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Green Bay, WI
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29 June 2018 - 11:37 am
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Hi Carol - thanks for the update, I've been thinking about you guys a lot. Happy you're seeing the acupuncturist today - I think that will help him. Agree, too many cooks in the kitchen, sounds like they are on one hand pushing more drugs, and on the other telling you to stop. I know nothing of Amantadine, so can offer no advice about it. I personally feel you still have some play with tramadol, maybe knocking it down to q8 or q12.  Didn't you say the Amantadine can take awhile to become effective? May once you feel it is, then start weaning off the tram. I'm glad you went with your gut and gave him some this morning.

He really SHOULDN'T be in so much pain at this point, but again, all dogs are different. And as I may have told you, this journey is a rollercoaster, so expect ups and downs...1 step forward, 2 steps back. Early on you look for any little achievement, and CELEBRATE! I've said in my blogs many times, this journey isn't for the faint-of-heart. You will find you have strength and courage you never know you had. If something doesn't feel right with you, tell your vet - you know your dog better than anyone. Don't be afraid to be persistent either. I'm a very quiet, shy person, but I will scream from the rooftops to stand up for my dog.

Good luck this afternoon, and be sure to tell us how it goes.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

p.s. I'm off today if you want to talk

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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29 June 2018 - 4:33 pm
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Oh! I thought of another tip I learned with my last pup. You may already know it ...but was just thinking about it to throw in. To check for pain outside those episodes where Blitz cries out (in case that is also a concern) you can count respirations per minute when at rest.

When at rest/relaxation count chest rise/fall for 15 seconds and then multiply by 4. You’ll have to check ...but for mine I needed to make sure he was within 20-40 breaths per minute. Outside of that was indication of pain (and other stuff not relevant here). 

Cashew, “ShuShu”, stray shot in Armenia (where this is sport!).  Lost left forelimb at 4-6 mos. old as a result of GSW. Adopted at 19 mos. in May 2018. Currently Working hard at PT. 

Green Bay, WI
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29 June 2018 - 8:54 pm
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Hey Carol, just wondering how acupuncture went, hope it helped make Blitz feel better. Hang in there, better days are coming.

Paula

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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1 July 2018 - 12:03 pm
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Tomorrow Blitz is 3 weeks postop. Seems to be getting around better, and trots right along while we are out in the yard. He is eating and doing his business without issue. Blitz could not get the acupuncture last week. There was an emergency and the vet was tied up. We left without being seen. But the vet did call us that evening and apologized. After lots of questions, she thought he would benefit from changing the gabapentin 300mg to q8hrs vs q12h. All other medications remain the same.

I would have to say that he is physically doing better. But he will still have several episodes a day of pain where he cries out. Before we had associated it with movement but he can be laying perfectly still and comfortable and yelp in sudden pain. We took him for a car ride yesterday. He stood in the back balancing himself as we slowly turned corners and stabled himself for bumps, slowdowns, and stops. It seemed to give him an opportunity to get some core strengthening exercise. 

I wish he would not seem so sad still. Most of the time he seems depressed. He knows what has happened and not mentally adjusting so well. This decision was all about quality, so it is painful not to see that. If he physically adapts but remains depressed I will have failed him. That is not quality. Happiness and comfort is quality.

Livermore, CA
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1 July 2018 - 1:00 pm
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I know it seems like he should be himself by now but not all pups bounce back on the same schedule.

My Pug Maggie was very stubborn and hated any change to her routine.  She lost her left rear leg to mast cell cancer and healed just fine physically, in fact she was able to hop on her own the day of surgery.  But she was a grumpy slug who wouldn't play with me for 6 weeks after her surgery!  I was sure I had made a terrible mistake by choosing amputation.  The only input the vets had was 'most all dogs do fine on three'...I was convinced that I had the only dog that would not adapt.

In hindsight it made sense that she took her time getting used to her new normal, she took months to get used to riding in a new car.  Most here will tell you that dogs don't get depressed- and I think that is true to some extent- but some dogs are more sensitive to changes in their lives.

In addition some of the meds he is on have a sedating effect, especially gaba.  And every hop for new Tripawds is exhausting!  It takes much more than 3 weeks to build strength and endurance.  

Hang in there and stay positive for your boy, I DO know how hard it is! 

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

Virginia
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1 July 2018 - 9:36 pm
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Jist want to ditto Karen.  Amputation  IS a change and does take adjustment  time.  Dogs adjist at their own pace.  The fact that Blitz is starting to get  the hang of things physically tells us that he IS  adapting at his own pace and in his own way.  And it's  always a double  edged sword with pain meds.  We definitely  want  the pain to be controlled, and yet sometimes the trade-off is a more subdued  personality  while on the Gaba or other pain meds.

Okay, if Blitz's pain is more out of the blue than just  certain movements,  then that probably  supports your feeling that it's  phantom.  It would make sense that the daily pain is making him feel a little hesitant...a little reserved.

What do  you feel like your energy is like around Blitz?  Is it upbeat?  Do you display confidence and strength  as his pack leader?  As you know, dogs feed off of our energy.

One thing you might try.  Does Blitz have a friend that he reallly  likes? Human friend and even doggy friend?  Have them come over all excited. Knock  on the door loudly.  Call his  name.  Have them bring treats and a really uplifting exaggerated high energy!!  I think if you can start to see glimpses  of Blitz's sparkle  start to come back little by little, you'll start feeling  a lot better.

Continue  to do rhings that he likes.....going to a drive thru.....carrides to,places he likes to go.  Btw, love how you got him to exercise his core in the carride!!  It works!

Sometimes it helps during these first several weeks of recovery  as the "what have I done" question starts to creep in, is to keep a notebook and list everytime you see a sparkle come back.  Does he perk his ears up at the sound of a crinkling snack bag?  Does he perk his ears up if you get the leash out or say let's  go for a carride?  Anything that generates  a "sparkle reaction ", write it down!  

I really  can't  recall any dog who didn't  adjust "mentally".  Yes, some dogs like Maggie  may take a bit longer, but they all adjust  as far as I can recall.  Again though, I'm  sure the pain ks slowing his recovery down a bit. Hopefully  the gaba adjustments  will help address it.

We're  all cheering for Blitz and we know he will get his sparkle back!!

We're  all sending  you our very best cyber 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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2 July 2018 - 4:51 am
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Blitz is 3 weeks postop today. Can't thank all of you enough for your support. I would say you have no idea how helpful you have all been, but I know you have all been through this and found the same wonderful support that I have. It has really made a difference for my whole family. A very big THANK YOU!! I am hopeful one day my experience will add to the bank of successful outcomes, and I DO think we will get there.

Blitz seems to be responding well to the Gabapentin schedule change. Q8h seems to give him better pain control rather than the q12 high and low peaks. We are glad to be back with my regular vet. She also does acupuncture and we have a 10:30 apt this morning to get our first treatment. 

Krun15 it was nice to hear "grumpy slug who would not play with me for 6 weeks". And like you, I thought we would be that 1 exception to the rule that most dogs adjust very well. And keeping a mental log of the tail wags when my husband gets home or the perked head when he hears the treat bag or his bowl, is a reminder that things are coming back. Blitz's surgeon said that dogs don't care about the leg, and certainly don't get emotional like humans. I have to disagree. Some dogs are very emotional. Blitz has always been my high strung "Spaz". He is a very emotional dog and tends to respond as such to most situations. Heck, if I remove a tick or small scab, you would think I was stealing from him. He looks at the area of attack, back at me, and then in the trash for what I just threw away. Never mind a leg. But he IS adjusting and I just have to know my decision was made out of sheer love for my pup. Life for a limb? Very high price to pay but he was way too full of life to chose the alternative. He has a chance now, the alternative had none.

He has been spending more time out in the yard with us. Sniffing around and laying in the grass. He does spark up more often now as well. When he hears a boat go by pulling a tube full of screaming kids (we live on a lake), and when he hears anyone pull into the yard. His head and ears go up, and he jumps up into his guard dog stance, lol.  Keeping him busy at this point is definitely making a difference. He still has his moments of phantom pain but they more infrequent and seem less severe. One thing I have noticed is that I have been placing my husband's old back brace on him. Just an ole elastic compression band with velcro. It is a comfy snug fit abound his chest and over the amputation site and it DOES make a HUGE difference. Something like a Thundershirt.

I will let all of you know how he does with acupuncture today. Even though he is getting better I don't want to forfeit what the acupuncture could do in addition to the med therapy. Maybe we can eventually come off the NSAID and Amantadine.

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2 July 2018 - 5:36 am
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Good luck with the acupuncture today! I agree that just like people, dogs and cats are very individual. Blitz is an amazingly smart individual and i concur to what others have said regarding pain meds. He seems to be super sensitive but the good outweighs the bad here. Once he's all  healed and off of his meds i think you'll see a huge change but for now better to see him quieter than in pain. 

I don't have any experience with acupuncture, i think Huck would make a meal out of them if they tried 😅🤣😂 More importantly, the ones that HAVE had it seem to notice a pretty significant change got the better. Petra and Stu have commented many times that it can bring in a very relaxing, content, Zen like state. I hope so very hard that this will give him comfort. 

My thoughts are with you and even though i haven't posted a lot I have read every update and think of you guys often.

❤️❤️

Hugs,

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

http://paws120......pawds.com/

Virginia
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2 July 2018 - 7:42 am
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Really appreciate  that your keeping us in the loop.  I KNOW this whole ordeal is soooooo exhausting and so frustrating. 

Your post today though gave us a really  good glimpse  into the fact that Blitz's personality  IS starting to shine   through!!   Everything  you shared with us DEFINITELY  points in that direction!!  Glad you were able to isolate those moments and recognize that they ARE signs that Blitz has no regrets and is ready  to start chasing  those boats away from his domain!😁

You may be onto something with the newly created  Blitz Phantom Pain Compression Brace!   Better get a marketing  agent for Blitz lined up!

And yoi are spot on of your evaluation of why you, or any of is, proceed with this "forced choice". He now has a chance now.  The alternative  had none.  Giving  Blitz the chance that he deserved, that he wanted, is definitely  coming  from a place of love!❤

You are a doing such a great job!  You really are! 😊

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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3 July 2018 - 12:00 pm
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Blitz postop 3 wks, one day; Well things did not come out as I expected with the acupuncture. I should have left well enough alone. Blitz had an awesome day yesterday UNTIL we did the acupuncture. The process itself went fine but it has actually set him back what seems like weeks. I thought I had done all the research, but if I google side effects I get information I did not have before; acupuncture side effects. They are rare but they can happen. Rather than ease pain it can actually exacerbate it, and for Blitz it has done just that. The rest of his day yesterday, last night and all day today Blitz is back to withdrawing and crying out. The side effects don't last and will usually be gone in 24-48 hours. Tomorrow morning will be 48 hours. I still can't get him comfortable today. I feel so badly. My vet is certified in acupuncture so I don't believe it was the technique. Typical for Blitz, nothing is going to be as you expect. He was doing so well. And everyone was so happy. Now everyone is mad at me for "pushing it just too far". I am devastated.

Virginia
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3 July 2018 - 12:23 pm
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Okay...deep breaths......really...B R E A T H E.....B R E A T H E....

IF Blitz is having  the rare, but severe side effects, they DO dissipate!!!  Also, and others who jave done acupuncture  can chime jn, but it's  my understanding  that sometimes  the first 24 hrs so cause a little setback before  the healing starts.  And I think I've  also seennit takes a few sessions  sometimes  ro get realky good results.

Now, all that said, based in what you've  described it sounds as though Blitz IS having  severe  side effects and this is not a therapy  that will work for him.

You are doing  everything  possible for Blitz.   There was no reason  to believe this would cause more severe pain.   Generally it either works some or makes no improvements.  As you said, Blitz's reaction is rare.  Your Vet is the professional,  you are not!! So do NOT beat yourself  up for trying  to do something potentially  helpful for Blitz!!

Keep him in the pain doses that were working.  Stay steady  and consistent. 

Have you spoken to the  Vet who did the acupuncture.??  I would DEFINITELY  keep him in the loop! He needs ro be aware of his reaction. 

You've  been in this journey lkng enoigh to know the recovery  is so full of ups and downs.  They vary dog to dog, but it's  a reality!  So just like every hurdle you've  overcome  so far, you'll also overcome this one!!   This too shall pass!  And tell anyone trying  to make you feel bad about a decision  that could, indeed, have been helpful,  "TELL IT TO THE HAND".  Okay, that was a quote from a movie, but darn of I could remember  which one.   It applies  here though.

We support you and we are here gor you!!

Hugs 

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

PS   I do want to add that, even IF the Bet jad disclosed that there could ve a rare side effect that would last 24 - 48 hrs, you probably would have proceeded  anyway.  It's  kind of like any surgery  for our dpgs.  They tell us it's  always a small risk, but we all take it anyway. 

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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3 July 2018 - 12:30 pm
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I am so sorry Carol!! I just want to circle back to the possibility someone mentioned way back about a nerve issue not resolved during surgery. Can anyone speak to the possibility this is the case ....and this would cause the bad reaction to acupuncture as well? I’m not certain but think it may be worth thinking about one more time... unless this is all normal? It seems like it may be? It’s just so hard to think of you and Blitz suffering so much with all of this. I want to fix it!!

I have been through doing things I thought would help and they end up seemingly hurting (even if this will settle) and I know how torturous that is. Just terrible. I am thinking of you every day. A lot. 

Im not sure where you are located but wondering if another surgeon can weigh in?

Cashew, “ShuShu”, stray shot in Armenia (where this is sport!).  Lost left forelimb at 4-6 mos. old as a result of GSW. Adopted at 19 mos. in May 2018. Currently Working hard at PT. 

Virginia
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3 July 2018 - 12:39 pm
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Yeah, it was a dog named Ollie who had that nerve issue that surgery was needed to fix.    I'm guessing Carol has mentioned  it by now, as I brought it up awhile ago.  I do think that, because   Blitz finally seemed  pain free for a couple  of days after adjustments  with the Gaba,  that maybe it was not the case.  Vut certainly  sounded like a possibility  at first!

Good idea about revisiting  that possibility  one more time.❤

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!

Green Bay, WI
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3 July 2018 - 1:19 pm
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All good advice, Carol....easy for us to say, as we're not living with Blitz and his pain. Hang in there, we're here for you. I know its frustrating, and  stressful, and scary. I think I shared with you the one time - very shortly after Nitro's surgery - I was in the house, not paying attention to him and he took off after a squirrel. That was a HUGE setback for him - and I beat myself up for days because I hadn't been watching him. Things happen. We learn from them, and move forward. Like Sally said, deep breaths, (and maybe somewine and/or chocolate). You didn't mean for this to happen. I hope your vet gets back to you soon, and you get some idea of what/how to proceed. Keep us updated...again, I'm off today if you need to talk. Hugs

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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7 July 2018 - 6:08 am
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Blitz 4 weeks postop; What a rollercoaster. Good to bad to good to worse to good to bad to worse, and then back to good again. We are all exhausted!  But Blitz is back on track and that is the good news. Crying out, although still heart breaking when you hear it is down to a miniumum and we suspect, along with the vet, this will continue to decrease until it is gone. We believe it is a mix of some anxiety, and some phantom pain . We won't reconvene with the acupuncture, but we will be adding an herbal recommended by our wonderful vet Dr. Smullen. Blitz is also back on Cephalexin for a small open area (infection) over his incision site. Tiny but nip it in the bud! The remaining op site looks good. I asked about caring for the pads on his feet, and she recommended Muscher's Secret which I will be looking into. Gotta really protect those feet now. 

Next week we will be weaning him off the Carprofen in hopes he can be maintain on just the Gabapentin and Amantadine.

Yesterday was a great day, and maybe we have hit the point that we see more good days than bad. The sparkle in his eyes is back again. He is more alert and the ears are up, lol. Yesterday he grabbed his bone and began chewing away for the first time since surgery. Yesterday he got away from me and made it gracefully down to the lake. It is his favorite place to be. He patrols the shoreline minding the young fish swimming nearby. It was sooooo nice to see him soooooo happy. The joy was obvious in every ounce of his being.

Ironically he seems to enjoy riding in the car now, so we take a daily ride, 15 minutes or so. He thinks it is a joy ride but it is soooo much more. I have a big Ford Explorer and have opened the entire back for him. He can stand, sit or lay as he wants but the magic is he stands most of the time looking out the windows and the need to balance himself is providing some really nice core and leg strengthening without over taxing his remaining legs. I LOVE IT!!!

Thanks again for all you do and I will keep you posted.

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