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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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Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
5 May 2012
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15 May 2012 - 8:35 pm
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Hey All!

 

We are on week 2 of recovery after surgery.  Maggie’s stitches come out on Thursday, YAY! 🙂  Since surgery she has been taking Gabapentin and Tramadol.  Saturday she ran out of her 1 week of Gabapentin they originally gave her and began to have very bad phantom pains about every 30 minutes so we went back and got more and put her back on it.  Those pains have now passed but ever since then she seems to be very uncomfortable.  She is getting around great and in general is doing amazing.  Ever since that episode though if you touch the incision with pressure she is fine, but when you first touch her she jumps away from you.  Also all night long we haven’t been sleeping because she will wake up about every hour and just sit there, like she is uncomfortable but doesn’t know how to make it better.  Our vet is very nice and 24/7 but have told me to relax as this is expected.  What do you all think?  Any suggestions??? 🙂

 

Thanks a million!

 

Margo

Palm Desert, California
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15 May 2012 - 8:52 pm
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Margo:

When Rusty was in recovery we did not get a lot of sleep either; he was on Tramadol for two months (he had an extensive pelvic amputation of his left hind leg) along with Gabapentin for 3 or 4 weeks.  He was also very sensitive with his incision, we purchased a orthopedic bed for him the second day that he was home.  He immediately snuggled up in his new bed and seemed to be a lot more comfortable; he is still using the bed 27 months post surgery.  After his sutures were removed he seemed a lot more comfortable, but he still has phantom pain on every so often.

Hang in there and try to relax; we did not as it was all new to us.

 

Chuck & Rusty

Rusty is a Labradoodle who was diagnosed with level 3 Fibrosarcoma on January 16th, 2010 and had his left hind leg amputated on January 25th, 2010 five days before his 18 month birthday. Please see Rusty's blog @rusty.tripawds.com.  He is putting up one heck of a fight against this terrible disease.

San Diego, CA
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15 May 2012 - 10:27 pm
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I wonder if some ice therapy would help?? We didn’t do it with Abby – but it was like she kinda did it herself… It was November so a bit chilly and she would lay on her incision side on the cold tile floor. I thought that seemed crazy, but maybe the cool floor felt good. I know others here have done ice therapy on the incision site – 10 min on at a time, no more than that.

Hope you get her to a comfortable spot!
Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!


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16 May 2012 - 11:32 am
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I usually use gabapentin for 2 weeks post-op but some dogs might need it longer.  It is normal to be a little sensitive along the incision line. You can give gabapentin 3 times daily but ask your vet first!

Pam

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16 May 2012 - 7:22 pm
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Thank you all for your support. Each day is a little better. Tomorrow is a celebration to have her stitches out! The I’ve therapy is a wonderful idea! We shall do that tonight for sure. She still refuses to eat kibble so we have switched her to raw for now.
thank you again!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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16 May 2012 - 8:59 pm
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Poor Maggie.  Hope it gets better.

Like Jackie said…try the ice!  It really, really helps numb the pain. 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Melbourne, Australia
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17 May 2012 - 3:37 am
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Hi, my girl Molly is almost on the same time line as Maggie , her stitches are due to come out Monday. I don’t think she’s got any problems with phantom limb pain and she’s only on metacam and antibiotics but she had a mid femoral amputation so maybe it helps to have something there still to move? She does move the stump at times like there’s still a leg there. She’s also not eating so hopefully they go back to eating again soon!
Why did Maggie need amputation?

Amy

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17 May 2012 - 9:06 am
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Amy,

 

We actually aren’t really sure how Maggie broke her leg.  Someone came to the door and my boyfriend picked her up to answer the door so she would stay calm (hyper puppy syndrome lol) and then set her down to close the door.  She ran across the kitchen tile away from him, turned our backs and she was screaming in pain.  So she either lost her footing and hit the wall at the wrong angle, or maybe the baseboard heater.  We sadly aren’t sure. 🙁  They ended up amputating her entire front leg (scapula and all).  She broke the elbow joint basically into itty bitty pieces so putting it back together would have been close to impossible and overall more painful for her.  Stitches come out today, yay! lol  She has been wearing a sweater to cover the stitches and keep dirt out, she loves to lay in the lawn in the sun.  She really is just so uncomfortable though, and it may have something to do with losing the whole limb instead of part.  I know there are large nerves like where your funny bone is and such but nto sure what they do with then when they amputate the limb.  I tried last night to take her sweater off so she will get used to air and movement with the area again and she really just hates it.  She is eating just fine (as being part pug she has that appetite luckily lol).  We have had to switch her to only eating canned and raw food for now though, no interest in kibble.  I hope yours stays comfortable as well and hopefully it is much easier once the stitches are out!! 

 

Question for everyone as well!  We live in a tri-level house, so we are living in baby gate hell right now. lol She is just fine going up stairs but I fear her falling if she goes down.  Is it something they avoid on their own or something we need to protect her from so she doesn’t fall?  I worry that she has no fear and will go down them and then fall and hurt herself.  What do you all think or have experienced?

 

Thanks!

 

Margo

krun15
9
17 May 2012 - 9:10 am
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Today is stitch removal day- yea!!  Lots of pups here see rapid improvement when the stitches come out.

I hate when they do that thing when they just sit and look uncomfortable.  They have that ‘fix this mom’ look on their face, but you’re not sure what is wrong.  My Maggie was very good at it!!  When she had her first mast cell tumor removed, about 6 or 7 months before her amp, she ended up with about a 7 inch incision running from her chest to behind her front leg (and she was only about 21 inches around at the chest!).  That surgery only involved skin so was not as painful as the amp.  But Mag would do that sit up thing for hours.  After practically overdosing her on pain meds (I thought it was pain) I realized she was really uncomfortable with the tightness of the incision. She never liked wearing anything- she barely tolerated her harness.  I’m sure she felt like there was something around her chest, and she did not like it.

I hope when your Mag comes home today without the stitches the sitting up thing stops.

Did you try the ice?  I know from personal experience that new incisions are very sensitive- the nerves have been severed by the surgery.

 

Let us know how she is doing.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

San Diego, CA
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17 May 2012 - 9:31 pm
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Hooray for stitches being out. Hopefully she’ll be more comfortable now.

As for the stairs, are they carpeted or slippery? Ours were carpeted – also Abby was tall and agile, so once she was fully healed it wasn’t a problem. Although for the first few days I did help her down the stairs with a sling. If the stairs are slippery, going down could be a problem. Think others have gotten things to put on the stairs to add traction .

Hopefully others will chime in with ideas.
Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

krun15
11
17 May 2012 - 9:55 pm
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Hi Margo,

Looks like we were posting at about the same time this morning so I missed your question about stairs.

Depending on how big your Maggie is, going up stairs will probably be do-able for her-  she is young and strong.  My Mag, as a small rear amp, had trouble going up more than about 3 stairs at a time.  Each stair for her was almost her body height so it was tough with only one back leg.  Conversely, she could and would go down just about anything.  Stairs were no problem, getting off the bed (going down onto a chest then the floor) the couch, but she had two front legs to distribute the weight.

You will probably have to see how she does, but I would be a little cautious with lots of pounding on the one front leg.  Since she is so young and not facing cancer you have to plan for her to live a long time on three.  On the other hand- you want to let her be a dog, and do what she can.

While small dogs have an advantage as tripawds in a lot of areas, I think stairs are one thing we face that are really harder for a small tripawd because the are jumping up, or coming down the equivalent of their body height for each stair.  I have a local friend who has a large front amp tripawd, he is a little over 2 feet at the shoulder.  It would worry me if he came down a flight of 2 foot high stairs all the time!

What ever you decide to let her do be sure the stairs have good traction like Jackie mentioned.  My Mag would not even try the stairs on the back deck if she couldn’t get to the rugs I put down for her.

Well, I think that answer was sufficiently wishy-washy!

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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18 May 2012 - 8:56 am
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Hey all!

 

So yes she got her stitches out, and was cleared to come off pain meds!  She is doing much better even though the meds are still coming out of her system.  I’m glad ot hear that others have experienced the uncomfortable look they give too!  It’s just awful! Much less of that now, being more of herself.  Actually sat at the table and begged for food last night which she has not done since the injury! 

 

My maggie is the same way in reguards to wearing things, and has probably been more traumatized by that than anything!  She doesn’t have to wear a sweater or bandage anymore though so is much happier!  I probably gave my Maggie too many pain meds too, could have come off of them earlier but I feared pain so much for her!  No phantom pains yet so hopefully those stay away as well.

 

I have tried the ice thing and it actually works really well!  She seems to really like it.  She also go a bath last night which made her feel much better (was all itchy from where the bandage was and hair is growing back in)

 

We have 2 flights of stairs that are carpeted (60s style tri-level house).  She seems to think they are just fine but it worries me that she will fall and hurt herself.  She has never feared anything and goes 150 mph through life, which is how she actually hurt herself, falling down nothing. 🙁  Plus if she were to fall and break something else, she only has 3 left! She is more Boston sized, has the taller legs of a Boston vs a Pug.  We put our bed on the floor last night (like we are in college again) so it is closer to the floor and she can use a dog bed to jump up and down.  This seems to be working well, and the stairs don’t scare her at all.  I just want to make sure it’s not my phobias but actually something she should be restricted from doing. lol  We will be looking at moving into a ranch style house but our lease is not up until September. We are restricting her to only going up stairs but she thinks it is punishment that we stalk her! lol

 

Thanks all!

 

Margo

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