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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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To Chemo or not to Chemo, that is the question.
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The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 26213
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24 January 2008 - 10:40 pm
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My people chose not to put me through Chemotherapy. Over a year later i’m feelin’ pretty fine. But all cases of cancer in dogs are different.

Below are a couple popular posts with related comments from my dog blog:

Let’s keep this discussion alive here in the Tripawd Forums! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Manchester, UK
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20 February 2008 - 12:08 pm
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Hi Jerry – it’s Darcy Deerhounds Mum here *waving*

Darcy’s reply was included in your blog link and when she typed that, she’d just had her 2nd dose of chemo. I thought it only fair to fill you in on what happened next.

Darcy sailed through her 1st, 2nd and 3rd chemo with no problems at all. We went into the 4th and final session expecting it to be the same but she had a really bad reaction to it. Nobody can say why this happened but it certainly took us all by surprise! She had an upset tum in both directions and a lack of appetite which got worse over a few days after the session. By the Monday (so, 4 days after the chemo) she was hospitalised and on a drip. She stayed in the hospital until the Friday afternoon.

She then went on to develop a systemic infection so we had another week or two of really rough times, with her totally refusing to eat and being very weak etc.

I’m happy to report that her fighting spirit brought her through and its now 3 weeks since she saw the vet. She has an appointment booked for next week, for a check up.

The other thing that happened as a result of this final chemo was that she’s lost a LOT of her hair.

So – back to the question of to chemo or not to chemo. I can tell you that in Darcy’s case, I’m certainly glad that the bad reaction (which, in all fairness, was quite severe and not the ‘norm’ for most dogs) happened at the very end of her planned treatment. If it had happened after chemo 1 or 2, we’d have been in a very difficult situation.

If (perish the thought) we ever had to make a decision re chemo for another of our dogs – I think we’d do it all again. Yes, it was awful to see Darcy so poorly but statistically, without the chemo, we *may* not still be blessed with her company, 4 and a bit months after amputation.

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 February 2008 - 7:56 pm
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Wow, we are so sorry that Darcy had such a bad reaction to her treatment, I’m sure you were really worried. But we are so glad to hear she’s doing much, much better.

Decisions like chemo are so hard for doggie parents to make; like most things in life, it’s a gamble. All that parents can do is listen to their hearts and go with their gut feeling about whether or not to do it.

We are so glad things are working out for you all! Thank you for keeping us posted, and sharing your experience with others out there.

Give Darcy a big WOOF! from us.

Love, Jerry

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Presley's Mama
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23 February 2008 - 12:33 am
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My 10-year-old Rottie, Presley, had such a bad reaction to her first chemo session that we decided not to continue with it. I just couldn’t bear the possibility of her being so sick again — she wouldn’t get out of bed, had terrible diarrhea and stopped eating. And when Presley won’t eat, you KNOW something is wrong.

The doctor said that on average she’d have six months to live after surgery with no chemo, but I just didn’t want to experiment on her anymore. She had been through so much, and in my mind, enough was enough.

Now that we’re approaching month five after surgery, I’m starting to feel like we’re on borrowed time. I feel like any day now, she’s going to start whithering away. At times I question the decisions we’ve made since she started limping in June of ’07 (eight months ago), but her smiling face reassures me that she has a lot of living to do. Presley loves to play, go for car rides, visit with family and friends, and hang out with her sisters.

Darcy sounds like she has a lot of fight in her, too. I’m glad to hear that she’s doing well. Please keep us posted on her progress.

Much love,

Mama & Presley

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 February 2008 - 1:21 am
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Presleybear, tell your Mama to try to just keep your smiling face in mind. We are all on borrowed time, really. The vets gave me four months, and it’s been over a year for me! The prognosis isn’t written in stone. Really, the docs just do that to cover their behinds. All we can do is be so thankful for each and every day, and live for the moment. Sounds like you’re doing pretty good at that. Keep it up.

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25 February 2008 - 4:56 pm
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Our dog Bella had her right rear leg amputated today.  That was a big step to take.  Although I had decided on this route several weeks ago, it took my wife a bit more time to come to the same conclusion.  We are both agreed at this point to not start chemo.  Bella is 10 going on 11, and like others mentioned, we are going for quality not quantity.  She has already lived a full and happy life, so we are not trying to stretch out her final times with powerful drugs.  Wish us luck recovering from the amputation!

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 February 2008 - 7:55 pm
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You have all our good luck vibes and best wishes! My people chose not to do chemo with me either. I am now over nine years old and fifteen months past my amputation.

Rub Bella’s belly for us, and pat yourselves on the back too. You’re wonderful people for taking such good care of your old dog.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 March 2008 - 4:10 pm
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When Huey was diagnosed, we were leaning towards not doing chemo.  We were basically told that there was no cure for osteosarcoma, and that chemo wouldn’t prolong his life.  I am glad that we got a second opinion.  We went to a second vet who did Huey’s amputation, and she referred us to a vet that specializes in internal medicine for a consultation.  I was still skeptical, and just wasn’t sure that I wanted to put Huey through chemo.  But, I went in and met with the new vet.  He talked to me for an hour and explained the process of chemo, the usual results, and the possible side effects.  At the end of our consultation, he looked me in the eye and said "If it was my dog, I’d definitely do it."  This doctor gave me hope, which is something that seems to be in short supply when you read about canine osteosarcoma.  He told me that 20% of dogs who undergo chemo for their osteosarcoma beat the disease.  Not fantastic odds, but a 20% chance is a heck of a lot better than no chance at all.  It was still a tough choice, but we decided to go for it.  Huey is only 6 years old, after all.  He still has half of his life ahead of him.

Thus far, I am happy with our decision.  Huey has had three rounds of chemo, and is doing well.  He had no side effects at all from the first two rounds, but was nauseous and had some vomiting the last time.  It only lasted for a day, and occurred two days after his chemo treatment.  He is responding well to the treatment, all of his bloodwork is excellent, and he has no signs of metastasis.  He’s a tough kid!!

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6 March 2008 - 4:10 pm
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I wanted to add that Huey goes for his chemo treatments every 3 weeks, and will probably have 5 rounds of chemo total.

NaeNae
10
7 March 2008 - 12:25 am
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Oh Huey, that news is so wonderful! Thank you for giving inspawration to others who may find themselves in your situation. Keep it up, and keep in touch.

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11 March 2008 - 5:00 pm
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Barney’s biopsy and histopathology (?) reports that were done upon amputation have come back and the diagnosis is histiocytic sarcoma of the shoulder.  That particular type of soft tissue sarcoma carries a pretty poor prognosis, but Barney’s blood work looks good, and we had abdominal ultrasound, echocardiogram, and x-rays of the chest done and there was no VISIBLE signs of metastisis at this time.  So ….. we opted to go ahead and do chemotherapy.  Our oncologist suggests 5 rounds of chemo, 2 weeks apart, and we had the first chemo session yesterday. 

Barney’s chemo drug is Adriamycin (doxorubicin).  Just curious, for those of you out there who’ve had chemo, what drugs were used? 

I’m so nervous about all of this, but I think for us this is the right approach to helping Barney have more quality time with us.  The vet has been so careful to tell me to "stay grounded" and not let myself get too hopeful – but you know what, I can’t help myself.

Barney B and Mom, Linda

 

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 March 2008 - 7:14 pm
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My people chose not to put me through chemotherapy. Osteosarcoma has usually already metastasized by the time of diagnosis, and is known to be pretty agressive. But my first x-rays were clear and my recovery went well. I was given a prognosis of three to four months, so we focussed on quality of life not quantity.

Fourteen months later, I just had x-rays that reveal a large mass in my right lung. My people are having all those nasty human emotions getting stirred back up. Could chemo have stopped this? Probably not. Would it have delayed it? Perhaps. We’ll never know. What good can another surgery or chemo do at this point? They’ve decided not to find out.

You have every reason to be nervous, but do remain strong – for Barney. As a pack animal, he will pick up on any negative vibes, and follow your lead. Just remember to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 March 2008 - 8:10 pm
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Jerry – my husband and I are very sorry to hear about the mass in your lung.  But we are grateful for your website and the support we have found here.  You’re really an amazing puppy!

Barney and Linda – Huey’s chemo drug is called Chondroplatin, I believe.  It’s a platinum drug.  Our vet told us that it had better results than Adriamycin.  Maybe ask about it?  I’ll warn you, it’s pricey!  We got Care Credit (sort of like an interest-free credit card) to help pay for it.

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12 March 2008 - 1:40 pm
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Huey’s Mom- 

I did some looking and I found Carboplatin, but no Chondroplatin.  Is that it?  I’ve got a call in to the oncologist to ask her questions about it.  Thanks for the feedback.

Barney B & Linda

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13 March 2008 - 6:50 pm
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Yes, Carboplatin, that’s it!  I KNEW what I wrote didn’t sound right, but I had some sort of a mental block on the name.  Anyway, good luck!

-Huey and Heather

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