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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Nika - 5yr old husky with osteosarcoma, 10 days post surgery
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Member Since:
23 April 2024
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7 May 2024 - 4:05 pm
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I want to give a huge thank you to Tripawds creators and contributors for such a wonderful resource - I have found so much helpful information.

Our 5.5 year old Alaska husky is dealing with osteosarcoma, primary tumor in the left distal radius.  It seems like a fairly classic presentation - an unresolving limp since late March and not improving with conservative treatment (rest, ice, NSAIDs), swelling in the wrist and progressively less weight bearing on that limb, a highly-probably finding of OSA based on xrays, and then amputation 6 days later (4/27).  We received post-surgery biopsy results back today with the definitive diagnosis.  No lung mets as of the 4/20 xrays.

So far she is a trooper and learning to get around on 3 legs pretty darn well. We couldn't believe it when we picked her up the next morning and she came slowly hopping into the exam room on her own 3 legs!  While we were wondering how to help her into the car she simply hopped up on the back seat as she usually does!  We only have 1 step to manage into the house and have followed all suggestions for traction and baby gates to block off the stairs.

We are really pleased that our vet has provided good pain management , seems to be very much in line with the guidance given here.  After an overnight stay on Fentanyl drip they sent her home with daily Simplicef (antibiotic), daily 60mg Galliprant (~NSAID) and 300mg Gabapentin to give as needed 1-2 every 8-12 hrs (surgeon said 12h, we have varied it from 6-8-12 hrs after reading experiences on Tripawds and also this helpful article about maintaining adequate serum levels of gabapentin).  We are starting to taper the gabapentin down at day 10, we were finally able to get some 100mg capsules from the vet so we can be a bit more flexible with the dosage.  It's been very effective at sedating (a desirable side effect; Trazodone doesn't work for us at all) but also makes her hopping a bit clumsier and it's nice to see her perk up as we back off.  For the last few days she has even been laying on her incision side with no obvious discomfort.  Any tips on how long we should take to taper down to 0?

We have no vet oncologist in state but our vet has a telephone consult scheduled so we can discuss what chemo options they may be able to provide.

nikaImage Enlarger


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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7 May 2024 - 7:49 pm
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Welcome to you and you're very resilient Husky! Your post has been approved and you will be able to get more input now as you continue to navigate through recovery.

First of all, congratulations on clear x-rays! That's excellent news! And give yourself a pat on the back for doing a wonderful job of supporting your husky through recovery. You have done your research here and have acted on your knowledge in a very proactive way. It sounds like you have a good handle on the medication, keeping the activity moderated and understanding that recovery doesn't last forever!


You'll want to keep your vet in the loop on your plan for reducing the gabapentin. Some dogs can wean themselves off around the two week plus mark, others may take a little bit longer.

The fact that he is able to lay on his incision side is a good indicator that it's not too sore. It took my happy Hannah several weeks before she wanted to lay on that side.

It looks like you tried to maybe post a picture? Here's a link for adding images . You'll find a helpful video as you scroll through the suggestions. Let us know if you need any help and we would be more than happy to get a picture up of your wonderful husky. They are such smart, happy, handsome and intelligence pups!


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!

Member Since:
23 April 2024
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7 May 2024 - 10:27 pm
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The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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8 May 2024 - 10:45 am
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Hi Nika, welcome! I'm sorry you had to join our club but glad you found us. And thank you for the compliment! Also for sharing the article by Dr. Grubb. I hadn't seen that one, and will be adding it to our resources. We interviewed her here, she's amazing!

Really sounds like she is doing great! When it comes to tapering, usually spacing the dosages farther and farther apart is one way to tell how much relief she needs as time goes on. Great job getting the 100 mg capsules, that will help.

Alaskan Huskies are incredibly resilient dogs, as you've already seen. Are you actually in Alaska? If so, we are too! It would be fun to meet up when Nika is up to it 🙂

P.S. looks like you tried to share Google photos. For some reason they're not embedding here. If you share the link by just Creating a Link from the image share icon, and then pasting it into your post, we should be able to see it. I can't wait!

Member Since:
23 April 2024
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20 May 2024 - 12:24 am
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I wanted to update here - Nika is now 3+ weeks post-amputation surgery and doing really well.  We are going for a few 10-15 min walks each day and it's amazing to see her navigating long grass and mudholes and hopping along with her nose to the ground checking out smells.  She definitely becomes tired quickly, so we take lots of breaks and let her set the pace.  She has been able to see her dog friends again this past week and hang out with supervision.  The other dogs seem to know to be gentler than before and Nika seems to know she can't keep up with their antics and will eventually lay down to have a rest and watch the goings on.

Her incision is healing super well.  We had to revisit the vet today as a 2" circle of skin above the incision has been showing some small signs of infection - possible a razor rash from when they shaved her? - and she keeps licking at it and irritating it further.  Hopefully the new antibiotic cream will sort that out.

Our first chemo treatment is scheduled for later this week, our local vet was able to consult with an out-of-state vet oncologist and get set up to administer carboplatin.

I know my photos didn't share properly earlier, so hopefully these links will work:






The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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20 May 2024 - 8:06 pm
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Awww she is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the photos, we can see them now. She's got a look in her eyes that says "Hey! I've got this!"

Good to follow her lead and make sure she's taking things slow. It's so hard for a Husky to do that. Being with her furiends is really making her day I'll bet.

Let us know how things go this week with the chemo and the incision area. Good thing you caught that area. As long as she stays away from linking it (hope she doesn't need the cone!), it should heal. 

Keep up the great work with your amazing girl!

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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20 May 2024 - 8:30 pm
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She is gorgeous!

And she looks really good- strong and balanced.  Keep up the good healing!


Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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