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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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Good rear leg giving out months after surgery
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
10 August 2012
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10 August 2012 - 12:31 pm
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  My big boy Nick (Leonberger) had OS with a L rear leg amp 3/15/12.  Had a rough few days but progressed very quickly and was doing great.  walking, running, going down, and even up stairs.  I started to notice some weakness in his remaining back leg the end of June.  Started off just having trouble getting to stand, then was fine.  Put him on anti-imflammatories and muscle relaxants that seems to help at first.  He has gotten now progressively worse.  It never seemed to be neuro, but more musculoskeletal.  Xrays are coming back clear so far for no METS.  He is eating, drinking, and going potty (with help).  I am at a complete loss.  He is currently on a muscle relaxant, tramadol, novox, and gabepentin.  As a last ditch, we are stopping the novox and doing some prednisone .  

  He wants to go, but his back leg just wont cooperate.  i fear its even starting to atrophy from lack of use.  

  Has any one had any experience with this? He is a big boy, 129# proir to suregey.  but he was doing great, and then just this decline.

  Any advise would be appreciated. 

krun15
2
10 August 2012 - 2:08 pm
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Hello and welcome to Tripawds.  Just so you know- your future posts will not require moderation.

I'm sorry Nick is having problems getting around.  Sounds like your vet has checked him out pretty thoroughly.  When looking for mets did they xray is spine and hip?  I have head of OSA showing up in the spine and other limbs- not nearly as common as lungs, but it does happen.  Hopefully your vet has ruled that out.

Assuming that there are no mets have you considered chiropractic or acupuncture treatments if they are available where you live?  I never used them on my tri-pug but I have recently started using chiropractic on my 12 year old quad-pug Tani.  One of her rear legs is very damaged with arthritis, and she has arthritis in the spine as well.  It had gotten to the point that once or twice a day when she tried to get up her right rear leg did not work at all. It would take 10 to 15 min for her to be able to walk on it.  Since we started chiropractic four months or so ago she has only had one incident of 'dead leg'.  She is still a 12 year old pug with arthritis- but she is getting around much better.

There are also lots of exercise and rehab ideas on this site- There are exercises and equipment, and some videos on rehab (scroll down to Health Videos) that might help, again assuming that Nick is otherwise healthy.

I hope you find something to get Nick moving again!

Karen and the pugapalooza

The Rainbow Bridge



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10 August 2012 - 4:49 pm
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Hi Nick and Family,

I'm sorry you're having challenges right now. Hang in there, I'll bet this is only temporary. In our experience, it takes rear leg Tripawds longer to gain strength in that remaining leg, than it does for front leggers to get strong. Our Wyatt Ray needed at least six months before he showed signs of improving. Core-strenthening exercises like the ones in our Gear blog were vital to helping him get strong in that rear leg.

What is your vet's therory about his weakness? Any recommendations to see a specialist? One of the things we always recommend folks do when challenges like this happen, is to get an appointment with a vet specializing in canine rehabilitation (see this post for details). Oftentimes an evaluation and follow-up strength-training programs led by a qualified specialist will get a Tripawd moving again, pain free.

He's a big boy, but many Tripawds larger than him have gone on to have good mobility, so don't lose hope. My best advice is to ask your vet to a referral to a specialist, whether it's an orthopedic or a canine rehab, so you can quickly find out what's happening. And of course, keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 6
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10 August 2012 - 8:41 pm
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Thanks for the info and support.

I don't know if rehab is the answer, as he was getting around great about a month after the amp, and has only declined in the last month or so. I will definately look into it. I did bring him in our pool for some "rehab" (he loves to swim) and he did fine, but was almost more painful/lame when I hit him out.
We have done X-rays of the spine/hip when the first started, and of the leg more recently and have been clear. My vet does adjustments, but he said his experience has been not to adjust a 3-legged dog because they are already compensating and adapting to the missing leg, and adjustment puts them back to alignment for 4 legs, not 3. He also does acupuncture, but is contraindicated for Nick because of the osteosarcoma.
I started the pred today, so we'll see how it goes.
I'll keep you posted :)

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 August 2012 - 7:36 am
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We're here to help, anytime. I hope he feels better soon.

Interesting about the acupuncture and chiro....I'm not a vet, and I've heard that theory about not using acupuncture on dogs with cancer, but we've had many dogs with osteo here who have received acupuncture and it hasn't made the cancer worse. Hmmm......there is so much information out there that can make your head spin!

Sounds like you have a good relationship with your vet, that's worth it's weight in gold. How long is the pred being prescribed for?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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dukez
6
11 August 2012 - 3:49 pm
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Sorry to hear about your big guy having some problems. I'm not a vet but I am wondering if any of the meds are causing some weakness. I have an old girl (not my tripawd) who was on a muscle relaxant for pain from her osteoarthritis. It was causing her extreme limb weakness to where I thought I was very close to having to put her down - was actually kind of picking out the day. But, I took her off the muscle relaxer and she is doing much better again. She is also on gabapentin, tramadol, and metacam. Those don't phase her much as far as any negative side effects go. My tripawd, on the other hand, is very sedated by the gabapentin. So, I hope you and your vet think about the possibility of this being a side effect of a med before you make any serious decisions. Like I said, my girl could barely get up, and often couldn't. I generally had to go help lift her up. I haven't had to do that once since we quit the muscle relaxer. Good luck.

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 August 2012 - 8:41 pm
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Duke, you're a genius! Come to think of it, Tripawd Austin Ray is having mobility issues, which his people think might be related to the Gabapentin he was on. I hope this is the issue for you too Nick, definitely ask your doc and see if getting off it might help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 August 2012 - 8:58 pm
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I was just thinkin about the muscle relaxant today.. I might try stopping it for bit and see. The gabepetin doesn't seem to be doing much one way or the other.
Not sure on the length of the pred at this point.
Thanks again for the support.

dukez
9
11 August 2012 - 9:36 pm
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aw-shucks Why thank you Jerry. I'm handsome too. And modest. smiley Sorry Austin Ray is having some issues. Hope pulling the gabapentin is helpful.

Just a quick follow-up note regarding gabapentin - there is a wide dosing range. And it can work for pain, in people and pets. I know people on it for pain and it makes some of them tired and sometimes it causes a little difficulty cognitively - with word-finding and memory.

My 80 lb tripawd greyhound is currently on 100mg morning and evening. And I do know it helped with the pain after his amp. He was off it for a while and then had to go back on it with the pain from his chemo issue. But, he seems to be doing pretty well and I'm actually going to cut him down tomorrow to just 100 mg in the evening and see if he can have more spunk during the day without pain.

My 50 lb old chow-lab with osteoarthritis is on 300mg morning and evening. It is helping her also. We just had to keep pushing the dose up until there was some effect. It could go even higher according to my vet but my girl seems to be doing pretty well at the current dose.

I hope the answer for Nick is the muscle relaxer. I didn't realize it was for my girl, but like I said she just couldn't get up and had a very difficult time walking. I guess those meds can help for pain, but sometimes maybe they relax things just a little too much! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 August 2012 - 10:13 pm
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Well, muscle relaxers turn my Mom into mush, so I can see that.

Great info on Gaba. It just goes to show you that all dogs are different in how the react to pain meds. It's such a balancing act, it can make anyone crazy!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 August 2012 - 11:55 am
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An unfortunate update on Nicky.  Last week he started to decline rapidly, to the point of not being able to get around well, and crying when he did.  I made the decision and he passed on last wednesday.  We believe the cancer had gone into his good leg as well.

  At least he is pain free, with all 4 limbs nowcrying

Rock Hill, SC
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30 August 2012 - 12:08 pm
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Oh, I am so sorry to hear this news.  Please know that you are in my thoughts.  Sending you many wishes for peace at a very hard time...

Lisa

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

Orange County, CA


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30 August 2012 - 12:20 pm
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I am so sorry to hear about Nicky. It's so hard to say goodbye and let go, even when it is their time. 

My heart goes out to you.

Right hind limb amputated 7/3/12 for OSA, started on alternating cycles of Carboplatin and Doxorubicin and oral Palladia. Single lung met 9/1. Met in the neck muscle removed 9/30. Large mass in sublumbar lymph node 10/2. Rescue chemo with ifosfamide 10/6. Mets to the rib and axillary lymph node 10/21. Started Leukeran and Pred 10/25. Wookie left this Earth for a far better place on 12/4/12. I miss you, Boo, you were my heart.

The Rainbow Bridge



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30 August 2012 - 12:37 pm
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We are so sad to hear this, it happened so fast! Please accept our condolences, we know how hard it is to make that heartbreaking decision.

May all of the good times you shared with Nicky help you smile and bring comfort to you at this difficult time. {{{{hugs}}}}

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 August 2012 - 1:06 pm
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It probably seems fast, but it really wasn't.  He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma the end of Jan, and had his leg removed in March.

 

  Thank you for all your kind words.

 

Amy

 
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