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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Newly Three-Legged, Difficulties
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Forum Posts: 12
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16 May 2021
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16 May 2021 - 5:38 pm
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Hello all! I have a 11 year old golden retriever who just underwent a foreleg amputation. I see stories of how amputees are immediately hopping around and adjusting to their new three-leggedness; however, my dog is completely unable to stand, let alone walk, without extensive assistance. His remaining limbs seem extremely weak and limp, and I'm not sure if this is due to pain meds side-effects or what.

How do we go about helping him accommodate, and how do we get him to eventually rise and hop around independently?

Much thanks!

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 May 2021 - 9:49 pm
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Hi and welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away!

First, when was your dog's surgery? And what pain meds and how much of a dosage is he on? If he is wobbly let your vet know so meds can be adjusted. He may need more or less, it's a matter of getting it dialed in.

Not all dogs get around right away. It's hard not to compare recoveries, bit do not do it. Your dog has a unique timeline and seniors especialy need more time to get around.

Back tomorrow with more thoughts, sorry for the quick reply but wanted to get your post approved so others can chime in.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 12
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17 May 2021 - 7:45 am
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Hi Jerry! Thank you so much for the response.

My baby underwent amputation 5/14/21. His meds are Codeine 45mg twice a day, Gabapentin 300mg thrice a day, and Cephalexin 900mg twice a day. Do you have any experience with any of these drugs? I highly suspect it's Codeine, since it's a narcotic.

Thanks!

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 May 2021 - 9:20 am
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Hey there! I completely forgot to ask: what's his name? He's so lucky to have humans who care so much about him.

So three days out of amputation surgery is not a long time, but he should be able to at least stand to urinate now. Can he do that? Don't expect him to poop yet, that may take a few days as pain meds make dogs constipated. Eating enthusiasm will likely be weak too. Just make sure he's staying hydrated and drinking water. Is he?

The Gabapentin dosage sounds about right, but for some dogs it makes them really sleepy. I'm not a pharmacologist but I'm doubtful the Codeine is the culprit. Please don't change anything until you talk to your vet. Sounds like you are outside the U.S.? Where abouts?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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17 May 2021 - 9:38 am
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Hi Jerry! My baby's name is Maya, but it's a he 🙂

He has been peeing once or twice a day, and he just pooped a couple hours ago. Thank goodness! He still has an extremely good appetite and drinks plenty of water. I'm just concerned about his seeming lack of "motivation" to get around.

I am reaching out to my vet to ask for clarifications on the meds. I won't change a thing without professional approval.

Thank you again for the prompt response!

btw, im in Cali

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 May 2021 - 10:05 am
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WOW that's great Maya is doing so well! Honestly, those are big milestones! YAY! 

The lack of motivation is something we are not used to seeing in our dogs, I understand completely. Try to put yourself in your dog's paws though: a human recovering from amputation surgery would be doing worse, easily. Be patient, remember that rest is necessary for the body to heal, and don't compare. A senior dog usually needs more time than younger dogs to recover, that is very common around here. Even a week out he may still be wobbly but as long as you see those little glimmers of progress (remember, the "ordinary" is extraordinary now!), he's on track.

You're in Cali?! Haha lol sorry when you wrote "thrice" I assumed you were outside the states, I don't see that too often here. That's what I get for assuming!

Let us know what your vet says OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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17 May 2021 - 10:11 am
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Thanks for the reassurance. Just got off the call with the vet, and she said to keep an eye on him for the next couple of days, so that's what we'll do. We'll continue to assist Maya any way we can to ensure a smooth recovery. I'll keep you posted 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 May 2021 - 11:02 am
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You are so welcome! I'm glad you spoke to the vet, good job! Stay strong and holler with any questions or just to share progress 🙂

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




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17 May 2021 - 9:23 pm
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Eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, all really good signs!!👍👏 As Jerry said, this is major surgery all while being on some pretty good drugs and trying to adjust to life on three. Maya is still very very very early in recovery. It's Not Unusual at all for dogs to take several days to get their sea legs.

Give me a lots of good massages up and down her spine, her neck and all around her shoulders to help relax her. Stay in a strong and confident upbeat emotional state and she will pick up on that positive energy too. And it may be that he will need a reduction in the codeine or some of her pain medicines Etc if he continues to appear to be a little too lethargic. As the vet said just give it another day or so and see what happens. 

And keep in mind that every dog recovers at their own pace and in their own way. Some dogs do seem to get their balance within 24 to 48 hours, and some dogs take several more days to accomplish that. The fact that Maya is eating and drinking and peeing and pooping indicate that he's already ahead of the Curve.

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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19 May 2021 - 8:47 am
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Hi Benny, Jerrry. Maya is doing better these couple days, but he has pretty noticeable edema in his underside. I've sent images to the vet, and he said he's not concerned; supposedly it's normal and will go away in a couple weeks. But I'd  like to get a second opinion on this. Do you have any experience or thoughts on this issue?

thank you

Raymond

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 May 2021 - 10:39 am
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YAY MAYA! That's terrific progress!

The edema is very common. Yep, it sure sounds like a seroma . The link has info, it's bodily fluid that builds up when you remove a limb...the fluid has to go somewhere and it will take the path of least resistance, the incision area. Usually nothing to worry about and they resolve on their own. You may start to see drainage, and as long as it's more pinkish than bloody, doesn't smell or look like an infection, it's probably normal. If you apply a warm compress for a few minutes a couple of times a day, you can encourage the site to drain. Keep an eye on it, but don't panic.

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




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19 May 2021 - 12:50 pm
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As Jerry said, seromas are pretty common shortly after surgery.  You were smart tho to send a pic to uour Vet and keep as eye on it.

May be TMI, but my Happy Hannah's  looked  like a couple of saggy boobies on her underside.😛😱.

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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19 May 2021 - 3:07 pm
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HAHA thanks for the reassurance guys. Maya's due to get his bandage removed this Friday, and will get checked out again. I'll keep yall posted!

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21 May 2021 - 7:58 pm
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Maya got his bandage removed today, and the vet said everything looked good. We were so relieved to hear that. According to the vet, it's now a matter of chemotherapy (Maya had bone cancer in his amputated leg) to prolong life expectancy. Do you guys have any opinions on this? Are there any notable drawbacks to chemo that are often left unsaid? Any advice is welcome. Thank you

Virginia




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21 May 2021 - 9:28 pm
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Glad that this incision  looks good and that bandage is off.  

When it comes to chemo, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to,proceeding or not.  It's basically a crap shoot in  that some dogs seem to get "extended " time, and some dont.  Some seem to get extended  time without chemo, and dome don't. 

SIde effects, if at all may be a bit of nausea  for a couple of days and maybe some lethargy for a day or some.  Vets usually  prescribe Cerenia as a preventative  step to try and avoid any nausea.   On rare ocassions,  side effects may be more severe.  The Onco ascertains if a lower dose is needed or if chemo should be discontinued.   The good thing about chemo is that you can stop anytime and normalcy is returned.  And in many cases, some dogs sail thru chemo with no side effects at all!

Ypu know Maya best.  You know if Vet visits  stress him out or if he handles them just fine. You know your financial  situation  whether this is out if reach or not.

And a very important factor to consider is that, whatever decision you make you have no regrets, you don't  second guess and you don't  look back.  Any decision  you make for Maya will be out of love and out of your commitment to make every moment the best moment  ever!  

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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