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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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New Member with 10yr Golden with Osteosarcoma in left hind leg -Need some advice
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Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
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10 December 2022 - 8:58 pm
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Hi Elaine, welcome to you and Rocket, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

First- YES, THIS DOES GET EASIER! 

Bringing home a pup on the day of surgery is a tough way to start off since they tend to be quite wonky and vocal. Eating and drinking are both great signs. 

What do you mean by: 'getting out to potty is super rough'?  Is Rocket not mobile?  Are you trying to help him with a sling or harness?  Is he unbalanced because of the meds?  Does he have good traction - no slippery floors?

And speaking of meds... what did he come home with as far as pain meds?

Sorry for the questions- but a little more detail will help us help you.  And remember- if you are unsure don't hesitate to call your vet and ask questions.

But again- yes it does get better!  It takes most pups two to three weeks to really get back to themselves but we often see here that the more 'mature' pups seem to take longer to get their sea legs and get back to themselves.  Since Rocket lost a rear leg you can use a harness now to help him get around.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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11 December 2022 - 4:21 pm
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Hi Elaine & Rocket! Just catching up on your story, I'm so sorry for the sudden break. Ugh! Glad that Rocket is doing better and yes, you will see an improvement over time. Yes, it's hard to see our dogs struggle and be out of it, but they do get stronger.  Senior dogs need extra time too, so whatever you do don't compare his recovery to other dogs you see here or elsewhere online. And most of all, try to put yourself in his paws, most humans wouldn't be doing so well!

It's good that he is able to stand and go outside. Don't expect much more than a potty break (on leash) over the next week, he should just have lots of couch time and snuggles with you. His medication sounds reasonable but if he shows any pain signals , ask your vet about breaking up that Gabapentin dosage into smaller amounts every 8 hours. This helps you stay ahead of the pain and keep it consistent. And I would absolutely give him the Rimadyl each day too. Based on our convos with pain management experts, an anti-inflammatory and Gabapentin attack pain pathways differently and compliment each other during recovery.

Good move to get traction for your floors! Yes, it's critical even if you think Rocket could walk on the floors or doesn't care. Slippery floors and Tripawds don't go well together, they're accidents waiting to happen. 

You're doing great! Stay strong and keep us posted!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 December 2022 - 4:40 pm
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Okay, am I the only one who can't  see the original  post from Elaine and Rocket??   I see the replies from Jerry and Karen.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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12 December 2022 - 10:30 pm
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Sally you are so kind for asking. Apparently we had a technical glitch and her post got deleted. We've reached out to Elaine and asked her to come post here again. Paws are crossed she will!

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23 January 2023 - 6:13 pm
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Hi There

Sorry for delay it’s been a bit of a whirlwind over the last month or so. Rocket had surgery about 7 weeks ago. The first two weeks were rocky but by Christmas he had a nice trot going and seemed to be getting along pretty well. I don’t think he was over doing it but a few weeks ago he suddenly didn’t want to put pressure on his good back leg. I thought the worse and took him back to the vet. After a physical check the vet didn’t see any signs of issues with leg or hip. We put him back on meds to see if improvement . Rocket seems to bear some weight but his good leg seems to give out very quickly when we are outside . I am guessing a strength issue but honestly not sure . I do have a holistic vet that came two weeks ago and thought def a strength issue . We did stretches and acupuncture and I am doing these also with him at home in between visits . I have him signed up for some PT ( under water treadmill this week). Any thoughts on the strength or things I can do to help him along ? I knew this would be tough but so worried . He seems to be struggling .

Livermore, CA




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18 October 2009
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23 January 2023 - 8:50 pm
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Hi Elaine,

I'm glad you found your way back here.  I know your original post in this thread somehow got deleted but you have Rocket who had a rear amp for OSA, right?

As far as weakness in the one back leg...believe it or not 7 weeks is still early in the strength building process.  When I adopted my current rear amp Tri she was 2.5 months out from surgery but not very strong.  In addition to exercises we do food games and puzzles which help her work on her balance and strength while she plays. I used a stroller and slowly increased her walking time.

You are on the right track with the holistic vet and the PT.  In fact, we have a program here that may pay for your first visit. I think an exercise program is really important.  I was pretty consistent working with Elly for several years but in the last two years we had some big life changes and I let her program slide.  Sure enough she hurt her hip last summer.  I had to rest her for several weeks and then finally got her into rehab.  She had some laser treatments but most important and impactful was the home exercise program the vet gave us.  It was a few months before I would say she was back to her previous strength.  Elly LOVES to do her exercises but I have not had much luck with the massage the vet recommended.

Other things I did to help her recover was make her use the stroller more so she had many breaks during our walks.  The rehab vet recommended a muscle supplement called Myos which I do think has helped her.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

Member Since:
22 September 2022
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24 January 2023 - 9:51 am
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Yes, I made my way back here!  Yes rear amp for OSA, Rocket is 10 years old 76 pound golden.  I agree its early (7 weeks) after surgery but just worried I could be missing something.  He was really moving good then like I mentioned a few weeks ago started declining. He is walking a few steps and the good leg is buckling. I hope it gets better with time. I really went down the amputation in hopes to just give him some good quality of life whatever time that is. He was in good spirts and despite the fragile leg was moving really good pre surgery.  The regular vet said we can bring him back in and do some xrays if we want to see if there is anything else going on but would require sedation.  Not sure which way to go on that . The poor guy already has been through so much. For now we have the PT appointment this Friday and holistic vet coming next week. Trying to take a deep breath and not freak myself out is a minute by minute struggle.

The Rainbow Bridge


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25 April 2007
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24 January 2023 - 10:59 am
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Elaine! I'm so glad you're back, this made my day. And yay for making it through surgery!

I know it seems challenging right now but if it's any comfort, many dogs have a setback like this. What we see here oftentimes is that once stitches are out, a dog goes back to doing what they do best, and unless they get into rehab therapy right away, a pet parent is left to gauge what is too much activity. That's a super hard thing to do when you're all new to the three-legged life. Our Jerry had a few setbacks, because we didn't know what kind of activity he was and wasn't capable of doing after surgery. We learned the hard way. So first, don't beat yourself up, this is nothing you did wrong, and it's not uncommon. 

You are definitely on the right track to see a rehab therapist. Make sure they are a CCRT or CCRP credentialed practitioner so you can be reimbursed by our foundation. They can guide you on the best kind of activity for him. Right now, just keep his activity level way, way, way low until he gets evaluated. Do some interactive brain games with him, keep his mind challenged to keep him engaged. It's a great way to spend time together and let his body rest.

Is he on any pain control to help with the aches he's having right now? 

Also, how long are his walks, and how often? I would cut those way way back until you see the therapist this week. I'm so happy you got in, seeing one can be tough right now, they're pretty hard to get an appointment.

Keep us posted on how he's doing OK?  

Member Since:
22 September 2022
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25 January 2023 - 8:13 am
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Sounds good. We literally are going outside ( I am holding most of the back weight) with the harness and letting him go to the bathroom. We do this basically 3-4 times a day depending on him.  He is picky about finding that perfect spot in the yard so its challenging. I wouldn't call it walking though,  I get him out the back door a few yards to do his business then go back in. I am the workhorse so to speak in the operation (lol). I ordered him a few games and did a treat under the cup game this morning with him. 

Yes on the pain meds - Carprofen 150 mg 1x a day, Gabapentin 400mg every 8-12 hours so basically I have been giving him that 2x a day sometimes a 3X if timing works out .

Will keep everyone posted on PT on Friday. Holistic vet comes next Tuesday for acupuncture and stretches . She gave me the cookie crunches etc exercise last time she was here so we have been trying to do a few minutes of them each day.

We did also get him the car (since he loves the car) last weekend and drove around the block a few times etc. 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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25 January 2023 - 1:35 pm
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Got it! What I'm reading is that you are doing everything just right for him, from keeping activity low and slow to managing his pain. I think you'll find some really good input from the PT visit. Please let us know what they say. And give him a big big smooch from us! sf-kiss

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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25 January 2023 - 5:14 pm
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Okay, catching  up on everyt now.  Good input support. and advice from Karen and Jerry.

The only other thing I would want to make sure that has been ruled out, would be a knee  issue. A cruciate  or ligament issue in that leg. I may have missed it, but I didn't see where that had really been checked out. And if an x-ray had to be done for that, I think it could be done without sedating him.

Looking forward to your feedback on Friday.  Hang in there!

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!

Member Since:
22 September 2022
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26 January 2023 - 6:31 am
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Good Morning,

Yes I think we need rule out that out with the xray, the vet jsut did a physical exam. That is on my list to ask the PT /vet. PT appointment tomorrow and regular vet appointment Saturday. Hoping for some answers.

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