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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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What to Expect First Two Weeks Post Amputation and Chemo Feedback
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Member Since:
17 July 2012
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26 July 2012 - 4:03 pm
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Hi.  My Ridgeback "Guinness" had his front right limb removed this past Friday, July 20.  He came home Sunday the 22nd and we've had a hard time with meds, bad gas, and eating.  It's now been six days and as of today, I think we have some of the issues resolved but I noticed as of last night he is twitching.  Is this normal?  In addition, he is mellow and seems depressed.  Sleeping quite a bit.  We had such a hard time with him the first few days, that we didn't experience this.  Is this normal as well?  What else should I expect during this very emotional and difficult time?

Also, I am not sure if I should proceed with chemo.  I am conflicted and overwhelmed.  His lungs are clear and his bloodwork is good.  The cancer has not spread.  Any feedback that can help me make an informed decision.  Truly do appreciate it and so happy that Bob (Cherry's Dad) turned me on to this website.  Don't know what I would do without it.  Thanks, Bob!!

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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26 July 2012 - 4:44 pm
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Not sure what part of him is twitching, but I have found that several medicines make Zeus' ears twitch (metronidazole and any sulfa-based antibiotic).

The sleeping/depressed sounds pretty normal for only one week out.  We tend to talk about how quickly the dogs recover from amputation, but I think that is in comparison to how long we humans would take.  It is still major, major surgery and their body needs to rest and heal.  There are exceptions to the rule, but I think the first week you really shouldn't expect anything more than Guinness getting up to potty and eat/drink.  You will be surprised at the difference after a couple of weeks!

Chemo is a very personal decision for each family and I don't think there is a 'right' answer as to whether you should do it or not.  You know your pup and how well he handles vet visits, being poked, etc.  The choice varies depending on your dog's personality, your finances, your ability to get him to/from appts, etc.  We personally chose to proceed with chemo in Zeus' case, but many dogs do quite well without it.  If you have any specific questions about it, just PM me and I'll try to help as much as possible.

Good luck and try to get some rest!


Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...

Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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26 July 2012 - 5:07 pm
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I remember Magnum did twitch a bit.  I think it is to do with the nerve endings at the amputation site but I'm sure there are others here more knowledgeable about it.  Magnum's personality was quite depressed for several weeks.  It wasn't until she came off the Tramadol that she started to perk up a bit.  6 days is still really early (we didnt' even take Magnum home until the 4th day after surgery).  So as Lisa says, you shouldn't expect much more than lots of sleep, going potty and eating/drinking.


Good luck and we are here for you for any concerns


Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ......

26 July 2012 - 5:44 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds.  If Bob sent you hear are you local?  I'm in Livermore too.

I read some of your blog, Guinness sounds like he is doing OK for this part of the recovery process.  Most people talk about 2 tough weeks after surgery- lots of ups and downs.  My pug Maggie took her time recovering- it was weeks before she was back to normal- but that was her, and obstinate pug.  Nothing was wrong medically, she was just stubborn.

Take a deep breath!!  You don't have to decide on chemo right this min!  If you choose to you should start soon I think, but you can get Guinness through recovery first.  Take some time while 'G' is sleeping to read the information presented here.  Some do chemo, some don't.  Another local, Cemil, is 3 years past his amp and did not do chemo!  He is a 150 pound Anatolian Shepard, front amp. I have chosen both ways- I did chemo for Maggie's first cancer, mast cell, and I did not (could not) really treat her second cancer.  I have another pug with mast cell and I have chosen not to do chemo with her either.  There are lots of reasons- but it comes down to what I feel is best for each dog in each situation.  You need to be comfortable with your decision either way.  Maybe writing a list of pros and cons will help you sort it out.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Member Since:
16 June 2012
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26 July 2012 - 5:45 pm
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We took Sweetpea home the next day and she was alot of meds at first - but the gabapentin helped the most. She didnt "seem" depressed until 2 weeks post op and then we put her on K9 Immunity plus and it made a huge difference. Even recently we had to take her off of it, to see if that was causing some symptoms - and there was a difference in just of couple of days, so thankfully she is back on them.

Chemo is a personal decision and I can only tell you our decison, we decided not to. She was diagnosed 8 weeks ago, amputation 7 weeks ago, she had a clear chest xray the day before her surgery. Doing good, until last week, found out it spread to her back area, another chest xray yesterday and still clear. We dont know how long she is meant to be with us - but we do not regret any decisons we have made so far, now we just spoil her:) Prayers & hugz coming your way!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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26 July 2012 - 7:48 pm
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Wow, that's great Bob told you about us (thanks Bob!). Hope that when Guinness is all recovered you can meet up with the Bay Area bunch, they meet up quite frequently in Mill Valley.

If it's his leg that's twitching, that's pretty normal. It takes time for the nerve and brain connection to figure out that the leg is gone. Many dogs go through this.

Keep in mind six days is early in the recovery process. Many dogs take up to two weeks before they start feeling better and perk up. The surgery, all the meds, and getting used to their new bodies can really take a lot of energy away, which is why your pup is probably sleeping a lot. Compared to how a human handles something like this though, dogs are pretty remarkable and fast in their recovery, even if it seems to take forever.

Everyone has different thoughts about why they did or didn't do chemo. Only you can decide what's right for you and Guinness, but like Karen says, you don't have to decide right now. Focus on feeling better and getting into your new normal, and then decide. Talking to others helps, and meeting with an oncologist to learn the pros and cons is also very beneficial. The more educated you are about your options, the better decision you can make for you and your pack. Always remember there are no "right" answers, the only "right" ones are the ones that work for your pack.

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