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Onyx's odyssey - is this a typical first few days?
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13 August 2017 - 6:07 pm
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@ Jerry - You raise a valid point regarding the change to routine and to be honest, sleeping on an air mattress in the living room is not very restful.  I need to return to work on Monday and really need my rest to be able to function.  Fortunately, I can work from home mostly until I feel better about leaving Onyx for 4 - 5 hours unattended.  I moved everything back to normal mostly and am going to let him sleep in his crate tonight, but I think I'm going to put the ComfyCone on him to make sure is doesn't mess with his stitches.  He has started to lick at them so I expect his body is healing in that spot.

@ Eurydice - I did go and buy some remnant carpeting while Onyx was at the vet, expecting there were areas that needed to be covered.  Did you need to keep your extra carpeting down long term?  I have hardwood on the main floor with rugs in some spots, but I had to place carpet runners all over on some of the pathways that had exposed wood.  It looks like crap, so I'm trying to understand whether this is a long-term need or more just until Onyx figures out how to hop on three legs comfortably.  If long term, I'll probably invest in some bigger rugs.

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13 August 2017 - 6:13 pm
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Also, I'm wondering if any of your found that your dog's body clock was messed up post-surgery.  Onyx sleeps most of the day, but seems to be restless at night, which is totally opposite what he used to do before all this.  He was kind of like a stereotypical senior who went to bed around 7 PM, sometimes getting up for a drink of water or to go outside to pee/poop.  

Now he just stares at me later in the day, as if he is wondering when the entertainment is happening!

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14 August 2017 - 12:00 am
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Okay, I'm reaching my limit with this dog now!  I've just spent the better part of an hour supporting his hind end while he endlessly paces back and forth in the backyard.  He has always been one to take a long time to do his business but it was never a problem when I could just let him out back and he would come to the door when he wanted back in.   Now it's just back and forth, back and forth, plop down and rest.  Back and forth, back and forth, plop down, repeat ad nauseam.  

I brought him back in the house and gave him his meds and a couple treats for taking the pills and when I tried to help him back to the crate to sleep, he wanted to go out again.  I'm exhausted from lack of sleep and angry at this stupid dog, even though it's not his fault.  I'm really questioning whether I love this animal enough to see this through.  He has pulled this nightly routine two nights in a row and I'm already second-guessing my decision not to euthanize.  How can I get him to stop seeking whatever perfection he is looking for in a pee/poop location?

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14 August 2017 - 2:14 am
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Hi Patrick,

Yes, you do need to keep the carpets long term, even when our babies master the art of hopping on three legs the risk of slipping on hardwood floors remain ... and you'll see Onyx will always follow the carpet path ...

Welcome to the club of mismatch carpets 😂 

As for him taking his time to do his business ......

Please DO be patient with him 😐 please, please. 

I don't mean to critice at all, I promise, and fully understand it is very difficult for you but please place yourself in his shoes ...

We've all been there, I personally had to help my girl and hold her for a couple of weeks but after she got the hang of it, it was all uphill 🐎

You may not see it as you are so exhausted right now but he is seeking to adapt to his "new normal", the fact he is taking his time to find the right spot just shows Onyx doing what he always did ... i.e., taking his time to find the perfect place to do his business ... 

After stitch removal or shortly after he should be able to hop on his own and give you a break from lifting him ...

Hopefully others will have suggestions on how to make him more decisive when pee time comes 💦 you'll find tripawd pawrents' imagination goes a loooong way ... 

As for the change of his body clock I have no suggestions as during the first couple of weeks Eurydice slept most of the time, day and night ... but others might be able to help ...

You are doing well, Patrick, just hang in there for a little bit longer, recovery doesn't last forever ...

Sending you a big hug and lots of ear scratches to your boy 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

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 :-) 

Durham, NC
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14 August 2017 - 9:17 am
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Teresa is right - this will not last forever! I was nearly out of my mind while Izzy was recovering from knee surgery ... it was much tougher on her (and me!) than her amputation. She was in a lot of pain and was restless, which I get. I tried to increase her pain meds and swear to God, I think I almost lost her ... thank goodness she loved food more than anything in this world! I was able to get her to perk up and eat, otherwise, I think she might have left us that night. 

It's really hard to find the balance when you're not getting enough sleep. Is there anyone who could help out by supervising for a bit so you can catch a nap? Izzy was restless at night toward the end of her life ... I should have guessed that it meant she was having some pain (well, I did guess, and I did tweak her meds but she was still restless) ... and it's really hard to be patient when you're overtired.

But to circle back ... recovery isn't forever!! (Just the area rugs are!) Try to find a sitter so you can get a little peace. Also, you might try taking Onyx outside to pee on a "schedule" and give him a limited time to get his business done. He will sort out that he's got to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak, but again, soon enough he'll be going out on his own once more.

Hang in there!!!

Amy & the cutest angel pup ever, Izzy heart

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.

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14 August 2017 - 9:22 am
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Oh my gosh I feel for you! I know how frustrating it is to not be able to understand our pets' language, especially when we are already sleep deprived and exhausted. It's hard, but try to put yourself in his paws and remember that is just as bewildered at how to explain what he needs in your language he doesn't know to speak. You can do it! Now, my thoughts are...

What kind of behavior is he exhibiting that makes you feel he has to be supported while he does his business? Maybe I missed this earlier, apologies if I did. But does he fall over or something when he walks? 

Is it possible to just let him go back to the way he pottied before the surgery? Think back to your previous routine. What about it has changed (other than the obvious of course with his missing leg) and is there any way to get back to the old way without causing him harm?

About his nocturnal behavior. I know I sound like a broken record in this community, but that could be a pain indicator, a sign that his meds are wearing off faster than he's been taking them. I would talk to your vet about this behavior because it could be that all he needs is a bit of tweaking of his meds to help him sleep at night (and you!).

By the way, good job leaving the cone of shame on! We see a lot of damage happen when folks stop using it early in the recovery, so kudos to you.

Don't worry, we know how much you love your pup and would do anything to see him happy and mobile again. He will get there! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 August 2017 - 11:57 am
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Hi Patrick & Onyx

I am a (recent) tripawds Mum. Our boy Stewie is a 7yr old, 110lb Bernese/Rotty/Retriever. Stewie lost his left front leg to Osteosarcoma, 5 weeks ago today. 

We ALL feel or have felt your frustration and completely understand! I have a few blog posts for our boy, (Super Stu! Or Stewie2017) I wrote in some depth (much to the readers chagrin!😉) about Stewie's 4 week recovery. I realize that Onyx is a rear Tripawd and his mobility issues would be slightly different, but I hope that by reading Stewie's blogs, it will help you realize that the surgery seemed like the easiest part of the whole process!

Like Onyx, Stewie is a very independent soul. Prior to his amputation, he could go all night without going pee, he also used to walk and poo. Now he has to remember to pee like a girl and do a new little hop & poo. It wasn't easy getting him to this stage though...Right from day one, Stewie has been able to get up on his own, but even now, it is only for very short stints. Stewie didn't poo for quite a few days and the poor buggar had to have an enema! (& even that didn't help a great deal!) He wouldn't accept the fact that I needed to be close to him to assist him in his business and had a super hard time getting into a 'new routine with me at his side, using his harness and a shopping bag sling. (as was previously suggested.) I also spent many a predawn hour pacing with my boy, or just hanging out while he figured out what he wanted to do. 

My vet suggested that I put a normal collar on him and give him his space to figure things out, but be ready to hold up on the leash if needed. It worked! Maybe finding an inventive way to hook a long leash onto his hind area, using the shopping bag sling, will help him with his 'space' while doing his business. Stewie just needed time & space to figure things out...

Stewie's body clock was messed up for sure! The only reason that he would crash during the day, was because he was so exhausted from being so restless the night before. As a few members have mentioned in this forum and many others, medications and the right timing of dosage is critical! Stewie was on T3's (which backed him up for days and made him super dopey & unstable), Meloxicam (that totally curbed his appetite), and Gabapentin. (That stuff just makes you googly eyed!) In hindsight, I saw most people use Tramadol (sorry spell check needed!) and I should have asked my vet about replacing the aT3's with the Tramadol.  My boy was panting a lot, glassy eyed and super restless for at least 2 weeks. I was also out of my mind, tired, frustrated and wondering if we had done the right thing! My doubts and fears were huge! We even went so far as to totally stop all of his meds, to figure out why he wasn't progressing as he "should" have.

As you will be able to tell, once you have read a few posts, EVERY DOG IS DIFFERENT on their road to recovery. I know it's hard, what with the lack of sleep, the anxiety, the stress... plus the fact that we humans, as the 'rational thinkers' that we are, I believe, need to go through a form of grief, for the loss of the dog that we had 'before'. Our fur babies that were so independent before, now need us in a way that none of us are used to! I now keep Stewie on an extendable leash, when out in new places. I nearly had heart failure last week when Stewie went to pee on the edge a a very large embankment over the lake & he forgot he has to pee like a girl now and tried to lift his leg! I caught him just in time! The other heart stopping moments have been when Stewie decided that he wanted to go down to the basement on his own... again a very independent boy, figuring "he can do it!" We now have a gate at the top of the stairs and we used to have to assist him going down, but now he does a great job by himself!

We have carpet on half of our floors. On the other half we have purchased more rugs, plus I use my yoga mats for additional places. Another purchase will be stair runners, as our stairs are just wood. (Said yoga mats are now a new play toy for Stewie's feline sister. She likes to roll into it & I'm constantly straightening it out! One of my many 'new' routines...!) I also make sure I keep Stewie's nails trimmed, Onyx wouldn't have fur between his pads to worry about trimming, but I also do that for Stewie.

Yes, life is a real topsy, turvy right now, but please give yourself and Onyx time... you may see a few more ups and downs, but like the learning curve, there are more steps forward than backwards. Jerry's pack and this whole community have been there a few times for me & Stew, in our moments of madness. Don't feel bad about reaching out at anytime, to any one of us, in your hour (or moment) of need...

Even though I have my husband to assist me with the heavy lifting when Stewie has needed it. I have been the primary caretaker in Stewie's recovery, including the midnight outings & sleeping on the couch, with my boy close by, for the first two weeks after surgery. 

I know it's hard right now Patrick, we ALL understand and can empathize with you! But please know that it gets better...! Like you mentioned and another member has pointed out... Onyx was 'thrown' into becoming a Tripawd overnight! Most of our fur babies were limping on four legs, prior to their amputation and it is a super huge surgery, requiring super huge recovery time. Especially for a big boy like Onyx!

I'm sorry to have rambled on for so long, but I felt so deeply for you when you were crying out in the wee hours of this morning. I think we all felt the same way, especially when we heard you question your decisions for Onyx! We ALL go through this! It is natural to question the existing life we have given them, especially when we see them in such pain! But talk with your vet and question everything, if you're not sure. Reach out to the Tripawds community, these people are amazing and so very helpful! I would have been lost without their support, which is ongoing to this day! 

I started Stewies blog as way to get Stewies experience out there, for others to read and hopefully help. But is has become a very therapeutic and calming experience for me. I don't go into much detail with my friends. Not everyone can understand our decisions that we have made for our boy, it's been a very harrowing journey. EVERYONE in the tripawds community UNDERSTANDS what you are going through! We can let it all out on this site... we can scream, we can cry and there is always someone out there to listen and to help if need be. 

Take good care both of you. You will be in our thoughts...

all the very best from Stewie🐾 & his pack,

Petra, Paul, Spike🐈 Chester🐈 & Miss Lily🐈🐾❤️

Stewie adopted his Pack in 2015. He has 3 feline siblings, Mr. Spike🐾 Chester Molester🐾 & Miss Lily🐾He was diagnosed with OSC on July 5th 2017 and had his left front leg amputated on July 10th 2017. He is our Tripawds Super Hero!🐾❤️                                         http://stewie20.....pawds.com/

Livermore, CA
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14 August 2017 - 3:07 pm
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Hi Patrick and Onyx, and a very belated welcome to you both.  I've been away from the site for a couple months and am just now catching up.

I read all your posts and I do think there is something to be said for getting Onyx back to his normal routine as much as possible.  My little pug Maggie also lost her left rear leg although we were dealing with mast cell cancer.  I tried sleeping on a mattress in the living room for a few days so I wouldn't have to worry about her trying to get off my bed.  I don't think either of us got much sleep that way...

Is it possible for you to help Onyx out to the lawn and then leave him alone? Stay close but maybe with you not hovering he can do his business.  In your earlier posts you indicated that he can get up and move around a little.  His search for the 'perfect' spot may be that he doesn't want to go with you holding his harness.  Most of my dogs have been very set in their routines- any little change throws them off. My quad pug Obie will only pee lifting his left leg and standing on his right.  When he had is right knee repaired he refused to pee at the vet and finally peed all over himself in his kennel there.  When I got him home I had to hold him up (with his harness) so he could lift his left leg. 

Onyx is dealing with huge changes to his routines but he will get there!  We have all been through the 'what have I done?' phase during recovery so don't beat yourself up for venting when you are exhausted and stressed.  Try and get the routine closer to normal and see how he does.  You are about half way through the hardest part of recovery- hang in there!

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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14 August 2017 - 4:46 pm
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Patrick, you've gotten EXCELLENT insight, support and potential solutions to some of the "challenges" you are having with the rexovery process.

Getting to this point is EXHAUSTING, emotionally and physically.   Sleep deprivation invades every aspect of our lives.  There is no way you (nor any of us)  can present a strong and confident energy to Onyx while being so emotionally spent.    Onyx is dealing with his own phusical and emotional "issues" trying desperately to recover from MAJOR SURGERY while adapting to mobility changes.

Just to second everyone's recommendation to try and find a feiend or family member who can relieve some of your stress vy watching over Onyx while you try and get some sleep.....some good uninterrupted sleep.

To also second everyone's recommendations to try and let him do his business without you next to him and without a sling (if at all possible!!).  We've seen many, many times here where pups just will not (or cannot) poop or pee with their humans hoovering over them.  It feels especially odd for them to try and pee/poop with a sling.

Onyx is doing the very best he can during this phase of recovery!!!  He is probably interpreting the "sense" of anger you are feeling about the situation as being targeted towards something he is doing weong.    Onyx is a very, very smart dog and wwnts nothing more than to please you.  Heck, most humans would still be in the hospital on a morphine drip and ccomplaining abput how unfair all this is!!  

We're all here for you and want to help you throuh this rough spot anyway we can.  We all understand!!!    PLEASE try some of the suggestions we've offered if at all possible!!!

Update us as soon as you can and let us know if any of these suggestions help.  We're right here by your side to help you AND sweet, sweet  Onyx get past this rough part of the recovery. 

Hugs

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

PS.......What pain meds is he on...dose...and hours inbetween?

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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14 August 2017 - 11:41 pm
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Thanks everyone for the help and encouragement.  I'm sorry to have vented like I did.  I am not a very good person after five days with very little sleep and a sore back.  One of many reasons I went the dog route vs. the baby route.

I took the advice of trying to get him as close to his normal routine as I could, moving his bed back into his crate, using the ComfyCone only at night.  More importantly, I slept in my own bed last night and took a Xanax to try to get some much-needed rest.  Today was a much better day.

Per the suggestions, I am only helping him to the backyard and then letting him on his own to poop/pee.  It does seem to work better - I just didn't think he had enough strength built up yet to poop on his own.  He never had issues doing his business on a leash, but I guess having a pillowcase wrapped underneath your belly, and dad hovering right next to him is just a bit too weird.

I took all last week off of work to prep the house and care for Onyx post-surgery, but needed to get back today.  However, I have some ability to work from home for a week, so our "office" was the backyard this morning.  I guess the good thing is that it's fairly nice out vs. having to do this in the middle of winter!  

A few people asked about Onyx's pain meds.  The vet has him on Gabapentin 300mg, taking 3x a day.  We have a follow up appointment on Wednesday.  I don't want Onyx to feel any pain, but he seems pretty spaced out on this stuff, so I wonder if 2x a day would be better. or maybe a slightly lower dose.  He is also on an anti-inflamatory variation of ibuprofen for dogs.

Thanks again for the help and advice - it's reassuring to know that most of you have gone through similar concerns and frustrations.  Now I have to do some rug shopping, as this carpet remnant thing is not gonna work long term.

Patrick

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15 August 2017 - 6:10 am
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So glad to hear you got some REST! It also sounds like the adjustments are helping Onyx get back into his routine.

I know how you feel - we all do - I was so damned nervous letting Izzy walk and take the three steps down in the back yard from the porch (to the point that i often had to let my then fiance take her out) but man, dogs are way ahead of us on that stuff!

Gabapentin can definitely space a dog out but Izzy took 300 mg 3x daily after knee surgery and she was just a 55 pound dog. You might ask the vet about tweaking meds - sounds like he's on Rimadyl as well - but Izzy came home from amputation on 200 mg 3x daily of Gaba, plus Rimadyl, plus tramadol. Losing a leg hurts! I tried to stagger meds so everything wasn't wearing off at once and it worked pretty well but as I've mentioned, Izzy stumbled and fell more than once during recovery and ALWAYS seemed to land on her stitches  (front amp) but was also always just fine.

Seems that things are on the upswing, so that is good. Keeping my fingers crossed for you both!

Amy & my chubby cherub, Izzy 

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.

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15 August 2017 - 11:32 am
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Good morning Patrick & Onyx

Stewie & I are super happy you two did better last night. Please don't be sorry for venting... that's what this community is for... to lend a gentle ear & to never judge! None of us are pretty when we're sleep deprived, in pain and cranky!mad

And how lovely that Onyx gets to hang out outside, while you're working! I think that was Stewies favourite times, was when he was allowed out of his 'recovery prison' and allowed to hang with his Hoomans on the deck!

Others may be able to help you out with their suggestions, but it doesn't sound like Onyx is on enough pain meds... Stewie was on the 3 x 300mg of Gabapentin, to help with nerve pain and possible phantom pain, I don't know if Gabapentin helps so much with the surgical tissue pain? Stewie was also on Meloxicam for an anti inflammatory & T3's, 6 x a day for the major surgical pain. (T3's wouldn't have been my first choice in hindsight...) Is it Tramadol that most people have used here?  Maybe you could consult with your vet on Wednesday.

Good luck with your rug searches...winker maybe it's time to add a different punch of colour to your redecorating! laughing

Stewie sends sloppy kisses 👅 to Onyx and says good job buddy on the business end of things!poopicon_png He'll get much stronger, I promise!

All the best from Super Stu!🐾 Petra, Paul & Stewies feline siblings, Sr. Spike, Chester Molester & Miss Lily 🐾🐾🐾❤️

Stewie adopted his Pack in 2015. He has 3 feline siblings, Mr. Spike🐾 Chester Molester🐾 & Miss Lily🐾He was diagnosed with OSC on July 5th 2017 and had his left front leg amputated on July 10th 2017. He is our Tripawds Super Hero!🐾❤️                                         http://stewie20.....pawds.com/

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17 August 2017 - 11:57 am
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Glad you got a good nights sleep and are getting a handle on the "potty breaks" too.  Our Max too didn't want our "help" once he was mobile.  I too agree with the others that Onyx possibly needs a bit more in pain relief these early days.  Max was on gabapentin, Tylenol with codeine and rimadyl plus an antibiotic.  Hang in there it'll get better each day.  

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17 August 2017 - 9:19 pm
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Just sending an update as we move to the next phase of recovery.  First the good news:

Onyx is generally doing very well in his recovery.  He had a follow up exam at the vet yesterday and our vet was very pleased with his progress and the visible healing, particularly since his fracture was such a bad break.  Onyx has already learned how to hop around a bit and goes potty/poop on his own.  His bone marrow is producing a good level of red blood cells to help him recover from the anemia and yesterday's test shows that he is well on his way to getting back to normal.  He has already figured out to get up on his favorite spot on the couch, but still seems a bit uncomfortable once he gets there though.  He gets his stitches out on Monday.

And the bad news:  the tests from Colorado State University came back and they confirm the presence of osteosarcoma.  To be candid, this was not surprising to me, as several vets had commented that a fracture like Onyx experienced typically does not happen without some underlying issue.  While this news is bad, I refuse to be down about this and Onyx and I will move on to an oncologist for treatment options very soon, likely late next week.  A friend from work's dog also was diagnosed with cancer (not osteosarcoma) and he was told his dog would live about another year with chemotherapy.  The dog is now going on year three.  Onyx is older than this other dog, but even his vet has marveled at how well he has aged, so I like our chances for some more quality time together.

The vet has suggested we taper Onyx down a bit on the Gabapentin from taking 300mg 3X a day to 300mg 2X a day.  He is also taking 100mg of Carprofen twice a day.  The reason I bring this up is that people seemed to give the impression that the pain medication dosage that Onyx was getting was not sufficient.  Today was the first day he only got Gabapentin 2x daily and he has been pretty fidgety this evening.  Nothing I've done to try to comfort him has worked, so I'm wondering if he is just feeling pain and discomfort from the lowering of the pain meds.

I do trust this vet and they are AAHA accredited - one of the reasons I picked them.  Can anyone provide specific comparison dosages for Gabapentin for their dogs?  FYI - Onyx is 115 lbs.

Thanks!

Patrick

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17 August 2017 - 11:42 pm
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Is Onyx taking Tramadol too?   The doses and length of time dogs take pain meds really can vary a lot.  My Happy Hannah needed them almost three weeks, and, if I recall, didn't start tapering down until going into the third week.  If Onyx is showing signs of pain with Gaba every twelve hours instead of three times a day....and he's not taking any Tramadol, I would DEFINITELY talk to the Vet about keeping him on the three doses for another several days at least vedore tapering.

Sorry about the diagnosis, vut good thing Onyx didn't listen to any ole' diagnosis-scmognosis!!  NOTHING has changed in his world....well....other than adjusting to three legs!!   Onyx doesn't care about days on a calendar and certainly isn't a statistic!! 🙂

The most important part of this journey is to make every day count!  Treasure every moment and love and spoil, and love and spoil some more!! 🙂  

Hang in there!   Recovery will soon be behind you!

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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