Mama to Zeus (10 year old Tripawd :-) & Pennie (5 year old) 

Zeus became a Tripawd on 07-28-2015 and surgery was done at the University of Florida. He had a sarcoma in his left elbow joint and amputation was done of the entire arm and shoulder blade. Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 08-12-2015. Secondary cancer - Adenocarcinoma - in anal gland diagnosed and removed in October 2015. Finished 6 rounds of Carboplatin on 12-21-2015!!! Woohoo!!!!

Virginia




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13 August 2015 - 9:24 am
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Heather...glad to hear Zeus is doing well! You offered valuable insight....thank you! You have an empowering positive attitude and I know Zeus will benefit from that greatly!

Hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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