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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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Great Dane rear leg amputee therapy and chemo
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Forum Posts: 8
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10 October 2020
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15 November 2020 - 10:59 am
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Bella, our 100-ish lb (now 92 lb!), almost 9-year-old great dane has been getting around great for more than a month now but in the last 2 weeks she’s really been having trouble with that remaining rear leg. It seems be a problem of tight hip/leg muscles not getting the stretch they normally do but are there any suggestions for stretching those muscles at the front of her hip?

We do have a vet home visit this week who practices therapy as well, we’re hoping she will help!

We devised a way to get her to stretch a little by elevating her front paws on the steps (we put her food or a toy on a high step for motivation) but as a great dane, it’s not a huge stretch for her to do this.

BellaImage Enlarger

In other news we also learned a week ago that tumors has metastacized in her lungs ):  Just before the amputation she was all clear, but it seems cancerous cells remaining from another soft tissue sarcoma that we’d had to delay radiation on finally spread before we could start the radiation. She started chemo immediately, and will go every 3 weeks for that. Crossing our fingers. /: 

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 November 2020 - 11:21 am
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Bella is such a beauty. She lives up to that name! I’m so sorry about the mets (stupid cancer!) but it sounds like you have a terrific plan that will give her every chance to kick cancer’s butt. GO TEAM BELLA! smiley_clap

You point out something that happens to a lot of Tripawds; they lose the extension of their legs because their muscles are contracted from moving their body in an altered gait. Our Wyatt Ray dealt with this quite often. But your instincts are spot on: there are many things you can do to loosen her muscles up, including passive range of motion exercises, gentle massage and other modalities your PT can help you with. That’s so terrific you found someone to come to your home! Don’t furget the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit if this is the first time someone’s looking at her. I hope you get some good advice and exercises to do on your own.

Meanwhile we do have some info about massage and stretching. I hesitate to give you any kind of real direction or steps to follow at this point because you really want to get a firm diagnosis from the PT before trying a move or exercises that may do more harm than good.

Here are some pointers about massage and stretching:

https://tripawd…..g/massage/

https://downloa…..stretches/

oh and our e-book Loving Life On Three Legs also has some gentle passive range of motion exercises you can try too.

Let us know how the PT visit goes!

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




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15 November 2020 - 6:51 pm
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Very creative way to get some  DIY  PT at home!👏

Well you caught those pesky mets right away and moving forward with the chemo is a good path of treatment.

Your sweet Bella is a Tripawd Warrior and we are all cheering for 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!

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16 November 2020 - 1:56 pm
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Thanks everyone, our PT/acupuncture home visit went well this morning. She massaged and poked Bella, and said she seems to be handling the 3-leggedness very well. It’s true, she does seem very balanced.

She encouraged us to do some stretches with Bella just 5 or 10 minutes a day and gave us some sets to do at home which are pretty much what we have read about here! Encouraging her to reach side to side for a treat, rocking back and forth and side to side, and also practicing standing from sitting (Bella’s tendency is to lay down rather than sit lately). She also showed us some massages that will help her.

Bella wants to be so active so we are looking forward to making sure she is safely active from here on out!

Virginia




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16 November 2020 - 9:38 pm
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Aounds like a great visit.  And you are clearly  a very good student, as is Bella!

“Safely active”…..good guideline😎

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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16 November 2020 - 10:09 pm
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YAY! A great visit like that is so helpful. I’ll bet Bella loved all the attention and meeting a new friend.

Glad you got the home exercises. If you are able to video/photograph you doing them at some point, we would love to see Bella’s new workout 🙂

Keep up the great work. You’re all on your way to hoppy days ahead!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 February 2021 - 8:46 am
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Update on Bella: the chemo was doing its job and mets were stable in January but after her 4th treatment at the beginning of February when we noticed a shift in her appetite which had been GREAT before. Over the next 3 weeks her appetite rapidly dropped to almost nothing and labored breathing was noticeable even when she was not otherwise stressed or moving about. A visit to the vet the other day confirmed that the mets have grown and are likely making it painful to breathe and hence, probably, she has not wanted to eat. 

We’ve tried EVERYTHING to get her to eat, cat food, cat treats, rice and chicken, delicious chicken and gravy I want to eat myself… she would eat sometimes but then refuse it the next day. After the vet gave us some appetite stimulant she ate a full meal or more (including some of her actual dog food!) but we’re back to a complete standoff now.

We know the end is near and dread it, just trying to keep her cozy and cared for, she still enjoys our company and laying in the sun.

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 February 2021 - 1:50 pm
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Oh Emily, my heart breaks for you. This is such a tough phase of the journey, I wish I could make it easier for you. Mets are so mean. When an animal doesn’t want to eat it just fills us with heartache. I know the frustration, and found it challenging to not show worry in front of our Jerry when he reached that point. 

Just curious but did you try feeding her off paper plates? You’re not mixing medication in her food right? These Tripawds Nutrition blog appetite tips might give you some ideas:

https://nutriti…..g/appetite

Could there be any untreated pain that’s interfering with her appetite? Just throwing these out there.

Meanwhile, I know you know this, but cherish Bella being herself in the sun, soaking up the warmth of your love. Spoil her rotten! Maybe stinky meats and treats galore will help? Give her everything she might enjoy and hold each beautiful moment in your heart. If you feel frustrated, lean on us, we get it. (((hugs)))

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 February 2021 - 2:26 pm
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Thanks! I will check that out, also today she really got into a plain cheeseburger!

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 February 2021 - 5:50 pm
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Oh man there’s nothing like a cheeseburger for some extra lovin!

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

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Virginia




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26 February 2021 - 10:37 am
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Okay, all paws crossed for cheeseburgers being what her palette desires!!  

And ditto Jerry’s suggestions

Also ask about Prednisone .   It helps with any inflammation. around the mets, as well as increases the appetite. Adding in a daily dose of a pain med like Gabapentin may help keep her comfy and cozy too.

 Even with some breathing  pattern changes,  it sounds like overall she still has enjoyment and has adjusted to the new normal at this part of the journey.  It’s up and down, good days, less good days,eating, not eating, etc. 

Just continue  to make every dat, every moment fully focused on the now….the present.  Don’t  let that piece of crap  dise interfere  with your time together now.  Bella sure isn’t!

And add some fries to that cheeseburger!!

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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2 March 2021 - 9:08 am
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We had to say goodbye to our dear Bella yesterday, it was time. It was so hard and we miss her terribly. She did enjoy several homemade cheeseburger patties in the last days though.

We are so grateful for this site and this community which has helped us tremendously these past months. It was spectacular to see her recover from the amputation and live several good months of life as a tripawd! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 March 2021 - 11:06 am
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I’m so very sorry, you have my deepest condolences. This is the hardest part of loving a dog, having to put our own shattered hearts aside for their benefit. You did that though such sadness, and Bella is forever grateful that you were able to honor her, by setting her eternal spirit free. And you sent her off with cheeseburgers too? She’s one happy angel, that’s for sure. Listen for her messages, she’s always around, thanking you for the great life you gave her.

Everyone who comes here in their time of decision about amputation surgery, is so unsure and scared for their dog. It’s stories like Bella’s that give them hope for better days while living with cancer. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, so that future members can see even big dogs can thrive on three legs.

We are keeping you in our hearts. May Bella’s love surround you and comfort you forever.

If you’d like to share photos, this is how adding images works. I’m also happy to put some in if you’d like, just message me.

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: 20615
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2 March 2021 - 6:45 pm
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For some reason, even though I knew Bella had mets, I’m still stunned and shocked and, of course, so very, very saddened read this. 

Bella just seemed to be doing such a great job of “ignoring their existence” in such a live -in- the -moment-sort of a way.  And that clearly is part of the “Legacy of Bella” she will share with anyone facing the same challenge.  She continued  loving her life to the fullest and conti died to show everyone “big” dogs can do just fine on three.

We know your heartbreak all to well.  We know the void and the break in routines and how much that hurts.  

We also know how mich you .oved sweet Bella, and how much she loved you.  Those extra bo us months gave her more spoiling  and loving and cheeseburgers than she ever thought poss!  She was soooo happy to have you as her hoomans💖💖

And we were all so privileged to get to know her and travel this journey with her.  Thank you.  A d please,  when you can, share more of her specialness with us and with pictures too.  You have .lots of Happy  memories  to share.

Surrounding you with our love 

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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