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.
JUMP TO FORUMS ↓
Join The Tripawds Community
Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:
Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.
Abby is 7 months post amputation for a complete Humerus break from a bone tumor. I did not have the tumor biopsied but the Vet was pretty sure that it was Osteosarcoma or some type of Sarcoma. She is also 20months post nasal Osteosarcoma diagnosis she had six rounds of radiation for the nasal cancer. I debated doing oral chemo or metronomics but decided to go the holistic route instead.
My questions is should i do serial chest xrays to check for lung mets? Her chest xray was clear when she had her amputation in January. They said she may have microscopic mets that can not be seen on an xray but I chose not to do any additional testing before amputation. She is doing amazing and not amy different than she was pre amputation….. well except missing a leg. Haha. Her nasal cancer seems stable. No nose bleeds, no external deformities, her hard palate is still intact. So if it is spreading it is not showing signs. I did leave her shoulder blade when they did the amputation so she may still have canver in the shoulder blade. I do not feel any obvious masses and it does not seem painful but then again I aslo had no idea she had a huge bone tumor in her leg until it broke.
So do people do serial chest xrays and what does it change? I would not alter my treatment plan if she did have lung mets. I feel like it would make me very paranoid every she sneezed or coughed. Is it better to just not know? For people that did find lung mets on xray …. was ypur dog naving any symptoms? When lung mets get bad what symptoms did your dog have? Being a nurse and a bet tech I know the textbook answers but I want real dog/people experiences.
I am taking her today (tomorrow…. its 3am here so …. Lol) to get some bloodwork done. I just want to make sure that all the supplements that I am giving her aren’t damaging her kidneys or liver. I will see what my holistic vet recommends about chest xrays but I would still love more input. In the meantime, she is sleeping at my feet snoring away and just being “more dog”
26 August 2017
I prob. don’t have the answers you ae looking for but I will relay my own experience. I lost Charlie to osteosarcoma, spread to lungs, in March.
Charlie weighed about 80#, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma memorial day last year, left front leg, and it was amputated in August same year. We didn’t do the chemo, found a holistic vet and went with diet and suppliments. I wanted to due lung xrays at about 3 months but was already spending about 500/month so decided against it. I regret that decision.
So looking back he was showing symptoms that the cancer had spread to his lungs, neither the 2 vets or myself picked up on them. Low energy, very short walks, down from a mile 2x a day to 1/8 mile 2x a day, and he would stop often, I realize now it was to “catch his breath”. Then in Feb. this year his breath got really bad, foul. Vets suggested we use a rub on toothpaste to help clean his teeth and mouth. Then in March he developed a cough, about a week after that he started coughing up blood. Went to vet, he had tennis ball size cancers in his lungs and she did not know if he would make it through the night. I couldn’t bear the thought of him choking to death and suffering so we had him euthanized that night. I’m 65, that was the absolute worst day/night in my life. I can’t think about it now without breaking down.
So my point, I wish I had done the xrays. I would have found the cancer sooner and would have had time to decide on possible treatments and a course of action. The cancer would get him eventually, and I would be just as sad but I really would have liked to have more time with him. I wanted to have him pass at home where he would be comfortable, not at the vets office. That’s the worst part, knowing he passed and was probably scared. I can’t write anymore.
25 April 2007
I think you will find a variety of thoughts about this within our community, everyone is different. What you need to ask yourself is, what can you live with? It sounds like you will not do anything differently even if you do find mets, and that’s key in this decision. If the results won’t change what you do, then don’t do it. But if you cannot live without knowing what’s going on, then do it.
We opted out of x-rays for 17 months. A kind veterinarian we saw just for Jerry’s routine care, suggested we get x-rays. Jerry was not presenting any symptoms at all. But the vet shook us up by saying “Education is power. If you know what you are dealing with, you can make a plan.” It’s hard to believe, looking back, but we had never looked at his disease that way. Since he was given such a short prognosis we didn’t even think we had time to follow a plan. We were wrong. Here is our story:
And keep in mind that even xrays don’t tell the whole story. Here is how Zeus’ people found out about his mets, pre-amputation:
Would we do it again differently? I’m not sure. Every situation, every dog is different, so remember that no matter what you decide, it’s never a wrong choice if you make it out of love and Abby’s interests in mind.
Went to the Vet today with Abby. Decided not to do xrays to check for lung mets. The Vetbwas very impressed with how well she is doing. Nasal Osteosarcoma is rare but to be alive and thriving 20 months after diagnosis she said is amazing. I had memtioned in another post that I was worried about how ner shoulder blade looked and the vet thinks maybe they flaped her muscle over when they amputated her leg and thats why it looks strange. She said it doesnt seem painful so dont worry about it. She agreed with my decision to not do xrays. Its not going to change anything and as Jerry pointed out …. even seeing lung mets doesnt chnage her timeline. She is abiding by her own schedule and proving that just because the vet tells you six months doesnt mean it is an expiration date stamped on your dogs butt. Dogs and cancer will and are going to do what they want when they want. Abby has been a stubborn hard headed girl since they day i picked her up. She cried in the crate the whole way home and when we stopped at a rest stop and i put the leash on her (the first time this 13 week old puupy had ever seen a leash) she proceed to put it in her mouth like she was walking me. And this is how our whole 11 years has been. There are so many memories of when things had to be done Abby’s way or not at all. Lol. I did do bloodwork today but wont have results until Monday. The vet was very impressed with my list of supplements and attributes that to why Abby is still thriving. She said the only thing she would change is to increase her to proper weight based dosages of the Stasis Breaker and Wei Qi Booster. Which for a 65 pound dog would be 4 pills of each twice a day. Anny was not happy about our ride, I have a Dodge Challenger sport car and she just doesnt fit anywhere comfortably but we had Wendy’s fries and frostys on the way home. So all and all a good day and a good Vet visit. Still just being “more dog”
PS – i got a heart and paw print tattoo on my wrist as a tribute to her but next week i am adding the words “Be More Dog ” under it. I’ll post pics once its done
2 April 2013
I guess I should start with .. I’m also a nurse 🙂 Murphy had histiocytic sarcoma, a different kind of bone cancer. It can be pretty aggressive.
After Murphy’s surgery and then chemo we did x-rays for a little while. At first it was because they had found another mass that they thought could be a tumor and they wanted to watch it, so we checked – 3 months, then another 3 months, then it might have been 6 months … It didn’t grow and his lungs were still clear. I don’t remember exactly what point we decided, but I thought about it and discussed it with my husband the same way you’re thinking about it: is it better to know or not to know? what would it change? would we do anything different if we found anything? So from everything we had learned here I thought that I had a pretty good grasp on what symptoms would be if he did get lung mets, and we decided to stop doing serial x-rays. On one hand it was a little bit scary, the not knowing, but on the other hand it was kind of nice, being more dog!
When Murphy was about 3 1/2 years cancer-free we found a local vet who could do a set of x-rays for about half the price that Michigan State charged and it didn’t take the whole day to do (MSU is a 1.5 hour drive each way, plus they medicate, so it usually took most of the day just for s-rays). So since it had been awhile, we did a set – I wanted to see how things were going. Believe it or not, they were clear! I was prepared to see those little white dots and I just about cried when there weren’t any.
Murphy made it more than 4 years after surgery. He was 11 1/2 years old when we lost him, but it wasn’t to metastasis. He developed a hemangiosarcoma and we lost him fairly quickly. Serial x-rays wouldn’t have changed anything for us.
Donna, Glenn & Murphy
Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs
22 February 2013
So happy to hear this great update on how well your “do it Abby’s way or not at all” gal is doing!!””😎 My tripawd Frankie is “do it his way or not at all” kind of dawg too .
This post is a little late and after the fact, but still wanted to share my thought process at the time, as well as CELEBRATE AMAZING today!!!!!
As you can see, a decision on whether to pursue xrays or not is soooooo individual. Absolutely 100% no right or wrong! You know your situation, your know your dog, you know what’s best for you on a psychological and emotional level as far as what path you take. For me, after I treating my Happy Hannah with four rounds of Carboplatin, I decided not to pursue any further xrays and just get on with making every moment the best moments ever, free of poking and prodding and Vet trips. For me, and this was just me, I knew I wasn’t going to pursue anything even if mets showed up, other than possibly give metronomics a try. It would not change anything avout the path I was taking. Once I realized even that would require blood work and Vet trips, I was no longer keen on that. My regular Vet of over almost forty years agreed.
For me, this helped me BE. MORE DOG and not waste one second worrying about our tomorrows, but always celebrating our todays
All that said, I DID eventually do one set of xrays, but only AFTER Happy Hannah started showing symptoms of possibly mets, but could also be pneumonia, or respiratory infection. So just to see what may be going on, we did the xray. At that point, and only that point, I was glad the Vet suggested that because then we could do some additional palliative care to extend quality. And that’s what we did basically with Prednisone and some Tramadol…..and extra scoops of ice cream!
Abby is showing you she is doing absolutely great!😀😀 She really, really is a tough and strong willed girl who has no intention of going anywhere anytime soon!
Everything you and your Holistic Vet are doing sounds like a great plan. Thanks for sharing that with us. Very informative. Abby is such an inspiration to us all! And YOU are an outstanding partner for her to be sharing her earth journey with. TEAM ABBY!!!! And cannot wait to see that great tattoo!! Perfect symbol of your bond❤
Hugs…and extra ice cream for everybody
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!
i think it is harder being a nurse. Knowledge is not always a good thing. We have seen people at their worst and i guess we always automatically assume it for our fur babies. Abby had her nasal Osteosarcoma biopsied and staged but when her leg broke i chose to just do the amputation and not type or stage the tumor. Knowing exactly what is was wouldnt change anything. I amputated her leg because it was amputation or letting her go and she definitely was not ready to say goodbye. The vet today said it could have been Osteosarcoma or another type of nerve bone cancer that is less aggressive. I forgot to ask the exact name so i have been searching the internet all evening trying to find out what the nerve bone cancer could be. When she calls with the blood work results on Monday i will ask her. Murphy survived four year, thats amazing. I saw you did chemo but did use use any supplements? I chose not to do chemo for either cancer. She had pallative radiation for her nasal Osteosarcoma but i opted out of chemo. Nasal Osteosarcoma is very very rare so there isnt even a good chemo protocal for it. They could say if iv chemo or oral chemo would even help. They gave her six months but its been 20! I had another golden that i lost at 10 years old to a burst cardiac hemangiosarcoma. She was a seeing eye for the blind puppy that i raised but she failed the program so i adopted her back. She had the best genetic lines that you could ask for since they breed all their own dogs and exchange dogs with guide dog organizations all over the country to make sure they have genetic diversity but in the end she still died from cancer. Unfortunately you know when you bet a golden that you will most likely lose them to cancer but its so worth it. Murphy is gorgeous. I love the dark goldens. Thanks for sharing about him.
I got blood work results from the Vet earlier this week. Everything looked amazing. Kidneys are good, one liver enzyme was a little elevated (ALT) but that is completely normal with Osteosarcoma. It inkdicated liver inflammation which can just be from all her supplements and her lover trying to get rid of this damn cancer. Her white count and red count were normal. Her T4 is even normal now. Last year she was hypothyroid but i chose not to do anything about and i guess all her supplements fixed her thyroid as well. So all and all it was a great check up at the vet and she is still “living with cancer, not dying from it”. She continues to be her stubborn sassy self that just follows me around the house and takes her naps while i watch tv. I wonder if getting the new tripod puppy in two weeks will perk her up a little bit. She isnt depressed but she does sleep a lot but honestly she slept a lot even before her amputation. At 11years old i guess she’s allowed to sleep and be lazy. Hope everyone is having a great weekend !!!!