Tails From The Pack - A Dogs Tale

The adventures of "The Pack" living in the Alpujarras, the foothills of Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains, Andalucia

Bruno becomes a tripawd

13 August 2011

Reading time: 10 mins

Monday August 1st we got the phone call from the vet to confirm that Bruno does have cancer and amputation was the next step. I went straight to youtube and located 2 videos of Leonbergers that had had amputations. One had a front limb amputation and one had a back limb amputation (Chicos mum has been in touch with us, we thank her for her support). Seeing these videos gave us some hope, that big dogs can adapt to amputation. On Wednesday morning we drove to the veterinary hospital in Granada with mixed emotions. Happy that Bruno was going in for amputation and would be pain free but scared to death that he was going to go through such major surgery.

We were the only clients at the hospital at that time and we were asked to stay and help Bruno through his premeds. The anaesthetist who was dealing with Bruno had an incredibly kind aura about him. He made Bruno calm, us calm and we were happy to leave Bruno in his hands. Wow what a day we had waiting to hear how the operation had gone.

Brunos wound 1 week after amputation
Brunos wound 1 week after amputation

We got the phone call early in the afternoon to say the operation had gone well, Bruno had been strong throughout and we could pick him up at 7pm. I cant tell you how happy we were but also a little scared wondering how on earth we were going to deal with a newly amputated Brunoberger. To be honest we expected him to stay in hospital at least over night, but no, he was to come home with us. The anaesthetist met us and talked us through his medication and then they wheeled Bruno in on a trolley. I had to fight hard not to burst out crying at the sight of him lying on the trolley as high as kite on his medication looking completely helpless. And I admit I wondered what the hell had we done to him. How naive were we, we expected a walking dog to be handed back to us! No matter how many images, videos etc you see of animals after amputation, to see your own beloved friend in that situation was a complete and utter shock.

He was wheeled to the car and four of us lifted him in. We phoned our local vet in Lanjaron to ask for his help in getting Bruno from the car into the house. He came up with a great idea in using a sheet to carry him. So with myself, Richard, Jose and Eva we brought him into the house. Emma had stayed behind to look after Khumbu, he hates to be left without Bruno and needless to say he was very happy to see him home again.

Khumbu sticking close to his furbrother Bruno, 1 day after amputation
Khumbu sticking close to his furbrother Bruno, 1 day after amputation

We assumed Bruno would sleep through the night, but no, at 2am we heard him get up, we shot out of bed to find Bruno standing in the lounge. Turns out he needed the toilet and was not going to go in the house. He shot off outside nearly at a run, we struggled to keep up with him, terrified he was would topple over and open his wound up. As it is he did his business came back inside and went to sleep which is more than can be said about us.

Bruno chilling out on the rug with Khumbu close by, 8 days after amputation
Bruno chilling out on the rug with Khumbu close by, 8 days after amputation

The first week was tough, more so for us due to lack of sleep, we were up every time we heard a noise, usually it was Bruno just shifting position. Each day Bruno has improved. He has taken a couple of falls and one particularly nasty one, but he has learnt from them. His cocktail of drugs has got less and now he is off all medication. We have him on something called Transfer Factor Plus to boost his immune system. He is going out for daily walks, ok so they are not far but he is getting further each day and each day he is getting stronger. He has even now learnt to balance himself and cock a leg to pee so he stands on 2 legs for a short while!! Did we make the right decision in amputation, absolutely, 3 legs are just as good as 4 and we have a happy pain free Bruno. Because he is nearly back to himself we do have to remind ourselves that he has cancer and we still have a major battle ahead.

An excellent information site is the bonecancerdogs website. People on here are all going through or have been through similar situations and are incredibly kind people. Another useful information site and community is Tripawds.

A happy Bruno taking a rest on his walk
A happy Bruno taking a rest on his walk

So now we wait for Tuesday to have his stitches removed and then I guess we find out about the chemotherapy. Thank you all so much for your continued support and good wishes, it means a lot to us and gives us strength during the hard times, of which there have been many.

A bit of useless information for you, the leg that was removed from Bruno weighed in at 4.5kg!!


Khyra: My FT is raised in honour Bruno’s SPUNK ;-) Of khourse, with such a handsome brofur to keep an eye on him, how khould he NOT to do well!?! Hugz&Khysses, Khyra

oli: Bruno you are an inspiration to us all….how amazing to stand on TWO legs for a piss….awesome…did you like the pizza? !!

norwood: Bruno I have tears reading your post. We are so happy you are getting along great with your 3 legs. We had no doubt you would pull thru great. Wooo hooo. love norwood

Mike: Glad that all is going well so far!!! Keep the Power of the Paw!!!!

Peppy Sheppys: Our good twitterfriend Norwood told us about you, Bruno! We too salute you and have our paws crossed for a speedy recovery and better health. Sheps w/Pep, Otis & Edgrr.

Anna: Bruno, what a boy you are, so clever, makes us humans weep, Keep up the good work and may your “life guide” be close by your side in the coming days. Ted. X

Anna: Oops, should of said Ted, Anna and David, but I am the best “Ted”

Carol: He’s just as handsome with his ‘war-wound ‘ , what a brave boy…here’s wishing him well for the further treatment, he is lucky in that he could not have better carers than Kiersten and Richard. x

Emma Wilson: Hi Kiersten, well what can I say, brought a tear to my eye reading this but so glad he is recovering well, looks so handsome bless him, its amazing how quickly he has learnt to walk again. Wishing you all the best for the coming months. He certainly looks like he is prepared to fight this one himself. Thinking of you Emma xxx

FiveSibesMom: Bruno and you are such inspirations. We pray for Bruno’s continued successful recovery and that his battle with cancer will soon be won! He is a beautiful boy with a wonderful spirit. It’s so heartwarming to see his brother Khumbu by his side. And you can see the love and worry in his sweet Sibe face. We are sending lots of Husky love his way. Bruno, we ♥ you! And you are certainly blessed with a wonderful Hu-family as well! Positive healing thoughts coming your way always - and to your hu-family as well.

Tyler Huskamute: Oh! Packleaderette had tears in her eyes too. What a pawesome post, we are so happy for Bruno and sending strong healing huskamute vibes for his journey ahead. (and for you his hu-family). - Tyler

Gaby Hermida: Big hugs Bruno!! Woo are a rock*star! -Max and Gaby <3

Jim, Rene, Wyatt and Spirit Jerry: Best wishes for a complete speedy recovery Bruno! Drop by the Tripawds Forums some time to share your story or for lots of recovery tips, advice and support from the community. PS: Thanks for sharing the link! :-)

Balto and Steph: Bruno, what a gorgeous gentleman! It’s wonderful that you are happy and back to you normal self! Wish we were not across the pond, it looks like Balto would enjoy a good romp with you in your neighborhood! We are so glad you found BoneCancerDogs, so that we could know your wonderfulness!!! take good care! Balto and Steph

Donna Ritter: <3<3 Bruno……………Seems your recovery from the amputation is going well. Wishing you and your humans all the best. This story brought tears of happiness to my heart. Bruno you are a hero :)

Jeanne: Thoughts and prayers coming your way for a speedy recovery and a healthy Bruno. My Bernese was diagnosis a year ago with bone cancer. Amputation & chemo followed and he is doing well. Jeanne

Carrie, Billy & Piper: Thanks for posting Bruno’s experience… ♥ ♥ ♥ … will be sharing! Your fellow leos, Billy & Piper say “Stay Pawsitive!”

Peppi: Chico’s mom (Steph) posted about your blog and so I went to have a look. Your boy is gorgeous! I have had 4 rottweilers with bone cancer and one of them, Sydney, had right front amp like your boy. It’s just amazing to see how well they adapt, isn’t it? They know exactly how far they can go and it’s so good to see Bruno getting better each day! Good luck with the chemo and give him some big hugs & kisses from us across the pond! Your site, without a doubt, will help SO many others facing this decision. Thank you for taking the time to document Bruno’s journey.

Chuy Maloney: Hey Bruno! It’s great to see you are doing so well after your surgery. Welcome to the club and to Tripawds.com. Having to hop on 3 legs is better than limp on 4. At one time I was only using 2 of my 3 as I had to have FHO surgery on one of my rear legs and I’m missing one of my front legs like you. :) Keep your spirits up dude, cuz we can show all those 4 legged dogs out there that we are just as good or better than they are! Big AROOOOOS to you!!! Licks & Wags, Chuy

RAHUSKY & Isis: Harrooo dear Bruno! We are relieved to hear you are getting on as a tripaws well, one of our best furiends is Chuy from the tripawd site you mentioned. We are all proud of your dear mate and are sending pawsitive siber vibes from over here in Wyoming.–stick close to Khumbu- we sibers are excellent care givers! RA, Isis & nuknuk