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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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My recovered tripawd refuses to walk
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Forum Posts: 5
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3 May 2020 - 7:40 pm
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Thank you to anyone who can share knowledge from a similar experience...
It has been two months since Jezebel’s amputation and she is doing great. It was at the 3 week mark that she came back to life and was her old self again!
However, since the surgery she has started displaying new behaviours on walks that she had never done before. Basically, she wont go on walks...it happens probably 80% of the time at random.
We could be 30 seconds away from the house and she will stop and sit. She has become obsessed with sniffing everything and pretty much just wants to eat grass (none of these behaviors were present before surgery). If I want to get her to go anywhere I have to coax her with treats the entire way.
She is uneasy for some reason and there is no sign of pain.
We are working with a trainer and know we have to be patient in this regard but we are also very shocked that her behavior has changed this drastically.
I should note that once we get to the park she will run off leash, fetch a ball short distances and wants to play with other dogs.
I’m hoping you could provide any guidance on what we can do here as next steps. Jezebel was supposed to be certified as a therapy dog but at these behaviors prevent us from even walking down the street so it feels like we’ve taken many steps back from this goal.
The Rainbow Bridge



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4 May 2020 - 10:27 am
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Hi there and welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away!

Your situation is not uncommon in new Tripawds. First, tell us a bit more about Jezebel and her situation. What breed type and age is she? And why did she lose her leg?

Also, how long are the walks you are taking her on? And how long does she play once she arrives at the dog park? Is there any other behavior that accompanies this, like fear or anxiety? 

Does she show any of these pain signals at other times of the day? My gut instinct tells me that she is in pain. Read on. And remember, dogs are sooooo good at hiding pain. Most of us don't see it until it's quite obvious and by that point, things are really bad. Sounds like you are catching these hints early which is great. 

signs of pain in petsImage Enlarger

When a dog doesn't want to do something, it's natural for us to think they are being stubborn, but what they are doing is trying to tell us something in their own non-verbal language. Interpreting their clues is tough and definitely a learning curve when we are talking about a new Tripawd.

In my non-vet experience talking to other Tripawd parents for many years, usually when a dog doesn't want to go on a walk they are telling us they hurt in some way. The walks may be too long and although she's excited to see her friends at the park, getting home may be so painful that she remembers the experience and doesn't want to do it again the next day.

Even if we don't think a walk is long for a Tripawd, odds are it is when pain signals like this pop up. We just aren't used to gauging what "normal" activity looks like for our particular Tripawd. Many of us learn the hard way by walking our dogs too far, too long, during the first few months after amputation. I did it, and most people do too. That's not unusual. The important thing is that you noticed her behavior, and you are asking great questions.

Right now I would definitely scale back the walks to a bare minimum, and get Jezebel into an appointment with a canine rehabilitation therapist. These experts can evaluate her for pain that she is hiding (dogs are so good at it!), help her feel better through exercises, massage and possibly pain medication, and show you the best ways to get her exercised at home without overdoing it. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit , so please take advantage of the program.

I hope this helps. Stay tuned for feedback from others and let us know how things are going.

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




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4 May 2020 - 4:14 pm
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Just a couple of other random off the wall  questions to add.

Does she ride to the park, or walk?  Wasn't  clear on that.

Is the seemingly excessive sniffing most prevalent  as she first heads  out and starts her "-walk".  Just wonder of she is picking up a scent of something that scares her....maybe a scary critter....,aybe a hornet's nest....maybe a bee stung her recently as she headed out the door.

If it is pain related, maybe could put her back in some pain meds and see of the helps...of course with Bet approval.

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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4 May 2020 - 6:10 pm
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Sally your thoughts about a scary critter are wonderful things to think about. When our Jerry was a pup, he got attacked by a bunch of young cats, and after that he never wanted to walk by the home where they lived. Animals remember these things!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 May 2020 - 6:37 pm
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Thank you all for your responses! I am tearing up as I respond, it's so nice to have found a community like this as I've felt so alone. 

Jezebel is approximately four years old Belgian Malanois mix (unsure with what but maybe boxer, english mastiff). We have been working on weight loss, she is currently 55lbs and she still has about 8lbs to go. I adopted Jezebel February 1 and she showed up in much worse health than the rescue led me to believe, her front left leg was visibly disfigured. I took her to three different vets who all explained that she had luxated her elbow at least 2 years ago and was certainly in chronic pain. Because the injury was left untreated for so long, our only option for her to be pain free was to amputate. 

In regards to the pain signals , she hasn't been showing any of those since she recovered from her surgery. Our surgeon said it should be years until she will need any sort of assisted device. She walks to the park which is about 10 metres away from our house. The sniffing happens throughout the entire walk...I feel like it's almost a distraction for her from whatever discomfort she might be in.

We just got home from the vet who suggested we go back on her daily pain medication/anti inflammatory for 7 days to help pinpoint if she is able to walk better when medicated. We also got a metabolic/ mobility food and long term joint support supplements. Her hind legs are strong and the vet doesn't think there's any arthritis.

It just seems crazy to me that she walked that much better with her luxated leg than she does now...I wonder if I made the wrong decision. I am emotionally distraught at the idea that she is still in pain after all we have been through to get her to this point. 

This whole experience has been so costly and I wish we could apply for the rehab fund but I don't think I am eligible since we live in Canada (Vancouver BC). Thank you thank you thank you for any more ideas you might have. 

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4 May 2020 - 6:40 pm
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I can't figure out how to embed a photo of her but here is a youtube video of sweet Jezebel walking before the surgery.

feature=youtu.be

Virginia




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4 May 2020 - 9:48 pm
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First of all, YOU  ARE NOT ALONE!!    We'll get this figured out,okay?  We're  getting more pieces of the puzzle to help give us more insight.

Jezebel,  you are melting my heart over here!  You look like cuddly, sweet, gentle  lap dog!!  

And yes, that bum leg had to go!!  It hurt just watching her!

Oh, and if you have hardwoods, get some non slip scatter rugs for traction , or some cheap yoga mats.

Okay, so she came to you as a rescue and you've  only had her since February, right?  And so etime kn February she had the amputation.  Recovery for larger dogs takes anywhere  between two and three weeks, maybe longer.  It's major surgery.  Then it takes about a month  to get adjusted to the gait, etc. 

As Jerry pointed out earlier, it does seem like pain is the culprit.  And that can come from a lot of things.  As far as behavioral,  it's hard to say what "baggage" she may have from her previous life.

The first couple of weeks of recovery needed to be short leashed potty breaks and back in for rest.  No stairs, no jumping, no running, etc.  Pain meds needed to be given on a consistent basis for approximately two weeks.....a little longer sometimes.. At what point during recovery  did she start these ten minite walks and then playing  at the park?

When you massage up and down her spine, her neck, her shoulders, etc, does she tense up anywhere?  It's soooo easy to tweak something for a tripawd.  

As far as Jezebel  liking to stop and sniff, that's  really what dogs enjoy far more than a "walk".   Every sniff gives a dog a wealth of information about what went on in that spot.

It may be that she's trying to say she wants to "stop and smell the roses" just around her yard rather than go on a walk.  She's a big girl and a front legger.  It takes a lot of effort to walk for ten minutes without stopping.

Another thought that popped in. Prior  to the surgery, she may have had some arthritis  but it didn't  show up when she had four.  Anyway, the Rimady should help with that. 

So for now, back to short leashed potty breaks and Rimady, right?  Could you send us a video of her walking around her yard so we can see her gait?

Oh, while I'm  just throwing out "stuff".  After trying the Rimadyl and leashed potty breaks for the week, is there a different path you could go to the park??   Or could you just take her in the car?  Only saying those things once pain jas been eliminated.

O,at, enough ramblings  from me tonight!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS. Rene, too funny about Jerry and the kittens!!

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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4 May 2020 - 10:43 pm
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Aww what a beautiful girl. Thank you for sharing the videos and telling us more about her.  No you didn't make a mistake, this girl is a dream and was meant for you.

In watching her walk with the bad elbow, it's clear she was hurting and in pain. And while she may have initially walked better when that leg was taken off, now her body is catching up with the hard work of moving around as a Tripawd. It's a LOT of work, and at just two months post amputation, she needs way more time to get used to the movements. Try hopping around on one leg for 10 meters and you'll get a feel for what it's like for her.

You are already on a great path to improving her mobility with the weight loss program. YAY! Do not sway from it, this is going to help her SO MUCH. One pound of extra weight on a dog is the same as us humans having five pounds of fat on us. That's a lot of weight on any dog's frame but especially a Tripawd. The closer she gets to that goal, the easier it's going to be for her to walk without pain.

I think putting her on the NSAID again is a terrific idea and should help tremendously as well. The fact that the vet doesn't think she has arthritis yet is great. The more weight she drops, the less risk of osteoarthritis at a young age. She will likely get it eventually, but keeping her slim will delay the onset.

And as a Canadian you indeed quality for the Rehab Reimbursement Program. As long as you see a "CCRT" or "CCRP" practitioner you can get reimbursed for that first visit. Please let me know how I can help you find a practitioner. PM me with your street address and I'll find one near you in Vancouver.

If you get a chance, record her movements now as a Tripawd, just so we can see.

Also, yes, do add traction to the floors. Wood floors are so hard for Tripawds to walk on, even if they seem to be able to do it, they are tensing their muscles to walk and that causes a lot of aches and pains over time.

I know you have a lot of vet bills right now but if you get a chance, check out our e-book Loving Life On Three Legs . You'll learn tons of tips about exercise and fitness and how to help her have a great quality of life. You can get $3 USD off using coupon code "trifb3". Alternatively you can check out our Tripawds Gear Blog exercise tips for ideas too. 

I hope this helps!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 May 2020 - 12:00 pm
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Wow, thank you for the great information. I had to take a mental break yesterday; I had accumulated so much emotion over the weekend I couldn't think clearly. BLINDED BY LOVE some might say.

Your posts really gave me some great insight, I tried hopping around on one leg and it brought the message home. I also didn't realize 8 lbs was that huge of a difference, I think the focus needs to shift to her losing the weight with really short walks to get her to enjoy them again. I think that driving to a different place for the walk might also really help.

I think you are right regarding the accumulation of discomfort, I must have been taking her out too long. I've committed to 6 short (5-10 min) walks a day instead of 3 (15-20 min walks). I massage her every night but I wasn't paying attention to her responses - I noticed last night that she would give me a side eye whenever I would massage the top part of her shoulder blade so she definitely had some discomfort there. 

Here's a video of her walking, what do you guys think about her gait?

All the best,

Bojana and sweet Jezebel 

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6 May 2020 - 12:01 pm
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Here's her video

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 May 2020 - 1:11 pm
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I'm so glad we could help you feel better. You are doing your best so be proud of that! Learning all about this lifestyle can be challenging but your'e getting the hang of it.

She is so gorgeous! I love at the end of the video how she's looking at you going "Mom, uh, why are you staring at me like that?"

As for her gait, I'm not a rehab therapist so I cannot tell you if she's putting weight on the wrong places or not but to me, it's the typical Tripawd hop for a front-leg amputee. I really love how you have carpets down on your pretty floors. Great job!

Yes, extra weight, even a pound, makes a difference. So stay on track with the shorter walks, the massage, the weight loss and get her into physio therapy and you will see a tremendous difference in a couple months I'll bet. 

You've got this!

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

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9 May 2020 - 6:51 am
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She is georgus! I just wanted to thank you for a adopting. It takes a special person to welcome a rescue, and we soon find they rescued us.

My lab was always a sniffer. He would play in the house, but when I would take him to the park, he would ignore me and jist sniff everything. Do you think maybe because she was in pain she didn't care about the smells, and now she does? Just a thought.

Brownie was 90 lbs at time of amputation. When Jerry told me that one pound on a dog is equal to five lbs on human I was shocked! Once Brownie dropped down to 75 lbs he did much better.

When seeing the video with that painful leg you defiantly made the right decision.  It will get better. She won't be running in a marathon, but she will be enjoying life pain free. Hang in there.

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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9 May 2020 - 12:46 pm
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Great video! And I loved the honking of the squeeky toy with the nose. smiley_clap

My cat Mona had her front leg amputated 6 years ago and was going for chiropractic treatment pre-covid. I was shown how to massage her and to focus on her pelvis and particularly her neck since she's missing a front leg. You might find either rehab or chiropractic treatment will help your pup over the long run.

Meanwhile, keep on squeeking icon_lol

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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