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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Amputate or not
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Member Since:
8 April 2022
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12 April 2022 - 4:24 pm
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Thanks for this forum. My boy Gator sees the surgeon today.  He is strong and healthy otherwise but because he is 10 I am getting the ‘be careful the recommendation from the professionals isn’t about the money they make”. Without reading here I may have been too swayed to think such a procedure made sense. 
Lots of praying and talking with him to try to ensure we are ready to do this together and not just because of me. 

‘Update:

We seen the surgeon today. One week after the diagnosis.  Recommendation is to confirm that what the chest X-rays showed via a pre operative CT scan of his chest and X-ray of his spine. The surgery is scheduled for next week. Needless to say I am sad that we are here but my heart wants to fight for the next summer, that next Christmas, that next next. 

Any advice for settling in your heart and mind that you felt you knew you were doing right by what your pet wants. I want to win this battle for the next but I don’t this to be about being selfish. He has been such a blessing to me. I lost out on having kids but this guy gave me more than I could have asked for. 

If we don’t get through to surgery, and advice on tools to help me get him around in recovery. 

On The Road


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12 April 2022 - 10:16 pm
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Hi Gator and family, welcome! I'm so glad you decided to start a new topic. What did the surgeon say?

We often feel selfish when we are first entertaining the idea of going forward with the leg amputation. And it doesn't help when some people in your life reinforce that idea. But is it really selfish to want to give an otherwise healthy dog a good chance at living a pain-free life? Not at all! If Gator gets the all clear, then why not allow your sweet pup to enjoy his time on earth without pain and by your side for the rest of his natural life? Being out of pain and more time with you is a win-win.

As for recovery, check out our What to Expect articles and Jerry's Required Reading List . The Tripawds Recovery Shopping List is a good one too.

Keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
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13 April 2022 - 3:03 pm
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Thanks Jerry, for your reply and info.

The recommendation from the surgeon was to confirm what the chest x-rays showed with a pre-op CT scan and x-ray of the spine.  Based on this confirmation they would amputate the left hind leg.  

Gator has been quite sore since the examination by the surgeon which I was not present for so I can only assume they pushed and prodded him which caused more pain than I have seen him exhibit so far. They also had some concerns that when they laid pressure to his butt that he would give to it. But this has been since he was a puppy and that is the place he is most comfortable for people to show him love. He doesn’t like people touching his head.  So I think this is more of him

My hope is that the CT scan confirms the x-rays and the operation proceeds so that we can move to his next stage of recovery. The waiting is the hardest part and the reality he won’t be here forever. I am severely struggling with the facts that we are where we are at. 

Virginia




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13 April 2022 - 6:40 pm
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Yes, as Jerry said, it's not "selfish " to want to give Gator a chance at a pain free life full of more loving and spoiling and butt rubs.  That's called LOVE!  Your bond is shining brightly through your posts.  Your loving connection with Gator will guide you and help you tune I to what Gator wants.

Did the Surgeon  give you anything for pain?  He probably had some pain before the Vet visit and that got worse with all the  manipulation.   Ask about Gabapentin   if he isn't  already on anything.

Beloeve it or not, once you have a clear and definite plan forward, you will feel a sense of relief.   As you said, the waiting is hard.  Uou are exhausted  emo and phus getting to this point.  We ALL understand  the turmoil and uncertainty when first faced with the prospect  of amputation.   We also understand how, after recovery, you will be so thrilled to see how well Gator adapts and gets on with living life to the fullest!

Aone of THE biggest life lessons our dogs teach us on this journey,  os to stay fully present in the NOW.  Dogs don't  count days on a calendar, they don't  look "forward" to their "next Christmas" or their "next Summer".  They live in the moment and make every moment Christmas Day and every day a beautiful  day of whether it's Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall..  They flow effortlessly  from one moment to the next....no worries sbout yesterday or tomorrow.just enjoying  the bliss of NOW.  We call this Be More Dog .

Stay connected  and update when uou can.  We are here for you and with you, okay?

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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13 April 2022 - 7:46 pm
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Thank you so much for offering your time and support. It is so helpful to hear from others who have such great hearts and willingness to offer advice and support in these trying times. 

He is on pain meds, switched from Raw to cooked food and takes CBD oil. He still wants to walk and I want to take him but have been limiting our distance and just going outside a bit more often even if it is out for a P.  Tomorrow we see our vet for acupuncture and essential oil treatment. All new to us but this vet and her office have shown him such love and attention being that we are so very new to them.  My previous vet would have left it undiagnosed as they were treating him only for arthritis.  Thankful I search for a second opinion and alternative treatment. Praying we moved quick enough to have the chance to move forward with the surgery, chemo and more memories and time together. Thanks for the virtual hugs. 

On The Road


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13 April 2022 - 8:18 pm
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Oh ok thanks for explaining where things are at right now. Yes, it IS hard waiting for the plan! And I totally agree with Sally, there is a huge sense of relief once you know which way things are going. There's another set of worry that comes along with it, but at least you aren't feeling as lost as you once were. I was there too, totally understand.

You are doing everything that a good advocate does for their fur kid, Gator is a lucky dog! Sounds like you have a great vet team looking out for him. Way to go! Be sure to advocate for good pain management right now. This cancer is the most painful one around.

His story is very similar to others here, even our Jerry. His vet also only treated him for arthritis for many months. We felt like we had wasted so much time without that diagnosis of bone cancer. But it all worked out and Jerry thrived and beat the odds. We hope with all our heart that Gator does too!

Please keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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14 April 2022 - 6:58 pm
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Thanks again for the thoughts and advice.   One message that I took from my reading was that averages are just that averages and not specific to each of our own family members. 
Today we seen the Vet for acupuncture and discussed my consult with the surgeon.  Although he recommended a CT scan or redo the X-rays that were done just a week ago. In consultation with the Vet and what I feel is best for us is to move directly into the surgery and move into Chemo as soon as possible. As many here have said, when you finally have a plan it does give you some peace.  This is a journey and a battle but I think this is the best path for us in dealing with this next step. As hard as it seems, because of so many stories here and the confidence of my vet I am okay that we have to give up a limb. 

On The Road


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15 April 2022 - 12:14 pm
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  One message that I took from my reading was that averages are just that averages and not specific to each of our own family members. 

Absolutely! You got the one take-away that makes so much sense. Averages teach us to prepare for the worst, but once we let go of that wanting to control, to know the future, it's all up in the air and it's living in the moment, just as our animals want us to do.

You covered both of your bases and that's good. Going with your gut feeling leaves no room for regret or wondering. I'm glad you found that peace.

And while Gator might be losing a limb, there are many gifts you get in return. No, it's not easy at first, and it will make you sad and question your decision. But ultimately you will view Gator, and life itself, in new ways you never considered. We grow as people when we go through this. And your Tripawds family will be right with you the whole step of the way.

Keep us posted and holler with any questions OK? Check out our What to Expect articles to prepare yourself and your home. Feel free to post anything you're wondering about!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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18 April 2022 - 9:37 am
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Good day, what a rollercoaster ride this journey is turning out to be. Gator and I took a road trip to our cottage to make the most of our last weekend as a four legger.  He did so well and I was trying to seriously manage the distance we did but we have been paying for it the last few days.   I am trying to get him back with pain meds but he still is lame.  Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday 

I had previously decided to avoid the CT Scan of his chest out of fear and being selfish. I didn’t want to give the surgeon a reason to not proceed with the surgeon and give up on us.  It might have been me but I just don’t want anyone to give up on us. 

My Vet who has much better bedside manners than the surgeon said knowledge is Power and I want to give him every advantage I can in his battle.  So I will proceed with the CT Scan and pray the results give nothing but confidence this dog is strong, alive and not giving into this awful disease.

With hope we are praying for the three legged journey. I am so ready for this surgery and ready for that journey than this part of the journey.  

On The Road


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18 April 2022 - 10:54 am
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Your vet sounds great, what a nice relationship to have at a time like this. Go Team Gator!

Are they doing the scan on the same day as the amp? That's how they did it for our Jerry. Just wondering.

Yeah, pain meds don't touch this type of bone pain, unfortunately. It's why making decisions quickly is the best thing to do. Which you are doing, so be proud! 

Stay strong, you can do this!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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18 April 2022 - 11:37 am
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Thanks Jerry, CT Scan is planned for same day.  I never thought I would be in a place where I wanted our leg to get amputated.   

On The Road


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18 April 2022 - 12:19 pm
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That makes total sense. And I agree. This situation is something none of us ever anticipated. When we get a dog, it's the last thing we ever think about, like never! But if it happens, at least you know that there are people who understand and are ready to help. Let us know if we can do anything to assist as you prepare to embark on the journey!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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8 April 2022
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19 April 2022 - 7:11 am
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Good morning, we are now 24 hours before the CT Scan and Surgery.  Over the weekend we went to our Cottage as a pre-surgery bonding and have obviously severely over did it. We didn’t do much but too much. On Saturday you won’t have known Gator had issues. He walked like a champ a short distance to two of his favourite spots (on short leash and slow). But Sunday woke up so sore and I just can’t get him back to pre-weekend with the pain meds. 

We are struggling to walk, have been trying a sling as much as possible but he has alway hated things whether harness, life jacket, winter coat. He is still eating, and I get him up and out every 4 hours to do his business.  Aside from being drowsy from the drugs which might also not be helping he is of sound mind. 

I guess my question/concern is as I watch him right now he doesn’t just lift his sore leg and use 3 well. I am hoping that with his left limb gone and removal of the pain he will respond different. Right now he just doesn’t look like he will be enjoying life on 3 and it is making me question things. I want the surgery and I am believing. Any one have a similar experience prior to surgery?  

Virginia




Member Since:
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19 April 2022 - 7:23 am
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Just popping in quickly to say that yes, he will respond differently once that bum leg is gone. It does sound like he really overdid it and he's probably sore everywhere, not just that leg. Plus, as you said, it sounds like he's on some good pain meds that maybe making him a little wacky. The surgery itself usually takes about 2 weeks plus or minus of recovery time. Adapting to Three Legs, maintaining balance and a good trap odd gate usually takes about 30 days.  I know it's hard not to worry, but what you are seeing right now is no indication at all as to how well he will adapt to three. Also you noted you were taking him out about every 4 hours. You might just wait but the potty breaks until he starts getting really anxious and letting you know he needs to go. Right now rest is probably a good thing. Give  him lots if good massage  all up and down  hus sone, neck and shoulders. Hang in there! This part is hard but surgery it's just around the corner, then recovery, then living life to the fullest on three legs!

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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8 April 2022
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19 April 2022 - 9:24 am
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Thank you, sincerely appreciate your knowledge and experience. This is a tough journey.  So thankful I found this site and they people take the time to help others going through this. 

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