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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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Freaking Out When Walking / Doggy Depression
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Forum Posts: 5
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11 July 2020
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11 July 2020 - 5:10 pm
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Hello,

Sheldon (yes after Big Bang Theory) had his rear leg amputated 9 days ago. He was doing great post surgery walking and learning to adapt however he seems to have regressed into a depression of sorts. 

We have to pick Sheldon up to get standing and really urge him to start taking steps. Almost every time he walks, he does a little dance and starts freaking out looking behind him to the amputation spot. We’re not sure if he has phantom limb pains, his hind leg is cramping, or he has anxiety over walking. 

He also won’t eat his dog food for us. The vet recommended baby food or some wet dog food mixed in until he starts eating but he only eats the good stuff and leaves his dry food behind. 

We just started Gabapentin today after consulting the vet on his one week check up. Of course for the vet he walked normal and greeted all the techs with kisses and love. We showed them a video of him at home doing his dance and they can’t say for sure what is causing it. 

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice to help him get over the dance and possible associated fear?

Sheldon and his family thank you in advance for all of your advice! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 July 2020 - 7:42 pm
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Hi Sheldon and family, welcome. Sorry you had to join our club, what was the reason for the amputation?

Hopefully the Gabapentin will kick in soon. It does sound like he has phantom pain going on, and if that’s the case, then the Gaba should help. What you are describing is pretty common, and most dogs will start feeling better once the medication calms the severed nerves. In the meantime, don’t expect too much from him right now. Even nine days is still pretty early in recovery and he may just need longer than other dogs to become more mobile. Also, you’ll need to walk the fine line between not babying him, and requiring him to get up to get his food and drink, versus assisting him so he feels more confident.

Are your floors slip-proof? If not, they need to have traction down. This will help him feel better when he moves around.

Also, his lack of appetite for his usual diet isn’t too surprising. Many dogs turn their nose up at kibble after surgery. Give it time, he will probably adjust back to it as you gradually minimize the “good stuff” you put into it, over time. You may also just want to switch up to a new brand and see if that helps him eat. Oh yeah, whatever you do, don’t hide medication in his food. He’ll smell it and probably refuse to eat.

For more peace of mind, you may want to consider having him evaluated by a canine rehabilitation therapist. These pros are great at pinpointing pain signals and resolving them. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for Sheldon’t first rehab visit so please check it out.

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for feedback from the community and be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List for more tips. 

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




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11 July 2020 - 8:24 pm
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I looooove Sheldon’s avatar  picture!  OMD!!  He is sooooo cute!!!   Can’t  wait to see more photos!

Curious, what pain meds has he been on up to this point, before the Gabapentin was added??

The addition  of Gaba should help.  Give him lots of massages  all up and down his spine, his neck and shoulders  area. 

Let us know how he’s doing.  We say ecovery is like a roller coaster  ride full of us and downs. So yeah, nine days is stil early but things should start smoothing out consistently  shortly.   Hang in there!

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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12 July 2020 - 8:54 am
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Thank you! He is truly quite the little ham in pictures. 

Sheldon developed a mass on the lower part of his leg. After the amputation they confirmed it was cancerous but they said it was contained to the tumor.

Our kitchen floors are tiled which he isn’t the biggest fan of so they are currently covered with runners leading into the other rooms. That seems to help.  

He was originally on meloxicam before his check up. They switched to Gabapentin and a six day dose of prednisone . The Gabapentin is liquid (so was the meloxicam) and thankfully the prednisone is tiny he’ll just eat it. 

Knock on wood, yesterday and this morning we are doing some more walking. If one of his humans gets him standing he’ll start walking around. Baby steps of progress! 

Livermore, CA




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12 July 2020 - 1:11 pm
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Hello and welcome.

Is Sheldon a Chi or Chi mix?

When my first Pug Maggie lost a back leg to mast cell cancer our surgeon told us that she was only allowed short, leashed, potty breaks for the first 14 days post op. 

Are you saying he was only on meloxicam after surgery and just now added gabapentin?  In that case I would guess the dancing, perceived depression and lack of apatite are signs of pain.  Most pups here are on tramadol, gabapentin and an NSAID for two weeks or so post surgery.  Maggie was on pain meds for two weeks although we tapered down the last couple of days.

When he does his ‘dance’ can you feel around the incision/hip area and see if there are muscle spasms?  My current Tripawd lost a back leg after a car accident when she was 7 months old.  She was 10 months old when I got her and healed from the surgery by not very strong.  She would occasionally jump up (usually when sleeping) and look at her amp site like something was jabbing her.  I finally tracked the episodes to when we would do to much activity and she would get some cramping or spasms around her hip.  Once she was stronger the episodes pretty much quit.  BTW- I call Elly a Pug-mutt, part of her mutt is about 25% Chi!

Another thought- does he has stitches or staples still in?  It could be one of those is pulling or pinching him.

Some gentle massage around his back and hips might help, as well as some heat to loosen up the muscles. Of course check with your vet and keep them informed on how Sheldon is doing.

Any other Big Bang characters in your pack?

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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12 July 2020 - 7:27 pm
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Sheldon is a bit of a mix. Part chi, min pin and terrier. He is the only member of the pack and the king of the castle! 

He was just on meloxicam and had an injection of antibiotics before coming home. 

He has internal stitches that dissolve but his incision site is glued so no stitches or staples. 

I do notice the muscle on his amputated hip working when he “dances.” The episodes seem to be right when he starts walking, within his first few steps. We did some back massaging tonight which he liked! Hopefully when he gets stronger it improves more!

Virginia




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12 July 2020 - 8:57 pm
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GRRRRR…….Just came home with basically  an anti-inflmmatory  after MAJOR SURGERY???   So hard to beloeve there are still old school vets out there they aren’t  up to date on pain management !

Giess the Prednisone   was for inflammation?? It isn’t  really a pain med either.

If this vet had his leg amputated he would be on a morphine  drip for days!!!

Hopefully you will see improvement now that he is on Gabapentin. The stump twitching should subside.  Keep up with the massages and include GENTLE  ,massaging AROUND the incision  area when these spasms happen.

One other thing, and I could be COMPLETELY  wrong, but ask the Vet if this LIQUID Gabapentin  has Xylitol in it.  If it does, maybe you can switch to tavlets

Stay connected.

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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13 July 2020 - 11:31 am
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How’s he doing today? Is he still having spasms? I’m hoping the Gabapentin has kicked in by now. And yeah I’m curious about the Pred too, what was that for? Just wondering.

I hope he’s feeling better! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 July 2020 - 8:30 am
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He is doing better but we are still having some spasms. Starting to wonder if they are cramps in the muscle since the Gab doesn’t seem to be making a difference.

Both the prednisone and the meloxicam were anti-inflammatory meds. 

He’s walking more and seems more himself greeting us with his favorite blue bone in the mornings so that is a good sign of progress for us. He also officially walked down his first stair on our patio!

Virginia




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15 July 2020 - 8:56 am
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Greeting you and mastering that stair like a Champ??  WOW!  HUGE PROGRESS!!!   During the recovery  there are no “little” improvements.   All improvements  are HUGE VICTORIES!!

It took me over three weeks before I could finally say I did this FOR my dog and not TO her.

Hopingmthe spasms  continue  to disapate🤞

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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15 July 2020 - 12:27 pm
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That IS progress for sure! Little by little your guy is getting there. When he has the spasms are they as severe as before? And have you tried gentle massage to see where he might have some knots causing the pain? 

Giving prednisone as an anti-inflammatory for post-amputation pain is a new one for us, never heard of that before. Is that because he couldn’t take the Meloxicam? Interesting. When dogs can’t tolerate NSAIDs, most will get Galiprant instead, which as far as I know has less side-effects and risks than Pred.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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23 July 2020 - 2:13 pm
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Today marks three weeks post-op and Sheldon is doing great! We still have the occasional spasm. Knock on wood, we had a bad one two days ago but they seem to be getting better. 

Sheldon is walking around at his normal pace, loves to jump up on his favorite swing and is finally back to eating dry food only! 

He will only jump up on our outdoor swing but once he gets some confidence I think he’ll be back to springing up on the couch and chairs again. He will do one step occasionally but otherwise looks to be carried up them. 

Very thankful for the progress he’s made this past week! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 July 2020 - 2:57 pm
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Oh yay! That’s terrific news. I’m so glad to hear he’s doing so well. Thanks for taking time to share, it means so much to people who are questioning if their own Tripawd will ever get back to normal.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 27455
Member Since:
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23 July 2020 - 2:57 pm
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Oh yay! That’s terrific news. I’m so glad to hear he’s doing so well. Thanks for taking time to share, it means so much to people who are questioning if their own Tripawd will ever get back to normal.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19271
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23 July 2020 - 9:28 pm
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That avatar  picture of Sheldon cracks me up everytime!!  His name is just imperfect for him!

So thrilled to jear how well he is doing, especially  after such a rough recovery.   As Jerry said, Sheldon’s experience will show anyone  doubting  their decision what’s  possible with patience  and a “stay-the-course-attitdue”.

Sheldon has a lot of determination…..as do his hoomans!  A great team!

The visual of  him of him looking up at you and waiting to be picked up…..priceless!   No way you could resist!!

HAPPY THREE MONTH AMPUVERSARY  SHELDON!!!  We are so happy to be celebrating this Happy time with you!  Keep ’em 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!

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