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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Tucker's 2nd week and first trip to the beach!
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Forum Posts: 22
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22 January 2009
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9 February 2009 - 3:07 pm
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Hi everyone! Tucker and his mom here to keep everyone updated and hopefully spread some good cheer!

My dad went to a fishing school down at the beach (about a 4 hour drive from here!) and my mom and I were going to stay at home since she is worried that I may not be able to make it up 4 flights of stairs to the condo. Well after I tried to show her all day thursday and then again friday when she got home from work by going up and down the stairs at our house (she kept fussing at me to stop but im fine!) and we went to the vet to have the stitches and staples removed and he gave us the OK she finally relented and off we were to my first beach trip! I was super excited. I had never been on a car ride longer than an hour but I loved it! She layed all the seats down and I got to hang my head out the window! When we got to the beach she helped me out of the car (I would prefer to just jump out like I always did but she has forbidden me to do that so she lifts me in and out!) we started up the four flights of stairs. Mom helped me up them with the towel but I was moving so fast that just got in my way! She made me stop and rest at every landing but I was ready to go! It was so exciting to get to go on the beach! It was a blast!

I am so excited that we got to take Tucker to the beach! I was really nervous at first but he proved me wrong every time! We were lucky enough to meet a nice couple on the beach that has a friend whos dog had her front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma and she is about a month out and still having trouble getting around! I shared with them all my advice and then gave them this website to come to, its like I told them… I wouldn't have made it without the support of everyone on this site! I felt bad telling them that Tucker had his surgery less than two weeks ago (it will be two weeks tomorrow!) and they were amazed at how well he was getting around. At one point I looked over and saw him rolling around in the sand and I freaked out thinking he had fallen when all he was doing was rolling around in the sand having fun! He didn't like the sea gulls very much, he chased them (yes running) all over! I tried to keep him pretty calm but I still wanted him to have some fun! He did great on the ride there and back, no issues at all! I have to say, I have been really amazed at how well he has adapted… I told his vet that I think he was slower with four legs! I am lucky that the two week recovery period was much quicker for us, the panting and nervousness I really think was fron the pain meds. Once we weaned him off of those he did amazing! He has figured out that he can give his dad the sad puppy dog face and get whatever he wants! The first night I was really thinking we had done the wrong thing, now I would do it 100 times over just to see him as happy as he is! I know that its not forever but at least now hes having a great time!

As far as chemo goes we haven't made up our minds 100 percent yet but we are leaning towards not doing any chemo. The vet has already seen some “suspicious” areas on the chest X-rays but hasn't called them cancer yet. The research we have done on it we aren't sure we want him sick for a few days after and having to spend a night at the vet after every shot (this is our vets requirements) are what is best. We are still up for some advice or some stories from others who have been through this and did/didn't do chemo before we make our final decision. We just dont want him to suffer any more than he has to when we can be spoiling him bunches!

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 February 2009 - 3:37 pm
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Awww, what a beautiful description of a lovely day at the beach, thanks so much for sharing that with us! And thanks for spreading the words about Tripawds too. When you learn how many tripawds there really are out there, it's suprising isn't it?

My Mom was really freaked out as I started to get back to the things I liked to do best. My Dad finally convinced her by saying “just let him be a dog!” She started to relax when she saw that even if I fell down, I got right back up and didn't think twice about it.

Your story brought back memories, like this day, 2 months after my surgery:

As far as chemo goes. Well, I didn't have any chemo until over a year after my surgery. We lived 6 hours from the nearest clinic, and with the prognosis I got (3-4 months) Mom and Dad wanted my remaining time to be about having fun, not driving to doctor's offices. So we hit the road instead! Those silly docs. I proved them wrong, and lived 22 months after my diagnosis!

What they did do was put me on the Metronomic Protocol, that allowed me to keep on having fun on the road while receiving low dose chemotherapy treatments. It worked great for us.

There is no “right” answer about chemo, it all depends on everyone's unique circumstances. Do what feels right for you and Tucker. You know him better than anyone else.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 104
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9 February 2009 - 4:36 pm
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oh I can't wait to get Marley back to the beach – her favorite place!!! Great to hear Tucker is doing so well. (Marley has a best friend – a yellow lab – named Tucker!!)

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10 February 2009 - 10:30 am
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Great news – I bet you LOVED seeing him roll in the sand. What a gift eh? Each day he will bring you more gifts – just keep an eye out!

Let me share my experience with chemo and maybe it will help you make a decision either way…but as Jerry said, there is no right or wrong one…you have to do what is best for you and for Tucker and only you and Tucker will know what that is.

2 weeks post amputation we went in for staple removal and a meeting with the oncologist. I had already made up my mind that I was NOT going to put my baby through chemo just based on the limited knowledge that I had of it at the time. After talking with the oncologist, I changed my mind and here's why:  she recommended carboplatin (4 treatments, every 3 weeks) – which only has side effects in 2% of the dogs. Amputation alone gives them about 4-6 months and with chemo, it extends it to 12-18 months. Now, as we all have seen on this website, those are only guidelines and worst case scenarios that the doctors have to give us. Jerry hung out for about 2 years when he was only given about 4 months. A lot of dealing with this disease (in my mind) is turning this over to God and letting what will be, be, but as with anything in life, decisions do have to be made – make them as best as you can and then let go.

But back to chemo….The more we chatted with the doctor, the more I realized that I wanted to give Zeus this extra fighting chance and that if he got sick as a result of the chemo, I could always stop the treatments. Zeus was a little tired the day of treatment – but still ate like a piggy, no vomiting, no potty issues…just napped more that day. He also developed a slight infection during treatment 2 and 3 – but we gave him antibiotics which easily took care of it…we didn't have to stop or postpone treatment at all. The IV treatment was about 10 minutes. The most difficult part of chemo was the emotional reminder to me that my baby has cancer. Total cost of chemo was about $2,500. We did have to do blood work before and after each treatment and we also had to do chest xrays after treatment 2 and before treatment 3. My doctor also recommended 2 (1 month apart) treatments of pamidrinite which is a bone strenghtening treatment – an IV for about 2 hours. Though there was no scientific research that validated that this helped prolong the quality of life for OS patients, her experience with it was that the dogs that had it survived longer with a better quality of life. We did those treatments as well – no side effects on that either. Zeus is 10 months post amputation now with no signs of lung mets.

If your main concern is whether or not Tucker will be ill from the chemo, I say go for it and see how he does – you can always stop the treatments. If you have other concerns, address them factually and then listen to your heart…it will tell you what to do. Again, there is no right or wrong here except what is right for you guys. Either way, we support you and are here for you whenever you need us.

Please keep us posted.

Thoughts and prayers your way…much love too!

Heather and Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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10 February 2009 - 3:57 pm
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YAY TUCKER!!!!!!! What a great story that is! I can just see him going after the sea gulls and rolling in the sand. We took Max to the beach this past July (drove from IL to NC!) and he loved it!! Sadly, he will probably not see it again.

As for the chemo…..Max has has 2 treatments of Carboplatin. He has gotten a little nauseated after both, and after the first one his platelet count dropped a lot, but he also has Thrompcytopenia which combined with the chemo caused the huge drop. Even with that, he had one day that was what i would call bad. This second time, just a little nausea that we treated with meds and some loose stool. Otherwise he's done pretty good. Remember that every dog is different and Tucker may have no side effects at all. Im of the same mind as Heather…go for it and see how he does. Max goes for #3 on the 26th and chest x-rays. We are praying for the best.

Go with what makes you feel the most comfortable and dont look back. Tucker will tell you what to doSmile

Lots of Labby hugs to you!!

Paula and Max

Paula and Spirit Max

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10 February 2009 - 5:03 pm
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After Wrigley's amputation I was not sure I wanted to put her through chemo… I was afraid of it- or what I thought of it. Heather ( Zeus's mom) shared her experience with me and after hearing what she had to say I felt much better. At our appt. with the oncologist I came armed with a million questions – and she answered everyone one . I was still a little nervous, but my husband had the thought we've come this far, why would we stop now, we can always stop if after the first one ( or at anytime) if it is not going like we want.

So far Wrigley has had 1 round of Carboplatin and 1 round of Doxorubicin. Carboplatin had no side effects- Doxorubuicin- a little more tired, and mild diarhea, but nothing serious. We are scheduled for 4 more treatments alternating the 2 drugs every 3 weeks. I have all the confidence in her oncologist and the nurse that administers her treatments each time. Kristi the nurse, knows how anxious I am and does all she can to put me at ease each time. I think it is important to have a good relationship with the team- and we fortunately do.

So far the chemo as really not affected her quality of life, which was what was most important to us. Her oncologist even told us in the beginning that if at any time she feels Wrigley's quality of life is affected, she will discontinue treatment.

I had to laugh  at Jerry's post- I think you dad's must of all had the same “don't worry so much training”. On our first trip back to the river I was not going to let Wrigley go in the water- I was too nervous. Of course she had other intentions, the minute we hit the trail, she was so excited to be back to her favorite spot ( we call it the doggy spa cause there is a section that is very calm and always has lots of dogs playing there- watching out for the park ranger so we don't get in trouble for being off leash) she beelined as fast as she could and ran right into the water just as happy as can be. I of course called my husband, in a sort of panic,  to tell him she 's in the water- he said “so…. I bet she's loving it…. She has cancer… let her enjoy herself… let her be a dog”.

So I am trying not to worry so much and let Wrigley be a dog and let us know what to do next. They have a great way of knowing what is right. So do what  you think is best for you and Tucker and all will be OK.

Seanne and CA Wrigley

and on another note… they really do have such a remarkable recovery… I have a ( human ) friend who is currently weighing her options for hip replacment surgery…. she thinks she would be better off with Wrigley's vet since in only 2 months since her diagnosis we are pretty much back to normal.Laughing

Seanne and Angel Wrigley

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