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Post surgery, meds and progress
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6 September 2017 - 10:08 am
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Its been just over 1 week since Charlies left front leg amputation.  It's been difficult, we went thru the pee/poop issues most people seem to be having.  Its a victory if and when he goes.  Last couple of days he's done both but this morning only pee.

He's on 300 mg Gabapentin 2 - 3x a day.  Tramadol 50mg 2 - 3x a day with the gabapentin and I give him 1 more tramadol 4 hours after the initial dose.  Also on Cephalexin 500mg 2 - 3x/day at the same time as the other meds.

Evenings seem to be the worse,  after he has his meds he whimpers quite a bit for up to 2 hours.  I don't know if its pain, the meds or just for the attention.  If I pet/stroke him he stops but starts again after I stop.  It's so hard to ignore, I cant fall asleep.    So yesterday he seemed to be having a pretty good day, wanted to go outside, short walk, maybe 2 houses down and back, peed and pooped and was more alert when we got back into the house so I thought it might be a good time to start reducing pain meds, cleared it with the tech at the vets office.  At 3:00 pm, his afternoon med time I gave him 1 gabapentin and 1 1/2 tramadol.  By 8 he was in obvious pain with one episode where he howled and cried for several minutes, he has done that 3x now, scares the s__t out of me.  Called vet and was able to give him 1 more tramadol and 1 more gabapentin.  He was obviously uncomfortable still 10:30 so I gave him his 11:00 meds at that time.  Took him about an hour to settle down so at 12 midnight I was able to try and get some sleep.  I got up at 3:00 am to give him his extra tramadol and that resulted in the onset of wimpering as described above until 4 at which time I gave him a Xanax.  By 5 he was relaxed and I was able to get a little more sleep.  Up again at 7 am for morning meds.  Wife works midnights, came home at 8:30, got Charlie up to go outside and a very short walk, he peed, no poopers.  Laid down on the neighbor lawn for about 10 minutes before I could get him up and back inside the house.  Ate and drank some water and has been laying down since.  11:00 for an extra tramadol and still resting.  It 12:25 pm now and he is sitting up, going to try to get him outside at 1 again.

London, UK
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6 September 2017 - 11:33 am
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The fact that he is whimpering after you give him his meds makes me wonder if it could be a reaction to one of the meds themselves. Obviously you'll need to discuss this with your vet but this sort of reaction to opioids (such as tramadol) is not uncommon. My tripawd is actually fine on it, but my quadpawd, Elsie, has a terrible time, whimpers and cannot settle at all. I wonder if it might be worth discussing an alternative. Is he not on any NSAIs? Such as metacam?

i hope you are managing to get some rest yourself. This stage is exhausting but things will start to get better from here and it will certainly help if you can tweak the meds to get Charlie more comfortable. 

Big hug,

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
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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7 September 2017 - 5:03 am
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He is getting metacam, used to give it to him after his morning meal but after surgery and he came home we shifted to the evening meal in the hopes it would make him more comfortable at night.

I suspect some of his whimpering is due to the meds, prob. some discomfort and he knows I will eventually respond, because I cant take it anymore, and comfort him so spoiled?  As soon as I stroke him he quiets down but it starts up again soon after I stop.

The Thursday after he came home he had an event when I was trying to get him up.  OMG, he howled, went rigid and cried for several minutes.  I panicked and made arrangement to get him back to the surgeon, a 45 min drive.  So I gave him an additional tramadol to help with pain during transport.  Of course there was nothing the vet found, another 5 hrs down the drain, but since then I started giving him 1 50mg tramadol 4 hours after his initial dose of 2 50mg tramadol.

Oops its 7am now, been up with him since 3.  Going to try to get him outside to do his business b4 giving him his meds as then he gets to out of it.

Thanks for your input and support

Virginia
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7 September 2017 - 9:06 am
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This recovery period can be really rough sometimes and very, very exhausting!!!   Lack of sleep adds to an already stressful situation.

Yeah, I agree with Clsre that it may be abput tweaking the meds and reducing some. Is it possible the Tramadol is causing some of the whimpering and restlessness?  It can do that with some dogs.  Plus, it sounds  like you are saying he's pretty out of it from the drugs, right?  Gaba can have a sedation effect sometimes. 

Of course as you are already doing, never make any changes without Vet guidance!  The tree episodes of oitbursts of crying, do you think that's phantom limb pain?   Bring those episodes ronyiur Vet's attention also.

Based on what you were describing as far as "having a better day" when you reduced some of his meds, that certainly made sense.  He was on right much meds at that point.

As far as Charlie needing to have you by his side for comfort, I know it's exhausting you, but if it work that's good!!!  He probably feels a bit whacko from the meds and you bring him security.

Eating, pooping, drinking, peeing...all good!!!   Not sure how much distance was involved walking "two houses", but for now it should just be out to potty znd back in.  Some dogs seem to really enjoy just laying outside on a blanket soaking up nature after they potty.  You might try that.

Guess the bottom line is to try and get on a schedule with pain meds that work, as well as trying to determine which,  IF any, of the meds can be reduced...IF!!!   Again, all with a Vet's aproval.  Speak directly to a Vet, not a tech.   Also, keep a notevook to write down when he appears to be jn pain..or restless....how long before dose of "x" , or after dose of "x", etc.   It needs to be determined what is pain related and what may be related to the drugs.  And it's very hard to distinguish between the two sometimes!  Ugh!!

For whatever it's worth, recovery doesn't last forever!  It just seems like it!!!   It took me three weeks before I could finally say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!

Update when you can, okay?  And TRY znd get some rest!

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!

Chicago, IL
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7 September 2017 - 9:53 am
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charlie1 - I know this doesn't help you get more sleep, but just wanted to reply to let you know that you're not alone....my dog Roscoe is in week 2 of post-amputation recovery, and we had some good nights earlier in the week, but the past few have been rough.

Even though Roscoe had been fine when taking Tramadol pre-surgery (he had a leg fracture), we found that Tramadol was making him crazy when taken in combo with a Fentanyl patch - our vet gave us the OK to stop the Tramadol, and we saw a huge improvement (and a few good nights of sleep!).

We went back to Tramadol after we removed the Fentanyl patch, but it seems that the dosage and/or frequency isn't quite right....as Roscoe is sleeping a lot during the day, but like Charlie, isn't sleeping at night.

Bottom line is hang in there....talk to your vet....I just sent a very long e-mail to my vet outlining the last few days so that he can advise on what adjustments to make....figured it would be easier for him to read and give input based on seeing the timeline of meds + behavior to help figure out what may be throwing things off.....Fingers crossed, as I'm getting cranky from lack of sleep....ugh Caffeine is my new best friend!

Good luck to both of us - I'm confident that we'll all be back to being well-rested by next week. big-grin

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9 September 2017 - 11:53 am
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First I want to thank all who have replied with their encouragement, and really to all who post on this website.  It sure helps.

Charlie lost his left front leg, staples coming out on Monday.  He's 90#.  I am currently transporting him in my sons pickup truck but its a lease and going away end of next week.  He's in the army so wont be replacing it any time soon.  I'm left with my cargo van/work truck and my wife's impala.  I know I can work with my van but major changes to accomadate him.  I think the impala is going to be to tight a squeeze for him with only 1 front leg.

How are those of you with bigger dogs fairing with this issue. AND, this is something I never gave a thought to, is there an appliance to help with chewing on a bone or tendon?  With only 1 leg he cant hold it.  Any thoughts on that?

Virginia
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9 September 2017 - 12:27 pm
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Can't remember who it was, but it was a brilliant idea!  They put a bone in a Kong and that helped hold it :-). 

Frankie (a front legger) just hold his paw on it and kind of holds it a little bit upright with his mouth as he chews in it.  He a@so just lets it kay in the ground and holds it still with his paw while he gnaws on the end.

And this may not be for everyone, but I let Frankie carry his bone up in the sofa.  I put it in an upright position and wedge it tightly between the cushions and he gnaws on it that way.  Yeah, my dogs are spoiled! 🙂

The smaller car may actually work better than the Van. Just pull the front seat up as far as possible and  he sould be able to hop in with no problem.  I woukd just stuff lots of blankets in the "well space" nehind the front seats so he doesn't try to get up and down off the seat.  Plus it gives him some more "stretch out" room.

Others will chime in with better ideas, vut this is a start!

So Charlie is getting along well now?   It's still early, but sounds like he's getting along okay now?

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 September 2017 - 10:16 am
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The kong is a great idea, might go to the store today and look for one.  I've been thinking of some type of contraption I could build, if I come up with something I will post it.

Last night was Charlie's best ever, I still didn't sleep much, kept listening for any noises he made but for the most part he went thru the night.  This morning he was actually whining to go out and walked the farthest yet.  Even went "grazing" for the first time since surgery.  Seemed more like his old self.  Staples came out today and we are starting to reduce the meds from 3x per day to twice.  If no issues arise that will surely help with sleep as midnight was one of the times we had to give him meds.  Prob. keep that up until the end of the week and then start reducing the dosage of tramadol at first, then if that's ok we will start on the gabapentin. Still will keep up with the metacam.

Our holistic vet thinks we should keep him on the gabapentin and metacam indefinitely.  Has any one else  been told that? The surgeon thinks we should eliminate all asap.  Is nothing simple?

He lost almost 20# over 2 weeks.  Of course some of that was his leg. Pre surgery he was about 95# and 3 days post surgery he was just over 90#.  I had cut back on the food after surgery as nothing was coming out the other end.  And then continued to cut back some as he wasn't active.  So gave him an extra meal at noon today of ground chicken backs.  Wish there was some way of weighing him at home, he's just to big.  Its not a bad thing as less weight means less stress on the remaining leg, at least until he builds up more strength in it.

Crossing my fingers now but not holding my breath.

Livermore, CA
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11 September 2017 - 2:11 pm
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Staples out... yay!

Sounds like Charile is doing well overall.

Does he have arthritis or other underlying conditions that cause pain and/or inflammation?  My quad-pug Tani was on gaba and an anti-inflam med permanently but it was for her very bad arthritis. 

Being on the light side is a good thing for a Tripawd!

I bought a food dispensing toy for Elly that might work for holding a bone or chew: Zanies Puzzle Station Jack and Ball Dog Toy. Unfortunately it looks like Amazon is not carrying it now, but you may be able to find it somewhere else.  The one I got was way to big for Elly and I gave it to a friend in our Nose Work class.  There are quite a few toys out there now that hold treats, you can probably find something that will work at a pet store.

Many front amps figure out how to hold their toy/chew with one front paw.  Oddly, Elly often chews her bully stick using only one front paw (she is a rear amp) the way Frankie does in Sally's post above.  Elly does have the advantage of her other front leg for balance though.

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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11 September 2017 - 5:45 pm
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I just bought my son a "pet hammock" for his car.  He has a Golden Retriever that sheds all over the car and it was to contain hair!   This might help it you need to keep on the back seat and not between seat and floorboard.

My pup is a rear amp, so the sling works well.

Good luck!

Canada
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13 September 2017 - 11:54 pm
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'Ello Charlie! It sounds like you breezed through the first two weeks of recovery! You're already chewing bones?! Good for you! I gave Stewie his first bully stick, tucked inside the kong, then the next time he pulled it out of the kong and just figured it out! I have seen special bully stick holders on the Tripawds website, so maybe you can check out there online store. They usually figure it out for themselves, that is if they want it that bad!winker

I also have a small car, a Hyundai Accent. Stewie is 50kg. As long as I don't have anything in the way that he can trip up on and I also have the passenger seat all the way forward when he gets in and then all the way back when he is in, Stewie jumps into the back seat with no problems. He tends to lay down a little easier than in my husbands truck. In the truck he like to surf the highways, but it gets tiring for him, so the back seat of my car allows him to still sit up and the back of the seat gives him the support to keep him from falling. I always assist him when he is getting out of the vehicles, as he forgets that he has only three legs and isn't as strong anymore. 

Best wishes and keep us posted.

Sloppy kisses from Stewie👅🐾
& all the very best from his adoring pack,
Petra, Paul, & his feline siblings, Mr. Spike, Chester Molester & Miss Lily 🐾🐾🐾❤️.
http://stewie20.....pawds.com/

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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14 September 2017 - 4:26 pm
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My wife's cars trans went out and we have a chevy equinox loaner.  Charlie was able to get in and out w/o a problem.  I was concerned that he would hit the surgical site and that would be painful but that does not seem to be the case.

Started cutting back on meds 3 days ago, 2-300mg gabapentin 2x a day and 2-50mg tramadol 2x a day down from 3x a day.  Today reduced the tramadol to 1 1/2 from 2.  If all is good by Saturday I'll reduce tramadol to 1 2x a day.  Vet authorized the reduction and said we could prob. just stop but I'm taking it slow.  Still gets metacam at dinner.  Charlie's progress has been great the last couple of days and I don't need a setback.  I'm finally getting an almost 7 hrs of sleep! In my bed instead of on the floor next to him.

He's getting up to eat on his own, jumped up on the couch with me today and 3 decent walks.  Figured out today how to chew a bully stick.  Last 2 nights followed me into the bedroom and slept next to the bed.  Before that wherever he laid down after dinner was where he was in the am.  Much more alert, still sleeps a lot but there is good progress. 

So, to those who are in their first 2 weeks of struggle, and it was a struggle for me, wait it out, things should get better.  I have been lucky and have been off work since the surgery.  I think that the best thing is to be with your companion during recovery.  Good luck to all and thanks for those who offer their experiences and advice.

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