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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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10 days post surgery - concerned about stride/posture
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Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
25 April 2020
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25 April 2020 - 3:33 pm
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Greetings all! New member here and I must say the resources I have found have been great! Thank you! I am struggling with one thing and hoping to get some input. Our black lab, Atlas, had his front left leg amputated on April 16th – bone cancer. We have seen many of the same challenges as those posted in forums, expected in articles, and our unique circumstances but we are now 10 days post surgery and he is still resting A LOT. We have had some rough nights but hoping things will continue to improve. My 4 year old and I keep telling him and ourselves – every day, just a little better! He had a pretty good appetite post surgery and few days after getting home began pooping and peeing so that was a positive sign. He has now seemed to have lost his appetite some, takes some coaxing to get him to eat. He drinks water but usually have to offer He is not getting up on his own to get food/water. We have 4 steps he has to take to get outside and back in the house, has navigated those pretty well! It just seems that walking through the house or out in the yard that he has a small arch, like he cannot really stretch out and get comfortable with a new stride. Incision is healing well, little red around the seroma but no drainage or smell. Stitches come out on the 30th, which is when we have the first round of chemo as well. Any input on his body language/posture would be greatly appreciated. This has been a tough time.

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 April 2020 - 4:00 pm
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Hi Gordon and Atlas, welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. I hope you don’t mind I moved your post here but since it’s regarding his body language, posture, etc., this is a good place to talk about that sort of thing.

To me, and I’m not a vet so take that for what it’s worth, but out of all the great details you shared about Atlas’ environment and behavior, it sounds like you are describing pain signals . If you’re not sure what they look like, the link will take you to some articles that explain more. But basically, the hunched posture, lack of appetite and loss of his comeback zing all point to something hurting him. 

It’s not uncommon for something like this to happen, so don’t panic. We often see a new Tripawd come home from surgery and bounce back pretty quick, only to have a slight crash a couple of weeks later. Usually it’s because they pulled a muscle getting around. Have you tried gently massaging him around his shoulders and neck? That’s a common sore area for front leg amputees. See if he responds when you lightly knead his neck and shoulder muscles. It could also be a muscle strain in the lower back. 

My recommendation is to talk to your vet and get a referral for a canine rehabilitation therapist. These experts are great at figuring out when dogs hurt, and how to fix the issue. The best part is that Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit , so please take advantage of the program OK?

Stay tuned for more feedback from others. I hope this helps. Let us know how things are going.

P.S. I think we missed you in the Tripawds Chat earlier? If so, Admin is there now. Also, messages don’t “stick” in the chat the way they do in the Forums so I’m glad you posted here! You’ll usually find Admin and I in the chat during weekday afternoons and early evenings.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 8
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26 April 2020 - 10:58 am
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Thank you kindly for the reply. Poor guy is so restless at night, just whines, but fortunately sleeps some during the day. He ate this morning (as long as I mixed in some cottage cheese). He had a VetProfen at 8 and I just gave him his Gabapentin and trazadone.. I did call the vet last night to discuss and they refilled his tramadol so will give that as soon as it gets filled and picked up! I did spend time massaging/petting with pressure his neck, shoulders, and back for some time last night. Will certainly continue that. There was not a particular place where he tensed up or reacted to pain but imagine the muscles all over are super sore with a new center of balance! Appreciate the link to the information.

Incision is looking good and with the shirt he has not bothered the stitches at all so have taken off the soft collar periodically (as long as I am watching him). We will head out shortly for him to do his business (glad that he is pooping and peeing fine). It just takes a lot for him to actually get up and get outside. Once we are outside he usually finds somewhere to lay down and we are out for a couple hours. Helps all of us to get some outside time!

THANK YOU for the information about the Tripawds Foundation . I will certainly look into it. His stitches come out on Thursday and we did purchase a Ruffwear Flagline harness to help him get in and out of the car – lots of adventures ahead! He is a 100 pound black lab so cannot lift him on my own 🙂  

Virginia




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26 April 2020 - 11:16 am
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Apolofies doe ahort note, a quick question.  How often is he given the Trazodone?  How much?  How long jas he been on it.  It definitely  can cause heavy sedation and take away alertness, being engaged, etc.

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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27 April 2020 - 2:04 pm
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His prescription is 150 – 200 mg every 8-12 hours for sedation/anxiety. Yesterday morning he was alert, was able to stretch out a bit better so took a small walk to the mailbox. He wagged his tail about several things throughout the day and eyes were alert. Last night was the first night of restful sleep either of us have had since surgery. With his meds today though he is sound asleep on the floor (been out once to pee but back in because of rain). He did not whimper and cry out in the night so think we are headed in the right direction for healing but he has developed some red/bruising? near the base of the incision site (rest looks great) over the past couple days. No tenderness when I touch it and no fluid or smell.

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 April 2020 - 2:28 pm
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It sure sounds like he’s healing well. How wonderful you both slept so well!

I’ll let Dr. Pam share her thoughts on the bruising in the Ask A Vet topic where you posted. I agree that the formation is unusual but I don’t want to even guess why one part of it is so much darker than the rest, so I’ll let her get back to you on that.

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