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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Second Great Dane with Osteosarcoma
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Member Since:
8 May 2008
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13 November 2016 - 8:53 am
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Our first Dane, Moose was diagnosed over 10 years ago.  That is when we met Jim and Rene.  They saw a video of Moose post amp digging for gophers with only one front leg and gave them hope for their recently diagnosed dog, Jerry.  Moose was lucky enough to have beat osteosarcoma.

Shortly after Moose died from other causes, we found Hazel, another harlequin Dane.  Hazel has been a very healthy girl, sweet as can be.  Unfortunately, yesterday we noticed her limping on her front leg.  My automatic reflex was to immediately check out her legs for lumps.  Sure enough, she had a lump on her wrist in the exact same place and same leg as Moose presented over 10 years ago.  I was able to get Hazel into see an oncologist the same day, and the x-ray showed the same pattern as we saw on Moose's xray, confirming bone cancer.

Hazel is a bit over 9 and while she has been very healthy over her life, has started to develop arthritis in her hind legs (and xray also shows arthritis in her spine).  The oncologist felt that due to her age and hind leg problems, amputation is not a good option, I also agree, she is having a hard enough time getting around with 4 legs.  So we are back once again looking for options for our dog.  The oncologist is leaning to palliative radiation and bone strengthening drugs and chemo.  But we are also looking at limb sparing surgery and chemo.

I would appreciate any and all help in looking at options to consider.  We are located in Palm Springs, CA, but would be willing to travel for treatment if needed.  Moose was in a study at Davis, which was a very positive experience, so would consider study options.  We have Trupanion insurance, so luckily cost is not a big consideration. If anyone has a link to a listing of studies, that would be a great help!

Thanks in advance for the help!

Joel, Ross, Hazel, and Proton

Member Since:
16 October 2012
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13 November 2016 - 9:04 am
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I am so sorry to hear about Hazel's diagnosis.  Rene & Jim told me about Moose and I watched a video that Rene posted.   I know the University of Colorado has a consult phone number that you can call and talk to them on.     We did amputation for Sassy with the Osteo she had.  So I can't give any information. Just support


Michelle & Angel Sassy


Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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13 November 2016 - 9:40 am
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I have always enjoyed watching Moose digging for gophers. Moose was an excellent example of large dogs enjoying life on 3 legs.

I'm so sorry to hear of Hazel's diagnosis. I can't be much help on options or studies but they do come up here every so often. I'm sure Rene and Jim can provide you with this information. 

I wanted to mention that you might want to explore bisphosphonates , the bone strengthening drugs, with the option you choose. I have two friends go on it recently for cancer and osteoporosis and the research looks very promising in helping to maintain the bones. Here are some blogs on osteosarcoma and bisphosponates:


Hugs to you and Hazel.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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13 November 2016 - 9:51 am
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I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this for a second time, and that Hazel is not a candidate for amputation.  We briefly considered limb sparing for Otis.  Our family vet was concerned that his size and pre-existing mild arthritis might make that a better choice.  The surgeon, however, was concerned that the size of Otis' legs would make it impossible to get an insert (implant?) of the proper size without going custom.  Otis' leg was already broken, so time was not on our side.  There is also a high risk of infection with the limb sparing.  I work full time and am a single dog mom, so my ability to provide care was also a concern for me.  Not trying to dissuade you.  If you can do it, and get through any infections that develop, Hazel's "odds" are about what they are for those of us who go the amp route, and those dogs who get the infections seem to do better in terms of the osteo.  Vets aren't sure why on the latter point.

Hazel and your pack are very much in our thoughts!   

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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13 November 2016 - 11:10 am
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Welcome back, although I'm sorry you are facing cancer again.

I found a link from Dr. Sue Ettinger on Facebook which is a searchable database of all kinds of clinical trials, not just for cancer studies.  It's posted on the AVMA website, I don't know how often it us updated. The Study Database is Here.

I hope you stay active here and let us follow you and Hazel on this journey.  Hazel is now a honorary tripawd and hopefully we can provide support to you as you go down this path.  And whatever treatments you find for your girl might help the next pup who is not a candidate for amputation.

Good luck with your research and keep us posted.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls.

p.s. I know your Moose and my Maggie never met, but this logo always makes me smile.

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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

London, UK

Member Since:
15 December 2015
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13 November 2016 - 11:29 am
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Hi Hazel and family!

I'm so sorry to hear that you find yourselves in this situation. Just a bit of experience to contribute, which may or may not be relevant, but in case it's useful. My Meg had salvage surgery on her front right leg, a custom made total elbow replacement (not because of Osteosarcoma, but because of end-stage arthritis. We had also been told she was not a candidate for amputation because of problems with her other limbs). She had problems with healing, which then resulted in a series of further surgeries and ultimately she developed a chronic infection. Because of the implant it was impossible to get rid of the infection completely. This is apparently a well recognised problem with implants. They have a sort of film around them which stores infection and the only way to fully get rid of it, is to get rid of the implant. The infection can sometimes be suppressed but never fully eradicated. In Meg's case it prevented her leg from healing and resulted in her losing her leg. Obviously, our experience is by no means universal, and there are plenty of dogs who do well with implants and in a situation like Hazel's I would think it is well worth investigating. But do be sure to discuss the infection issue in detail if you decide on this route. 

Warmest wishes to you all,

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Ruby, Staffy, born June 2022, became a Tripawd, 23 November 2023, adopted 12 January 2024.

Also Angel Tripawd Meg (aka The Megastar), who died in April 2023, aged 14, after seven glorious years on three, and Angel Staffies Pie and Bille. In the pawprints of giants...

The Amazing Adventures of Ruby Tuesday 

My Life as a Megastar

Member Since:
21 May 2016
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13 November 2016 - 1:20 pm
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Hi Hazel and family 🐮💞🐾

I read Moose's story a couple of days ago and was so, so touched, I cannot even begin to tell you how that made me feel ... when you went on that race with him and met the cyclist who had also lost one leg it was just magical ✨

Moose is the brightest star of all, no doubt about that, the gentlest of all souls 💫

I was so sorry to hear about your girl Hazel's diagnosis 😞 osteo is what none of us wants our babies to have but sadly too many of us are on the same journey. 

Eurydice, my arlequin Dane has osteo and lost her right front leg 6 months ago. 

She wasn't 5 yet at the time of diagnosis and surgery and was in fabulous shape up to then, so she pulled through it all quite well. 

My partner was adamant that she should keep her leg and pressed for any available option that wouldn't include amputation.

So, to come to your current predicament, we were offered palliative care, radiation or amputation. 

As for palliative care alone, we were told there are no pain killers which are strong enough to deal with bone cancer pain 100%

Radiation was an option but we were worried that she would have to be under general anesthesia each time which is not great news for giant breeds.

My partner enquired about prosthetics and implants but we were told by the surgeon and the onco sadly they don't work for big dogs. 

As she was treated at a hospital which is known for its cut edge technology, we could have pressed and they would probably be willing to try but their opinion was that there was a very high change that it wouldn't work, risk of infection was extremely high and rehab time was many, many months. 

When I read your post I was hoping Clare would share her experience and I am really glad she did. 

Meg, her sweet little dog went that route all the way and the result was disastrous ... and bear in mind Meg is a small, light dog, not a Dane...

So, all I can say is, if I was in your shoes I might take the risk and go for radiation ...

It really is very difficult to decide what to do ...

I so wish I could give you more positive advice, I really do.

Please let us know how Hazel is doing and what your decision was, she definitely is part of our family now 💞🐮💞

Sending you as much positive energy as I can master and cuddles to your sweet girl 💗💗🐾🐮💞💕

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Member Since:
8 May 2008
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13 November 2016 - 2:26 pm
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Thanks to everyone for their kind words, great information, and most of all support.  The silver lining of Moose's ordeal was how many wonderful beautiful people I got to know, today's response from you all brought it all back into perspective.

The advice about infection risk is spot on.  I remember 10 years ago most of the people who went that route had infection issues.  Does not sound like a very good quality of life for Hazel if it goes bad.  I did discuss the infection risk with the oncologist, and she acknowledged it as a huge consideration.  She did say that in her experience the biggest determiner on how the limb spare goes is how experienced the surgeon is.  That does make some sense to me.  She said that if the surgeon has not done many of them, it is almost for sure that it will not go well. But still considering everything at this point.  I see that there is a osteo study at Davis using Radiation and Autologous Natural Killer Immunotherapy.  It sounds like it could go with her likely treatment and would be great to be in a study at Davis again.  I am wondering if anyone has any information on Natural Killer Immunotherapy?

Monday I am scheduled to talk with the oncologist about options.  I will keep everyone updated on how it is going.....

Thanks again for all the love and support!!!

Joel, Ross, Hazel, and Proton

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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13 November 2016 - 3:50 pm
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You can't even imagine how stunned I was to see your post here today Joel. Wow. This. Just. Stinks. I'm so sorry you're on this ride again, but if anyone knows how to Be More Dog , you and Ross do. Your pack has been instrumental in the creation and continuation of the Tripawds Community, we truly owe everything to you and the magnificent Moose.

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For those unfamiliar with Moose, I encourage you to read about our hero. You will be amazed!

And here's a flashback for ya? Remember the fun time we had when we met Hazel in 2009?

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It's been a long time and I'm so glad we got to chat today on the phone, but just sad it's under these circumstances. However, we WILL catch up with all of you in a few weeks and Hazel will absolutely star in another video!

To share with others what I mentioned to you, here are the resources you might want to check into:

Dr. Sarah Boston at the University of Florida is currently enrolling clinical trial patients for an intriguing new limb-sparing technique.

Dr. Dennis Macy is in your part of the world at Desert Vet Specialists in Palm Desert. He did miraculous things for many dogs in our community, including Rusty and Baron. He's always great for another opinion.

The UC Davis Clinical Trial for "Radiation and Autologous Natural Killer Immunotherapy in Canine Osteosarcoma" is for dogs who aren't candidates for amputation surgery. It's discussed in the video we just made, you can learn more here (it's the second osteosarcoma trial mentioned).

I hope this helps. We'll talk again soon. {{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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