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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This post isn't about Trey, but rather his older half brother, currently on 4 legs. He started with a slight, sporadic limp around Christmas. X-rays early January looked ok to our regular vet. Rest and Rimadyl made zero improvements, so our vet referred us to a specialty clinic late January. They did xrays, found a small bone lesion at the top of the humerus - less lysis than bone thickening. Discussed that it was probably osteosarcoma, and while discussing amputation and chemo, also suggested stereotactic radiation and chemo. No metastasis was visible anywhere chest x-rays. They in turn referred us to an cancer center that had cyberknife stereotactic radiation. That clinic assumed it was osteosarcoma, did a CT and radiated the tumor. Now, to have the chemo, they sent us back to the original specialty clinic. The oncologist there said she was unable to help us with chemotherapy since the exact tumor type was never identified and the chemotherapies for osteosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma are very different. Since radiation had already been done, biopsying was no longer an option because it would damage already brittle bone. She offered to try a needle aspiration guided by ultrasound, but had no promises. Ultrasound of his full abdominal cavity still showed no visible metastasis. Unexpectedly, they were able to get an identification from the aspirate. Even more unexpectedly, it came back chondrosarcoma - a much better diagnosis as far a life expectancy, but we now have a dog with a 30-40% risk of pathological fracture. There is no chemotherapy for chondrosarcoma. So, the dog we expected to have a short life, now has a much better prognosis of living, but can never be allowed to bounce around or be a normal dog because of fracture possibilities. He has had one Zolendronate treatment, and we are willing to continue them as long as he's doing well. What have experiences been with Zoledronate? I know there were studies 10 years ago, but does anyone have anything more recent?
Oh no I'm sorry you're dealing with this. What's his name? Is he not a candidate for amputation?
When I search the Forums I come up with these search results on Zoledronate. There's a lot of sifting involved but you will find examples of members who have gone through it for palliative care reasons, for different kinds of cancers.
In this 2019 interview with vet oncologist Dr. Jeannette Kelly, she discusses zoledronate:
Thanks! His name is Truffle. He had the radiation done because we were told Osteo, and the lifespan for stereotactic radiation/chemo is the same as amputation/chemo. We paid five figures for the radiation, and because each clinic is pointing fingers at the other, another couple thousand for an ultrasound guided needle aspirate. For a dog his size, the amputation would be around 5K more, and none of the clinics will cut us any type of deal despite the mess they admittedly created by each assuming the other would ID the cancer.
I want him to enjoy the longer lifespan the chondrosarcoma diagnosis suggests, but my husband is extremely resistant to amputation because of what we've spent already. Zolendronate might help strengthen the bone damage until I can come to an agreement on how to proceed.
27 July 2014
As you probably know Zolendronate is a bisphosphonate administered to reduce pain, increases bone strength, and potentially prevents fractures. Bisphosphonates are given to humans with osteoporosis and cancer that has metastasized to the bones. I learned about it when my sister got bone mets and she was given zolendronic acid infusions. Her bones no longer ached and that alone improved her quality of life.
Hopefully it will help Truffle. Your dogs are beautiful!
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona
Awww what a sweetie. I think that doing the infusions could give him a chance at pain-free living for a while, and if you and your husband are in disagreement then yeah, it's a good way for you guys to come to terms with your next move. Unfortunately the bisphosphonates ' benefits are not permanent so at some point you need to be ready for another treatment option. Whatever it is, Truffle is a lucky dog to have such caring humans.
Let us know how it goes if you proceed with Zoledronate. We are always curious about the outcomes of palliative treatments like this. Best wishes to all of you!
I learned about it when my sister got bone mets and she was given zolendronic acid infusions. Her bones no longer ached and that alone improved her quality of life.
Kerren thank you for sharing that experience. It's good to know about that firsthand account from your sis, because if it brought relief to her, then no doubt it really does for our pets too. ((((hugs)))
22 February 2013
Catching up list in time to see the photos of your beautiful pack! Want to smooch Trey's jowls ...and l9ve thst Truffle seems to be sticking his tongue out the camera! Cute pups.
Glad you have a plan forward that works for you and your husband, and can help Truffle feel better too. Finances do have to be considered for most of us and we can only do what we can do based on our circumstances. You are doing what you can for Truffle out of love, and that's even more than many dog owners would do.
Yes, keep us posted, and keep those pictures coming!
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!