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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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Amputation tomorrow! What am I getting in to?
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Forum Posts: 13
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16 March 2015
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16 March 2015 - 3:41 pm
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I have a wondeful 7 year old yellow lab her name is Bailey. In July she was diagnosed with bone cancer in her front leg after limping for a couple of months. X-rays showed lyctic lesions in her leg.  We decided to go the pain management route because she recently healed from a torn cruciate ligament. It has now been 8 months and she is now walking on only 3 legs and the swelling has gotten really bad. We took her to the vet today and realized what a trooper she is.  We were taken aback when we found out the cancer had completely eaten away at her bone and where the tumour mass is there is no bone left and on top of this she has a fracture. Her spirits are still up she runs outside and plays catch, has not ost her appetite so we couldnt imagine putting her down.  This time we were presented with the option of amputation. They seem to think she will be fine he has been walking on three legs for months already and x-ray scans of her chest show it has not spread. They dont think it is osteosarcoma, we never got a biopsy to find out exactly what it was.  So now we are rushed in a whirlwind and are having her leg amputated tomorrow. Any words of wisdom would be great and what I am going to expect over the next couple weeks.  She will be at the vet for two days and she should have her home by Wednesday. Love one anxious doggy mom. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 March 2015 - 5:22 pm
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Hi Justine,
I’m so sorry you are going through the bone cancer journey. That’s interesting the vets don’t think it’s osteo. Did they say what it could be?

I know this is scary but we are here to help make it as easy as posible. Have you checked out Jerry’s Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books Library yet? Hop on over for some tips & ideas about managing both before and after surgery.

Sounds like your girl is healthy and strong and will do great. Recovery isn’t always a breeze but the more pawsitive you are, the more she will believe it. If I can give any advice at all it’s to remember that our dogs sense our feelings and whatever we project, they respond to.

Stay tuned, our pawesome members will chime in soon! you will also typically find folks in our chat room during the evening so stop by. Keep us posted, we’ll be thinking of you tomorrow!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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South Jersey
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16 March 2015 - 5:30 pm
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Awww! I’m so sorry you and Bailey are dealing with this! We actually just got our 10yr old pup’s leg amputated on the 6th and I must say….it’s not even 90% as bad as you think it is going to be. Jilly had her leg amputated due to OSA and that was on a Thursday, we picked her up Friday and she actually seemed pretty normal (maybe a little loopy from the meds). By the third day she was home she was pretty much back to her old self (back before she was limping and was happy)! Some of the meds they give make her sleepy and she only cried and was restless the first night…the second night she was a little restless but nothing major (sorry! Jumping around here a lot!). The vet said not to let her sleep in our bed, but we did anyway because it was the only way she could get comfy. She came home with a bandage, no drain, and we took the bandage off on Sunday. She had little bruising and no drainage or anything so we got lucky on that front. I really would do it over and over again if I had to. It was THE BEST thing we have ever done for her. She is so much better. I read this article that said “It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four.

Just be careful the first few days that Bailey comes home. She will still be getting used to her new walking situation and may fall a few times. Try to make sure she isn’t going up or down any stairs. I think that’s about it! You will not regret your decision! Promise! :) Good look to both you and Bailey!

 

Kim

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16 March 2015 - 6:44 pm
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Jerry, 

Thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated this is definitely a scary journey.  The vet thinks that it is some sort of joint cancer, because they said Osteosarcoma spread quick and it never crosses over to another bone no matter how debilitating it becomes and hers did.

Kim thanks for your input to its nice to hear of someone else’s journey. Im glad to hear its not as bad as I think it is going to be the part that is killing me the most is two days without her! So the healing time is quick though and I should have my regular puppy back to normal soon?

 

Thanks again.

 

Justine

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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16 March 2015 - 6:59 pm
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Many good thoughts for you and Bailey.  The decision to do the surgery is probably the hardest ever. I wasn’t convinced we had done the right thing until the morning we picked her up from the hospital.  The tech brought her out and she had a tentative look on her face, like she was wondering how we would react the the new look.  As soon as she saw nothing had changed, we still loved her the way she was, she never looked back.  She was a strong warrior princess, who continued to live life on her terms.

Have faith that all will work out for you and Bailey. Take the recovery period slow and easy, and let her guide you.  She will tell you what she can do – unless she is just totally crazy, and then don’t let her hurt herself :)

This is a strong support community you can lean on through your journey. 

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

South Jersey
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16 March 2015 - 6:59 pm
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justinehilborn said
Jerry, 

Thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated this is definitely a scary journey.  The vet thinks that it is some sort of joint cancer, because they said Osteosarcoma spread quick and it never crosses over to another bone no matter how debilitating it becomes and hers did.

Kim thanks for your input to its nice to hear of someone else’s journey. Im glad to hear its not as bad as I think it is going to be the part that is killing me the most is two days without her! So the healing time is quick though and I should have my regular puppy back to normal soon?

 

Thanks again.

 

Justine

That was hard for me as well! She is my shadow and I am normally tripping over her and then she just wasn’t there which gave me an incite as to what it will be like when we lose her and I was so upset. Plus my hubby has been working over nights and she is my sleeping cuddle buddy so I would roll over and the bed would be empty and that was hard. So I just tried to keep myself occupied. Recovery time for us was literally like she was back to normal within 2 to 3 days. Sometimes she pants a lot for a while but I read that’s normal with the amputation and medication and even now she’ll shiver at the amputation site which I also read is normal since the muscles and nerves need to learn how to work without the leg. But other than that, I haven’t had any issues. Oh! Yesterday I did pick her up to take her down the stairs and her incision site was toward my chest and when I went to pick her up she screeched but I normally carry her on the other side so I understand why that happened. And she’s been growling at the kids when they hang on her but hasn’t nipped them or anything. I think they are probably just annoying her, which I totally get. But I was surprised at how fast the recovery was! You’ll be okay and she will do great! :)

oh! And she did get diarrhea from the antibiotic and the vet had us switch her food to just chicken and rice (3 parts rice 1 part chicken) for a few days until it got firm again (gross I know!). 

Kim

Virginia
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16 March 2015 - 7:54 pm
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Welcome,  Justine and Bailey. You have come to the right place.  Do download Jerry’s Required Reading if you can. You will find answers to your many questions there. Before your pup comes home, make sure your floors are not slippery. If you have wooden or tile floors, scatter rugs with a nonslip bottom  would be helpful. A raised food and water bowl are also really good to have for your pup. Give your Bailey a little time to heal and get used to her new gait. Don’t let her overdo it, even though she may think she can. Also, know that your pup will be so much happier. Stay connected here and ask questions for whatever your girl is going through as she heals. Sending you some positive vibes. 

PA
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16 March 2015 - 9:15 pm
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My homer is an 8 year old lab and is a week out from his amputation.  He is doing well. The main issue is that the pain meds make him zoney and he has had some yelping which is not related to the surgical site.  

First couple of days were hard but it is getting much easier.  Tomorrow the staples come out. 

I must say that even though I would prefer him to have 4 legs still, he is cute hopping around and is now even more special.  He’s not bothered by being a tripawd but he really wants to go up steps but not yet!

the support here is great!  We are just beginning. They think it is osteosarcoma of some sort. Not typical by X-ray.  

Good luck to u guys

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17 March 2015 - 11:30 am
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Just dropped Bailey off, now the hard part waiting…..

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 March 2015 - 4:22 pm
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Kim dont’ be afraid of poop talk with this crowd, it’s one of our favorite subjects! ;)

Well I remember that feeling well, i know this is so nervewracking. Focus on the pawsitive: that bad leg will be gone and it sounds like it’s not osteo, which is GREAT!

Hang in there. I’m in the chat room now if you want to talk. Load the page and scroll down, then wait for the box to load. If you don’t find me in there by the time you come around there’s usually folks in there at night, eastern time zone typically.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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17 March 2015 - 5:00 pm
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Big hugs, Justine.  Hang in there through recovery and it will be smooth sailing. Recovery isn’t a picnic, but we make it through with a little help from our ‘tripawd’ friends.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Virginia




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17 March 2015 - 8:08 pm
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Just catching up on Bailey!

I want to smooch her avatar picture! Look at that gentle face!!!

Bailey is high on drugs snd not feeling a thing!

When I went to pick my Happy Hannah up, I didn’t even look at her i ncision. I just looked at her smiling face and told her over and over what a good girl she was and how much I loved her!!

And then the sleepless nights began!! My Happy Hannah did not have a smooth and fast recovery! She stayed up for nineteen hours crying and whining! She wdid not lay down once. She would sit but mostly was just restless as heck! She did okay walking pretty much from the start. For the first two weeks, I asked “What have I done TO my dog?”

And then her sparkle started comkng back around the third week! And it came back bigger and brighter than ever! Realizing I had done this FOR my Hapoy Hannah was a GREAT feeling!!! You are removing a very painful leg! I can’t believe Bailey hobbled along as well as she did for as long as she did! What a strong girl!!

Itell you this so that, if your Bailey’s recovering seems a little harder and slower than some…that’s “normal”! Every dog is different!

Youveq fotten great advice already.

Just stay connected and know that we understand the stress, the emotions, the fear AND the love!! We are here for you, okay?

TRY and get some sleep tonight! Lots of deep breaths! Everything will be just fine!

((((((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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18 March 2015 - 9:10 am
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Thanks everyone. Got a call last night around 6 saying the surgery went great and she was starting to wake up. I recieved fantastic news though that after looking at her tumour my vet suspects it to be a type of soft tissue sarcoma which is normally a very localized cancer and not very likely to spread! He said her demise will probably be her back legs because both her cruciate ligaments were torn about two years ago.  Does any one have some suggestions on supplements to have her on to keep those knees as strong as possible.  She is a little heft for her size so we are going to get her to loose a few pounds to take the additional strain off them and I have heard great things about glucosomine and fish oils. Also after doing some research has anyone also seen that we are not to give GRAIN to our dogs that have cancer?  I switched up her food and she has some healthy grain free food to come home to. 

Sally, thanks for your kind words too she is the most loveable dog you will every meet.  Even when she was in so much pain her number one priority was to greet us with as much love as possible then smother us with her closeness. 

but phew only one more day without her she comes home tomorrow!!!

Norene, TN
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18 March 2015 - 9:17 am
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Hey Justine!

Welcome! What a beautiful girl you have there! And I love the name Bailey. And she’s a Lab to boot; SWEET!

I can so relate to your story about how she continues to be happy even though she’s so “sick”. Our Harmony was the exact same way. You would have never known she had so much going on if you went by her demeanor.

The things I was thankful for when we took our journey was the gallery provided on this site to prepare yourself for what she’ll look like when you pick her up. It helped tremendously. Also the vet put a doggie t-shirt on her that even furthered my comfort (and the hub-a-dub’s).

AND, everyday, every hour, I wasn’t too far from the community here. I knew whatever anxiety or panicked event I was having, there would be someone here I could talk to that would help settle me down. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to get through any of it without Tripawds.

We’re here for you!! xoxo

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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18 March 2015 - 10:52 am
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Our dog, Leah, just had her amputation (left front) yesterday after a diagnosis of peri-articular histiocytic sarcoma – a soft tissue cancer on her elbow.  Three years ago she had a TPLO to repair a rear torn cranial cruciate ligament. 

At the time of her TPLO, the surgeon recommended changing her diet to one high in omega 3.  So, we’ve been feeding her Science Diet JD – for joints/mobility.  We are sold on omega 3 – Leah doesn’t have any signs of arthritis or stiffness.  We’ve never used any supplements as we’ve preferred to have the nutrients in her food.  Many foods have omega 6 – but look for the omega 3.

I hope Bailey’s recovery continues smoothly.

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