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19 July 2005


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She's such a beautiful puppy. :) I'm so glad she's getting around so well, and that she's starting to play with the younger pups.

Give Raven a big hug for me!



Nice picture. :)

I can attest to the fact that Raven is doing great. I was astonished, to be honest, at how happy she is less than a month post-op.


Hey my pup is due to get her hind leg amputated next week (after being knocked down). She's only a wee dog (jack russell size). It's great to hear how well yours is doing with 3 legs.


Help! Please advise. I am scheduling surgical amputation for my beautiful dog, Esperanza this Wednesday (left front leg.) I'm a bit concerned because after the labor day weekend I will need to return to work. Can the dog do well staying home alone for 9-10 hours 6 days after surgery? Still struggling with the decision of whether to amputate or put her down. She is such a happy dog.

p.s. I won't be able to keep her. She's a rescue dog. I'm looking at paying for surgery then putting her for adoption. Is this crazy?


How much does she weigh and why is she having the amputation, does she have osteosarcoma?

karen jennex

My sweet little terra had her leg amputated friday the 26 of january. She is doing very well. I feel a little guilt for making the decision for her but I guess that is normal. Harder on the moms than the dogs. She got kicked by her friend he is a horse. No more ruff housing with kids bigger than you.

Jessi Simmer

I'm so glad that your baby Raven is doing well. I have just found out that my baby bogey will have to lose his leg and I'm so scared for him. I keep thinking that he won't be able to be the dog he's always been. That's until I read your letter. thank you for telling your story. It makes me feel alot better about the whole thing.
Jessi Simmer

Sylvan Loyde

I am interested in rescuing a three-legged dog. where can i find one?
- sylvan loyd

Sylvan Loyde

I am interested in rescuing a three-legged dog. where can i find one?
- sylvan loyd

paula peterson

Bailey our malamute has osteosarcome and 3 weeks ago we amputated her left hind. She gets around okay, a bit shakey at first, but she is pretty depressed, not herself. Her appetite is great, but her interest in the things in her life that used ot make her go bonkers is gone, i.e. her rawhide bones, frisbee etc. Our vet is pleased with her physical recovery. our worry is her mental recovery. Has anyone had this experience during the amputation healing process? Help for a worried dog mom. thanks


its a miracle to see a dog with three legs function so well! our rescue group for great danes is possible getting a beautiful dane who recently had his front right leg amputated. beleive it or not, weighing 180 lbs, he was up and walking around within 5 hrs post surgery and was jogging 2 days following surgery. its hard not to be reluctant, but you have to figure that the will find a way to function.

Megan Meyers

December of 2005 my dog jumped the fence and got hit by a car. She jumped two fences with her broken front left leg to get back home. It took two weeks before a decision was made. She had been on three legs for two weeks with a limp broken leg. We decided to amputate. It was hard for me to do it but it was better than any other alternate. She is faster on three legs than she ever was on four. She can dig, play with toys, and she still jumps the fence. She is still very strong and pulls anyone holding her leash.

It is a very hard decision to make but if you love your dog and you do not want to live without them then amputate if needed. She is still the same dog, loving, very playful, and happy. She loves to play with other dogs of any age.

Megan Meyers


Is your dog still on meds? I noticed for the first few weeks my dog was like that. Not really herself and not interested in anything but me. She just laid around and slept most of the time. It goes away after awhile. My vet told me dogs are not emotionally tied to their limbs like humans. They do not have any depression symptoms after lossing a limb.


We have a just turned 3 year old mastiff love her to pieces she may have to have a rear leg amputated due to cancer looking for some response to those who have gone through this. My biggest concern is she gets depressed easily when not feeling good i am hoping once the leg is gone she will finally be pain free and able to enjoy life.

looking for support

Concerned mom & friend

Larry & Debbie

Our 10 year old Golden just had his left front leg amputated yesterday. Brought him home today and he seems depressed, almost upset at us. Having a hard time getting him to try to stand - we put a towel around his midsection to help stabilize but all he wants to do is lay back down. He is still on pain pills and took those with cheese. He has eaten and drank some, but has not gone to the bathroom all day. Any hints to get him to go outside or trying to stand? Thanks


Hi there, can you tell me what meds he is on?


My biggest concern is she gets depressed easily when not feeling good i am hoping once the leg is gone she will finally be pain free and able to enjoy life.

My experience with Raven was the opposite. Once the pain was gone, she perked up and seemed happier. But I've heard some dogs do go through a short period of depression and adjustment. I wish you the best!

Have you joined the bonecancerdogs yahoo group?


My almost-13 year old German Shepherd had her front right leg amputated on February 27 due to osteosarcoma. We carried her outside for several days because the drugs made her unstable. It took her almost one month to really be able to get around without help and seem normal again, but I am so glad we did the amputation. She's happy and feeling well again, and although she doesn't run around like she used to, she can get around and do her dog things. She's having chemo treatments also (carboplatin), and she's handling them very well. I got her a sling to help hold her when she needs help, and a RuffWear harness that has a handle on top; she wears that when I walk her outside, although she doesn't walk/hop too far. She's doing very well and as long as she seems happy and feels well, that's all I can ask.

Larry & Debbie

Thanks for all the comments..it is good to talk with someone who has gone through the same thing. Madison has a fentanol patch and taking the pain pill tramadol. He had a lyposarcoma in his paw, sort of rare we were told, not bone cancer, and it finally got bad enough he had a lot of trouble walking. He seems content although not real responsive - his tail wags when I get up close to talk, but won't lift his head. When we try to get him to stand, his back legs seem wobbly and he immediately tries to lay back down. It has only been 1 day to this point....thanks! L & D


Larry & Debbie, one of the side-effects of fentanyl is lack of coordination. My dog clearly had that side effect when she had a fentanyl patch on. That wears off after the patch is removed, and tramadol is a good pain medication. We were worried too, but after the drugs wore off, she seemed herself again. Because of her age, she's not the quickest nor the most stable,but she makes do and can get around. Your dog might take some time to relearn how to walk but he will manage. Good luck! Just give him some time.

Larry & Debbie

Ann - thanks so much, your comments have eased our minds! All the comments here have made it clear to us we made the right decision and that very soon we will have our dear friend back to a near normal life.
L & D


Okay, yes, I've seen this with Fentanyl quite often. When does the patch come off? It takes a day or so after removal for the effects to be gone, so I'd wait until then to worry.

Keep me posted!

Larry & Debbie

Christie - thanks so much. The patch comes off on Thursday. He just stood up on his own a bit ago but when we tried to walk he laid back down. Hopefully by this weekend then the drug effects will be gone. We will let you know...thanks L&D

Larry & Debbie

Our dear Madison passed away Sunday. He had the front leg amputation 3 weeks ago. Many of you had helped us through his first few days. They only got better and after 2 weeks he was nearly normal in all ways, including behaviour and fun loving. On Sunday he started having internal bleeding from either a cyst or tumor bursting in his abdomen. We had to euthanize. The paw cancer was a lyposarcoma and usually only spreads to the lungs. The x-rays in the lungs were negative, so we had the surgery. The abdomen tumor came as a shock. We wouldn't change a thing - we had our old dog back the last few weeks and that is how we want to remember him, not like he was with us having to change bandages every few hours because his paw was bleeding so much. Thanks to all of you who helped us through the first few days - everything you said to us was true - after going off the pain pills the activity level went way up and he progressed so fast. We are pretty sad, but have so many warm thoughts I am sure we will come through in a few days.

Thanks to this blog and all of you....L&D


Our 11 year old Boston Terrier, Greta, had her right front leg amputated 2 days ago due to hemangiopericytoma. We picked her up from the hospital yesterday afternoon and it has been rough on all of us. She hasn't stopped whimpering. I cuddled her most of the night, and it seemed to help some. The vet put her on the fentanyl patch that comes off in 2 days. She is also taking an anti-inflammatory pill once a day.

I'm concerned that she refuses to eat anything. She is drinking water and she has actually gotten up and walked on her own a few time.

Since so many of you have been through this maybe you can tell me what to expect. She urinates regularly, but no bowel movement since she been home. How long does the whimpering go on? Do you think she needs additional medication? Any advise you can give me will be appreciated.


Baron's Mom

Just 2 hours ago I was informed that my 6 year old beautiful giant schnauzer named Baron has bone cancer. While they are running some test I came home to do some research. I am scared to death and can't stop crying - he has brought such joy into my life. He has 2 minature schnauzer brothers at home and they seem concerned also - they are all so co-dependent. I wanted to know if there was a specality clinic that I should go to or is my local vet specalist just as good? I can not tell you how much I appreciate reading your stories and know these have been tought times for all of you - thanks for sharing. I will know more this afternoon, but have been informed that time is important. Any advice is welcome.


Since so many of you have been through this maybe you can tell me what to expect. She urinates regularly, but no bowel movement since she been home. How long does the whimpering go on? Do you think she needs additional medication? Any advise you can give me will be appreciated.

Hi, Pat, I'm so sorry for your dog's troubles!

The whimpering can be from pain, nausea, or a direct side effect of the Fentanyl -- or an indirect side effect, if the Fentanyl is making her sick to her stomach. The anti-inflammatory can also be VERY upsetting to the stomach, especially if she's not eating.

Constipation is a known and common side effect of all opiates, including Fentanyl.

Ask your vet about removing the patch early. It takes 14 hours or more to leave the system, so don't judge too soon if it helped or not. That would be my first suggestion. Please let us know!


Just 2 hours ago I was informed that my 6 year old beautiful giant schnauzer named Baron has bone cancer. While they are running some test I came home to do some research. I am scared to death and can't stop crying - he has brought such joy into my life. He has 2 minature schnauzer brothers at home and they seem concerned also - they are all so co-dependent. I wanted to know if there was a specality clinic that I should go to or is my local vet specalist just as good?

I'm so sorry to hear of Baron's health problems. :(

Yes, I urge you to talk to an oncologist. I cannot speak highly enough of Greg Ogilvie in San Diego, he consulted with me over the phone and was a font of information and support. He's one of, if not THE, leading veterinary oncologists in the world. But definitely consult an oncologist. Talk to a surgeon. This is beyond a general practice vet, and IMO most of them give up way, way too easily.

Please let us know how he does!


Christie... Thank you so much for your feedback. I can't tell you how much its appreciated. What a difference 24 hours makes. Greta's system is back to normal and she ate a normal dinner last night too. I am amazed at her resilience. She sleep much better last night. She did start whimpering around 3 AM, but overall we both got a good nights sleep. The first in days.
She yelped in pain a little while ago when the doorbell rang and she took off RUNNING with our other two dogs. I think she thought she still had four legs. Her mother, a 15 yr old Boston, and her 5 yr old Jack Russell brother seem to be very curious around her, but they are leaving her alone to heal.

I read up on the Fentanyl, and the patch that she received is the lowest dose available and its only supposed to be effective for 72 hours. We were told to remove it on Friday, but Since she already had it on for has had it on now for 96 hours, I suspect its beginning to loose its effectiveness.

Last night, while we were watching TV, I caught her jumping from the floor into Dad's lap. I think we are on the road to recovery and this is not going to slow her down a bit.

I have some before & after photos if any wants to see her up and walking. I just don't know how to post them in this blog

To Baron's Mom...
I was in your shoes just last week. We cried for days trying to make the agonizing decision. We did go to specialist for the 2nd opinion. I don't know where you are located, but the vets at the Gulf Coast Veternary Specialist in Houston, TX, are fabulous. They handle othopedic, neurologic, oncologix, thoracic, and soft tissue problems.

You have my support and deepest sympathy.

Thank you so much for this blog!


Its so nice to hear that you all want to do whats best for your furry family member. I adopted a border collie - lab cross just over 9 years ago and she needed to have her leg amputated(left front) after being hit by a car. Her owners couldnt afford the vet costs so they abandoned her at the clinic I worked at. Silly people! She brought me such joy over her 9 years with me. Her can do attitude and her shear joy for life were inspiring. I think the 4th leg wouldve slowed her down and frankly she knew it really got in her way. Unfortunately I had to let her go too soon due to a tumor to her spleen and a mass on her liver. Love your furry kids everyday, tell them how beautiful they are whenever you can. Their lives though short will live on in us forever. Thank you for your blog!


I am very concerned for my Yellow Lab. She is only 4 months old and needs her left front limb amputated due to early closure of the growth plate. Does anyone know how she will do.


Hi Debbie,
I'm really sorry to hear about your puppy. I know exactly how you feel. My 11 year old Boston Terrier just had her right foreleg amputated 2 weeks ago and I can't believe how well she has adjusted. Everyone told me she would be just fine, but I still had my doubts. You should see her now! She is running, climbing and jumping just like she did when she had 4 legs.

Since your Lab is so young, I'd be willing to bet she'll make the adjustment a whole lot faster than you will. If you want an idea of what to expect, click on my name at the end of this post and it will take you to my web site. I've posted some before and after photos of our girl with the hope they will comfort and help others that are faced with this difficult decision. Good luck and keep us posted.


Hi All,
My amazing 10 year old Border Collie "Sonny" and I are facing amputation of his front leg. About 3 years ago, we found a soft tissue sarcoma on his paw. After surgery and 5 weeks of radiation, it appeared to be cleared for the last 3 years. Unfortunately, we found out this week that it has reappeared. Since there is less flesh in the area to work with, it doesn't appear that that surgery/radiation route will work this time (though with this week's news, it didn't completely work last time either). Amputation is looking to be the only alternative. Obviously, my biggest fear is that Sonny will no longer be able to live the life he was used to. He is an avid frisbee dog, loves to run and has the most strong will of any dog I know. I fear that his strong will is going to try to write checks that his physical body can't cash. The thought that he may somehow feel or act "helpless" or inadequate is breaking my heart.
However, I came across a video of another border collie named "Scout" who doesn't have use of one of her front legs (amputation is pending). After watching the video, I was astonished by the agility and attitude of this dog. Anyone that has the same fear should check out "Scout". Pay special attention to her running on the beach and walking over the rocks.
Here's the link (of it doesn't link correctly, just google "three legged border collie". It's the first or second search result, and you can read about her)..


It's starting to take the fear of the unknown away. I've read it both at this blog here and elsewhere that it's us humans that have the problem with the amputation, not the dog. I'm starting to try to see it that way. I hope to post again to update Sonny's journey...
Thanks for this site.


My 10 year old Rottweiler had his right hind leg amputated three days ago. Just got him home yesterday to get him back into a routine that he is comfortable with. The first few hours were tough. The whimpering and moaning broke my heart. He got up several times on his own and seemed annoyed with me when I tried to help him. This morning he was pretty independent and eating and drinking well (he ate and drank last night as well). The whimpering just started again. He is standing and sitting very well and moves much better than I expected him to, being 120 pounds. His amputation was due to a tumor that we are still waiting to see if it was an osteosarcoma. The tumor had caused his leg to swell so much that it looked like a club and he had stopped putting weight on it about two weeks ago. They say that he will have an easier time adjusting than most dogs his size because he was already learing to walk and stand without it. Are there any success stories out there of adaptation with large dogs like mine?


Hi. Sam is a 2 1/2 year old Labrador. My parents called me at work the other night saying Sam had "escaped" from the yard, like he always does. I said, he'll be back before the night is over. After I got home and he wasn't back, I was worried. I looked all night and couldn't find him, so I waited for daylight and went out again. About 2 miles up the road, someone had put him in there fence. When I got to the fence I noticed he wasn't using his front right leg. When I got closer I saw that it was broken (probably from a vehicle)

So I rushed him to the vet and was told that he might have to have it amputated. The blood had stopped circulating below the break and had swollen. The vet said they would try to get the circulation going again and they would try for two days. Well, I've called several times to the vet, but have just been told he is doing fine by one of the ladies working at the front. I'm scared to death. I am praying Sam's leg starts circulating blood again, because amputation is a scary thing.

Sam is a yellow Lab at 2 1/2 he weighs 110 lbs. He is an outside dog, that loves the woods and water. I am just so concerned about his quality of life if the worst has to happen. He is just so energetic and fun-loving. I don't want his years after this to not be the best for him. He is so independent, I don't know what to do if it comes down to amputation. I love Sam and have been crying since I left him at the vet. Please help and pray that Sam will make it through with just a broken leg that is easily repaired.



I just found out today that my dog Lucy might to have her right front leg amputated. She has had chemotherapy and 22 rounds of radiation due to cancer. The oncolgist said that the radiation put it into remission, but five weeks later it came back. As well as being sad I'm concerned how she's going to handle it because she's also been blind for five years. She's a smart little thing but has been depressed since her radiation treatments, so much so that she's had to take antidepressants. Does anyone know of a dog who's had the same problem?



Sam is home now. After 10 days at the vet, they got the blood flowing back to his paw but he is still not out of the woods yet. He has a splint on his front right leg and an open wound that needs healing but he's in great spirits. It seems someone took a shot at Sam instead of being ran over. This makes me so angry but I'm just glad that he's back at the house with all 4 legs for now. Hopefully the blood vessels will grow back into his paw and he'll lead a healthy full life. Thanks for any prayers that were prayed.


hello debbie, i have a gsd who has osteosarcoma in his leg, his growth plates closed when he was only 4 months old, where he had the op, they cut his big bone, an thats where he has the cancer, mind you we have been lucky because his over 10 1/2 i know he has'nt got long left but if it had only been one leg an he could have had it removed, we would'nt be where we are now, good luck with your puppie. chris uk

My dog may lose her leg due to negligent care

4.5 months ago I landed on my long-legged, 10lb. Jack Terrier.Absolutely devastated:(
she's like one of my kids.Rushed her to urgent care for xrays and emergency splint.Went to regular vet 2 days later (when they could get her in for surgery) for pin to make sure dog wouldn't have limp.I wish the limp was all we had to worry about now.10 weeks later, vet thought leg was stable (originally said 6-8),so she pulled out pin and rebroke leg.Told us she'd put leg in "heavy cast" to see how it'd do-may need plate if it did not work.Wait, next came the infection.Yes INFECTION!!!She gave me antibiotics and told me to come back the following week.Next week, everything was supposedly fine.Within the next 4-6 weeks, vet was hopefully optomistic leg healing nicely: great movement with nice, pink toes.Within that time, we had every 2 week check ups.The nurses asked me to leave my dog and pick her up later-would call when ready.Dog was handed back to me with her own fecies on her cast!They did not even clean it until I demanded it.In fact twice, they brought her to me with her leg tucked so I could not see fecies on cast!Next came the "specialty splint" to hold leg in place. Because the vet was so nice, and I truly thought she cared about my dog, I kept going back...IDIOT!!!!She did not charge us for August and September care and said she would fix it, no matter what, besides she thought a cast would be just fine because we'd give puppy Tums calcium supplements and Flinstones vitamins.Well, next came another INFECTION! I had asked to see the dog's leg only to hear that nurses would "call me" before they wrapped it....only to show up and find out that they had already wrapped it!!!!Yes, I should've unwrapped the leg at home, but I was afraid to "compromise" the leg any further.Besides, the vet knew what she was doing...WRONG!!!That's not all..2 weeks ago, I noticed "puppy" panting like she had a fever, so I took her back to the vet.Yep, another infection!I am now facing a $4,000 vet bill with UC Davis due to negligent care and a very nice, but incompitent vet!The money's the least of my problems...Poor, little, 2-year-old puppy has such a HORRIBLE infection that she may lose her leg!!!!!She goes in for surgery tomorrow(today) to see if the bone is still alive.This blog is quite long, because I am desperate for advice and I needed to get the entire story out.Please post any help you can, and let this be a lesson to your readers: Don't be the nice guy. If your gut tells you to flee and go somewhere else, no matter how much you want to believe in the vet & you think they love your pet, trust your gut!I am learning the hard way.I am going to have to tell my kids that their best friend may lose her leg......


I am truly sorry for your horrible experience, and it sounds like a nightmare. But I'm glad that your dog is only facing losing a leg, and not her life... hold onto that, and her!

At this point, she'll probably just be glad to have the pain and suffering gone and really will not miss her leg. But you should also file a complaint against the vet. She has malpractice insurance, I'm sure... you should be able to recover your bills.


Hopefully, we will recover the cost for UC Davis, and additional for physical therapy etc.. Unfortunately, the $1800-$2000 plus the dog's pain and suffering (and ours)for her boched surgery remains (not to mention the rude treatment from the nursing staff). We sit and wait while our dog lies in the hands of UC Davis medical staff, which is highly qualified. I'll keep you posted.


I have a 9 year old Collie who is going to have her right front leg amputated tomorrow because of a mesenchymal tumor just above the elbow. It was a tough decission to make and I can only hope my dog does as well as the dogs I read about here. It leaves me with a knot in my stomach after making this decission and leaving her.


Harley is a 13 year old samoyed-american eskimo mix and had his right front leg removed about a year ago. I babied him at first and he didn't seem to move about too well. Once I stopped feeling sorry for him and made him get up and go, he started moving around quite well. He goes up and down stairs, jumps on the couch, and does everything he used to do. I think the problem was with me and not Harley. I am so glad he is alive and well and having a great life. It was worth all the anguish and I think it was harder on me than on him. If we could just learn to focus on being grateful for the wonderful time that we are both having being together, then we all can recover faster from this.


This is a great blog. My 9 year old Golden has a giant bloot clot on his right rear leg. The vet thinks it is from a cancer. This clot has now interfeared with his walking. One option is an exploratory surgery to see what is going on. Possibly taking the leg. I have been researching amputation in dogs and I am surprised how well they adapt. I hope my Golden adapts also. THanks

Kris Knutson

My dog Ben is 11 years old. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, and had his left foreleg amputated. He had his first chemo treatment and was released on Monday. Ben seems overly depressed, and sometimes howls in pain. I hope this state of depression passes, because right now I feel like I should have put him down...all of the life seems sucked out of him, and he just looks at me with sad eyes.

Kris Knutson

My dog Ben is 11 years old. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, and had his left foreleg amputated. He had his first chemo treatment and was released on Monday. Ben seems overly depressed, and sometimes howls in pain. I hope this state of depression passes, because right now I feel like I should have put him down...all of the life seems sucked out of him, and he just looks at me with sad eyes.

Marchel Racklyeft

We have a 5 year old Havanese who had to have his left rear leg amputed on Dec. 27. He is walking okay (but we don't let him do stairs or run yet)but he seems to go a little spastic or freaks out when he tries to sit or get comfortable. We are not sure if he's experiencing a "phantom" leg, feeling any pain (he is on pain meds) or just itchy from the stitches or hair growing. He hasn't really eaten anything today either and hasn't had a bowel movement since his surgery on Dec. 27th. Has anyone else had a dog who seems to freak out a little bit or not have a bowel movement for several days?


Marchel, it's not that uncommon to not have a BM... sometimes they aren't sure how to squat without the rear leg, plus if he's on any kind of opiod, that can constipate them. What pain meds is he on?


Christie, Thanks for responding. Harley finally had a BM this morning but he's still freaking out trying to sit and get comfortable. Spins in circles and when laying down will all of a sudden jump up and circle almost like chasing his tail. You can't even touch his tail. He is on Deramax which he has been on several times throughout various surgeries and no issues with it but he is also on Tramadol which he has never taken until now. Just talked to vet and they said to stop the Tramadol to see if that helps because it can cause the odd behavior and loss of appetite. I'm just hoping to have our bubbly, happy dog back.


I hope he's a lot better soon! Some of the people on the bone cancer list have seen their dogs act depressed for a few days after amputation, although that did not happen with Raven. Please keep me posted!

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