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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Sudden disinterest in her dog beds - wanting to be in smaller, contained spaces
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1 August 2022
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18 August 2022 - 8:51 am
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Hi! My 11 YO girl Marley had surgery exactly 3 weeks ago. She is doing well for the most part, but tore her ACL a few days into recovery and we're dealing with that on top of the initial recovery. I've been posting about that in the Treatment forum. So, it's been an exceptional rollercoaster for us! But we're making it through.

One thing that's been fairly new with Marley's recovery over the past ~week is that she hasn't wanted to go on any of her dog beds (she has 3 down in her "recovery room" - yes I have a problem) which previously she loved to stretch out on, both before and after surgery. She also doesn't want to sleep on the real bed whatsoever. Again, something she previously loved and has done her entire life. I should note two of the dog beds are orthopedic beds, so they are firmer, and the third is basically a fluffy pillow. What she HAS been doing, however, is wanting to wedge herself into any space that seemingly gives her body some support or even a feeling that something is "there", and she will fall asleep that way. For example, I've found her wedged in tiny spaces like between the shower and the wall, or awkwardly trying to lie against the wall with her head underneath a low table (hard to explain, but it didn't look comfortable and when I moved the table, she went right back for iticon_lol). For her... this is out of character. I recently set up her crate to transport her somewhere and we left it set up and she has been sleeping in there quite a bit too. I think the support to her back and body makes her feel more comfortable?

We took her to the vet yesterday for something unrelated and she didn't have any obvious pain when they did a physical exam. When I mentioned these symptoms to the vet--someone we haven't seen before--she didn't have a good answer and probably thought it was tied back to recovery, but it just seems weird to me this happens later in recovery and not initially. She is also still on gaba 3x/day.

Anyway, just curious if anyone else has gone through this. You guys always have great suggestions and I want to make sure I'm not missing something big here. We are obviously still in recovery, I just want to make her as comfortable as possible. I don't mind if her crate is her new comfy spot, it just means we need to haul it between floors in order for her to use it, or get another one.

The Rainbow Bridge


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18 August 2022 - 11:35 am
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Hmm, now that is an interesting situation, I'm glad you brought it up.

I know that with our Jerry, trying a new bed during recovery was not something he wanted to do. We got him orthopedic beds and he went back to his floppy, lumpy Costco bed! It's interesting that Marley won't sleep on her beds that were there before she had surgery.

Being that she is only 3 weeks out, that is not a long time for a senior dog to feel their new normal. So she's not really later in recovery, she's on her own timeline. Even if she's not showing pain signals , she's probably feeling tired, a little weak, and the extra security of being in a small, confined space is much like how dogs in the wild will go hide away in a den of some sort so they can heal or be alone. 

Are the surfaces cooler than her usual spots? Many dogs prefer lying down on cooler spaces when they are achy. How is her behavior otherwise? Is she showing affection? How are her social behaviors? Any different than before?

And LOL you do not have a problem by creating a recovery room! It's a smart thing to do.

Virginia




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18 August 2022 - 11:40 am
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Also she may be feeling a little more vulnerable now that her cruciate  has been more noticeable  since amputation???   So, as Jer4y said,  being in a more "sheltered" space may make her feel more secure????

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 August 2022 - 8:00 am
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Her behavior is pretty up and down honestly, but she has definitely never gone back to being "her" since surgery and this week is has taken a definite downturn. I feel like I don't have the same dog, but just chalked it up to recovery - very hard to separate normal recovery from "hm something is off." I see very rare snippets of her usual personality (she was very playful, feisty, "bratty"/spunky before this - always talking back to us and bringing us her bone so we could put peanut butter in it, super cuddly and resting her head on my lap - now she does none of this), but for the most part, she looks sad/anxious to me most of the day. She's either sleeping, or whining and pacing...no in between. She isn't as affectionate as she was but she lets me cuddle her. I was thinking back to how she was before all this (with the tumor but pre-amputation), and she would sleep quietly most of the day and start to "perk up" around 4-5PM. So she's pretty used to sleeping all day and having that low energy for a large chunk of the day. It doesn't explain why all of a sudden her energy is RAMPED up. Her behavior with other dogs is mostly the same (reactive). I was so sure once we could get her upstairs around the rest of the family she would perk up and the anxiety would decrease, but if anything, it's only increased (and damn, it's hard to cover up ALL my hardwood with these ugly runners! Lol).

Last night I got her up on the bed and she slept soundly from 9-11PM. She was stretched out and seemed content, and she rotated and slept on both sides of her body. Once 11 hit, she was up panting, pacing, hopping on and off the bed, hopping around the living room, again trying to wedge herself into tiny spots she can't fit into. She will lie in a spot for 5-30 seconds then either immediately jump up or she'll sometimes yelp in pain (phantom pain ?) and jump up and look scared. I gave her her gaba dose (30 mins late as we were sleeping) but I'm not even sure it's doing much anymore TBH. So we were up for 2.5 hours trying to get her to calm down - eventually I just made her go in the crate and locked the door at 1:30AM and she immediately settled. When I unlocked the door around 4 in case she needed water, she was right back up to the pacing, panting, trying to lie on either side of my bed on the floor, jumping on and off the bed, etc. She's been doing this with my hubby for the past week but last night was the first night I slept with her so I saw it with my own eyes and it was upsetting.

She is right back at it this morning pacing, panting, and getting up and down over and over as I'm working in my office. We've still been taking her on leashed walks through the yard, and we also left the yard and went for a tiny 5-minute walk this AM too. Maybe she's just restless from being cooped up and not being able to go where she chooses when she chooses? But I obviously can't let her walk very far with her ACL still healing. I have tried a few mental stimulation type games with food but she is pretty meh about it.

SUPER frustrating. And I feel awful for her because she is obviously really stressed out. I can only describe her eyes as...wild.

The Rainbow Bridge


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19 August 2022 - 11:43 am
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I'm so sorry, I can hear the frustration in your voice. I'm in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Back in a sec.

The Rainbow Bridge


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19 August 2022 - 11:56 am
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Ok, so you and Marley have been dealt a double whammy. The amputation, and the cruciate tear. This is a LOT for any dog to deal with but especially a senior dog. And at three weeks out, it's not a long time for even the most fit young dog to get their personality back. I know you don't see her old self again and of course it makes you sad, I would be too. Based on what I've seen in our community, here's what I can suggest:

Talk to your vet about these episodes asap. These are very likely pain signals she is giving based on what you're describing. Her current pain control is not enough, it very likely needs some adjusting. 

Is the vet you've been talking about this a credentialed rehab therapist (CCRT / CCRP / AARV)? I can't tell from your other post. If not, now is the time to start working with one. This is a tricky situation and watching / monitoring may not be the best course of action based on her behavior. Attacking pain from one angle (medication) sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Laser therapy for healing is well-documented but honestly I'm not sure about healing a cruciate injury. A good therapist will use multiple ways to first control the pain (meds + manual therapy + acupuncture etc), then strengthen, then build stamina in order to reach healing. 

Stay strong, Marley is a very spunky girl underneath all of these issues happening right now. That wild look you are seeing is her trying to figure out why she can't do her favorite things. Keep up with the interactive brain games until you find some that really excite her. Consider using different foods in the games to get her motivated. And try as hard as you can to stay strong and positive. Remember, our animals mirror our emotions so we have to set a positive example especially in times like this. YOU CAN DO IT! smiley_clap

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20 August 2022 - 4:40 pm
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Thank you for the offer - we were on our way to laser yesterday. Yes, she is CCRT. I agree we need to tackle from more angles. I did talk to them yesterday about her sudden increase in anxiety and accompanying behaviors, and they still think it's due to the amputation + the ACL injury and her feeling "vulnerable" now that her body is basically a mess. They said they see it a lot with dogs who come in injured, particularly the wedging into small spaces. This makes some sense to me. They said we could try trazodone at night to calm her down, but we've tried that before, and it REALLY spiked her anxiety and she was shivering and panting like crazy and would not leave my side (we huddled up in the washroom). It basically had the opposite effect. Their idea to was essentially keep her more on the main floor (where she doesn't want to be) going to different rooms, playing the brain games in different rooms etc to get her more comfortable. I also ordered another crate and we will put that on our main floor so she can chill in there.

Okay, so here's where my head is at. Yes, I think the above is likely true re: vulnerability. But I ALSO think there is something off with her pain, as you said. Some of it is behavioral, but some of the pain is driving those behaviors. I'm extremely hesitant to load her back up on opiates as she doesn't do well on them. And I'm not sure what else we could try? I've been really trying to figure out where the yelping (that has been present since day 1 of the surgery) is coming from. I had someone come and give her a massage in our house today (lol), and we both noticed her neck is very tender and has a knot in it. She didn't yelp during the massage, but she did yelp earlier when I was lightly rubbing her neck, and she yelped a couple minutes ago when she extended her neck up to look at me. I definitely think there is something going on with her neck. It would make sense too because of the new way they have to walk / hop with their heads sort of doing an up and down wave.

In my mind, the yelping is NOT helping her feel comfortable with her body and regain her confidence. Especially when it comes completely out of the blue (ie she's just standing there, or sitting there). I am not a dog (you don't say), but if I lost my arm one day, and then torn my ACL, and THEN I was just lying down and all of a sudden had a huge surge of pain... I wouldn't really want to lie down much and would probably be pacing around like a crazypants too. Most days there is yelping. I thnk we went 1-2 days with no yelping and I was so hopeful it wouldn't return... btw we did have her on a collar weeks 0-2.5 of recovery and I have switched back to her harness now that her incision is more healed.

So, I think I need to get to the bottom of the neck issue. I am going to ask if they can do acupuncture on the area at our next appointment and then see what they can suggest as next steps, if I do need to see someone else.

BTW, we have been using the snufflemat (I had it in my closet for years and never used it!) with success! 🙂 Thanks again for your kind words + encouragement! Trying so hard to stay strong and do best by my girl.

Virginia




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20 August 2022 - 8:44 pm
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Good assessment:: 

I am not a dog (you don't say), but if I lost my arm one day, and then torn my ACL, and THEN I was just lying down and all of a sudden had a huge surge of pain... I wouldn't really want to lie down much and would probably be pacing around like a crazypants too

You  are doing a Herculean  job of staying the course and continuing  to peel back the layers to determine  what's going on with Marley.

Glad you got some sort of validation. "reassurance " that at least part of the behavior  is related to Marley feeling vulnerable because of so ,any "issues".  Recovering  from MAJOR surgery,  adapting to three, muscle  realignment,  then thr cruciate issue, being "separated " from her normal routine with her family in her usual loving area.

I do think you are definitely on to something  with the pain reaction in his neck.  It can be specifically  neck contained, and still be rooted in the spine.   Xrays would be very, very  helpful  to pinpoint any pinched nerve, vertebra, disc, etc issue. 

May have already mentioned Amantadine as a pain reliever.  Sometimes it's effective  on it's o8n, but also staggered with Gabapentin. 

Can you think of anything different, meds, etc.thst was done the days she didn't  yelp?

Olay, just throwing stuff out there FWIW,

((((((((((((((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!

The Rainbow Bridge


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21 August 2022 - 3:07 pm
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GREAT observations! smiley_clapHere's what stands out to me:

 Yes, she is CCRT. I agree we need to tackle from more angles.

WHEW! Ok that's awesome. I know that a lot of times the clinicians want to give certain treatments enough time to work, so that's probably why they haven't recommended other modalities yet. But I agree that having a talk with them about acupuncture or possibly shockwave therapy needs to happen. These treatments work very differently than laser, and while they can also take several visits to show improvement, it's worth a try.

 They said we could try trazodone at night to calm her down, but we've tried that before, and it REALLY spiked her anxiety and she was shivering and panting like crazy and would not leave my side (we huddled up in the washroom). 

What about trying something else, like a muscle relaxer (Methocarbomol), or Amantadine? Neither are opioids, both address different pain pathways with the double benefit of helping to take the edge off. Trazadone is only a sedative, it doesn't do anything else. Our Wyatt did horribly on Trazadone too, he hated feeling so out of it. He did really, really well with Methocarbomol and Amantadine (at night only).  Not saying it's going to work for Marley too but it's worth having a discussion.

 I had someone come and give her a massage in our house today (lol), and we both noticed her neck is very tender and has a knot in it. She didn't yelp during the massage, but she did yelp earlier when I was lightly rubbing her neck, and she yelped a couple minutes ago when she extended her neck up to look at me.

BINGO! This is not an uncommon thing for new Tripawds. That is something that needs to be discussed with the therapist. Great job finding that pain area!

 we have been using the snufflemat (I had it in my closet for years and never used it!) with success!

YAY! That's an awesome victory! Oh and I do like the therapist's ideas about trying games in different rooms and having the second crate. Let us know how those techniques work out.

I hope she is doing well this weekend. Try not to feel hopeless, this is something that can be worked out, and she can get back to being Marley. It sucks that it's taking this long but I honestly believe based on all the recoveries we've seen here, that this is not a hopeless situation. You are such a good advocate for her, I know you will reach a better place with her! 

The Rainbow Bridge


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21 August 2022 - 3:11 pm
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Oh one more thing you might want to consider is consulting with a veterinary cannabis expert. When the right cannabis products are used in a situation like this, it can be a game changer to relieve pain and anxiety. Not instantly, but over time. But you have to work with qualified people. I can connect you with an expert if you'd like. These are veterinary professionals not affiliated with any product (I'm not either).

See:

https://tripawd.....e-studies/

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26 August 2022 - 4:12 pm
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Ah I wish I had read this earlier! We actually just started her on CBD after speaking with a specialist, day 3, otherwise we would have totally signed up for that. I don't think I've noticed a difference yet (it says do 1x/day for a week, if no difference, increase to 2x/day), but today she did fall asleep on the grass in the backyard about an hour after taking it and was out for an hour...and I don't recall her ever doing that before so maybe?

Last weekend, we had a GREAT day...she actually laid on her bed, in the living room, and slept comfortably for TWO HOURS! Of course, she hasn't done it since lol. Another plus is I took her for a short walk and she barked at a cat (like I mentioned earlier, her personality isn't the same, so any barking actually makes me happy) and did some cute growling/talking to me a few times this week. I am trying to focus on whatever positives I can, while still remaining realistic about our situation.

Since then though, our week has gone downhill. Full of even more restlessness, anxiety, and lots more yelping (I keep a daily tracker of things I'm monitoring on her, along with a rating for each, so I can try to pinpoint our issues...but I really cannot pinpoint the whys on the yelping or restless days). She's also been pretty constipated for a week (I've added pumpkin without much success). The nights were the worst, but now the anxiety is making its way into our day quite a bit too. She will just stand in my office panting (and occasionally yelping) and she can stand for a LONG time. The panting looks like how she would act after we would run sprints up and down the street, feels like a lifetime ago.... completely out of breath and with that HUGE doggy tongue sticking out. I feel so bad for her little body. I'm back to not being sure what is causing the yelping - whether it's the neck or her legs. We may have no choice but to get x-rays, I'm just so tired of her having to be prodded and sedated and we JUST got x-rays last week of her abdomen (they thought she might have GDV..........it was just gas). Every sedation like that makes her act even worse for a couple of days afterward.

We took her in for laser today, and she yelped 4 times on the 40-minute car ride alone. She also really did not want to get laser...first time she's reacted negatively to it. She didn't want to lie down and she squirmed quite a bit. We aren't meeting with the vet until next Weds, so I will bring up those medications you guys mentioned as I think a muscle relaxant may help. I will also discuss other options apart from laser. It's time to be more aggressive or get a plan in place. I also really wanted to get her off the gabapentin just incase it is increasing her anxiety and agitation (I've read it can be one of the side effects, even though it is ALSO prescribed to treat anxiety?!) but I don't know if I can in good conscience with her pain level obviously still up there. On the other hand, I have no even idea if the gabapentin is even doing anything for her anymore - and she's been on it for nine weeks, including pre-surgery.

The Rainbow Bridge


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26 August 2022 - 4:42 pm
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Oh poor Marley, and you! I'm sorry it's been a bumpy week. 

So what kind of CBD product is she getting? I'm nosy and curious.

When she had the really good day last week, what preceded it? What was different about the 24 hours leading up to it? Did it follow the time she fell asleep in the backyard?

You are doing a GREAT job keeping notes! A few things to think about:

When did the constipation kick in? Before or after that anxiety episode you described? If pumpkin isn't working, try olive oil or even some metamucil flakes, see if that helps. Water too. Is she hydrating?

Yes Gabapentin is one of those drugs that can do both, but honestly we rarely see adverse reactions to it here. Not to say that it can't happen though. Good instinct not to change anything until you meet with the vet. 

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26 August 2022 - 8:15 pm
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No, it was today that she fell asleep in the backyard, and the "good day" was last Sunday. I see nothing to indicate what could have fed into it being a good day! We still had a lot of pacing and yelping that day, it's just the sleeping on her bed thing that made it good. TBH her anxiety has only increased since I first started posting about it being an issue, must be about 2-3 weeks now I guess. I do notice an improvement today as it's now 8PM, and I can only count 5 or so "events" of pacing and panting--an improvement over the past 3 days. She slept quite a bit as well and woke up at 9AM even. I did give her Metacam after the vet as she seemed umcomfortable, so it may be a combo of the Meta with the CBD, or just one or the other. Always a Sherlock Holmes game. How much easier would it be if they could just talk!?

She is drinking and eating quite well. The constipation kicked in about a week and a half ago. She has pooped, but when she does, it's pretty runny. I'll try the oil!

The CBD I bought is full spectrum - https://cbdpet......ctrum-500/. I don't know much more about it. Definitely curious to see if it helps her at all. We had tried some when she had her tumor (but pre-diagnosis so we didn't know what we were working with) and I didn't notice much, but I also don't think I was dosing her enough. SHe wasn't agitated back then anyway like she is now so I'm not sure how beneficial CBD would even be with a tumor, which probably constantly hurt. Seems to have good reviews for anxiety and such though.

The Rainbow Bridge


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27 August 2022 - 1:07 pm
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Hmmm, so what I'm thinking is that she fell asleep in the yard out of sheer exhaustion. That, and catching sunbeams is pretty nice too. So a combination of both. That's good either way, rest is medicinal. 

How did last night go?

With her anxiety on the increase, yeah, it's time to act quickly and more aggressively. The constipation could be a sign that her GI system is pretty stressed from whatever pain she is in. I know my stomach hurts when I've got a muscle pull (darn yoga poses!).

Thanks for mentioning the CBD product you purchased. It's a good learning opportunity for me since Canada is a different regulatory system than the US for Cannabis products but the principles are the same. Terms like 'full spectrum' are marketing lingo, and relatively meaningless. It's like how the term "natural" is used for everything these days. Also, there is no one-size-fits-all dosage, which is what makes me cray cray about any cannabis product for pets. It can take fine-tuning to get the dosage to the point of effectiveness, and sometimes in combination with another type of cannabis product. See this post for more info. One more tip: please do not put the dropper directly in her mouth. Doing so contaminates the entire bottle over time, making it less effective. I wish more mfrs would say this! Put it on something like food, away from her main meal.

I've asked the company for a Certificate Of Analysis of the product you purchased, since there is no current copy on their website and that is concerning. A COA will tell you exactly what's in the product, but only if the testing was done by a reputable lab. I'll let you know if/when they send one to me. 

Meanwhile, I hope you guys are having a good weekend!

Virginia




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27 August 2022 - 8:04 pm
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I went back and refreshed my memory on some things.

*Were you ever avle to get her neck and spine checked out further

*Were you avle to check out Methocarbomol and Amantadine (one for pain, one to relax the muscles). 

* I have to believe that the torn cruciate,  adapting to three, make for some very tense and tight muscles that are pain and cause some"fear" of moving the "wrong way" if there's apiched nerve involved, etc etc. Since Marley still seems anxious and the pain is still present without the Gaba, ,aybe that can be I introduced back in to help make Marley  more cmfortable??

Okay...question for steel trap mind JERRY.  Seems there was memver with a vlog (not a forum thread) whose dog was analyzed  by a pain specialist for a  pain source that just couldn't  be identified. After trial and error  whole cocktail of meds, alternatives, etc  finally helped restore quality,    Does any if that ring a bel)]l???

So sorry this us happening, but I have to believe  thus will get figured out.👍👍

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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