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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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Lady's Journey - First Post
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
30 August 2019
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5 September 2019 - 3:23 am
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Hi

My beautiful girl Lady has been diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma on her front left leg.  It has grown to double its size in around 8 weeks and the only option is amputation.

She is 10 years old and apart from the huge lump you would hardly know there was a problem as she’s still full of energy most of the time.  She does have her moments though where she looks a little down.

She is on paracetamol, Gabapentin and Metacam as well as an antihistamine due to a mast cell tumour on her thorax that is being removed at the same time as the amputation along with lymph nodes from her left armpit.

They think that she will probably need chemo afterwards too.

I am completely devastated and overwhelmed with it all at the moment.  One minute I’m convinced we’re doing the right thing for her and the next feeling like it’s the worse thing to do.  I’m also really scared of the post op period and how she/we will cope.

It’s really helped browsing this site and reading others’ stories but I’m still left feeling like I’m making a huge decision without really knowing what’s best.

We’re going for a consultation with the surgeon today and have a list of questions but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for being there x

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
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5 September 2019 - 11:21 am
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Hi Susy and Lady, welcome. We are sorry you are facing this diagnosis but we will be here for you to help make the transition easier.

It’s hard not to question yourself when faced with the amputation decision. Most of us have been there and totally get the emotions involved. But if you try to put your emotions aside, and look at this from Lady’s perspective, you may see that the #1 thing she wants is to live a pain-free life and be 100% again. If amputation is the only way to provide that, then she would likely tell you “Yes Mom, let’s give it a go!”

Have you seen Jerry’s Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books library yet? We’ve got lots of tips in there about preparing yourself emotionally, getting your home ready, and how to manage recovery as well as life afterward. They can help put you fears at ease. And of course you can ask any questions you want here. 

Let us know how the meeting went today OK? We are keeping our paws crossed for hopeful news from the vet!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 10
Member Since:
27 August 2019
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5 September 2019 - 2:42 pm
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Hi Susy and Lady! Glad you decided to post here and have given yourself some outlet for the stress of this whole awful situation!

My guy Chomp, 4-year-old Rottweiler mix, just underwent left front leg amputation for a soft tissue sarcoma on August 15th. Like your Lady, he wasn’t exhibiting any pain symptoms, and we only received the diagnosis when our vet discovered the lump on a visit for an unrelated issue. It’s hard to imagine such sneaky stuff is happening inside our otherwise perky pets!

I understand your confusion and all the things we must weigh going into such a procedure; even after having made the decision, I was still second-guessing the amputation the night before the surgery. It’s an impossible thing to wrap our minds around, but as Jerry pointed out a pain-free life for our loved ones is the ultimate goal. 

I also wanted to comment on your post-op fears. If you find my first thread here, you’ll see that I reached out to the community after surgery because I was a nervous wreck. The post-op process can be scary, but I just kept telling myself each day that passes is a day closer to wellness. If you can get through the first day, you can get through the second and third and fourth and so on until things are looking up. It took Chomp about 2.5 weeks until he started to regain his personality, but he came around. After a few stressful weeks, I can hardly remember all the bad parts. I’m just so happy to see Chomp’s progress. I’m hoping in that a few short weeks you and Lady will be feeling the same. 

Please keep commenting here so others can help you through this. Chomp has an instagram account that I check daily @Chompthetripawd, you can always message me here or there directly if you’re having a tough day! You and Lady have this! BTW, my first ever dog was a black cocker spaniel named Lady sp_hearticon2

Forum Posts: 6
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7 September 2019 - 12:26 am
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Thank you so much for the replies.  It’s great to be able to talk to others who have been through this.

We met with the surgeon yesterday who went through everything with us and was really patient in answering all of our questions.  I had thought that this would make me feel better but it hasn’t changed the knot in my stomach about all of this.  Despite this we are going ahead with surgery on Monday!

On a positive note Lady had her leg tied up by the surgeon so that he could see how she coped walking without it and she did really well and even did a little run. I was so proud of her.

The surgeon said that they would usually keep a dog in at least one night but given Lady’s anxiety at the vets the aim is for her to come home on Monday.  While this makes me happy it also feels like a huge responsibility and scares me a lot.

I’ll take your advice and take it all one day at a time and I’m sure we’ll get thorough this.

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement.  It means a lot and  I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions or maybe just looking for some more reassurance.

Thanks again

Susy and Lady

ps: Chomp is adorable sp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
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7 September 2019 - 12:15 pm
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Glad to hear the visit went well. Lady will surprise you with how well she does on 3! I’m hoping that the vet untied her leg after she ran around? 🙂

If she comes home the same night, be warned that it may be tough for you as far as managing her pain. That first night can be tricky. Make sure she has very good pain management to ensure she can sleep through the night. Most dogs come home with at least 3 different medications (Gabapentin, an opioid like Fentanyl, and non-steroidal like Meloxicam). Since she is an anxious dog you may also want to request a mild sedative like Amitriptyline or a pain reliever that acts as one, Amantadine, to help her relax.

Here’s a Tripawds Recovery Shopping List that can help you get your home ready this weekend. That should keep you busy and prevent your mind from over-stressing, even though we know it’s hard not to!

Keep us posted on how things are going on Monday, we’ll be waiting for an update.

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

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Forum Posts: 6
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8 September 2019 - 1:36 am
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Thanks again for responding Jerry.

Yes he did untie her legicon_lol

I’m definitely not looking forward to the post op initial days but the surgeon did say that she will almost numb for at least the first 24 hours.  Not sure what meds she’ll be on but I’ll let you know when I find out.

Thanks for the link to the shopping list. This should keep me busy while she’s in surgery tomorrow.

I’ll update as soon as I can.

Regards

Susy

Forum Posts: 113
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8 September 2019 - 8:23 am
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Hi susy and lady,

I saw your post and wanted to wish you luck and love tomorrow. 

We can all sympathize with that knot in the stomach feeling. Waiting is the pits! You sound like you had a good q&a with your surgeon and have a great plan tailored to lady. The first days are a challenge but she will suprise you.

If you have questions or worries just let us know. Were all her for you ❤ im sure your vet will be doing a check in as well. 

Till then lots of rest for you both of you can manage.

Give that beautiful girl a belly rub from Roane and i ❤

Hugs,

Bev

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

Forum Posts: 6
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8 September 2019 - 10:36 am
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Thank you Bev. That’s vey sweet ♥ 

I’ll let you all know tomorrow how it goes. 

Lady says thank you for the belly rub 🐶 💕. Xx

Livermore, CA




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8 September 2019 - 1:21 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sure you are mostly focused on the STS and amputation but I wanted to suggest that you are sure you get the path report from the mast cell tumor and the mitotic index.  That info will help determine how aggressive the MCT might be.  My first two Pugs each had multiple MCTs over the years, first Pug Maggie lost her rear leg to a MCT. Hopefully it will be a 1 with wide margins!!!

Thinking about removing the MCT- will that mean she can’t wear a cone?  Lots of front amps here have done well with a tee-shirt to cover the incision.  You want to be sure she can’t get to either incision while she is healing.

Coming home the day of surgery is more challenging but you certainly aren’t the first one here to do it.  Dogs tend to vocalize a lot while the anesthesia wears off so be aware of that.  Sounds like your vet has night staffing?- so be sure you have a phone number to call there or for the nearest emergency vet if you need to talk to someone.  You probably won’t need it but having it gives some peace of mind.

Best of luck with the surgery tomorrow!!! Please update when you can.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17783
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8 September 2019 - 3:07 pm
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Catching up on eberything everything going on with  the beautiful  Lady! And from the looks of her avatar  picture, she is very beautiful!!

Yes, we can all understand the fear and uncertainty  all too well.   My Happy Hannah was a125 lb “fluffy” Bull Mastiff and I just could not believe  she would be able to handle  walking  on three.  They also tied up her leg and she bounced down the hall like a champ! I felt relieved….for about a minute!  But I went ahead and scheduled her surgery appointment…only to cancel  it the day before  our pf sheer fear!  Keep in mind, I didn’t  find this wonderful  community  until day six of recovery.  I did, of course, reschedule and got glorious exttended quality  time with her!!

And yes, bringing  her home the same day can be overwhelming  to watch as they shake off the anesthesia and are high of lots of pain meds!  Some dogs are very lethargic,  and some are whiny and restless and completely  whacked out.  It just varies dog to dog.  And when the nerve block wears off, that I. Itself can cause all sorts of different sensations  that may (or may not) feel very good to her!

Keep your Vet’s number handy, stay connected to us, and we’ll help you through the recovery, okay??

Nonslip scatter rugs for traction if you jave hardwoods are a must.  No stairs, no jumping, just rest, rest, rest, short potty breaks and more rest.

She may not feel like eating, although my Hapoy Hannah NEVER missed a meal, but drinking is important.  She may not poop for several days but peeing is important.  Give her any yummy food she’ll eat to get the pain meds down her and her tummy coated.

And for you, lots of chocolate or wine, or both!

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!

Forum Posts: 10
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9 September 2019 - 12:50 pm
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Good luck today Lady & Susy! You both will be in our thoughts sp_hearticon2

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10 September 2019 - 3:35 am
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Thanks for the good wishes everyone. It means a lotsp_hearticon2.

Well I’m very pleased to report that the amputation went well and after a very stressful and emotional day yesterday we got through it!!!

We dropped her off at 9am and picked her up at 6pm.  She has absolutely amazed us with her determination.  She is resting lots but has been great in trying out her new body having a little walk around the house and out into the garden for a wee.

She is still under general anesthetic which we have to give every 6 hours until tomorrow evening so that is pretty much keeping her numb at the moment.  She is also on Metacam, Paracetamol, Gabapentin and Amantadine for the pain as well as antibiotic and a couple of Xanax last night.

We will get all of the histology reports back next Tuesday Karen so will know a bit more then.

Like Happy Hannah my girl has not lost her appetite and has eaten 2 meals already (one at 1.30am this morning) so hoping that that continues to help get her back to her usual self.

I’ll keep you all posted.

Thanks again

Susy and Lady xxx

 

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25587
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10 September 2019 - 8:58 am
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Wow! Lady is a rock star! smiley10smiley_clapSo glad to hear things went well and that she’s got good pain control. What a relief! Thanks for taking time to share the good news.

We’ll keep our paws crossed that there’s more smooth sailing ahead. Please keep us posted in “Treatment and Recovery” now that she’s graduated to the next phase, we’ll be looking for updates!

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: 17783
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10 September 2019 - 10:47 am
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YAAAAAY FOR LADY!!!   SOOOO HAPPY TO READ THIS GREAT UPDATE!!!  Eating, walking, weeing…..EXCELLENT  NEWS!!!😎

Her pain certainly aounds very well managed.  She may have a bit of a crash after all those good hospital meds are out of her sy..or may not!

,Keep these good updates coming!

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!

Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3586
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10 September 2019 - 12:54 pm
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Yay for Lady!  She sounds like quite the warrior!!

All paws crossed for a smooth recovery and a great path report!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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