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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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Shane's Story
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Forum Posts: 7
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13 February 2019
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5 March 2019 - 2:56 pm
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Four years ago I found Shane, a chocolate standard poodle, in a kill shelter in South Carolina.  He was due to be euthanized the next day. I was so lucky to find him.  He had been thrown out of a car and had been wandering the streets for weeks with a poorly healed hip.  His gait looked like Chester’s on the Andy Griffith TV show.  It was cute, but I could tell he would one day have problems from throwing his leg out wildly while he ran and jumped.  My vet pushed me to schedule him for a Total Hip Replacement and I finally agreed, so in January, 2018 he had his first surgery.  Twelve weeks later, he started limping and we discovered he had broken his leg just below the implant, so back to Virginia Tech for a new hip replacement and repair of the leg break with a plate and screws.  Since then I have spent a fortune not only on the two surgeries but also on treadmill therapy, laser therapy, and every other therapy you can imagine that has been “suggested” by my vet.  

Now he has an infection in the bone causing the implant and plate to fail, so he will be going back to Virginia Tech a third time for an amputation of his right rear leg in mid-April. They are the only facility that will deal with all of the paraphernalia in his leg.   Part of me is horrified and part of me is relieved that he will be out of pain.  My poor baby has been through the most anguishing year; he will not leave my side but he is still happy and sweet to everyone.  I wish I could say the same about me.  I do not trust vets anymore.   I feel so terrible that I have put him through this – maybe I should not have agreed to the THR in the first place.   I know I should Be More Dog but my guilt level is through the roof.  That 4 hour ride to Virginia Tech will be one of the longest drives of my life.  

Thank you for this web site.  I don’t think I would have gotten through the last few weeks without reading all of the information here, or the blogs and forums that are posted.  I know that he will do FINE once we are through the surgery.  I think I should have started with the amputation and skipped all the trial and error of the THR, which is what it turned out to be in the end.  Unfortunately for Shane, he was the guinea pig.  I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have this wonderful boy in my life.  I would love to post a picture but I can’t figure out how.  

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17914
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5 March 2019 - 3:21 pm
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And Shane feels just as lucky to have you in his life!!

You two have been through  quite the ordeal! For whatever it’s  worth, we see similar  situations here  like this lead to the inevitable  amputation.  It is quite “normal” to try surgeries  first so a leg can be saved.  You were doing what everyone  here would have done.  You trusted your Vet’s judgement  and followed  their advice.  THEY are the professionals and we follow their advice.  And most times these surgeries  do work out, but sometimes  they don’t.   So don’t  waste any more energy  in quilt.  You’ve given it attention, now move past it.  Shane would hate it if he thought for one second you were beating  yourself up.  Hr knows you always try and do what’s  in his best interest!  He KNOWS you love him!

Where do you live?  Is it possible  to have another Orthopedic  Surgeon do the amputation?  Is there any way possible  to have it done sooner?

And yes, Shane will do fine!  He already has shown he can basically  handle  the three legged hop.  Recovery  is no picnic, but it’s  ONE surgery and done!!

Stay connected,  okay?  We’re  all gonna be cheering for your sweet boy.  We would love to see pictures  of your boy.

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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5 March 2019 - 6:05 pm
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Nan I’m so glad you shared Shane’s story here. We are sending all our hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Fear not, you don’t need to have regrets because Shane sure isn’t. All he wants is to feel better and he’s about to get his wish. How can we help you Be More Dog ?

Meanwhile, here is a post that explains adding images to the Forums. If you would like assistance just message me and I can help. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 7
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6 March 2019 - 11:10 am
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Thank you so much for your replies.  I did check locally with several Orthopedic Surgeons, but they all were worried about the implants and felt that the best place for Shane was Virginia Tech.  My husband is disabled and I am his caregiver. 

So my window of opportunity between my husband’s doctors appointments  and Shane’s surgery and recovery is early April.  All concerned say that he will do well in that time frame – not so sure my heart will last until then.

I just hope the infection will stay localized to the leg but they are saying it will.  In the meantime, I am working on uploading a blog and pictures.  

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6 March 2019 - 5:51 pm
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Sounds similar to my girl Ruby’s situation as far as attempting surgeries, plates, and eventually having to amputate despite all that time, energy, and money. It is even the same leg! We are also scheduled for mid April to fit my vacation time to allow me to give her TLC during recovery. I’ll be thinking of you during that time. Keep your chin up, Shane is lucky to have you!

Virginia




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6 March 2019 - 8:48 pm
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Shane has such a great advocate in you!  You certainly  have your hands full!  You will definitely  find some relief  once you get this surgery and recovery  behind you.

We”‘ll be cheering for Shane…and Ruby too!❤❤

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!

London, UK


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15 March 2019 - 12:25 pm
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Hi Nan and welcome, just catching up with Shane’s story now. What an ordeal you have been through with him. It has many echoes of what I went through with my Meg, only hers was a front leg, following an elbow replacement. I really do understand something f the hell you have been through, the endless raising and dashing of hopes, the constant worry over whether what you are doing is right, the huge financial cost. 

The good news is that all that is behind you and everything is about to get better. Frankly, amputation is generally a FAR more straightforward process than what you have already been through. Once the leg is gone it’s gone. You’re not worrying about implants breaking etc. And you must be a pro by now at helping Shane recover from surgery. Meg has now been three years on three legs and after all the hell we went through trying to save her leg, I now look back on her amputation with a feeling of immense relief. That was when everything started to get better. Click the link below to her blog and check out the videos to see how much fun life on three can be. 

Please do not beat yourself up. I so relate to many of your feelings but the fact is you did the absolute best you possibly could with the information you were given. And the THR might well have worked. It’s just bad luck what’s happened. Don’t waste another second on self-recrimination and regrets. Shane isn’t. He just can’t wait to get back to doing all of the things he enjoys again and putting this year behind him. And he is one very lucky (and sensible) boy to have found himself such a devoted Mama. 

Stay connected and please let us know how you are getting on. 

Big hug,

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


The Rainbow Bridge



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15 March 2019 - 12:43 pm
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Great input Clare, thank you so much for taking time to share and offer encouragement.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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7 September 2019 - 1:30 pm
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Sorry I have been out of touch for so long.  Here is my update to Shane’s Story.  Shane and I have been through quite a spring.  My husband passed away in April and Shane has been missing him with me.  His bone infection (osteomyelitis) has recurred and the oral antibiotics are no longer effective or have never been.  I finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon at an AAHA Veterinary facility nearby who explained that the infection attaches itself to the metal in his hip replacement and the plate in his broken leg.  The end result is that Shane is scheduled for amputation of his right rear leg on Thursday.  While heartbroken, I realize this will be liberating for him.  He has been 80% tripawd since the first hip replacement surgery in January 2018.  

I have been visiting this site off and on over the past few months preparing myself for this surgery.  Hopefully his recovery will be excellent and I can get my heart to return to normal since he is now my constant companion and best friend.  I am planning on post surgery physical therapy, which I know Shane will love.  He already adores the surgeon and was flirting shamelessly with her on Thursday.  At some point I will figure out how to upload pictures of my handsome boy, 4 legged and 3 legged.  He will be a gorgeous tripawd standard poodle!  [Image Can Not Be Found]

Here and Now


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7 September 2019 - 5:42 pm
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golfernan said
At some point I will figure out how to upload pictures of my handsome boy… 

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts . If you don’t already share photos online somewhere, you can start a free Tripawds blog any time and upload them there. Need further help? Post in the Tech Support forum and we’ll be happy to help!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17914
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7 September 2019 - 9:27 pm
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So very, very sorry ro hear your husband has passed away.  You certain jave had a rough several months.  I know you snd Shane have a wonderful  Guardian Angel watching over you❤

On top of everything  else, you have been worried about Shane and trying to figure out the best way to proceed.  Clearly  amputation  is now the best path to take to remove his pain.  Yoi’ll have about two weeks (give of take) of a recovery period that is no fun, that’s  for sure.  But I have a feeling  Shane will be one of those on the fast track for recovery.  As you said, hes  basically a tripawd anuway.  And it’s  ONE surgery, one recovery and done!!

Will he be spending  the first night at a 24/7  clinic?  I’m  sure he’ll be on good pain meds.  They’ll most likely send you home with Gabapentin, Tramadol,  an antibiodic and Rimadyl.  Some also have a Fentynal pain patch.

You probably  have some sense of what recovery  is like because  of earlier surgery, but let us know what questions you may have, okay?

Please know, you have us on TEAM SHANE to help you in anyway possible

YOU ARE NOT ALONE, OKAY??   We, along with your Guardian  Angel, are going to help you and Shane have better days ahead😊

Extra hugs

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

PS  Will Virginia Tech be doing the surgery?  Do you live in Virginia?  I’m  West of Richmond.

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!

London, UK


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8 September 2019 - 12:34 am
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I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. My heart goes out to you and to Shane. I know you will have been a great comfort to each other.

Im sorry too to hear about Shane’s situation.  I know I mentioned above about the parallels between Your experience and mine with Meg. This attaching of the infection to the metalwork in the leg is precisely what happened to us and what resulted in Meg’s amputation three and a half years ago (tomorrow…). I won’t repeat what I said above, other than to say that for us amputation marked the end of a hideous ongoing nightmare and the start of a whole new life.  I very much hope that you too will find the operation and recovery pretty straightforward compared to the surgeries you have already been through. He is certainly in a good position having been essentially three-legged for some time and you have lots of experience in helping him recover. Lots of rest, regular pain meds, tasty treats and so on. You also have the support of this wonderful community, ready to listen and to share a huge range of experience should you have any concerns or questions. We are here for you. 

i know losing a leg is hard thing to contemplate, but I promise you you are already through the hardest part.   You and Shane can now start to look forward to a pain free, stress free future. Please keep us posted. As Sally says, you are not alone.

Much love,

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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12 September 2019 - 8:57 am
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The surgery is nearby in Fredericksburg.  I decided not to go back to Virginia Tech since it is 3 hours away and they were not very good at returning phone calls.  I did apprise the surgeon there of Shane’s situation and he has responded via email.  Shane is at the local Virginia Veterinary Center right now and I am waiting on pins and needles to find out how the surgery went, but probably won’t get a call until much later today.  I am spending my time re-reading everything I can on this web site and the two e-books, in preparation for Shane’s return home tomorrow.  My calendar has been cleared for the next two weeks so we can spend that time together while he recuperates.  

Thanks to all of you for your responses and support.  I know my husband would be with me all the way in this decision; Shane was his best buddy while his health deteriorated.  Again, once I figure out how to post pics I will do so!  I’m sure it’s easy.  

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25748
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12 September 2019 - 9:29 am
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I’m just catching up on things now and am so sorry to read about your husband, my deepest condolences are going out to you. What a ruff year it’s been. Thank dog you had Shane there to comfort your aching heart.

And we will be there for you now that you two are going through another journey, so post away, and let us know if you want us to help you with adding images to your posts. You can private message me for help or to arrange a tutorial on the phone. We can’t wait to see Shane!

Sounds like he’s in great hands, you made a good choice. There’s nothing like a responsive clinic at a time like this.

Keep us posted and let us know if you have any questions whatsoever.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17914
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12 September 2019 - 9:31 am
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Alright, Shane is getting rid of that bum leg and will be feeling soooo much better soon!!  I’m  glad you  have had good communication  with the Surgeon.  That is so important.

When you go to pick Shane up tomorrow, don’t  even bother looking at his incision.  He just wants to see your happy smiling face telling him what a good boy he is😀

Here’s  a link for adding images that may help.  Can’t  wait to see his picture. Let us know if you need help.  There are lots pf techie peiple here…and I am NOT one of them😭😭

Grab some chocolate,  stay busy, and update when yoj can!

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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