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Charlie Girl, 2 Days post-amputation
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17 May 2017 - 11:57 am
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Our 12 year old yellow lab Charlie (a girl) had a front right leg amputation two days ago to treat soft tissue sarcoma.  Long story short, her regular vet thought the lump was a benign lipoma based on aspiration which then grew slowly over time before growing and changing *really* fast such that we saw the surgery specialist and in less than a week had the amputation done.  There's a few more intricacies to that whole story but it doesn't matter at this point.  The good news now is that the vet believes this is a complete cure for the cancer.

Anyway, we brought Charlie Girl home last night, about 24 hours after the surgery.  It was a tough night.  She seemed reasonably comfortable but most concerning to us was really zero interest or ability to use her remaining three legs.  She needed full support from two of us to get into the truck, out of the truck, and to her bed.  We tried taking her outside but it was just a mess, us trying to support her, her not even moving her legs, not peeing, then peeing on her bed a little while later.  Lots of hard emotions for us last night which I know is completely normal - still doesn't make it easier!

Thankfully, this morning showed us some glimmer of the old girl's spirit.  She did get up to standing on her own, got outside with lots of support from us, but was at least moving her legs this time, and even took a couple steps on her own and peed.  That was really encouraging!  We found that the harness provided by the vet with the two handles doesn't work that well, and just using a towel as a sling under her mid-section seems to work best for the short trip out the back door.  Luckily she's on the small side for a lab at 56 pounds prior to surgery.

But we're still really worried about her and her long term mobility as it appears that many other amputees are able to stand and walk from Day 1.  I know at this time the priority is rest and recovery and she seems to be doing just fine with that, so hopefully time will work its magic.

Thanks for reading, and I welcome any suggestions or advice on helping her get more comfortable and confident on her feet.  I'll try to include a pic from shortly after arriving home from the vet, as well as a pre-surgery photo from a few days prior, but not sure if I'm doing it right.

<img src="http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu107/BergeronFamily/IMG_20170509_060134832_zpsslywdaaj.jpg

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<img src="http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu107/BergeronFamily/IMG_20170516_182830245_zpsnbwcrw9n.jpg

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The Rainbow Bridge

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17 May 2017 - 3:36 pm
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Charlie girl, you are SO pretty! I'm sorry you had to lose that bad leg but we're so glad you found us (and folks, good job figuring out how to post photos the first time around!).

Try not to worry. I know it's hard not to compare your dog's recovery against others, but Charlie is a unique pup on her own timeline. Remember, she is still dopey from the pain meds, exhausted from the vets (I mean who really sleeps while hospitalized?) and a bit confused no doubt. With your help she WILL get there. Be sure to hop over to Size and Age Matters to read about other senior dogs and how their recoveries went. We've seen more than one who had similar recoveries and they did just fine after it was over.

Regarding assisting her...have you tried the ol' shopping bag trick?

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17 May 2017 - 4:40 pm
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Please remember she is totally drugged up right now.  And very unsure of her balance.  Hopping is hard work at first and uses different muscles and she probably is too druggy to want to try to figure it out right now.  My Otis hopped out of the vet hospital, and to his bed at home, then barely got out of the bed for three or four days.  Right now, rest is the best thing for her.  Get her outside when she needs to go, but don't stress about activity right now.

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.

Schofield, WI
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17 May 2017 - 5:55 pm
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I agree 100% with what Christine and Jerry (Rene) have said.  Our Max was not one of those that happily hopped out of the hospital.  It took him a while to find his "sea legs".  And of course you immediately start to get nervous thinking why isn't mine able to do that too?  On about day three was when Max figured it out.  The fact that pretty Charlie got up and took a few steps on her own to pee is great news.  Each dog figures it out in their own time.  You'll see improvement each day as Charlie starts being a little less drugged and feeling better and you fall into a routine that works for you and her.  These earliest day are hard but a week from now you'll be amazed at her progress.  Hugs and hang in there!

Virginia
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17 May 2017 - 11:06 pm
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Awww Charlie, look at thst sweet beautiful mug ofnyiurs! You have such lovely eyes!

And absolutely ditto everyone else!!! This is soooooo early in recovery!. She's drugged still with hospital meds a d is tryi g to recover from MAJOR SURGERY! An human would still be in the hospital in a morphi e drip!

Every dog's recovery and every dog recovers at their own pace. More "mature" dogs usually take a bit longer. But at this point, Charlie is dping remarkably well so early on! Would.not expect much more!

We all know how hard this recovery stuff is!!! It took me three weeks before I could finally say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!! Once her sparkle started coming back, slowly at first, then at a much faster pace, I was soooo glad I was avle to give her the gift of a pain free life!

STAY CONNECTED! We're here to help! TRY and get some rest when you can...IF you can! 'And eat lots of chocolate!! 🙂

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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18 May 2017 - 6:10 am
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Huge thanks to everyone for all the words of encouragement and support.  Bit of a rough night last night with nonstop panting from about 9 pm until 3 am along with some odd behavior on her part.  I do believe that's a side effect of the Tramadol as it came on pretty soon after the Tramadol dose and she's much less panty this morning (comparatively) and seems more herself, so I skipped this morning's dose and I guess will just try to read her body language for pain and go from there.  She's still on Gabapentin a NSAID and an antibiotic.

Oh, I so look forward to the day when her sutures come out and we don't have to hover over her trying to keep her calm and comfortable inside the house.  All in due time.  Thanks again everyone.

Georgia
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18 May 2017 - 7:35 am
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Charlie is such a pretty girl and echoing what others said there's the recovery, med effects, etc but adjustment does happen.  Checking in on Charlie reminds me of the anxiety I felt those first couple days after Gingers surgery and how pitiful she seemed but hard to remember those days now that she's bouncing around but did take a few weeks for her to truly reach the "almost as good as new" hopping spot even as a younger girl than your Charlie.  Hang in there, Charlie will bounce back in time.

Joined forum after Ginger, 2 1/2 year old German Shepherd, had front leg shattered by car on 4/1/17. Front leg amputated on 4/5/17. Still learning to be a tripawd mom.

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18 May 2017 - 8:41 am
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Charlie is so sweet, with the most trusting expression! You could be right re the tramadol. Some dogs do react badly to it. In terms of her mobility: as others have said, this is such early days. My Meg was in hospital for three nights post op. They actually kept her longer because she wasn't walking. Bear in mind she is considerably younger than Charlie and had been pretty one sided a long time pre op... Once home, she had an extremely straightforward recovery and has been a happy and active tripawd ever since. Charlie will be fine. She just needs time, plenty of rest and lots of spoiling. 

All best wishes,

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
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18 May 2017 - 12:47 pm
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We had that same problem with our Max.  Tramadol seemed to wire him up and he didn't sleep and panted nonstop.  We were able with vet approval to swap that out at nighttime for Tylenol with codeine which worked much better for him.  Sounds like Charlie is having a normal recovery so far.  Hang in there it gets better soon!  Hugs!

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19 May 2017 - 6:26 am
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Happy to report that Charlie Girl made A LOT of progress in the last 24 hours.  After the sleepless night of panting two nights ago, she slept long and hard yesterday just as if nothing had ever happened.  I so enjoyed my day off from work, just Bubba and me.  She'd look up at me every once in a while, then go right back to snoozing.

<img src="http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu107/BergeronFamily/IMG_20170518_151744858_zpsth1k9t2m.jpg

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She pooped yesterday, too, and I bet that made her feel much better.  So much better, that she took off hopping across the yard and I had to chase her down and scoop her up in my arms to go back inside.  I was worried she would hurt herself!  She's going from laying to standing much more easily, and is really figuring out how to position and balance.  She watched us bustle around the kitchen this morning getting breakfast ready and the kiddo packed for school, just like old times.

<img src="http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu107/BergeronFamily/IMG_20170519_051951355_zpsw2lwwzax.jpg

" alt="" />

Virginia
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19 May 2017 - 8:46 am
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GRRRRREAT UPDATE!!!! 🙂

And we have POOPpoopicon_png HAPPY POOP DANCEpoopicon_png

AND A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP!!! 🙂 🙂

Now, Charlie may have a vit of a crash once all the hospital meds are out of her system, which should be out by now.

Give that sweet faced girl a big smooch for us! 🙂 🙂

Keep these great 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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19 May 2017 - 9:33 am
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Yahahhooo!! She DID lighten her load, that's awesome!

Isn't it great watching her get that sparkle back? I can see it in the second photo, she's like "Come onnnnn I wanna go plaaaaaay!"

What a lucky girl to have you caring for her. Try to take it easy with her this weekend, she may start to get antsy. Some interactive brain games can help do wonders for boredom.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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20 May 2017 - 6:03 am
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Well, unfortunately, that was a good call benny on the hospital meds now being out of her system.  Beginning yesterday afternoon (Friday), Charlie Girl started up with panting and seems to be in pain.  We're using the Tramadol and it does seem to help and allow her to get some rest.  It was hard to tell if the panting/anxiety symptoms are pain or a side effect of the medicine or something else (she is a very anxious dog to begin with), but when she stood up and yelped at one point that seemed to confirm the pain.  The vet had given something that controls pain well for 3 days when we picked her up on Tuesday, so yea, Friday was spot on for that to wear off.  

We feel a bit helpless.  We're giving the pain meds according to schedule and trying to help her get comfortable and relax but there's not much else we can do.  I waffled with calling the vet but I know they'll just offer to have us bring her in, and the car ride (an anxiety-producing event anyway) combined with her current pain is not going to help anything.  Everything else seems good, the incision looks like it's healing very nicely, so we just have to get through this current downturn and hopefully will then be on the up and up again.  Thanks everyone for reading and your continued support and encouragement.

Virginia
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20 May 2017 - 9:21 am
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Yep, this happens a lot! So continue with the Tramdol, even if it does give her a bit of anxiiusness, it's better than pain.

Of course, check with your Vet and we are not givi g Vet advice, but yoy may be able to adjust the timing and doses a little bit.

The range can vary from ince every twelve hours, to eight hours or even six hours. Obviously, the doses would be smaller at six hrs than at twelve hrs.

Also, if Charlie has helping pain out of the blue and seems to want to "run away" from it, that may be phantom limb pain. It usually is a sharp nerve pain that only last seceral seconds but it hurts and scared them! GABAPENTIN is used for that and often given at discharge with the Tramadol to help with that kind of pain.

Sounds like you're doing an EXCELLENT job of caring for Cbarlie! This first week especially is the roughest part. And that's not to say the second week is any picnic either. It does get bettrr and the sparkle does come back 🙂 🙂 🙂

Shhhh.....so etimes a scoop of ice cream helps them feel better!' Well, thate what my Happy Hannah convinced me anyway! 🙂

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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23 May 2017 - 6:43 am
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Quick update - Charlie Girl is doing great.  She's still having more anxiety than normal with some hearty pant sessions, but otherwise we're seeing much more of the old girl who we've always known.  She's cruising around the backyard very well on her three legs.  The incision looks great and she's done with the antibiotics.

Charlie Girl enjoying some time on the deck:

http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu107/BergeronFamily/IMG_20170521_082024536_zpswkptdgx7.jpg

Bonus - wife and I both slept in our own bed last night for the first time since Charlie Girl came home from her surgery!  The couch and floor has been ok for the last week but there's nothing like getting back into your own bed.

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