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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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XL dog-Back feet knuckling after front limb amputation?
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Member Since:
22 December 2016
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6 January 2017 - 7:33 am
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Hello, my St Bernard, Bella, had a front limb amputation last week. She has not been able to get up, stand, or walk on her own. She hasn't come home yet.

I had 2 orthopedic surgeons evaluate her before amputation to make sure there were no other issues other than the pain in her leg from bone cancer. And an orthopedic surgeon did the amputation.

She had 2 transfusions the day after surgery because her red blood cell count was too low, and was put on medication because she started having heart arrhythmia. None of which existed before.

One suggestion was that she might of had a blood clot during or after surgery. She has been on blood thinners for 4 years to prevent strokes. So, I'm doubtful except for the transfusion?

has this happened to anyone? Back feet knuckling after amputation?

I have a physical therapist coming to the hospital today to hopefully provide more information.

any other big dog owners with this issue?


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 January 2017 - 11:41 am
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Yes, this has been observed before and various causes have been presented, as well as various solutions.

This is a new observation that just happened, right?

Does she show feeling in her back legs, paws when pinched?

I'm really glad you have the Therapist coming tomorrow and maybe they can offer some solutions.

Does the clinic have access to any neurologic tests?

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to put the links to your post over under Ask A Vet. Perhaps our "volunteer Vet " can offer some insight. She joined this site years ago as a result of her wonderful big Mastiff Tazzie having an amputation.

Otherwise she seems comfortable?

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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 January 2017 - 1:07 pm
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I've got my paws crossed that the therapist will have some insight. That is awesome they're coming in today. Bella is a lucky girl to get such fabulous care, that clinic sounds great.

As Sally mentioned there are other members who have been through similar situations. But it's hard to guess what could be the cause of Bella's mobility issues, all dogs are so different. I know it's hard, but rather than make yourself crazy thinking about so many different experiences and their own reasons for the mobility issues, stay strong and know that with the help of the therapist you should have some answers today. We'll be waiting for an update.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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6 January 2017 - 1:59 pm
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Isn't Patchy the Pirate a St.?   He had his amputation last March - I don't think he had the same level of problems, but perhaps you can PM 5chuppies just to see what their experience was like. 

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 January 2017 - 6:22 pm
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Yep, here's Patchy's blog for the whole story:

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Durham, NC
Member Since:
16 September 2015
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6 January 2017 - 9:41 pm
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I was hoping that big, beautiful Bella was up and around now. St. Bernards are enormous so I imagine it's a much steeper "learning curve" so to speak. Any luck finding booties? Let us know what the therapist says and know we are all rooting for you and your beauty!

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

Member Since:
2 December 2016
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7 January 2017 - 6:40 am
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Bella, how did your PT consult go? How was your day? Bella, there is no right or wrong way to recover, no set time frame, and nothing you NEED to do other than be pawsitive.

Heffalump had a VERY unique recovery- as many have here in TriPawds Nation- but it is hard to remember that when there are so many stories of quick(er) recoveries. Heffalump never walked again but went on to beat the statistical odds, have a second surgery, go through chemo, and continued to be a very happy dog! ( We just had to make very different accommodations for him:) 

Knuckling under could be caused by many things and explains why Bella does not get up YET. Neuro, blood clots, meds complications or sensitivity, etc. CharlieBear , in his most recent vet visit, met a MASTIFF who had a benign tumor on his spine who, after surgery, had to relearn to walk over a period of months. And CharlieBear's cat Sophia " SoSo" was nerve damaged by a vet tech ( via shot) when she was elderly or threw a blood clot....( it was the vet tech but we are being generous here)...she dragged her back legs but after a period of time ( and prednisone, etc.) made a full recovery. 

If a neuro consult is available, maybe they would be helpful? As long as Bella is making baby steps ( tail wagging, eating, happy to see you, allowing them to get her up, etc.), I'd say she is STILL BEING MORE DOG!!! 

Hang in there, sending huge , giant sized hugs and Bella kisses and loving PyrPaws all around!


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9 January 2017 - 10:11 pm
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Just know we are all thinking of you and are always here for you no matter what.

I don t think our volnteer vet has seen the post yet.

Anyway, just know we care and are here.

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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