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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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Axel - One Week Post Surgery - this is hard….
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Forum Posts: 9
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7 October 2021
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7 October 2021 - 4:37 pm
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Hi - New mom to a Tripaw.  Axel is a 8.5 year old 105lb Rottweiler who due to Osteosarcoma wound up with a full front left leg amputation one week ago today.  He was diagnosed in July and we were really trying to potentially do the Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) but after his scan they told us that the tumor in his bone had weakened his bones to the point that SRT would do more damage and amputation would be likely regardless.  Getting appointments has been tough.  It took us 6 weeks to even see an oncologist at first and then b/c we were exploring SRT - we live outside of Boston - there are only 3 places that do this - Angell Memorial in Boston, New London, CT and Yonkers, NY.  We were lucky to finally get an appointment with Angell in Boston (crying on the phone might have helped) but it wasn’t until the end of September and then a week later the amputation.

We thought he was adjusting OK and was making a little bit of progress but we seem to be going backwards.  We wound up in the Animal ER last night due what we thought was bleeding at his incision but it was a seroma - the fluid pocket that has collected.  When he moves quick - he will get bursts of energy - he’s a Rottie - it seems to open him up and he was non-stop draining for 4+ hours.  Getting him out to the car and to the ER and out and back in and back into the house again was a nightmare.  He seems scared of the outside and has peed in the house twice now today and he’s never ever done that.  We are exhausted and keep questioning if we made the right decision.  He seems depressed which isn’t helping us but we are trying to stay upbeat so he doesn’t absorb our stress.  Even with the peeing we are trying to be calm and reassuring with him that it’s OK because we just can’t blame him.  Even when he wants to go outside he just sits there for up to an hour and of course one of us has to be with him.  

I am going to be honest.  This is hard.  It is sad.  I know it’s only been one week.  It gets better, right?  It has to.  We use towels to support him and we got him an orthopedic bed and a harness neither of which he has taken to at all.  Do we just have to give it time? 

Thanks, Melissa 

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 October 2021 - 6:01 pm
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Melissa, you've come to the right place. You should have come to the Tripawds Chat earlier, I'm usually in there during daytime hours.

Yes, it DOES get better. Many people feel exactly as you do when they are this early in recovery. Try to picture how you would be if you just had an amputation. It would be hard, you wouldn't want to move, and you would be feeling very regretful and sad. But you know what? Axel is doing MUCH better than any human would! Seriously! Based on what you are describing, it's all pretty normal stuff, especially for a big dog. They tend to take a bit longer to recover, but once they do, look out! 

Angell is one of the best vet clinics in the world. No joke! I won't even wonder about what kind of pain management Axel is getting because they do it right at that clinic. So, my guess is that what you are seeing is a normal recovery that will take a bit longer than others because of his size. So try not to compare OK? Axel is on his own timeline.

He seems scared of the outside and has peed in the house twice now today and he’s never ever done that.  

What are your floors like? Do you have traction ? Is it easy for him to get around or does he slip and slide?

Lots of people think their dog or cat is regressing after a few days. We see that all the time. But honestly it sounds like normal bumps in the road that can happen, and thankfully, you haven't described anything that sounds really concerning. What did the vet say when you went in? I'm sorry you didn't find our information about what a seroma looks like, we could have helped calm your fears! But we are here now, so please know you are not alone. If you want to call the Tripawds Helpline , one of us will chat OK? 

Keep us posted. Your future posts won't need approval. 

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




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7 October 2021 - 8:04 pm
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Ditto Jerry and more ditto!!

It was around day six after my Happy Hannah's amputation  when I first joined this wonderful  community.   My first post was something like "Help!  It's six days after amputation and I fear I've made a horrible mistake!"

This group reassured  me....and it took a lot of reassurance....that it would get better.   And it did...slowly but surely.

You are in the hard part of recovery  where we doubt our decisions  and ask  " What have we done TO our dogs?"  Like all of us, you will soon be saying you are glad you did this FOR your dog. 

My Happy  Hannah did not like sling help at all.  She would just freeze up.

What pain meds Axel on and the frequency?  Meds can make her feel  like "lethargic" and not feel like getting up to pee.  Bedwetting  does indeed happen.

And sitting outside does seem to be therapeutic and help in healing.  So even if he's not "active", just being  outside helps his well being.

You are exhausted emotionally  and physically.  Getting to this point since July has not been easy and is very stressful.  Everything  looks bleak through exhaustion.  Recovering from major surgery  while adjusting to three is not a picnic.  

Continue  to stay upbeat,  continue  to be patient  (although  none of us ever were) and celebrate  every little, otty bitty aign of progress.

Most important, STAY CONNECTED!  We are here by your side evrry step of the way!

Hugd

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 October 2021 - 6:25 am
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WOW - waking up this morning (after a bit more of a rough night) and seeing this has been super helpful.  I wish I found this earlier because I feel that we would have been more prepared.  This has been shocking to us for sure.  

He was on Gapabentin and Tramadol prior to surgery.  His leg was rendered almost useless by the time he got into surgery - it has swollen from an edema so maybe we thought he’d be adjusting a bit quicker. Now he’s on Gapabentin (which had run out but we are continuing this for him) and they did after the ER visit for the seroma we got some anti-anxiety meds too which we only use as needed.  

More peeing last night - we think he’s nervous to go outside and no poop in 3 days (he had done it a few times earlier).  With the seroma it seems to be settling down - the warm compresses help.  Overall his incision looks really good.

We do have a lot of hardwood floors and honestly he gets up pretty good.  I think the “trauma” of the ER trip for him the other night is still there.  We are going to concentrate this weekend to try and get him more comfortable with the outside.  

We are SO lucky to be near Boston and have Angell at our disposal.  The Onocology team was fantastic and Dr. Choi who did his surgery and the supporting team have been so so awesome.  We are fans for life.  

I need to do some more digging around on this site and will check in and ask questions too.  I am just really happy to have found you all! XO

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 October 2021 - 10:18 am
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We are so glad you found us too! I am thrilled that your voice sounds so much more relaxed and confident.

Ok, the poop is sporadic at times like this. Pain meds cause constipation. To make him more regular, you can add bran flakes, steamed pumpkin or squash pulp, anything to get things moving.

Now I'll be straight with you: many people think their dogs do fine on hardwood. But the truth is, they are really ice skating on slippery floors. I'm sure you've ice skated before, being where you live right? Think about how much muscle strength it takes to stay on that ice, without falling on your butt. Axel is doing the same thing each time he steps on those floors. So do him a huge favor and pick up as many no-slip throw rugs with traction that you can gather. Even yoga mats will do. Place them on his most-traveled paths and see what happens. Or, if he lets you mess with his feet, you can also try Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips (we are huge fans).

Yes, Angell is amazing! I need to interview some vets from there. Hmmm....

Oh be sure to check out the Tripawds e-books library if you want all of our best info consolidated in one place.

I hope this weekend is smooth sailing for you guys! Keep us posted.

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




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8 October 2021 - 11:16 am
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Loved Jerry'ss analogy  about slippery floors and ice skating😎

Definitely  IF he has had sedatives like ACE or Trazedone,  he msy be whacked and pee in the bed.or not feel like getting up.  But sounds like  he's not on those as he certainly  seems low energy right now and not trying to run a marathon!

What's  the dose amount and frequency  of Gabapentin.   It's important  to be consistent  with pain meds.  Once the pain breaks thru it's harder to netminder control.

Incision  looks good and seroma   is clearing up!  YAY!  Celebrate that as a victory!!  And not poop for three days straight  is no biggie.  Let us when.  poopiconappens though.  We love to celebrate.poopicon  Really, we do!

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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10 October 2021 - 8:04 pm
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This was my first post and I just figured out how to subscribe to my existing posts (newbie alert!)  Thank you for all the kind responses!  

Axel had a great weekend for the most part with the exception of the seroma saga (just did a new post on the recovery section). 

He's still peeing in the house but we need to be quicker with his ques but for the most part he's pretty independent getting in and out of the house, going pee and coming back.  His pee inside is less than outside so that is progress.  He's poopicon 1x per day which we are happy about.  His confidence is there.  

We haven't given him any pain or anxiety meds since 11pm on Friday and we think it's helping him feel himself.  He's actually getting pretty good at getting around the house but his areas are still limited.  We are looking into some traction options.  He's eating and drinking well.  He also slept 11pm - 630am Saturday into Sunday so we are hoping for about the same tonight and my husband is happy to sleep in our actual bed instead of the mattress we dragged downstairs. 

Thanks again everyone!

Melissa sp_hearticon2 & Axel sp_hearticon2

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12 October 2021 - 2:15 pm
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Glad to hear Axel is doing better. The analogy of slippery floors and ice skating is right on. We covered 90% of our floors with runners and carpet. We also use traction socks when we know that Maggie will be going somewhere with slick floors. The way I see it, protecting the remaining three legs is paramount. We also use a vest/harness when taking Maggie on a car ride. It helps to support her when jumping down from the car. Keep the faith and remember that there is a whole tripaw community ready to support you.

Dave & Maggie.

Virginia




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12 October 2021 - 3:09 pm
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Saw under Technical Support nd ere site was down for a bit and some posts made in last 24 hrs could not be retrieved. 

Thought I'd lost my mind because  I posted here and on a couple of other places and poof...all gone!

So won't  try and recreate anything other than to say YAY for things getting better!!

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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12 October 2021 - 4:08 pm
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Yes same here! I'm thrilled for you guys. I think I recall from this morning that you mentioned he had more seroma leakage. What did the vet say?

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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12 October 2021 - 4:28 pm
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So quick update - he will likely need to go get it drained on Thursday and then I think they will take out his staples.  After seeing the video of the gushing seroma they said that was a bit "unusual" so they think going in and draining it is the best option.  He's only drippy occasionally now.

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 October 2021 - 7:52 pm
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Oh yeah, that's really common. When our Jerry had his drained, it took about two seconds, no big deal. I'm glad they just said it's "unusual" and not something that looked serious.

Keep us posted!

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: 21434
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 October 2021 - 8:20 pm
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Mayve Axel "heard" you are going to take him to the Vet for a drain, so he decided  to make it clear  up vetween now and then!!

Regardless, as Jerry said,  it's not a biggie to go the drain route of necessary.

Keep us posted!

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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