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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Sudden pain and trouble walking
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Member Since:
20 March 2024
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22 June 2024 - 9:41 am
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Hello! My 13 year old Australian cattle dog mix tripawd, Cali, is about 3 months post op and has suddenly started regressing with regards to pain and mobility. She had osteosarcoma in her front left leg and it was removed in March. It took her about a month to get comfortable with walking short distances, but had been doing great and not to mention had been getting carboplatin every 3 weeks and handling it really well! Last week we left her with a dog sitter while on vacation and when we came back Cali was obviously in pain and struggling to get up and walk. We suspect that the dog sitter over-exerted her which I feel so guilty about. 🙁 Nonetheless, we are trying to figure out what to do. We went to emergency and they suspect soreness/injury, although could not pin point it to anything specific. So she is on 200mg gabapentin 3x day and her prednisone dose was increased to 15mg (already on it for an autoimmune skin thing). It’s been about 4 days and she doesn’t seem to be getting worse, but not significantly better either. Pain seems to be worse in the morning, and slight improvements in the afternoon/evening day by day. I have two questions: when to see a rehab specialist (do we wait until pain is better)? And when do we start suspecting something scary like mets to another bone and doing more extensive imaging? Thanks all! It’s so hard to know what to do. 

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20 March 2024
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22 June 2024 - 9:50 am
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Forgot to mention that the pain seems to be in her hind end or back - back legs seem weaker and more splayed and she is hunching her back when standing or walking. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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22 June 2024 - 11:27 am
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Bummer sweet Cali is having this challenge, especially  after doing so well.

  I have two questions: when to see a rehab specialist (do we wait until pain is better)? And when do we start suspecting something scary like mets to another bone and doing more extensive imaging?

What type  of ""tests' did they do at the ER?  You may need xrays or CT to see if  there is any disc /spine issue

Of course, just a guess, but it does seem like she tweaked something  Nothing to feel guilty about......this could  happen sooooo easily with a tripawd regardless of whether you were yome or not..

I would question  the sitter as to what her activity  level was like.and specific when did the sitter notice change in her mobility pain, etc.


When you massage up and down her spine and back area, or shoulders and neck area, does she show any sign of tension or pain?  

You are doing the right thing by keeping her as confined as possible except for potty breaks keeping her on the Gaba and the Pred. I forgot how much she weighs, but you can definitely  ask about increasing the Gabapentin if it doesn't seem like the dose she is on now is helping much with the pain.

Keep us posted and update when you can. Try not to jump to worse case scenarios (like we all do on thos crazy journey) and give her some time to rest her muscles, joints, etc


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

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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22 June 2024 - 2:58 pm
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Aww I'm so sorry that she is not getting around well! It does sound like she might have pulled a muscle. That is the most common thing we see around here, and it's happened to us with our Wyatt Ray . Don't beat yourself up, we all learn how to manage our Tripawd's activity as we go.

Since she's a senior dog and has other health issues, I wouldn't wait to get this looked into by your vet and also a rehab therapist.

Rehab therapists are so skilled at identifying what the source of pain can be, especially if the therapist is also a veterinarian. Call now to make an appointment (waits can be long), while you continue waiting to see if she finds relief.

Also let your regular vet know what is going on, and ask if Methocarbomol (a muscle relaxer) might be a good addition to her pain control. Amantadine is another one that is helpful, it works on different pain pathways to reduce pain. Usually a combination of meds, not just Gabapentin, can be a good mix in a situation like this.

Unfortunately pain relief isn't a one-and-done thing and it often takes more than medication to get it under control. Massage, acupuncture, and other modalities are things that can be really helpful too. Has she been to a therapist yet? If not remember that Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit . 

If a therapist finds that she isn't getting better, they may recommend more diagnostics. Your vet may recommend them sooner. So, I would talk to them first.

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