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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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A soon to be Tripawd Ludo
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The Rainbow Bridge



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27 May 2021 - 9:41 am
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Hey Tessa, welcome. Last night I saw you were online and was hoping you would stop by the Tripawds Chat but no luck. Feel free to swing by to see if I or anyone else is there, or call the Tripawds Helpline whenever you need to talk.

I'm sorry it was tough going. Try to keep in mind that the pain Ludo was in beforehand was likely much worse than what he is experiencing now. It's just so jarring when phantom pain happens, it feels horrible for us. I get it, totally. I hope you've had a good convo with your vet.

There are no silly questions around here. Incisions can differ from dog to dog. Sometimes scar tissue can be uncomfortable, sure. I remember that well from a motorcycle wreck! When in doubt, send a photo to your vet and ask them if his incision looks ok. Or you can post an image here and we can look to see if it's in line with others we've seen here.

Glad you're in line with the nutritionist, chemo and reaching out to therapists. If you'd like help finding one near you let me know. I can often find a practice when a member is having trouble. Hopefully that's the case and we can get you in somewhere sooner. There are also telemedicine long-distance consults you can do with certain vets, that's always an option.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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27 May 2021 - 10:19 am
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Bummer...... I know this was a rough night. ,any of us know how frustrated and discouraged you are feeling right about now.  This is exactly why we call recovery a roller coaster ride.

Jerry's spot on with her response (as always!).   It does sound like pain management   is the key.  You may be dealing with a combo of phantom limb pain, but also maybe even a staple poking Ludo too. Of the raised area is scar tissue forming it could be moving g the stitches around.  Jist throwing  stuff out there FWIW.  But do get a consult with your Vet and show him the picture of them incision  too

And TRY and get some sleep. Getting to this point of recovery  is exha mentally and physically.  Hang in there!!  Update when you can.  And give that sweet Ludo a big smooch and extra treats for us!!

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 May 2021 - 9:27 am
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Hi hi!

First the good news! I was able to grab Ludo a spot at a rehab facility on June 21st. It's still a ways out, but they initially couldn't get me in until the end of July. Luckily, someone cancelled as I was talking with the scheduling person. Yay for small victories.

As far as the yelping goes, that's still a bit of a mystery. We brought him to our regular vet yesterday afternoon and were assured his incision looks great. It's still full steam ahead to get his sutures out on Tuesday. Our vet also doesn't think it's phantom pain , although he admits he's not an expert in this area. To fully rule this out, we'll be connecting with our orthopedic specialist. The most likely scenario is some sort of neck/back pain. Whether that be arthritis or an injury is TBD.

The frustrating thing about this is we went down this path during the 2+ months trying to diagnose Ludo's pain prior to amputation. When the lameness/pain first started, we were concerned a pull up on his gentle lead when an off leash dog attacked may have pulled something in his neck. He was put on rest and methacarbonal for weeks to try to remedy the issue to no avail and that's when the orthopedic specialist finally recommended amputation based on what looked like cancer in on his proximal humerus. I still think that was the right call based on everything we know now. We are still waiting on the results from the biopsy, but the idea of having to figure out another source of pain that could have been present this whole time is a lot.

Right now the plan is as follows:

  • Taper Ludo off trazadone over the next couple of weeks to see if that helps with his shaking, lethargy, and lack of personality.
  • Sutures out Tuesday - begin increasing activity
  • Oncology consult June 4th
  • Watch for further yelping & get a second opinion from orthopedic specialist if yelping persists.
  • Continue with 300mg gaba 3x a day and 75mg carprofen 2x a day
  • Rehab on June 21st
  • Waitlist for nutritionist

We also have some amantadine that I have been hesitant about giving Ludo and therefore inconsistent with. Our vet was wishy washy with whether or not we should continue as it really upsets his GI tract, but it could help ease some chronic pain. Any advice here?

And for a moment of vulnerability - I'm having some regrets. Ludo seems miserable. Yes, the pain is better than it was, but he's not happy. I keep reminding myself that we aren't that far out from surgery, and that recovery hiccups are expected, but this is really really hard. I want to stay positive on these forums, but holy wow, this is a lot to put my favorite soul through. I'm not sure what I'm looking for here, but I think I needed to say it to people who have been through this before.

As always, thanks for your kindness and support.

-Tessa

Virginia




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28 May 2021 - 11:30 am
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Glad your regular  Vet felt like everything was looking good jncision wise.

The first thing thst jumped out to me as far as so much lethargy and dull personality is the Trazedone.  It DEFINITELY  can have a sedation effect and cause what you are describing.  Rather than tapering him off mover a few weeks, ask the Vet if you can do it in a matter of days.  Of course, not a Vet, but I think Trazedone doesn't  require a lot of "tapering", if any at all!!

As far as the pain and if I read this right, you are sort of taking a "wait and see approach" before having  as Ortho look at him??  I would try and get him in ASAP for a SECOND opinion Ortho to have his neck and spine evaluated  thoroughly. and qucjky..

Try not to jump ahead and second  guess.  You could still be dealing  with two separate  issues.  If there was a spine  or neck issues before, while the amputation  took care of tha bum leg, there still could be the issue that, while it appeared to get better, flared up again with adjusting  to the new gait, etc.

And some more   in the FWIW column. Try dumpingnthenTraz first (with Vet guidance), and wait a few days before padding the amantadine if that causes  GI issues, and see if some of his personality  v back.  When you're  fighting  pain though, all your energy is used for that,

You've probably already said, but how often does he have these pain episodes?  Inbetween does he seem comfortable?  When massaging all up and down his spine and neck and shoulder,  does he show tenseness?  Do the massages help relax him?  You can also try massaging  over a warm towelmout of the dryer.   Does he rest comfortably  inbetween the pain.  Is it more related to when he tries to first get up...or more when walking...or more when standing?  Is there a particular  movement  that seems to cause a pain response  more often than not?  Does it happen out of the blue sometimes  when he's sleeping?

This has to be soooo hard, but hang in there, okay?  This WILL get figured  out!!  A second opinion assp   with a set of fresh eyes shoild help.   And I would call the Rehab Specialist  everyday to seemof theremis a cancellation!  They sometimes  are really good at identifying causes ofmpain like thismifmit's related  to some type of disc or muscle, joint, arthritis, etc.

Sending  extra 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 May 2021 - 3:48 pm
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Tessa, I really love that you guys have a plan now. This is a great step forward and I really think the universe is looking out for you guys by having that rehab spot open up!

Yes, this can be tough. You don't have to always be pawsitive here, we know that recovery isn't like that. It's also not a straight line. There are ups and there are downs, and even spirals and whoop de dos. It's no fun, but eventually he will get there. And I'm totally with Sally, the Traz makes many dogs super wonky. If a dog to is sensitive to its effects, they can look and behave so unlike their old selves. Traz isn't a pain reliever, so yeah, once you kick that out of his meds you should start to see a bit more of the old Ludo.

As for the Amantadine. It helped Wyatt Ray tremendously and makes pain management specialist's lists of the best amputation pain relief drugs. Not all dogs get it but when it's hard to find a pain source, this one can help. But it sounds like Ludo is suuuuper sensitive to it so it may actually make his quality of life worse! Ugh frustrating I know.  Are you sure it was the Amantadine that caused the GI issues? Wyatt used to take it once in the AM and once at night, but few drugs made him wonky. Ludo may only need it once a day since it can make many dogs sleepy, especially with the Gaba too.

Sally's thoughts about pinpointing the pain are spot on. It's important to note when those episodes happen, what he's doing when they do, etc.

The onco visit should give you lots of answers and more of a definite plan. But be aware that not all vets are pain specialists. A credentialed veterinary pain management specialist is ideal, and you'll usually find them at a good rehab practice. Hopefully that onco vet has a good grasp on treating pain.

I don't know if this helps or not. I'm sorry, I wish had more definitive suggestions here. All I can say is that we see these kinds of recoveries happen, and things DO get better, really! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 May 2021 - 7:57 am
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Hi again.

It’s been a rollercoaster the last few days, which I understand is part of the recovery journey. 

The yelps have completely resolved. Our best guess is he needed some good neck massages, and he’s been getting plenty of those! The shaking has also improved as we’ve started to taper him off of traznadone.

I started him back on the amantadine and am waiting to see if that helps his pain. GI stuff has been good so far!

Now here’s where we take a literal nose dive. Ludo had a pretty bad nose bleed last night. This happened once before amputation, and I brought him to the ER. They checked his blood/coagulation and everything came back good. At the time we were still waiting on the ortho appointment, so the recommendation was to proceed with that and monitor for more bleeds. The hope was it was a one off. Now we know that’s not the case. 

I’m trying not to get ahead of myself as we are still waiting on biopsy results, but a quick search on here resulted in several stories of HSA or late stage cancers, and with how quickly it seems like Ludo is deteriorating, I am fearful the nose bleeds may be telling us something similar. 

It’s hard because we have glimmers of Ludo. He begged for green beans at the kitchen table last night. He ran in the backyard this morning. But in the time between these glimmers, he isn’t himself. 

I naively thought once we got through the amputation, we would have some time before things got hard again. 

Have others experienced this in between phase prior to chemo? Have your pups bounced back?

Any experience or advice on nosebleeds beyond talking to our oncologist? That’s definitely on the agenda. 

Thanks as always. I’d be extra lost without you. 

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30 May 2021 - 9:53 am
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Oh no, I'm sorry, that's quite a scare! Can't even imagine. How did you stop the bleeding? How is he now?

As for your fears...I hear you, your gut instinct says it could be more than the Traz or pain. It can be anything, and I know it's hard not to think the worst. Heck I'm as quick to consult Dr Google as anyone else, especially in times like this. But I can tell you based on how often we see members do the same because of a scary situation, that quite often their worst fears are not realized once they get a real doc to take a look. I hope with all my heart this is the case for you and Ludo. Call the onco tomorrow and ask for an appt, let them know what's happening.

And right now follow Ludo's lead. Snuggle, play when he's feeling bright, and remember that all we have with or without cancer is right here and now.

We are sending tons of love your way. 😍

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 May 2021 - 9:57 am
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Ice packs to the snoot work wonders to stop the bleeding! He’s resting comfortably today. So yes, lots of snuggles are on the agendasmiley9

Virginia




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30 May 2021 - 6:14 pm
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To hear that the massaging has helped and the taking Trazedone  out of the equation has helped....HUGE VICTORY!!!  And "glimmers" of Ludi being Ludo begging for green beans, taking a romp in the yard.....yeah, celebrate those HUGE VICTORIES too!👏

Could it be what you are calling "deterioration" is more IIne with the ups and downs of recovery from MAJOR surgery while adapting to three?  After all. a lot of Ludo's energy has been directed  to fighting the pain and the related exhaustion, plus the neck/back pain, etc, AND being, kind of sedated from the Trazedone. 

Dont have any real input about the nosebleed other than stay off Dr Google!  He's not a real Doctor😉  The nosebleed could be so many things NOT  serious..polyps, benign lump, weak vessel etc..  Glad the ice pack worked👍

As Ludo knows and Jerry  said, all that matters is the here and now and making the here and the now gloriously wonderful💖

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

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.I did delay my Hapoy Hannah chemo for three weeks as I didn't feel like she had recovered all enough to get it any sooner.

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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4 June 2021 - 6:40 pm
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Hey Everyone,

Sorry to not update you all more regularly, but Ludo is doing really well! He's getting around better and better, he got his stitches out, the doctor said the incision looks great, and everyone is very impressed by his recovery! He still seems to be in some pain, but it appears to be getting to be less and less every day. He is able to rest comfortably, which is a huge step up from where we were pre-surgery. Here he is showing off his re-gained lounging skills:

He hasn't had any more nosebleeds and we were able to talk to our Oncologist (she was great) about it today. She didn't see anything abnormal around his nose during her examination. She said that it could be nothing or it could be a number of things, including a different cancer aside the Osteosarcoma (which the bone biopsy confirmed). We're hoping for pretty much anything other than the cancer, but we will cross that bridge if/when we have to. In the meantime, were getting his chemotherapy scheduled to treat the osteosarcoma and will revisit our overall plan once we know what is going on with his nose.

Aside from the scariness going on with Ludo's nose, he is doing so great! We're so proud of all he's been able to accomplish and how well he is getting along. We love him so much and are grateful for any additional quality time we have with him. Tonight's big event is trying to sleep with our bed back on the bed frame! Ludo is able to get up to the bed, but so far hasn't successfully navigated down the stairs. He is able to use the stairs to go inside and outside, so he's just got to figure out these weird bed stairs he's not seen before. We rearranged our room a bit to try to give him more room to take the stair down to the floor. Fingers crossed!

Finally, Ludo got a very cool new bandana today he has been showing off to all of his friends! It looks great on him and even matches his leash!

Image Enlarger

Thanks for sending along the bandana, Jerry! We all love it and can't wait to show everyone what our big, dopey Tripawd can do!

-Scott

Virginia




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4 June 2021 - 10:23 pm
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First of all....those pIctures....OMD!!!  IM SOOOO IN LOVE!!!   Smooching that sweet mug right they the screen!  He looks so comfy lounging  on HIS sofa😎   And I do beli he knows he looks stunningly handsome his tripawd scarf.  Perfect  color for him👍

Glad his checkup has gone well and stitches are out. I think we can definitely  take it as a pawsitive Thethat your Onco couldn't find anything obvious while checking out his nose.  And as you said, basically if anything changes you'll deal with it then.  But NOW all looks good and Ludo is recovering nicely and that all that matters!!!

Many dogs need pain meds beyond the two week mark.  My Happy Hannah needed a reduced amount going into  three weeks.  So glad the yelping has stopped!  That is such good news!  Keep doing the massages....that seems to be the solution, or certainly part of it anyway

I ,ove all the many ways you are doing everything  poss for Ludo's happiness....rearranging  the furniture in your room is so sweet.  He's a very lucky boy to be so well loved💖

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS....Let usnknownhow tonight's event goes🤞

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



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5 June 2021 - 6:49 am
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Aww blue is his color! He looks so relaxed and hoppy 😍 it's nice to see him enjoying the day.

I think that you and his onco are doing a great job taking things day by day. It sounds like a good plan! And yeah as for the pain meds there is no shame if he needs them longer, many dogs do. Whatever works to keep pain out of the picture and quality of life up!

I hope he did well last night and you all got some sleep. Did he use the stairs at all? I imagine they are weird to him after all these years and they may be extra scary since he's a front legger and it's more awkward to descend stairs. Little by little though he's making huge progress!

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11 June 2021 - 8:32 am
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Good Morning Everyone,

Tessa mentioned this to Jerry in the chat yesterday, but Ludo doesn't need no stinking stairs to get up and down from the bed! He is able to jump up and down with ease!

We did get some terrible news yesterday though. Ludo went in to get his nosebleeds checked out. We had planned for a CT Scan and rhinoscopy. The CT scan showed a mass in Ludo's left sinus that could not be reached by the rhinoscopy, so they called us last minute with a change of plans. No rhinoscopy, but a small incision above his left eye and biopsy of the mass. The procedure was done successfully and our doctor was able to get a sample to examine herself while she sent the rest off. We won't know 100% until the biopsy results come back in 10-14 days, but all the tests our doctor ran indicate that the Osteosarca spread to his sinus. She told us this is very abnormal behavior for the cancer and that is never a good thing. We had planned to go ahead with chemo to try to extend our time with Ludo, but with these new findings our doctor informed us the chemo would most likely only extend his life for another 4-6 months. Without chemo, her best guess was another 3-4 months. Right now, we don't feel that it is worth putting Ludo through the chemo treatment just for another 1-2 months time with him. We are obviously devastated, but just want to provide the best life we can for Ludo for however long he has. If the biopsy shows different results we may rethink this, but we both feel like the biopsy is going to confirm our doctors diagnosis.

Ludo is still feeling out of sorts and not great from his procedure yesterday, but prior to that he was back to his normal, happy self! He had been running around the yard, playing with toys, and sleeping through the night! We are going to try our best to enjoy the good times we have left with Ludo. He is the best of boys and deserves all the happiness and pancakes he can get!

-Scott

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11 June 2021 - 10:50 am
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Scott and Tessa, thank you for the update. My heart hurts. Cancer makes me so smiley7 I was so hoping for better news on that end. I'm really sorry. 

In the wild ride that cancer can be, I'm glad that the rest of Ludo's news is just really wonderful. His joy and his daily activities are the kind of thing you hang onto with all your might while you take things day by day. He's playing, he's comfortable, he's doing what Ludo does best, and life doesn't get any better than that from moment to moment. It's all he wants, and as long as you guys keep seeing the world from his perspective, you can't go wrong. Stay focused like you are doing, make lots of pancakes, and spoil that boy rotten!

Keep us posted, we love hearing about him 🙂

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 June 2021 - 10:31 am
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I’m glad that the rest of Ludo’s news is just really wonderful. His joy and his daily activities are the kind of thing you hang onto with all your might while you take things day by day. He’s playing, he’s comfortable, he’s doing what Ludo does best, and life doesn’t get any better than that from moment to moment. It’s all he wants, and as long as you guys keep seeing the world from his perspective, you can’t go wrong. Stay focused like you are doing, make lots of pancakes, and spoil that boy rotten!

EXACTLY!

I I know it gors without staying, but "statistics " mean very little around here.

FWIW  I was owned by a Bull Mastif "mature"  pupper who had a nose tumor of some sort.  This was years ago without much "testing", etc.    Basically the nose bleeds were the determining factor, maybe with some visual inspection inide the nose.  Can't  really remember.   No outward signs of discomfort or anything like that.  Shortly after that she got bloat!!  Ugh!  Bet suggested  just going ahead and putting down because her prognosis  was so poor anyway on so many levels.  Even with the discomfort  of bloat Twinkie was wagging and Happy acting as the Bet did  all her bloat tests.  Nope, she was not in6 in a thing the Bet had to say.I did her bloat surgery anyway....she sailed through....and we got many, many months of wonderful  extended  quality  time.  Can't  remember exactly....but far more than the "couple of months".

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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