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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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Charlie Girl, 2 Days post-amputation
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Member Since:
13 March 2010
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16
23 May 2017 - 4:30 pm
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Yay! Glad to hear Charlie is settling in to life on 3. The first 3 weeks can really be a rollercoaster but at least you are beginning to see how well she will ultimately do! Hang in there! My Travis just had surgery to remove a soft tissue sarcoma as well so we are in a similar situation. He was already a tripawd so we could not amputate and are looking at possible follow up treatments. Are you getting the tumor biopsied after the surgery? 

You go Charlie! You are quite a beauty 😀 and we just know you are gonna rock life on 3!

xoxo, 

Martha, Travis Ray, and the Oaktown Pack

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 May 2017 - 9:23 pm
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Oh yeah! Charlie’s looking pretty darn good with that big smile while sunbathing on her deck! 🙂

As Martha said, you may still be in a bit of a roller coaster for another week or so, but clearly her sparkle IS coming back! 🙂

And you got to sleep in your bed’this early on!! That’s something to celebrate!! 🙂

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:
17 May 2017
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24 May 2017 - 8:07 am
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Did someone say rollercoaster?  Ugh.  Charlie started up with panting and restlessness last night around 6 p.m. and she didn’t really stop much all night.  Just as soon as we’d get her settled and comfortable, and think *finally!*, she’d be right back up and at it again.  Walking around aimlessly, standing, panting, wanting to go outside, not wanting to go outside, did I mention panting, just nonstop.  She wore herself out so much that her legs were shaking but she still refused to lay down without some firm help by me.  We skipped her Tramadol does this morning and are really hoping that helps.  Her incision site does not appear to be causing her pain, and instead this all seems much more anxiety related and potentially exacerbated by the Tramadol (fingers crossed).

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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24 May 2017 - 2:20 pm
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It’s just so darn hard to differentiate between pain and side effects of the pain meds. And often it’s a bit of voth!

How far apart are the tramadol doses? What amount? How much does she weigh? When is the Gaba given? Same time as Tramadol?

Does Charlie start to show some of the signs shortly BEFORE her next dose is due?? Or do they show up shortly AFTER?

Massage up and down her spine, her heck, her shoulders, her hips. Any sign of tension anywhere? Believe it or not, sometimes ot wanting to lay down can be because of a muscle strin somewhere, or pinched nerve, etc.

Anyway, not a Vet and not giving Vet advice…just some suggestions.

Let us know how today goes. I think she was just mad you tried sleeping back in your bed! 🙂 🙂

Hugs!

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

PS…That, btw, is how my Happy Hannah was for several days and nights at first.

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 May 2017 - 7:03 pm
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Sorry she’s still having those issues. In your previous post you had mentioned that she is getting around the back yard pretty good. How much activity is she getting right now? Too much too soon could be the culprit. What’s her day like? If she is doing a lot on her own right now, it could be a sign that she needs to cut back.

Also, keep in mind that steady, consistent pain medication dosages are more helpful than occasional “as needed.” It’s much harder to control pain that spikes out of control than it is to manage it consistently over time. Let your vet know what’s going on and explain that you don’t want to stress Charlie out by bringing her in. They should be able to prescribe something you can go pick up.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
17 May 2017
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25 May 2017 - 12:07 pm
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For pain she’s been on Carpofen, Gabapentin and Tramadol.  I can’t remember the dose of the Carpofen off the top of my head, but it’s 1/2 a pill 2x/day.  The Gaba is 100 mg capsule 3x/day and the Tramadol is 100mg (2 50mg tabs) 3x/day “as needed” (according to the pill bottle and the instructions we went home with).  Her moods and anxiety have been so up and down it’s really impossible to say whether the medication is having a causal effect (either good or bad).  My best guess is that her anxiety is a combination of a number of factors, the medication, the pain, and change.  The latter I am most convinced of.  Just about everything in her life was upended in the last week, after many years of a pretty consistent routine.  She feels different, she walks different, we treat her different (not trying to, but we do, we have to), mealtimes have been different, pills down her throat at all hours, I carry her up and down the stairs….

Anyway, we did call the vet last night and luckily they didn’t ask us to bring her in, but issued a script for Trazadone for 7 days which I ran over and picked up right away.  And finally, about an hour after giving the Traz, she slept, and slept, and then slept some more.  It was a beautiful sight to see her finally relaxed, without her heart and breathing going a mile a minute, even if it was drug induced.  I could still wake her to go outside, and she’d eat and drink, but otherwise she was on her bed all night and through the morning today. 

So we’re still day by day at this point with getting her anxiety under control.  But we are so very grateful that physically she is doing so well.  We joked (you have to, right?) that the hours of standing she did through her anxiety attacks was great strength conditioning for her three remaining legs. 

Member Since:
17 May 2017
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31 May 2017 - 6:43 am
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We’re a little over 2 weeks post-surgery and Charlie Girl is doing great.  The sutures came out yesterday, the incision healed up very nicely, and Charlie is adjusting very well to life on 3 legs.  The anxiety has been our biggest issue for the past week, and the Trazadone helped a lot with that.  We’re now 24+ hours with no meds at all per the vet’s advice and Charlie did have some panting spells overnight and this morning, but is able to settle on her own after a bit.  

If I can do this correctly, here’s a short video of our 12 year old girl at 2 weeks, 2 days post-amputation.  

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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31 May 2017 - 8:22 am
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This just lights up my world reading this today!!! HUGE GRIN!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Charlie looks like a puppy running across her yard!!

Sooooo glad you are starting to see the sparkle come back…..and it’s still early snd it srill gets better!!!!

Thanks for the great update! 🙂

Hugs and extra treats for that beautiful girl!

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:
17 May 2017
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7 December 2017 - 6:45 am
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Well we are almost 7 months out from the surgery and Charlie Girl is doing great.  She’ll turn 13 in February!

It took a good few months to feel some sense of normalcy but we got there, and finally could feel like we made the right decision.  I have to say, it wasn’t 2 weeks or 3 weeks or even 2 months to get there, but we did finally.  I’m sure some of that is related to Charlie’s age.  She had 12 years of cruising around on 4 legs so going to 3 was a really big change for her – and for us.

One of our biggest issues was Charlie’s anxiety which resolved back to her baseline level about 6 weeks post-op (after some more prescriptions of Trazadone – that stuff worked very well but she was in a total fog when on it).  But even after the anxiety, she just did not seem happy.  She looked depressed; there was no sparkle in her eye.  She would get up to eat, go out to the bathroom, and go right back to laying down, giving very little reaction to us or to anything really.  And for awhile it all just didn’t seem worth it.  But as she got settled into a new routine with her new limitations, she slowly started to come around and she does seem happy.  She gets all wiggly and tail-waggy when we’re heading out the door for a walk, and at mealtimes, and we just love that. 

In her pre-surgery life, her routine consisted of lots of adventures away from the house, lots of hiking and camping in the summer, weekends at the lake, winter treks in the snow.  And now, her routine is hopping and sniffing around the neighborhood for an hour or so.  But it’s a good life, especially given her age, and she’s happy, all the neighbors just love her, she has free reign off leash of the dead end street we live on, and we enjoy spoiling her.

She was always a roller before her surgery, and though it took some time for her to figure that out again, we were so happy when she did.  She just loves a good roll in the grass.  Wait for it (around :22)

Member Since:
17 May 2017
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7 December 2017 - 6:51 am
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I was kind of bummed to see that my photos in my posts above are no longer being shared via Photobucket (apparently they now charge for third-party hosting?).  Anyway, I can’t see how to go back and edit those posts, but let’s see if I can re-share some of those photos.

[Image Can Not Be Found][Image Can Not Be Found]

OK – that didn’t work via my Google account so I’ll see if there’s another way to do it.

Schofield, WI
Member Since:
13 August 2015
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26
10 December 2017 - 8:23 pm
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Awe Charlie Girl looks great!  So happy to see her rolling in the grass.  Great update so happy you have found your new normal.  

Member Since:
17 May 2017
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21 February 2019 - 12:19 pm
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We said goodbye to Charlie Girl on January 22, 2019, a couple weeks shy of her 14th birthday. It was a very difficult time for us, as anyone can imagine who has gone through that awful experience. For a few weeks (maybe even months if I’m being honest) she had really just lost her spirit and every day was becoming more and more of a struggle. It was partly due to the amputation, but mostly due to old age. Her back legs weren’t working very well and with only 1 front leg, she was having a hard time just getting up, let alone going outside. I can’t even describe the torment we went through with this (Charlie was my wife’s and my first dog, she saw us through marriage, moving cross country, the birth of our son who is now 9….). A month later, we’re just now starting to feel better, less pain and more focus on the good memories, and thankful for the good life Charlie lived.

Anyway, cheers to everyone who goes through an amputation with their dog, as well as to those who make the hard decision that it’s not the right option. I think we could have gone either way when facing this with Charlie at age 12, and it would have been the right decision. Charlie lived for almost 2  years after her amputation, and we are so grateful for that time with her, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing for her or for us. Bottom line, love your dogs while you are able. And when it’s time to say goodbye, celebrate the good life they lived.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 February 2019 - 12:45 pm
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Oh gosh!  So sorry to read this!!I just checked in heading  out the door and will come back later.  I’ll go to work yet again with red eyes from crying at the loss of another one of our heroes!  And I realize I missed one of your previous post mwith a video of that precious  Aoil, so I want to come  baxk.

Roght noe tjough, just a huge cyber hug to you and your wife.  No dog could have been more l9ved… and Charlie knows it❤❤❤

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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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21 February 2019 - 5:49 pm
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Oh no, I’m so sorry to read this, how difficult it must have been for you to write. My condolences to all of you, it’s not easy at all even when we are so blessed with a dog who got to enjoy many good years. 

I watched the video again and would love to help you share more photos of Charlie girl (this one didn’t show up). Let me know if I can help you with adding images to the Forums OK?

You gave her such a great life, and believed in her when others didn’t. You didn’t let her suffer, and you sent her spirit on with all the dignity in the world. What a lucky dog she was to have such wise, compassionate humans. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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