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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We are new to the Tripawd community, as of this Tuesday, and are so thankful to have been able to refer to this resource for reassurance. Juneau was a stray and was hit by a car this spring. Animal care services picked her up and she remained at the shelter for 6 weeks on cage rest with a shattered femur and broken pelvis. We fell in love with her sweet face and adopted her. Luckily for us she was just moved into the care of a rescue agency who said they would cover the cost of her leg care. We had the leg looked at by their vet and two others and they all agreed that amputation was the best line of treatment.
We had her back right leg amputated by the vet clinic that does all of the recuse organizations cases. She is home now and recovering well but her bandage is soaked through with drainage and what looks like puss. I am assuming this is a sign of infection, but am not sure. If so should I take her to have it looked at today at our vet or wait until Monday to take her to the surgeon? Is it okay to leave the wound undressed or should we cover it either with boxers, or a doggy diaper? It seems wild to me that a seasoned vet clinic would tell us to leave the bandage on for seven days and then have it redressed? Has anyone has a similar experience? I hope I did the right thing by taking the bandage off? Any tips for keep wounds clean?
Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.
If you think it might be an infection get her seen as soon as possible! If it’s nothing thats good, but if there is an infection you don’t want to wait to get it looked at and a treatment plan in place.
Not all amps come home with a bandage- it’s much more common around here to see a front amp bandaged post op. It seems to be a surgeon’s preference. If the bandage is off be sure she can’t get to the incision- that usually means a cone or cone alternative. Boxer’s will help keep the area clean.
The Required Reading List has some links to post op care.
How old is your girl? How is she doing with her recovery otherwise?
My current Tripawd has a similar story to yours- Elly was hit by a car at 7 months old and surrendered to a rescue. She also lost her right rear leg, I adopted her when she was 10 months old. She is now about 3.5 years old and a happy, healthy little Pug mix!
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
p.s. I moved your post here to Beyond Cancer since you are dealing with an accident and not cancer.
If you are worried about infection and can get her seen sooner I would get her checked out. If you can’t, definitely keep an eye on her and if you see more indications of infection I would take her to an emergency vet. An infection is not something to mess around with. As well as the links Karen posted above, I’d look over any discharge instructions (if you got them) you were given by the surgeon. They usually give you things to watch for and information about caring for your pup.
Post back and let us know how it’s going.
x2 on the suggestions above, don’t wait on this one if you think it’s an infection. Also check out our info about what many think is an infection, a seroma . These aren’t as serious as an infection and usually resolve on their own. That fluid is more pinkish and watery than bloody, definitely not thick or yellowish. When the drainage is smelly, greenish and the incision area is warm to the touch, you want to have it looked at asap.
Hopefully it’s nothing serious but just to be safe, have it looked at. Until then I wouldn’t leave it covered up as you could be causing more moisture and bacteria growth. I’m not a vet, so just throwing that out there, take it for what it’s worth. Just put down washable towels and keep an eye on it.
I look forward to finding all about Juneau, she’s a lucky gal to find her way to such great people. Thanks for joining!
One more article you may find helpful:
Thanks for the information everyone! My mother is a surgical nurse and is familiar with general wound care, thankfully. She came over and had a look and said that the drainage looked relatively normal and that the color looked off because it had been dried on the bandage for a while. She sent me to Walgreens with a list of bandage supplies and we managed to wrap her up nicely for the next two days. We went to the vet today and they said all looks good and she should be ready to have her stitches out Friday! They applied ointment this time and I didn’t get a chance to ask what it was. She seems to want to lick the ointment off or she could be licking due to the possible UTI, hard to know. Did any of your vets use ointments?
Juneau is 8 months old and just the sweetest girl. The recovery has been a rough one due to the post surgery side effects (she howled on and off all of the first night home) but besides that she is doing well. That howling made me very upset and had me doubting my decision even though now I know it was the right one. I just love the quote “It’s better to hop on three legs than to limp on four”. She has been sleeping a lot which is normal from what I understand. She might have a UTI but we are waiting for results on that. Thanks again for the responses, and for the creators of these wonderful resources!
Oh my gosh give your Mom a big huge hug from us! That’s great news.
Glad to hear things are going well, here’s to all the dedication and love you are giving Juneau. Yes, her sleeping is totally normal, and medicinal in fact! It will help her heal so let her rest up and try not to worry too much, you’re doing wonderfully!
1 October 2017
That’s great news, I’m glad it’s not as bad as you thought. Now you can both rest and she needs plenty of it still!
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
Way to go Mom!
Glad nothing is wrong, and it sounds like she is right on track with her recovery. Sleeping is great for a smooth recovery. As a youngster I’m guessing your next biggest hurdle is going to be keeping her quiet until the sutures come out!
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
22 February 2013
Just catching up on Juneau…just in time to say YAAAAAAAAY for a good check up and for incision healing nicely!! And YAY for Nurse Grandma!😁
Yeah, those first several nights at home can be soooo rough. Good for you for staying strong and focused on knowing the discomfort was temporary.
Not sure what the ointment was. Probably some form of antibiotic. Call them tomorrow and ask. “Inquiring minds want to know.”😎
Love the avatar picture. Would love to see more of this cutie pie!
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!
I am glad to hear there is no infection. That is good news. I hope she doesn’t have an uti.
I don’t remember any ointment applied to Cora’s amputation site but I was also sleep deprived and stressed so I don’t trust my memory. The early recovery from an amputation is hard, but this will get easier. Amputation with a young dog comes with it’s own issues. That she is sleeping a lot is great news. The tricky part is going to be when she wants to start moving around more. Eight month old pups aren’t good at self-limiting themselves and you will have your hands full keeping her quiet.