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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Really wavering with the chemo
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Forum Posts: 60
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20 July 2010 - 5:27 pm
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Pixie is scheduled to start chemo on Thursday, a combo of prednisone and vinblastine. The closer it gets to the time I am wondering if we should do it. She is just getting back on her feet and to poison her with the potent drugs that kill good cells along with bad cells just does not sit right. WHat are the chances that the MCT spread was confined to the lymph node that was removed? I talked to her vet, and he said it is my decision, but that in general, this is all kind of a crapshoot (my words, not his). You hope that you get lucky and kill those last cells but many times it just does not happen. To think of seeing her so debilitated with this stuff in her….I am literally feeling nauseated at the thought. I know for humans, that chemo in general is much harder on us than on dogs, but I guess I just do not know exactly what the side effects that this protocol are.



Edmonton, Alberta
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20 July 2010 - 5:41 pm
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It’s a tough spot you’re in, Alicia. So many of us on this site have been there. I’m not familiar with the protocol of prednisone and vinblastine at all so I’ll leave that to others with more knowledge than I but I just wanted to say I empathize with your feelings of indecision. It’s clear you so want to do what is best for Pixie.

Hang in there. 





Catie -

Birthday – November 4 2003

Amputation – January 13 2010

Crossed the Bridge – June 2 2011

 Catie Caitlin 

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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20 July 2010 - 5:45 pm
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I wish I could calm your fear, but I know nothing about this protocol.  Trouble took carboplatin, and I, too was extremely reluctant.  My husband and Dr F were convinced this was the right move, but I was just so put off by it.  They finally convinced me to do one treatment. If it was bad for her we would stop after that one. 

Trouble did remarkably well.  Very little nausea, was tired for about 24 hours, some chills, but overall she bounced back in less than 24 hours.  When I saw that, I had to keep going. 

It is a personal decision, and I hope someone on the same protocol jumps in with their personal experience.  There are lots of folks who decide not to for one reason or another.  Best of luck to the both of you as you face this next portion of the journey.

Paws and fingers crossed for you.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

20 July 2010 - 6:28 pm
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I am not sure which protocol Brandy is on, but she did extremely well on her first two Chemo treatments.  We were so worried that since she had such a tough recovery from the amputation, that she would have a rough time on the Chemo.  However, she has done absolutely wonderful!  As I write this, she is at the vet getting her third round of Chemo.  The vet just called us to inform us she is doing very good and resting comfortably during her current session.  The day of her first Chemo, she ate all her dinner, drank water like it was going out of style and went for a swim in the pool.  Three weeks later she went in for her second round of Chemo.  The doctor checked her blood and everthing was great and she was cleared for the second dose.  Once again, she did fantastic during treatment.  When she got home she was eating, drinking and playing as usual.  The only thing we noticed after this session was a little nausea if she ate too fast and too much.  Nothing major, only had a few occurances.  About a week ago, she developed a skin infection.  A few bumps that looked a little like warts appeared near her surgury scar.  The vet said it was due to the weakening of her immune system because of the Chemo so they put her on antibiotics to clear it up.  The bumps are already going away.  The vet said that once the Chemo is complete, her immune system will stregthen back to normal.   I will let you know how she is doing after todays session when we get her home.  Hopefully she handles it as well as she did before.  Brandy had Osteosarcoma (very aggressive) so we decided to give her the best fighting chance we could.  After this, it is all up to her immune system.  Chemo was a good choice for us and Brandy.  I hope this bit of information helps, I will give an update on Brandy when we get her home…

western Washington
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20 July 2010 - 7:14 pm
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I feel for you. I know what you mean that you feel that you’ve put your baby through so much already.

But, I have to say, for my Kona, too, chemo has been our choice. We too, want to give her the best chances.

I have to say that she too, has been doing really well with the chemo. She’s so far gone through two of three treatments.

Kona too, ate just fine after treatment. In fact, on the drive home, she smelled the crunchy bones that I had on the front seat (that I was given at the bank…) and demanded, yes, DEMANDED all three of them on the drive home. Luckily, she hasn’t had any nausea from her treatments, just a little bit of diarhea on the first treatment. She too, has bounced back very quickly from each treatment.

The only problem we had was from the first treatment, because the prescribed amount of sedative (that we gave her an hour before leaving for the hospital for treatment) was too much for her and made her really drugged out….I think that’s why she had the lil diarhea problem too…..on her second treatment, we greatly reduced the sedative (going to the vet really stresses her…) and no problems at all!

We stand by you whatever decision you make. After all, you’re deciding for your baby.

I just know that we are so happy that we decided to follow through with the chemo too.





Kona turned 9yrs on April 16, 2010.
Kona was diagnosed Memorial Weekend 2010 with osteosarcoma.
Right rear leg amputated on June 4th. First chemo June 18th 2010
Second chemo July 9th, 2010      Third and final (yea !!!) chemo July 30th, 2010
ONE TOUGH GIRL this Australian Cattledog !

***Kona's journey/fight ended late in the evening of December 22, 2010***

                               We Love you so much Kona….always   

  Bella 9yrs, albino lab/aussie shep/pit?(abandoned in mts as a puppy) deaf & blind (from birth) in one eye limited vision in other.(laid back, ok lazy 73 lbs)

Cotton, 5yrs, albino hound/terrier of somesort/???(abandoned in mts as a puppy) deaf & blind in one eye(from birth), excellent vision in seeing eye. (ball addict…destroyer of Kong balls…yes,etc), high energy 55lbs knots of muscle)

Kona Kai's pup brother and sister as well as her buddy and playmate cat, Shaymous 12yrs (like Seamus), miss her terribly.

Wesley Chapel, FL
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20 July 2010 - 7:25 pm
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Well, your vet is kind of right… it is a crapshoot! Some dogs do great on chemo, others don’t… Sometimes chemo helps alot, sometimes it doesn’t… But none of us, including the vets, know exactly what will happen. Sure there are statistics… But we all have to make our own choices for our babies… I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer… Whatever you decide to do, it will be in the best interest of your Pixie… and if it helps… then great! But if not… then at least you tried your best.

Guess I didn’t really help you with your decision… Sorry… In my case, I didn’t have the extra funds to try any chemo… Maybe if I did, my Jake would still be here… maybe not. I’ll never know. But I tried my best… and I loved him until the very end… That’s all you can do.

Angel Jake and Wolfie’s Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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20 July 2010 - 7:41 pm
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I’ll put our 3 paws worth in. When we did Gus’ surgery we felt we got the cancer early and I made the decision at that time to NOT do chemo. My fear was if he had side effects that would make him sick, not himself, or whatever they might be, knowing Gus I felt if I could give him the best life without anymore pain or suffering then that is what I wanted. I have no regrets. Once he healed he was himself and did pretty much what he did before. Unfortunately about 8 weeks ago we dicovered he had lung mets, even the vet was surprised at how aggressive the cancer was since it had only been a couple months before the x-rays showed a clear chest. I now have him on the metronomic therapy of cytoxin and doxycycline along with power mushrooms hoping to slow the growth down. He is also on prednisone ,he has slowed some, but it has been hot, but I can also tell the cancer is progressing but not to the point he is having problems or uncomfortable.He has been happy and I wouldn’t change the way I did anything. I know it’s a tough call, and it sucks, but when you make a decision, make sure you can live with it and not second guess yourself, that will eat you up. Decide and go with it knowing you are doing what you feel best for Pixie. Good luck, Gus and Dan

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Here and Now

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20 July 2010 - 8:51 pm
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One thing we often tell people contemplating chemo is that there is no law stating you must keep it up if your dog does not tolerate the first treatment well. Some dogs have no side effects whatsoever. Others have nearly died due to complications, well one, that we know of, since starting this site.

So, if cost isn’t the primary reason for concern, you can always proceed with one session to see how it goes. Just a thought.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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20 July 2010 - 9:30 pm
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Others have nearly died due to complications, well one, that we know of, since starting this site.


And remember Sophie got super sick, too and had to be hospitalized.  Kensington did almost die!   And countless have been very nauseated that took days to recover from.  And then there are some that have no effects.


If I had reservations, I wouldn’t do it.   It’s your decision and you are not making a wrong decision.  No one knows for sure if it will buy time or not.

Best wishes!


Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Golden Girls
21 July 2010 - 6:59 am
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Skyler started chemo 2 weeks after her surgery to remove a MCT in her right rear leg. At that time, the Dr. felt the cancer hadn’t spread, so we decided to do chemo. Her protocol was Vinblastin every week for 8 weeks. She also took prednisone and cytoxin (cytoxin was every day for a week – then every other day). She had no side effects at all from the chemo. She would be tired when we picked her up after chemo, and it would last maybe a day, but I know she didn’t get her usual daily nap while having chemo.

Although the cancer did end up spreading, we still stick by all of our decisions. We had more time with Skyler becuase of the amputation and chemo. Cancer follows no rules or timetables. It can be one way for one, and another for someone else. Listen to your heart. You’ll make your decision based on your love for Pixie. Just spend quality time with her, and live for today.


Keeping our paws crossed for you, and sending lots of pawsitive thoughts your way!



21 July 2010 - 8:54 am
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Hi Alicia,

I know you have read about Maggie’s chemo experience

When I initially decided to do the amputation I though it would be curative since there was no signs of the cancer anywhere else in her body.  I was pretty shocked when the oncologist called a few days after the surgery and told me there were signs of mets in her lymph system.  I felt that since I had put her through the amputation  I owed it to her to try the chemo since it seemed to give her the best shot for survival.  Life quality was the most important thing for us, and that is how our oncologist approached treatment.  We started with low doses, slowly increased, then backed off the dosage when Mag showed some signs of reaction.  She never got sick and other than some tiredness and lack of appetite once or twice she did fine during her 6 months of treatment.

As Admin said- you can always start and see how she does.  If she does not tolerate it very well you can stop.  Although depending on how long she is on the prednisone you need to taper off of that.

Also remember- there are no ‘what ifs’.  We can never know if a different decision would have led to a different result.  So be comfortable and confident with whatever you decide.  You are making decisions with Pixie’s best interest at heart so you can’t be wrong.  We will support you no matter what you decide.



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21 July 2010 - 10:11 am
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Thank you, all of you, for all the answers. I guess we have decided to start the chemo tomorrow. As some of you have said, if it is too hard on her, we can always stop. I have to stop looking at this as a human things, dogs ARE different and react to drugs differently. The protocol starts with a higher dose of meds and works downward, it is only ten weeks, she is strong and eating much better now, so she has a lot going in her favo, and Karen, she has used the harness and looks cute as a bug in it, like a little ladybug. Thanks again. I need to get some pictures of her, but I just seem to have a mindblock against it since the amputation. Silly, she looks good even with the leg gone, but I guess to see it in a photo makes it all much more real.

I know we will not regret the amputatation – ever. It was the best thing, we had a pretty uneventful recovery and she is in shape for tomorrow. So here is when I close my eyes, make a wish and blow those dandelion seeds all over the grass. Right? way-confused


Edited to add: Just found out that my other half has to have a knee repalcement next month. What the he** is going on in this house? One kid without a leg, one dog without a leg, one dog with HALF a leg and now a knee replacement. Should we laugh or shoot ourselves? My luck, I would shoot myself in the knee and have to have it amputated. Good god.

The Rainbow Bridge

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21 July 2010 - 10:17 am
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Alicia, every day you sound better and better, this makes us all so hoppy.

I saw the biggest dandelion flower this week near our house. I’ll make sure to walk over there and make a wish for you two.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 July 2010 - 10:54 am
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alicia said:

 My luck, I would shoot myself in the knee and have to have it amputated. Good god.


laughing When we got the cancer diagnosis, the suspension on my car (Which I bought with Charlie in mind) also went out. So I’d limp (ouch, a pun) the car along to get him to all his appointments. It has been 7 weeks (since the suspicion of cancer) and I just got the car fixed on Sunday. “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.” laughing

"I don't know where I am."

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