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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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New Front leg amputee licking at remaining front leg
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Member Since:
20 June 2022
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1
20 June 2022 - 1:56 pm
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Hello! I’m Tim and new to being a Tripawed pet parent. My pupper dog Angus had his left front leg removed last Thursday due to osteosarcoma. He is recovering well and the worst part for him is being kept in the crate a lot and having to wear a cone when I’m not home to watch him. I have noticed he is licking at his remaining front leg a lot around the elbow and just below it. I am figuring it’s sore from the extra weight and stress from when he does go out and using it to prop himself up. I’m wondering if anyone else has had experience with this. He is 10.5 years old and a bit over weight (75lbs before surgery and we are working on losing a few lbs). He has never had any joint problems. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience like this, or advice. I am going to put him on joint supplements once he is healed and has seen the oncologist. THANKS! ( I’m also going to email his Vet) 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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20 June 2022 - 3:24 pm
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Hi Tim and Angus, welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away!

That’s awesome Angus is having a pretty good recovery. YAY! He sounds like a spunky super senior! I’m curious what kind of pain control he is on right now? What medications, how much, and how often? Licking is one of the many pain signals that pets show. Since he is now putting extra weight on his remaining leg, it could be that his current pain control protocol needs some adjusting. Don’t change anything until you talk to your vet, but for now let us know what meds he’s on just so we can all learn from you two.

Oh, and what’s his appetite like right now? Any changes? How about his energy level?

Member Since:
20 June 2022
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21 June 2022 - 6:38 am
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His appetite never left. He is food motivated and even when I got him home and could not stand up he would still take a treat. His energy is actually higher than before his amputation. He seems more energetic than he has in several months even though I’m keeping him in the crate until his staples come out. He is on gabapentin and rimadyl. He is also on an antibiotic, clavamox for good measure. He does not seem uncomfortable and when he is out he is perky and wanting to hop around and explore. I’m sure if I was not holding him back he would be hopping around everywhere. He just seems to want to keep licking at his elbow. 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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21 June 2022 - 8:24 am
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Hmm, OK using food as a gauge of his pain level isn’t really helpful since he’ll eat even if he hurts. If he’s not standing, he is probably hurting and sore. Have you tried any interactive brain games ? They are an important part of keeping a Tripawd’s mind engaged and the body rested. See if even simple ones like hiding his meal under a blanket will keep him busy and a little more tired out. Brain games actually tire dogs out just as much as physical activity.

I’d let your vet know about the licking, and see if you can get his meds adjusted.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 June 2022 - 9:36 am
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This sounds like such a good update!  Some people do say they can actually  tell their dogs feel better after surgery, even the first part of recovery!  That shows us how pai ful the leg is before amputation,  And it reinforces the main reason we do amputation  is to get rid of the pain and to restore quality!

You are doing an excellent  job of caring for your pup.  If he’s that perky, a little “freedom hop” around the house for a minute or two can be a good thing.  Just make sure you have non slip  scatter rugs for traction   if you have hardwoods

If I recall, even though my Happy Hannah was a rear legger, it seems she licked her front legs a lot when she was recovering.   It may have been it was where she was poked for blood or whatever and maybe it was shaved.  I just can’t  remember.  I know this is different  though as he seems focused on the elbow.  

Yeah, overall, he’s doing really well!  Good job!

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!

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
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21 June 2022 - 9:37 am
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In my experience limb licking is a sign of stress, anxiety or boredom. 

I adopted my quad-Pug when he was 4 years old, he had not been treated well by his original owners.  As a result he had some behaviors which he continued even after he seemed settled in with me, one of them was licking his front legs.  He would lick for hours if we didn’t re-direct his activity.  Luckily he never got to the point when he hurt himself.

I remember several new Tripawd parents reporting licking which resolved when the pup could get more active.  So if you think that his pain is well controlled then a brain game or two or maybe some type of long lasting chew might be just what Angus needs to get over this phase.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Member Since:
20 June 2022
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21 June 2022 - 3:52 pm
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I can absolutely say he does not like being in the crate all the time. Since he is doing so well I’ve let him have his Kong bone with a few treats and I have a treat ball for him. I just don’t want to give him too much because he supposed to be losing weight. I’m going to look for a few more challenging things for him. He is very smart, (collie, chow chow, husky, Australian Shepard, German Shepard mix) and has a fairly good word association, especially squirrel, treat, red bone, out, and at one point we had named his toys and he could bring them to me by name. My vet also recommended Dog Leggs for a little extra support and to help stop licking…

Thanks! 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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22 June 2022 - 7:28 pm
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Aww you are so welcome! Let us know what you find as far as new challenges, we always want to know what members are finding helpful. Yeah it’s tough to do those games sometimes when weight loss is a goal. Is he motivated with veggies or fruit? See if those can get mixed into his regular meal, and use his regular food for the games. Switch it up to see what he will work for at game time.

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