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Blitz's Story
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14 June 2018 - 5:56 am
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Post Op Day 3- Thanks so much for the support everyone. We made it through day 2 postop and onto #3. Day 2 was amazing, maybe too amazing because today he seems a bit off, pacing, and I think he may have a slight limp in one of his back legs. Hard to tell.

Yesterday he finally emptied his bladder. Poor guy, the catheter while in ICU left irritation and I am sure it was stinging while trying to pee. But alas I think he is finally empty. He was up and about yesterday much more than I expected. Seemed a bit nervous, and insists on following me around the house so I try to stay put so he will rest more. Last night he went up my bedroom stairs, short 3 step staircase, and jumped up on my bed. Ugh!! I hope that is not why he is a bit off today. But anyway he is hobbling around, eating well (full meals), and finally peeing without isse. No BM yet. 

The pressure bandage is riding more toward his front leg (good ole barrel chest) and a bit of his suture line is exposed. I cut off the piece of dirty bandage and put a separate ace bandage around it to keep it all covered. That pressure bandage does not look so comfortable either. Neither of us can wait till its off. I am a nurse and not being able to inspect the surgical wound and staples is tough.

I am also having an off day and thinking again about my decision to take his leg. I know they are supposed to adjust well but the process is heartbreakingsad. I was on line reviewing yet another opionion of how to manage Osteosarcoma and this article did not recommend removing the entire leg for a cancer on the lower end of the leg. But for today, if I can get Blitz to poop and confirm he is not limping it will have been a good day. 

Thanks so much to all of you. I am not feeling so alone in this really tough time.

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14 June 2018 - 8:46 am
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Hi Carol!

Please don't feel badly. This is all part of the process. Keeping too much of that leg can bring about it's own complications. Unfortunately you can give yourself a breakdown if you start reading all the different opinions online. I think it is safe to say that if your doc thought you should only have "so much" taken off then they would have strongly recommended that or even refused to do the surgery if it was not in the best interest of Blitz.

His body is going through changes. He is also finding his new balance. It is going to be impossible to stop him from doing everything, especially if he side swipes you and does something you did not expect. Hopefully that limp is just a sore muscle and will resolve on it's own. Now you know that he will indeed attempt stairs and a bed so you may have to confine him more until he is further recovered. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!   Don't beat yourself up... this is all a learning curve and none of us are perfect. You are doing this for him not TO him, and you have taken his pain away. You are giving him a chance at a good life, surely that beats the alternative. If you had not done this he would have remained in pain and it only gets worse from there. You are a nurse, you know there are some pains that meds just don't touch. This is one of them. You took it away and once he is recovered you will see him hopping around like he was always on three way-cool

Take a deep breath, please give Blitz a hug for me, and unwind. You are going to be just fine winker

Hugs,

Jackie and Huckleberryheart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......ipawds.com

Virginia
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14 June 2018 - 9:06 am
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YAY FOR PEE!!😁  

AND YAY FOR JUMPING UP ON THE BED!!  😎     ER.....WAIT.....HOLD UP......I MEAN.....BAD FOR JUMPING UP 9N BED!  NAUGHTY BLITZ!  It's  so funny jow dogs will not be deprived of aleeping in their bed as usual, no matter what!!  I do think it's  good for them on an emotuonal level to be able to continue that routine as soon as they can.  But yes, right now  he needs to be careful and no jumping. 

The hospital pain meds are probably pretty much out of his system today, so that's  why he may be experiencing  a bit of a crash.  That, along with the fact it's  only three days after MAJOR SURGERY, all while adjusting to three legs!!!   

Yoi can try some gentle massaging up and down his spine, hus shoulder and neck area, his legs.  His muscles are probably  real right and sore as he adjusts to his new gait.

My unprofessional personal observation, As far as the article  about not taking the whole leg, I can only tell you that almost every surgery here is done takingnthe whole leg.  On rare occasion  if a prosthetic  is a possibility  down the road, maybe some of the limb is spared.  That has to be planned ahead and the professionals have to oversee all the fittings, follow-up, etc.  Often times on ocassion when part of the leg is left (and prosthetics   were not pursued), aores and infections formed and amputation resulted anyway.  

And almost all of us  second guess our decision  this early in recocery!  In fadt,mitmtook me almost three weeks  before I coild finally say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and. not TO her!  She got her sparkle back bigger and vrighter than ever!  Ended up being a great  decision!  

Keep reminding  yoirself this is  MAJOR SURGERY!  Humans  would be in the hospital still on a morphine  drip!!   And frankly, it sounds like Blitz is a little ahead o tthe curve at this point!

Poop will happen.  Meds mess with his poop routine. Try a spoon of  NATURAL pumpkin  puree.  That may help.

You've  got this! Hang onto us!  We know better than anyone what you are dealing with and you're  doing a great job.....and so is Blitz!!

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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15 June 2018 - 9:06 am
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Hi Carol and Blitz 🌸🐾

Just came across your thread and am glad you've got so many tripawdians helping you along the way 🐾

Sorry to hear it's been hard to deal with your boy's recovery up to now ...

But you can be sure it will not last forever.

Take one day at a time and breath...

As for the removal of the entire leg opposed to a portion of it, Eurydice had a tumour in her wrist (right front leg osteo) and the surgeon and oncologist both explained we needed to have the leg and shoulder removed.

a) because we want to eliminate the possibility of cancerous cells developing further up the leg which was sadly the case with one of our dogs here who had a second primary tumour in the same leg. (I hope Jackie can remember his name, he was a Pyrenean Mountain Dog)

b) Maybe this applies mainly to big breeds (my girl was a huge Great Dane) but I was told leaving the shoulder would, apart from keeping the possibility referred above, create an unbalance in her body which would be very hard for her to negotiate. As they described it to me, she would be forced to carry a "dead weight" which would bring consequences in her posture and make it much more difficult for her to adapt to her new normal on three. 

I totally get the picture of the bandage moving out of place as Danes chests are huge just like Dobbie's but a way to go around it and protect the bandaged area is getting him to wear a t-shirt, that's what I did until stitches came out.

The fact he's peed is really good news but don't be too worried about pooping.

Lots of dogs here take several days to do it, Eurydice took 5 or 6 days to go and I was freaking out but it turns out when they have to go ... they do (even if it's in the middle of the night with pouring rain) 

Jumping on the bed ... no.

It isn't a good idea.

But, on the other hand, it shows you your baby wants his life back and is being pawsitive which is great news 🐾😃 

Recovery can be extremely frustrating but generally after stitches come out it is all good!

You just have to hang in there and lean on us, we'll guide you through the tough times, they won't last forever !

Sending you hugs and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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15 June 2018 - 1:44 pm
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Blitz postop day 4- Today was a good day, but still no poop, ugh!! But he is getting around in the house pretty well. He needs less help with stairs, and seems to have better balance each day. He is sitting and laying without issue, sleeping well at night and eating like a horse. I have added some pumpkin to each of his meals. He is drinking plenty of water and because I feed a raw diet he gets plenty of moisture from that. He is still on antibiotics, and the gabapentin and carpophen are doing quite well for pain control. Tomorrow I will take his bandage off. That will have to feel better. Hopefully it is still well in tact and without any signs of issue.

Thanks again to all of you. I don't know what I would do without you.

Ah I do have 2 question. Should I buy a harness for him? I saw the Julius K9 and also the Tripawd Convert Harness . Any thoughts? I have been using a scarf tied under his underbelly to support front end (left front amputee). I also have an old soft suede wood tote. Looks like a short scarf with handles on each end. Both have been working well for the interim, but would like something more suitable for Tripawds for the longterm. And also, it seems he might do better if I bought a stand to bring his food and water bowls up higher off the floor. Your thoughts?

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15 June 2018 - 4:17 pm
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Hey there, yes Teresa was a Great Pyrenees named Ivan. The cancer came back very aggressively.  

All dogs but especially barrel chested dogs are better fed up off the floor in raised bowls.  For the amputees it takes pressure off the remaining legs,  it also helps to ward against bloat. 

I have to scoot for now but I'll be back later. 

Hugs ❤❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......ipawds.com

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15 June 2018 - 4:18 pm
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Hey there, yes Teresa was a Great Pyrenees named Ivan. The cancer came back very aggressively.  

All dogs but especially barrel chested dogs are better fed up off the floor in raised bowls.  For the amputees it takes pressure off the remaining legs,  it also helps to ward against bloat. 

I have to scoot for now but I'll be back later. 

Hugs ❤❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......ipawds.com

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15 June 2018 - 4:20 pm
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Hey there 🌺🐾

Great update, the kind of update we love around here ☺️

Don’t worry about the poop, it shouldn’t take long now, especially if you are adding pumpkin to his food. 

Most of us used a ruffwear harness which is great as it has a handle on top and is very solidly built.

The handle allows us to help our cuties to negotiate stairs, get in and out of the car etc. 

A stand to elevate the bowls is great, again, most of us with big(ger) size dogs use them. 

Hugs and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Here and Now

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16 June 2018 - 11:42 am
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carolm said
Should I buy a harness for him?

A harness will certainly help you help Blitz up and down stairs, in and out of vehicles, provide assistance walking, and reduce strain on the neck if using with a leash. You won't find the Julius K9 harness in the Tripawds Gear Shop since it is very similar to the Tripawd Convert Harness – which was designed by the founder of EzyDog, for his three legged dog.

The wood tote is a great temporary solution, though may be a bit stiff. It would be very similar to the DIY dog sling you can make from a canvas shopping bag. The Ruffwear Web Master Plus is the most popular all purpose support harness recommended for most Tripawds. You will find various posts and reviews in the Tripawds Gear blog to help you decide which harness is best.

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18 June 2018 - 8:36 am
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Blitz Post Op Day 7. Hard to believe we are on day 7. And yeah for Blitz, he finally pooped day 5, and going every morning since. Yahoo!!! Never thought I would be so excited about poop, but it was definitely another great milestone. 

Thanks for the advice on the harness and food bowl height. I now have both food and water up and he is doing much better with this setup.

I have not ordered the harness yet, but do plan on having one. The cost after everything we have been through is a bit of a hinderance, but he needs it. Never imagined the surgery would be over $4000.00.

Another question for all of you. He is on Carpophen (NSAID) and Gabapentin 300mg q12hr. I think the Gabapentin is making him really spacey, and sometimes even a bit paranoid. Doing weird things hes never done before. He does not always come when he hears his food bowl anymore. Like he does not recognize the sound, does not remember. Outside in the yard he will hide behind this small tree I have. He has never done that before. Or he just stands looking around like he does not know where he is. And I am not convinced it is making him pain free. When he lays down he goes down quite slowely, and sometimes stops in the middle of it, getting back up like he is uncomfortable. I know he is adjusting and has gone through a lot. I just want to make sure I am doing the best for him. I would love your thoughts, your experiences. How long did you have your dogs on pain med? I have Tramadol here at home as well but not using it right now. It is in lower doses and I wonder if this would be a better fit for him

I have also been reading on line that dogs whose pain was not well controlled after amputations resulted in more chronic pain later, ie phantom limb, over sensitive nerves...

The Rainbow Bridge

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18 June 2018 - 12:12 pm
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Hey you forgot to do the potty dance! What great news! poopicon_png

Regarding the Gabapentin... Did you happen to read this article, All About Gabapentin?

Based on the behavior you're describing, it sounds to me like it might not be as much an issue of the Gabapentin itself, but not enough pain control for him. Hiding, being anti-social, and acting painful are all common pain indicators in dogs.

When he lays down he goes down quite slowely, and sometimes stops in the middle of it, getting back up like he is uncomfortable. 

Gabapentin works best in conjunction with an opioid like Tramadol. Did your vet suggest only giving him the Gabapentin? Day 7 is still early, most dogs are on pain medication until at least Day 10. If the Tramadol wasn't doing anything to help him, ask your vet for an alternative. Oftentimes adding something like Amantadine into the mix can help. 

I know it seems like a lot of pain control and you're not alone in feeling hesitant to give him more. Many of us felt that way, but we have to remember that this is major surgery and yes, without good pain control from the beginning it can lead to more problems later. Our dogs are so good at hiding pain, it's up to us to keep it managed. Have a good conversation with your vet about his symptoms and ask for help coming up with something that can keep him comfortable. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 June 2018 - 3:07 pm
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Just picking up on the tramadol mention.

  I've heard mentioned from several vets tht they dont use tramadol much. anymore . as it doesnt do much for pain in dogs...

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18 June 2018 - 3:24 pm
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While this recent Tripawd Talk Radio podcast is primarily about managing post op pain in cats, the expert we interview discusses Tramadol, its use, and declining efficacy managing pain for dogs in comparison to other medications now available...

Managing Amputation Pain in Cats, Before During and After Surgery

There are also numerous Tripawds News blog posts mentioning Tramadol, and you can search all blogs here .

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18 June 2018 - 4:59 pm
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Hi sweetie 🌸

I suggest you talk to your vet about his medication.

Eurydice had one episode where she, like you describe, was spaced out, did not recognise me, did not react to light or sound.

I freaked out BIG time and called the hospital, they attributed that sort of reaction to the meds.

Meds are a delicate point and, as I see it, they may be adjusted and administered according to our individual dogs by professional people.

I was always cautious not to improvise when it comes to drugs...

I cannot recall exactly how long Eurydice was on pain meds for but I reckon it was about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks in total.

Hang in there, sweetie, we're all here!

Sending you hugs and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Green Bay, WI
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18 June 2018 - 7:54 pm
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Hi Carol (right?) and Blitz.....

Chiming in here - I'm mom of the aforementioned Nitro. Who rocked life on 3!!!years (not 2yrs Sally - I'm sure that was a typo winker)

It sounds like things are going good so far. Nitro wouldn't eat for 7 days post surgery (so no poop for that long either). We had a somewhat difficult recovery. when he came home, he was on the fentanyl patch, gabapentin and tramadol. He didn't tolerate the patch well - whining and restless - so we took it off early. After that, he did much better with just gaba  and tramadol. As I may have told you in the PM, we used the Ruffwear harness right from the start and it literally saved our lives. Nitro's neck was also really sore as he adjusted to his new gait, and we found him a vet who specializes in chiropractic, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. After one adjustment he was a new dog! He continued to see her for his 3+ years as a tripawd. She also started him on some Chinese herbs for cancer. As mentioned, his cancer never did come back....old age took him from us at 11 1/2 years.

This journey is full of ups and downs, don't be discouraged if you find yourself taking one step forward and 2 steps back. Please reach out to me if I can help in any way. We lucky  Dobie moms need to stick together! Take care, and remember: 1 day, 1 step at a time.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro 

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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