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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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When is it reasonable to expect a front amp. dog to be able to be relatively stable on is feet and walk very short distances?
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7 May 2020 - 5:32 am
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Dexter, a very large (120 lb) hound mix had his right front leg removed on May 4th. He spent that night in the hospital, and came home on May 5th in the afternoon. He was still super groggy and it took two adults and all our strength to haul him out of the car, get him inside, and get him back outside to pee before bed. Yesterday, May 6th, he seemed stronger and could get up on his own to change position in bed and has even taken a few steps on his own steam. However, it still takes two of us to take him outside. And he’s super weak and shaky on his feet. I haven’t tried to get him up yet so can’t report on today just yet. He’s alert and I am hoping for some improvement on strength and balance. My question, as stated in the title of this post, is when can I expect to see real progress in the ability to stand and walk unassisted? I realize this depends on a host of variables and no two dogs will ever be quite the same in how they respond, but still, I’d like your opinion on what I should be expecting in these early days. Note that they gave him an epidural, in addition to anesthesia – I have no idea if this impacts the movement of his hind legs or not. Thanks in advance for any information and guidance.

Virginia




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7 May 2020 - 7:53 am
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It is NOT unusual for a dog Dexter’size to not have his sea legs yet, especially  this early on, so no worries!  MJOR AURGERY while adapting to three takes time! 

What meds is hen on now??  Dose amount and frequency.      Once you are sure the pain is managed, you can speak to your Vet about tweaking g the meds a bit.

Apologies for short post….others will chime in to give you reassurance, ,massaging suggestions, etc

Higs

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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7 May 2020 - 12:10 pm
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My question, as stated in the title of this post, is when can I expect to see real progress in the ability to stand and walk unassisted? I realize this depends on a host of variables and no two dogs will ever be quite the same in how they respond, but still, I’d like your opinion on what I should be expecting in these early days. 

Hi Dexter and Mom, welcome. I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk.

You are correct: every dog is different in how they recover. In general, the larger the dog, the longer it takes to get their bearings. Don’t panic at the word “longer…” I mean, maybe a week or two longer than a dog who is smaller in size.

It’s not unusual to need to assist with mobility during the first few days for a dog his size. Also remember, he is wobbly from the medication and the surgery itself takes a lot of energy from the body, so he is healing, but weak right now. That’s totally normal from our experience especially this early. Try to put yourself in his paws. Walk around your house on one leg, then imagine doing it while you’re intoxicated! It’s just like that for him. 

If he has been sensitive to pain medication in the past, this may be a factor in his ability to stand up and go outside. Some dogs find the meds too sedating, some not enough. It’s important to check in with your vet and fully describe what you are seeing so that they can help tweak his medication to suit his physiology.

Meanwhile, I know it seems like he will be like this forever but he won’t, really! He needs time to acclimate and while you can expect some good days and some not so great days as far as his mobility goes, he will get on his feet sooner than you can imagine right now.

And right now, he should only be going outside to potty on his usual schedule. If he doesn’t poop, don’t panic, it’s probably the meds making him constipated. Some dogs take a few days before things start moving along again. Allow him to rest up, and be patient. He will get there!

Keep us posted.

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7 May 2020 - 10:22 pm
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   Dexters Mom, don’t worry my Rotty Ziva is two weeks into recovery and the first night, first day, second night, second day were the roughest. Ziva had a fentynal patch on and that completely zonked her out. It wasn’t till the patch came off she started to seem “normal” again. Even on her Tramadol and Melloxicam she was still,pretty zoned out for a few days. 

    She just needed rest but slowly started making baby steps and soon started making leaps and bounds. You’ll see the same just be patient and your fur baby will do the rest. It’s hard to see them zoned out but it’s for the best right now. We actually had to adjust Zivas meds three times in the first week. Once you dial in the right meds to keep the pain away but not have them all zoned out you will be amazed how fast they get about. 

   Everyone here has been a tremendous help to me and I hope I can help a bit to others. Ask away there are no bad questions here someone has been there done that and will have some great help and/or support you’ll need. Stay strong it gets way better everyday!!

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8 May 2020 - 6:40 am
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Hi Sally, Jerry, and Steve! Thanks for the responses and your words of encouragement! It’s sorta hard to know what to expect – on the one  hand it’s totally major surgery but on the other hand some people’s dogs turn around faster and I just wanted to understand if Dexter was behaving normally or not. Turns out I jumped the gun a little – I wrote before he got up yesterday and after he got up I realized that I was worrying for nothing. He made tremendous improvement yesterday and can stand now stand on his own (with some pretty awesome stability), and hop for a little bit to find a good place to pee. He sort of used to be like an infant – put him on a blanket and he’ll stay there. Now he’s more like a toddler – put him on a blanket, turn your back, and up he gets. Yesterday, he was on thick blankets in the back yard, in some dappled sunlight. I walked away to get him fresh water and when I got back a moment later he’d gotten up, hopped into the garden, and was having his first post-op poop in the lilies of the valley (biggest poop of his life – the lilies may never be the same again, lol). He seems to get stronger by the hour. Last night he had to pee at 1 AM and he did almost everything on his own steam – I helped with the few steps off the porch, but the help was minimal and everything else was on his own. Of course, he is spending 99% of his time sleeping/resting, but each time he gets up the difference from the time before is huge. Given this, I am totally jazzed that he’ll adapt to his new body really well and also am pretty sure he’s not over medicated. (He is on gabapentin and metacam and does not seem to be in any pain). I’m also encouraged that his interest in food is still really good and his mood/attitude is also good. Now that we are through those first two really touch post-op days (Steve you are so right, those really were the worst part of the journey), things are so much better. I am still living in the front parlor of my friend’s place but given his improvement (and the fact that the new and much better harness arrives today) I think it won’t be long before we’ll be able to move home and get up the stairs to the second floor. I won’t push it, but when he’s ready, it’ll be good to be home.

Thanks so much to all of you for helping me through what was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. I am so grateful to you for reaching out, encouraging, and helping us! I hope you all have a wonderful day!!!!

Best,

Laura and Dexter

New York, NY
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8 May 2020 - 12:21 pm
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Hi Laura!  I loved your metaphor comparing recovery to stages of childhood – it is spot on!  Dexter seems to be handling recovery like a champ!  I know Sally will chime in to celebrate about the poop (she always does!), but it made me laugh to read about him wanting some privacy before making a deposit on your flowers!  It is awesome that he is interested in food – and a good sign that his pain is being managed well.  Good for you for being so tuned into what Dexter needs!  Please keep posting with Dexter updates – and photos/videos, too!  Sending hugs from NYC! ~ Stacy

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8 May 2020 - 12:48 pm
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Laura that is AMAAAAZING and wonderful to read about. I especially love your description:

He sort of used to be like an infant – put him on a blanket and he’ll stay there. Now he’s more like a toddler – put him on a blanket, turn your back, and up he gets. 

Watch out, he’ll be a teenager by tomorrow! 😉

Keep us posted on Dexter’s progress. We can’t wait to hear how the next few days go.

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8 May 2020 - 1:40 pm
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   Just remember going up is easier than going down for a front leg amputee. Ziva is just getting the down the stairs smooth. Up no problems. 

    Going down I used Zivas harness to keep tension on her body. It seemed to make her feel more safe and comfortable going down. 

    Going up one day with the harness help and she had those down. In the car is easy out of the car I still hold the harness. 

   Small updates along the way are great. Ziva did her first smell the ground fall over and rub in it the other day. That was a good one. 

Virginia




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8 May 2020 - 2:26 pm
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Oh yeah,, we have to celebrate poopicon It’s a rite of passage so to speak!!  And first poopiconpoopicon in the flowers??  How great is that?!😎

I also love the  “toddler” reference…..perfect description of where he is at this point.  Dexter’s eecovery  is at Dexter’s pace and it’s  very much in the “normal” range for wo early on.  Don’t even like using  the word “normal”, during recovery.  Some are at a slower pace than Dexrer and Ziva, some about the same, and some faster (Yes Griffin, dat B U 😉 )  .

Congrats on all the progress Dextrr is making!!!

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PD…Love that Ziva had her first “smell amd roll”!  👍

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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8 May 2020 - 5:02 pm
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Hi Stacy, thanks for your kind post! LOL re Stacey chiming in re the poo! Hahahah. Stacy, you always said it would happen and you were right! Normally poop not the most acceptable thing to discuss, but it’s super super important for a convalescing dog. Us dog owners all get this! And yeah, Dexter has always been a dog keen on privacy – always wants to poop at a distance, in the tallest weeds/garden he can find. Some things never change. He did it again today, pooping on some lovely plant, lol. As far as I am concerned, he can poop on anything he wants to at this point. I’ll totally keep you posted – thanks for asking. Just need to figure out how to upload videos etc. Hope you are having a good friday evening!

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8 May 2020 - 5:05 pm
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Hahahaha Jerry, thank you. Indeed, I look forward to his teenage days! I’m so grateful, both for his progress and also for the support from you and everyone on tripawds. You guys are all the best! I am so grateful to you all. 🙂

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8 May 2020 - 5:11 pm
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Steve, thanks for your response. I send my best wishes for Ziva. You are right, going down stairs is definitely easier than going up. I help Dexter as best I can. His new harness just arrived and I am jazzed to try this out. I send out love and the best hopes for Ziva – this is so hard for all of us, and thank goodness we have each other to help us all through these tough times!

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8 May 2020 - 5:15 pm
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Oh Sally you are the best!!! XOX. Yes, the first poop (massive!!!) in the springtime flowers was definitely the best. Yes we all just need to embrace where each of our dogs are, and realize that they all move at their own pace. Yay Ziva and her first good roll. We all get through this – as bleak as the first days are. Hang in everyone! 

New York, NY
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8 May 2020 - 6:11 pm
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Hi Laura!  I struggled a bit with the tech side of posting photos and videos, so I’m sharing what I learned.

You can insert photos in a forum post only if the photo lives somewhere online so you can copy and paste the image address (right click on the image online, choose “copy image address”, come to the forum post, and right click again to paste).  If you store photos in the cloud, I think that works.  I created a free blog on the Tripawds website just for the purpose of uploading photos for the forum.  If you go that route, be sure to resize your photos to the smallest (0.25 MP) option before uploading to as not to use all of your storage space quickly.  

The same goes for videos.  Jerry recommended that I create a YouTube channel, which I did (and made private).  Once you upload the video to YouTube, copy the web address for the video (or click the “share” button on the YouTube page for the specific video) and paste it directly into the forum post.  

As you might be able to tell, I really want to see photos and videos of Dexter (and Bella)!  I hope this information is helpful! sp_hearticon2 Stacy

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9 May 2020 - 7:58 am
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Hi Stacy, 

Thanks SO MUCH for explaining how to do this. I am sort of spoiled, I am used to just dragging and dropping jpegs or screen shots where I want them to go so your instructions are much appreciated! I’ll give that a go soon! Thanks also for saying you struggled with the photo thing too! I was feeling a bit dim, lol! Now I know it’s not just me! I do have my images in the cloud but have NO IDEA what their address is. Sigh. I’ll figure it out. 

Hope you are having a nice weekend! 🙂

Best,

Laura

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