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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Hoping y'all can help me with this dilemma
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Forum Posts: 13
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26 September 2020 - 4:47 pm
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Hi, Everyone!  I didn’t really know where to put this question/story, so I hope this is a good enough of a place.  I need lots of advice!!  

I’ve introduced myself and my RikRak before.  He is doing very good now, uses his wheelchair with ease these days!  I’m afraid I am going to have to change my stance on how I feel about cold weather coming, because he has really perked up with these cooler temperatures!  If RikRak loves it, I will love it!  

As you may or may not remember, RikRak has a front right leg amputation.  It was amputated at the shoulder.  His front left leg is lame below the knee down.  He tries to slap the ground with that paw, but just doesn’t have the nerves firing to tell it to walk.  (That’s how my pea brain describes it, anyway.) His doctor has found someone who is making him a prosthetic leg.  They can’t put one on the amputated leg, because there isn’t enough to grab hold of.  So they want to amputate the left front and fit it with the prosthetic.  This is SCARING ME TO DEATH!  I don’t know why it is, because clearly that foot isn’t working for him as it is.  If just feels so permanent and scary to me.  

Any thoughts from anyone?  And has anyone heard of something like this before?  What would you do if it were your baby?  

Thanks so much! 

Leslye

Virginia




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26 September 2020 - 9:05 pm
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WOW!  I’m sure it is scaring  you to death!  The thought of amputating  the only front leg RikRak has is quite an alarming  bit of information to digest!

I kmow you are processing  it all and formulating  your questions.

So has RikRak adjusted to his wheelchair   pretty well now?  He can play in it. do his bidness, etc?

Hos he home with you now?  I know he was only home on week ends and at the PT place during the week.

Who is making the  prosthetic?  What credentials? 

How many dogs has he fitted and with what kind of results. What kinds if success stories, etc.  To what degree has he assessed  RikRak

To what degree does RikRok need his nerves to engage for the prosthetic to work.  In other words, is there a reassurance that the leg above the knee “works” or can feel and respond.  Not sure if my question makes sense.

What would recovery look like??  As you know already,  amputation is major surgery.  When is the prosthetic  fitted?  How far out from amputation or osmotic done at the same time???  Is wheelchair still an option during  recovery.

My questions  are not backed by any knowledge  whatsoever, so take them for what they are worth.

If you search prosthetics on jere, you’ll find some information  on them.  I know blogs have been made on them.

Yeah, you definitely have a lot to think about.  I would get second  and third opinions  and DEFINITELY  fi d put more about who is making  this prosthetic, credentials, the assessment  they’ve  gone through with RikRok, etc.  And this may ge a great solution and would enhance his quality  of life greatly.  Jist saying  check things out thoroughly.  The risks, etc.  

In the meant, glad the wheelchair   is working out well.

((((((((((((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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26 September 2020 - 9:53 pm
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Hi Leslye, I’m so glad he is doing better now that things have cooled down, and soooo glad you posted about this situation. Amputating so that RikRak is a bi-pawd is a pretty big decision, not to be taken lightly as you know. Is the reason for amputating because he cannot get around without the wheelchair

I don’t know all the specifics, but to me this sounds like it would be a long, long journey to train him to fully use the prosthesis and adapt well enough to come home for good. There is also the risk that he may not adapt to the prosthesis, some dogs just don’t. Also, training a dog to use a prosthesis requires a tremendous time and financial commitment on your part to ensure that he uses it, and you will need to purchase new prosthesis every few years as they wear out. Have the vets reviewed the potential time and money commitments you’ll need to make?

I guess my questions are similar to Sally’s, plus: Have you gotten other opinions on RikRak’s situation? In this case I would want as many as possible. I know you’re in a rural location with limited access to specialists, but it’s possible that you may be able to consult with other orthopedic vets long-distance. I can try to help you find some if you’d like. 

Are you on any kind of timeline to make this decision?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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27 September 2020 - 1:52 pm
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Thank you, Jerry and Sally!  

You’ve given me fantastic questions to ask.  And, Jerry, I would love your help in finding orthopedics I could visit with.  

It was one of the techs who called me on Saturday to say RikRak’s prosthetic should be in this week and, when they receive it, they will want to schedule for him to come in for the amputation.  This, as you can see, freaked me out!!  I plan to call the doctor who set all of this up first thing in the morning and ask all of the questions that you two have helped me with!  

I completed RikRak’s physical therapy the first of August and he’s been home ever since.  I think it got to where he missed home more than he was progressing in his therapy.  We have a good routine here where we go outside with all the others every morning and he plays in the wheelchair then.  We go again in the evenings for the same routine.  He has definitely gotten better at the wheelchair since he’s been home.  And now he WANTS to get in it.  I never thought I would see that day!  

This makes my dilemma harder, because we do have a good routine down.  He has adjusted well.  So would a prosthesis help him be even more independent?  Or would it set him back and be detrimental to his health?  

To answer your question of being on a timeline for this decision, I believe the timeline is completely mine as it’s a heck of a decision to make and I have got to be sure I do the right thing.  This boy is so very, very special I’ve just got to do the right thing for him!  I love him so much.  

Thank you for your help!!  

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 September 2020 - 2:42 pm
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So wait, they went ahead, did the prosthesis and assumed you want to amputate without consulting you on the pros and cons? 

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27 September 2020 - 3:07 pm
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Yes, that is right!  One time many months ago, the doctor who was working with RikRak in physical therapy suggested the use of a prosthetic and said they might need to amputate the remaining leg because there isn’t enough to attach the prosthetic to on the original amputated leg.  At that time he was dealing with a doctor out of Wisconsin.  For some reason, that doctor never followed up on the therapist doctor’s request.  So then the senior vets at this clinic did research and found this doctor in Virginia who they have making the prosthetic.  Never again was amputation mentioned, so I felt like perhaps they had found a way to make it work without it.  Only when the tech called me on Saturday was that ever mentioned again.  They supposedly sent videos, a mold of RikRak’s leg and many pictures of him to this doctor in Virginia.  

Virginia




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27 September 2020 - 3:11 pm
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jerry said
So wait, they went ahead, did the prosthesis and assumed you want to amputate without consulting you on the pros and cons? 

  

OMD!!!  That’s  how I read it too!!!!😡😱🤬

Yeah, just to reiterate,I would NOT pursue this without ALL the questions  answered and without other professional  consults!!!

Sooooo glad he is back home and loving it and seemingly  loving his wheelchair !!!     

FWIW,  Quite frankly, if he is happy, not in some sort of horrible pain and thriving with the wheelchair ,  there would have to be EXTRAORDINARY  COMPELLING reasons to proceed with amputation.   Plus, the reassurances that this would improve quality  leaps and bounds with very little risk of surgery complications, adjustment  complications, etc.! 

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!

Virginia




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27 September 2020 - 3:25 pm
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I love in Virginia.   Just did a google search and found Bionic Pet and also Animal Ortho Care.  Jist glanced at them quickly.  It seems like a lot farm animals are in the videos.  

Anuway, of you can find out who they contacted might be avle to give more insight from some of the well respected  Orthopedic Surgeons arpund here’s far as who they are, etc.

Therr may be a reason that tje Wisconsin  prosthetic guy didn’t get back in touch.

I’m  just so glad RikRok is back home and in your care and under your guidance.  To ,ea, again, it seems you are observing  a happy dog who has adjusted well to the wheelchair .😎

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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27 September 2020 - 6:05 pm
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Thank you all for reiterating what, I think, is in my heart and soul!  Sally, you are SO right in that it needs to be the most compelling reasons EVER  for me to think this is worth the trauma he has to go through.  

The only downside to RikRak’s newly adjusted life is his harness he wears.  It’s a Help ‘Em Up Harness and it just seems to pull on his neck sometimes.  We keep it washed and resize it all the time, but if someone could promise me beyond any doubt that he would never have to be picked up by a harness again, it might be a game changer.  

RikRak can go pretty darn fast just on his elbow!  I keep it wrapped up and clean.  As a matter of fact, we order some really snazzy bandages from Chewy to fit his mood of the day!  His “Daddy” is a radio broadcaster for a high school football team whose colors are green and white so, of course, Green is for football Fridays!!  (That’s how goofy we are at this house!)  Friday night I kept a dog overnight that I was helping transport to her new home in Los Angeles and RikRak walked on elbow to the door so he could keep an eye on this newcomer!  

I will find out exactly who this doctor in Virginia is and let you know tomorrow!!  

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 September 2020 - 12:38 pm
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Leslye, thanks for claryifying. I’ll be honest, I just don’t like they way you weren’t kept up to date on the prosthesis project and that they assumed you would go ahead with the second amputation. I agree that if RikRak is happy and can get around at home right now without banging up that residual limb, there’s probably no rush to make a move. You are so good about his rehabilitation therapy exercises, I imagine that while his altered gait definitely has an impact on his body, you are doing all you can to mitigate the effects for the time being.

I’m guessing the clinic team is dealing with Bionic Pets in Virginia?

As for the harness, I don’t like that particular harness for that reason, it sits too close to the front of the body. Have you seen the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus, or the AST Custom Pet Support Suit

Meanwhile, how far are you willing to drive? The closest boarded ortho surgeon I found is in El Paso. Only thing is that his clinic doesn’t offer rehab therapy or indicate they do work with prosthetics . Would a drive to Austin or San Antonio be acceptable?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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28 September 2020 - 4:18 pm
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I am always up for a visit to San Antonio.  When you live out in the boonies like we do, driving long distances is just what you do!  

I am going to check on that harness you mentioned right now!  Thank you so much!  Your caring and kindness means the world to me — and to my RikRak! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 September 2020 - 11:49 am
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leslye said
I am always up for a visit to San Antonio.  When you live out in the boonies like we do, driving long distances is just what you do!  

Awesome. I have some questions and info for you, which I will Private Message in just a bit today.

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