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Tripawd Tuesday: Tilly Recovers from Amputation after Brachial Plexus Injury

A recipient of the helpful recovery and care emails sent after you download a free copy of Tripawd Heroes submitted this Tripawd Tuesday Feature about amputation after Brachial Plexus injury …

Hi lovely Tripawds Team,

Thank you for the eBooks and all the touching stories. Most dogs have suffered from osteosarcoma and lost their legs this way which is very sad.

I like to share my story of my beautiful girl Tilly, an Australian cattle dog/Smithfield cross. Tilly was just 12 weeks old when she jumped from the back seat of the car out of the window while I was driving. My back then teenage stepdaughter and her boyfriend (both 17 last year) were too busy playing on their iPhones and didn’t pay any attention when the poor little pup was hanging too far out the window. Off she went.

Tilly was lucky in one way. She fell on grass, the street was a very quiet one and I wasn’t too fast. When we picked her up from the vet in the morning she was okay except her right front leg. There was no sensation when squeezing between the toes. We were devastated. The vet gave her 4 – 6 weeks and made us aware that the leg might have to be amputated then if the sensation doesn’t come back. A horrible thought.

Brachial Plexus Amputation
Tilly Before Amputation

It was the end of February 2018. She was still so young and perfect 😢. I tried the utmost to get her leg working again by finding specialists, holistic vets etc. It wasn’t meant to be.

Affect of Brachial Plexus Injury in Dogs

The ligaments contracted, muscles wasted as they didn’t get any messages from the brain. The injury is known as Brachial Plexus injury and the nerve damage is usually so severe that most dogs don’t recover from it. The leg turned into skin and bone and was a useless additional weight.

Holistic vets told us to wait until she gets to 17/18 months so her growth plates have closed. And she went through at least one heat cycle so I had the idea to wait with the amputation and get spaying done at the same time. I sought advice from two very good animal surgeons.

Brachial Plexus Amputation

Tilly’s major amputation surgery happened one week ago. I did go through hell and back and shed many tears. Today I can say we have made it 😀. She’s improving every day despite being still on a few meds and another week of strict rest. She’s a very brave girl, very affectionate and loving.

I hope she will have a great life on three legs despite the fact that she is not supposed to do everything a dog on four legs can do. We are lucky in a way that it wasn’t cancer.

Brachial Plexus Amputation

I am grateful for having her in my life. She taught me a lot and took me on an amazing journey in the world of canine health. I am a Canine Remedial Massage therapist now, just about to finish a course in raw food for dogs and learned animal reiki.

Tilly has been through a lot in her short life and will always be a role model for me when it comes to being brave and strong.

Warm regards,

Andrea & Tilly

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2 thoughts on “Tripawd Tuesday: Tilly Recovers from Amputation after Brachial Plexus Injury”

  1. We are facing something similar with our 5 year old dog Sadie. She started limping one day and several days later I literally thought he leg was broken from the way she was knuckling over. Her xrays came back fine, no break or fracture. We saw a neurologist who said she suspected a nerve sheath tumor. We were referred to the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital for a complete neurological work up. Although her MRI “lit up” they were not able to differentiate between inflammation and a tumor. They did a nerve biopsy which was inconclusive as well and an infectious work up, which was negative . Sadie came home after a week at UGA on antibiotics, steroids and gabapentin for nerve pain. This all started at the beginning of August and had only progressed in spite of all our efforts. She is still unable to use her leg and it’s just wasting away. We return for our next visit at UGA Tuesday to determine our next step. They will repeat the MRI to see if the area that lit up has increased in size, if so they feel
    it is most likely cancer, if not, it’s a brachial plexus injury. They said she will never regain full function of her leg, if she even regains any function at all. We are devastated! Sadie was such a happy dog, full of life and now she seems sad, frustrated and depressed. She has basically been at Tripawd since this happened. Will her love of life return if her leg is amputated?

    • We are so sorry to hear about Sadie. What a tough time for all of you! It’s very difficult having an uncertain diagnosis but rest assured you are working with a GREAT team that will help your girl get her sparkle back. Do keep in mind that what we humans perceive as “depression” in dogs is more likely a response to the pain they are in, and once the pain is gone, they are back to their old selves. We see it again and again. Please do visit our Discussion Forums to share her story and talk to other people for much more help. See you there!

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