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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18 December 2017
hope you all are well. I am a long time lurker and I just want to say I love how supportive this community is.
Brooky is the light of our life. My heart dog. She is a 7 year old German Shepherd. Unfortunately our journey with OSA began in March of 2017 when she was diagnosed with OSA in the ulna of her forelimb. Due to her "size" our local vet recommended against amputation and for palliative care. Determined to give her a fighting chance, we went to a local oncologist who recommended amputation or limp sparing surgery.
We chose limp sparing surgery in april of 2017 followed by 6 rounds of Carboplatin. The path report came back with negative margins and post op she did very well. She was doing absolutely fantastic (running, jumping, playing) up until one week ago when she began to limp in the originally affected limb. Over the course of several days, her carpus joint swelled rapidly and her limp became worse even with restricted activity. Local vet believes it is a recurrence and doubled her Rimadyl which has not helped after two days. Could not get an appointment with the oncologist until tomorrow and he phoned in gabapentin for the meantime.
Where we need help:
With the gabapentin and the rimadyl she is still limping significantly. She is lethargic even on the 600mg of gabapentin. She is still "smiling" eating, drinking, roaming around outside, and getting up to greet us when we return. I don't want to say goodbye if she is still enjoying life.
I know there is no right or wrong choice, but euthanasia is a permanent choice and I want to be sure there is nothing else we could try for pain relief and to help her ambulate even if we are at the end. I would give up a thousand Christmases even for another week but I want her to enjoy it. Our oncologist seems open to recommendations, so I would appreciate any stories of experiences with palliative care. I am interested in Bisphosphonates and possibly radiation, although the latter carries the risk of pathological fracture.
Thank you all in advance for reading, and for any advice. It would mean the world to me and my family.
25 April 2007
Hi Brooky and family, welcome. We are so glad you decided to register and post as a member. Sorry you had to though, this is the club nopawdy really wants to join.
First, breathe try not to think the worst. Did your vet take any x-rays? If this is the same vet who said she wasn't a candidate for surgery I would hold off on that recurrence theory until you meet with the oncologist. Because as you can see here, we have numerous German Shepherd Tripawds who have done great on 3 legs. And the modern school of thought in the vet community is that size need not be an issue when it comes to living as an amputee, provided that the dog doesn't have a ton of orthopedic issues . It sounds like the vet doesn't see a lot of osa cases?
This could be something as simple as a muscle strain or joint injury of some sort. Carpus joint injuries are very common in front leg amputees. What's her daily activity like? Could she have ran too far/too fast or played too hard recently to cause this? We've seen this happen many times here, it's not unusual and it's often something that's easily remedied with the right combination of pain management and rehabilitation therapy.
If you still want to think about a recurrence (I know it's hard not to think the worst), then I encourage you to read the story of Hazel, a Great Dane who did great with bisphosphonates and stereotactic radiation therapy. There have been others just like her, so she's not an anomaly by any means, just the first one who comes to mind right now.
OK I hope this helps. Stay tuned for feedback from others and if you want to talk the Tripawds Helpline is available and you can stop by the Tripawds Chat room to see if anyone's online there. Let us know how tomorrow goes OK? We'll be thinking of you and hoping for the best.
22 February 2013
Brooky sounds like a feisty gal who still has a zest for life 🙂 And your love and devotion for her comes shining through.
Not clear on why amputation is off the table IF this is a recurrence. Brooky is already showing an ability to ha dle three legs because of her limp. Larger dogs can somew have a slower recovery, but they usy adapte just fine without a painful leg!
My Happy Hannah was a 125 lb chunk of a Bull Mastiff who had a rear amp and was up and walking within 24'hrs. Recovw was no picnic for several weeks. Once recovery was over though, her sparkle cam baxk and she lived life to the fullest for another year and two months.
I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but this is not the end of the road, okay? And the lethargy good be in lart due to the Gaba. Gabapentin tends to give a sedative effect in ma y dogs.
Keep us posted and let us know ho we can help.
In the meantime continue to spoil and love and live in the moment! Brooky lives from moment to momr and could care less about days on a calendar. She does care about tummy rubs, treats, and seeing you happy just being by her side! 🙂 🙂
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!