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9yr old Husky front leg amputee not able to stand or walk
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24 November 2021 - 8:38 am
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Hi all,

after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma our 9 year old Siberian Husky Buster had his right front leg amputated and is going to go through chemotherapy treatments as well in the future. He is currently recovering from the surgery.

It's only day 3 after the surgery so I know we still have a long road of recovery ahead of us, but my main concern right now is that he is absolutely unable to stand or walk on his own, and all I see is posts about dogs that basically hopped out of surgery right into the car. The clinic told me that Buster was "a bit weak on his hind legs", which frankly is quite an understatement given that he can't even get up on his own smiley6. He has a harness with handles in the front and rear to help support him, but I have to fully lift him up to get him to stand, which he will only do for a second or two, and then wants to lay down immediately. My back hurts already from lifting his 95 lbs body up a bunch of times yesterday smiley7.

Trying to take him out to pee has been an absolute disaster, since he won't even stand to lift his leg or do his business. He hates it when I lift him up (always did, since he was young) to try and support him and immediately starts whining and wiggling around until I let him lie down again. I am being very careful not to hurt him, but he won't have any of it. He peed twice in his brand new orthopedic bed that I got him, which I then spent hours trying to clean of the pee and smell. Probably should have waited before putting him right on the new bed. At least on the second time he somehow managed to scoot himself off the bed so he wouldn't lie in his own pee. This morning I took him outside but he's just laying there and hasn't peed yet, and I assume he will eventually just pee laying down again.

He had been having issues with his hind legs for the last two+ years and had numerous X-rays and tests in the past which never found anything other than a potential sprain, but was then surprisingly diagnosed with torn ACLs right before surgery (which is another frustrating story for another day). I assume this is contributing to his issues, but we were still doing 2 mile daily walks before the surgery so it's not like he wasn't able to walk or move at all.

I was prepared for him to struggle moving and hopping around in the beginning, but I wasn't prepared for this. I feel like his current condition requires full-time around the clock care, as I constantly have to check on him every few minutes to see how he's doing.

I'm curious to see if there are other members here who have had similar experiences, and how long it took after surgery to see some improvement? icon_question I will call the clinic today and ask them about this as well, but I already know all they are going to do is tell me to be patient and give it a few days. Thanksgiving is tomorrow but I already know I won't be joining my family but instead be dog sitting at home with a long four day weekend ahead of me to hopefully see some improvement... smiley13

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 November 2021 - 9:47 am
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Hi Buster and family, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

I'm so sorry for the difficulties. Trust me, not every dog is running around the day after surgery. We as future or new Tripawd parents tend to focus on those stories because we want to be hopeful, which is good. But there are many ways recovery can go, and every dog is different. Buster is on his own timeline so try to take a deep breath, and know that this is a temporary situation that will get better.

For starters, what kind of pain management is he on? What are the meds, dosages, and timing? It's possible he could be extremely sensitive to the protocol and most protocols need some fine tuning in this area soon after coming home. 

How many times a day are you trying to get him outside? He shouldn't go out more than his usual pee times before surgery. Don't try to get him to move around any more than necessary right now.

What are your floors like? Are they slippery? Do you have traction ? This will help him soooo much with his footing and confidence.

And do you have anyone who can help with him this week? It's easy to get frustrated and feel hopeless. Having someone there will give you a mental and physical break. 

Meanwhile, I suspect that because of his larger size, and those cruciate injuries before surgery, that these things are affecting his mobility right now, when he's super weak and tired. As the days go on and he gets stronger, things will get better. 

If you haven't already, start looking around for a canine rehab therapist who can help you help him with recovery. The Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit and that link features directories at the bottom that will help you locate one near you. If you'd like some help finding a therapist let me know.

I hope these suggestions help a little. Please keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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24 November 2021 - 10:37 am
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Thanks for the feedback! I took the week off work so I could help him during his recovery while my wife is working and kids are in school.

He's currently on 400mg Gabapentin (every 8 hours), 100mg Trazodone (which he hasn't really needed but I'm giving it to him for the first few days anyway), 75mg Carprofen (every 12 hours), 80mg Maropitant (every 24 hours), and 250 Amoxi (every 12 hours). I'm making sure I'm staying on top of the schedule and paying attention to his mood and behavior to get a sense for whether he's in pain or not.

His overall personality has always been extremely mellow and quiet, so it's a bit hard to gauge how he's feeling. Even when he had the big tumor on his leg and was limping hard not once did he make any noise or qualm about it, or even refuse to walk with me. He would have done a 10 mile hike like that if I let him. Husky personality smiley9

I'll update this thread as his condition improves (or not), this morning I feel like he's moving ever so slightly better, or maybe we're both getting used to walking with the support harness. Either way, let's hope for a speedy recovery!

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 November 2021 - 1:24 pm
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Hey glad to hear back from you!

His pain control sounds great, but I suspect the Trazadone could be what is making him so wonky. It's just a sedative, not a pain reliever, so that could be the problem. Check with your vet to make sure it's OK to withdraw it and hopefully that will give him steadier sea legs. It won't be the cure-all, since it's still so early in recovery, but it could help.

Yes, Huskies are strong strong dogs! It will be challenging to gauge his pain levels but watch for these pain signals to see how he's doing.

I'm so happy to read that you see some improvement! I think it's a little of both. He's getting used to the help, which is great. In a day or two see what happens if you let him stand on his own. Hopefully that will be when he starts to feel strong enough to do it.

We are all pulling for you both! This is not an easy time but we get it, so lean on us, we are here for you.

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




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24 November 2021 - 9:38 pm
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Your boy Bister is a very ha dso e fella'. Would .ove to see more pictures.Y

Yes, ditto Jerry.

Yeah, bummer about the timing of the  cruciate issues showing  up.  And, rest assured,  even without  that type of issue, a lot of dogs take several days before showing the least little sign of starting  to be mobile.  Yes, there are dogs that hop out  24 hrs after surgery,  and there are some that dont'  We say this so often, but every dog recovers at their own pace and in their own way.  Every dog is different.....every recovery  is different. 

As Jerry mentioned, talk with your Vet about taking  the Trazedone  out of the equation.   It doesn't  sound  like he needs to be sedated as he's pretty  mellow anway.

It's hard not to be a "helicopter  parent" the first week or two of recovery.  But it's not good for you or Buster.  So if you can slip away for a brief Thanksgiving, it would be good for both of you.  Of course you want to make sure he's confined and has a cone on so he can't  chew at his incision.   And get some pupoy pads for his bed 

Try and stay upbeat and confident  and keep upur energy pawsitive.  Buster will pick up on your energy.

And it's not unusual  for dogs to pee kn their bed in the beginning.   The good news is that he is urinating!  Truly, that is good news!  Drinking  and pee are jmportant  right now.  He may not feel like eating  much  and may not poop for a few days..... all normal.

My Happh Hannah would freeze if I tried to help her with a sling.  And my current  tripawd Frankie (who has subsequently had two cruciate repairs on his rear legs) would whine and howl and back talk me to voice that he was not having  harness help of any kind!!

So yeah, soon he'll sit up on his own, then take a hop on his own.  And yes, there may be a face plant or two, but they just can't  be avoided as they adjust to their new gait.

Stay connected  and keep us posted.  Recovery  doesn't  last furever, it just seems like ot right now!  This is MAJOR surgery, all while adapting to three and, in Buster's case, cruciate issues he's working  thru.  He's a Husky, he'll power thru all this slowly but surely!

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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26 November 2021 - 8:26 pm
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What a difference two days make! While I saw some modest improvement yesterday starting today things are suddenly like night and day from Wednesday: Buster is now able to get up and stand up by himself, hop down my driveway to the front lawn (which is easier than the backyard which is not level right now and harder to maneuver) and pee by himself standing up. I almost cried when he did it!

He also had his first poop since the surgery, and then two minutes later another one. I was really worried what kind of mess I might have to deal with, but luckily he figured out the standing thing just in time. Now all of a sudden he's hopping around pretty fast to the point where I have to slow him down, but I think the momentum helps him hop around easier so it's either fast or nothing smiley2

In hindsight I wish the clinic had prepared me better for just how hard the first two to three days would be, but also how quickly he would recover from that and get back to a better place. This was quite the emotional rollercoaster, but I feel like we're getting back to the new normal. To anyone else who comes across this thread in the future: Be prepared to be a fulltime nurse for your pet for the first 72-96 hours, but don't be discouraged, because it will get better!

Thanks for all the encouragement!

Virginia




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27 November 2021 - 10:44 am
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YAAAAAAAAY. FOR. BUSTER!!!!

YAAAAAAAAY. FOR. poopiconpoopicon

This is all  such great news!  Cant stop smiling!  It's wonderful  to see the sparkle start to come back and to see him adjust to his new gait ao well.

Yeah, at least in my experience too, the Surgeon didn't  provide any insight I to what recovery looked like.  I almost think that, unless they experience it first hand with their puppers  they are ki d of clueless.  Their job is to do a successful surgery (and they do that so well) and tell us how amazing  they'll do on three!  That's  true,  but often it takes many days to even sit up on their own.  And once they master that, mobility gets better and better.

Thanks for shar all the details of the last several days,  Definitely  will be helpful to newbies in the future. 👍   Keep the good updates coming!

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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27 November 2021 - 10:46 am
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YAY YAY YAY! Buster is rockin recovery! YAY!

This is such great news to come back to. May the successes and victories continue! Now your big challenge will be to keep him calm and rested. 

I wish the clinic had prepared me better for just how hard the first two to three days would be

If you'd like to make sure others are in the future, request some Tripawds Outreach brochures for your vet clinic. We will send some at no charge 🙂

Hope you are having a really nice weekend together. Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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3 December 2021 - 10:44 am
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Here another update from the surgery recovery front lines, the emotional rollercoaster continues!

After Buster had been doing better last week all of a sudden over the weekend his condition deteriorated, he didn't want to move anymore, started peeing and defecating while laying down, and wasn't eating and drinking much. I could tell his hind legs were starting to bother him a lot, probably due to exertion from having to use them more to support the single front leg. Remember those torn ACLs I mentioned in my first post? I knew that would become an issue sooner or later, just didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

By Sunday night he had started to adjust differently where he would do this bunny hop with his hind legs instead of taking individual steps, and I had to hold him by the harness to give him more stability. Hopping both in the front and back does not work very well! Took him back to the clinic on Monday to get him checked out, and they confirmed my suspicion and said also possible sprain, which I don't know how he would have sprained himself because I've been with him 24/7 and he has barely moved in the last week. He is going to start physical therapy sessions next week to try and help him some more.

Since then things have slightly improved, he still doesn't walk normally on his hind legs, but at least we're back to peeing and pooping outside while standing, and his appetite has returned. Buster is also going to have his first chemo-therapy session next week, so we'll see how all that goes. Given what I know now I expect it to continue being a bumpy road, but Buster is a fighter and as long as he isn't giving up neither am I!

Virginia




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3 December 2021 - 10:59 am
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Whew!  Glad to see the roller coaster ride is slowing  down a bit since it started the other day.  Getting his appetite  back and using potty normally, and even the bunnynhop....still good signs.

Yes indeedy, your Buster is a fighter and will get past this latest hurdle.  Good for you for addressing  it right away.The PT should help greatly..

And it is jndeed so very, very easy to tweak a muscle (neck, shoulder, back, legs, etc) this early on.  And all it takes is the slightest twist or the slightest overuse.  Buster is using all his muscles  in a different way now.  Even without a "tweak', they can be very sore.

Generally it takes about two weeks to recover from the surgerymitself.  Generally it takes about a month for all the muscles  ti adjust to the new gait

Continue with the massage.  Is he on an anti-inflammatory?  That should help also.

Give that sweet Buster an extra treat...or three...for is😎

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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3 December 2021 - 11:49 am
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Aww poor guy! I'm sorry you're having a bumpy recovery road. The therapy should really help things smooth out. He's so lucky to have gotten into a clinic so soon after surgery.  I hope you have a great visit with them.

Oh yeah, is he on any pain medication? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 January 2022 - 7:27 am
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Hi, I'm in the same exact spot now with my hound blend, Evie.  I was going to ask this question and so relieved that someone else is experiencing this as well.  Evie was diagnosed with Sarcoma with a tumor located on lower shoulder down through the upper part of her leg two years ago by an oncologist. She said amputation wouldn't be good for Evie because of her weight and she didn't feel her back legs where she was weak, would support amputation. During a physical in December,  Evie's  veternarian said she thought Evie could manage it.  I decided with her doctor to amputate. She is nine and has gained 15 pounds over the last few years since my husband's death. She weighs 109 lbs.   I am 69-years-old and live alone. I have no one to help me with her care. It took three vet techs to get her in the car after her surgery.  I have five senior dogs who were all fosters with rescues and adoptions that fell through. I once had ten, but old age, heart disease and cancer have taken these Angels. 

She urinated two days after her surgery on Sunday, 1/9/22.  Today is Thursday, 1/14/22 and she has not urinated since 1/9/22 and she has not passed any poo...period.  She loves to eat and drink water.  When I put a towel under her belly and pull her up, she will not use her front leg.  I have been able to get her to stand for a few seconds maybe four times. She pancakes a lot.  Her incision then drains fluid. I haven't seen any loss of stitches but the beginning of the sutures and the end of the sutures look different from the other sutures, as in there seems to be closure of dead space with these along the length of the suture. The end and beginning look like "nipples."  There is no infection I can see. 

I'm not sure where to go from here... if i help her up, she resists and goes down on the end of the sutures which then generates leaking of fluid. My greatest fear is that she will not be able to stand and or walk.  I'm stressed to the point that my own body is aching along with my heart. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 January 2022 - 11:21 am
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Hi Pamela and Evie, welcome. I'm glad you were able to find this topic so you could feel less alone (as you can see, you are not!). Do start an all new topic so that we can follow along with Evie's story OK? Otherwise it gets lost in this one. Meanwhile . . . 

Have you spoken with your vet? Not urinating since 1/9 is a problem that needs to be addressed asap. Are you sure she hasn't? Not pooping isn't too unusual but the urinating is. Has she been staying hydrated? Please call them today and let them know what is going on. Since it's so hard to get her in and out of the car I would see if you can do a video call so they can see her. 

Did your vet mention rehabilitation therapy for Evie? It's helpful for all dogs but especially ones who need extra assistance after surgery. These experts are similar to human PTs. They can show you how to help her get around, how to help her lose weight, and stay strong and fit. The Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so let me know if you'd like help finding a therapist.

Meanwhile, do your floors have traction ? That is a huge help for her to get around so if your floors are slippery please cover them with no-skid floor runners.

Also, what pain medication is she on? Dosage, type, and frequency.

I wish I could help lift her up right now for you! We'll do our best to support you on this end but again, call your vet. Then come back to start a new topic and we can assist as much as possible.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 January 2022 - 7:28 pm
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It's been almost exactly two months now since Buster's amputation, and he is still on the path of recovery. Sure, it has gotten a lot better, but since he is still receiving chemo therapy treatments (two so far, next one coming up on Monday!) we have our ups and downs. After the first chemo treatment he got a fever and an infection and had to stay overnight in the clinic for one night to get an IV with antibiotics, that took him a few days to recover from, but since then he's been mostly fine.

He learned fairly well to navigate around the house and front and backyard as a tripawd and gets up and down the stairs on his own now. He even jumped over a low barrier that I had put up to keep him inside the front yard, I underestimated how easily he would get over that smiley4

One thing we noticed, ever since the surgery he now every now and then, maybe once a day on average, will let out a bark, which he never did before. At first I thought it was because he was moving in a way that hurt, but sometimes he also just does it sitting down when he's not moving. I assume it's still some jolt of pain or internal discomfort that he is reacting to, poor guy.

The only thing he still does not want to do at all is go for a walk that is farther than maybe 2 houses down to the street. He will go poop on the neighbors lawn and then refuse to go any farther, but happily run back to our house. Stubborn guy!

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 January 2022 - 12:25 pm
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Hey it's good to hear from you, thank you for the update! Sounds like he's handling the whole process like a super dog. And he still thinks he can fly eh? Too funny. Yeah those front-leg amputee dogs can still jump as high as ever. The problem is coming down on that remaining front leg, it's a lot of stress there. You're doing a great job managing his activity.

It's OK that he doesn't want to go farther on walks. My guess is that he still hasn't built up the strength or stamina for it. It's not being stubborn (although I know that's a Husky trait), it's more likely him telling you that he's had enough. You might want to check out a rehab therapy center or Dr. Waterhouse's at-home front limb amputee rehab program to help him get strong. If you see a therapist in person, the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit 🙂

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