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Member Since:
5 June 2017
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5 June 2017 - 6:00 pm
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Has anyone had a rear amp kiddo experience limber tail, perhaps due to over use as a balancer/counter weight?  My dog, Kiwi, had her surgery 1/9/17 and only this Friday, 6/2/17, her tail (which is normally very turgid and always wagging) is just hanging down.  She does not wag it, she does not get it out of the way when she loos.  It's just limp.  I have gently palpated for any indication of pain along the tail itself, and she is not showing signs of a break.  She is mildly swollen and tender on her lower spine, by the coccyx, so I'm hoping (crossing fingers and toes) that she has a simple soft tissue sprain and the cancer has not spread to her spine or remaining rear leg.  We have an acupuncture appt at the vet tomorrow, so we will definitely have it checked out, but I just wanted to see if this is a common occurrence in Black Lab tripawds.

Thanks for the input!

Kate

London, UK


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6 June 2017 - 8:56 am
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Hi Kate, and welcome,

I'm sorry to hear about Kiwi's tail. I haven't heard of this, myself (though others may have done), but I do know how concerning it is when something suddenly changes and there isn't any obvious explanation. My best guess is that this has to do with the tension in her spine. My girl,Meg, a front legger, also suffers from periodic tension in that area. I can't say if it would affect Meg's tail, as sadly her tail was removed before I got her. The important thing is you're getting her checked out and acupuncture may very well help if the problem is indeed tension/strain in Kiwi's lower spine. Otherwise, I'm sure your vet will be able to advise if further investigation is needed. Stay tuned as I'm sure that others will have experience/ideas to share, and please update us when you've seen the vet. We will be thinking of you.

Big hug for you and Kiwi.

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


On The Road


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6 June 2017 - 9:21 am
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Hi Kate and Kiwi, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

Yes, we have heard of this condition. See:

Very little tail movement in tripawd pup

Limber tail syndrome (aka Cold Tail, Broken Tail or Dead Tail) isn't specific to three-legged animals, but I suspect that their compromised physical movements and gait make them more susceptible when they overdo activity. Labs are indeed a breed that seems to get it more than others according to the following article:

Here's an excerpt from this excellent Whole Dog Journal article about Limber Tail Syndrome:

The syndrome seems to be caused by muscle injury possibly brought on by overexertion, says Janet Steiss, DVM, PhD, PT. Steiss is an associate professor at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and coauthor of the 1999 study on limber tail that pinpointed the nature of the muscle damage. Researchers used electromyography (EMG), imaging, and tissue testing on dogs affected with limber tail and concluded that the coccygeal muscles near the base of the tail had sustained damage.

The muscle injury of limber tail is characterized by a markedly limp tail, which can manifest in several different ways.

Keep in mind that I'm not a vet, but we often see new Tripawds over-exerting themselves during the first few months of living on three legs. As parents, there's a learning curve involved in how we monitor their activities. We all went through it. What was her activity level like prior to this happening?

I'm glad that you're taking her to acupuncture, that should help tremendously! More info from the article that will put your mind at ease includes:

If your dog develops limber tail, treatment should include at least a few days of rest. Depending on the advice of your veterinarian, you may also administer an anti-inflammatory in the first 24 hours, under the direction of a vet. There is no evidence that anti-inflammatories speed healing, but some owners say they’ve noticed faster improvement when the medications are part of the mix.

Owners should also consider what activities their dogs were engaged in prior to the onset of the condition. Limber tail will show up quite soon after the triggering event, usually within hours or overnight. If you can isolate what it was that brought on the condition, whether it was a over-long off-leash hike or a swim in cold water, you can avoid repeating the situation.

Finally, ease your dog into any intense activity to slowly improve his condition. Many cases occur when a dog is a couch potato in the off-season and then plunges back into hunting or training full time.

Tell us more about Kiwi! What's her age? Reason for amputation?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet


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6 June 2017 - 11:43 am
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This is very common with Labs in general and is actually a soft tissue injury or sprain.  Many dogs have pain when the tail is lifted or palpated at the base of the tail (usually the underside).  The majority of dogs respond to an NSAID for 3-5 days.

A separate tripawd problem is spinal arthritis or pain which is more obvious when the lower back is palpated and may need xrays or MRI to diagnose.

Pam

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6 June 2017 - 1:43 pm
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Thanks so much for the replies, everyone!  Kiwi has indeed thrown her back out, to put it colloquially.  The swelling is pinching the tail nerve, causing it to be limp.  We have a slew of meds and will continue the acupuncture for a few more sessions and see what happens over the next 7-10 days.  If it does not improve, a steroid shot may be in order to alleviate the swelling and promote healing.  In the meantime, Kiwi is finally resting soundly for the first time in 2 days, thank goodness.

On a different note, until today's visit, we have been taking her in for cold laser treatments and adequan shots in the remaining rear limb.  We were assured by our normal vet that she was an eligible candidate, even with the osteosarcoma.  Today, the new vet, who administered the acupuncture, was adamant about cold laser being awful for patients like Kiwi.  Has anyone else been cleared for cold laser post osteosarcoma amputation?  We have been pretty on top of our research and found cases for and against, and we trusted our vet and the clearance he got from oncologists he called. Now we feel awful.

Thanks again, everyone!

Kate

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6 June 2017 - 5:57 pm
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Ohhh I'm so glad the vet acupuncture visit went well and she's resting. I'll bet you'll get some sleep too (hopefully!).

Don't beat yourself up about any treatment decisions you make. You are doing your best, researching and learning your options. It's all any animal can ask for in a parent. You are doing great!

The cold laser debate is ongoing and who knows, maybe in a month all vets will agree that it's fine to give for osteo patients. If the new acupuncture vet leans more toward natural medicine, it makes sense why they felt cold laser was a no-no. When you get conflicting opinions it's so confusing isn't it? But look at it like this, your vet talked to other vets who agreed it was fine. Majority rules in this situation in my opinion 🙂

Hang in there and keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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6 June 2017 - 7:02 pm
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Thank you so much for the encouraging words.  The acupuncture vet is pro cold laser, too, but never on cancer patients, so it's simply conflicting views under the same roof.  I'm not sorry we did the cold laser treatments, as they really seemed to help Kiwi get super strong in that back leg and developed some nice muscle definition, proving to me she was finally using the leg as it should be used, and not just allowing the hip and spine to take the brunt of the hopping. 

Again, your positivity and kind words are so heartwarming.  It's nice to have such a welcoming forum to ask questions and get seasoned advice to ease my mind.

Thanks again!

Kate

On The Road


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7 June 2017 - 9:01 am
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Ah, now I understand.

Kate, you too are pawsitive and forward-thinking, it helps so much! We hope that Kiwi continues to improve and that tail gets thwapping once again. Let us know how she's doing OK? 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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7 June 2017 - 3:30 pm
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Gosh! Just catching up! Can only add to your my suppprt a d pawsitive energy to KIWI's WELCOMING COMMITTEE! 🙂

Come on Kiwi's tail....WAG!!! And we want video! In the meantime, I know your eyes wag with sparkle everytime you are near your humans...especially if you get a treat!! 🙂

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!

On The Road


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8 June 2017 - 8:33 am
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Pam you are pawesome for sharing your insight, thank you sooo much! I had no idea it was so common.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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8 June 2017 - 11:53 am
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Hi all,

So, we have had a rough couple of days and I just wanted to keep you all updated.  Kiwi's injury became worse in the wee hours Tuesday night/ Wednesday and we immediately brought her to the vet first thing on Wednesday morning.  We had xrays taken and there were no obvious signs of injury in her spine and an MRI was recommended to see if she slipped or ruptured a disc.  She was given a morphine injection for her pain while we figured out what to do next.  After a consult with an MRI doc, they suggested we not do the MRI and move forward with the cortisone shot to see what happens.  If over the course of 72 hours she doesn't significantly improve, she most likely has cancer in her spine and there will be nothing we can do at that point.  The xrays also presented with mets in her lungs.  So, we got the shots and have seen some improvement, but she still can't walk on her own.  We may have to say goodbye this weekend.  We are distraught.

Thank you all again for the encouraging and kind words. 

Kate

crying

Minnesota
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1 May 2017
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8 June 2017 - 9:18 pm
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Kate and Kiwi,

I had been wondering about you two and I am so sorry to hear that Kiwi's injury has gotten worse. I'm glad to know you were able to get her in to the vet so quickly but so sorry that you didn't get the news you wanted to hear. I truly hope that the cortisone shot can bring her some relief. My heart just hurts for you. I can tell how much you love her and will obviously do anything to help her. I am confident that you will make the right decisions for Kiwi as you are the one that knows her best. I hope that you can enjoy all the moments of improvement that the shot can provide. Just love that girl up it's the only thing that matters to her. Sending you all the very best wishes, love and hugs.

Love, Amy & Rusty heart

On The Road


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9 June 2017 - 8:39 am
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Kate, I'm hoping with all my heart that she has an improvement. How is she today?

Did the vets suggest a MRI to confirm spinal mets? How bad were the mets in her lungs? I ask because I'm thinking of Fionn, who just posted yesterday that he's still going strong with mets. It's not that unusual, our Jerry was the same way. If the source of the pain can be confirmed, she could possibly have more quality time ahead once the pain is alleviated. I say all this because sometimes ER vets who are not familiar with a dog's cancer situation jump to conclusions. Not saying the vet was wrong, but just that if you feel Kiwi has more fight in her, more investigation by her regular vets could lead to a different recommendation. What is your gut feeling telling you?

If you want to talk, our Tripawds Helpline is available OK? Keep us posted, we're here for you and your sweet girl.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




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9 June 2017 - 10:26 am
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Just adding my love and support.

Jerry had some good insight to share. As usual, it makes really good sense. I sincerely hope there are some different recommendations and treatment plans others can offer. Just the fact that she showed some improvement is encouraging after jiust one shot. IF no spine mets are involved, as Jerry said, the ljng mets aren't an issue at this point anyway. Many dogs here, including my Happy Hannah got great extended quality time in spite of mets.

All paws crossed for some more extended quality time.

Sending 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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9 June 2017 - 11:56 am
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Thanks all.  Kiwi has improved quite a bit from the shots, which is encouraging.  She has started walking on her own, albeit wobbily, but she can do it.  And her tail is starting to come back, too.  So we are simply continuing with rest and mild ambulation, allowing her to go at her own pace and see what happens.  The vet we saw is her regular vet (their hours are incredible and they are amazing), so they knew all her history and wanted to be sure to do everything possible to help her.  

Needless to say, we are feeling some relief watching Kiwi experience relief.  This is most likely going to be a rollercoaster, but for now, we are grateful.

And to answer the lung mets questions, they aren't very large and she isn't presenting with a cough.  They are also very faint on the xrays, so we are guessing it's the beginning of the take over.  I have read so many of your stories about kids going strong for years with mets not growing or impeding quality of life, but there are others who have tumors explode overnight.  All we can do is stay positive and, as recommended above, love on her for as long as we can.

For now, we are in a holding pattern.  Thank you all, again, for your kind words and virtual hugs.  The comfort is felt.

Kate

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