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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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Surprise Biopsy results: not osteosarcoma
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Forum Posts: 7
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17 July 2019 - 11:31 pm
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Our 12lb. chihuahua terrier was having a reoccurring limp and pain, and the x ray on 7/1 showed a moth eaten knee, typical of osteosarcoma. We did the amputation on 7/10 after having to wait for a surgery availability, with plans to do chemo afterward. The biopsy results came in today, and it’s cancer, but not osetosarcoma or other bone cancer.  This means this bone tumor is a product of metastasis, and the primary cancer is somewhere else in the body. The doctors and lab are surprised, as this is apparently uncommon. His lungs were clear, and it seems so strange that a cancer would metastasize to the femur. 

We could do a $400 stain test to find out what type of cancer cells they are, so we have an ID, but it might be inconclusive. We could also do an ultrasound, $400 or $500, to see where the primary cancer is. Chemo might be off the table at this point, though radiation could be an option.

The time between x-ray and surgery was a difficult wait, as his pain worsened, and we had the second-guessing regret after the procedure. He’s a trooper, doing better each day, and I’m still glad we did the amputation because of the pain and fracture risk. We’ll talk to the oncologist, but we’re feeling mostly perplexed at this point.

Has anyone had this type of experience, where the bone tumor was not the original cancer location? Any thoughts?

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 July 2019 - 7:23 am
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Wooaaaaah. What a bizarre situation, I’m so sorry you guys are dealing with this.

I have to run to work now but wanted to get your post approved so others can see it. I will be back in a few hours with some feedback.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 July 2019 - 12:11 pm
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Thanks Jerry.

I am seeing articles on how cancer can spread to bones like they spread to the lungs, with the secondary bone tumor sometimes misdiagnosed as osteosarcoma. Never heard of that before. (I had never really seen bone cancer in dogs either).

We’ve dealt with cancer in our pets in the past, including our kitty who passed away in May from Liver cancer. Toby is doing really well, and that helps a lot, but this one is pretty different for us. 

I really appreciate the site, and the picture gallery of sutures was very helpful to prepare for post-op– lots of ugly bruising.  I’m still getting used to seeing him directly from behind. That was the most difficult view for me.

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 July 2019 - 4:12 pm
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Yes, it’s very rare here when osteo metastasizes to the bones, but unfortunately we have seen it in our community. Toby’s situation is super unusual, I cannot recall anyone with your exact situation. We have, however seen members go through uncertain diagnosis situations and typically it takes multiple opinions to come up with any kind of clear-cut diagnosis. Sometimes they don’t get one at all, and just proceed with chemotherapy based on similar cancer presentations. 

Here are a few search results about inconclusive diagnoses that you may want to sift through to find one similar to Toby’s.

If the cancer is something you want to treat, your vet can send the reports off for other opinions to try to reach a more conclusive diagnosis. It may take longer than you would like, but it’s possible to get one most times.

In the meantime, just by posting here and sharing your situation, you are helping others in the future who may find themselves in the same boat. Thank you!

I’m so sorry about your kitty! This is a LOT to deal with all at once. Super glad we could be there for you and Toby though. If there is anything we can do to help please bark at us. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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19 July 2019 - 1:13 am
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Thanks so much Jerry. We were able to support our kitty and give him good quality of life, and we’re so glad for that. Having information is so important, and it’s so nice to benefit from other people sharing their experiences. Makes it a lot easier to navigate.

Virginia




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19 July 2019 - 9:14 am
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Just wamt to send you a great big cyber hug.  You are going through a lot.  I know your sweet kitty had the best life possible  and was surrounded  by love every moment of every day.  Clearly  your furkids won the lottery woth uou as their hooman family. 

I have zero insight  into Toby’s situation.   Just glad to hear how well he’s doing.  We would love to see pictures!

Jist continue  to make every moment the best moment  ecer woth mo worries  about the tomorrows.  Toby sure isn’t  worried about a thing!!!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))))))))))))

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!

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19 July 2019 - 10:52 am
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Thank you for your thoughtfulness Virginia! sp_hearticon2

Definitely will add pics smiley4

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8 August 2019 - 12:05 am
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Thought I’d update here, and I think I’ll post again on other topics:

We had to euthanize Toby today, 37 days after suspected osteosarcoma diagnosis. It was the right decision for him, and I’m very thankful for the time we had to kiss him, love him, and that we could have our other two dogs with him on the table as he passed away quickly and peacefully.

The oncologist found an anal sac tumor, so he had anal sac carcinoma, an aggressively-spreading cancer. It also spread to his spleen. The long-term issue was going to be slowing the growth of the tumors and watching to see a new bone tumor. He also had some very hard, swollen lymph nodes around his neck impacting his breathing slightly. Overall, he was doing pretty well, two weeks after amputation. He had stopped wagging his tail part way through recovery, and stopping the gabepetin and tramadol helped, as if it was sedating him too much after his pain leveled off.

The next week, his eye became pink and squinty, and thought to be a part of the cancer. He seemed to feel a bit worse. The oncologist thought the Palladia and Meloxicam would help slow his tumors’ growth, and help his lymph nodes. He seemed to tolerate the chemo well at first, but then lost some of his appetite and became increasingly lethargic and weak. We took him in on Monday for his lethargy, and his breathing also worsened, with wheeziness/squeakiness. His blood work was the same and his lung x-rays showed only a little inflammation. His belly seemed bigger, as if the spleen was growing more. We got fluids and anti-nausea meds, and he was about the same Tuesday, with stretching his neck to breathe a few times during the day, though that would subside, and then he was able to sleep. Today, Wednesday, he lost his appetite completely, and his breathing was even more labored and loud with coughing, and he was sleeping a lot, though he wasn’t as weak as Monday.

We took him in on emergency, hoping there was something they could do for his breathing and appetite (thought I wasn’t optimistic). His breathing calmed while we waited, but was extremely labored when he stood for his weight and temperature (sucking in his belly). They put him on 95% oxygen, and found fluid in his belly, suspected burst spleen bleeding, that was causing the breathing trouble. We knew that was bad, but it came back a little blood and a lot of liquid. It was more little difficult to make a decision at that point than when we thought it was all blood, because there was some suggestion that it was possibly treatable. That would be multiple diagnostic tests to determine which meds to treat heart failure or liver issues and multiple days of hospitalization. But the cancer was hitting him so hard so fast, and if that were the cause of the other fluid, there wasn’t any immediate treatment that would improve his condition for him to ever come home. His breathing was worsening so badly, and the vet thought any stimulation could worsen his breathing to the point of a sudden and traumatic death.

I was thinking this day was coming sooner rather than later, but it came on even faster. We felt a little rushed and torn, but after spending time with him, we could see he needed us to step in now. He looked ready, and he was so sweet as always.

If we had found out about the anal sac cancer and the spleen at the same time as the bone tumor, I wouldn’t have wanted to do the amputation. But that means we would have had to do this a month ago (and that would have been a very difficult decision then), and most importantly, we didn’t know, and it came on so fast. I wish it didn’t happen to him, but it did. I’m glad for the time we had, not only the 12 years of our wonderful boy, and the mostly good 37 days, but also for the good moments where he felt calm and comfortably, and let us all say goodbye. My family and I are going to miss him so much.

Here and Now


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8 August 2019 - 9:49 am
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So sorry for your loss…Toby was fortunate to have you, bless you for being so good to him.



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8 August 2019 - 8:35 pm
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I am so sorry to hear of your loss.   This is the hardest part of the journey.  Watch for signs and he will show he is still around.   Run free sweet boy

hugs

michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch

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Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
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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."

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9 August 2019 - 12:21 am
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Thank you for your kind words, admin and Michelle. He was such a special boy, and I feel so blessed that we had him in our lives for 12 years, even though I wanted him for longer. This would have come regardless, and it’s something everyone has to go through with our pets.  I’m very thankful for the help we had and the experience, support, and sympathy of you all sp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 August 2019 - 7:39 am
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My heart goes out to you and the pack, I’m so sorry. We never get long enough with our fur babies, the time goes so fast. 

You have a huge heart for your animals, Toby knew he was deeply loved right up to his last breath. It’s what every animal deserves. I hope he will leave you little happy signs from the heavens, letting you know he is never far. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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9 August 2019 - 10:35 am
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Just shaking my head in disbelief.  Stunned.  So very, very, very sorry.  This disease is sneaky and cunning, relentless  and brutal.  All the best efforts in the world just cannot combat its barbaric ways.  

Please, please know, as I’m  sure you do, that you did EVERYTHING  possible to do what was best for your sweet Toby.  And when it came time to give him the most selfless gift of all…the gift of release…Toby knew you loved him enough to do what was best for him, regardless  of your heartbreak.  You were there surrounding  him with your love just has younjave sone ecery aingle moment of every single day.

No, there is never enough time.  I know though, that since the amputation, Toby experienced  more .loving snd apoiling snd non-stop attention  than he, or you, could ever imagine possible!!❤❤   You did, indeed, give Toby extended  time chock full of love.  The number of days Toby was with uou never mattered  to him.  All that mattered  was that you were with him from one loving moment to the next.

We know your void is suffocating  right now.  Your world has stopped.  Toby knows you will be sad, but he wants nothing more than for you to reme rhe thousands of happy times you shared.  That’s  what he’s  bragging about at The Rainbow Bridge !  That rail is wagging non-stop as he tells everyone about the fun times with his beloved hoomans!!  And I know his kitty friend was there to greet him too braggiing about what a great time they had with you in their earth clothes.😎

Please, when you can, share more about that adorable Toby with us.  And do let us know the ways he has connected with you to let  you know he is still with you, just in energy form.  And, of course, he is furever nestled jn jis cery own place in your heart, just as you are in his.💖

Surrounding you with Toby’s eternally happy wagging tail.

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!

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9 August 2019 - 1:44 pm
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I’m so sorry for your loss. 

It’s clear that Toby is incredibly well-loved. As hard as the end is, I’m glad you had some extra time with him.

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. 

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13 August 2019 - 1:16 am
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Thank you so much, Jerry, Sally, and David, for your thoughtfulness and sympathy. I know you all have been through the same thing, and I really appreciate your kindness. Thank you for saying that Toby must have felt well-loved– that means so much to me and my family. I’m sure you all can understand the helpless and guilty feeling of wanting to prevent their suffering, but having little, if any, control. But I think he really did know, even though he was always giving more love right back.

Thank you all again sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2

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