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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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Forum Posts: 52
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21 March 2008
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1 April 2008 - 3:22 pm
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My personal belief is that if you are going to go to the trouble of
amputation, you should do chemo too.  Why would you ever take the
chance that the cancer could metastasize if you could possibly prevent
it.  The amputation is the hard part.  My dog Ben was very depressed to
have lost his leg.  The chemo has not been so hard for him.  He even
seems energized after the chemo treatments!  Ben has had 5 of the
treatments, and his last one is this Thursday.  One of the
considerations for me is that our vet told me that with amputation
only, I could expect maybe 6 months more for Ben, but with chemo
probably 18 months.  I know that the cancer will come back, because
chemo does not cure, it just puts it in remission.  After this last
treatment, it is between Ben and his maker, and I am just very glad to
have had him with me for some more time.

Nori's Mom
17
2 April 2008 - 1:43 pm
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Frist off, thank you all for posting…it helps me get through this all…

Nori had her 1st round of chemo yesterday. She has her next round scheduled for 04/22/08. She actually loves going back to Madison b/c everyone gives her so much attention (it’s hard not to pay attention to a 160 pound saint bernard on 3 legs!). We have had a little bit of a rough road so far, so I am hoping her side effects are minimal.

Her amputation took place on 03/11/08, and then she developed a huge fluid pocket. It was so large that they had to go back in and insert a drain (they drained of 1700ml of fluid while they were in there). Then she began to whine all the time – we finally figured out that she was having some psychotic effects from the Tramadol (sp?)…so once we stopped that, the whinning stopped too. Well, the chemo we are doing is carboplatin.

In addition to that we have been hearing about this drug that it administered monthly called promidronate (sp?). Supposedly it is a drug like Boneva…but it’s only in the experimental stages for doggies. The doctors we talked with said that it promotes healthy bone growth "in the lab" but they aren’t exactly sure if they can replicate those results in doggies. I would be all for it, but it is a bit costly ($350-400 per month) and i don’t know about side effects. Has anyone heard anything?

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 April 2008 - 3:47 pm
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Thanks for the update on Nori’s treatment! The details you provide should be helpful to others.

Since I just started taking an oral chemo called Cytoxan as part of my new metronomic treatment, I don’t know much about the other drugs you mentioned. Anyone else? Let us know what you do find out.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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3 April 2008 - 11:11 am
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Ben has had alternating 3 week treatments of Carboplatin and Adriamycin.  Today is his last treatment, and I am happy that he will not be going to the vet, but also sad because I know that this means the cancer will probably come roaring back soon.  Anyone doing this must realize that in all likelihood you will not be curing anything.  You are making your dog’s last year more comfortable, and giving yourself a bit more time. 

The chemo treatments are very expensive, but to me they were worth it.  My understanding is that sooner or later Ben will probably start coughing as the cancer enters his lungs, he will lose weight, and then I will have to make that last hard decision.  Lately I have been hugging him more than usual, lying with him and whispering to him, telling him how much I love him.  

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 April 2008 - 11:42 am
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Your feedback is appreciated Knut!

FYI: My folks decided against chemo right after surgery only because I was given just a couple months at the time. Now – 16 months later – with it metastisized in my lungs and a similar prognosis, we have begun oral chemotherapy (Cytoxan) as part of a new metronomic treatment.

What your doing with Ben is what it’s all about when cancer rears its ugly head … quality time. Bless you for your efforts. And thanks for sharing.

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4 April 2008 - 9:54 am
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Yesterday was supposed to be Ben’s 6th and final chemo.  Unfortunately his CBC levels were too low for him to receive chemo, and I had to reschedule for next week.  I’m not sure what it means when a dog has low blood count.  Does that mean the cancer is coming back or that the chemo has weakened his immune system?

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 April 2008 - 2:34 pm
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Knut said:

Does that mean the cancer is coming back or that the chemo has weakened his immune system?


We certainly hope not. Any vets out there?

Let us know what you find out. 

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NaeNae
23
4 April 2008 - 3:18 pm
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Knut said:

Unfortunately his CBC levels were too low for him to receive chemo,


Knut, our friends at Bone Cancer Dogs have this to say:

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF CARBOPLATIN:

Reduction in the Number of White Blood Cells (Neutropenia).
There are various types of cells in the blood. The decrease in the
number of infection fighting white blood cells is known as neutropenia.
Many chemotherapeutic agents impair the bone marrow’s ability to
produce cells. As a result, neutropenia may occur between 10 to 21 days
after chemotherapy. Neutropenia alone is not a danger to your pet.
However, your pet’s ability to fight off infection is impaired by
neutropenia. Therefore, prior to each carboplatin treatment, your pet
will get a blood test called a Complete Blood Count (CBC). Should your
pet have a significant reduction in the number of white blood cells,
your veterinarian may wish to perform periodic blood tests, and/or
prescribe antibiotics to protect your pet from infection.

Sounds like you’re vet is on top of things. Try not to worry. Let us know how his next treatment goes. 

Also, if you want to chat with others about this situation, tonight, Friday, there is a live chat on the Pet Cancer Support Group, at 8pm Eastern Time.

 

Kellie and Isabel (K
24
5 April 2008 - 2:01 pm
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Hi, the only advise that I can provide at this time (as I have not had my treatments yet) is what my Mom went through with her chemo treatments (which by the way they tell me are much worst on humans than on us).  The vet has absolutely done the right thing in rescheduling the chemo treatment and making sure that Knut is strong for the next batch.  I will make sure to include Knut in my prayers with my Mom and hang in there.  Like Jerry says…NGU!!!! NEVER GIVE UP Wink

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9 April 2008 - 2:23 pm
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Thanks for the prayers, but make sure you pray for Ben too, he is the Tripawd.  Tongue out

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 April 2008 - 3:33 pm
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With all the input about Ben from Knut, I thought we’d share a couple photos of the handsome pup he sent us:

Before … 

Ben Before Amputation

And after his amputation… 

Tripawd Ben After Osteosarcoma Amputation

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9 April 2008 - 4:14 pm
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Ben,

You are a handsome fellow indeed.  We’re praying that your bloodwork comes back strong enough for you to complete your final chemo session next week, AND that you remain cancer-free for a long time to come!

I’m going to have to figure out a way to get a pic of Barney uploaded here too. 

Lots of hugs,

Linda and Barney B , the tripawd yellow Lab 

 

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 April 2008 - 5:43 pm
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Barney B said:

I’m going to have to figure out a way to get a pic of Barney uploaded here too. 


Barney: If your image is online somewhere, copy its location and paste that into the "image URL" field when using the "Insert Image" button (small tree icon).

Or, just upload a photo using our contact form and we’ll gladly add it for you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Read my story here.

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Kellie and Isabel (K
29
10 April 2008 - 10:23 pm
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Just wondering how Ben is doing?  Did he receive his 6th chemo.  My mom and I have been keeping Ben all the nice and beautiful pets and their people we have met through this website in our prayers.   Keep on trucking Ben and NGU!!!!! lots of licks your way…Smile

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10 April 2008 - 10:50 pm
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My Timber had Carboplatin and Adriamycin for her chemo treatments. My vet was very honest and told us that chemo will not cure cancer or stop its growth. It only has the potential to slow its growth. Timber’s cancer appeared in her spine 6 months after diagnosis inspite of chemo. I like to think that the chemo did prolong her life. But can not be sure that it did. The side effects were minimal. But she really did hate going to the vet visits. I don’t regret doing it for her but…

I think that, if this ever happened to another one of my babies, I would only amputate and not do chemo.

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