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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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I would not suggest VCA Aurora, Illinois, from my own experience with my Graci.
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Member Since:
2 October 2015
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28 October 2015 - 11:28 am
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My little 4-yr. old Graci recently had amputation at VCA Aurora in Illinois.  She is still traumatized from the ordeal and unfortunately, I cannot follow-up with any further treatment because of her fear of going to the vet.  When I picked her up 2 days after surgery, she had very hard stool (dried up) stuck to her behind and was also matted up where she urinates.  While she was there, I would call to check on her and the techs would tell me how she would yelp when they reached into her cage to lift her out because she's in an upper cage.  After hearing this about 5 times, I could not imagine why they wouldn't put my little girl in a lower cage to avoid the pain she was obviously enduring by them lifting her out.  Anyway, each time I called, I was given opposite information from the techs than what the surgeon told me.  It's as if they did not speak to each other and had conflicting instructions.  I was told when I dropped her off there the day of surgery that I would be picking her up the next day.  The surgeon previously told me she would be there 2 nights.  So, after surgery, I spoke again to the surgeon who did confirm 2 nights.  This happened often between them.  The surgeon said she would come home with no restrictions at all.  The techs told me to restrict her heavily for 2 weeks until the staples came out.  She also was overmedicated when sent home and had a severe reaction the day after I picked her up.  Mind you, she's only 19 lbs. and they had her on a very high dosage Fentanyl patch, along with a high dose of Tramadol, Deramaxx and an antibiotic.  The day after I picked her up, she began panting heavily, shaking all over and didn't urinate for 21 hours.  I called Aurora who did not return my call.  Finally I called again and they asked a doctor what I should do.  I was told to tear off the Fentanyl patch as she was obviously having a reaction to it.  Needless to say, nobody ever called me to check on her after surgery.  If I hadn't called them first, I would have never talked to them.  Two weeks later, I had her staples removed by my hometown vet because she has been having horrible yelping noises out of fear of everything since being in Aurora.  If the doorbell rings, she yelps.  If you touch her cage to shut it, she yelps.  The trauma she endured I believe could have been partially avoided if only they didn't keep lifting her out of the cage and hurting her.  I was disappointed in them giving her back to me soiled the way she was and also afterwards getting an inclusive diagnosis after all the thousands of dollars I spent for surgery and the pathology report.  They said I could pay even more to possibly narrowing it down to one diagnosis.  First the biopsy was inclusive but showed probable osteosarcoma and then the amputated leg was inconclusive and showed either hemangiosarcoma or osteosarcoma.  I feel they are not out for the welfare of your pet, but more for how much money they can make.  Just my opinion and experience.  We are working hard to bring my girl's happy spirit back!

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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28 October 2015 - 12:00 pm
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Pam, we are sorry you had this experience, it sounds traumatic for both of you and we hope Graci can bounce back soon. With your care and love and patience she will get there.

Ironically, we were just about to share this blog post from Dr. Kay, "Fear Free Veterinary Visits." You might want to check it out, and also read Dr. Kay's books about finding the best vet for your needs:


Thanks for joining, please let us know how we can help in a new topic.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


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22 February 2013
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28 October 2015 - 5:16 pm
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So very, very sorry to hear about this experience. It just breaks my heart for you. This journey is hard enough! I didn't have a very good one either, but NOTHING like you've. endured!

I do hope you'll consider starti g a thread in the forums on your sweet pup's journey. The support here is incredible and the first hand knowledge is invaluable!

We understand the devastation of getting the diagnosis, the emotions I involved in making the decision to amputate snd then the ups and downs of recovery. There are lthers who may have jad similar experiences and can help your sweet dog get over her fears and get on with enjoying life!

Is she still on any pain meds? Is she eating, drinking, pooping, peeing? She js probably dealing with adjusting to three legs and still recovering from the major surgery,so some of this behavior will probably disappear as she becomes more confident.

I really do hope you'll start a thread.AND post some pictures! She sounds so darn cute!

Sending hugs to all! We are here to help, okay?

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

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2 April 2013
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29 October 2015 - 3:25 am
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I wonder if maybe the medications were messing with her mind and that's what made her yelp whenever they would reach in the crate?  Poor thing, she really had a hard go of it sad

Murphy's biopsy was also inconclusive, and after surgery it took almost 3 weeks before we finally got his diagnosis.  So I know how frustrating that part can be.

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


Westminster, MD
Member Since:
31 August 2013
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29 October 2015 - 7:39 am
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So sorry to hear of your ordeal, and only compounded with the frustration of inconclusive diagnosis.....

Everyone has given great insight, and I do hope with time Graci will overcome some of her trauma she seemed to experience. As far as inconclusive results, I think many of us have definitely been down that road..... My angel Polly had several biopsies from early January 2013, till finally an actual diagnosis after her first leg surgery at the end of March 2013. The first couple biopsies indicated everything from possible tissue trauma to hemangiosarcoma...... And unfortunately, that's what we ended up dealing with was ugly HSA. She went on to beat her prognosis by more than double the timeframe given, so she fought a great fight through it all.

Keeping you and Graci in my thoughts as she recovers, and hoping you get some answers soon.....

Bonnie, Angel Polly, Pearl, and Zuzu

Member Since:
2 October 2015
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3 November 2015 - 1:49 pm
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Thank you all for all your support and advice!  Graci is doing much better now and her confidence is building each day!  She hasn't yelped since last Thursday (today is Tuesday) and she's acting more like herself by playing, jumping, running and tracking bunnies in the yard!  Because of her horrendous fear and insecurity when I brought her home, I decided to only put her on Artemisinin and forget the chemo.  My hometown vet reminded me that quality over quantity is the most important and that's truly what I believe.  I will take each day as it comes, do my best to eliminate any pain in the future and enjoy her every second I have her!  BTW, Aurora called me back only to say they have good news about the histiopathy lab having enough tissue to do a dye test to "possibly" determine if it's HMS or osteosarcoma but again, nothing is 100%.  Of course they can't do the test without an additional $280.  I told them I chose to by-pass chemo and basically it's not worth me knowing what exactly she has.  I do feel as though if I did the dye test, it would also come back inconclusive.  I told them I felt that there should be no charge to get this diagnosis since I already paid heavily for the report from the lab after the amputation.  I never heard back from them.  It's disheartening to know they are more into having a business than an honest, caring attitude toward helping pets.  Anyway, as I said, each day is getting better and I'm hoping soon she will be able to go down stairs.  She mastered going up the stairs the first week post-op but still has some fear toward going down since she is a front amputee.  She is only 19 lbs. so I know she can do it as she's always been my "vertical" little spunky terrier!  Love her so much!!!smiley

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4 December 2013
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6 December 2015 - 3:31 pm
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Hello, so sorry you went through this, I too am from that area and was not very pleased with that location for one of my other pets. I have been going to buffalo grove for 4 years, they are wonderful I have used about 4 of their vets so far. In case you needed another specialty center. Its far but it has been so worth it.

I like one surgeon at VCA Dr peacock, but unfortunately, I too had a run around with techs and the front desk and some of the other doctors.  its hard when you like one doc but the whole experience and other staff went wayy wrong.

Im terrified because apparently they are the only place that has a cardiologist locally without driving to chicago.. uug.. and I may need most Id do a consult but, my girl will have to stay

Angel Neka


2.5yr 3x cancer warrior survivor

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