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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Lila's osteosarcoma journey - osetoarthritis?
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27 September 2019 - 11:38 pm
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Hi all

I joined this forum 2 weeks ago when I first noticed the oddly shaped boney lump on my 9 year old german shepherds right hind leg.. fast forward to today - she has had the FNA, biospy, radiographs followed the amputation of her right leg two days ago. Her chest is clear of mets. Unfortunately though for her her right hip is a picture of orthopedic health.. her left hip has significant osteoarthritis. Has anyone here got advice on how their dog has coped with osteoarthritis in their remaining limbs?

Her surgery was successful and she is walking on three legs two days post. Her surgical specialist vet has sent her home with meloxicam and a fentanyl patch. I have asked her GP vet for gabapentin which they have dispensed. 

Today is day 1 at home and I am hoping to learn as much as I can from everyone else's experiences and to equally contribute how things are going with Lila in the event there are some valuable experiences that might help with other dogs. 

The oddest thing so far is her reluctance to eat - Lila has always had an appetite to rival that of a labrador so this has been quite surprising but other than that she is resting for now. Chemo is to be commenced in 10 days all things going to plan. Anyhow thank you all for all the wisdom collated here, its a massive source of support and agency. 

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28 September 2019 - 2:35 pm
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Hi. As far as eating I had to hand feed Brownie for the first week. I also heated his food uip in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Adding something smelly like sardines may help. However, Brownie is a Labrador, lol.

As the other issue you are having I have no experience with that, but I have read where others have. I'm sure they will chime in.

Wishing Lila a speedy recovery!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 September 2019 - 2:52 pm
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Hi Lila's mum, welcome! We are so glad you found us. Sure sounds like you have a great attitude and have done your homework for your girl. And good job advocating for the Gabapentin! That, combined with the other two pain medications, work synergistically for better overall pain relief. 

Her weak appetite is typical for this point of the recovery process. It will come back when the Fentanyl wears off, it's still early. Just keep her drinking. Spike her water with low sodium broth or tuna water to motivate her to stay hydrated. 

her left hip has significant osteoarthritis. Has anyone here got advice on how their dog has coped with osteoarthritis in their remaining limbs?

Yep, we've got tons of it here, which is why I moved your topic to this Forum discussion. Scroll through these search results:

https://tripawd.....;include=1

Also:

https://tripawd.....arthritis/

We'll do what we can to make your journey easier! Keep us posted and don't forget to share photos of your beautiful girl. Our instructions for adding images are here but let me know if you need help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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28 September 2019 - 5:28 pm
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Thanks all! I’ll have a read of those threads right after this post. Lila is at day 3 post amputation now.. she hadn’t urinated for 24 hours so I took her to the emergency vet this morning (Sunday here in Australia and GP vets typically aren’t open on a Sunday). The vet found her bladder was quite large - to the point that she should be leaking.. so we decided taking the fentanyl patch off as she felt that was the cause for the urine retention, she walked straight out of the vets office this morning onto the car park lawn and did a big wee! Yes!!! She is eating - fussy but will take cooked chicken and veggies by hand. I’ve started her on the Gabapentin and given her her trazadone.. currently snoozing on the lounge - she cant jump up but will let me lift her up.  https://www.ins.....jfmojf55gk

Wherever the Wind Takes Me, Dude

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28 September 2019 - 5:58 pm
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BEAUTIFUL! sp_hearticon2

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Take it easy for a while and please keep us posted.

Wyatt Ray Dawg . . . The Tripawds Leg-A-Cy Continues!

Read all about my adventures at my Tripawds Blog

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28 September 2019 - 8:19 pm
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Wyatt and Lila sure do make a cute couple! Just saying...

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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28 September 2019 - 11:55 pm
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Hi all - so though I’d pop up another photo.. we spent all Sunday chilling together.. she is definitely a lot more concerned about being left by herself.. I have to work tomorrow so I’m a little antsy too. Anyhow, fentanyl has been off since the morning and so far she has had one meloxicam dose and her first Gabapentin tablet. She hasn’t gone number ones since this morning.. hoping she’ll remember how to go by tonight. So funny just a month ago she had been put on silbestrol for urinary incontinence and now somehow she’s got bladder muscles of steel! Anyway here is another pic of my sleeping beauty..

https://www.ins.....cc8kfq8li9

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 September 2019 - 10:48 am
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Awwww we just wanna smooch her! She is so pretty. I hope today goes well. Odds are pretty good she will just sleep all day. The poop will happen but you can move things along with some steamed squash or canned pumpkin pulp in her food.

Let us know how it goes!

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




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29 September 2019 - 8:50 pm
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Just catching up in time to join the  BEAUTIFUL LILA FAN CLUB!!  She is absolutely stunningly beautiful!

And good for you for taking quick action when she hadn't  peed for 24 hrs.  Yeah, keep an eye on that.  Pooping may take a few days, but that's  normal because of the meds.

Aounds loke you have a good handle on things.  You still may have a few sleepless nights and restless days ahead,  so stay connected  and let us know if you have any questions.

Let us know how "pee patrol" goes!  Is she drinking okay?  We have lots of tips if not, so let us know.

Will she be alone when yoj fo fo work?  If so, do you have a  neighbor or family member who can check

on her?  How about a cone? Did the Vet give you one to put on her so she can't  get to her stitches?

Looking forward to more updates  AND pictures of your lovely Lila😎

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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30 September 2019 - 3:28 pm
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Hi everyone! Thank you for your beautiful messages! It’s so lovely to feel supported by an army of people who love their dogs and who really get this situation we are in. Lila is going well so far, she is peeing and pooping by herself! The first poop happened in the house and boy was she upset with herself.. I kept telling her she was such a good dog and she seemed a little less upset after that.. all other poos have happened outside and pees too. She is eating really well (leafy veggies, cooked meat, raw meat, bone broth.. will reintroduce raw bones in the next day or so.. she was too drugged up prior to now for me to feel comfortable giving her a bone to eat)..

she just can’t go down stairs, she will climb up the stairs with me supporting her belly.. but I have to carry her downstairs.. she is over half my weight so this has been a massive incentive to hit the gym more for some upper body gains!

Today I took her for a walk and she was so determined to go to the park! She walked 500 metres there and 500meters back! I’m not really sure how much walking I should be facilitating especially with that hip with significant osteoarthritis.. but she seemed so eager to go, she was leading the whole way there!

I’ve just had her on meloxicam and one Gabapentin tablet a day alongside the trazadone. She hasn’t shown any convincing signs of pain - no panting, heart rate is nice and slow. That said even when the osteosarcoma was on her leg she never really showed signed of paint then either - she was running and jumping up for her ball and trotting around without a limp.. so it’s hard to know with a stoic dog I feel. 

So far she has given her surgical site some licks but not shown any signs of trying to nip or pull at the stitches.. I worked yesterday and was so worried I’d come back to a complete mess but she had rested all day and left her leg stump alone. I’ll be home today so I’ll be able to keep an eye on things today. 

I hope everyone has a good day and that your pups all have a good day ahead too X

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 October 2019 - 10:42 am
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She is truly amazing! And a good girl! Leave it to a Shepherd to be so enthused about getting on with life even while on a strong sedative like Trazadone! Our Wyatt Ray is the same, he can work through any pain without flinching or showing us he hurts, so I know it's hard to tell when to limit the activity.

Have you seen our Tripawds e-books library? Or the Tripawds Gear blog ? We think you'll get a lot of use out of the tips about managing activity and helping to avoid injury. As you've noticed, dogs will go and go until they are pooped out, so it's up to us to make sure they don't overdo it, or an injury is bound to happen. Right now she should only be taking very short walks, like for bathroom breaks, that's it, at least until stitches come out.

Yep, rear-legged amputee dogs have a harder time going up stairs than down. Since dogs carry all their propulsion in the rear legs, when they lose one they lose 50% of the ability to jump, run and go uphill. This type of movement places extra strain on their joints. You may want to consider a Ruffwear harness or Flagline harness to help her maneuver around.

One more tip: we highly encourage physio therapy, as these experts can show you the best ways to help her get strong without putting her joints at risk.  And if you see a credentialed CCRT or CCRP physio therapist, the Tripawds Foundation may reimburse you for your first rehab visit (we call it "rehab" here in the states).

We need a Lila photo fix today, don't furget! 😉

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 October 2019 - 5:34 am
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Thanks so much Jerry, I fear I might have been really overdoing it with her if short bathroom breaks are all that we should be doing, she insisted on powering on and doing are normal walk loop - which is at least 1.5km.. yikes..! I end up carrying her up the stairs once we are home, I think harness is going to be a necessary investment. She starts chemo this Tuesday, stitches are due out tomorrow, and will have radiographs at the end of her chemo (4 sessions 3 weeks apart of carboplatin) to ensure that she doesn’t have mets. She has been going so well until today where she just seemed unsettled and sort of sad. I gave her Gabapentin today in case it was some phantom pain that might be causing her sadness. I have a chiropractor who has told me that once her chemo is over he’d be happy to start working with me on keeping her feeling comfortable with the arthritis in her hip. Are there any recommendations available for physiotherapists that are in Brisbane Australia? Thanks again for reaching out and speak soon!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 October 2019 - 1:33 pm
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That's Ok, we all learn over time what our Tripawds can and should, and should not do. We did the same thing.

The sadness you saw in her is more than likely because she is sore from such a long walk. Keep giving the Gabapentin and any other pain meds your vet prescribed to her, on time. Your goal is to stay ahead of any pain she may be experiencing as she heals. Even when the stitches come out, there is still more adjusting that her body will need to make so she may become sore. 

As for physios near you, I would check the Canine Rehabilitation Therapy's directory of practitioners. They have a special drop-down menu for other countries where Australia is listed. If there isn't one in Brisbane, ask your vet, call the practice nearest you and ask if they know of anyone, post in our "Specialists Referrals" forum topic and/or let me know and I can check with an Australian veterinary physio therapist friend of ours who may know someone OK?

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

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castrodog
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24 November 2019 - 2:29 am
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Hi all,

Thought I'd jump in on this thread to seek advice as well after reading Lila's story. Castro's (male white shepherd) 14 years and 2 months and he just got his left front leg amputated 7 days ago. 

A little back story on the guy: we adopted him off a family in December 2018 who wanted to give him up either to another family or he was gonna go to shelter. He was starved, literally only skin and bones, only on a diet of white rice and apples and when we got him he was only 27kg! He'd had a bad yeast infection, his ribs and hips were showing, and really severe osteoarthritis in his hips. You could literally hear his bones grinding against each other. However, he gets mildly aggressive whenever he feels pain in his hips and we touch his back legs to massage it. His back legs were almost withered away. But in about 6 months, we built him up to about a 37kg lean mean walking machine.

Fast forward to 15 days ago, he'd started limping (more than usual) all of a sudden, and 3 days later, he developed a really odd bony bump that was sticking out the side of his leg. We took him in to see the vet immediately the next day, although I was suspecting osteosarcoma already. We got 2 opinions concluding osteosarcoma, and we decided to amputate ASAP on 16/11 since everything else was clean (we'd also discovered chronic bronchitis in his lungs from the X-rays, which was the reason why he was panting so much when he'd came to us, poor boy). One of the most heartbreaking decisions I'd ever had to make.  

While recovering, it took him about 3 days post-op to start walking, but likely because he'd developed diarrhoea and really had to go, so we'd had to stop his NSAIDs. He's still on a pain patch and I've been giving him tramadol injections. So far he's much more comfortable and happier dog. However, he's much more aggressive now, and he trashes and snaps wildly whenever we pick him up. We've had to express his bladder everyday, and his diarrhoea finally stopped, although now he's having constipation. He hasn't tried walking on his own yet, and he hasn't been able to stand on his own because he refuses to use his back legs to push himself up. Physios come every 3 days to work on him, and the nurse comes by everyday to go through his exercises (we do them on our own twice a day too). However he still refuses to put any weight at all on his right hind leg and tends to lose his balance because he shifts his weight too much. 

Any tips on how we could encourage him to start walking even a little? Am a little worried because his back legs might lose their strength if he doesn't want to work them.  

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 November 2019 - 11:51 am
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Hello Castro and family, welcome. Please consider registering as a member and starting an all new topic so we can follow along better and help you on your journey OK?

You are amazing, loving people to give Castro the life he deserved all this time. Thank you for that. And also that you are on the physio route with him, that is wonderful. He is soooo fortunate. To me, based on what you are doing to help him, it's only a matter of time until he gets back to a point of better mobility. What do his physio therapists say about  a plan to help him get there?

It does sound to me like me may also be experiencing chronic pain. How is the team addressing his pain? That is the very first thing that should be addressed, based on what therapists have told us. If he cannot tolerate NSAIDs then an alternative like Galiprant and Amantadine could work well. I would think that once you address the pain, when combined with regular physio, he will get on the path a lot more quickly. Talk to the physio team and your vet about a different pain management strategy and you will probably see a difference, sooner rather than later.

Please don't reply to me here; I will look for your reply in an all new topic OK? Consider posting in "Size and Age Matters" so that others with senior dogs can spot your post right away and chime in.

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