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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I have finally found some time to update again. Shane is 12 days post surgery and I continually scan Tripawds community for stories of inspiration. The past two weeks have been heartbreaking since he has been in dazed confusion, some pain with whining, crying, and a bit of howling. One night at about 2 AM I called the emergency vet to see if we could increase his pain medications since he seemed wracked by pain in his leg and refused to move. I was frantic with worry. As a standard poodle, he has been able to get around the e-collar and lick the stitches a few times, but they have held. Of course, when they sent me home the all the vets said was that he would adjust.
Now, we seem to have turned a corner – just as you on Tripawds predicted he would – although he doesn’t quite have that “sparkle” back. (My daughter suggested I watch some Disney movies to cheer me up when she heard the word sparkle!) Friends have come over to give me some relief from being with him 24/7. As you can see from my “handle” I am an avid golfer, so I have been able to play an occasional round of golf and get away from the worry. I also take him out in the golf cart for a ride and that cheers Shane immensely. All I have to do is say the word “cart” and he is ready to go. I am waiting for stitches to be out in a few days, and have an acupuncture treatment scheduled for tomorrow morning.
25 April 2007
Thanks for the great update! Take things one day at a time and please keep us posted.
Wow! Long time no hear, so glad to see things are starting to go your way. We have had to learn over time to be serious advocates for pain management as most of us go through what you have been experiencing. I am sorry that doctor was of no help.
Usually around day 4-5ish they have no more hospital meds in their system and that is the big challenge of regulating and sometimes having to tweak either dosage or timing of medication. It sounds like you are over that hump though, thank goodness. If not, reach out to your vet and talk to them about what you are giving and how often. Some dogs take 3 weeks or so before they are weaned off of medication.
I love your daughter’s idea, how old is she? Oh and the cart.. what a fabulous idea!
It is really wonderful to know that you have been able to get some relief and ideas here at Tripawds. I know when I went through the surgery with Huck, this was my lifeline and the people here are just amazing.
If you have some time would love to see pictures. Here is a link to adding images
Turning the corner is a great step closer to seeing that beautiful sparkle, hang in there!
Jackie and Huck
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
Okay, I haven’t posted for a long while again. Shane recovered so well from his amputation – his is the king of the dog park and doing so well with being a tripawd. Everyone in my group is amazed at him. But that is not the end of the story which is way off in the future. When I picked him up after his surgery, I noticed that they removed “most” of the implants but left in the hip implant. I asked about it and the vet that met me said it was really stuck in there and they decided to leave it. I was concerned that the infection would return and they were not worried – felt that they had gotten the infection – I was not convinced for good reason. About 6 weeks ago, the infection reared its ugly head again. We have him back on Cipro to fight the infection temporarily, but now the suggestion from the vet is to go back in and remove the hip implant. This will be the 4th surgery this poor baby has had in 2 years. I am furious and dismayed for him. On top of the that, the expense is killing me. I don’t think they did the right think the first time and I don’t think he should be abused by another surgery, but what choice do I have?
Friends have told me to get a second opinion, but what road do I go down at this point? We could have him on antibiotics forever which will compromise his immune system or go ahead and try to get out the infection via another surgery. How do I approach the clinic about the expense when they should have removed the hip implant during the last surgery? I am not sleeping at all and in tears again over this. My bank account is shot at spending over $20,000 at this point on vets who seem to be stabbing in the dark. I’m still unable to upload pictures of him LOL. But if you can imagine a gorgeous chocolate standard with lavender overtones that’s him!
Friends have told me to get a second opinion, but what road do I go down at this point?
Wow I’m really sorry to hear that, I can’t blame you for feeling so upset, I would too. Unfortunately veterinary medicine is a lot like any kind of “repair work,” such as an auto mechanic, dentist, etc. It’s an imperfect science, as much as we hope that it will be flawless for our furbabies. We often see things like this when a dog or cat has to go in for a second amputation correction, when the vets decided to leave the leg stump which later proved to be problematic. I wish things like this didn’t happen. I’m so sorry.
I think the best way to approach the clinic is to make an appointment with the practice manager to discuss your feelings about the multiple surgeries, and to try to work out a compromise on the cost of the upcoming one if you decide to do it.
A second opinion would be smart, and bring you peace of mind if you decide to go forward.
Give your King of the Dog Park a big smooch from us. It sounds like he’s otherwise strong and happy on three?
15 December 2015
I’m sorry this has happened and can well empathise with the exasperation you’re feeling. As I said in the thread above, Shane’s case has a lot of echoes of what happened with my Meg. I agree with Rene as to the best approach and also about getting a second opinion. My inexpert understanding is that when an implant remains it is liable to store infection in a sort of film surrounding it and therefore the only way to be sure of getting rid of it is to remove the implant. But of course I have only a limited understanding and there must be lots of different things to weigh up in a situation like this. I think if you could talk it through both with the practice manager and with an independent (board certified orthopaedic) vet that might be really helpful. You could also ask for a copy of his medical records if you think it would be helpful (as opposed to more stressful) to see them.
When things go wrong it is really terribly difficult to deal with on every level – emotionally, financially and in terms of trying to work out what’s the best way forward. I know I felt like I’d come so far I had little option but to keep going but then that seemed crazy and I couldn’t work out how we’d got trapped in such a situation in the first place. For us, going to a different hospital and working with a fresh team was hugely helpful but of course that’s not possible or even advisable in every situation.
The one thing I can guarantee is that desperate as things feel now, you WILL come through this and things will get better. Shane will put all this behind him, caring only that he is loved and pain free and able to do all the things he enjoys, while you will look back on this period with a sense of relief and gratitude at having somehow got through it, but also of wonder that what at the time seemed so all encompassing, was actually just one chapter in the lifelong story of Shane.
Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx
Meg, Mutt, aged around 11, 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
Wow, I am so sorry this is happening to you guys again. It totally tops adding insult to injury that now they want to take the implant out when they should have done that to begin with. If they can do it now, why couldn’t they do it then? And as much as the second opinion sounds like the way to go, I think the chat with the practice manager might help in resulting in less bills. I know we never want to put a monetary symbol on these health issues, but I also know that it can be difficult to keep up with financially. I truly believe they should cover a good portion of this procedure, but I think while you are talking about this, the discussion of capability should be addressed. I would come right out and ask if they think they can successfully accomplish this procedure knowing that the vet chose to close him up the last time because of the level of difficulty they had prior. I say this because I know you are going to want reassurance that the procedure can be handled, and if you have any doubt, then seeking out somebody more capable might be the way to go. You really have been through more than enough!
I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, and for all the difficulties that you have been faced with. I am glad you have been able to find some comfort here. Having others here such as Clare and Meg has to help give you some hope that this shall pass, and there WILL be a light at the end of this long dark tunnel.
Sending you and Shane big hugs
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
Thank you so much for adding your insight Clare, it’s so valuable to hear things from your perspective, after all you and Meg have been through.
The reminder to access medical records is an excellent tip! Here’s an article that discusses how to get everything you need for a second appointment: