Well, it’s been a while…

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Sorry to be so long in checking in with Mona’s progress…not because I think folks are following closely…but because I know when I was looking for answers and outcomes I was extremely hungry and appreciated every bit of insight.

So here’s what’s up:

Mona (8 yr old goldendoodle) had the amputation of her front right forepaw (osteosarcoma diagnosis and after a lot on tears and soul-searching) late January 2016.  She came through great.  She was a 70 pounder and jumped right up and mobile on three legs.

Recovered well and started physical therapy, which helped a lot…balance and awareness after three sessions.

Unfortunately, she felt SO good that she jumped past us as we tried to lift her out of the car after one of her sessions and landed awkwardly, tearing her right rear CCL/ACT (Vet diagnosed).

So our sweet tri-pawed became a two-pawed.

After towels to assist for bathroom breaks, we received the Ruffwear vest we had ordered, which made life a whole lot easier (totally recommend).

After researching options incredibly (and very time consuming) diligently, we found the great folks at Posh Knee Brace, who fashioned a custom brace for us in two days for Mona’s injured leg.  They are totally amazing and have the best product on the market, especially for emergency (two-legged) situations!

Mona is undergoing regular (3 week) Carboplatin chemo (following the amputation), so she’s not a candidate for surgery.  My research suggests that’s not the best alternative anyway, so we’re doing “conservative management”.  That essentially means carefully restricting her activity and treating with supplements and anti-inflammatory medication.

And it worked.  For a while.

Five weeks in (respected resources say if there is ANY improvement in 8 weeks, surgery provides no better outcome) she was doing great.  In fact, I was fooled.  She barked at the door to come out (no brace/no leash) and I was a sucker.

She was moving well on all three legs.

Then a squirrel. And 5 or 6 strides in, 5 weeks of healing was undone.

Fourth chemo visit (she has tolerated each quite well, only once nauseated and handled well by drugs). Each have had a “down day” trailing day two, but all in all not bad.  This one came complete with her first post-amputation radiograph.  Praise God (and I mean that!) it was clear of ANY mets.

So…the “wheels” are the problem of the moment.  She’s once again improving the usage of her damaged rear leg.  Plan now is to try Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) on BOTH knees…to improve the injury site, but also to strengthen the sound knee to keep it strong. I’ll report how that goes.

Mona’s journey started January 6 of this year, and it has been a load.  She’s an amazing trouper and we love her terrific.

At the start, we struggled with the question: “Is this for us or her?”  Four months in, I can say it was definitely for HER.

And it has been worth every struggle and every moment.

Here’s a link to see Mona in action:

 

Love to all going through this difficult time.


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A Bit of a Dip, but a Quick Recovery

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Well, poop!!!

In a good way…Mona had her first post-surgery BM yesterday and that was a cause for celebration.

Made a sling from a modified wine bottle carrier and it works well to keep her safe while navigating steps.  Once she’s out in the yard, we drop it and she’s on her own.

Did pretty well yesterday morning (when the poop-event occurred), but by afternoon was looking a bit shaky, panting and uncomfortable.  It was a beautiful day and unseasonably warm, so my wife tossed a blanket on the ground, with a book, and we brought Mona out.

Didn’t go well.  She was shaking and more than ready to head back inside.

Having spent a lot of time reading the resources here yesterday, I think I may have been the source of the problem.  Yesterday morning, I decided to give Mona only one of her two pain meds.  My thought was, “we could always up the dosage later, if need be.”

Then I read “it’s better to prevent the pain than to try to eliminate it after it occurs.”  One more pain pill, plus a dose of the anti-anxiety meds and she calmed down.

Today, she’s up and about…but a little unsure about the best way to get down from the standing position. Seems to get up just fine.  Letting her figure that out on her own and resisting the urge to help.  Not easy, though.

Going for a bandage/incision check tomorrow.  Still more than a week before the sutures come out.  Then Chemo…

Anyone have any experience with physical therapy help?  I know there are a lot of recommended excersises on this site, but wondering if there is an advantage to working with professionals.  I think we need to get about 10-15 pounds off Mona and work on her core strength.  Any experience you can share would be appreciated.

Here she is earlier today:

Mona Sunday

Tail wagging!

The Day After

Well, Mona had a great first night.  Since we know her well (she’s 8), we knew the E-Collar was more upsetting than it was worth, so it was the first change we made.

She navigated things well.  We used the towel sling, just in case, but she did the hop well.  I think the pain meds plus the loss of the right-side counterbalance has made it less sure than hopefully it soon will be.

She’s pee’d but not pooped yet.  Seems a bit sad, but likely that’s the drugs and the effect of surgery.

Needs to do the front-paw adjustment (to the center) soon.  Anyone know when that might happen?

Thanks for the nice comments all.  This is a tough process, we’re 3 nights in and it’s still unclear if this was the best thing for sweet Mona.  Hoping for clarity soon.

Here are some pics:

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A steak treat (with meds).

 

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Sleeping on the wound.  A good sign, I think.  Agreed?

The journey has begun…

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Our sweet Mona, an eight year old Golden Doodle on December 9, 2015.  Little did we know that in less than 1 month, she’d suffer a pathologic fracture of her right forepaw…and get the dreaded diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

Mona is an emotional support service dog and has been an amazing comfort for many through life’s most difficult challenges.  Now, cruelly, it would be her turn to face hardship.

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Here she is with the pretty pink cast (but really clumsy) she was fitted with, after undergoing a total battery of radiographs, which revealed no metastasis in lungs, limbs, or spine.  We also learned her hips (no dysplasia) and knees (very minor arthritis) and remaining forelimb were all quite sound.

Nevertheless, we wrestled with the emotions of the only treatment available to spare her quality of life.  The fracture would never heal, and despite the brave and happy face Mona kept, the peg-leg cast couldn’t stay for long.

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Here she is today, home less than 36 hours after surgery.  She’s a bit unsteady, owing to the drugs and the loss of her right-side counterbalance, but she’s resting comfortably, drinking and enduring short walks outside for bathroom breaks.

An uncertain night ahead and we’re not sure where all this leads, but my prayer is that she’s up and mobile/agile is short order.  And back to her full “Mona-self” very soon.

And we pray we made the right choice for one of God’s very special creatures.