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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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dog falling/struggling to stand
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Forum Posts: 3
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26 March 2021
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26 March 2021 - 8:27 am
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Hi! I just signed up so I hope I'm posting correctly. My dog just got her front left leg amputated from a soft tissue sarcoma on tuesday(23rd). She's 14, but she has a lot of energy and good health overall in general. 

We just got her back thursday(25th) and she's struggling to stand. She keeps trying when encouraged but falls over immediately. I'm very worried because she hasnt found any balance to be able to just get up, so she keeps wetting herself on her bed & we havent gotten her to poop at all yet.

I'm basically looking for tips to help encourage her & build her confidence a little, and for us to help support her so we can get her to pee and such comfortably.

(we think she's wobbly because of her seizure meds (phenobarb), we have to lower the dose so we wont know until its long enough for those side effects to go away)

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 March 2021 - 10:46 am
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Hi and welcome. Yes you are posting correctly and in the right place. What's your doggie's name? Is it Skye?

Try not to panic. It's so very early in recovery and many dogs, even younger ones, are wobbly at this stage. Some things that may help with her balance include: 

  • assisting her with a sling. You can make a grocery bag sling pretty easily.
  • talking to your vet about adjusting her pain medication. What meds is she on, how much, and how often? Some dogs need more, some need less. It can take fine-tuning to find the right balance that helps her feel pain-free and ambulatory.
  • making sure your floors aren't slippery so she can navigate outside. You want traction wherever she walks. 

How is her appetite? Is she drinking water? If she is drinking at nibbling at some very tasty treats like scrambled eggs, her wobbliness is probably just a sign that her meds need adjusting. Let your vet know asap.

Also, don't worry about poop: most dogs are constipated for a few days, things will adjust on their own but you can help by keeping her hydrated (tempt her to drink with no-sodium chicken broth, or Gatorade spiked water), adding pumpkin pulp (not pie mix), a bit of olive oil, or even steamed squash or metamucil flakes to her food. 

Let us know what your vet says OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 3
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26 March 2021 - 2:14 pm
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Hi! Thank you for the reply, we're definitely going to try out that grocery bag sling. Her back legs just keep buckling and she falls immediately. We really need to get her trying more easily!

Her vet said to leave out one of her two pain meds, so hopefully that will help with her wobbly legs in a few days. If there's no improvement we need to call back.

As for her appetite she's been eating and drinking, that's not a problem since she's been very happy to do so (she's only wanting wet dog food at the moment we've noticed)

Thank you again!

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 March 2021 - 3:59 pm
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Aww you are so welcome. I'm sorry she is struggling right now, just keep remembering that this is early. And with her appetite and hydration being so good, those are great signs that she is healing. Many dogs won't even eat wet dog food, they want steak and eggs and things like that. So her appetite and thirst is a really good thing! And some dogs won't even urinate when they struggle so this is all pawsitive, even though I know it doesn't feel that way right now.

I hope the new medication combo works out. Keep us posted OK?

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




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26 March 2021 - 9:25 pm
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Just catching up. And as Jerry said, this is VERY early in recovery.  A ,hooman would still be in the hospital on a morphine  drip,. 

So she's just had MAJOR surgery, she's ma "mature" gal, she on pain meds and anti seizure  meds, all while try6 to adjust to three legs!  

What pain meds is she on and which one is the Bet dropping?   Ost dogs come  home with Gabapentin,  Tramadol,  an antiinflmmatory and an  antibioti.  So e come home with a pain patch.The fact that she is eat and drinking is reallh good news!

Stay connected.   Recovery is rough for a week or two, but it doe last furever!

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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27 March 2021 - 10:31 am
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the one the vet is dropping is tramadol. So she's just taking simplicef & galliprant along with her seizure meds. Currently she only tries and is motivated to make an attempt to stand when she has to pee (she started pooping last night so yay!)

I'm guessing it can take a week or two for a dog to be able to stand up? I'm mostly worried because with her laying down so much I don't want her to end up feeling weaker on her legs. 

Whenever we help her stand she keeps trying to curl her toes and stand on the top of them. We want to help her move to keep her legs in the habit but we're too worried we're going to aggravate her incision spot if we do it too much. Is there a specific balance for routine anyone likes to follow? She seems very frustrated laying down so much, so we're only trying to get her up when we need to from her wetting herself so we need to clean her & the spot, and when she's making an attempt herself.

Thank you for your input! We're very happy about her appetite too, since when she's upset she doesn't tend to eat or drink water, so it was very surprising for us that she took to wet food right away. 

Virginia




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27 March 2021 - 10:55 am
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Okay, so dropping  the Tramadol, but keeping the GABAPENTIN,  right?  You mentioned  Galliprant , which is an anti-inflammatory  and  is not much help for MAJOR surgery pain.

Just getting g up for potty right now is all she needs.  So, just like you are doing, when she starts to show that motivation,  try and help her up.  Some dogs, like my Happy Hannah, would just freeze when I tried to help her with the towel sling....so there's that.  It's not unusual  for bed wetting this early in recovery.  And, again, not unusual for a mature dog to take longer  to adjust to their new tripawd gait and get more mobile.

Do lots and lots of massages up and down her sp, neck and shoulder areas.  Especially before try to get her up and after she lays back down.

As far as the toe curling.....when you put them back in place, do they stay  or curl again?  If you pinch her toes, does she react?

Let us know how eliminating  the Tramadol  works and if she is still on Gabapentin  for pain.

Hang in there!!!  Stay strong and confident and share that energy with her👌

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!

Here and Now


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27 March 2021 - 2:35 pm
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skye181 said
the one the vet is dropping is tramadol...

Good. Trmadadol has been proven to be ineffective and is know to cause adverse side effects such as heavy panting and restlessness. Please keep us posted, and see these resources for more information:

Does Tramadol for Amputation Recovery Work?

Is There a Recipe Standard for Pet Amputation Pain Control?

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