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Broken elbow, amputation scheduled Thursday | Presentation and Diagnosis

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Broken elbow, amputation scheduled Thursday
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1 December 2017 - 10:52 pm
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Hi, I have an 18 month old beagle mix named Joey. He is 35 lbs so he is mixed with something larger than a beagle. I have only had Joey for about 7 weeks. He was a stray that came out of rural Kentucky. When he was found, he was very skinny, cut up, had a bad sinus infection, and he had issues with his eye. He had eye surgery that restored his vision and treated before I adopted him. 

Joey began limping last week, with no known injury, but was still running and jumping on his leg. Monday, we took him to the vet to get checked out. We found out that he has a nasty break in his elbow that has healed very wrong. The break likely happened months ago, before he was ever rescued, or else the rescue organization would have treated it. Since the break is in his joint and since it has already healed incorrectly, it is very unlikely that a repair would be successful. I got him multiple opinions this week and only one vet offered a repair, the others said amputation is the way to go. I've decided to go with an amputation because I do not think a repair will be successful and I don't want to put him through the pain of multiple surgeries. So, the amputation is scheduled for this coming Thursday. 

Naturally, I have a lot of questions since this is all so new. My biggest question is how to keep Joey calm after surgery. He is a very active dog that loves to run around and jump on furniture and he does not like his crate. Does anyone have suggestions of how to keep him calm after surgery? Also, to go to the bathroom he has to go down a few steps. Do you think he will need a ramp or something to go down? He already walks down the stairs funny because of the break and has tried going down them on 3 legs before. There is another dog in the house. The two tolerate each other but are not really friends. Do other dogs seem to react okay to another dog's recovery? 

I have already purchased an elevated dog bed. I plan on getting him some shirts to wear to cover his incisions and getting some anti-skid socks. I have pill pockets for him and he is great at taking pills so far. What other things are important to have on hand prior to the operation? 

Thank you! 

P.S. We keep joking that Joey just wants to be a pirate since he has already had eye surgery and now is about to lose a leg. 

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2 December 2017 - 12:43 pm
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Ahoy first mate Joey & family, welcome to Tripawds. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

I'm sorry Joey needs amputation but you sound like a pawesome pack that's more than capable of handling the recovery and life afterward. Good for you for all the research and getting things in order for the big day. If you haven't already do check out Jerry's Required Reading List and Loving Life On Three Legs , which has loads of tips about helping him lead a fun, active and injury-free life.

Meanwhile I'll try to answer your questions:

Does anyone have suggestions of how to keep him calm after surgery?

Have you tried an x-pen for him? Our own Wyatt Ray hates being crated but really enjoys having his own x-pen. We also recommend interactive brain games that can work his brain instead of his body. Most dogs get pretty sedated under good pain management, which is what you want. But if the meds don't work as planned (for instance, Tramadol can make some dogs bonkers and anxious), you may want to ask your vet about a mild sedative like Alzaprolam/Xanax to keep him mellow.

Also, to go to the bathroom he has to go down a few steps. Do you think he will need a ramp or something to go down?

A few steps as in 2 or 3? Are they carpeted? Most dogs do OK without a ramp. If the stairs are slippery (you can tell by running your foot over the surface while wearing socks), a Ruffwear Webmaster harness is invaluable for helping dogs up and down stairs, in and out of cars, etc.

There is another dog in the house. The two tolerate each other but are not really friends. Do other dogs seem to react okay to another dog's recovery? 

Most dogs will give each other space. The worst that may happen is the other dogs may ignore him because he smells like the vet. It's a good idea to keep them as separate as possible during recovery but if that doesn't work just play it by ear. Others here with multiple dogs in the house can give you more guidance than we can.

What other things are important to have on hand prior to the operation?

Check out the Tripawds Amputation Recovery Shopping List for details.

Hope this helps! Stay tuned for more feedback from others and holler with any other questions. We'll be thinking of you and sending lots of good wishes for a speedy recovery.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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2 December 2017 - 12:56 pm
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Hello and welcome to you and Joey.

I'm sorry you are dealing with amputation so early in your time together! You are very wise for thinking about keeping him quiet after surgery- we often see here that the youngsters breeze through recovery and think they are ready to go.  And, I bet when he is rid of that painful leg he will be much happier.

I have a little pug mix Tripawd who lost her rear leg after being hit by a car at 7 months old- I did not get her until after she healed after her amp surgery but her foster mom said it was tough keeping her quiet!  Elly has lots of food puzzles and games which keep her busy and tire her mind.  Many of them are probably too active to play right after surgery but you can talk with your vet about that.  We also do Nose Work which I highly recommend. Elly can not be crated either- foster mom said not to and I never asked why.  If you can block off a room or part of a room that should be fine for recovery.  Make sure there are no stairs and no furniture he can jump on.  When my quad pug Obie had knee surgeries he was supposed to be on crate rest but he could not be crated either due to his history.  Our surgeon allowed me to make an enclosure with an ex-pen. 

Traction is very important for Tripawds- you should cover any slippery surfaces with rugs or yoga mats. I've never had much luck with the traction socks- but many here have.  You might also consider a raised food dish.

You can look through the Reading List for lots of info on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

P.S. We keep joking that Joey just wants to be a pirate since he has already had eye surgery and now is about to lose a leg.

Well then- you are all set for next year's Halloween costume!  You also made me think about a member we had here years ago who's pup was named Captain Jack and inspired this Tripawds Design.

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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2 December 2017 - 1:47 pm
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Thank you for the advice! 

I have never tried him in an x-pen but it may be a good option as there is no room easily blocked off on the ground floor. My only concern with an x-pen is that he is a jumper. He can jump straight up to the kitchen counter without running. I'm concerned him may try to jump out of the top of an x-pen and injure himself if he isn't calm. Maybe the pop up tent kind would work since they come with a top cover?

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2 December 2017 - 3:20 pm
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He can jump straight up to the kitchen counter without running

Oh my, he can jump!  That is definitely something to be concerned about as he heals and beyond.  For front amps going up (stairs, furniture, etc.) is usually pretty easy, but you need to be cautious about too much pounding on the remaining front leg as he jumps down from things, especially high things.

With quad pug Obie he started jumping in his pen a few weeks after his knee surgery- scared the cr*p out of me since he wasn't allowed to jump for months!  He wasn't trying to get out, he would do it when I was making his meals and he got excited.  I tried covering the pen with towels, which worked for a couple days until he found he could just pull them down.  I never did cover the entire pen though- that might work.

I also wanted to comment about multiple dogs.  My experience was different than most here- my second dog attacked my Tripawd  when they were re-introduced!  Maggie, a Pug and my first Tripawd, lost a back leg to mast cell cancer.  My parents keep her little sis Pug Tani for me for a few days so I could focus on Mag.  When Tani came home she immediately attacked Maggie who was in her bed.  In our case Tani had always wanted to be the alpha girl and I think she sensed her opportunity.  Historically they were inseparable buddies but once in awhile Tani would challenge for the alpha crown.  Anyway- even though Maggie was only a few days past her surgery she put Tani on her back before I could even intervene! After that there was never an issue between the two.

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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