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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The tests came back and while the first biopsy indicated he might have liposarcoma the second test (with the whole leg) indicated that he did/does have osteosarcoma.
We are weighing our options for chemotherapy. Chewie is a 1 yr old 40lb lab mix (we think). He has a lot of energy and we have a difficult time restricting him after his surgery.
If we don't do chemotherapy we are told most dogs live for another 4 months. If we do chemotherapy we are told most dogs live another 9 months. There are those dogs that break the mold and live longer but the research indicates that only 25% of dogs live beyond 1-2 yrs.
He is only 1 and I would love it if he one of those that breaks the mold and lives longer, but I also don't want to be unrealistic and put him through a lot of pain to get a few more months.
That is why I would like to know how dogs do on chemotherapy. I have seen how human do on chemotherapy and it is very difficult. Do dogs have the same difficulties?
24 September 2009
You're asking all the right questions and you're definitely in the right place. Lots of folks have feedback here so stay tuned. You can also scroll through the Tripawds blogs to read about different experiences.
First, don't focus on those numbers. Those are statistics and averages. Your dog is an individual and every story is different. We've seen survival times go all over the map and one of our most popular sayings here is "Dogs don't come with a time stamp on their butt!" This is a hard concept for us silly humans to grasp.
So about chemo...I can tell you that we've seen most dogs do really well on it. The worst is occasional nausea, but not all dogs get it. No their fur won't fall out, they won't look as worn out as a human cancer patient does, and they really bounce back better than we imagine. The reason is because they don't get the same kinds of doses of chemotherapy drugs that humans do, it's a much lighter protocol.
IF something does happen, as long as you're working with a vet who is extremely skilled and knowledgeable about administering chemo, they'll be able to handle any potential side effects. If you're working with a vet who isn't a board-certified oncologist, you may want to read this post:
Chemo isn't for everyone. We opted out for many reasons. Many can't imagine NOT doing it. Everyone is different and nobody will judge you if you don't do it, we're here to support you no matter what path you take.
21 May 2016
Hi Chewie and family
Firstly, I wanted to say I am so, so, so glad his lungs and lymph nodes are clear those are great news!
My girl Eurydice has osteosarcoma and lost her right front leg 3 months ago.
What we were told by the oncologist was average survival is 12 months with chemo but as you will see at Tripawds, statistics are worth what they are worth ...
He also told us that without chemo life expectancy would be much less, sadly I can't remember how long exactly as we decided to go for chemo so life expectancy without it didn't register in our minds...
As for chemo, my girl has had 4 sessions of carboplatin (every 3 weeks) and we will be finished at session 6.
Up to now, she has showed zero side effects and has been her old self, energetic and well humoured all along.
We give her 1 Cerenia pill (for nausea) the morning she has chemo and 1 pill a day during the first 3 days after chemo.
The oncologist told us the vast majority of dogs have no side effects at all and I don't remember reading about any nasty reactions here.
Also, they do a blood test before each treatment to check how chemo is affecting our furry babies blood cells so if there is a problem they stop or adjust the treatment.
Chemo is a very personal option. There are no guarantees either way.
You will see a lot of dogs here who did great without it and a lot of dogs who did great with it.
In the end, it is your decision to make.
I, personally, decided to go for anything that might potentially prolong her life bearing in mind I can stop at any point during the treatment if I so wish.
Others will share their experiences with you soon.
Sending you a big hug and cuddles to Chewie
Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-)
17 May 2014
Hello Chewy's family.
My fears - having lived through my mother's chemotherapy - were to put Johnnie through a very aggressive treatment, but this is not the way it works with dogs. Johnnie's experience with chemotherapy is exactly the same as Eurydice's. Also 6 rounds of carboplatin. We used Cerenia exactly as described, and I had one extra precaution: during the three days post-chemo I fed him home-made chicken soup instead of regular food. Just to make sure he had very light and nourishing meals, easy to digest, no fat, etc etc. The only side effect were looser bowels, but nothing to be worried about. Of course his energy came down a bit, but he handled it quite well.
We celebrated Johnnie's 2-year ampuversary in May and his 8th birthday in June. He was diagnosed at age 5 1/2
Daniela & Johnnie.
Our awesome Golden Boy was diagnosed for OSA in April 2014 in the proximal humerus, front-leg amp on 05/20/2014. Finished chemo (Carbo6) on 07/10/2014. Ongoing treatment: acupuncture + K-9 Immunity Plus ( 3chews) and home-cooked no-grain diet. Stopped Apocaps because of liver issues. Liver issues: controlling altered enzymes with SAM-e and Milk Thistle. October 17: started having seizures. Taking fenobarbital for seizures. April 18: started prednisone.
14 February 2016
Otis had some diarrhea in addition to nausea, but the meds the oncologist gave us handled both. We switched to boiled chicken and white rice for about a week after each chemo session. Glad he's done, but no side effects so severe that I thought about stopping (which is always an option, by the way, if Chewie doesn't tolerate it well).
Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016. Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016. Lung mets August 25, 2016. Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016. Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.
Wherever they are, they are together.