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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 Tripawd Family here - lots of questions
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Forum Posts: 7
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27 January 2017 - 7:07 pm
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Hi there! I've been lurking here for a few days.  Our 10 yo Golden Retriever, Butters, had a left rear amputation on Monday, Jan 23rd. He had a fracture in his leg due to osteosarcoma. We brought him home Monday afternoon and we were blown away at how well he was getting around... 

...and then Tuesday came.  And he just isn't getting around as well anymore.  It seems like he won't stand up all the way on his back leg and when he tries to go forward, he just falls to the ground.  We keep a sling nearby at all times, but a couple times he hasn't gotten away from us before we can get it around him.  

Prior to the surgery, he was getting up and down on that right back leg just fine.  But now, it is a totally different story.  Should I be concerned that the right leg just isn't as strong as we thought? What can I do to help him figure out that he needs to stand up all the way before he gets going? He's received two adequan injections in his right hip to make sure its keeping strong.  

He's on tramadol, deramaxx, and gabapentine.  He has a seroma that is seeping but the vet isn't concerned with it, thinks it's a good sign of the healing process.  

Thank you in advance for any advice and help.  This forum is amazing for those of us who are completely unfamiliar with such a dramatic event.  

Livermore, CA




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27 January 2017 - 8:43 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry cancer has brought you here, but this is the best place to be for information and support.

Butters was high on some pretty potent meds when you brought him home, it is pretty common for pups to crash a bit when they get home.  Did he have issues with his right hip before the surgery? He may have overdone on Monday since he was feeling so good.  Our surgeon said only short, leashed potty breaks for 2 weeks after surgery.

Even if he was hopping on three before the surgery it is going to take time for him to learn his balance, new gait and gain strength.  Since he is a rear amp you might consider getting a harness that you can leave on him so when he starts to get up you can help.  Many of us here use the RuffWear Webmaster harness .  You can read about harnesses in our Gear Blog .

How is he doing otherwise? Eating, drinking, eliminating?

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

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27 January 2017 - 10:31 pm
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Welcome Butters!!! What an incredibly happy name to have! 

Ditto the above. This is major, major surgery and recovery at the hospital and the first day or two at home skews toward the adrenaline, hospital drug fueled hopping through the halls despite the dreaming of pink elephants moments! But then there is generally a dip that lasts a few days until the staples/stitches come out or until the home pain meds are adjusted. Sleeping- a lot- and going on very, very short walks ( to the potty and back) is not unusual and is recommended.

Gaining strength to relearn to walk and adjust is the next major undertaking. I'd probably not worry too much yet about the weakness in the back leg as long as all else in the recovery is going well. Lots of folks will chime in with lots of suggestions for PT and how to keep Butters comfortable in the future! I try to remember the rest, recovery, rehab ( in that order) mantra.

It sounds as if you are doing exceptionally well and have a great Team Butters!!! I say, bring on the pink elephants, the PWESENTS, and  the Happy to Be Home Butters Moments! (My Angel Heffalump had OSA and he did end up as a TwoPawd. But still beat the odds and was a very, very happy boy! To me, Butters sounds as if Butters is on a normal recovery journey which at times will be frustrating but gives Team Butters oh so much to celebrate!!!!) 

Also, many dogs loathe the sling:( So that adds to the complexity. Does Butters have to walk far to the potty and are all areas covered in rugs? Does he seem like he is comfortable?  

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28 January 2017 - 5:09 am
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Welcme Butters and family!  I echo the others in saying you are really early in the recovery process.  A lot of different gs see a crash around days 3 - 5 when the hospital meds wear off.  Activity should be limited to short leashed potty breaks, and not too many of those.  We also loved the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness, and a rear legger should be able to use it almost right away.  Hold tight - many dgs start to see improvement when the staples come out.  And remember he is using new muscles in doing fferent ways, in addition to recovering from major surgery.  It will take time.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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28 January 2017 - 6:46 am
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Thank you all for your reassurances! 

I will look into the webmaster harness asap - thanks for that suggestion.

both of his hips have osteoarthritis prior to the surgery and showed muscle loss, so yes there was a bit of an issue before the surgery.

our house is a sea of rugs and yoga mats right now so he doesn't have slipping issues.  He still bobbly though despite the rugs/mats.

we wish he would sleep more.  I've read on here many dogs are sleeping 8-10 hours at a time at this stage.  Butters will sleep 4 hours straight maybe once/day, the rest is cat naps or he is just constantly restless.

eating, drinking, and doing his business is going really well. He has maybe 50 steps to get outside to his potty area.  

His greatest joy in life is to play fetch in the pool.  We're very much looking forward to his incision healing so he can get his therapy started that way.  And more importantly, that's his favorite thing.

thank you all again!

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28 January 2017 - 7:15 am
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That is fantastic that there is a sea of mats and that he is doing exceptionally well! 50 steps is A LOT for the first week or so. A LOT! Is there any way he could have 20 or so this first week ( whether he is carried or goes in cart, etc.)? Two things about his restlessness: it is either pain or his new meds that cause the lack of sleep. It is almost impossible to tell without either adding more pain meds, a different regimine, or comparing to any other time that he may have had pain meds. Many folks try adding first to see if that helps, then try switching. If that does not alleviate the restlessness, you know it is not pain but a reaction to the meds. Give Butters lots of big kisses from all of us! You are all rock stars!!!

Virginia




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28 January 2017 - 9:22 am
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BUTTERS! Just catching up on your journey so far. You've gotten great advice from your new family here!

I know it's hard to see through the fog of exhausted, stress,and probably some panic tnrown in there too, but Butters seems to be doing well this early on!

Each dog is different. Each recovery is different. Hopefully this will nelp you knowing that My Happy Hannah was NOT one of those who slept so nicely those first days of recovery!

Honest to goodness, I don't think she or I slept for a total of maybe five hours for the first three or four days. And even after that, she was very restless a d just could not seem ro get comfortable for at least the first week. And yeah, sometimes the meds can mke them a little squirrelly, but it's better than being in pain. But as Holly said, with your Vets supervision, you can try tweaking the meds a bit and see if that helps.

Some Vets say it takes about two weeks to recover from the MAJOR SURGERY itself. Then ablue ine month to adjust to mobility issues as far as joints, muscles, strengthening, etc. Butters needs ro take it really, really sloooowly and easy right now. It is sooo easy to overdo the first couple of weeks.

Give Butters lots of gentle massages all up a d down his neck, his back, his hips, etc especially before he gets up. His muscles are probably pretty tight right now.

Hang in there! Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks. Slowly but surely you'll see his sparkle come back!! In the meantime, eat @ots of CHOCOLATE!! 🙂

Cannot wait to see some pics of Butters when you get a chance!!

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 January 2017 - 5:54 pm
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I am happy to report that Butters is getting around like a champ now!  He woke up on Sunday and acted like he had no idea why we have been concerned about him -- he's just getting around like it is no big deal!  He isn't bobbling at all and he appears really strong and confident in himself.  Now the problem is trying to get him to chill out and not do too much.  He's still restless, especially when we try to make him lie down instead of going outside.  I did let him lie down on the back patio today because he just looked like he wanted to SOOO BADLY!   

He is still having a lot of seepage/oozing from his incision site.  The vet has looked at it and confirmed it's normal.  Today it turned very very light pink... almost a grayish-pink and a TON came out all at one time while he was napping.  It was like his body expelled the fluid all at once.  His bed was soaked.  It looked like maybe 6-8 ounces came out of him -- it was crazy. I also noticed a few squishy bits that looked like dead tissue or something that came out with the seeping fluid.  He goes back into the vet tomorrow for a checkup and I am going to inquire about it.    

I feel like we are on the up and up! 

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30 January 2017 - 6:03 pm
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My Missy is also a new tripawd she had her surgery on Tues 1/24.  I'm glad that Butters is doing better now.  

We have had pretty much an uneventful recovery. Missy was able to go up and down 3 steps on Wed and today I took her out for the first time for a quick walk to get the mail which is about 5 houses away.  Missy is 12 yrs old and I was concerned about how she would do but she has amazed me with her fortitude.  

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30 January 2017 - 6:09 pm
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Benny55, you requested photos of our handsome Butters.  These are all of Butters (with us and his brother Koda sprinkled in over the past 12 months).  There is one of him taken today lying on the back patio. 

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30 January 2017 - 6:14 pm
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Wow, 5 houses down! Missy must be doing really really well to go that far -- good for both of you! That is so great to hear!

Virginia




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30 January 2017 - 6:56 pm
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BUTTERS!!! I'm in looooove! Look at the sweet Golden face! You are very, very cute AND handsome too! 🙂

Sou ds like ht got rid of some excess fluid, but the Vet can chexk it out tomorrow to see if it needs packing. Probably not. If it does, that's not a biggie.

Dogs seem to really, really like resting ojtside when they're recovering. Sunshine and fresh air,all while laying by his pool...nice!!

A d look at Butters with all those tennis balls! Now that's a happy boy!

Very nice Christmas picture with Butters, Koda and the humans!!

So glad he's doi g well! 🙂 🙂

Hugs!

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

PS. Glad to hear how well Missy is doi g 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!

Green Bay, WI


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30 January 2017 - 7:56 pm
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Hi and welcome to the family! Butters looks so happy in these pics! Sounds like he's doing well....good luck, keep us posted. And he even has a pool for some water therapy! What a lucky dog!

Paula and NItro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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