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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Hello- I am new to this forum and information center- We have just been notified that our 10 year old Lab has Soft Tissue Sarcoma (STS) and the overall suggested treatment is amputation of the right front limb. The other treatment option which is not the preferred is to remove the large growth tumor ( located on/around the elbow) and follow up with daily radiation treatments for approximately 1 month. X-rays have confirmed that the STS has not moved to the lungs. The tumor removal option is not preferred due to the risk factor of skin grafting and potential infection with radiation burns to an area of high movement.
We are struggling with this decision and reading all your experiences and recovery stories has helped. The type of cancer Joe has is not painful like bone cancer, however the growth is quite large and very aggressive. my biggest concern with the amputation is Joe's ability to recover quickly and have a good quality of life. The vet has informed us that proceeding with the amputation gives us a 50/50 chance of total ratification and NO recurrence OR recurrence potentially within a years time.
Any guidance or thoughts you can provide are much appreciated- if we move forward with amputation it will most likely been in the next week. History: Joe has been battling benign mass growth all over his body since the year 2010- he has had approximately 5 growths removed in the last 3 years all located on his paws and ears- all have been biopsied and come back as benign. This new growth/cancer has been in place for about 45 days and he was diagnosed about 3 days ago. Joe also struggles with food allergies and grass and polin allergies- he is the sweetest most calm and happy dog ever.
18 June 2014
So sorry that you and Joe are here. But under the circumstances this is the best place to be. Use us and this site to do your homework and make an educated decision. There are many stories of furbabies of all sizes and ages. Keep us posted, ask questions, use us to vent whatever you need.
Hi Mia and sweet Joe,
So sorry your boy has been diagnosed with the "ugly c".......Do you know what kind of STS you are dealing with? My precious Tripawd Lab Polly lost her front right leg to an STS called hemangiosarcoma, a nasty, aggressive cancer. Poor Joe has surely had a few difficulties to overcome, my Polly had several through her life as well, so I can relate.
Keep us all updated on Joe, we are all here for you with tons of experience and knowledge to help you through this new and scary journey......this is the best place ever, for support .
You and Joe will be in my thoughts,
Bonnie & Angel Polly
Thank you so much for the words of support and encouragement. I spent a lot of time today on this site reading stories, looking at the suggested reading and finding hope. When I got home from work this eve I received a call from the vet saying that in fact there was another lump in a different location that seems to be a different type of tissue sarcoma than the pne located on the elbow. This may or may not now change the treatment options..uggg- more info to have to consider. Thank you again and I will keep you posted, but really I'll be coming back often to let you lift me up...
Hi Mia, welcome. Please consider registering so your future posts won't need approval.
I'm sorry to hear you're faced with this tough situation. For the most part, dogs do great on three. As long as your vet think Joe is a good candidate he should be fine. A 50/50 chance of total eradication is pretty good for cancer. If he's otherwise healthy and strong and has a zest for life, those are pretty good odds worth taking imo. For the most peace of mind I would get that pathology report to know exactly what you're dealing with, then that can make the treatment plan clearer for all of you. If there's any doubt then by all means get another opinion on the report. Are you working with an oncologist? It's ideal when you're in a tricky situation like this as far as determining the cancer itself.
Keep us posted on how things play out, we're here for you.
I am definitely with Jerry, get the pathology report to know exactly what you are dealing with in Joe.....and I am really sorry to read about another possible tumor, I have been down that road as well. One thing I would absolutely recommend, is a complete abdominal ultrasound......not all mets go to the lungs........It will give you the most peace of mind, in combination with the x-rays, and also give you a much better idea on your decision-making on how to proceed for Joe.
Continue to keep us posted on Joe, and please post some pics of him......I am betting he is one handsome guy!
Bonnie & Angel Polly
Hello and thank you for the responses- I have registered, but can't figure out how to tie this blog posting to my registered account- jojo2014 is my account name. We are working with an Oncologist and are actually working with a teaching hospital - UC Davis Veterinary teaching Hospital- California. So far the experience has been great and overwhelming- The information coming out of the vet's, oncologist, technicians is thorough and every case scenario. We have taken in so many "what ifs" and "Potentially" that it can get very confusing and clouded as to how to mitigate the most risk and secure the best plan for prolonged life. We are still on a path of making a decision by this Friday so that treatment can start next week. I am expecting to hear back today from the doctor whom will have met with the pathologist to help clarify/validate whether or not the cancers are truly different OR the same. This then will determine if we stick with our original options for treatment or they will need to be modified. The doctor mentioned last night that he now may want to do a biopsy of both growths to determine grade AND type- but this then would be an extra step of surgery and would pro-long treatment for about another week. I will continue to come back and update you and I so appreciate that you care and are interested in us. In the meantime I will try to figure out how I can upload a pic to share.
I have registered, but can't figure out how to tie this blog posting to my registered account- jojo2014 is my account name.
You can't, but we can! Done. The guest forum post above is now assigned to your jojo2014 account. It does not look like you have created a blog.
In the meantime I will try to figure out how I can upload a pic to share.
Oh, Joe is SO handsome!! Although I may be a bit bias.......... You sound like you are working with a great group of vets, and you are learning so much with Joe's best interest at heart. I truly hope you get the answers you need for his best treatment solutions, and remember that quality of life is the most important factor to achieve.
We will all be waiting for your next update.....
Bonnie & Angel Polly
22 February 2013
I think there's a special Lab at the Bridge looking after JOE....and her name m is POLLY!!! These two remind me a great deal of each other. BONNIE, Polly's human, as already offered some great advice.
My Happy Hannah had osteo and the leg was painful and had to go. Can't offer much in the way of statistical information....but I can say that, unlike osteo., a 50/50 chance of defeating that stupid disease is good to hear!
As far as the biopsy....and it may be different with Joe's situation, but many opt NOT to put their dog through yet another painful surgery when the results can be somewhat hit and miss anyway. Those who have done it, for the most part...not all, kind of wish they hadn't done it. I'M NO VET, but just thought I would throw out my obervatuon from being onnthis magnificent site.
This is a very scary and confusing time! Just remember, JOE ISN'T WORRYING ABOUT A THING!!! This journey WILL teach you to be more like Joe...more dog...living in the moment! Let NOTHING rob you of being fully present with Joe...loving him and spoiling him loke crazy!!
Be sure and B R E A T H E.....B R E A T H E....and eat lots of chocolate!!! Pay attention to what your intuitive voice is telling you and to what Joe is telling you, and you will know how to proceed! And remember, we are here right by y our side. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!
Keep posting pictures of that handsome boy!! We love them around here!!
Hugs to all!
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!
18 October 2009
Welcome to Tripawds Mia and Joe.
You are in good hands at Davis! You do have lots of hard decisions to make, I hope your vet team can sort things out for you.
I don't have anything to add right now, except for my support. My pug had a different kind of cancer, mast cell.
I did want to say that we have a fairly active Nor Cal Tripawds group that gets together in Mill Valley a couple times or more a year. And there are a few of us in Livermore, although my Tripawd has crossed over.
No matter what you decide to do you and Joe are welcome here. We have several members who's pups remained quads for one reason or another. Cancer is a tough journey no matter how many legs you have, its good to have a support group.
Karen and Spirit Maggie
14 March 2014
So sorry about the diagnosis. What a great pic of Joe...handsome boy!
My Lexie had an STS at 13, and we ended up doing palliative radiation since vets were reluctant to amputate due to the presence of lung mets--then we amputated eventually anyway and she had an amazing 5 months. In our case I wish we had just amputated to begin with, but every situation is different.
Agree with Sally's point about the biopsy tradeoff.
Good luck, and please feel free to lean on us...and do keep us posted. Good luck to you and Joe!
Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.