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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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Need advice, 4 months post-amp, sudden change in mood
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Member Since:
21 February 2013
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21 February 2013 - 10:11 am
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First off, I just signed up today but I've been reading the information here for months, and I want to thank you all for this great resource. 

 

Our guy, Bosco, has not been his usual self the last week and a half. He's been shaking a little when he's laying down, he's slow to get up (sometimes acts like he needs help), and he's not as vocal or active as usual. He still has his appetite and on sunny days he still wants to go lay in the grass. When he went in for his bloodwork last friday (everything was good), they thought it might be his arthritis acting up and prescribed tramadol. He goes back in tomorrow for this 4th chemo (of 5) and will get them to check him again then, but I wanted advice from other people that may have seen this before, maybe specific things for them to check for, since I'm not sure our vets have seen many people that elected to amputate. 

 

Brief Background: He's an older dog, had him at least 7 years but he was "older" looking when we found him. ~85lbs before surgery. It's been 4 months since his surgery, which wasn't long after he started limping (right rear). He bounced right back to his old self right after the surgery. They bio'ed and confirmed cancer, did chest xrays and determined he was a good fit for chemo. We're doing 5 treatments, every three weeks, with bloodwork the week before each one. Tomorrow will be #4. We have a close relationship with the vet because my wife was a groomer there for a few years and still grooms every other Saturday.

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21 February 2013 - 10:54 am
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Bosco & family, welcome, thanks for joining us here (your future posts won't require moderation).

So it sounds like he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma? I'm happy that his x-rays were clear and he's getting great care from your vet.

Now, I'm not a vet, but what you are describing to me sounds a lot like signs associated with chronic pain. Is he on any other meds besides tramadol? If it's arthritis then a long-term medication like Metacam or Rimadyl can make a tremendous difference, as well as acupuncture and chiropractic care if you are able to do that. If his symptoms don't disappear after another week and/or a NSAID, and your vet isn't able to figure it out, my next suggestion would be to ask for a referral to a veterinary specialist. It sounds to me like a canine rehabilitation veterinarian is the best person who can help you determine what is causing this if your vet can't. For information about rehab vets, see this blog post.

I hope this helps, and I know others will chime in on this too. Keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
21 February 2013
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21 February 2013 - 11:14 am
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Thank you for the speedy moderation and reply. Yes he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He has not been on long term pain medication until this point. He is taking a few whole food supplements as given by my wife's dad, a chiropractor, who has been looking over him. I can't believe we haven't thought to ask him to come over and look since the mood change though. We'll do that tonight for sure.

I also just realized (when looking over everything) that we've been undermedicating- his tramadol says 2 pills every 8-12, and we've been doing 1 every 12 (2x per day). 

We too have been assuming it is pain- is this how osteosarcoma would progress (ie should we ask for a new xray)?

Thanks again for your help.

On The Road


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21 February 2013 - 11:26 am
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Not a problem, glad we could help. Be sure to visit our chat room if you'd like to talk. I'm usually in there throughout the day and we usually have folks in there at night too.

When you up his tramadol dosage, you might notice a difference in personality. For some dogs it can make them a little nuts, pant and whine, and others it just mellows them out. Don't get too freaked out if you see a change like that, but do call your vet with any concerns.

I'm sorry it was osteo but stay pawsitive, you never know who will beat the odds. Many dogs live far beyond their prognosis (I lived two years post-diagnosis!). Osteo will typically return in the lungs but on very rare occasions it will metastasize to other bones. It's rare, but it does happen occasionally. If the symptoms continue and medication doesn't help, you may want to ask for another x-ray. Your vet can of course suggest next steps, I'm just sharing what others have done here. But try not to worry OK? Hopefully this is just arthritis, or it could also be that he's getting too much activity. Have you looked over our CARE interviews and videos about post-amputation lifestyle issues? Be sure to check them out, you'll learn about watching for overexertion signs and such. Our Tripawds Gear blog also has good information.

Keep us posted OK? We hope he feels better really soon. Be sure to tell us more about Bosco and feel free to submit his story for Tripawd Awareness Day!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


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21 February 2013 - 12:37 pm
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Bosco, you inspired me today, to publish this Tripawds Downloads blog post about pain management. I hope you feel better soon!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
21 February 2013
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21 February 2013 - 1:10 pm
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Thank you! We will keep you updated after the trip to the vet.

New Haven, CT
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27 December 2012
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21 February 2013 - 6:01 pm
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Hey-I've been thinking about this for a while, but the website wouldn't let me on.  Anyway, this story reminds me of two dear dogs, Jackson's cousins.  Maple lived 14 years and was freed to the Bridge 3 years ago.  Gypsy is her 'replacement' and was adopted as a senior lady.  Both Maple and Gypsy have/had doggie dementia.  Both quake and seem confused and were just slower to respond to things; it seemed like hearing loss!  This is a real diagnosis and there are drugs, great drugs to help.  For Maple, her personality change was almost overnight.  It was when she was boarded while we were away.  We beat ourselves up over what must have happened at that facility; we no longer go there...just in case.  No idea what happened, but it was clear that the dog we dropped off wasn't the same one we picked up.  She was lost, confused, shakey - as in, nervous.  Gypsy is just getting older and her condition is progressive; she's not as advanced as Maple was, but Gypsy is certainly displaying funky senior-lady issues.

Since you mentioned your pal is a senior guy, too, I wonder if it's not pain and rather 'doggie dementia.'  He's getting older and personalities can and do change.  Maybe Maple suffered a stroke (or something similar, but more minor) rather than suffered some form of awful treatment at the kennel?  Maybe your pup also experienced some event that caused some brain damage?  Maybe he's just getting older like Gypsy?

So long as he's still happy, still eating, and still enjoying life, this may be his new normal.  I believe that the only way to be sure (or, 'more' sure) is to visit the vet, but visit one who's good with senior pups.  Maple and Gypsy benefited by having an animal behaviorist come over and witness their new, funky behaviors.  The behaviorist also provided some ways to help us deal with their issues and help them deal with them, too.  Largely, this person helped us understand what our aging pups were going through so we could be supportive, rather than scold them for 'dumb' things.

If it's at all possible your pup is showing these aging signs rather than pain, that's an important distinction with very different treatment/regulation options.  I encourage you to see a vet who's good with senior dog issues and/or a behaviorist with similar strengths.

Keep us posted!

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

On The Road


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21 February 2013 - 9:46 pm
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fetchon3 said
Hey-I've been thinking about this for a while, but the website wouldn't let me on.

Kate, PM us with details so we can try to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Senior dog issues...! That's something that didn't even occur to us, but I think you're spot on. From what I've read this could also be a sign of aging. Thank you for thinking about it and your dedication to getting back into Tripawds.

 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
21 February 2013
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21 February 2013 - 10:12 pm
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Thanks Kate. It is certainly possible. Our Kissie had doggie dementia before she moved on 2009, and since this isn't presenting the same way, we didn't consider it. We can certainly handle a new normal- we just don't want him to be in pain.

Unfortunately my FIL (a chiropractor) wasn't able to come out tonight due to weather. We live in a rural area so there aren't any acupuncturists or specialists (except livestock) nearby. With any luck, the vet will be able to pinpoint the cause tomorrow. Either way I'll have an update!

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21 February 2013
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23 February 2013 - 10:25 am
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The vet believes that he may have an infection, probably from the chemo, and prescribed Amoxi/Clav. They skipped yesterday's chemo but we have a followup mid-week to see if it is helping or if they need to keep looking. We'll update after we find out more! 

Member Since:
22 January 2013
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23 February 2013 - 10:36 pm
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Poor guy, it sounds like he is having a rough time of it. I hope you will keep us updated.

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21 February 2013
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24 February 2013 - 7:50 pm
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Hi, our dog didn't have cancer but this is what happened to us. Our dog was great after surgery and 3 months after surgery his attitude changed. Fred became depressed and wouldn't play. By the 4th month after surgery he started gnawing on his stump and it wouldn't heal. Back and forth from the vet's we were treating him for an infection. By the 5 month post op he became aggressive and the only thing he ate were my plants !! We took him to another vet who took x-rays and found gauze in his stump !!! A year later he is back to the same dog we fell in love with smiley

New Haven, CT
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27 December 2012
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24 February 2013 - 7:53 pm
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OMG!  What?!  That is CRAZY!  Poor thing and how awful for you guys to go through that....all to have it be so, ugh, simple?!  Wow.

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Member Since:
21 February 2013
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24 February 2013 - 8:32 pm
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Yes, we were shocked when we seen it. 

Just for the record it didn't take a year for him to get back to normal, it was a week. 

I hope your puppy gets better soon !!

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