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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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North Carolina
Forum Posts: 24
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5 December 2012
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8 September 2013 - 1:49 pm
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I am going stir crazy in the house today…..trying to decide what to do for Nesta.  Of course, it’s Sunday, and I can’t do anything without taking him to Emergency Vet which will double the cost, and I can’t really tell if this is an emergency or not!  

He has not been eating normally since Thursday.  And usually he is drooling for his food at meal time, with a huge appetite.  He eats delicious food, I would eat it (if I ate meat).  At meal time, he turns his head away from his food, the only thing I have gotten him to eat the past few days is scrambled eggs and sardines, and this equals about 1/2 cup at each meal.  He has been very tired, not wanting to go for walks, and also has been drinking A LOT more water than he usually does.  His belly seems really bloated and taut (but I don’t think it’s bloat), and he seems to be having a difficult time standing on his one back leg.  What has happened??  We just celebrated his 11th birthday on Friday, and he didn’t even show interest in the frosty paws I made for him.  

Can someone tell me if they would take their dog to the emergency vet over this?  Or should I wait until first thing in the morning and call my regular vet?  I feel like I’ve waited long enough, hoping he would get better, but he hasn’t.  And now it’s Sunday!!  Ugh.

There are so many thoughts and worries going through my head about what this could be.   I’m ready to find out what it is.  But I really hate going to the emergency vet, it’s so sterile, and we have lots of sad memories there.  But what if I wait and something really bad is going on inside Nesta, and then it’s too late by the morning?

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8 September 2013 - 2:15 pm
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I’m so sorry to heat that Nesta is not feeling well. I would urge you to go to the emergency vet. Right now it may seem like you can wait, but that could change quickly. You don’t want Nesta to be in a complete crisis. It’s very possible that whatever is going on is manageable and the emergency vet will be able to start and then you can follow up with your regular vet.

Please let us know how things turn out.


Forum Posts: 376
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8 September 2013 - 2:27 pm
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I also just read your blog post. Can I add that I would also ask for a chest X-ray. My Willow had no symptoms of mets in her lungs, three different vets checked her and didn’t think that she needed a chest X-ray…there was no coughing, wheezing or anything. She also was very weak and wouldn’t eat. Turns out that she had lung mets…only found out because she went into a crisis. I blame myself for not insisting on the X-ray.

I don’t mean to scare you, just don’t want you to be in the position that I was. I wish I had known even a day or two before. I hope Nesta has something much more manageable, but better to get it checked.


North Carolina
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8 September 2013 - 7:41 pm
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Carol, Thanks so much for your helpful response.  Sometimes it just takes the sound advice from an unbiased person to push one in the right direction.  We were already leaning towards going when I posted this, but then as soon as I read your response, it made more sense as to why we should go.  SO we went, and got there by 5pm.  Three hours later, we came out of that freezing cold sterile place with bad news.  Nesta has a large mass on his spleen, she unintentionally saw it while using the ultrasound scope to find a place to insert a urine specimen needle.  We are going to his oncologist first thing in the morning.  We could not get a real appointment, but I am dropping him off to sit there all day as a drop-in, so they can get to him in between appointments.  They will do more extensive ultrasound so we can find out if that is the only mass, and if it is, then possibly proceed with surgery.  UGH so sad, so bummed.  That’s all I have to say right now until we learn more.   


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8 September 2013 - 7:44 pm
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I am so sorry to hear that you got that news about the Mass. I hope your oncologist can give you some definate news about treatment.  Good luck and Nesta keep fighting buddy



Michelle & Angel Sassy


Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
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."


Forum Posts: 21043
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8 September 2013 - 8:08 pm
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Oh dear, what a day you have had! You and Nesta are home now so he can rest.
I jad been wondering how thing were going and, up u til these last few days, it appears Nesta has been doing well. And that’s a really good sign and you are getting a head start on this “thing”-

For whatever it’s worth, I have my pal Bodie..sitting on my laop….fiifteen…possible sixteen.. yr, old pup who had his spleen taken out two years ago with mass.. Ne’s a little guy so recocery wasn’t much of a big deal. A couple of days rest and ne was good as new. They can probablh do so ething troughthe oco. that may not even require surgery.

Several here havd had masses on spleens, livers, etc. and were able to keep things at bay a d get some wo derful quality ti e.

Remember, Nesta doesn’t k w about this “mass”, doesn’t care about it…..jist wants to be loved a d spoiled and loved and spoiled so e ore!

You are going to develop a plan…hou and Nesta are going tl lve forward after you’ve done your research ad enjoy some womderful quality time together! Lots of it!

Try and stay present in the moment! Let NOTHING rob you of your time together now!

We will be awaiting your next post. We are here for you. esta is sooooo handsome and e ks right by your side a d that’s all that matters!

Sending positive eergy to you….–

Sally and Happy Hannan

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!

Forum Posts: 376
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8 September 2013 - 8:22 pm
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Thank you for the update. I think you already knew you wanted to take Nesta, you just wanted someone to confirm what your instincts were telling you. I’m glad you went to the vet today and so sorry you came away with the news that you did, but will keep my fingers crossed that tomorrow’s news will be better.

We’re all thinking about you and Nesta.

Sending you love and hugs!


The Rainbow Bridge

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8 September 2013 - 8:39 pm
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Kassi, I just now caught up on your post and am so sorry to hear about the mass. I’m really, really glad you went with your instinct though, and if anything, now you know what you are dealing with and can come up with a plan to keep Nesta comfortable and happy. Please keep us posted on how your follow-up visit goes, we are thinking of you both.

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Forum Posts: 1153
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8 September 2013 - 8:59 pm
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Kassi, I am sorry for this news. If there is a good part to it, it’s that you found the mass. If it is hemangio, then you don’t often know in advance. Everyone here knows (and are probably sick of seeing me type it) that I absolutely hate-hate-hate hemgiosarcoma. And if that is not what Nesta has, then that is wonderful.

If they believe it to be hemangio, there are several here who have experienced it. If you want to discuss it, just send me a PM. I can point you to the others.

And for now, I hope that Nesta perks up and enjoys some good food and lovin’. Just continue to take the excellent care of him that you always have. 


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

New York, NY
Forum Posts: 1412
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8 September 2013 - 9:07 pm
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I am just catching up on this post.  I am so sorry to hear about Nesta but good for you for following your gut!  Please keep us posted on what the oncologist says tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about you!



Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at xoxo

Forum Posts: 781
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8 September 2013 - 9:34 pm
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I know that is not the news you wanted to hear. So sorry. Glad you went to the ER vet. Keep us updated.


Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

New Jersey
Forum Posts: 524
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25 May 2013
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9 September 2013 - 7:01 am
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Sorry to hear about Nesta. Keep us posted on your onco visit.

Either and Snoop

New Haven, CT
Forum Posts: 1193
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27 December 2012
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9 September 2013 - 8:22 pm
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Scary.  Did you get some news?  Did you hear some options?  A plan?  This is awful news.  I’m so sorry to hear it!  Please come back and report.  We’re worried about Nesta.  HUGS!!!!

~ Katy & Jackson

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!

North Carolina
Forum Posts: 24
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5 December 2012
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10 September 2013 - 12:17 pm
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Well….I’m back.  Been avoiding writing this for a day.  My heart is shattered; I’m at a loss and I don’t know what to do.  Nesta is in bad shape.  How in the world this happened so quickly, I will never understand!  All a sudden, he has two large tumors on his spleen, and several smaller ones on his liver.  He has loose fluid and blood in his abdomen, which shows he has been bleeding internally.  I knew something was happening, and actually I think I can even say that I know the bleeding must have occurred last Thursday night, when I could tell something was happening with him.

The oncologist says she does not recommend any treatments from here, like chemo or even surgery.  Damn it!  What happened?  We were doing so well.  She says he has anywhere from a day to a month left in him.  But how and when am I supposed to decide that?  What is going to happen?  She says this is very uncharacteristic of osteosarcoma to redevelop in the abdomen.  She mentioned it could be hemangio.  But we will never know without doing surgery.  How can it be that such a healthy vibrant dog could get two different kinds of terrible cancer?  She said in all her years, she has only seen about 6 cases of osteosarcoma moving into the abdomen.  But maybe we are in that small percent.

Right now he is very dumpy.  Being very picky about what he eats, just wants to lie around.  Goes outside only to pee and then wants to come right back in.  His belly is swollen and looks heavy.  But it wasn’t like that last week!!  I can’t believe this.  

How do you know when it’s time?  I am still hung up on some miracle happening.  I don’t want to just give up.  But maybe Nesta wouldn’t mind that?  Ugh. This is the hardest thing (besides loosing my mom when I was 19) that I have ever had to go through.  I have regrets.  Maybe I should have done chemo. Or maybe he would still be battling this anyway.  I feel like I should have/could have done more. I know, I know, don’t feel that way.  But its so damn hard not too!  He is my soul mate, my best friend, the love of my LIFE.  this hurts so bad.  


10 September 2013 - 12:39 pm
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I’m sorry you have come to this point.

For now you have to get all those doubts and thoughts out of your head- now it is all about Nesta. 

My little pug Maggie also had two cancers- I think the second diagnosis was more devastating than the first.  But once I came to grips with the news I focused on her.  What I did was define what her minimum life quality was for her, what I was willing to do and more importantly what I would not do.  Maggie wasn’t really eating because of kidney failure so I could not use that as a gauge.  But I knew that she did not tolerate pain meds, so when the time came that she needed pain meds then we would be at the end.  Since I had set the boundaries I knew when she was done.  And even more than that Maggie gave me a look on that last night that said it all.

I know this is devastating news and so hard not to wonder what if… but the bottom line is there is no way you will ever know what would have happened. I have seen lots of pups her who had chemo and did not have long. 

It is important now to be strong for Nesta- come here and we will help you stay strong.

Also- get clear info from your vet on what to expect- what could happen.  You need to know what to look for to make sure Nesta stays as comfortable as possible.



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