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Bringing our Baby Mar home tomorrow | Accidents, Injuries and Malformed Limbs

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Bringing our Baby Mar home tomorrow
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Westcliffe, CO
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27 December 2018 - 10:24 pm
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Hi everyone!! This is my first post here. On Christmas day our 9 year old female Catahoula, Marley, suffered a terrible accident. She and her daughter got into a scuffle in our Jeep Wrangler while we were inside a family members house. We had the seats down, because we are traveling. Both girls had muzzles on, because they have a history of this sort of thing. We came outside every 15 minutes or so to check on our 3 dogs (mom, dad and daughter, all catahoulas). As we were heading out to the jeep to depart, we noticed blood all over the windows. As we got closer we noticed, Wendy the daughter, in the front seat. Marley was hidden from sight. We opened up the back door to find that she was laying down, with her front left leg out in front of her. Her wrist and paw were dangling from her arm. There was about 4 inches of bone exposed. She was panting harder than I have ever seen. We grabbed towels and I sat in the back and held her lifeless wrist as straight as I could to her arm as we drove to the emergency vet. 

Trying to piece together the puzzle of what happenned, we imagine she had to of gotten her leg caught in a pocket in between the seats of the vehicle. Now this was 100% preventable and that is what hurts the most. We have beat ourselves black and blue for what we could and should have done differently.

Fast forwarding through what have been the longest 2 days of our lives, we chose to have her front left leg amputated. After seeing the condition she was in, we imagined that was the only choice. But us loving her as much as we do, we hoped for any small chance of saving her leg. Most of the opinions we were given said that reconstructive surgery had alot of risks, and not alot of guarantee. And of course it could always end up needed to be amputated anyways. With her being 9, we felt that she needed the brightest future at the earliest date we could provide. 

Many tears have been shed. We feel horrible. But we are so happy she is still here on Earth with us. She had the surgery yesterday evening. We have only heard good news, apparently she is already trying to walk! 

So this brings me to my question. We get to pick her up tomorrow!!!! We are anxious. We are still traveling. Marley will have to sit through a 5 hour drive to get to our first destination, where we will stay for about a week. Then we will have to travel another 12 to make it home. We will split it into 2, but does anyone have suggestions for traveling with a tripawd this early after amputation? 

Thanks so much!

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 December 2018 - 11:38 pm
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Oh my gosh what an awful accident, I’m so sorry! It’s definitely a first-of-a-kind here at Tripawds, I can’t imagine the kind of stress everyone was under. But you got through it and you WILL get through the journey home! Catahoula’s are a pretty resilient breed, and I’m going to bet that your biggest challenge will be trying to keep Marley calm enough to rest and recover.

First you should check out our article, What to Expect When You Bring Your New Tripawd Home. When you’re able to focus, our e-books library has information at your fingertips that will answer your questions about life on three legs. So does Jerry’s Required reading List.

As for the trip home, I would definitely want to:

Talk to the vet about the pain relief she is being sent home with. This is the biggest struggle people tend to have with new Tripawds, managing pain levels. At a minimum you want her coming home with a narcotic pain reliever (Fentanyl, Nocita, etc), an anti-inflammatory, a nerve pain relief drug like Gabapentin and a lighter pain relief medication like Tramadol. I would also request a sedative like Trazadone or Amantadine (also a great pain reliever) for her, and maybe even your other dogs, to keep the pack calm.

Hopefully you’ll have enough room in your vehicle that she can wear a cone. Keep a close eye on the incision, make sure she doesn’t get to it. Cover her with a snug t-shirt if there is no bandage.

Have the surgeon’s contact information, just in case you need to get in touch right away. Having a list of ER clinics along your route will also be handy. Hopefully you won’t need them, but if she develops any issues like a seroma , you want to have her checked out.

By the way have you been in contact with your regular veterinarian about what’s happened? Have the surgeon send her surgery records and any lab reports to your vet right away.

When you get to your midway destinations, make sure that she is not able to slip and slide around on the floors. Traction is key to a successful recovery and life on three legs. So is keeping her activity to a minimum. You only want her walking outside to go potty, on a leash, then back inside to rest. 

Lack of appetite will probably be an issue, it’s a side effect of pain medications. That’s OK as long as she is drinking plenty of fluids. You can tempt her with low-sodium broths, gatorade, whatever it takes to get her to drink fluids. 

This is what I can think of right now, and I’ll probably check out for the night and remember something later, so I’ll keep an eye on your topic and offer additional suggestions as they come up. Stay tuned for feedback from other members too!

Good luck and keep us posted!

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




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28 December 2018 - 7:53 pm
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WOW!!!!!!   JUST WOW!!!!!   So sorry this happened!  And as hard as it was to share the details, we THANK YOU!!  I have no doubt  you have prevented this from happening  in the future by alerting everyone to this completely  unforseen accident!!!   

Jerry  has given you  an excellent  list of things to prepare  you for any hurdles  you may face.  The circumstances  surrounding the surgery and recovery are going to have their own unique  set of challenges .  Obviously  keeping the dogs separated and, hopefully, someone  can sit in the back seat with her during  the drive time.

If you have access to a towel or a canvas bag (cut down the side so you can use the straps as “handles”) to use as a sling , that would be helpful.

We have a Helpline we staff, so don’t  hesitate to call, or post here, with any questions  we can help you with .

 1-(844) TRIPAWD

PLEASE stay connected  and let us know how things are going.  And again, thank you for giving  us ALL  a heads- up on how the unthinkable could happen!   As Jerry said, we have never heard of this scenario and would not have ever thought  of it were it not for you! 

Extra hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS  For whatever it’s worth. you made a wise decision to do the amp and not TRY and do the “repair” route.  We’ve  seen time and time again when multiple surgeries, long recoveries fail, often   with infections setting in, and then amputation  ends up happening  anyway.

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!

Westcliffe, CO
Forum Posts: 7
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28 December 2018 - 8:10 pm
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Thank you for the great advice! We all made it to our destination. It was a long 5 hours but it felt incredible to have our girls back. Marley did very well. They did interior stitching so theres no removal. They look pretty sturdy, that was a big worry of mine. She was very thirsty and had a pretty healthy appetite. The doc had already left for the day by the time we arrived, so I spoke to the ‘right hand woman’ tech. I expressed my concerns for traveling with our rambunctious pack, and asked for some sedatives. She suggested benadryl for my male. She said the girls did not need any sedatives. And Marley was only prescribed Gabapetin for pain, nothing else. The tech said, “She could stop taking that today and she would be fine.” Which kind of alarmed me.. this is the end of day 2, has she not been given adequate meds since? She does not seem to be in pain, but I dont want to misread anything. We met the vet in the town we are staying in the other day, should I seek out back-up meds just in case?

Our plan is to keep her in her kennel for the next for days, to force her to relax. Its killing her to not be up in the bed with us, or maybe its just killing me.. 😣

We are feeling definitely better today, and are anxious for everyday of recovery!!!

Westcliffe, CO
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28 December 2018 - 8:12 pm
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Michigan
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28 December 2018 - 8:30 pm
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OK, pain meds are my pet peeve. 

No, she cannot stop them today!  She will need pain meds for 2-3 weeks, and Gabapentin alone is not enough.  Where are you & where are you travelling to?  Maybe some of us can help you along the way, too.  Rene is the expert, though, when it comes to travel since that’s how they live!  She had great ideas about finding vets along the way before you head out.

The first 2 weeks or so are really the hardest part of things for most dogs.  Many don’t want to eat, so at least try to keep her hydrated.  We used peanut butter for Murphy to give him his meds.  Some use hot dogs, cheese or stinky liverwurst.  

You can apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to help with pain – apply it for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day.

If you need to help Marley get up, you can use a cloth grocery bag – cut down the sides so that you have a flat piece with handles on the ends & you can use it as a sling.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

Westcliffe, CO
Forum Posts: 7
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28 December 2018 - 8:54 pm
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Thanks Sally. It really was a *freak* accident. Our dogs have been road trippers since day one. I will forever be aware of potential dangers in the vehicle now! We went to petsmart and purchased one of those copcar looking separators, for the long haul home. We appreciate the positivity, we both feel pretty good about our choice after seeing her today.

Donna, thank you for confirming my suspicion. We are in southwest Texas, but live in south-central colorado. We will be here, near the Frio river for the next 8 days. My sister-in-law took us to meet the vet here recently, and she knows what Marley is dealing with. I have a feeling she can help us out with some pain relief. My other female that was involved in the scuffle is prescribed tramadol for her injuries, and I can tell a big dif between the 2 of them after med time. I feel like Marley needs something to calm her down, but not make her drunk. 

Thank yall again.

Elle

Virginia




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28 December 2018 - 9:21 pm
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Glad you are all back together  again!

And so glad Donna chimed in on the pain meds!  WOW!!!  I hope that Vet Tech never has MAJOR surgery  that involves an amputation and isn’t  given any pain meds!!!!  Humans would be in the hospital  for days on a morphine drip!!!

The majority  of dogs here come home with Tramadol, Gabapentin , Rimadyl (or some form of antiinflammatory) and an antibiotic.  Geez!  This is crazy!  But yes, some  Surgeons are still oblivious to managing  pain in animals.

Fortunately , Marley still has some hospital  pain meds in her that will be in her system  for about another day.  And even if the added  pain meds make her lethargic for a few days, that’s  still better than being in pain.

Stay connected   We are with you the whole way!  Now try and get some sleep and enjoy your trip!!!

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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28 December 2018 - 10:46 pm
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Hi Elle, thanks for the update. Where in Colorado do you live? One of our favorite places in that area is Lake City. Soooo pretty.

I’m also in agreement about the pain medication situation (FYI, Donna is a human nurse and well versed in pain control). It’s too bad that there are vet clinics that aren’t up on the latest protocols. Modern surgical pain control for animals calls for more than Gabapentin, which is just one type of pain relief drug to address a certain kind of pain (nerve). With amputation surgery, pain is dealt with on multiple levels, using a variety of medications. When not dealt with properly from the beginning, sometimes pain can be an issue later on down the road so yeah, please do talk to the vet your SiL knows.

Meanwhile, we are glad that things are well overall. I never would have guessed that this could happen in a vehicle! Thanks for informing us about the dangers. 

Keep us posted on how things are going. We are thinking of you all!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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Westcliffe, CO
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29 December 2018 - 5:08 am
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Yikes yall! Here comes the guilt. Our first night back together. Her meds are dosed every 12 hours, around 630. She woke up around 4, moving around and panting. Obviously in pain. We did water, potty, put a mattress on the floor so we can lay together and finally an early dose of her meds. I am hoping the Gabapentin offers some sort of relief until we can get ahold of some meds. 

Jerry, we live in a very small town called Westcliffe. Not too far from Salida or Pueblo. Our vet is in Canon City, about 30 mins from us, where the royal gorge is located. We trust him, so I am relieved that we will not need to go on a search for a doc when we get home. My hubs is looking into water therapy in Colorado Springs, Marley is an avid swimmer. 

Sally, OMG. I had the same thought. This is frustrating, I hated to argue with the tech but she seemed knowledgable. Damnit. 9 am hurry up!!!!! Meanwhile… we finally have Mar settled on a twin mattress with my hubs. She is resting. Fingers crossed that she can bare a few more hours of pain. I know she can, shes one tough houla, but I hate it for her. 😣😣😣

Thank yall for all the support. As much as family and friends want to help, they just dont have the same experience as you all on this site. We are very grateful. 

Will update after speaking with the local vet. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 December 2018 - 10:56 am
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Try not to feel guilty, amputation recovery is a crazy learning curve. You are definitely observing her behavior quite well and seem real in tune with her needs.

Yeah, it’s good to stay ahead of the pain, once it spirals up like that it’s hard to bring back down again. Dosage intervals are basically guidelines but with your vet’s help you can find the right ones for her needs.

Oh I know exactly where Westcliffe is! Lovely country. We’ve stayed at Lake DeWeese before. 

20090508w_deweeselake03.jpgImage Enlarger

Yep, there are some really good rehab places in Colorado Springs. Don’t forget the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit , be sure to check out the links.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Westcliffe, CO
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29 December 2018 - 1:40 pm
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No way!! What a small world. I read Jerry’s story this morning and Wow!! What a beautiful life. I love that you guys travelled. We actually live in a school bus that we converted into a motor home, because we had plans of taking it all over the US. But, it turns out that the gas mileage SUCKS and the motor is crap. It has traveled from Austin to Westcliffe, back to Austin and finally back to Westcliffe. Since then its been parked in the same spot going on its 3rd year, it has served as our home while we build on our property! We will definitely need to make some modifications to the bus when we get back. Hello ramps! Luckily, we can stay with my father-in-law until then. 

As soon as everybody opened up, I was on the phone. I got the vet who did the surgery to write an rx for Tramadol to send to the local vet. He wasnt suprised I was calling, and luckily our other female has an rx for Tramadol so he gave me the ok to share some with Marley until we could get more. 

Oh and, I was mistaken. I thought Marley was on 2 antibiotics, but its just one. Keflex. And the other is Carprofen, which I’m sure yall know is an anti-inflammatory. So that made me feel slightly better. But now that we have Tramadol, I feel more at ease. Am I right in trying to dose the tramadol in between the rest? Or does it not matter if she takes them all at once? I just thought it would give her longer lasting relief if its all spread out.

Virginia




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29 December 2018 - 7:33 pm
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Loved the story avput the bus and the fact you have traveled  to the same areas as Jerry!  

And yes, staggering  the Gaba and Tram an hour or two apart is what I have done for various situations  with my dogs.  Especially  if the Gaba isn’t staying strong enough to handle the pain in between the first and second dose.  Tweaking the pain meds in a way that work best for Marley can take a bit of trial and error.  In some cases, depending  on dose amount, weight of dog, etc, Gaba can be given three times a day.   Same can apply to Tramadol.  Obviously,  these kinds of adjustments  need to be approved by a Vet.   Not a Vet and not giving  Vet advice.  

You’re  a great advocate  for Marley!!   Good job of staying  on top of things!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS  Grab some chocolate   It’s  a great de-stresser!

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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30 December 2018 - 11:52 am
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Oh we love Skoolies! And hey who knows maybe we traveled along the same routes. We have been to Austin more than a few times. How lovely that you are building on your own property!

Glad to hear she’s on a NSAID too. Ditto what Sally said about spacing out the medications. We do that for Wyatt Ray . It can be challenging to manage that, but if you set reminders on your phone or keep a paper log of when to give them, it’s possible not to lose track.

We hope today goes smoothly for the pack.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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Westcliffe, CO
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30 December 2018 - 2:06 pm
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Last night, Marley started leaking at her incision. I know this is normal, but I was *hoping* it wouldnt happen. The first few gushes smelled a little weird. But the incision its self smelled alright. I am all about smells, as I had a bite that got infected on myself last year and the smell was a huge indicator. Of course now, every potty-hop or turn-around brings more fluid. I imagine it gives a little relief. Fluid seemed to be starting to build up, nothing crazy though. We are staying on top of it!

Yeah, I will start jotting down med times. Our minds are starting to get foggy in our sleep-deprived states. We have started night shifts, just laying with her, since that seems to be the most uncomfortable time for whatever reason. I am so thankful that we are able to give her 100% of our attention right now, instead of having to deal with work/driving home/life in general. These are things I’m slightly weary about for when we return home. We have about 5/6 more days until then. 

I know theres probably an article on here about this already, but do yall/have yall given supplements to your babes? I really want to get her on something beneficial for her recovery. Although it may be best to wait until she’s off the antibiotics/pain meds. Since we live in CO, we have friends that distill cbd oil. I am interested in giving that a try.

Ps. Sally- I am eating. All. The. Chocolate. 😉😀

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