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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Rocky's Doing Great But Should We Do Chemo?
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Member Since:
1 April 2019
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7 July 2019 - 6:19 pm
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So sorry I haven't been around lately just wanted to let every one know Rocky is 7 weeks post amputation and doing great. This dog continues to amaze us everyday.  Three legs does not slow him down..The other night he was so scared of the fireworks and we found him under the bed hiding  (how he fit and turned around  is a mystery to this day😂. ) the surgeon and our vet agreed that Rocky should have chemo,  we're having a hard time with this decision . Possible someone who's gone through this could tell me how it effected them. Just so conflicted with why do we need to put him through this 'as a precautionary measure'.smiley6 

Member Since:
26 January 2017
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9 July 2019 - 9:50 am
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First off, great name for your pup. smiley4

The chemo decision is really a personal one. Plenty of people here opted for chemo and were happy with the decision; plenty of others opted against it and were just as happy. There's really no "right" decision (or "wrong" one either) when it comes to chemo. 

For my Rocky, I decided to do chemo. He received five rounds of Carboplatin (he was supposed to get six, but the cancer started spreading after round 5). We then did Palladia, followed by Leukeran and something else (the name began with an M, but I can't remember it off the top of my head). 

In general, chemo isn't nearly as hard on our pets as it is on humans. Rocky's oncologist told me 90 percent of her patients never experience any side effects. Other than a couple of low blood counts after rounds 4 and 5, Rocky never had any issues with the chemo. 

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9 July 2019 - 10:30 am
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Ditto David (Rocky).  There really is no right or wrong.

But first I have a question  or two of you don't  mind refreshing  my memory.  Was it osteosarcoma  ot another kind?   Generally, with osteo anyway,  carboplatin  chemo is recommended  at the two week-ish mark. 

And glad to hear Rocky is doing  so well!!!


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!

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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9 July 2019 - 1:55 pm
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It's great that Rocky is doing so well!

To second what David said, most pups have little or no side effects from chemo, so don't base your decision on that.  And besides, if you did choose to do chemo and Rocky didn't tolerate it you could always stop.

That being said, I agree with both Sally and David that doing chemo is really a personal decision- what is best for Rocky and your family? 

What I like to do before making a decision like this is to get all the info I can...what is the chemo drug recommended? What would the treatment schedule be?  Would he have to stay at the vet all day? How does he do at the vet and traveling (if needed). What are the odds that Rocky's cancer would metastasize with and without chemo?  What is the cost?

Another tough question to ask yourself is: if the cancer were to come back would you feel really bad and blame yourself for not trying everything? Or would you be comfortable that you did everything that was right for Rocky?

Life quality is HUGE and maybe the most important consideration in my book. I've made the chemo decision three times for different cancers in two dogs.  Once I chose to do chemo and twice I declined. My Pug Maggie did about 6 or 7 months of chemo for her mast cell cancer after her amputation.  She was a bit lethargic sometimes and once had nausea but did not throw up.  Meds took care of the symptoms and chemo doses were adjusted to keep her from having any effects.  In her case I chose chemo because her prognosis was poor, with chemo we were trying for 6 to 9 months, without chemo she was given 2 to 3 months I think.

I suggest you write down your thought process for what ever path you choose.  I did that in the two cases where I chose not to do chemo.    When doubts crept in about my decisions I could look back at my notes and reassure myself that I had made the right choice. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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

Member Since:
19 February 2018
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9 July 2019 - 8:42 pm
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Hi there. I am SO glad to hear Rocky is doing so well 🙂

I also struggled with "to do chemo or not" after my Vigo was diagnosed with stage 3 soft tissue sarcoma and had his forelimb amputated. We decided to try it, and if he seemed sick or miserable from it we would stop. For me I wanted to at least give it a try. Vigo ended up doing 4 rounds of doxyrubicin (the recommendation was 5 treatments but we opted for 4 since the oncologist thought 4 would still be effective). It's been almost a year and a half and he is still with us and kicking ass! He has had a host of other health problems, with the latest being a mass in his liver. We do not know if it's malignant, but at this point he has been through so much, and he is getting old, so we are choosing not to pursue cytology/biopsy and will give try to provide him with the best quality of life for the time he has left.

The decision to do chemo is very personal. Everyone else's advice on here is great. I would definitely ask the oncologist a lot of questions. I remember Vigo seemed pretty lethargic after his first treatment, but they adjusted the dose and for the rest of them he did great. For me, I personally felt the need to do everything I could do for him, and if it didn't work at least I knew I tried. Also, just knowing that we could stop treatment at any point really helped. We also have pet insurance so that was a game changer. I cannot say that I would make the same choice if we did not....

Whatever you decide to do will be the right decision for you and Rocky. Best of luck.

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