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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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Recommendations for vets please
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Member Since:
12 January 2022
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4 February 2022 - 2:21 pm
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My 4 year old PTSD dog, a Dobe, has a lump on his hock that is supposedly osteosarcoma.

His CT scan was "stage negative" or something like that, and there is no sign of mets anywhere in his body.

I took him to Leesburg VA to the oncology center because they do stereotactic radiation but the vet who does that procedure is  pushing for an amp because I don't know why.

He was not cooperative with her staff at all and I worry about that aspect.

I noticed the lump on his right hock Jan 6 and Jan 7 took him to his vet for x-rays.

The vet looked at how the dog was moving and said "That's not cancer, or he'd be in agony" and he was as shocked as we were after the x-ray was done.

The dog is not limping, slowing down or even acting like anything at all is wrong.

He is as far from "stoic" as a dog can get and every little bruise or bump is a mortal wound, to him.

None of the vets who have seen him can make any sense of that.

I know there are a lot of options but it seems I'm only being "offered" amputation, despite the dog having exceptional insurance,  which has already pre-approved any of the procedures I would pick.

I'm not in a great area for specialty vets which is why we drove to northern Virginia.

Now I'm being told to go to Skylos in Frederick MD.

Are there any members who know of really good, really bold oncology vets in the area near the 21740 zip code?

I've done the find-a-vet searches and run dry.

Even the one in Rockville said they are not doing much 'advanced' treatment type stuff.

I want the best for my boy and I am literally terrified of making the wrong choice for him.

I've even gone so far as to research prosthetic limbs because his insurance covers those, as well.

I am limited in distance I can travel due to physical issues.

100 miles is probably my max, and even that would be extremely hard for me.

Sorry for rambling.

I'm still emotionally curb stomped by all of this.

He is my heart, my soul, my best friend and my service dog.

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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4 February 2022 - 8:16 pm
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Please moderate this for me.

I'm falling apart with fear and confusion!

[Hi Gayle/Sessy!]

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 February 2022 - 7:57 am
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Hi and welcome, sorry for the delay approving your post. Your others won't need approval so post away.

Did you try South Paws in Arlington? They are excellent and many members here have had great experiences with them, I cannot think of any bad ones.

Unfortunately amputation is the preferred way to treat osteosarcoma, but SRT can come close to survivability odds for dogs who aren't good candidates. You dog is young and would do well on three which is why they are offering it.

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 February 2022 - 10:04 am
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  You have come to the right place for support

and information.   We all understand  all the emotions  involved in hearing the diagnosis.  The beauty  of being a dog is they didnt  "hear" a thing and just continue  getting on with livi g life to the fullest.

We can clearly see the bond you and your sweet boy jave.  He is very lucky to have you as his advocate. 

Good for you for doing research and gaining  as much information  as possible.  

Just keep things chunked down for now, okay?  Let's try and give you some reassurance,  okay?  As Jerry said, amputation  is generally the best path forward for osteosarcoma.   So for a minute let's jist say that is the treatment plan.  Share with is all your concerns  avout amputation,  your questions, etc.  We can help take the fear and uncertainty  out of the equation. 

The diagnosis has been made by review of the xray, right?  Has an actual Radiologist  reviewed them also or kist your regular Vet?

BTW, I  live in Virginia West of the Richmond  area.  Wasn't  sure if you were in Virginia or Maryland.  

Okay, reply when you can.  Hang in there.  YOU WILL make the right decision  for your sweet boy.  A decision  out of love is always the best one!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS...just saw your zip code and looked it up....Marylanf

.

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!

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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5 February 2022 - 1:41 pm
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I have no idea if or how it was diagnosed to be cancer, definitively.

The vet who took the x ray said it was "suspicious".

The oncology vet talked so fast with little pause, I'm not sure if they were sure it is or not.

There were no biopsies of any sort.

I did ask if it could be fungal or bacterial and the oncology vet only said that the fungus that causes Valley Fever *might* present such a thing but we don't have that fungus here.

However, I do have a Portuguese Podengo rescue who came here from California with Valley Fever and even after 16 years, still has the wracking cough remaining because she was not treated at the rescue for it, at all.

Yes, I may be in the deepest pits of denial and shock, still, but I would feel less horrified if I knew I was cutting off a leg he's currently enjoying greatly for the right reason.

I will call the place in Arlington and try to speak to someone.

It's 90 miles from me and our car is 20 years old so that is a bit scary.

I can attach the x ray if anyone on the forum would be able to tell.

Thanks to everyone

Shari

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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5 February 2022 - 1:46 pm
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Hi, sorry you to hear about your Dobe - I live in Wisconsin, so have no info for vet referrals, but I do have experience with dobes and osteosarcoma. My boy Nitro was diagnosed with it when he was 8 1/2 years old. At first my vet didn't suspect osteo either because Nitro showed no pain on examination. After several biopsies it was determined he had "sarcoma, fibrous variety". We went thru with the amp because we weren't ready to say goodbye, and I was terrified he'd have a pathological fracture. Long story short, Nitro did amazing on 3 legs; he lived another 3 1/2 years when old age and kidney disease finally took him at age 11 1/2. They did pathology on the leg after removal and determined it was osteo (not fibrous) sarcoma. Either way, I feel we did the best thing for him. He was a warrior, and could still run like the wind and go up and down stairs just like he did on 4 legs. 

Good luck going forward - get all the info you can, listen to your heart. If you have any other questions I could possibly help with, don't hesitate to reach out.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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5 February 2022 - 2:41 pm
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Hrafi's tumor is on his right hock.

I worry he'll not be able to manage with a missing hind leg.

He is SO athletic and active.

I'm also worried to death he's going to blame me for waking up with a leg missing and not understand why I did this to him.

Obviously, the PTSD and major anxiety disorder is affecting my perception of everything right now, just like it always does and always has.

This is yet another emotional curb stomping, given that his sister dropped dead in the yard on November 7.

She was not yet 9.

She didn't do very well with just a weight bearing toe amputation 3 years before she passed.

Her paw spread out and nothing we tried could help it and she got shoulder pain from that.

Her hips were not good and she couldn't get around as well as she had, before.

I wish I could take the cancer myself and free him from it.

I would, happily. 

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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5 February 2022 - 4:52 pm
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I know the perils of doberman health all too well. My first one got lymphoma at age 4, we did chemo, he went into remission; it came back, we started chemo again, and one night he went to lay on our bed, and was dead an hour later. (he was 6 years). My female dropped dead at the age of 6 years, from cardiomyopathy. Nitro was the healthiest with bone cancer. He also had a toe amputated when he was 3 or 4 and did very well; his amp was his right front leg. I love the breed, but cannot put myself thru getting another one, with all the health issues the breed has - and besides, Nitro was a one-in-a-million dog sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2

Paula

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 February 2022 - 7:39 pm
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Oh Paula thank you so much for sharing your Dobemom experience! It means so much and I know is very appreciated.

@colddjinn I'm curious why you don't want to work with the current oncologist? It's likely you will get the exact same recommendations at SouthPaws. If that clinic is closer and easier for all of you, it might be worth arranging another meeting with the oncologist. If you have a list of questions handy it will help tremendously and keep your conversation on target. See:

https://tripawd.....ncologist/

I worry he'll not be able to manage with a missing hind leg.

He is SO athletic and active.

It sounds like he is an ideal candidate.

I'm also worried to death he's going to blame me for waking up with a leg missing and not understand why I did this to him.

Blame, guilt, etc., are not part of a dog's DNA. That's what makes them so incredibly resilient . We humans are the ones with the emotional baggage.

 I would feel less horrified if I knew I was cutting off a leg he's currently enjoying greatly for the right reason.

Insist on a fine needle aspirate biopsy to confirm. And remember, bone cancer is THE most painful cancer there is. A tumor growing in a bone is incredibly painful. Dogs are just good at hiding the pain. 

I hope this helps. Please help us stay on track and start a new topic in Presentation and Diagnosis so that we can continue the diagnosis conversation there, and keep this one on target for a referral to an oncologist. Thank you.

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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10
5 February 2022 - 8:30 pm
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Paula, thanks for sharing Nitro's story, as well as the "issues" you had with your other Dobies. I'm sure it helped Shari hearing from someone  who understands  Dobies.  And it also helped her to know what a Tripawd Warrior Nitro was to us here.  He continues to  inspire and remind everyone  dogs can be victorious  over this piece of crap disease!

Shari, we know your head is spinning right now. And all your personal additional challenges make it all that much more exhausting  mentally and physically.   And trust us, all your concerns have been experienced and felt by almost all of us.  And one thing we often see is a member  being afraid their dog will "blame" them if their leg is amputated. here.  That just a human thought process....not the thought process of a dog!  I know we are asking you to trust us in this.....but it's true!!   We've never, ever seen a case where a dog decided  all the sudden that their hooman was no longer their whole world.  He will continue to wag his Dobie tail when you come home, continue to beg to be petted  and beg for  tummy rubs.  We promise you not one time have we seen a dog all of the sudden stop loving their hooman because a leg has been removed to help give them an extended  quality  life!!!

So very sorry to hear about your other Dobies.  Yes, loving our dogs and being loved by them is pure bliss.  But we are gutted when they have to trans to the other side of this life.

Try and remember though,  your previous experiences back then are different from this one now.  That scenario back then does not equal this now.  I'm sure it brings up a lot of emotions  though, just try to remember "that does not equal this".

The fact that your Dobie  is so ath and fit is a plus.  An appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon can confirm he is a good candidate and give you the reassurance  you needs far as how well he would do on three.

You clearly need to have osteo co nformed in as most a definitive  way  as possible.  That will help you immensely.  Xrays are generally the way that determination  is made.  But it does sound like you need a second opinion.  Your Vet should be able to send the xrays to a Radiologist  thru the magic of computer.  None of us here would be avle to make any sort of determination  looking at an xray.  

Unfortantely, Biopsies are often inconclusive and can ge a bit painful.  I certainly understand your desire to eliminate the"fungus fever" because  your previous dog had it.

We have soooo many videos of Tripawds hiking, doing agility courses, dock diving, all sorts of athletic type adventures. 

Continue to process, continue to ask us any questions that arise.  We understand  the emotions involved  like no others can.   We are here for you whatever path you take.

((((((((Hugs)))))))

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!

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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5 February 2022 - 9:36 pm
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Thank you all so much for putting up with my crazies.

My paradigm is one of 50 years of anxiety and PTSD due to the pedo uncle and I just haven't the ability to 'see' things like normal people do.

"Relax" is a foreign concept to me.

During one of my therapy sessions, hubby was present and asked the therapist why can't I "just relax" once in a while and she flat out told him "She does not understand the word "relax" and is psychologically incapable of doing so".

People may as well tell me to jump off a roof and fly.

A stray Dobe who showed up when I was 14 ended the molestation and I've had them ever since.

That's 46 years of always having one and without one, I'm a total wreck.

They are my 'safe place' and even though I know all too well the miseries inherit in the breed now, I will again get another, if I don't toally fall apart when Hrafi is gone.

The agony of NOT having one is far greater than the sorrow of losing them, over the years.

Thanks to all of you. I am getting to the place of acceptance of the amp, as I want him here with me, no matter how many legs, just as long as I have his sweet eyes looking into mine.

With all my heart and soul, I pray that he is one of the lucky ones who gets years and years of life after amp.

He loves me without condition and I love him the same.

Bless you all for your kindness and understanding.

hrafiImage Enlarger

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 February 2022 - 9:58 pm
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Look at that handsome boy!  Dobies are so Regal,  elegant and strong. 

  Hrafi is definitely a connection for you to all your wonderful Dobermans.  Each one has clearly carved out a space in your heart where they will  nestle safely with you furever.

Gove yourself credit.  You are doing an excellent  job of processing  everything  and gather as much information as possible.  Yoir posts aren't  the "crazies" at all!  We get it!

One of THE best life lessons our dogs teach us, espec on thos journey is to Be More Dog .  Live in the moment.  Live in the now.   Live in the present, not focusing on the past or the future, just stay in the moment.

I have no doubt  Hrafi is an excellent  and cery enlightened  teacher for you.  Follow his lead.  He'll guide you on the past path forward for him....for you..,.for you both♥️

Hugs

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!

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