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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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Broken leg to amputee in less than 24 hours
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Forum Posts: 18
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27 January 2021
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27 January 2021 - 8:12 pm
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Our 12 year old Shepherd mix, Bella, went outside before bed last night (Tuesday) and collapsed screaming and howling. We were at the ER in 20 minutes. Left rear leg was broken. ER doc suspected pathological break and had x-rays read by a specialist. Amputation was presented as an option, which was shocking to us. Especially since with Covid protocols we were in the car and doing everything by phone to the docs inside. The ER did a chest x-ray and also checked her other legs. No visible tumors there. A few hours later they did an ultrasound to check for other organs involvement and there is none apparent. Blood work all normal. So after consulting with our beloved regular vet who was very much in favor of going ahead, we decided to go ahead with amputation and deal with the cancer aspect later. Bella had surgery this afternoon and we were told it went well. Happy to have found this site to prepare ourselves for the next several days. She has been very active and in great health and fitness otherwise, so hoping for good quality of life for as long as we have. We will address chemo after the biopsy results. The surgeon also took a lymph node to send. 

Thanks to all who have shared their stories and given such positive thoughts and encouragement. I don’t think Bella is ready to leave us, and we are willing to take the time and care she needs. Also, some years ago we had a dog who needed emergency surgery to remove his spleen. It was a hemangiosarcoma and he was given the usual 3-6 month prognosis. We had him another 5 and a half years until just after his 16th birthday, cancer free. So we take the prognosis with a grain of salt and give our pets the chance to prove it wrong. 

Going to get a good night’s sleep tonight to be ready for her to come home, perhaps tomorrow or the next day. We will get an update in the morning. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 January 2021 - 10:27 pm
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Oh my dog what a scary ordeal! I’m sorry you had to join our club but really glad you found us. Yes get some sleep and we will chat tomorrow! You can usually find us in the Tripawds Chat throughout the day amd stay tuned for feedback from others. 

Be sure to check out our What to Expect articles and Jerry’s Recommended Reading List in the meantime. Back tomorrow with some suggestions. Hang in there!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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28 January 2021 - 9:00 am
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Want to comme r you for having such a pawsitive attitude!  That ,kind  of ,energy will help Bella’s confidenve as she adjusts to three.  Also, good for you for keeping things chunked down and focusing  on her immediate  homecoming  and recovery. 

I love that your other doggy has already  shown you statistics and prognosis don’t  mean squat!!  Every dog is different and can’t  be pigeonholed. 

Now. YAY for surgery complete and recovery has started!!  When you go to pick up Bella, don’t  even bother to look at her jncision or draw any atte tion to it.  Just greet her with smiles and Happy voices telling her she’s a good girl and going home!!

If you have hardwood floors you’ll need non slip scatter rugs for traction .  Raised food and water bowls will help prevent  strain.

Most dogs come home with Gabapentin,  Tramadol, an an anti- inflmmatory and an a antibiotic.  So e come home with a pain patch (Fentynal).  The hospital  drugs stay in their system  for a couple  of days and, after that is when tweaking  the pain meds  ight be necessary guided by your Vet. 

Recovery  is no picnic for the first couple of weeks.   It’s all about rest, rest, rest, short leashed potty breaks and more rest.  Try and avoid stairs, any jumping  up on the sofa, etc.

Stay co and update as you can.  And TRY and get so e good rest while your sweet Bella is in a nice druggy haze at the Vet.

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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28 January 2021 - 5:04 pm
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Bella is home! She needs a little support with a belly sling, probably until she is less woozy from the drugs. She has already been drinking lots of water, asked to go out to pee, and taken a couple bites of food. And left alone for three minutes she found her way onto the couch! (It is fairly low, and she is a tall dog, so no jumping required) 

It has only been a few hours, but she is doing great. We are very fortunate to have an amazing veterinary center only 15 minutes away with ER, surgery, oncology, radiology and more all under one roof to have seamless care. Her incision is nowhere near as bad as I expected, and no bandages or drain. Her sutures will absorb/dissolve. 

She has codeine, gabapentin and carprofen to take; no antibiotics and no patch. We are to use ice packs at the site a few times a day for a few days and then warm compresses for a few days after that. She is not a fan of the ice!

I know there could be some rough moments ahead, but right now I am so happy to have our sweet girl here watching TV with me like it is just another night. 

London. UK
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28 January 2021 - 5:22 pm
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Your post brought a mile to my face, it is so nice to appreciate what was the “normal”

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6
The Rainbow Bridge



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28 January 2021 - 6:45 pm
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Welcome home Bella! smiley_clap How pawesome the surgery is over and you’re already doing normal things like eating and pottying. That’s the kind of news we get really hoppy about around here! 

Don’t be too surprised if she gets anxious later on, once the surgery pain meds wear off. Her pain should be at a level where it’s not causing her stress though, so if you suspect it is let your vet know asap.

Bark if you need anything at all OK? We are in the Tripawds Chat throughout the day so stop by if you feel like it! Keep us posted too.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 20607
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28 January 2021 - 7:23 pm
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WELCOME HOME BELLA!!!   HOME SWWET HOME!!!  YAY FOR PEE AND YAY FOR DRINKING 👏👏👏👏

And YAY for getting up on the sofa and reclaiming  your rightful position!!!…..ee… .ahh…   I.   I mean ” naughty girl”…no sofa surfing😉😉

Looking forward to more updates

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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29 January 2021 - 3:30 am
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Thanks for the support! 

I think my husband and I are still in a bit of shock as it has been a whirlwind couple of days with not much sleep, but so far we are managing.

I am updating at 5am because it was just time for a dose of meds and while we were at it got Bella outside for a pee and applied her ice pack. She was ready for a snack of some chicken and a little bit of kibble. She has mostly been comfortable, and we have already learned that whining and restless means she needs to pee and can’t quite figure out how to tell us. There were a lot of trips outside the first few hours… All that IV fluid worked through, I guess! Getting out the door and onto the grass and then back inside takes a lot of energy for her and it takes a few minutes before she can get comfortable again when we come in. She can’t get around on her own yet, and trying to keep up with her attempts at hopping with the towel support is tricky… Especially making sure not to step on her tail. I ordered one of the recommended harnesses today with a handle on the back, but it won’t be here until Monday; or later if our predicted snowstorm hits. Which is going to be another challenge to getting outside… One day at a time!

All in all these first 12 hours have been good, and will improve when we get the whole sleeping thing set  While Bella has been resting quietly, she hasn’t settled into a good deep sleep yet; so I haven’t either. 

Thanks for listening. It is a wild journey. If anyone would have asked me 72 hours ago what I would be doing this week, this would not have been in the realm of possible answers. Life happens…

Virginia




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29 January 2021 - 4:28 am
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No, not what you would put on your list of things that you would expect to happen, that’s for sure! You are in the roughest part of recovery right now but it sounds like things are pretty normal at this point. She’s still quite woozy from the hospital meds and trying to figure things out while in a nice druggy Haze. Some dogs just do not like help with the towel sling at all. That makes it even more complicated for them.     My hHappy Hannah was quite whiney and Restless the first several nights. Neither She nor I got much sleep. Your bella is eating some and drinking and partying and that’s really good this early on. Poopy may take a few days. Hang in there! You’re doing a great job.

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 March 2021 - 10:24 am
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carolyn said
Our 12 year old Shepherd mix, Bella, went outside before bed last night (Tuesday) and collapsed screaming and howling. We were at the ER in 20 minutes. Left rear leg was broken. ER doc suspected pathological break and had x-rays read by a specialist. Amputation was presented as an option, which was shocking to us. Especially since with Covid protocols we were in the car and doing everything by phone to the docs inside. The ER did a chest x-ray and also checked her other legs. No visible tumors there. A few hours later they did an ultrasound to check for other organs involvement and there is none apparent. Blood work all normal. So after consulting with our beloved regular vet who was very much in favor of going ahead, we decided to go ahead with amputation and deal with the cancer aspect later. Bella had surgery this afternoon and we were told it went well. Happy to have found this site to prepare ourselves for the next several days. She has been very active and in great health and fitness otherwise, so hoping for good quality of life for as long as we have. We will address chemo after the biopsy results. The surgeon also took a lymph node to send. 

Thanks to all who have shared their stories and given such positive thoughts and encouragement. I don’t think Bella is ready to leave us, and we are willing to take the time and care she needs. Also, some years ago we had a dog who needed emergency surgery to remove his spleen. It was a hemangiosarcoma and he was given the usual 3-6 month prognosis. We had him another 5 and a half years until just after his 16th birthday, cancer free. So we take the prognosis with a grain of salt and give our pets the chance to prove it wrong. 

Going to get a good night’s sleep tonight to be ready for her to come home, perhaps tomorrow or the next day. We will get an update in the morning. 

  

Hi Carolyn, 

I am so sorry about your Bella!! I really hope everything comes out great and she has a smooth recovery! What I really want to ask you about is your dog who had hemangiosarcoma and lived for another 5 and a half years!!! This gives me a glimmer of hope as our 1 year old Presley (she will be two on April 1st) has been diagnoses with hemangiosarcoma as well and I was wondering if you had any advice or can tell me if you did any sort of treatment for him? 

Thank you so much for any info you can give me. 

Karen & Presley

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17 March 2021 - 3:40 pm
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Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for sharing your experience.  I hope your Bella has continued to improve since her amputation.  How is she doing now??

We are starting this same journey with our 12 yo dog Jet who fractured his left rear leg after running a fence line on our country road.  He didn’t yelp or scream, just came across the pasture on 3 legs. I was so certain he had blown out his knee.  Was not expecting to hear osteosarcoma. What a shock!  Thankful to his vets who juggled things to get leg xrays, followed by chest xrays done quickly so we could make decisions. His leg comes off tomorrow. 

While waiting for the surgery, our biggest struggle has been finding the right layers of pain medication. He was so restless on the dose of morphine that was recommended so we brought it down a notch and he is much better.  And the gabapentin seems to actually give him greater relief. He also does NOT want any sling-like support, preferring to figure it out on his own.  He is maneuvering pretty well on 3 legs so far, even with his broken, cancerous leg just dangling there.  

Melinda and Jet

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