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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Rear leg tripod struggling to get up/lie down etc
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Member Since:
16 May 2009
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1 May 2013 - 12:52 pm
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I'm very unhappy about Sid at the moment.  He is now 9 years old and lost a hind leg at 3 1/2. 

A while back he apparently got a sharp bit of grit stuck in a pad of his single hind foot, and it was there for some weeks before it was found and removed. 

During that time, he fell frequently onto his backside.  He's appeared to recover, and taken a step backward several times.  Now he's very, very sore.  He has knots all along his back and is uncomfortable over his hip area.  He really struggles getting up and down, and can't walk very far before he cramps up.  Having said that, if I run with him so he can go at his own pace, he often flies along, and I have to be the one to stop him.  I only run as far and as fast as he wants to, and if he needs to be stopped, I call for him to wait and he does.  He doesn't get jerked around.  I've reduced his walks so he goes out once or twice, but for shorter distances.  He's doing about 15 minutes twice a day at the very most, right now.  Often it's less.  If he cramps up while walking, I massage along his spine and he'll often take off again, quite fast.

He's still going swimming, but we've put him back in a life jacket (he was doing SO well without one and really doesn't like them) and reduced the level of activity so that he swims for a very short while, then gets to be gently moved around in the water while he relaxes and floats.  When he's done, he's lifted out onto the landing stage where he is showered with warm water while lying down on his side, and allowed to rest as long as he likes before he gets up and is towelled off.  Unless it's very warm out, he has his coat on to go home so he doesn't get chilled.

The vet saw him less than a week ago and said he's convinced it's just muscle knots, and he would benefit from massage, and increasing his hydro sessions to twice a week for now.  He said heat packs would help but to be very careful not to burn him (of course), and has prescribed 40mg Onsior daily and up to 150mg Tramadol twice daily.  When he gets the higher dose of Tramadol, he seems very content and relaxed, which does seem to bear out the pain theory.

I do massage him, and have watched the videos here, but I think I'd benefit from proper training on that one. Meanwhile, he also gets a massage when I take him to the nearest greyhound racing kennel (which is where the hydro pool is).   My question is should I insist that the vet takes x-rays to see if there's anything else going on?  Or - since it's quite obvious he does have muscle knots and spasms - do I just continue as I'm doing? 

This last couple of days is the first time he's actually been slightly off his food.

Thanks for reading all this!

 

 

 

Sydney, Australia
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1 May 2013 - 6:32 pm
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I have found acupuncture to be amazing for my older dog's mobility (and my own).   If you can find a vet who can do it I thoroughly recommend it.

 

Karen

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/

On The Road


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1 May 2013 - 9:52 pm
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Jay I'm sorry to hear he's having mobility struggles right now. Living life on 3 legs for so long can start to add up and at this point, I agree that you might want to investigate acupuncture. Watch this video with Lobo to learn more about how it helps this old pup.

It sounds like you are doing everything right and your vet is doing a good job trying to manage his pain. But if he were my dog I would skip the hydro for now and focus on the pain relief through acupuncture and massage. I'm not a vet but as far as I understand it, hydro is really for building endurance. Right now it sounds like Sid can really just use some soft tissue work to feel better.

Is your vet certified in canine rehab therapy? If not, you may want to get a referral to a canine rehab specialist. Here's how to find one.

Canine Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Therapy Tips for Tripawds

 Give Sid a big gentle hug from us and let us know how he's doing. Try to stay pawsitive, this is just a temporary challenge. You're doing great and he will feel better soon with the kind of care and attention you're giving him.

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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1 May 2013 - 11:35 pm
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Jay, I don't had e any experience with what Sid is dealing with......but do have experience in recognizing a good paw parent when I see one..

Congratulations on taking such great care of Sid and being so diligent in his therapies.

I know this sounds silly but here goes......is it possible he needs to drink more water and actually do some "warm up" stretching?:-) Dehydration and lack of warm-ups cause cramps in humans

Look forward to more updates? Sid sounds like a very fine fella' with a lot of determination and strong will.

Salon and Happy Hannah

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!

Airdrie, Alberta
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2 May 2013 - 12:00 am
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Hey Jay,

I am with Karen on trying acupuncture and I would also suggest Animal Chiropractic.  I work for an Animal Chiropractor and we currently have several clients staggering acupuncture and chiropractic and the results are amazing!!!  It is not uncommon for animals to have slips and falls, especially are tripawd furkids, and often times these can cause joints and vertebrae to go out of alignment which cause stress and tension on muscles and ligaments.  If you get their structure back in place and treat the tension they will be able to relax an go back to feeling better.  These treatments will also be less expensive then x-rays  and less invasive because no anaesthetic or drugs will be needed smiley And you will be able to get off the pain meds and muscle relaxants that can be taxing on their liver/kidneys.

Anyway, not sure if you have access to these types of treatments but if you do it is a great alternative.

Good luck

 

Roxy…Border Collie cross born on approximately October 27th, 2011;

Rescued in January 2012 by Oops a Dazy Rescue & Sanctuary;

Right hind leg amputated on January 20th, 2012 due to a severe spiral fracture;

Adopted on February 21st, 2012 by Teena, a devoted human & Charlee, a purebred BC.

Hugs, tail wags & sloppy kisses

Member Since:
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2 May 2013 - 7:38 am
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Thank you all so much for your replies!

 

I have been wondering about acupuncture.  There is a clinic about an hour's drive from here which offers it - we've been there with previous dogs.  Here in England it must be done by a qualified vet who is also an acupuncturist, and needs a referral so I'll ask about that when we see the vet next.  Good suggestion!

 

Chiropractic ... I don't know.  I use a chiro myself, but I don't know if it would help Sid.  The greyhound rehab guy said he wasn't sure if aligning Sid's spine correctly would help, since he needs to distort it to walk at all. A chiro would know the answer to that, but I'm not aware of a local animal chiropractor.  Again, something to ask the vet when we see him next.

 

Benny - your thoughts on dehydration and certainly valid.  I'll add extra water to Sid's food, since he's getting up less to go to the water bowl.  That you so much for your kind comments.  :)

 

Jerry - thanks for the link. I'll go along and watch it.  As to the hydro, the thinking is simply that it's really intended to allow him to totally relax his spine in the water, and exercise a bit without carrying his own weight.  It's done at a greyhound rehab facility/racing kennel.

On The Road


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2 May 2013 - 9:13 am
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Jay, I'm really glad to hear the hydro is being done with a qualified clinic that knows greys. Sounds like a good type of therapy for him.

Here in the states veterinary acupuncture must be done by a veterinarian and the same holds true for chiro too. Only two states allow non-vets to practice chiro on animals but it must be done under supervision of a vet. So yeah, I'd see if you can get a referral to another specialist just to see what helps.

I'm sure with some investigating Sid will find some relief. It sounds like all the years of living on 3 legs is catching up, but it's not anything I know you two can't overcome. Hang in there.

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

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
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2 May 2013 - 7:47 pm
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Geez, I'm sorry to read this.  It's quite an ordeal!  Ok, my thoughts: how about getting some rollerblades for yourself?  That way, you can let him really elongate and be as comfy (fast?) as he'd like?  I think it's Maggie's mom who puts Maggie into a Back on Track suit.  Look, they even have one for Greyhounds! http://www.back.....cts/dog/  Maybe that'll help?  What about asking about a mild muscle relaxer?  If not to give him daily, just to have on hand when he's really having a bad day?  Besides all those ideas, it really sounds like he's getting superb care!  I love his water sessions and the thought of him resting while being hosed off and allowed to rest for as long as he'd like.  So sweet!

Keep us posted!

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

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4 May 2013 - 5:03 pm
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Well, Sid has now had another hydrotherapy session, one where he swam for a very short time and then did a lot of supported floating and being moved within the water in a passive way.  By the end of the session he was extremely relaxed - and managed to get himself up (after his shower and extended 'cuddle' session) with minimal help and no squeaking.  And tonight he's been very contented, which is so nice to see.

 

I've discovered a small, swollen tail of muscle just behind his withers.  It was very apparent in the pool today, and we think he's pulled it somehow.  This has clearly been contributing to his pain issues, and we've been misled into thinking it was all at the back end, because ... well, firstly he does get knotted up all along his spine just from being a tripod, and secondly, he's perhaps a tad unusual (I don't know) in that he gets himself down to a lying position by pretty much taking all his weight on his shoulders and just picking up that back leg to tuck underneath himself.  Now, he can't do that very easily because it hurts.

 

I think it's where the trapezius inserts along the spine which has got strained or torn.  He may possibly have done it jumping in or out of the car.  The car has the lowest floor pan on the market and is only 15 inches off the ground, so it's not a huge stretch for a tall dog like a greyhound, but I think I'm going to have to discourage him.  I dug out the ramp today, which he's previously refused to use, and the hydrotherapist and I decided we'd get him to use it.  He had hold of Sid's collar to lead him up, and I had the idea to support his stump to keep him straight.  I had to place his front feet on the lower end, but once I'd taken some weight on the stump, he went up like a lamb!  He came down it, much the same, when we got home, with my DH at the collar end. 

 

I hope we've cracked his reluctance to use the ramp, because I'm sure it will help!

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4 May 2013 - 5:05 pm
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Katy - HAHAHAHAHA!! 

 

Yes, I know you weren't really joking, but you'd laugh too, if you could see me!  I'm 60 this year and have some pain issues of my own along with weak ankles and damaged shoulders.  Roller blades are just not. going. to. happen.  laughinglaughing

 

I looked at the Back on Track jackets, though sadly, the greyhound jacket page won't open.  I think it's not going to work for us, since they need to be used 8+ hours a day.  I'm working on finding a way to get him some Mag-box therapy, but it's difficult because though the crates are intended for racing greyhounds, they're a tight fit and might be very difficult for a mobility challenged tripod, especially a big one.

 

Muscle relaxers ... I've asked my vet about these and I think we might call them something different over here.  He just says 'but those are only used under anaesthetic to paralyse dogs for delicate surgery!'   Would it be something like one of the milder tranquilisers that you are talking about?

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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4 May 2013 - 10:29 pm
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Yes, and you have a huge heart fully intact and a courageous and strong will , along wth a huge capacity for love:-) :-)
And there's nothing weakened or damaged about a spirit like that!
Sending you the best, Sally and Happy Hannah

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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4 May 2013 - 10:42 pm
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Hey I'm glad he had a good hydro session, and that you spotted that strained muscle. Nice work! Hopefully that's exactly what the problem has been and you can start to focus on un-knotting it.

That's pretty cool about your success with the ramp! Yay! Is it easy to carry around with you in the car?

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

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5 May 2013 - 3:02 am
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Katy - I've added this as an edit to my previous post but then though you might not see it:

I looked at the Back on Track jackets, though sadly, the greyhound jacket page won't open.  I think it's not going to work for us, since they need to be used 8+ hours a day.  I'm working on finding a way to get him some Mag-box therapy, but it's difficult because though the crates are intended for racing greyhounds, they're a tight fit and might be very difficult for a mobility challenged tripod, especially a big one.

 

Muscle relaxers ... I've asked my vet about these and I think we might call them something different over here.  He just says 'but those are only used under anaesthetic to paralyse dogs for delicate surgery!'   Would it be something like one of the milder tranquilisers that you are talking about?

 

Thanks for the suggestions!

 

Sally - that's so sweet of you!  Thank you for those kind words.  :)

 

Jerry - it's not too difficult. It folds in three sections and there's a clip to hold it together.  Luckily, the car is big enough that I can get both dogs in the back plus the folded ramp.  I just have to make sure it can't move and perhaps fall on them if I have to brake hard.

 

 

On The Road


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5 May 2013 - 8:24 pm
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Jay sounds like the ramp works pretty easy. I've heard some can be a real pain. If you ever get a chance to take a pic of the dogs using it I'd love to see that!

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

New Haven, CT
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27 December 2012
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6 May 2013 - 7:12 am
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Hi-yes, I guess I am referring to tranquilizers!  There are different grades, types, and doses.  It may be an option....?  As for wearing the Back on Track jacket, I know Maggie wears hers at night, while she's sleeping.  That way, it's on her for about 8hrs.

Good luck!  I'm unclear, though - since you found that newly obvious muscle knot, does that mean you know where he needs the most attention and will now hopefully get back to feeling better?  Let us know!  I hope your pup gets back his mobility really soon.

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

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