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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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It's back. End of life care questions.
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Forum Posts: 14
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10 November 2015 - 1:09 pm
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Well my wonderful boy, Wyatt, gifted me with an extra 1 year and 5 months after his initial diagnosis and amputation.  And it has been an amazing 1 year and 5 months.  He healed quickly and has been happy, healthy, active, and fun.  If anyone wonders if an extra year is worth it, I tell you it absolutely is.  He has no regrets, I have no regrets.  

Here's our first post: http://tripawds.....oma-story/

But today we learned he has a new tumor forming in his right back femur, up towards his hip.  Wyatt has had some right hip pain for a week or so and I just had this sinking feeling in my stomach.  I don' t know why but I just didn't anticipate the cancer affecting another limb.  I was prepared for lungs.  We even had a rib bone scare awhile ago and I was prepared for that.

So here we are.  You just can't take another leg off of a 3-legged dog.  He's happy, he's alert, he wants to be active and we are going to have to put him down.  I have never had to make this call on a mentally sound dog and my heart is completely broken.  I don't know what to do.  I can keep him comfortable with drugs and my doctor mentioned radiation to kill the nerves at the tumor site.  But this tumor is still going to grow and eventually that bone is going to break.  And what will his quality of life be like if he's doped all day sleeping?  I just wish he seemed ready.  But no, he wants to go outside to play fetch and splash in the pond.

Ok, I can go on about how awful this is for days and all of you understand me.  I will get to my questions:

1. Have any of you gone the medicated route?  What was your experience and how long did it go on for? Do you have regrets?

2. Have any of you gone the radiation route?  What was your experience and how long did it go on for? Do you have regrets?

3. Is there some miracle option out there that I haven't considered?

I appreciate all thoughts, advice, and well-wishes.

-Kelly

Virginia




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10 November 2015 - 2:51 pm
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Awww. Kelly, sorry to hear this. I know it's always a shock, even though we think we are somewhat "prepared". Ha! Good luck with that, right? As Michelle said ine rime, it's never like you think it will be. I don't have any insight into specific treatment per se, but I think others have used radiation

I do jave some insight to offer as far as my experience when I was told Happy Hannah had a met the size of a baseball! Other than some tiredness at the time, she was FINE!!

And as long as Happy Hannah was fine, we kept on keeping on!

I know I don't have to remind you that Wyatt coukd care less what an xray showed. And based on the way he is still enjoying his feisty self, he feels FINE and NOTHING has changed in Wyatt's world!! Yeah, it messes with us humans, that's for sure!

Now, in my very j professional opinion, I think the xray would have shown if the leg was in immediate danger of fracturing. I also think, based on the way Wyatt is acting, it really isn't bothering him a whole lot...and that's without even being on pain meds.

And as far as being medicated, right now that doesn't seem to be a major issue at this point. Wyatt can DEFINITELY be on variius doses of Tramadol without making him loopy. Keep in mind that many dogs are treated for months off and on when a limp first develops before xrays are ever done. I guess I'm trying to say, if your Wyatt had never had osteo, he would most likely be treated off and on at first for a sprain, or arthritis etc. and would have a lot of good quality time before the pain started to catch up with him.

Something you may ask your vet about is Piroxicam. It orr was used to manage pain in dogs, but apparently showed promise for reducing tumors at the same time. Also, check into mushroom therapy as a possibility too.

Spoil, spoil, spoil! A dish of ice cream every night after his steak...or before AND after! Let him splash in the pond and play fetch. Wyatt wants to love his life his way...and that means playing full out as long as he can! And right now, he can!!

Right now is all that matters! Not next week, just right now. Savor the sacred time of being in the now with Wyatt. The only thing he's "ready" for continuing to enjoy life while soaking up all that loving and spoiling you have been giving him everyday he has been by your side!

Sending you lots and lots of love....and....looking forward to more pictures of adorable Wyatt!

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!

Norene, TN
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10 November 2015 - 2:59 pm
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Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this! Bless your heart!

I have no advice. And I'm not sure I would know what to do if I were in your shoes. It did cross my mind to get him a wheel chair for mobility. Fur-babies can sure surprise you when we think only a miracle can be the answer.

Keeping you and Wyatt in my thoughts and prayers.

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

Here and Now


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10 November 2015 - 4:14 pm
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Thanks for the update, so sorry to hear about Wyatt

wyatt3 said
3. Is there some miracle option out there that I haven't considered?

Unfortunately, there are no miracle cures, but plenty of options! Consider asking your vet about bisphosphonates.

Michigan
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10 November 2015 - 5:22 pm
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I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I agree with Sally (I usually do!) - spoil that boy!  He doesn't know that anything has changed.  You have been luckier than most in your time, but it's never enough.

Hugs to you!

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

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Orrtanna Pa.
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10 November 2015 - 5:26 pm
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I am so sorry to hear this! We try to prepare, but there really is no way to prepare for our heart to be broken. I too, wondered about a wheelchair . Since he beat the first tumor so well. Pets With Disabilities is where I adopted Daryl. They have many dogs there on wheels and may be a good resource to check into for info on that route. Just throwing stuff out there. I know right now, you are just plain in shock. Hugs, Lori, Ty & Gang

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

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11 November 2015 - 7:13 am
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Kelly, no advice to give, but please know you and your beloved Wyatt are will be in my prayers.  He sounds like he is still a happy boy right now in spite of what the X-ray showed.  There is no way to ever prepare for a decision like you are facing, but in spite of your heartbreak I know that you will make the decision that is best for Wyatt when it comes times to act...whether that be some sort of treatment or letting him go.  Many hugs to you and Wyatt.

Trini and my Sketchie boy

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 November 2015 - 12:01 pm
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Dang. I'm so sorry, this broke my heart when I read it. I'll try to share some of my experience:

1. Have any of you gone the medicated route?  What was your experience and how long did it go on for? Do you have regrets?

Medication for end of life care isn't about cures, it's about controlling pain. Don't let pain get to the point where he is showing daily symptoms. Talk to your vet about pawspice care and make a plan for managing it. Other drugs besides Tramadol can help but you can also try acupuncture for pain relief. Consider getting started now so that it kicks in sooner (it needs about 4-6 sessions before pain relief is consistent).

As for our own experience, we had a different type of pain related to lung tumors, which affected his breathing. Hard to compare the two, treatments are different. Do we regret? No, not at all. As I mentioned, pawspice is mostly about managing pain. As long as you take a lead in doing that he can have a great quality of life even now.

2. Have any of you gone the radiation route?  What was your experience and how long did it go on for? Do you have regrets?

Again, we didn't have this type of situation so radiation was not an option. The question to ask yourself is, how will it affect his quality of life? Will the treatment be worse than the cure? Of course ask yourself what Wyatt wants too. That's what counts the most.

3. Is there some miracle option out there that I haven't considered?

If you want to make sure you've covered all of your bases, consider having your onco refer his case to the good people at Colorado State's Argus Institute, who consult at no charge for situations like this. As leaders in oncology research they can tell you what other options are available. Hopefully lots.

I hope this helps. Please keep us in the loop OK? We're thinking of you and gorgeous Wyatt.

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It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Schofield, WI
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11 November 2015 - 12:24 pm
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Kelly I'm so sorry you and Wyatt are facing this.  Wonderful suggestion Jerry gave about Argus Institute.  Please know all our thoughts and prayers are with you and Wyatt.

Hugs

Linda & Max



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11 November 2015 - 7:04 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Wyatt.  🙁  This is such a sucky disease and not fair.  It always manages to change the rules no matter how much we think we have it beat or not. 

I get where you are at.  Sassy was very alert and would have kept going but had I drained the fluid from her chest it would have come back.  We just didn't know how long it would take.  I gave her the release because it wasn't fair to her to ask her to keep going on.  Honestly I regret not trying sometimes but I know she is healthy happy and waiting for me. Totally different circumstances than what you are in.

I don't have any experience with that.  Rene & others have given some great options.  I agree try the CSU line.  Hugs thoughts & prayers

 

xoxoxo

Michelle & Angel Sassy

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Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

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12 November 2015 - 10:46 am
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Well I hate that I am coming here to say this.  Wyatt's condition deteriorated rapidly Tuesday night.  By midnight he couldn't sleep or get comfortable and by Wednesday morning he couldn't stand or sit up no matter how much medication we gave him.  Yesterday was the hardest day of my life as I made the decision to help him leave this life with dignity and no pain.  He had cheeseburgers and chocolate and bully sticks and new toys all day long.  I hate that he lost his mobility so much that we couldn't take him to his favorite parks one more time.  He went peacefully laying on his favorite bed, in our house, with his head in my lap.  God bless his vets for coming to our house.

I just simply can not express how absolutely terrible this is.  I had no time to prepare.  2 weeks ago we were given the 'hallelujah no cancer!" after a standard check up and body x-ray.  And then he just went down hill so fast starting on Sunday with a limp and some pain.  By Tuesday he had x-rays showing a tumor and by Wednesday he was unable to move.  I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me and the worst part is he was still soooo mentally sound and happy.  His body just gave up.
 
Hardest decision of my life and worst.  I can't make the hurting stop.  I hate this disease with a fiery passion.
 
-Kelly
The Rainbow Bridge



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12 November 2015 - 11:06 am
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Kelly I am in the Tripawds chat room if you want to talk. Back here in a sec...

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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12 November 2015 - 11:10 am
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I'm stunned, just not even sure what to say except that I am so, so sorry. My heart aches for you, I cannot imagine how difficult and agonizing the decision was, especially with his mental facilities being all there. It is every pet parent's worst nightmare.

Of course the grief is raw and so new, I totally understand that it feels like you will never get through it. It was weeks before I felt like I could face the world after we lost Jerry. What I can offer right now is this: try not to let the last days/hours of his life overshadow the good times and happy memories he left you with. That time you had together before cancer built a bond that is far more powerful than cancer, it can never be broken or fade. In time you will be able to wrap your head around that. For now, know that it's OK to feel the heartache and grieve, we all get it.

I'm so sorry. Please know we are here for you and if you'd like to share memories of Wyatt's life with you we are all ears and ready to honor your sweet pup.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Schofield, WI
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12 November 2015 - 11:17 am
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Oh Kelly my heart hurts for you!  I'm so sorry!  No matter how much time we have its never enough...never enough!  Wyatt knew he was loved and you gave him one last glorious day before sending him to the bridge to run free and gloriously healthy once again.  His spirit will remain with you forever.  You gave him the last greatest gift we can give them with love and courage.  Wyatt knows and thanks you for it.  

Hugs and love

Linda & Max

Norene, TN
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12 November 2015 - 12:16 pm
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Oh Kelly, I'm so saddened to read this news. My heart goes out to you and the rest of your pack. Bless your heart.

xoxo

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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