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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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2 of the 3 remaining limbs have injuries
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Member Since:
17 January 2016
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25 June 2022 - 12:17 pm
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I just found out yesterday that Garnet (my "safe surrender" left front limb amputee Pittie) has a dysplastic left hip with severe osteoarthritis, most likely from whatever trauma that caused the amputation at 4 months old.  I also found out that she has subluxation in her right shoulder that on X-ray shows a bit of a gap at the joint and some rough edges of the bone.  

My vet recommended NSAIDs, rest and support when outside with a harness.  He said an FHO for the hip is not really an option for her as she has 2 injured limbs and won't be able to support her weight during recovery. As for the shoulder, which is causing her pain when she attempts to walk, he said there isn't much that can be done for the subluxation other than rest.

Does anyone have any experience with 2 out of 3 limbs being injured? 

Any real-life experience with quad wheelchairs or a walker similar to what babies use when learning to walk?

I have yet to have my X-rays sent to the orthopedist for consult. I was VERY overwhelmed yesterday; Garnet is the last of my pack she came home to.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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25 June 2022 - 2:39 pm
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Aww I'm sorry, poor Garnet! I know you are worried, but rest assured others have been through this and treatment was not impossible. Many vets just don't see this kind of situation, and usually it's not a hopeless one when good orthopedic and rehab care is provided.

Good move to talk to the ortho vet! Can I ask who it is?

Meanwhile check out our posts about remaining leg surgeries in Tripawds, you'll find many similar situations and you can PM those folks here if you want to talk directly with them (if they don't see this post).

Let us know how the ortho visit goes OK? 

Member Since:
18 June 2022
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26 June 2022 - 8:59 am
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Garnet's Mama said
I just found out yesterday that Garnet (my "safe surrender" left front limb amputee Pittie) has a dysplastic left hip with severe osteoarthritis, most likely from whatever trauma that caused the amputation at 4 months old.  I also found out that she has subluxation in her right shoulder that on X-ray shows a bit of a gap at the joint and some rough edges of the bone.  

My vet recommended NSAIDs, rest and support when outside with a harness.  He said an FHO for the hip is not really an option for her as she has 2 injured limbs and won't be able to support her weight during recovery. As for the shoulder, which is causing her pain when she attempts to walk, he said there isn't much that can be done for the subluxation other than rest.

Does anyone have any experience with 2 out of 3 limbs being injured? 

Any real-life experience with quad wheelchairs or a walker similar to what babies use when learning to walk?

I have yet to have my X-rays sent to the orthopedist for consult. I was VERY overwhelmed yesterday; Garnet is the last of my pack she came home to.

  

I have a similar situation, I adopted Trixie a couple of weeks ago, a right front leg amputee and finally managed to get x-rays. I've just discovered that she has a pretty bad pelvic fracture on the right side so her hip joint is not normal. Her left front leg carpus (wrist) joint is out of place. I'm still trying to understand what she needs to give her more mobility and long term comfort and how to afford it. I hope folks with more experience than us share their wisdom!

https://tripawd.....2/#p249425

Member Since:
17 January 2016
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7 September 2022 - 12:32 pm
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Garnets shoulder seems to be improving with rest and pain management .

I was finally able to to get the consultation with Dr. Cannon, our local(ish) orthopedic surgeon. She has recommended a total hip replacement. A THR is not realistic, it would have to be done out of state and getting the time off work that would be required is impossible.

The second option recommended is a femoral head ostectomy. The hip that is the problem is her left hind the same side as her amputation. Dr. Cannon said as far as Garnets limitations after surgery, during recovery, would be fairly close to what we are already dealing with, carrying her up and down steps and any time she seems fatigued and in general limited activity.

If anyone has any helpful tips for the recovery period after a FHO I would be very appreciative. I already have a webmaster harness with a brush guard to help support once she's on her feet. Are there any other support measures that would help and not make her more uncomfortable?

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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7 September 2022 - 7:12 pm
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Whew! That's good news her shoulder is improving. I'm sorry she still needs an ortho surgery though. If you ever want a second opinion I recommend getting one from rock star ortho vet Dr. Sherman Canapp. He can review Garnet's case and give you his thoughts. 

As for other Tripawds, many have had TPLOs but I can only think of one (Tripawd, Chuy) who has been through an FHO remaining leg surgery after becoming a Tripawd. And yes, recovery is no picnic but you're very close to doing what needs to be done for healing. 

What is your home like? Do you have stairs or slippery floors? Remember that traction is the best thing you can get to help her. Also, raised feeders and ramps or stairs to help her get onto raised surfaces once healing is further along. These are things you would normally do anyways for a senior dog, you're just doing them sooner. 

Are there other dogs in your house? They will also need to be managed to make sure he stays safe.

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17 January 2016
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8 September 2022 - 9:25 pm
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The only slippery floor is the kitchen where the dogs are not allowed.

Minor steps going outside and into the dogs part of the yard. As for stairs to leave the house Garnet is already carried. 

As for feeding, both dogs are fed in their kennels and Garnets bowl is already raised as not to put too much pressure on the 1 remaining front leg as she stoops to reach her food. 

For the most part our other dog, Scout, is calm around her. Every now and then he gets hyper. He is very bonded with Garnet and very in tune whenever anyone in the house isn't 100%  

I feel mostly prepared, but still a bit apprehensive. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 September 2022 - 9:57 am
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Wow sounds like everything should be a-ok! It's nice that Scout is a calm dog around her. I'm sure once he sees how she needs some space when she comes home, he will respond accordingly.

Of course you are apprehensive! Anyone would be.

One more question: what does rehab look like according to your vet? Do you have a good therapy center to help with recovery and strengthening?

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 April 2007
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9 September 2022 - 7:24 pm
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Ooooh I just remembered that Spree had an FHO surgery after being a Tripawd. I can connect you with her mom if you'd like. 

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17 January 2016
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10 September 2022 - 1:35 pm
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Rehab and PT will have to be done at home. Dr Cannon said I would have to start her with passive range of motion then whatever Garnet feels she can do with any help we can give for support.

I live pretty close to the middle of the middle of nowhere. Facilities and specialists are far and wide from me. 

I've already started passive range of motion and massage (on all 3 limbs) so its not something totally foreign after surgery. 

Most things I have found and read is all about all 4 limbs being present. 

Any help and insight from anyone who has been through this would be greatly appreciated and accepted. Most things I have found and read is all about all 4 limbs being present.

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 April 2007
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10 September 2022 - 5:53 pm
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Ah I get that. So, if you're able to consult with a telemedicine rehab therapist, there's always that option. Here's a blog post we wrote about virtual rehab therapy:

How to Get Tripawd Rehab Virtual Consulting at Home

Also you might want to consider a long distance consult with Canapp Sports Med. They're awesome and they work remotely.

I'm happy to connect you with Spree's mom. PM me your best phone #, she's not much for emailing but is always up for chatting on the phone.

Member Since:
17 January 2016
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15 January 2023 - 12:42 pm
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UPDATE:

Garnet had her FHO on November 11th and came home November 12th. When I picked her up Dr. Cannon went over everything with me, showed me post-surgery x-rays, and told me she was confident Garnet would do better than a 4-legged dog during recovery because she HAD to use her leg. Then the tech brought Garnet to the exam room, Garnet was WALKING, slowly but walking, using her left hind (the leg that had the FHO).

The first 3 nights were rough. Garnet wasn’t sleeping a full night, in general (day or night) she would sleep for a few hours then become restless and want to move but was uncomfortable. When she would get like that, I would get her harness and Ginger leader on her then we would go for a short trip outside, get some fresh air (freezing, wet, anytime of day/night air). She was not able to keep full weight on her leg when squatting to urinate or defecate but she was still able to get into the correct position.

I took the first week of her recovery off, a vacation week well spent. The second week of her recovery was Thanksgiving week, and not only did I have her Grandpaw agree to be her caregiver when I was at work, we had family visit and they were all too happy to help.

I started doing slow minor range of motion exercises on day 3 of being home. We did home physical therapy 3 times a day for the first week and kept is very easy. Week 2 we stepped up the intensity and reduced the frequency to 2 times a day and I added massage.

By the end of week 2 Garnet did not need much help with the Ginger leader, it was more of a comfort for ME to keep using it. The beginning of week 3, I looped the Ginger leader into the handle of her harness to extend the handle, so we weren’t bending over during the whole walk outside to help support the one remaining front leg. Garnet was mentally ready to go for it and be a dog, she would try to pull us while outside so she could explore her yard.

Went in for her 3 week recheck at the end of the 3rd week Dr. Cannon released garnet to FINALLY be able to get up on the couch and snuggle with her people, she lives for snuggles. I also started walking Garnet on a slip leash while outside and only had to go back to the harness once due to her over doing it one day. During this whole time, I was still doing home PT. Garnet was doing so good with PT she would kick my hands away in protest then do her own range of motion. By week 4 she was doing more for her PT and exercise by regular movement around the house and was able to go for extended walks while going potty I stopped the range of motion but continued the massage.

When we went in for the 6 week recheck Garnet was having a stitch reaction to an internal stitch and needed to be sedated for the area to be cleaned out and have external stitches placed. I kept her on a slip leash until the stitches came out 2 weeks later and now Garnet is going outside off leash and doing so well, the average person wouldn’t be able to tell she had any surgery done (other than her shaved hind end).

I don’t think her gait is ever going to be “normal” she always “bunny hopped” and now she does use her left hind independently from her right from time to time but still “bunny hops” when she’s moving quickly. It is clear to us that she is more comfortable in general.

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 January 2023 - 3:51 pm
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WOOOHOO! smiley_clap This is the best update, thank you for returning to let us know how things worked out.

I love that she was intent on doing her own PT exercises. Good girl, Garnet!

You guys worked like a well-oiled machine to help her have a good recovery. You are a vet's dream client. Good job!

I'm updating our Remaining Limb Surgery Recovery News story with Garnet's inspirational story. What a rock star!

Keep us posted on how she's doing, we are always cheering all of you on! 

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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15 January 2023 - 4:31 pm
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Excellent update!!  Garnet is a RockStar on so many levels..as are her hoomans!!!   The care you have given Garnet is stellar.

Thank you so mich for sharing in such detail Garnet's journey.  He is showing us what's possible and how to overcome some pretty big challenges!  This will be a great tutorial for any other me,versus facing this kind of challenge.

Keep in rockin" Garnet!!

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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