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Onyx's odyssey - is this a typical first few days?
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10 August 2017 - 10:33 pm
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Hi everyone, sharing my story in hopes that others may have a few suggestions.  My dog is a 10 1/2 year old great dane, who broke his femur on Saturday doing zoomies in the house.  Initially I thought it was a torn ligament or soft tissue injury, but a quick trip to the emergency vet confirmed the broken bone, with a high suspicion of osteosarcoma.  It was his left, rear leg.

After a chest radiograph did not show cancer, and an examination of his other limbs gave the vets the impression he was a good candidate for amputation, I decided to join the Tripawds family.  I transferred him to his normal vet on Monday morning where he had the surgery.  He had lost a fair amount of blood internally via the fracture + the surgery, so he was anemic and very weak afterward.  Surprisingly, the bone did not show the evidence of cancer suspected, but a sample has been sent up to Colorado State University for further analysis.

On Wednesday, I brought him home and Onyx bravely tried to stand on his own, but just did not have the strength.  The past couple days, taking him out to the front yard to pee is very challenging.  It does not seem like he is supporting much weight at all on his own.  I am using a HelpEmUp harness on his chest and a pillowcase as a sling for his hind end.  He is about 115 lbs, but I am a reasonably strong guy in decent shape and it feels like I am doing 80% of the weight carrying and going the 20 feet to the front lawn takes everything out of him.  He just collapses and needs about ten minutes rest to even attempt to pee.

Is this normal for three days post-surgery?  I guess I fully expected to carry all or most of the weight of his rear half, but that his working front limbs would be ok to carry a bit of weight so that I did not have to lug all 115 pounds of him myself.  Could it be the pain meds?  Just weakness from anemia/blood loss?  I have no prior experience to compare this to.

Secondly, how do I help him pee without going all over his front paws?  Because I am supporting so much weight, it's really hard to do that while trying to see where/how he is aiming.  It's been messy each time.

Appreciate any advice or comparison, especially if it is another great dane or large breed, with a rear leg amputation.

Thanks!

Germany
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11 August 2017 - 3:46 am
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Hey there and welcome,

I don't have a large breed dog but I know that the first days can be a challenge, especially for those big breeds. I know that Eurydice, another Great Dane, took quite a few days to "find her feet" again, and maybe a bit longer than your smaller breeds. My dog had quite a bit of blood loss under the surgery, too, but then he was kept at the vets for 5 days after so I don't know if he had issues because of that.  

I think most of us here have found that the first two weeks are by far the hardest. The healing and also the adjusting just take time, but you will get through it! And if they really didn't find cancer in the bone: that's fantastic!!! That means you can totally concentrate on Onyx's healing and not worry about other issues. 

I am sure others will chime in here and we do have quite a few Danes here that all eventually managed to hop around.

All the best and to a speedy recovery

tina & Manni

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

Durham, NC
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11 August 2017 - 6:59 am
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Tina is right - as I recall, the giant breeds take a bit longer to get their "three legs" ... see what I did there?? Sea legs - three legs! 

It's also possible that his pain meds are affecting him - either making him loopy or perhaps not taking enough of an "edge" off the pain - and that's why he's hesitant or appearing to tire quickly but the truth of the matter is, this is a BIG surgery and every dog is a bit different. My girl was a front amp so it was a completely different adjustment. Eurydice, who Tina mentioned, was also a front amp. The good news for you is that your (totally handsome and adorable) boy lost a rear rudder and those don't support nearly the same amount of weight as the front (dogs are a 60/40 front/rear split according to the doctors who treated my sweet pooch).

I'm sure this isn't your favorite idea for the peeing problem, but perhaps use a male diaper for now?? You could still take him out and let him do his thing but then he won't be spraying everywhere? That might be tough given he's a giant breed, but I know they make disposable wraps?

Hopefully Teresa (Eurydice's mom) will chime in soon as she has first hand experience with a Dane but in the meantime, hang in there and know that we are here to listen!

Keep us posted!

Amy & my sweet angel pup, Izzyheart

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Virginia
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11 August 2017 - 8:31 am
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Yes, ditto Tina and Amy!!     Way too early and on too many pain meds to be concerned at all abput his mobility challenges!  He is a big boy and a....er...."seasoned" fella' with a bit of '"maturity"!    Plis, unlike most dogs here, his zoomie caused the break instantaneously, whereas limping for a month or so prior to amp for dogs with the piece of crap disease "prepares"them for three legs a bit.

The only thing I woukd wwnt to monitor closely is the anemia and make sure there is no more blood loss going on.  So, in addition to the MAJOR SURGERY, the pain meds, being a big older fella', he has anemia to deal with and that can DEFINITELY make him very tired!   Some dogs have gotten transfusions if it's too bad.

For nkw, rest, rest, rest.  And, as Amy said, diapers are often used the first couple of days because dogs are too druggy and exhausted to worry about getting up to go pee.

What pain meds is he on and how often?  Is he drinking okay?   Not pooping and not much of an appetite are "normal"., but it is important to drink and pee.

Hang in there and STAY CONNECTED!!   Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks!    TRY and get some rest when you can.   Update when you get a chance AND we would @ove to see pics of your handsome Onyx!

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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11 August 2017 - 11:34 am
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Hi Onyx and Dad heart

Do not despair, it is totally normal Onyx cannot hop and pee without your assistance for now, three days is veeeeery early after major surgery. 

My girl was 170lb, I know how hard the first weeks can be.

She was a front legger so I have no experience with rear leg dawgs but I used the same harness as your boy which was a great help and when stitches were out I switched to a ruffwear harness which is far more solidly built.

If he is like Eurydice, he will take a good couple of weeks to regain strength and confidence.

Until stitches came out (about 2 weeks after surgery) we only hopped for pee/poop (the latest only happened 5 days or more after surgery) very, very, very short walks and I always held her completely so she wouldn't loose balance and fall down.

Danes are such a big breed and they have such huge legs, it takes time to learn to reposition their body and adjust to life without one leg. 

The "good news" is loosing a rear leg is much easier than a front one, especially for deep chested breeds such as Danes. 

Take care of not overexercising him when he does start to adjust, I went from 5 minute walks to 7 minute walks to 10 minute walks and if she was more tired one day I would reduce the walk. 

And always take into consideration the time needed to return. 

I believe the medication also makes them more spaced out which doesn't help.

You need to arm yourself with patience and do everything slowly, give him time to figure out how to hop.

And hop he will, in fact he will master it and will surprise you!

If you want to see how well he will manage, there are a few threads with Eurydice, during her travels 5, 7 1/2 and 9 months after amputation.

I'll add the link on a separate post.

You can do this and so can Onyx AND it might not be osteo!

Hang in there and if you feel like a chat PM me I will be very happy to give any details you might find useful.

We are all here for you so do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, big or small.

Sending you a hug and many cuddles to Onyx heart

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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11 August 2017 - 11:36 am
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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 :-) 

Michigan
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11 August 2017 - 9:22 pm
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Ditto on pretty much what everyone else has said!  

First - what medications is he on?  Sometimes it's just because of the medications, sometimes it's not enough medication - and it's not always easy to tell the difference.  The bigger dogs, such as Danes, always seem to take a little bit longer to figure out how to walk.  But just give Onyx a bit of time and he'll be running before you know it!

I remember someone with a male rear-legger took him to the corner of the house so that he could balance against the house & pee laughingSometimes we'll do just about anything!  

Instead of the pillow case, you might want to try a grocery bag - take one of those cloth-like grocery bags and cut out the sides so that you have a flat piece with handles at the ends.  Works perfect as a sling!

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

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12 August 2017 - 12:13 pm
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Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement.  It is getting a little better, but the biggest challenge continues to be figuring out whether he wants to pee/poop and once we are out on the lawn, whether I should continue supporting his weight because he wants to do his business, or lower him to the ground because he wants to rest.

Last night just as I was planning on going to bed around midnight, he was staring at me.  I asked him if he wanted to go outside and he seemed to indicate he did.  We spent the next half hour randomly walking a few feet, sniffing, then plopping down.  Each time I thought "now he's going to pee" and he never did.  He went 24 hours + with no urination and he is both eating and drinking well.

This morning, he surprised me by simply hopping up on three legs with no warning and heading for the basement stairs - fortunately I stopped him before he could attempt to go down them.  We have a walkout basement and his normal route to go to the backyard is downstairs vs. our current situation where we are using the front lawn through the front door upstairs.  We went to the front lawn and he peed right away, so that was good.  Still no pooping 5 days after surgery.  I'm anticipating this is going to be ugly when it starts. winker

Regarding the suggestion on the diaper, I don't think he would understand that he should just go in the diaper.  I love him to death, but he is no rocket scientist!  

We are making progress little by little!

Patrick

Virginia
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12 August 2017 - 12:32 pm
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 LITTLE PROGRESS IS HUGE PROGRESS DURING RECOVERY!!! 🙂 🙂

AND WE HAVE PEE!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂   WOW!!!!   That was a loooooong time without pee!!!   Very scary!!

Dogs have their own personal routine when it comes to their bathroom habits.  When that's thrown "off balance (pun intended), it really is frustrating for them.

The poop will happen.     You might try a little "natural pumpkin"...no spices, no sugar, etc, just natural.  Even a bit of olice oil may help.

Such a DELIGHTFUL update!!   YAAAAAAAAAY FOR ONYX!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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12 August 2017 - 3:09 pm
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Well I'll bet that long whiz was a relief for you both! That's great. Has he gone again? I've been told by a vet that if a dog doesn't urinate in 12 hours then it's time to let the vet know so hopefully he'll continue going. As for the poop, a 5 day delay isn't unusual but you can help move things along by adding pumpkin pulp, fiber flakes, olive oil or steamed squash to his food. If that doesn't work then I would let the vet know by day 6 so they can give him a laxative. Usually that's not necessary though.

Hang in there, the recovery phase ends eventually!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 August 2017 - 11:08 pm
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Today was a better day, with him starting to stand up on his own more and snap out of that post-surgery fog.  He finally pooped today, which was a relief, but it wasn't very much.  Should I still use the pumpkin?

He is still only peeing once a day, but is drinking water regularly.  I'm hoping that's just his body needing the fluids to replace the lost blood. 

I left him alone for the first time since surgery to go to to the grocery & pet food stores.  When I returned hom, he got right up off the bed to greet me and I was floored.  He only made it a few steps before sitting back down, but to me that was huge.  

The change to his normal routine seems to be as stressful as losing the limb.  He has his own bedroom with a crate where he sleeps.  I took his normal bed and put in the living room so I can keep an eye on him.  He keeps looking towards the bedroom as if to say "I want to go in my room and rest - why can't I go in my room?".  Both the doctor and I think it's best to keep him out in the living room until his stitches come out.  I'm sleeping on an air mattress in the living room close by, so we are having a medical slumber party!

Now I just have to figure out what is pacing for pooping vs. just random sniffing!

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12 August 2017 - 11:41 pm
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I'm so thankful to have found this thread!  My 8 year old lab, Bella, is 3 days post-op (front right) and we're literally having the same issues.  We are also having air mattress slumber parties! 😊  

I assume Onyx is taking Tramadol.  Constipation is a side effect and I'm assuming that's why Bella hasn't gone either.   If you try the pumpkin you'll have to let me know how that works, please! 

It's so hard watching them get so exhausted just being up for a few minutes.   Trying to stay positive!  She is panting a lot today and I'm not sure why.  It seems like anxiety rather than pain, but it is worrying me.  I see that anxiety is also a side effect of Tramadol.  Has anyone else experienced this? (She is eating and drinking normally and we are keeping the house cool and fans on.)  

Apologies in advance for the rambling post....I'm wiped!! 

Kelly

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13 August 2017 - 4:02 am
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Oh, those are great news clap

He's starting to adjust alrighty !

Getting up to greet Daddy, what a darling Onyx is heart

It's all going to be uphill from here (mind you, some dogs have a bit of a crash between days 3-5 but then they perk back up), your boy seems like a real fighter and his love for you shines through.

Forgot to mention a very important point.

If you have slippery floors it is crucial to create paths for Onyx to hop on.

Get some runners or yoga mats to create traction, you'll see he will always choose to hop on those rather than risk slipping on the unprotected floor which would be a huge confidence killer. 

There were runners on offer on the tripawds angel exchange a while ago, maybe they're still available.

I got rolls of carpet which I sort of cut to measure and placed rubber underlay underneath for extra traction.

It worked beautifully for Eurydice. 

Really, really happy to hear Onyx's progress, give your cutie pie a big tummy rub from auntie Teresa here and hugs to you too heart

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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13 August 2017 - 11:55 am
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kelicia2401 said
I'm so thankful to have found this thread!  My 8 year old lab, Bella, is 3 days post-op (front right) and we're literally having the same issues.  We are also having air mattress slumber parties! 😊  

I assume Onyx is taking Tramadol.  Constipation is a side effect and I'm assuming that's why Bella hasn't gone either.   If you try the pumpkin you'll have to let me know how that works, please! 

It's so hard watching them get so exhausted just being up for a few minutes.   Trying to stay positive!  She is panting a lot today and I'm not sure why.  It seems like anxiety rather than pain, but it is worrying me.  I see that anxiety is also a side effect of Tramadol.  Has anyone else experienced this? (She is eating and drinking normally and we are keeping the house cool and fans on.)  

Apologies in advance for the rambling post....I'm wiped!! 

Kelly  

Hi Kelly and Bella, welcome. Be sure to start a new topic so we can follow along with your story and help you directly OK?

Yes, Tramadol can cause anxiety and constipation in pets. If Bella is panting, is she showing other signs of pain like not eating? Or hiding? These pain signs in cats and dogs describe what to look for. Definitely let your vet know what's going on so you can fine-tune her dosages. Some dogs need more or less, it's always a little different for each.

Stay pawsitive, you're doing great!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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13 August 2017 - 12:01 pm
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crumbscrapings said
Today was a better day

The change to his normal routine seems to be as stressful as losing the limb.  He has his own bedroom with a crate where he sleeps.  I took his normal bed and put in the living room so I can keep an eye on him.  He keeps looking towards the bedroom as if to say "I want to go in my room and rest - why can't I go in my room?".  Both the doctor and I think it's best to keep him out in the living room until his stitches come out.  I'm sleeping on an air mattress in the living room close by, so we are having a medical slumber party!

YAH! That's great news about Onyx, he's definitely making progress. 

In my humble non-vet opinion, the sooner you can get him back to his normal routine of where he sleeps and where you sleep, the sooner he will behave as if things are normal again. If moving him out of his normal sleeping area is causing him stress, than the switch might be doing more harm than good so pay attention to the signs he's giving you OK? You know him best. Not all dogs need to be monitored so closely 24/7 when they are having a pretty typical recovery.

We know there are lots of Tripawds members who move their mattress into the living room and sleep on the ground with their brand new Tripawd, when they come home from surgery, but we don't endorse it. Ever since more than one rehab vet told us that this kind of routine change could actually make things more stressful, we don't encourage this level of change. But again, all dogs and cats are different so whatever works for one pack may not work for another. This is just our own experience so take it for what it's worth.

Here's to better days ahead for you and Onyx! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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