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10 y/o Large Breed, about 1.5 weeks post amputation. How soon to allow him activity?
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Member Since:
11 January 2022
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29 January 2022 - 6:52 pm
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Crush had his right front leg removed about a week and a half ago. He was really mobile from the get-go despite the obvious pain from his surgery- He came home same day and he hopped out to meet me. Even on the first night he got up and indicated anytime he needed to go outside. He was taken off fentanyl on Wednesday and has been just getting gabapentin and T3 since then. I can tell he's uncomfortable, however, he's moving around well and really wants to go out and do things. He keeps going to the door and crying, but doesn't need to potty. He just wants to go outside. When I take him out to pee he has to be leashed so he won't jump in the snow, and today I let him go towards the driveway for a little change and he motored right down the driveway and past the neighbours before I stopped him. Man he can hop quick when he wants to. He just really wanted to go for a walk, he hasn't been cooped up so much before and he's used to more activity. It was the first time I've seen him perk up in quite a while. When I made him turn around he was just sad and dejected, and then stood at the door whining when I brought him back in.
How long should I be restricting his movements? He still has his staples in and I don't want him to overdo it. But he seems quite depressed too.

I'm also wondering how much activity will be appropriate once he's fully recovered. Will he be able to go for walks at all? He's sure as shit going to expect them. How about hiking? What are other front leg amps able to accomplish? I'm pretty sure Crush will do whatever I let him, but I don't want to risk hurting his other legs either- he doesn't exactly have any to spare now.
For what its worth, he was in excellent health prior to his osteosarcoma diagnosis. He doesn't look or act his age, (most people guess 3 or 4) and he's never had any other issues with lameness(before cancer) or health, so his body should still be in good shape to do the things he wants. He can just go and go all day if given the chance, he loves to be out and about. He needs a lifestyle where he gets some stimulation outside of sitting around the house or coming into the office with me (though he does love that too, I hope he'll be recovered enough soon to go back). 

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29 January 2022 - 9:44 pm
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Wow he's doing great! Crush is ready to rock and roll smiley_clap

All of your questions are valid and so important to ask. The short answer to your question is that every dog is different. The distances one dog can go are going to be drastically different from another. Breed type, age, conditioning, it all affects their overall mobility especially after losing a leg. Generally, we say to take things slowly and especially when his staples are still in. This is the time to play interactive brain games together because tiring the mind is just as effective as tiring the body.

Once his staples come out, the general rule is to add activity in very, very slowly. Remember that even though he's the same dog, his body is working exponentially harder to do what it used to do. So what you want to do is reintroduce a fraction of his previous activity level, each week. As you know, dogs will keep going until they drop. It's our job to regulate their activity so that doesn't happen. If he ever sits down on a walk, or wants to take breaks, you know you've done too much. Time to cut back to the previous level and start over again from there.

The absolute best way to find out what he is capable of is to have him evaluated by a canine rehabilitation therapist. These experts know how to evaluate dogs for strengths and weaknesses. They can show you how to build him back up safely, and prevent him from getting injured. And that's why Tripawds Foundation is so gung ho about rehab therapy that we will even pay for your first rehab visit ! It's so educational and is one of the best steps you can take to avoid injury.  It's not uncommon for new Tripawds to get injured during the first few months after losing a leg, mainly because their humans just didn't know what their dog should and shouldn't be doing after surgery (and count yours truly into that group when our Jerry was recovering). So please, take advantage of the program so you can help Crush keep kicking butt and doing what he loves.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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30 January 2022 - 2:08 pm
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Thanks, I'll try to make his home environment more stimulating. I haven't been doing much to encourage him getting up as I wasn't sure how more moving around he could do... I just set out one of his puzzles for him though and he was really happy to solve it, I was a little surprised. He hasn't had much motivation to do anything in the house and since he's normally quite dextrous and uses his paws to solve puzzles I put them away. I'll go by the pet store and see if I can pick up any others, he only really has the one right now that can be solved without paws. I'll look into some of the other brain game ideas too.
He's been very unsettled today, whining a lot. He stops if I'm actively petting him or doing something with him though. I let him walk down the driveway again.
I've tried looking into canine rehabilitation in my city and can't find anything- I haven't had luck with any of the larger nearby city either, aside from Vancouver. That's a fairly long trip for him but perhaps in a few weeks when he's more recovered, and the highways have opened back up we could look at making the trip.

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30 January 2022 - 11:31 pm
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Wonderful news that he's loving the brain games! Yes they are so motivating especially at a time like this. Let us know what new ones he solves.

Oh and if you want to message me your location I will see what I can do to help find a therapist for you ok?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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1 February 2022 - 7:19 pm
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This is sot of an add on question to this post, not sure if this is allowed. 

But does going to rehab prevent A LOT of injuries? or are injuries still common in tripawds? I know this is an impossible question to answer, but I didn't realize that injuries in tripawds were common. This makes me even more worried.

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2 February 2022 - 12:03 pm
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mackies said
This is sot of an add on question to this post, not sure if this is allowed. 

But does going to rehab prevent A LOT of injuries? or are injuries still common in tripawds? I know this is an impossible question to answer, but I didn't realize that injuries in tripawds were common. This makes me even more worried.

  

Of course you can ask away. I'm not a rehab therapist but I've talked to many, and will continue to interview them because we continuously see so many advancements in how rehab therapy helps Tripawds live better. 

First, don't worry. ALL dogs are different in how they adapt to three legs. Yes, Tripawds are more prone to injuries because their bodies are compensating for limb loss. They move awkwardly because they have to, and over time there is a price to pay for that. Spree's story is a good example of a dog who had all the best care in the world, and activity moderation, but she still felt the effects of being three legged.

For some the effects are more, some less. What is an injury risk to one dog may not be to another. Breed type, fitness level, age, and weight all play into injury risk. And perhaps the biggest factor is how well the parent moderates their activity level. A three-legged dog left unchecked to frequently play explosive activities like frisbee or Chuck-it throwing all their life, will be at higher risk than one who plays shorter and gentler games. Tripawds are at higher risk of cruciate rupture when their activity isn't moderated, or they put on too much weight. A cat left to roam the neighborhood, jumping from fences and trees, is at higher risk.

So it's hard to say if your dog is at risk because we aren't there on a daily basis. But one reason why we encourage rehab therapy so often is because they are the experts who can assess a Tripawd's risk. And when a pet parent has that information they need to make good decisions about their Tripawd's activity, weight, etc., then they are doing everything possible to ensure an injury-free, happy life! 

Make sense? 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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2 February 2022 - 11:45 pm
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Thanks Jerry, I kept looking and did find one in Kelowna, which is only 2 hours away and doesn't require taking the currently super questionable highway down to Vancouver. I don't think there's one in town here- but Kelowna isn't too bad.
Crush has some "Outward Hound" puzzles he's been doing, he is still able to do his intermediate level one, and I got him another one called a "twister" that he also seems to like. However, new things aren't distracting him for very long, he does still seem really down. I even got him a meaty bone over the weekend, which he would normally be super excited for but he wasn't interested. He abandoned it with lots of stuff still on it and didn't want to go back to it- I've been offering it to him for days now but no dice. He does solve his puzzles but does it a little half-heartedly. I got him a couple new toys but he hasn't played with them. I only really see life if I get his leash. His staples are out at least, so I'm going to start giving him a little more time outside and see if he improves at all. It's tough with him still needing such limited activity though.

Hopefully things just keep improving from here. It makes me sad when he's sad.

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3 February 2022 - 10:24 am
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I know you are worried, and sad. I would feel the same way. Our dog's mood definitely affects ours both in good ways and sad ways. It does sound like he's in a good recovery mode, just taking a little longer. But that makes sense with his size and age. It's common to see larger dogs be on a longer recovery timeline. That he's playing brain games, even if half-heartedly, is positive! What a lucky dog to have so many (those are terrific games, I know which ones you are referring to). As for not finishing the bone, well, pain meds definitely dull the appetite so that's not uncommon at all. He started on it, which again, is a good sign. 

My guess is that if you can take him on a car ride, or have some of his favorite human pals come over for a short visit, that would lift his spirits (and yours too!). And I'm super glad you found a physio place! Reach out to them for an appointment soon, many are booked for weeks. Keep me posted!

Stay strong, he will be back to his old self before you know it. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




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3 February 2022 - 1:26 pm
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As always, ditto Jerry.

And yes, a visit from so sone he likes.  !have them come in super excited to see him, super upbeat....and bring a cheeseburger!

The fact that he gets all excited to see his leash is wonderful!  So it's  been a little over two weeks since amputation?  So after stitches are out and at this point "generally", you should be able to take him on leash3d walks for a short distance  (always keep in mind he still jas tomg9 that distance to turn arou d and come back home).  It sounds like it would do him a world of good to be oitside for a bit....even if it was just laying down and sniffing the breeze.

As Jerry was explaining  about how much a dog can do as a tripawd, etc, every dog is different.  Every dog has a different  stamina level, fitness level, hiking ability, etc, etc.  You and Crush will figure it out.  He'll show you what  level of activity works vest for him as he progresses.  Jist try and keep things chunked down and focus on what he CAN do for now, and make note as he does a bit more and continues to regain his sparkle.

We hoomans have to remember  this is MAJOR surgery ( which "ge really takes about two weeks-ish to recover from the surgery itself).  It takes about a month-old for a take to develop his tripawd gait in a fluid and balanced way.

I never can really figure out how to ind them, but we have tons of videos of dogs hiking, trail running, dock diving, doing agility, etc.  Ao all that is doable def.  We just need to always monitor and rein them in if they get too crazy, give them rest breaks, avoid high jumps and fast stops with  quick turns, etc.

Right now though, I think you're boy will be thrilled with some walks.  At this point  best to do several short  walks, maybe 10 minutes or a little longer with some pit stops.  Dogs truly just like sniffing stuff, walk, sniff, walk, sniff

Progress is being made.  We see it!!!  And I love that he figures out his puzzles.  Of course he's bored....he's too smart for them.

Hugs

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

PS.  So he is getting up on his own and he is walking around the house some, right?  Is he still on any pain meds?  And if I recall, he may have been a bit too frisky  when he first came home all hopped up on strong hospital  pain meds.  So continue to give him lots of massages to keep his muscles from being tight.

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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5 February 2022 - 1:37 pm
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He does seem to be improving and has been a bit perkier these past couple days. He's been looking a little more awake and moving around the house more. I got a hammock for the backseat to keep him safe back there so I'm going to try taking him for a little car ride later today so he can get out and sniff around somewhere new. He's been enjoying little walks up and down the street though.
He's still on some pain meds, but less now. The fentanyl has been gone for over a week, and his T3s have been reduced but he's still getting them along with his gabapentin. Things seem to be improving!

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5 February 2022 - 7:40 pm
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YAY! Every day you're seeing improvement? Well there you go! He just needs a little more time. And I'm hoping that car ride really helped perk him up. Keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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19 March 2022 - 4:12 pm
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Crush has had a pretty rocky road since I last posted- he finally seems stable now after struggling with a bad infection in his incision and then bad reactions to the antibiotics. He's had a lot of phantom limb pain (which finally seems to be improving) and he seems to have developed a lameness in his right back leg now.
I have some questions about the lameness mostly. I'm planning to schedule him for consultation with a rehab specialist now that he's stable (the last month has just been crisis after crisis and he was way too sick to travel a couple hours to the nearest specialist) but I'm wondering if anyone has advise in the meantime.
I notice that he often staggers when standing. He's trying not to put his right back leg down properly, he holds it out to the side and kind of straight, like a prop. But doesn't put a ton of weight on it. When he walks and hops around I can also see that he's clearly putting it down for less time than his other legs and it looks like he isn't putting all his weight on it. He's seen the local vet a couple of times for it but he isn't concerned at all, he says that sometimes after amputation they get muscle soreness or we see lameness issues that weren't apparent before. I'm kinda leaning away from it being muscle soreness as his activity has been extremely limited given how sick he's been, and over about 3 weeks I haven't seen any change at all, even when he's hardly moving around. It developed while he was sick with his infection and again, hardly moving and no slips or anything that set it off, I just started noticing he was struggling to balance. The vet can't get a reaction from palpating or moving the limb around and neither can I. But he still doesn't seem to want to use it. The vet thinks it's likely some kind of lameness we just couldn't see before. No x-rays or anything though, just manual examinations.
Has anyone else experienced this post-op? Is it a normal gait change? Now he's feeling better I know he wants to go outside more and do things, his energy is coming back, but I'm worried about letting him move around at all and making it worse... He doesn't have any legs to spare now! I've so far kept his activity really limited and no stairs yet or anything like that.
Also, how long do people make their dogs wear the T-shirt? Crush still wears them, I don't think he cares but I'm wondering if it's time to take it off... His incision is mostly well healed now but the lower area where the infection was still hasn't grown much hair back and it's still kinda scabby. He's still sensitive about having that area touched but the vet thinks it's just nerve pain now. Should I take it off?

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19 March 2022 - 10:24 pm
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Wow I'm glad to read that Crush is on the mend, thank you for letting us know.

I have a lot of thoughts and I'll return soon with more but for now, you are doing the right thing by having the therapist evaluate him. Yes this gait and stance change happens to new Tripawds but only the therapist can determine where the abnormal/normal Tripawd gait ends and any new pain begins. It does sound like he is having some soreness and although he's not moving around much, the new and altered gait still causes muscles to tire and get sore. Try getting on all fours yourself and lifting the limb that he is missing, then try to move around the house. You'll see how much energy it takes just to go to the water dish.

Do you have the therapist appt now?
And did your vet give you any pain control to help him feel better? If not, ask about getting some Gabapentin (for nerve pain) and Methocarbomol (muscle relaxer).

Sounds like it's probably ok to take the shirt off. Watch him carefully for signs that he wants to bother the incision though. Usually dogs are past that stage within a week of stitches coming out.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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19 March 2022 - 11:03 pm
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Thanks for the reply. He's not getting any pain meds anymore, the vet is really not keen on him being on them for too long. He was weaned off them, then went back on gabapentin and T3 when he was really sick, now is back off them again. I've pushed for them but the vet really doesn't believe he should be medicated long term. I'm planning to talk to the rehabilitation specialist about that, she is a pain specialist as well and I'm keen to hear her input. I personally would like to see him better medicated but I'm not the doctor... His phantom limb pain is much better now though.
As for the appointment, not yet, I've reached out but haven't heard back yet. It honestly wasn't until this week that I remembered I needed to do that, things have been so crazy and this is the first week I've got him eating and drinking again and not instantly barfing up every tiny little thing I can convince him to take in. I imagine they'll respond in the coming week and then we can set something up.

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20 March 2022 - 3:21 pm
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I'm really, really glad that you are seeing a rehabilitation therapist. Please let us know if you need any help finding one if you don't get a fast response. 

Honestly, it sounds like he is in pain and a therapist will help you find the root cause of it. Medication is the first step to control pain. Next is stretching, gentle massage, and other modalities like acupuncture. I'm so so so glad you are getting that important opinion by the therapist.

I'm going to share something that Dr. Robin Downing told us about pain management . Keep in mind she is one of the veterinary community's pioneers in modern pain control methods. She wrote the book on it. And basically, she tells us that if your vet is not controlling the pain with the tools they have, it's time to find a new vet. Here's the interview:

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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