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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23 August 2019
Hello. I am new to this site. My 10-year old border terrier, Blitz, has had 3 different sarcomas (level III) removed from his left hind leg in the last 3 years (the second time we did get clean margins, but it recurred anyway). Lymph node biopsy behind affected leg and chest x-ray do not show metastasis, however, the sarcoma will recur (no clean margins for this last time) and it is not known if there would be enough tissue to close the wound again, so removal may not be possible any more.
We were referred to an oncology vet who recommended chemo. and radiation, with radiation being the most beneficial. There are very few studies on this type of cancer, so he didn’t have much to go on to show if treatment would be beneficial. And, to do both chemo and radiation would be about $8,000. The cost is prohibitive (2 kids in college right now) and I don’t even know what the success rate would be if I could pay for it. Amputation is radical, but has to be considered. And if we have to chose amputation….when? Now or wait until the next sarcoma appears? What if it spreads by then? It hasn’t in 3 years but what if we’ve just been lucky?
Blitz is my baby and I am an emotional wreck trying to find answers and make a decision. Treatment now, right after the last removal surgery, is highly recommended, so I feel stressed.
I found a perfect research study at Purdue for sarcomas, but he would need to wait until he gets another one. The other issue is that I live about 2.5 hours away. There are no research studies at the University of Illinois, which is only 45 min. from me.
So, my questions are: does anyone know of a research study that Blitz might qualify for? I will take him anywhere in the country. Is there anyone in this community who has had a similar experience who might help me?
18 October 2009
Hello and welcome to you and Blitz, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.
I’m sorry you are dealing with recurring cancer!
Are you talking about a soft tissue sarcoma?
Here is a blog post on How to Find Clinical Trials for Pets with Cancer and Other Health Conditions.
And some less know treatment options, although limited in availability:
Here is a blog post on Local Intralesional Chemotherapy Treatment for Pet Cancer.
And this one on The Electrochemotherapy Pet Cancer Treatment Option.
Our local friend in the OakTown pack have used both, you will see Travis Ray and Codie Rae mentioned in the blog posts. You could send a PM to Martha for more information , her user name is Codie Rae.
I’ve had two rear amp small dogs, my Pug Maggie lost a leg to mast cell cancer and my current Tripawd Elly lost a rear leg to a car accident. I can share more about them if you do choose to pursue amputation.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
27 July 2014
I’m sorry to hear that your dog’s cancer recurred. My cat Mona had a fibrosarcoma and the best option was amputation with hopes the cancer hadn’t yet spread. It’s 5 years later and the vet and I believe she is cancer-free.
Before Mona’s amputation, I would have thought of it as a drastic measure. When the vet said it was necessary to save her life I put my faith in him and was thrilled when, after the amputation, the pathologist’s report said the margins were “huge” and the lymph nodes tested were clean.
Although the results look good I’m fully aware that another tumour may pop up or Mona may develop another disease. At this time she seems to be cancer-free but has recently developed kidney disease. It’s the chance we take loving a pet.
Karen gave you some other treatments to research. Of course all treatments take time, money and emotional energy. Amputations also take recovery time.
It may be good to discuss your financial concerns and other more affordable options with the oncologist. Vets, oncologists, surgeons also understand the stresses of financial burdens on a pet’s family. Once you’ve researched all of the options and costs the best treatment option may become clear.
Trial research studies generally have costs associated and your pet may end up in the control group. They are testing the safety and effectiveness of new treatments and there are no guarantees. If you find a trial, ensure it meets your expectations.
All the best in your decision-making.
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona