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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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Why DIDN'T you do chemo?
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Oakland, CA
Member Since:
30 April 2012
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15 May 2012 - 9:25 pm
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Holly is doing very well (tomorrow will be her two week ampuversary!) and is really seeming like her old self.  We are due to start chemo this week...and once we get started to see if there are side effects, we will start complementary alternative therapies.  My reasons for saying yes to chemo are: a 6 month jump in median survival is a lot of extra time, side effects are supposed to be minimal, and if there are side effects, we can stop right away.  I think that we are making the right choice, but I still have some doubts.  I really want to make sure that she has a high quality of life.  I want her to be able to run and play and be herself as much as possible.  Also, my regular vet is a holistic vet, and I do tend to lean toward more natural methods when possible...but at this point I just want to throw everything at the disease.

 

My question for you is: if you decided against chemo, what was the main reason for your decision?  Are you happy with that choice?

 

Thanks!

krun15
2
15 May 2012 - 10:03 pm
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Hey Holly's pack.
First off- how did I not notice you are in Oakland? You should keep an eye out for the Oaktown pack- curently 3 tripawd GSDs and one quad dog. I'm in Livermore and am part of the Nor Cal Crew. We get together once in awhile in Mill Valley and I would love to meet you, keep an eye on the Tripawd Party forum.

As far as chemo... Tri-pug Maggie faced two cancers: mast cell which cost her leg, and oral melanoma. I did do chemo after her amp because the cancer was in her lymph system (we found out after the amp). We did chemo in the hopes of getting 6 to 9 months. She actually far outlived that prognosis- almost 4 years as a Tri-pug. When the melanoma was diagnosed I did not do any treatment. The major reason was that her overall health was declining and I didn't think she could survive surgery or chemo. I do not regret that decision- I let her be a pug with minimal vet visits for our last 3 months together.

Quad pug Tani also has mast cell cancer, she is Mag's little sister although now almost 12 years old. I have chosen not to do any chemo with her, although one oncologist recommended it. Again- I am looking at her overall health and not wanting to risk her not feeling good. Tani has lots of health issues, so it may not compare completely to Holly, and her mast cell is probably not as aggressive as OSA (although she has recurring tumors- we are at 8 now). I am doing a more holistic approach this time, using diet and herbal supplements.

My approach to all the pugs major health issues is to look at all the variables- and make the best decision I can. The important thing for me is that I can be confident in my decisions and have no regrets no matter what happens.

Karen and the pugapalooza

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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15 May 2012 - 10:37 pm
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Disclaimer: I am a dissenting voice when it comes to putting dogs through chemo with osteo.  I came to the conclusion by being here for umpteen years.

 

With that said, you have to ask yourself this big, big question.....if you don't do chemo, will you have regrets?  I wouldn't. (and I hope I never am faced with the decision)  But if you think you will have regrets later, then you have to try it.  You can always quit if she shows any sickness. 

It's a hard decision.  But like Karen said, it depends on the dog too. 

All the best for Hollybeans!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Scottsburg, IN
Member Since:
5 February 2010
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16 May 2012 - 6:38 am
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For me it was a financial thing mostly.  I just didn't have the funds at the time to do chemo.  But I'm not sure I would have done chemo had I had the money.  I have Roxy on a holistic treatment through Dr. Loops who I found by reading an article on this site. 

But honestly, it doesn't really matter what anyone else's opinion on the subject is.  You have to do what you think is right.  You can't go wrong by that.

 

Leslie

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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16 May 2012 - 10:57 am
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I opted out of chemo.  Mostly, MAGGIE chose that decision.  She was very sick after amputation.  The vet that was going to do chemo said A) she didn't think Maggie would fare well with it and B) we never found out the exact type of STS Maggie had so any chemo choice would be "a shot in the dark", her words.

For me, I'm holistically minded but I seriously was going to do it .  In the end I didn't.

Maggie is also treated homeopathically by Dr. Charles Loops...same as Roxy.  Do I regret Maggie's treatment choice?  Nope.  It didn't feel right to me to really even consider chemo.

In the end, you do what feels right for you and your pup!

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

El Dorado Hills, CA
Member Since:
13 April 2012
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16 May 2012 - 11:13 am
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Glad to hear Holly is doing great.  As far as chemo goes....my Rizzo decided that she wasn't having any more rounds of chemo.  After round number four her liver began to fail.  We almost lost her and stopped future chemo and worked hard to get her liver back up and running well.  That was 2 years ago now and she is still fighting.  So sometimes the dog decides for you.  

So I don't know if it is the chemo that has helped her live this long or not.  I believe it has.  Tripawd Warrior Princesses rock!

 

Good luck to you Miss Holly....We'll be thinking of you.

 

Suzie and Rizzo

Jack Russell born in 2001. Mast cell cancer found Dec 2009 and right rear amputation. Five rounds of chemo done before all treatment stopped. Living life to the fullest!! Read my story at http://rizzo.tripawds.com

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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7
16 May 2012 - 1:56 pm
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We opted not to do chemo. Even though we were repeatedly reassured that chemo is not as brutal on dogs as it is on humans, there are still side-effects (GI woes, fatigue, nausea, etc).  Scout's cancer was misdiagnosed and he had a lot of crappy days before the amputation.  We didn't want Scout to have one single crappy day once that leg was off.  We owed him that.   He made it nine months post amp, and with the exception of his last three days on Earth (when the cancer metastasized to his spine), they were ALL good days. 

I can honestly say that I buried my head in the sand and did not worry about Scout's cancer.  I loved on him and appreciated every minute we had together. We did do holistic treatments (oral neoplasesne), and in my mind it was working and Scout was cancer-free.  This attitude let us enjoy our remaining time together. 

I have no regrets. 

Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

Grand Rapids, MI
Member Since:
21 September 2009
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8
16 May 2012 - 2:51 pm
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For us, it came down to a gut feeling.  We didn't want to spend our last days messing with vet appointments, and meds and sorting out side effects...  We wanted to Boo to live as carefree and happy as possible.

Also, Boo was a greyhound, a breed that is known for being more sensitive to drugs.  She was 10 when we found the cancer.  We had lots of post-op bleeding complications after the amp.  She was already on thyroid-pills and special food for her weak kidneys.  And to be honest adding chemo to the mix just sounds like too much. 

We did the amp and nothing else.  Our gut instinct was right, Boo way out-lived all the silly 6mo-1yr average life span post-amp stats!  

Bottom line:  You need to do what's right for you and your beloved companion.  Forget statistics, and all opinions you're bound to hear.  Go with your gut, and leave no room for regret! 

Wishing you loads of peace with whatever decision you make!

Amanda & Angel Boo

Boo became a Tripawd Warrior Princess on Sept 8, 2009. She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge 2.7 years later on April 29, 2012. Run free Angel Boo!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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16 May 2012 - 4:24 pm
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Good question! Here are a couple popular existing topics where members have provided some related answers and feedback...

Regrets about Chemotherapy

Costs of Amputation and Chemotherapy: What Did You Pay?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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16 May 2012 - 5:00 pm
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My folks opted out of chemo for the main reason that the nearest clinic was several hours away through twisty, icky roads. At the time we didn't think that what we saw back then as low survival odds were worth all of the hours spent in a car, away from home, when we could be having fun and making the most of life as a pack, for whatever time we had left. So we hit the road, and the rest is history.

(one year of survival time didn't seem like a lot to my pawrents back then...oh how naive they were! It took them a while to realize that dogs don't care about days on a calendar!) 

Silly me, I showed those doctors and their silly statistics...I beat the odds for two years. So yes, we were happy with our choice but we also know that whether you do chemo or don't, it's a toss-up whether you'll beat those odds.

Would we make the same decision again? We're just not sure. It all depends on the circumstances and of course, the dog. If there's one thing we learned, it's not cancer therapy is not a one-size-fits-all option.

Choosing a blend of western and holistic care as you are doing is a good choice, in my opinion. As Dr. Dressler calls it, it's a "full spectrum approach" that embraces the best of both types of care in order to give your hero the best life possible. Good job! And Hoppy Ampuversary Holly!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Oakland, CA
Member Since:
30 April 2012
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11
18 May 2012 - 7:39 pm
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Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts.  We thought about it very hard and decided to go for the chemo...Comet's mom's question resonated with me - would I regret it if I didn't do it?  I think that if she didn't make it very far and I felt like there was something I hadn't tried, I would regret it (of course, if she has some sort of horrible reaction to the drugs, then I will regret the chemo...).

She got her first round on Wednesday and so far is showing absolutely no side effects.  She is a tough cookie, so I'm hoping that this continues.  She is still going on increasingly longer walks and seeming like herself, so I'm happy for now.  Of course, one of the factors to my decision was that loss of appetite and nausea are a couple of the main side effects - I know it's silly, but I just can't imagine her having those side effects.  We call her the "iron stomach" because she can and will eat absolutely anything with pretty much no ill effects.  It's quite remarkable.  Obviously she's never experienced anything like this before, but I'm hoping with her predisposition to a strong stomach, she is at a lower risk for these symptoms.

We go back next week for a blood draw to make sure that everything still looks good.

I am so happy to have found this group of people and pups who have been through this stuff before!

 

Alex & Holly

 

P.S. - Karen, we will definitely have to join the Nor Cal crew at one of your gatherings!

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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12
18 May 2012 - 8:36 pm
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Paws up to Miss Iron Stomach! Glad to hear the treatment went well. May the next rounds go just as easy!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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13
18 May 2012 - 8:37 pm
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One good thing about going forward with the chemo is that there is no law saying you have to continue if it adversely affects holly's quality of life. Best wishes and please keep us posted on how she does.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

El Dorado Hills, CA
Member Since:
13 April 2012
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14
18 May 2012 - 8:54 pm
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Hey, great news. Rizzo did fine with her three chemos and had no stomach troubles. After number four, I think the cumulative effects just slammed her and her liver began to fail. I told the oncologist that we were done.....no more and he agreed. I don't regret doing what we did as I feel we did as much as we could. I felt bad we made her feel poopy for a couple weeks until I got her liver enzyme levels corrected and she began feeling better. But I wanted to try and kill as much cancer as I could as I know it had spread some already. So Rizzo decided for all of us. Go with your gut and Holly will inform you too if you decide to do it. You can always quit the chemo once you've started. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Suzie and Rizzo

Jack Russell born in 2001. Mast cell cancer found Dec 2009 and right rear amputation. Five rounds of chemo done before all treatment stopped. Living life to the fullest!! Read my story at http://rizzo.tripawds.com

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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15
18 May 2012 - 9:34 pm
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Abby did great with chemo too. Her appetite was pretty good the whole time (she was never a chow hound though). She threw up a tiny little bit of bile after a couple of sessions, but nothing major. The only thing was that after #5, she was REALLY tired. I didn't know the effects were cumulative, so was expecting her to be the same as she'd been after every other treatment, so we set out on our normal walk. We weren't even 20% of the way in, when she laid down in the middle of the street and wouldn't go a step further. I had to practically drag her out of the street. It took many stops for rest to get her home. I was totally freaked out and thought it was the cancer, but called the onc and he said it was just the cumulative effect of the carbo. So, be prepared for her to get increasingly tired later on in the process. With Abby it was just a few days of being tired, and then she was back to her usual crazy ways.

Like Admin said - if she does pourly later on, you can always stop.

All the best,
Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

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