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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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9yr old Husky front leg amputee not able to stand or walk
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Forum Posts: 3
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24 November 2021
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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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