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New Husky Tripawd - have some post-op questions?
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Chicago, IL
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31 August 2017 - 11:42 am
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Hello, as of this past Monday, our Husky Roscoe is a new member of the Tripawds family....reading up on many of the stories and the questions answered on this forum has really helped us get through these last few days.

Roscoe is a 13 yr old Siberian Husky, diagnosed with a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in his right rear hind leg. His leg was amputated on Monday, and we did bring him home on Monday night. Roscoe has a Fentanyl patch and is also on Rimadyl and Tramadol. We have instructions to add Hydromorphone after the Fentanyl patch is removed in a few days.

Thanks to this forum, we knew the first few nights would be tough....however, until going through it, I don't think we realized just how tough it would be....but things are improving daily....

Looking for some advice on a few challenges we're having (also being discussed with our vet, but it has been ever so helpful to hear about others' experiences and things to try....):

1. We're on Day 3 post-op, and Roscoe is still not wanting to get up on his own - not even to pee....The first day home, he did try to get up on his own a few times, and we helped him, but starting today, we're having to force him up. (And he also peed lying down, and we don't even recall hearing him cry or whine to go out. [We're still with him all the time.]) Do we just keep forcing him to get up and go out regularly?

2. Roscoe is drinking water, but he still has no appetite. He ate a few treats and some ground beef yesterday, but mostly is only willing to eat (natural) peanut butter (which is the only way he'll take his pills). He has always been a very finicky eater, but he turns his nose up at even his most favorite treats. We've tried chicken/rice, ground beef, baby food - but no luck. (He is sometimes also rejecting the PB too.) Should we be worried about him getting weak from not eating enough (and may be contributing to not wanting to get up)??? Or is this normal with all the meds he is taking?

3. I read a tip to not use a Ruffwear harness immediately post-op. We have one on Roscoe now since we're not always able to get a sling underneath his legs to help him get up and just want to ensure that there is a way to lift him. Is there a concern with using the Ruffwear harness too early?

Thanks in advance for any advice!!!

Livermore, CA
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31 August 2017 - 1:35 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry cancer has brought you here, but as you have seen this is the best place for information and support when dealing with amputation.

First- on the harness, since Roscoe lost a back leg you should be fine using the WebMaster harness.  The caution is for front amps since the harness straps go right over the incision.

It might be that the fentanyl is making Roscoe too groggy to want to try to get up, when does the patch come off?  What kind of shape was he in before surgery? Any issues with his back or remaining back leg?  Also, we often see here that the more 'mature' pups seem to take a little longer to get going. Be sure you are talking to your vet about how Roscoe is doing, it is not uncommon for dogs to have issues with fentanyl or any pain med for that matter.  It often takes a little tweaking of meds or doses to keep the pain managed but not incapacitate.  If it is the fentanyl that is making him so loopy then he might have trouble on the hydromorphone.  Many pups here have a combo of tramadol and gabapentin as well as an anti-inflam like rimadyl.

Not wanting to eat is also very common, maybe caused by the meds.  Keep trying various things, sometimes something stinky does the trick. How is his fluid intake?  If he isn't drinking you can try spiking his water with low sodium chicken broth or tuna water. 

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

Chicago, IL
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31 August 2017 - 3:47 pm
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Right after I posted, I noticed Roscoe was awake, so I offered him some beef and other stinky treats....and he ate them! I was also afraid to overdo it with the treats (and then he might not eat the more nutritional reg food), but our vet just advised to give him a whole bowl of treats if that gets him eating (lucky dog!).  I think I just need to keep trying whenever he is awake and catch him when he is feeling hungry and not too out of it. He has always been a finicky eater, so it's been trial and error finding something he will eat besides peanut butter....

He does have a Fentanyl patch....per our vet's recommendation, we are also going to scale back the Tramadol to 100 mg (down from 150 mg). (Roscoe is also on Sertraline, from pre-surgery, for anxiety, so he may be on seritonin overload....)

Since I posted this morning, we did get him outside, and hallelujah, he had a good long pee! clap Now just waiting for that first poop....

By the way, thanks to this forum, we realized that it was Tramadol that was making Roscoe cry/whine....we thought he was crying from discomfort because the Tramadol was wearing off, so we upped the frequency to every 8 hours....but the crying didn't stop....but then thanks to a few posts I read, we experimented and increased to every 12 hours, so it does seem like it was too much Tramadol that was weirding him out, and our vet confirmed the approach....and last night we all got a solid 6 hours straight of sleep!

Roscoe never had arthritis, but he did have some back issues that our vet treated last year....it sounds like we need to be more patient, given that he's older and may be a bit more stiff when trying to get up...

Again, thanks to all of you, I have pored through various posts before posting myself, and it has helping us be so much more mentally and emotionally prepared for helping our new tripawd recover.

Here and Now

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31 August 2017 - 4:26 pm
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crazyroscoe said
I have pored through various posts before posting myself, and it has helping us be so much more mentally and emotionally prepared for helping our new tripawd recover.  

Thanks for doing your homework! Glad you find the site helpful.

Start here if you ever need help navigating the many Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Livermore, CA
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31 August 2017 - 8:48 pm
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You guys are doing great!

Maggie didn't poop until 6 or 7 days post op, you know those pain meds are constipating. 

Stay close to the site and ask questions, lots of experience to share.

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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31 August 2017 - 11:06 pm
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Hi Roscoe and his humans!!   As you akready know, this is a great community for support, knowledge and a whole lot of understanding!!

You've gotten great feedback from Karen and I ditto everything she said!   And btw, good for you for lurking around and being as prepared as anyone can be on this journey!

And standing ovation for bringing Roscoe home the same day as surgery!   That was a tough 24 hours!!   

Do make sure you keep his pain managed.  This IS MAJOR SURGERY and it hurts!!!   Once the patch wears off (which it probably about now), make sure he has at least the Gabapentin, which does seem to work in a compliment way with Tramadol.

And YAAAAAAAAAY FOR PEE!!!!!   And YAAAAAAAAAY FOR EATING!!!! 🙂   I love what your Vet said about giving him a bowl of treats if that's what he'll eat!

This is very, very, very early in recovery.  No worries about Roscoe not being very mobile at this point.  Factor in he's a "mature" fella' jjst means he needs some time to adjust to everything.

Huskys are ao full of life and so vibrant!  All that works in Roscoe's favor! 🙂   Love his avatar photo and can't wait to see more!

ATAY CONNECTED!  You still have some rough patches ahead, but soon recovery will be over and Roscoe will have his sparkle back and he will be pain free!!

Lots of 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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1 September 2017 - 8:16 am
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Thanks all for the quick responses! 

Another question on pain meds....Roscoe has a Fentanyl patch (will stay on for 2 more days) and is also taking Rimadyl and Tramadol.

I'm a little fanatic about trying to stay on schedule with Roscoe's pain meds, as I want to stay ahead of him feeling any pain....

We found that the Tramadol was working much better every 12 hrs vs every 8 hrs. However, this morning he seems to be super groggy from the Fentanyl, and it's now been > 12 hours since his last dose of Tramadol.

How important is it to stay on schedule with the Tramadol and Rimadyl to manage his pain (while he still has the Fentanyl patch)? My understanding is that the Fentanyl is pretty strong on its own; is it better to let him sleep and rest, or do we break into his sleep and get him up and awake so he can take his pills on schedule???

Virginia
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1 September 2017 - 8:45 am
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As you know, wearent Vets so juat double check with your Vet.   That said, since he does have the patch on I wouldn't be too fanatical about waking him up to give him his meds right on the dot.

If he's resting comfortably, his pain isn't too bad.  If you feel like the patch is makimg too loopy and groggy, you can talk to the Vet about taking it off and putting him just in the pills.

Cheering for you Mr Roscoe! 🙂

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!

Mason, NH
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2 September 2017 - 7:16 pm
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I wish I could give you some advice on the Fentanyl, but my Rocky, who is day 6 post op, came home with Gabapentin, Tramadol, Meloxocam, and Clavamox (antibiotic).  The first 3 days I found to be the longest and hardest, mostly for me 🙂  He did really well with all the pain meds, gave them all about the same time, just waited maybe an hour in between.  He is no longer on Tramadol at this point, but will go back on if he needs them.  The Gabapentin and Meloxocam really seem to work well.  I was very fortunate as he ate every day and actually stayed regular in his poopicon_png.  If there is one thing I would say to anyone that has to go through this, is that all dogs are definitely different, but the meds we have seem to yield the best results.  I know some people did have issues with Gabapentin, but if the dose is right, it should be a great med. I have a friend who had the same meds as me and they did great too.

I find Tramadol is great, but it certainly will make them drowsy.  So just remember that and you won't expect him to be too active.  They need a lot of rest.  Rocky still sleeps most of the day (lucky dog 🙂 but is wanting to get up for breakfast and dinner or to go out.

Hope some of this helps 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge

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2 September 2017 - 9:31 pm
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How important is it to stay on schedule with the Tramadol and Rimadyl to manage his pain (while he still has the Fentanyl patch)? 

The best answer I can give you is to follow your vet's instructions until you have a chance to talk it over with them. From my own experience with a bad accident, staying ahead of the pain was so important for keeping me from feeling miserable. Even when I didn't think I needed the medication, it turned out I really did. The only time I hurt was when I forgot to take my meds. So yeah, I believe that you'll do him a lot of good by staying ahead of it. 

Glad to hear he's on the road to recovery! You're asking all the right questions and giving him great care. Congrats and keep it up!

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Chicago, IL
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3 September 2017 - 11:22 am
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Thank you all for the responses!

Roscoe is on Day 6 of recovery, just 1 day behind Rocky....!

We started extending the time between Tramadol doses, and right before our follow up vet visit yesterday, Roscoe had gone 24 hours without Tramadol and seemed to be doing OK....(also due to the fact that no matter how we tried to hide it, he was able to sniff out the Tramadol and ate everything BUT the hidden Tramadol)...our vet also gave the OK to stop the Tramadol for now (Roscoe is on the last day of the Fentanyl patch and still on Rimadyl) and maybe go back to it once we remove the Fentanyl patch.

I am not sure if this is related to stopping the Tramadol (or more likely just natural course of rest and recovery), but just in the last 2 days, we've seen a lot of progress....Roscoe is starting to get up on his own now, and he is needing much less help (some assistance needed only when he tires out). 

Any tips/suggestions on what to expect or look out for next now that he is getting up and starting to move around more? Or what to expect or watch out for once we remove the Fentanyl patch? (Now I'm starting to get nervous about pain management without the Fentanyl patch???)

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3 September 2017 - 1:41 pm
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My pug Maggie was on pain meds for two weeks, but we were tapering down the tramadol the last couple days.

Some pups seem to do OK off pain meds in the first week but most need them for at least two weeks. Tramadol is one of the worst tasting meds, very very bitter.  When you are hiding the pills in food be sure you don't touch the pills with your hands and then touch the food.  I had good luck with melted cheese.  You just heat small pieces of cheese in the microwave for a few seconds until they are melty. Use only enough cheese to wrap the pill, the cheese will form a shell and the oil released in heating makes it slippery.  I always give a couple 'blank' cheese balls first and feed quickly- my pups want to get them down so they can get the next one.  And I've found that feeding the other dog one first helps the patient dog gulp theirs down.

Our surgeon said only short, leashed potty breaks were allowed for the first two weeks after surgery.  It's great that he is moving more, just be sure not to let him overdo- it's easy for new tripawds to overexert or fall resulting in a recovery setback.

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

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6 September 2017 - 4:34 pm
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Karen - Thanks for the cheese balls tip....Roscoe must be the pickiest dog on the planet way-confused, because he rejected the cheese balls (I didn't even put any pills inside yet!). However, his little sis Charly loved them and had no issue with finishing off the leftovers....

Now a few more questions for the forum....I'm getting a little stressed about week 2, as I'm really having trouble discerning between behavior due to pain OR due to the pain meds....

Day 6 and Day 7 were really good days for Roscoe, saw the light and a glimmer of things getting back to normal....he was sleeping through the night, getting up on his own, going out to pee regularly, and he was starting to have regular poops. However, on Monday night, I thought he was relaxed, but when I went to pet him near his (good) leg, he bit my hand. 🙁 I took that as an indication that he might be having some pain....I was concerned that we didn't immediately put him back on the Tramadol after removing the Fentanyl patch, but not sure if maybe the Fentanyl was still in his system, as he seemed to be walking around OK....but on Monday night, we did start him back on Tramadol, 50 mg (and he was still on Rimadyl).

However, on the 50 mg of Tramadol, he slept well for about 6 hours, but then once he got up he was pacing a lot, could not seem to settle down, so spoke to vet, and they agreed that he might be having some pain, so we went back to 50 mg x 1.5 every 8 hours, which we started last night (still with the Rimadyl). 

Hubby says Roscoe didn't sleep well last night, yet wouldn't get up to go out this morning....after hubby left for work, Roscoe has been sleeping hard since this morning, and it's now 5:30 PM, and he hasn't been out to pee all day....(And he didn't pee in his bed, as I don't smell anything....!) He is now awake, but just chilling, yet still has no desire to get up to pee....(He did drink a lot of water when he woke up.)

Is this just normal up and down behavior? Maybe he was actually in pain these last two days and had too much activity the last 2 days and is catching up on rest/sleep? Should I be concerned??? way-confused

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13 September 2017 - 8:54 am
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I am closing out my own thread with update to my question. big-blink

The forum had pretty much answered my question already, so I probably didn't need to post....the answer being TALK TO MY VET! I ended up writing up a 3 day timeline of meds dosage, time given, and the behaviors that ensued and e-mailing it to my vet....and immediate response for Roscoe was to discontinue the Tramadol but continue with the Rimadyl.

We saw a huge improvement after stopping the Tramadol. I was on edge watching for signs of pain, but Roscoe was getting up and going out to pee with no issues that we could see....

Yesterday Roscoe got his stitches out, and our vet gave us the green light to go on walks again. Roscoe had his first walk outside the yard....we only went 1 block up and back and had to rest a few times....also had an almost mess when Roscoe dropped a big poopicon_png at the end of the walk and was tired and started to sit down....but disaster averted....clap

Thank you for all of the help from the folks on this forum, it has been a long two weeks, but it would have been so much harder without the experiences and advice from the people here. We know there is still continued recovery, but we're breathing a lot easier now.

Virginia
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13 September 2017 - 9:33 am
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OOPS!!!    Oh gosh!  None of us saw your September 6th post!!!   So sorry!!!!!!  

As it turned out though, you've got Roscoe on the road to recovery now after thst rough "two week" time! Good job of monitoring him!!

Roscoe still needs to take it slooooow and easy!  If Roscoe sits down, he has already overdone it.  Mobility on three legs is exhausting and takes a lot of energy.  He's using muscles in ways he hasn't used them before. Most Vets say it takes about two weeks to recover from the surgery itself, and one month to adjust to the new mobility.  One full block if a lot, but I'm glad he knew to rest in between.

The important thing to remeber is to ENJOY the walk and "stop and smell the roses".  Dogs love ssnifing all the different scents more than anything.  They don't care abput how far they walk, they just enjoying being outside withntheir best human buddy!! 🙂 

KEEP ON POSTING!!!  We looooove hearing about Roscoe and look forward to following all his adventures p!  We DO need photos though!  We love pictures arpund here!!   adding images

Lots of 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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