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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My husband brought Colt to get his sutures removed and spoke with the doctor about the biopsy results. She said that it did come back as osteosarcoma, but she suggested we do a consult with an oncologist, specifically because she doesn’t see a lot of osteosarcoma, and she especially doesn’t know what to say because it was in his muscle and not in his bones.
She’s happy with the margins, but she can’t 100% say that the amputation can be considered curative. And of course she had to caution that sometimes these have a 6 to 9 month prognosis.
Has anyone had any experience with this type of osteosarcoma? Just looking to hear some other stories about it.
…it did come back as osteosarcoma, but…she especially doesn’t know what to say because it was in his muscle and not in his bones.
You definitely want to consult with a board certified oncologist for any cancer related diagnosis. It is more likely a chondrosarcoma, or fibrosrcoma, as it is our understanding that osteosarcoma affects the bone. (osteo=bone)
And as far as prognosis goes, vets always present the worst case scenario. They told us Jerry had 6± months, and he loved life on three legs for two years, without IV chemotherapy.
The type of tumor you may be dealing with is called “extraskeletal osteosarcoma” but it is most commonly found in the breast tissue, and can present in the skin – apparently, very rarely in the limb. Regardless, if osteosarcoma is the culprit, it will eventually present in the bone and the case should be reviewed by a board certified veterinary oncologist.
20 December 2008
Hey there! This must be the month for atypical osteosarcomas! Codie Rae had a tumor in her mouth identified as osteo that did not start in the bone but rather the periodontal ligament (not sure if that qualifies as extraskeletal osteo or not since teeth are considered part of the skeletal system). As far as we know her jaw bone is not affected (paws crossed). We had the tumor debulked and some teeth pulled and then did electrochemotherapy on the affected area. Have you considered chemo at all yet? Typically it is done systemically and dogs tolerate it fairly well. But there are some alternatives that deliver chemo directly to the tumor or the area where the tumor was to ensure that all the cancer cells are whacked.
Electrochemo involves what are called intralesional injections directly in to a tumor that is inoperable or into the area where the tumor was when margins are not optimal. Cell walls are not that permeable for chemo drugs so following the chemo injections an electrical current is applied to the area. This makes the cell walls temporarily more permeable and allows chemo to enter the cells. Once the current is removed the cells become less permeable so more chemo is trapped inside to do its work. This increases the effect of the chemo up to 1000 times so fewer treatments are required than traditional chemo. While there are no large trials using this technique, either in humans or dogs, it appears to be highly effective. Unfortunately there are not many vets in this country using this technique but it is much more prevalent in Europe and Australia. Here is a website that explains more and lists vets that do the procedure (the list is not entirely up to date though) http://www.vete…..erapy.com/
A couple of years ago another of our tripawds had a soft tissue sarcoma on his leg and we elected to go with intralesional injections of a chemo drug called 5-Fluorouracil instead of chemo or radiation after tumor removal (we did not know about electrochemo then). They only managed to get ‘close’ margins on the tumor (@1mm) so follow up treatment was definitely indicated. So far so good, there has been no local recurrence and Travis is in good health otherwise–no sign of mets! And it was SO much easier on him than the bazillion radiation treatments they were recommending.
Hope this isn’t too much info too soon! Just wanted to let you know there are other treatments besides radiation and systemic chemo–definitely worth bringing up when you consult with an oncologist! They are cheaper and require fewer treatments overall than the traditional treatments.
Best of luck to you and Colt! Looking forward to following his adventures on three!
Martha, Codie Rae, and the Oaktown Pack
Woohoo! Tripawds Rule!
Regulator of the Oaktown Pack, Sheriff of the Oaktown Pawsse, Founding member and President of the Tripawd Girldogs With 2 Names ROCK Club, and ... Tripawd Girldog Extraordinaire!
We have a consult on Tuesday at 8:30am. So, hopefully I will have a better understanding then!
otherwise, he’s doing well. He’s adjusting. He’s very hesitant on going up stairs, even when trying to use the harness, but to be fair… the main set of stairs he’s always been a little hesitant on. He’s definitely better at going down than up.
I’m sure he will figure it out, especially since he hates to be picked up!
Oh good luck today! I hope you get some answers to put your mind at ease. We’d love to hear the feedback you got.
As for the stairs. As I mentioned on Instagram, remember that going up will always be a bit harder on a rear leg amputee. If you check out “How to Help Your Tripawd on Stairs” you can see how we helped Jerry with the harness. Wyatt Ray , our rear legger, needed similar help, more going up of course. Treats, treats, and lots of bribery helped him overcome his fear of steps (especially the open-back kind, that took him a long time to get used to).
Well, pupdate time.
The discussion with the oncologist was mostly positive, but now I’m faced with a choice that I feel like I don’t have enough information to make.
After looking at all the reports and speaking with surgeon and pathologist, the oncologist determined that it originated from the pubis area of the pelvis. It then grew out into his inguinal (groom) area to the tumor that we discovered.
The good news is that he has no signs of metastasis at this time. Margins were good and his lungs are clean. He thinks that there is a small chance it will spread, but he still thinks we should consider chemo.
I don’t know if I have the resources to cover another medical expense, especially when I don’t know… does he need it? Will he need it? Will it even completely cure him?
He’s not currently eligible for the ELISA vaccine trial because tissue would have had to be taken at the time of surgery.
I’m considering wait and see, but I’m so afraid of making the wrong choice here.
First, that is great news that there are no mets! YEAH! Don’t forget to celebrate that with Colt!
There are no right or wrong choices here, but even if there were you can’t go wrong as long as you follow your heart and do what you feel he would want. If paying for chemo will stress you out, that’s not good medicine for Colt.
With or without chemo there are no guarantees for longevity. We have seen results all over the map. Some dogs will do great without it, some will not. Some will get chemo and still not do well. You just never know.
For a more complex diagnosis like this one, it may pay off to have you consult with a veterinary teaching hospital who can give you another perspective. The CSU oncology consulting service is one such place you can turn to, among many other vet schools that will offer it. Talking with a third party may help you feel better about what you decide to do.
You may also want to see this blog post about making the chemotherapy decision: