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two weeks after surgery and not doing that well: Lucy | Hopping Around

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two weeks after surgery and not doing that well: Lucy
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17 February 2017 - 10:32 am
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Thanks to all for your help when Lucy was coming home. her is our update--I wish it were better. She is two weeks and two days past surgery and is listless, uninterested in going outside except to do her business--and this from a dog who was always super active and loved walking.

We only got our biopsy results this week--osteosarcoma, with possible mast cell involvement in a removed lymph node (that one has puzzled both our oncologist and our surgeon) so when she got her sutures out yesterday, she also got her first dose of chemo--Carboplatin. Will have 5 more treatments (potentially) one every 3 weeks.  Other than a loose bowel movement she seemed to do fine on the chemo, and ate well last night.

The oncologist said that she thought Lucy's back looked hunched up and that she wasn't walking as well on 3 legs as most dogs at this point (front left was amputated).  She suggested that Lucy may have strained a muscle--they physically checked for anything more serious but couldn't see evidence.  We have had trouble with her and stairs; she wants to be upstairs with us at night, so after she had been home a week, we started bringing her up, first carrying her and then letting her do it on her own, supervised. She flings herself up and down them (we do have runners on then) and has slipped a few times.  Last night and this morning we tried out the Ruffware Webmaster harness on her but she really resisted having us assist her.

She had been taken off all medicine, but now is back on some tramadol (100 mg), and I just gave her a dose of previcox--she had diarrhea with Rimadyl before.

The upshot--she is still not AT ALL herself, seems to take pleasure in almost nothing, barely moves.  At this point we feel guilty about what we have done to her, and are pretty desperate to find ways to help her feel better and get back to some walking.  Any tips?

The Rainbow Bridge

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17 February 2017 - 11:29 am
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Ok, so there are many good things going on here so first let's celebrate that. Minimal side effects from chemo is AWESOME! clapWhat a rock star!

Now, about the rest. Don't panic, we've seen this before and typically it's that the dog has had too much activity for where they are at physically after surgery. I have a feeling that she may be telling you she hurts.

Doing many stairs on her own so soon after surgery is potentially the cause. Stairs are hard, especially for a front-leg Tripawd. You mentioned in a previous post that she also has to go outside to potty by using stairs? Falling down stairs likely exacerbated her pain.

What kind of breed is she? I'm sorry I don't recall. Front-heavy breeds are especially prone to muscle strains.

Is she overweight? If so, that's also a risk factor for increasing her odds of injury.

How did she resist your assistance? If she's never worn a harness before, you definitely want to start slowly. Here's a post about introducing a harness to a dog.

Tramadol and Previcox will only do so much to take care of the symptoms, but treating the problem is the best step to take. If you can get her to a rehab therapist asap that would be ideal. The Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first visit. 

Sorry I know I have more questions than answers but the more info we have about here the more we can try to help you get the info you need to help her feel better.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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17 February 2017 - 11:31 am
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This recovery period is so darn eough sometimes! Often you read on here about dogs bouncing back within the first two weeks. What is also posted on here is that many dogs take longer ro ge their sparkle back!

It took me about three weeks before I could say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!!! Pug Maggie's mom will tell you it took about six weeks for her to get to that point!

I'm glad you got the Vet to check her out. It is sooooo easy for a new tripawd to tweak a muscle or a disc in the beginning, especially a front legger.

DEFINITELY NO STAIRS for now! Is it possible you could set up some temporary sleeping arrangements downstairs where you could sleep with her so she won't feel separated from her pack?

I'm sure the Vet stressed minimal activity for now..just short potty breaks.

Is she eating, drinking, peeing pooping okay (has the diarrhea cleared up)? Does she wag,seem alert?

When you massage up and down her back, her neck, her shoulders, does she show any tenseness? Often the neck on a tripawd is very tight at first. Before Lucy gets up to potty and when she comes in, massage her all over. It seems as though the hunched back would indicate some pain.

Probably most important, do you nave REHABILITATION SPECIALIST you could get Lucy into see? The Tripawd Foundation will reimburse for some of the first appointment.

STAY CONNECTED! Update when you can! It's soooo nard ro be patient when you aren't seeing some sparkle come back yet, but it will! And try and get some rest yourself. And eat lots of CHOCOLATE! It helps!!

Sending lots of hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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17 February 2017 - 1:05 pm
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Sally and Jerry, thank you both for your helpful replies. Lucy is a whipador! (yellow lab with some whippet) and is very lean.  The whole first week I did sleep downstairs with her in the living room where I have one of the nice memory foam beds I found on the Tripawds gear part of the website. One of the best investments every--she is comfortable on it.   Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep that week since at age 60 I seem to need a real bed too.  We may go back to that, though, and see if she is ok if I sleep upstairs.

She has worn a multistrap harness for leash walking for the whole 3.5 years we've had her, but never one as constructed as the Webmaster one.  I really don't think it is the harness so much as wanting to control the stairs herself.  She has always been a bit scared of them, and even before the surgery would try to go up and down them in about 2 leaps.

Thank you for telling me about the Tripawd investment in rehab. There is a place about half an hour a way--I will need to get a referral, and thought I would ask for that next week, but maybe I will call today instead. 

She is alert off and on, but is clearly uncomfortable--so I think going back on the tramadol and adding the previcox was good.  Maybe a couple of days more and she will feel better--I would say that a week ago she actually seemed better than she does now, so I suspect she did hurt one of her rear legs or her back this week with the stairs. 

Thanks for the support and for the good practical advice. I'll report back next week.

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17 February 2017 - 3:04 pm
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Believe me, I can sympathize. Mosby is now 8 weeks post-amp and we have had lots of ups and downs, including a back strain (which definitely made him uncomfortable) and possible leg strain and/or weakness. Getting him on the right meds and figuring out how to treat the underlying problems have been key. The rehab vet will be great, and Mosby does acupuncture as well, which seems to help his back (he has a similar "hunch" and also just generally travels with his spine curved to compensate). You are doing the right things, and even just time to rest and recuperate will help. Thinking of you and Lucy! 

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18 February 2017 - 8:54 am
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Thanks for your words about Mosby--it is really helpful, and consoling, to hear about the range of responses, so that I can still believe Lucy will bounce back. Acupuncture sounds like a great addition to her treatment, so I will look into that too.

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18 February 2017 - 9:59 am
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For what it is worth, we continued tramadol in week 3.  Although Otis was doing better after the staples came out, he was not pain free.  (And, I moved my boxspring downstairs with my mattress - no frame, but the boxspring worked wonders for my back)

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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19 February 2017 - 10:33 am
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We moved an old twin mattress downstairs and i slept much better. (My husband has sleep apnea so it is much tougher to move him down).  Lucy has sat/lay down outside a lot of yesterday and today with warmer weather (50s and 60s in February) and has seemed to take some pleasure in that. Her walking is still poor and I do think she has a strain or sprain in her back right leg--one of the rehab places can't see her until March 10, unfortunately, but there is another one that requires vet referrals so I will try that tomorrow.  One day at a time, right?  We had a friend drop by yesterday for 15 minutes and it was the most animated we'd seen Lucy--she was even talking again, which she hasn't done just with us, so that also was encouraging.

Livermore, CA
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19 February 2017 - 1:33 pm
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Hang in there!

My pug Maggie had a rear amp due to mast cell cancer.  It was 6 weeks before Maggie would play with me again!  I was so sure I had made a big mistake in choosing amputation for her.  There were no medical complications and she could hop on her own the day of surgery.  In hindsight it made sense though, Maggie had always been stubborn and very set in her ways, she did not like any changes to her routine. When I had traded in my truck, where she got to ride in the front seat, for a small SUV, where she and her sis had the whole back area to ride, Maggie was mad for a month! She would get in and sit with her back to me and hate the whole ride big-grin.  In that context it made sense for Mag to be grumpy for so long.  She did get used to her new normal and hopped happily though life for almost 4 years.

Two weeks is still pretty early in recovery- and if she tweaked her back or a back leg then her symptoms make sense.  How is she eating and drinking? 

I would ask the oncologist to pursue answers to the 'possible mast cell involvement'.  From my experience mast cell is very easy to diagnose definitively, especially with the lymph node removed for testing.  If there is mast cell cancer present then there are some other tests to do and it could also present an issue with upset stomach.

It is encouraging that she perked up for a visitor!  

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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20 February 2017 - 8:02 am
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Karen, that is very helpful advice re the mast cell issue.  It seems that this is just an odd case, according to both the pathologist and the oncologist: lots of white blood cells but no other indication.  We don't think she had a mast cell tumor, as none of us, including the vets, every felt one--so that is why they suggested that we wait and see if taking out the lymph node resolved things.   Lucy is eating ok, drinking a little less than usual (but she is also getting more "wet" food too) and enjoyed being outside in the sun and 60 degree weather this weekend.

The addition of the NSAID seems to have done a lot of good: she was walking around the yard yesterday voluntarily which she had avoided doing for the previous week.

Virginia
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20 February 2017 - 8:22 am
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YAAAAAAAAAY :-):-):-):-):-) Oh, this IS good news to hear she is getting around better!! Srill slpw and easy Miss Lucy, okay?

And hearing how she showed some enthusiasm when her friend came over is encouraging too! Quite often an unexpected stimulation like that is what starts bringing the sparkle back 🙂

Keep these good updates coming!

Hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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