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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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Thunder post op muscle spasms?
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Forum Posts: 18
Member Since:
1 January 2019
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11 January 2019 - 12:41 pm
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Hello – 

Our pup Thunder had right hind leg amputation 7 days ago. He’s finally getting up and walking to go outside to potty. He seems to be restless at night.  I’ve noticed more yesterday & today that he’s really just moving from place to place to lie down and he’s hunched over when walking more often than not.  How can I tell if he’s having back muscle spasms? That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Still in a cone & has stitches for 5 more days. Pain managed with Tramadol & Gabapentin every 8 hours (getting one or the other every 4 hours). 

The Rainbow Bridge

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11 January 2019 - 10:25 pm
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Hmm, based on the behavior you’re describing (restlessness, hunched over), he definitely sounds like he is exhibiting some of the pain signals dogs give. You can try to see if these massage tips help.

You may want to ask your vet if it’s OK to give the Tramadol and Gabapentin together, or ask about Amantadine or Methocarbomol (a muscle relaxer), which can be beneficial and given in addition to the drugs Thunder is already taking. 

Also, if at all possible, get Thunder to a certified canine rehabilitation therapist for an evaluation. The Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first visit, so please take advantage of the program.

We hope an adjustment to his pain medication helps him feel better! Let us know.

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Forum Posts: 2916
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13 January 2019 - 9:22 am
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Yes, many times the medications need to be tweaked in the timing /  dosage, and sometimes adding an additional drug to the mix. One week is still really early in the recovery process so please also make sure you are resting him as much as possible. Eating, drinking, sleeping, medication, and short potty breaks should still be your priority right now. 

When walking slowly, Huck has that funny kind of “hunched” stance that you speak of, but I think it is easier for them to get a rhythm going when walking on three. The restlessness sounds like he may be uncomfortable. It will def take time for him to get used to his new “normal”. Age and size can be a factor here, and like I said you are still early in the recovery stages.

Hang in there, you are doing a great job!

Jackie and Huckleberry heart


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

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16 January 2019 - 4:30 pm
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Hello, my guy Beau also had a rear leg amputation 11 months ago.  What really concerned me afterwards was how hard it seemed for him to get comfortable!  He moved around a lot, especially at night. It was very stressful.  He also would get muscle spasms in the hip area (mid femoral amputation) of his amputated side which was also really concerning and no one prepared me for. So, the muscle spasms stopped after a while, he is much more able to relax now but he does not sleep like he used to. He moves around often, less then in the beginning but still a lot and sometimes he groans. He is, however, almost 11 with a history of some arthritis which is certainly getting worse. 

Definitely expect your pup to move around often and not sleep well but know that this likely will improve quite a bit over time. The first few months were very stressful as we all adjusted to a new normal.  Hang in there!

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