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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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Santa Fe, NM


Member Since:
19 July 2016
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1 October 2016 - 11:37 am
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I'm just going to throw this out there. About 60% of the time I think I'm being silly or misunderstanding the situation but I am unhappy each time I walk away from a rehab appointment and would love a little perspective.

I told the doctor when we started I wanted exercises I could do with Isa at home, knowing full well the budget is on the thin side. And she has done that, we have near-microscopic drawings that almost make sense having had the exercises demonstrated during the appointment(s). The first appointment was probably the most reproducible because the doctor's assistant filmed most of it on my phone.

The appointments are a half-hour long and feel incredibly rushed. They haul Isa around the obstacle course du jour and it doesn't seem like she has a chance to figure out what they want of her. Although that latter bit could me my imagination. The doctor never follows up with me to see if we've done any homework or if I have had any questions come up between appointments. She explains the layout and adjustments to make as Isa gets stronger but there's no sense that she is checking to make sure I "get" it. Maybe assuming it's all laid out on our handout? But if I'm to reproduce some/any of this at home, lumber dimensions would be helpful, if not necessary.

This is a side issue but she's also been itching to take the bandage off Isa's arm to get a look at the wound, and of course she would rebandage it. She also wanted to get her laser on it. Aside from feeling like she was second-guessing my vet, the absolute last thing I need, I also know my vet and he would not be remotely happy about that (he has a few control issues - doesn't take long to figure that out.) I felt like I was caught in the middle between the two of them, albeit at distance. Thankfully, she finally dropped it.

The appointments may change up now that the bandage is off and we can try a little hydrotherapy. I'm very curious how that will go, regardless of the other appointments. And I may take her up on the laser if it will harden off the skin on her elbow so I can genuinely quit worrying about it.

So what experience have the rest of you had? Is this "normal" and I am making up issues where none exist? There is another place in town for rehab so I do have options.

Thanks all and happy weekend!

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

London, UK


Member Since:
15 December 2015
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1 October 2016 - 12:10 pm
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Doesn't sound normal to me, and doesn't sound satisfactory, frankly. The fact you feel unhappy every time you walk away says a very great deal, I think. 

We see a rehab vet regularly too and for me it's really important to have a sense of working as a team, that's you, rehab vet and your regular vet, and, of course, Isa as well. You will be doing far more rehab with Isa than anybody else. You need to be able to ask ANY questions, no matter how foolish (I'm speaking for myself...), and good communication between you is absolutely essential. 

At the start of each appointment my vet checks Meg all over with her hands and decides if she needs any acupuncture/laser etc. for areas of tension. She also asks me how she's been and how we've been getting on with the exercises. She may demonstrate an exercise, but it is usually me who does them with Meg while she watches and instructs. 

She also has a website and we have a log in to Meg's own area, where her current exercises are shown, with video clips of them being performed. 

Meg LOVES going to rehab, which says a lot too I think. 

I think you are wise to air your doubts and I think you should listen to your gut. I know it can feel awkward to switch, but if the other place could give you what you need... How did you find this rehab vet? Did your own vet recommend her? Mine work closely together and I find that a relief as I've felt caught between professional egos before. Stressful and unconstructive. Do either of the rehab practices have customer reviews online?

i don't think you are being REMOTELY silly. You are at the most basic level paying for a service and not getting what you need. You have every right to ask questions and try the other practice. It's not your job to keep everyone happy, only to find what's best for you and Isa. 

Good luck with it all!

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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1 October 2016 - 2:11 pm
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Being silly? Not at ALL. If you aren't happy, you have the choice to get help elsewhere.Don't feel bad, just look for another practitioner. The Canine Rehab Institute directory is helpful. Also, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management Directory has many practitioners that offer rehab.

Is this current rehab therapist a certified CCRT or CCRT practitioner? Just curious. If you switch, make sure the next one is certified. There are too many out there who say they do rehab but are not certified by the leading two organizations to do it. Since no regulations exist for this type of work (yet), anyone can hang a shingle out front and say they're a rehab therapist.

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

Idaho
Member Since:
12 March 2013
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1 October 2016 - 10:12 pm
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Murphy saw a certified rehab vet after his total hip replacement. We didn't start the rehab until he was cleared by his orthopedic surgeon to start exercising. He would go in twice a week, dropped off at nine in the morning and picked up around 4:30 pm. We live about an hour from the facility, and I would drive him in in the morning and go home during the day. They would work him on various exercises throughout the day, with rest periods in between. They showed me how to do his exercises at home and discussed his progress with me at every session. He did eight weeks of therapy the first time and then would go in for periodic "tune ups" when he needed them.

I have several videos of his exercises posted on his YouTube channel, Murphy the Three Legged Dog. Unfortunately, due to a computer glitch somewhere along the line, the channel got deleted and had to be rebuilt from the beginning. I know there are several more videos that just disappeared into the Ethernet.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Santa Fe, NM


Member Since:
19 July 2016
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2 October 2016 - 11:03 am
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Thank you all!

yes, this rehab vet is CCRT certified and is a DVM and actually was recommended by Renee/Tripawds but I'm not sure if it was based on her rehab cred. She does check Isa when we first walk in for areas of tension, etc. but I don't see that it makes any difference in what follows.

Rehab doc and my vet are definitely not working together. For that matter, I love and trust my vet but am occasionally frustrated with his lack of home care instruction and communication. When I picked Isa up after her amp, aside from instructions to call if her incision got ugly, we were to "take it easy." It was another week before I found Tripawds in a random internet search in spite of there being brochures in his lobby. sorry, that was off topic but I guess I needed to get it off my chest.

Meg's rehab sounds fantastic -  wish we could go there but I think that might be a bit of a commute! Isa does seem to enjoy the exercises and she is wiped out afterward, even into the next morning in some cases. She's not the pupster she once was.

I'll look for Murphy's you-tube videos. I love to meet other tripawds. Such a bummer when stuff disappears into the ether. Where in Idaho are you? I lived in Boise for almost ten years (and my sister and niece are still there) before moving to New Mexico.

So funny you tell me it's not my job to keep everyone happy - I'm only now beginning to remember that.   

My other rehab option is certified if I recall (need to double-check), and has a zillion reviews on Yelp, all of them heartily enthusiastic and has all the bells and whistles (laser, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, etc.) of the other place. All things considered, it makes zero sense not to switch up. What do I/we have to lose? I'll report back on the new place, for consistency's sake.

Thanks everyone - it really does help to know I can assess a situation with some accuracy (i.e., I'm not crazy!)

Teri and Isa.

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

London, UK


Member Since:
15 December 2015
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2 October 2016 - 11:14 am
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So funny you tell me it's not my job to keep everyone happy - I'm only now beginning to remember that.  

Takes one to know one, lol.

Good luck with trying out the new place. And yes, do let us know how you and Isa get on.

All best,

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Idaho
Member Since:
12 March 2013
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2 October 2016 - 1:53 pm
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HI Teri!
We are in Fruitland, about an hour from Boise on the Oregon border. Murphy had all of his surgeries done in Sun Valley (we were in Stanley when he had his accident). He went to Dr Dowdell at WestVet in Boise for his rehab. We loved her and her staff. Let your sister know about her, should she ever need a rehab vet. WestVet is in the process of building a whole new facility, and it will include an actual lap pool for hydrotherapy, in addition to Murphy's favorite thing...THE TANK..

Good luck with checking out the other rehab vet. It makes such a difference when you have confidence in your doctors.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 October 2016 - 9:25 pm
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Really glad you losted your concerns! Now you jave some comparisons and can measure your experience against others. And yeah, it looks like yoj are not getting the results on so many levels that you should!!

Look forward to hearing about the "new and improved"' Rehab experience!!

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!

Member Since:
15 July 2016
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4 October 2016 - 8:25 am
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Hi Teri,

I know you were following Milo's pain management thread, but thought I'd share here, too.

Because Milo was initially part of a clinical trial at Tufts University, we had access to a wide range of specialists.  We visited Dr. Alicia Karas who is an anesthesiologist, professor, pain management specialist who also does acupuncture. She felt up Milo and suggested all he needed was a chiropractor.  She recommended Dr. Rogers at Integrative Animal Health in Bolton, MA who is closer to my house.  Dr. Roger's has seen Milo twice now and he seems to be in the best orthopedic shape he's been in since surgery. 

Visit one was 20-25 minutes hands on dog, plus 15-20 minutes up front discussion about him. It included a crazy loud crack and pop as she aligned his pelvis!  Visit two was 15-20 minutes hands on dog.  Another crack with his left pelvis, but not as loud. She said adjustments were all smaller versions of week 1.  She said come back in 2-3 weeks for round 3.  During the treatment, she is chit-chatting with me, asking about Milo with hands on him, and I'm asking her about what she feels and does.  It's a very easy, very inclusive feeling.   

I asked both Dr. Karas and Dr. Rogers about acupuncture and physical therapy. Both thought chiropractor was probably sufficient at this point. I appreciated not feeling pressure to also partake in acupuncture or hydrotherapy or physical therapy or anything else offered.  They approved of the cookie stretches, sit-stands, and walking-on-the-bed exercise we do on our own as sufficient physical therapy for now. 

If I were in your shoes, I'd walk away, probably to the detriment of my dog.  I have enough stress and guilt in my life. I don't need to pay someone to add more stress!  Fortunately, it sounds like you have another option.  Maybe they can help Isa AND You.  Hopefully they can give you the feeling we get of calm, short-and-sweet teamwork.

Peace,

Jenifer & Milo 

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