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Inspawrational Great Dane Moose Leads the Big Dog Parade

Three legged Dane Dog MooseWhen I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in November, 2006, my pawrents weren’t sure if I could have a good life on three legs. They went online looking for answers, and saw a video of Moose, a three legged Harlequin Great Dane. In the video, Moose was digging up the ground and looking for gophers. That video convinced my pawrents that I could live a hoppy life on three legs. If it wasn’t for Moose, Tripawds would not exist.

Now, whenever people wonder about whether or not a big dog can live a good life as an amputee, we point to Moose’s video, and let them decide.

Here is a touching recollection from Moose’s Dad Joel, about the day when Moose made a lasting impression upon the hearts and minds of residents in Santa Barbara, California.

Moose Leads the Big Dog Parade

Our favorite summer event is the Big Dog Parade in Santa Barbara. The clothing company Big Dog is based in Santa Barbara and sponsors an annual parade for dogs and their owners. A few thousand dogs and their owners walk down State Street to the park at the beach. It is quite a sight, dogs and people of all shapes and sizes, many in costume sauntering down the road to the beach. Thousands more people are lining the road watching the crazy assortment of dogs, people, and the occasional school band. As the 14th annual Big Dog Parade approached, Moose was beating the odds against bone cancer.

From Diagnosis to Canine Celebrity

Almost two years earlier, Moose had been dealt the worst diagnosis a dog can get, bone cancer. The local vet was very negative, and shared the story of another dog with the same diagnosis that did very poorly with the standard treatment of amputation. He said we should consider putting Moose down, or possibly amputation witch he said might buy Moose and us 6 months. At that my partner Ross told the vet he was not going to cut off his dogs leg and stormed out of the exam room.

Three legged Dane Dog MooseThe choice seemed a lose-lose. Put the dog down as soon as the pain meds stop blocking the increasing pain of the tumor which the vet said would be soon, or cut off his leg and let him hobble around until the microscopic cancer cells that likely were already streaming around his body grow up and kill him. Moose was only four years old, and other than the golf ball size tumor on his front leg, he seemed so healthy and full of life. We just could not put him down.

But what about the alternative, amputate the leg? I have seen many three leg dogs do amazingly well, but Moose was a huge harlequin Great Dane. How could a 140 pound dog that was 38 inches off the ground at his shoulders have any quality of life missing a leg? It seemed like disservice to the poor guy. As we researched things many told us that big dogs like Moose really can do well with three legs. Sure it is possible to survive with three legs, but Moose was a very active dog that loved to play and run around our five acre country homestead. Ross and I were pretty much completely against the amputation, but also not ready to put him down.

Both Ross and I spent time trying to understand what Moose wanted. After a couple of days, it was clear to both of us that Moose wanted to stay around and hunt for lizards, even if it was on three legs.

About the time we realized what Moose wanted, we found out about a bone cancer study at the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The study gave Moose the best care possible, which could improve his odds at a better outcome. Part of what we sensed from Moose was that he didn’t care what happened down the road, only in enjoying the moment, whatever the conditions.

Moose became a big celebrity at the Davis Teaching Hospital. He went through the amputation and six rounds of chemo like a trouper. Through every treatment and test, Moose was the model patient. He would let them poke and prod and put him through whatever thing they had to do without the slightest disagreement. When I would pick him up after treatment or tests, he was always just happy to see me and looking for a fun time. It was a four hour drive from our house to Davis, and Moose and I searched out the best places along the trip to run, play, and pee, and boy did Moose run. The amputation did not slow Moose down one bit. His remaining front leg became stronger and stronger to the point that we called it the “Arnold Leg” after our Terminator Governor.

Three legged Dane Dog MooseThe small rural town that we live in got used to the huge three legged Dane. Before Moose’s amputation, he attracted a ton of attention simply by his size. Now that he only had three legs it was fun to watch people’s reaction. Most of the time, people would be attracted to him because of how big he was and come over to meet him. After a minute or two they would realize that he only had three legs. At that point most people would freak out and while in amazement that such a big dog could do so well with three legs, back away from the “disabled dog.”

Watching this over and over made me realize that I, like most others did the same thing when I saw a “disabled person” without realizing what I was missing out on. We had become so familiar with Moose’s lost leg and regularly would pet and caress the amputation site, seeing it as a beautiful part of our wonderful Moo boy, rather than an ugly deformity as most others saw it. I was deeply hurt on more than one occasion where a close friend that I admired greatly cringed and didn’t even want to look at the “deformity.”

Full Speed Ahead!

So as the Big Dog Parade drew closer, Ross and I got more and more excited about taking Moose to the parade. Moose had become so strong since his amputation and chemo that he had regained virtually all of his pre-amputation abilities. He had even figured out how to dig for gophers with only one front paw. Even with Moose so strong Ross and I were a bit concerned that he wouldn’t be able to make the few mile long parade route and back to the car. We felt that he would likely do fine, but if he had any problems we could just stop and one of us could go get the car. As the date approached Ross realized that he would be unable to go to the parade due to scheduling conflicts with work, and as a small business owner, he had no choice but to tend to his business. So I decided that I would take Moose on my own, and if Moose got tired I would get help from friends that lived in Santa Barbara.

Three legged Dane Dog MooseOn the morning of the parade, I had to get Moose fed and ready early so we could make the two hour drive and register before the 10 AM beginning of the parade. As always Moose knew that we were preparing for a road trip and was very excited. No problem getting him to jump into the car, he was ready to go! Windows down, head out, ears flapping in the breeze as we headed to town to catch the freeway. Moose was enjoying every minute. Moose like most dogs would make the most of every moment of every day, and today was no different.

We arrived in Santa Barbara a bit later than I had planned so we literally ran from the parking structure to De la Guerra Plaza where the check in and participants were lined up waiting for the parade to begin. Running was actually much easier for Moose than walking. With only one front leg, he had to hop almost strait up to walk slowly, but to run he was able to use his hind legs for impulsion and literally bounce off the single front leg. He could literally run as fast on three legs as he ever did with four, but it took much more effort to walk slowly with three legs. So there we were running at full speed down State Street weaving in and around the crowded sidewalk on our way to the Plaza.

We checked in, paid our entrance fee, got our number sign and found our place in the line with all the other dogs and owners waiting for the parade to begin. As we stood there, surrounded by hundreds of dogs and owners a few people would stop by to see Moose. And like always most would not realize he was missing a leg, but when they made that realization would tell me how well he was dealing with his “disability” and quickly fade away. It was an exciting and fun time just to be surrounded by all the dogs and “dog people”. I have always felt a connection to other “dog people” somehow thinking that we shared a common understanding of the canine-human bond. Today was even better, not only were we surrounded by all these dogs and “dog people”, but it was a party atmosphere with some very creative costumes for both the dogs and people and the local school marching bands practicing to get ready for their performance in the parade. I tried to get Moose to lay down as we waited in line so he could save his strength for the parade, but he was so excited that he stayed standing having to keep hopping on his front leg to maintain balance. We were in a specified order behind a group of about a dozen magnificent Great Pyrenees and next to a gay couple with their cute beagle mix who was loving all the excitement of the crowd. I struck up a conversation with the two guys next to me exchanging all the information about our dogs and our lives.

As the procession began to move, and the bands began playing their marching tunes, smiles and excitement filled the air. How could anyone keep from smiling at this wonderful scene. I was having a hard time keeping from crying out of joy. How I never expected to be able to experience this wonderful moment with my beloved Moo boy when we got the dreaded diagnosis, and now here we were beating the odds and strong as ever enjoying every moment. As we turned the corner from the plaza and started down State Street we were able to see the crowd three or four deep lining the sidewalk to watch to procession of crazy dogs and their companions. The crowd would react to each new group of dogs passing by with hoots and howls and most of all big smiles.

Our group of assorted dogs had a hard time showing up the magnificent Great Pyrenees that proceeded us. They were all groomed perfectly with their fluffy snow white fur and really were a magnificent sight. But our group got our share of claps and acknowledgment, and every so often I could see someone pointing out the three legged Dane.

After a few blocks I could see that Moose was already getting tired walking the slow procession of the parade. I was realizing that he would have a tough time making it the whole way walking so slow. About when I was ready to give up, I realized that the group of Great Pyrenees had sped up and there was a half a block of space between them and our group. Moose looked back at me and in an instant I realized he was asking me to let him have his wings and run free. So I told the gay couple to “watch this” and clicked my tongue twice giving Moose the signal to run. He and I ran together into the gap in front of us and Moose was in his element.

I could see him smile with his ears waving in the breeze. As we caught up with the Great Pyrenees I curved around and made a circle around the space between the groups of dogs. At that point I heard a massive roar from the crowds on the sidewalk. I have never and probably will never experience anything like this. Literally everyone on the sidewalk was focused on us in a continuous standing ovation. At this point I could not hold back my tears of joy and appreciation. As we continued to run in big circles in the gap between the two groups of dogs I could see Moose beaming from ear to ear reveling in the roar of approval from the crowd.

Moose and I continued running in circles the entire remaining course of the parade. As we moved down State Street the crowd lining the sidewalk continued to roar with approval as we circled past them. I was unable to stop my tears and Moose was flying free sending out the most positive energy you could ever imagine. As we made the turn off State Street nearing the park where the parade was to end, it was I that was having difficulty keeping up with the Moo boy.

As we reached the grassy park bordering the beach we found wadding pools to get a drink and a party atmosphere with bands playing and crowds of people and dogs wagging their tails. I found an open spot of grass where Moose and I could sit down and rest a bit. Within a few seconds Moose and I were surrounded by a massive crowd of people wanting to meet the amazing three legged Dane. Everyone wanted to hear Moose’s story of why he was missing a leg and pet and kiss the Moo boy. Moose had more than enough sloppy Dane kisses for everyone. For the first time, peoples reaction was not one of pity but envious of the courageous fun loving attitude that was oozing out of Moose. We stayed surrounded by this massive crowd for a couple of hours until the crowd started to thin and more importantly I caught my breath from running in circles down State Street.

Kindred Souls Share Boundless Pawsibilities

As we were getting ready to make the walk back to the car I realized that the reaction from most of the people who wanted to meet Moose was quite different than normal. There was not the typical attitude of pity and negativity that I would normally see, instead it was an attitude of inspiration. It was an attitude of boundless possibility rather than pity for the poor “disabled” dog.

Moose and I started our run up State Street to our car. The scene was quite different now, with most of the dog paraders dispersed and heading home and the normal crush of tourists milling along the sidewalk. We ran each block, darting between and around the tourists, occasionally getting stopped at a street corner waiting for a stoplight to change.

At one stoplight a young man on a mountain bike approached as we waited for the light to change. He said hi and asked if he could talk to me about my dog. He asked all about why he was missing a leg, listening more intently than most who stopped us. We stood at the corner talking while two or three cycles of the streetlight changed. After I explained all about Moose’s story, the guy told me that he had seen Moose running with such enjoyment in the parade that he had to meet him and how much it meant to him to get that chance. Then the light turned green, he told me to have a nice day and sped off on his mountain bike, popping a wheeley as he departed. When he got about half way across the street, he looked back at us with the same smile that I saw on Moose’s face when he was running like the wind.

It was not until the guy was part way up the next block that I realized that one of his legs was a prosthesis. The emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. This time it was I who was oblivious of the missing leg. I wanted so much to be able to talk with the guy, but he was long gone. It hit me that he sped away on his bike, with the same ultimate enjoyment of the moment that I saw in Moose every time he got a chance to run like the wind.

We made it back to the car, again with me more out of breath than Moose. On our drive home I kept re-living the extraordinary day. The attention and continuous applause was something I have never experienced in my life, even with the attention really focused on Moose and not myself. It was invigorating to get so much approval from strangers. But it made me think about how much Moose had brought to Ross and and my life through his battle with bone cancer. Moose taught us to not avoid people or dogs with a “disability”, rather to be so appreciative that we have to opportunity to be in each others lives. Moose’s attitude about his “disability” was that it was not a “disability” it was just how it is. He took it from there and figured out ways to revel in every opportunity for fun. I think the outpouring of appreciation from the crowd was not because they had never seen such a big dog run with only three legs, but was appreciation that he did not let the missing leg keep him from having such a fun day. I will never meet the guy on the bike with only one leg again, but watching him speed away and pop a wheeley caused be to be so appreciative that he also did not let his “disability” get in the way of having a wonderful day. This is a lesson that all dogs seem to know innately, but I was only able to understand with the help of my best friend Moo boy.

Here is Moose’s Website with more pictures and information

Primary Chondrosarcoma of the Spine, Jake’s Story

When pawrents learn that their dog has bone cancer, they often second guess their decisions leading up to the diagnosis. They find themselves wondering “Why didn’t we see it? Maybe we should’ve done this…or that…” Many wonder; if we knew he had cancer sooner, would things be better?

Sarah was one of those pawrents. She and her 5 year old Portuguese water dog, Jake, recently came to us through Tazzie, a mutual friend in Canada. Sarah posted in the forums, looking for advice when Jake’s spinal bone cancer became dramatically worse.

She and Jake had walked a long road up to the bone cancer diagnosis. His behaviors exhibited possible diagnoses ranging from a ruptured disc  to arthritis. When cancer was finally discovered, Jake wasn’t an amputation candidate because the cancer (later inconclusively diagnosed as chondrosarcoma) was in his spine.

Sarah found little information online about bone cancer in the spine, and unfortunately we too made the same discovery. Sadly, in just eight weeks, Jake’s health rapidly declined and the intense pain was too much to bear. After a bone biopsy was taken, he could hardly walk and suffered from bouts of intense pain. Sarah released him from his pain on December 12th, just two days later.

Afterward, Sarah told us that she was completely unprepared for the way in which bone cancer in the spine presents itself in dogs. It was distressing not to find even an ounce of hope or ways to cope.

But Jake’s death will not be in vain. Sarah wrote the following summary of her experience, to help anyone else who might find themselves with a dog suspected of having spinal bone cancer. We are grateful for the time she took to help others in this way.

Please read on to learn about the symptoms, behaviors and progression of this devastating presentation of bone cancer.

Swim on, Jake, you will never be forgotten . . .

Primary Chondrosarcoma of the spine – Jake’s Story

by Sarah Crook

Written in the hope that reading it you will be more prepared to cope with this awful disease than I was. The progress of the disease from no symptoms to death took 8 weeks. The cancer was located in the C7 vertebra (lower neck).

Early signs (first two weeks):

  • A stiffness that developed after 15 to 20 minutes walking. Jake woke up in the morning seemingly fine – the stiffness was only obvious with exercise and occurred even with moderate exercise, like leash walking. Round the house Jake’s activity seemed normal and the stiffness was not apparent (this pattern seems unlike what I have read about arthritis where the dog wakes stiff, then it gradually wears off).
  • A reluctance to go up/downhill that I noticed when walking Jake off-leash. Jake still followed but lagged behind.
  • A cautious approach to going up/down stairs especially after a walk when he had stiffened up
  • Cautious approach to getting in and out of car – fairly subtle. Just a hesitation before jumping and a preference to climb in rather than jump..
  • A reluctance to stretch his head down to eat or drink. Backed off and barked at his food bowl until I raised it up.
  • Very subtle – I only thought of this in retrospect – sometimes a slight unsteadiness when he cocked his leg for a pee.

Middle period (middle four weeks):

  • After 2 weeks Jake was seen by a vet who physically examined him and found stiffness in his neck and a reaction (growl/snap) when upper back was pressed hard. Soft tissue injury was suspected and Jake put on Metacam and restricted exercise.
  • On Metacam he seemed livelier around the house and more playful – but the stiffness and stiff-legged gait still continued when exercised and as things progressed, would start after only 5mins. A video clip taken at this time shows his normal walk when setting out, then the stiff-legged ‘walking on eggshells’ gait that he would suddenly adopt; and his cautious approach to going down a step.
  • After 14 days of Metacam and no obvious improvement, Jake was put on Robaxin – a muscle relaxant. Robaxin made him much WORSE. He was clearly uncomfortable in the house – standing looking miserable, seemingly afraid of sitting or lying down (as if he thought it would hurt – which it probably did). His back legs became noticeably weak and he hard difficulty climbing upstairs (ataxia). I was especially aware of him being restless through the night (prior to this he slept well) – he would sleep for a few hours then wake apparently in discomfort and take 5 or 10 minutes to lever himself up and settle into a new position. Later, I found out from the oncologist that this was not unexpected – Jake’s muscles would have been protecting the painful part of his spine, and with the muscle relaxant they could no longer do this.
  • After 5 days took him off Robaxin and the vet put him back on Metacam. Ataxia lessened, slept well again, things seemed to improve – but in retrospect he did not recover to pre-Robaxin level. Jake started doing ‘girlie’ pees and if he tried to cock his leg consistently lost his balance. I later learned the weakness in his back legs and the uncoordinated gait (‘ataxia’) that developed were the result of the tumour and/or associated inflamed tissue compressing the spinal cord.

End Phase (last two weeks):

  • Increasing unsteadiness of back legs so took Jake once more back to his vet. Same stiffness in neck and sore place on upper back. Blood samples were taken to rule out the slight chance of a tick born disease and vet referred Jake to a surgical specialist and a neurologist.
  • Surgeon examined Jake and suspected ruptured disc – recommended MRI.
  • Neurologist examined Jake and suspected lesion in lower neck and upper back (either two separate ones or one big one) Recommended CAT scan.
  • Cat scan showed tumour in C7 vertebra about 2x2cm in size, and a biopsy was taken. I met with an oncologist and decided to have one radiation treatment to see if it would reduce the pain and inflammation. If not, I would have him put to sleep.

Last Two Days:

Jake came home on a Thursday afternoon after having the CAT scan and bone biopsy the previous night. He was on Perkocet but a couple of hours after getting home had a bout of severe pain – later I thought this episode must be similar to ‘breakthrough’ pain suffered by human cancer victims.

He had two more of these attacks on Friday night and then early Saturday morning, in spite of having started on stronger pain relief (morphine and Gabapentin – and more Metacam, although he deteriorated so fast I never got around to adding this to the cocktail) and they all followed the same pattern – 5 to 10 minutes of increasingly fast panting, signs of acute pain (groaning and struggling to his feet to stand hunched over, head hanging, tongue lolling) lasting 10 – 15 minutes; 20 – 40 minutes of gradually winding down (I could get him to sit on my lap and would rub him and try to calm him). On Saturday I decided enough was enough, it was too late to try radiation therapy, and I had him put to sleep that afternoon…

In retrospect

  • I am not sure if I wish I had asked for an X-ray early on and found the tumor sooner. Early diagnosis would have meant when he could still run around I would not have been limiting his exercise and keeping him on-leash all the time… and there would have been time to plan treatment such as radiation therapy. However, the bone biopsy would also have been done sooner and maybe even early on the consequences (huge increase in pain and decrease in mobility) would have been the same as below – see next point.
  • I would not have had the bone biopsy done without much more careful consideration – I blame this for the rapid deterioration in Jake’s condition at the end – hugely increasing the pain and causing increased inflammation that severely impacted his mobility and comfort level: he could hardly walk when he came home his back-end was so uncoordinated and weak.
  • I would have asked the oncologist for pain meds. to deal with the ‘breakthrough’ pain (if indeed that was what it was). If there aren’t any effective drugs to deal with it, I would have at least discussed what I could/should do if these attacks happened.
  • I would have had the consulting oncologist leave a prescription for stronger pain medication with an 24hr animal clinic in case Jake suddenly got worse in the night or at the weekend when she could not be contacted.
  • I would have got the contact details of a call-out vet who could come and put Jake to sleep when Jake’s own vet clinic was closed….

Jake’s own vet and the specialists he referred me to were consistently caring and conscientious. Both contacted me this week after I wrote to them raising some of the issues I mention above. They spent nearly an hour going through things with me, so I think they deserve credit for this, especially my vet, as he must have known the length of time in getting to a diagnosis would be a tricky subject to discuss.

Not a happy end to a bright and loving creature. If you are facing the same I know reading the above will be distressing – but I hope it will help you make the right choices for your pet.

Best wishes, Sarah

Three Tripawd Pals Galleries

Three legged cancer dog Caira Sue leaps for ball This great shot of Caira Sue leaping for a ball at the Tripawds Party in the Mill Valley dog park just seemed like the perfect parting shot for our third Tripawds Pals gallery.

Yes, we have now uploaded 300 pictures of three legged friends submitted by members and guests. Below is our third gallery of Tripawd Pals and we’ve added links to all of our first three galleries of pals, so they will never be forgotten.

We’ve just started our fourth Tripawds Pals gallery, so if you don’t have a Tripawds Blog for easily sharing photos of your pup, keep sending those pictures!

Tripawd Pals Gallery #3

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Osteoarthritis Help for Your Amputee Dog

Jerry was our first dog, and even after his leg amputation in 2006, we knew zilch about canine rehabilitation (known as “physical therapy” in the human world). It’s only recently that we’ve become aware of this life-changing therapy, and we want to start sharing what we are learning with all of you.

Connecticut-based “Wizard of Paws,” Dr. Debbie Gross Saunders was brought to our attention by our friend, renowned dog behaviorist and trainer Sarah Wilson.

Dr. Saunders is a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner who is well regarded in the performance sports dog world. She is one of the founders of the first and only university based program in canine rehabilitation – University of Tennessee’s Canine Physical Rehabilitation Program. Along with her therapy services, she teaches  and has a variety of DVDs to help dog parents practice safe and effective therapy at home.

Dr. Saunders was kind enough to send us a copy of her newest video, “Osteoarthritis and Your Dog” for review.

Osteoarthritis and Your Dog: What it is, and How to Help

Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative condition that affects dogs of all ages. When one of these arthritic dogs is told that a spare leg  has to be amputated, pawrents agonize over the amputation decision more than others. They wonder:

Can a three legged, arthritic dog have a good life?

After watching Debbie’s video, we think that for most dogs, consistent therapy exercises like the one in Dr. Saunder’s video will go a long way in providing a great quality of life as a Tripawd.

The first half of the video will hit you with a lot of information. Be sure to have a notepad ready to take notes. Although we wished it had informational graphics to study, Dr. Saunders does a fantastic job conveying what we need to know about osteoarthritis if your dog receives an osteoarthritis diagnosis.

The rest of the video is an awesome instructional guide to performing canine massage and range-of-motion exercises at home. Dr. Saunders discusses why these exercises are important, and how to tell if you’re working your dog too hard.

She also gives tips to great therapy products that we like, such as Bella’s Pain Pack. Lastly, she kindly provides cost-saving ideas for making your own therapy exercise tools at home.

Catch a glimpse of “Osteoarthrits and Your Dog,” here on the Wizard of Paws You Tube Channel.

Tracy Snow-Cormier, pawrent to Tripawd Maggie, and Tripawds Supporter, is a fan of Dr. Saunders, and loves this DVD. Tracy says that  “I had an interest in Debbie’s new DVD because I have one of my dogs with start of arthritis in her wrists. I wanted to have a safe way to exercise and strengthen her, and know that I wasn’t going to do further damage to her wrists.”

About the DVD, Tracy says that

“The low cost to do most of her exercises for the dogs is great. From doing basic obedience flatwork to doing theraball work, to low cavaletti work. It is easy for someone to do the exercises with your arthritic dog with very little cost…with the exception of the treadmills!”

We think you’ll find “Osteoarthritis and Your Dog” just as informative and useful. If you order it on Debbie’s website, let us know what you think!

Tribute to a Three Legged Beach Boy

We said goodnight to a hero yesterday, strong magnificent Max who lived for nearly fourteen months past his bone cancer diagnosis. His stunning blue eyes, his enthusiasm and his stoic pawsonality put smiles on the faces of everyone he met. Max will never, ever be forgotten.

In the spirit of our courageous hero, we want to share these fun clips of him with you.

This movie was taken at our Tripawds get together in Santa Barbara last December. You can see here that not even lung mets could stop this boy from having a good time with the other pups.

Here’s a flashback video starring Max, taken when we met him in February 2008, not long after his amputation and diagnosis.

And here’s a few photos of Max will always put smiles on our faces.

Run free Max, go get ’em!

Playing around with WPMU 2.9.1

Just testing some of the new features after upgrading to WordPress MU v. 2.9.1 …

Apparently video embedding is now native with only the video URL necessary:

So I guess that means the Viper’s Video Tags plugin we offer Tripawds Supporters just provides embedding from more video sharing sites (and raw Flash files) while enabling enhanced video features, assuming it still works:

There is also a new image editing feature in the Media Library:

But it doesn’t seem to play nice in Safari. Using Firefox I was able to crop, resize and rotate images with ease. Stay tuned for a detailed update in the Tripawds Behind the Scenes blog!

Another new feature is the new Trash function in Blog dashboards that allows removal of posts and comments without immediate deletion, allowing. The back end is also a bit quicker.

Surgery Drug Recall Warning for Ketamine, Possibly Butorphanol

Tripawd Codie Rae told us about a huge Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recall for the veterinary surgery drugs “ketamineand another rumored recall for the drug “butorphanol.”

Ketamine is used for everything from teeth cleaning, to amputation.

As many as five cats have died as a direct result of contaminated ketamine, but thus far, the ketamine recall has been completely botched by the FDA.

Much like the pet food recalls of previous years, this mishandling has resulted in mass confusion in the veterinary world over what specific dates, lots numbers, etc., are actually being recalled.

Thousands of vets might unknowingly have the contaminated versions in their practices.

The Veterinary Information Network, a resource for vets, wrote this article about the poor job the FDA has done with the recall.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the drug butorphanol is also rumored to be on the recall list, but the FDA hasn’t released anything about it.

For more details, you can read this article in the Pet Connections Blog. Also, this article in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the recall, and specifics about the broken link of trust between veterinarians and the FDA. These reporters know more about it than we do, so be sure to read these articles.

Remember, anytime your animal companion is going to be anesthetized, always know what drugs will be used. When we read the book “Vet Confidential,” we learned some nasty things about ketamine:

“This drug, which is similar to PCP (also known as Angel Dust), causes allucinations, which I worry may be an alarming axperience to the animal.”

The author, Louise Murray DVM, says she limits the use of ketamine in all procedures, for this reason.

We encourage you to become informed by reading books like Vet Confidential, and getting the specifics about all aspects of your pet’s surgical treatments.