Week 2 Post-Surgery

Unfortunately, Week 2 post-surgery did not go as smoothly as Week 1. Bo would not eat or drink anything and he was very unresponsive. He would not even pick his head up when we came into the room. I started using a dropper to squirt some water into his mouth to try to keep him hydrated. He went out to the bathroom once each of these days, and as for moving around, the bathroom trips were about it. My husband and I suspected that his mood had much to do with all of the medication. I took a video of Bo’s lethargy and made a vet appointment to get him checked out.


On Day 9, we went to the vet and it turns out the video came in handy because Bo decided to be his perky self again! I knew I would need proof that he was being mopey. Happier, but still moving a little slowly, the vet techs got him to eat some wet food and drink water. The vet was in agreement with us and thought that the meds could be making him feel yucky. We decided to start weening him off of the Gabapentin and cut the Tramadol down to two doses a day instead of three. They said to keep in mind that he may be having liver issues and to keep giving him the liver chews. They want to check the liver levels again in a month or so. They weighed him and he is down to 90 lbs…good news for those 3 legs. Also, they went ahead and took his stitches out a day early because everything looked great!

Days 10-14 have seen a slight improvement in his mood, but he is still not back to being his crazy self. He is having much more difficultly getting around and his back legs are very shaky. His appetite has improved though; we are adding a half of a can of wet food to his dry food and that seems to perk up his interest for meals. He is spending a lot of time sleeping in the guest bathroom, which he never used to do before. He kicks the bathmat out of the way and and sprawls out in the corner by the tub and wall. I was concerned about this at first because we don’t usually spend much time on that side of the house, but we think it just may be a cool place to hang out. We are having 100+ degree weather down here in Florida and the cooler tile may just feel better to him. At least that is what we are hoping… Also on Day 14, the vet called and said to knock the Tramadol down some more. So we will give him 1 full dose, but split it in to 2 times a day. Also, she said to stop the Gabapentin all together. So…we were at 17 pills a day after surgery and now we are down to 3 and hoping to see some major mood improvements!

Still feeling crummy, but getting some fresh (hot!) air.

That brings us to today…15 days post-surgery. I have been feeding off of Bo’s mopey mood a little bit, but when I came home from work today, he was up and RAN over to see me! Didn’t that just make my day!! He as been approved to start swimming again, but he just hasn’t been in the mood. Hopefully, lowering the meds will make him happier and want to do some fun activities again.

Did anyone else experience mood changes in their tripawd pups after surgery? Did they ever get back to their “normal” personalities?

I am hopeful that each day will mark more positive progress. Getting Bo’s story out of my head and “on paper”, so to speak, has helped with my mood tremendously!


Bo’s surgery was on May 31st, 2011. I am a substitute teacher, and I subbed in the sweetest 1st grade class that day. I came home with many sweet notes and pictures. Those little ones really helped keep my mind off of the happenings that day.

The doctor called us when she got out of Bo’s surgery. He was in surgery for a little over three hours. She was happy to report that the tumor had not ruptured and seemed to be in it’s own capsule. The “mass” was sent to the University of Florida for testing. We have not heard back yet on the results.

Bo was kept at the vet overnight and we picked him up around noon the next day. We were very nervous to pick him up, but he literally came running out of the door, dragging the vet behind him. I guess I thought I would be taking home a different dog, but he came out the same ‘ole Bo he went in as. He was so happy to see us and so full of energy, it was hard to believe that he was missing a leg.

The vet briefed us on what to expect, medications (still Tramadol, Vetprofen, and Gabapentin), and supplements (Dasuquin, Catalyst, and Vetri-Liver Chews). She informed us that something in his liver count was a little high and that was more than likely caused by the Vetprofen. We were instructed to only use it once a day for three additional days and then to stop. The liver chew supplements were given to try to help the liver out.

Bo in his favorite sleeping position the day before surgery
On the way to surgery...and still smiling!
Belle did not mind being an "only child" for one night...

Bo was getting around surprisingly well the day after surgery.

The first night home was a little rough. We were very diligent about giving him all of the medication, but he was still quite disoriented and not entirely comfortable. He ended up sleeping for most of the night in the office and I slept next to him on the floor…no wonder he prefers the bed! That night we experienced the first of many “phantom pains”. WOW! Bo would look down at his legs and then jump and scream at the same time. After, he would put his tail between his legs and have body shakes. All we could do was just try to talk to him and pet him.

Belle is watching out for Bo while he heals.
Just taking it easy.
I like to think that he's wearing a peace sign.

Aside from the phantom pains, the first 5 days were not too terribly bad. My husband’s and my family came to visit and bring us dinners. I started sleeping on a blow-up mattress on the floor and would just park it next to where ever Bo ended up. He was eating regularly and going to the bathroom normally. I put lots of rugs down on the laminate wood floors thinking that they would be easier to walk on, but Bo would go out of his way to walk around the rugs.

We went to the vet on Day 4 after surgery and got a good report. They took off his bandage and gave him a shirt and bandanna to wear. Day 5 after surgery was a beautiful Sunday and Bo spent close to an hour lounging on the porch with us, in addition to his limited routine.

Got a sporty new outfit from the vet, Day 4 after surgery.
Can't stop hugging this sweet baby!

On Day 6, Bo started to seem a little withdrawn. He would still hang around us, but was just a little down. He didn’t eat much, but he was still taking his meds and supplements. For the first time, he did not have a phantom pain episode, so we thought that even though he was a little out of it, he was still making progress.


Bo’s Birthday-5/25/11

We got an appointment with a new vet for a second opinion. I had forgotten it was Bo’s birthday, until I started writing the dates on all of the paperwork. I had taken him in by myself…thinking that we would be leaving with him in a cast or some new medicine. Bo and I waited in a nice room and they brought a bed for him to get comfortable in. The vet finally came in and told me that she suspects Bo may have bone cancer. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I immediately called my husband and my parents and they were all there within 30 minutes.

Before going over all of the options, the vet wanted to take her own x-rays to confirm what she already knew. She also got pictures of his lungs. The good news…lungs were clear! The bad news…bone cancer. She went over the options that we had: do nothing, but medicate; amputate leg; chemo after amputation; etc. We were relieved to hear that the vet’s goals were in line with ours: to focus on quality of life and being pain free. We stayed in the exam room at the vet for about 3 hours. We were not rushed to leave and we got to ask tons of questions. As horrible as the news was, there is still peace in knowing. We had spend the past several weeks with our hands tied, knowing that something was wrong and not having the means to fix it.

We knew that the best route to 1)get the cancerous mass out of his body and 2)relieve pain was to amputate. Still, we needed to go home and process everything that we had learned that day. Of course, we did our own research online about canine cancer and could not believe how prevalent it is. We decided to schedule the amputation and called the vet back that very day. We scheduled the surgery for May 31st, and that gave us a 3 day weekend beforehand to mentally prepare ourselves.

Bo, who is rarely allowed on the couch, cuddled with me for hours that afternoon and evening. The vet had given us some medicine to immediately start some pain relief. He was taking Tramadol, Vetprofen, and Gabapentin. The meds did have a pain relieving effect and he finally got some much needed deep sleep.

Snuggle time!



With all that was looming over us, Memorial Day weekend was surprisingly wonderful! Bo got a new life jacket and we let him swim with it on to get used to it before surgery. He was so happy to be in the water. No whining this time, but he still took it easy. We even did some paw print art and have it hanging in the house!

Testing the life jacket pre-surgery
I wanted pink paw flowers, but Bo thought it would be too girly 😉

Also, during this time, I was mentally and emotionally trying to process everything that was happening. I still keep repeating to myself that it is the quality of life that is important, not the quantity. I am giving him hugs and kisses and cherishing them, when I may have taken them for granted before. We have a sign that hangs by our front door that says Make Every Day Count. I am reading that sign everyday and trying my best to live up to it. It is hard to stay positive sometimes, but I am getting my strength from the strength that I see in Bo…and of course my wonderful husband and supportive family.



Bo started slightly limping around the beginning of April. It was difficult to tell at first, but we eventually discovered that it was his front, left leg. After reading some information online, we thought that Bo may have just injured himself by playing rowdy in the yard. We put him on an aspirin regimen with lots of rest. After about a week with no improvement, we scheduled an appointment with the vet. The vet physically examined him and did not see or feel anything abnormal. At that point, the limp was there, but barely noticeable. He gave him a 10 day prescription of NSAIDS and we were told to limit activity to “leash-only”. The 10 days that Bo was on the medication were great…no limping. Day 11, with no medication, the limp was immediately back. We contacted the vet and were told to continue limiting activity and lots of rest. He said that it may take up to six weeks to heal and that we needed to be patient.

Right before first x-rays. (Sorry it’s sideways!)

After a couple more weeks, Bo was getting restless…going from being an extremely active dog to barely having any exercise at all was hard to do. One day, we decided to let him get in the pool to cool off from the 100 degree weather we are having. We were careful not to let him get too crazy and walked him into the pool. He started whimpering the minute he got in the water and went directly back to the stairs. He was not comfortable and did not even want to swim. That’s when my husband and I realized that something may be seriously wrong.

We made another appointment with the vet to take x-rays of his leg. He was at the vet office all day and was sedated to get the x-rays. When I picked him up, I was shown the x-rays…nothing too unusual. There was, however, a “fuzzy” area around his shoulder and the vet explained that that told him where the problem was. He said that it may be a strained ligament or muscle and to continue resting and limiting activity. He said that if the limp did not go away after 6 weeks, we may need to look into additional testing for bone cancer or kidney disease. Bo came home from the vet that day with a new limp. This new limp was extremely painful and limiting in his ability to walk, climb stairs, and even lay down.

After first x-rays. (Again, sideways!)

The next week, we noticed that the muscle mass in his shoulder had decreased and the shoulder bone was starting to stick out. We contacted the vet with this concern and were told that it was probably muscle atrophy due to the lack of use in his shoulder. We were also told that we could make another appointment for additional tests/injections. Unfortunately, financially, we just could not do it.

The next two weeks were the worst. His shoulder bone kept sticking out more and the limp got worse daily. We noticed that he was in the most pain at night. He had a constant, heavy pant and would get muscle quivers in the bad leg. I knew in my heart that something was terribly wrong. I would cry myself to sleep on my husband’s shoulder and wake up during the night to check on Bo. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew it was something.

Right before the second opinion. (Hope you’re not getting neck cramps from looking sideways!)

Sometime during these weeks, I pointed out to my husband that we did not have a family picture with both Bo and the cat, Belle. So, we had a family photo shoot! No one image had all of us looking at the camera, but what fun would that be?

Take 1
Take 2
Take 17...Good enough!

About 3 weeks after Bo’s first x-ray, my parents offered to pay for Bo to get a second opinion. My husband did a lot of research and we got a couple of great recommendations before choosing a vet to go to. Our current vet was very helpful and transferred his file, as well as gave us the x-rays to take to the new vet.

We were nervous, but anxious to see if we could finally get to the bottom of Bo’s leg issue.

Getting Started…

The past few months have been an emotional roller coaster. Our 100 lb., crazy, energetic, sweet,  yellow Lab, Bo, has been diagnosed with bone cancer. The road to diagnosis was stressful in it of itself and post-diagnosis hasn’t been a cake walk either. I am feeling the need to document Bo’s story thus far, mostly for personal peace of mind, but also for some helpful advice and words of wisdom from other tripawed parents.

A quick background on Bo:

I got Bo as a puppy in July of 2005. I was in college, had a job, and finally had some money (with some help from my parents) to buy a dog. Growing up, my family always had dogs and it seemed like a natural transition for me to have one of my own. I found an ad in the paper for yellow lab pups and my sister and I drove a short drive out of state to pick one out. The breeder brought two males for me to choose from: a pale yellow pup and a golden yellow pup. Looking in the pen in the back of his truck, I saw the pale yellow pup sleeping soundly, not disturbing a soul. The other dog, was tearing up the water bowl and ransacking the pen. Of course, I wanted the crazy dog because he had “personality”. That quick glimpse of Bo as a wild, energetic, water-loving puppy can pretty well sum up the past 6 years. If there was something interesting in Bo’s reach, he ate it: trash, credit cards, books, foil, friendship bread mix…the list goes on. If there was a person to seek attention from, Bo was there: he loves his doggy grandparents, kids, dogs, cats, and especially enjoys chasing folks on bikes. And don’t let me forget his love of water! Bo has tried to swim in the toilet, jump in the shower, splash in his water bowl, and dive…I mean really DIVE into the nearest body of water. It hasn’t always been easy living with such a spirited pup, but we have grown to have a deep understanding and bond with one another.

We lived in a townhouse (my husband, cat-Belle, Bo, and myself) for the first 5 years of Bo’s life. Last summer we got a new house! Yes, we really did buy the house because my husband and I love it….But did the fact that it has a pool for Bo to swim in contribute to our decision?!?! ABSOLUTELY! Bo had an amazing summer last year diving in the pool, rolling in the grass and lounging on the porch. As much as we are enjoying our new pad, it warms my heart that Bo has gotten to enjoy the things he loves most as well.

My husband is an amazing photographer, so it is hard to just pick a few pictures…. 🙂


I chose the puppy with personality!
Bo at Puppies at the Pool two years ago...Boy, did he have a BLAST!!
Bo and I at one of our favorite spots...the Greenway.
My husband, Bo and I love, love, love travelling to North Carolina for vacation!
So handsome...I just want to kiss this face everytime I see it!