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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Harley is officially a TriPawd!
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Member Since:
25 November 2021
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11 December 2021 - 11:23 am
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Just picked Harley up from the vet.   His left forelimb was amputated on Friday - Presumed osteosarcoma of the left proximal humerus.  We went back and forth between palliative radiation and surgery/chemo but decided that in the best interests of all that Harley would be able to handle the amputation and getting used to being on 3 legs, even though he has some hind end arthritis and polyneuropathy.    So far so good!!   We are less than 24 hours post surgery (he had an overnight stay at the vet) and he can get up on his own, ambulate on his own for short distances (but gets tuckered out easily), he can adjust himself on his bed and he can hold himself up to pee.  When we got home from the 45 minute drive after picking him up, he must have peed for 3 minutes.....   He has a strong appetite and is alert and interested in everything.  We think this boy will be hard to keep quiet/still until he's been cleared so the next two weeks will be challenging.   Now, he received a long-acting strong painkiller during surgery so we expect some issues the day after tomorrow when that starts to wear off.  And we haven't even tried the two stairs that he will need to go up and down to get to the yard.  Will try that later today with towel support.  They didn't give much for pain meds though which, hopefully  won't be an issue.  Just Codeine which he was already on along with Carprofen and Gabapentin which he was already one.  So, IDK.  They put a t-shirt on so we can't see the incision but got a little peek at it and it looks REALLY good.  Here's hoping everything goes well with his recovery and we can get him in for an Oncology consult ASAP.  

The Orthopedic surgeon we used is at Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Services in Annapolis.  Great follow up so far.  Will get the pathology report in 10 to 14 days.  

Harley is an almost 10 year old (1/3/2012) tall Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Geriatric onset Laryngeal Paralysis (mild) and polyneuropathy.  He's a rescue and has been in our home for just under 4.5 years.  He is the second dog in our home that has been diagnosed with cancer in the past 6 months.  The first pup crossed the bridge on September 5th and we'd not even begun to mourn his loss when Harley was diagnosed.  Cancer sucks!

Virginia




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11 December 2021 - 11:34 am
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WOW!!!  What a spectacular  update!  He's mobile, sitting up on his own ,good pees.....this boy is rocking it!

Yes, he may have a vit of a crash after the hospital meds wear off.  It does sou d like his pain meds are appreciate  (plus an antibiotic?), so it's a matter of dose ampu t and frequency.   That may have to ve tweaked in the upcoming  days.

As you know, rest, rest, rest.  Some dogs do that nicely.  Seems like Harley may want to do less rest and more getting  back to nor al fast pace.  So you may have to monitor that.  

Tha is so much for the update.  I think Harley agrees with your decision 😎

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!

On The Road


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11 December 2021 - 2:55 pm
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Go Harley! Welcome home buddy! smiley_clap

He sounds like a super strong boy, and with your help he will have recovery behind him in no time. His vet team sounds good too. I'm guessing they gave him Nocita, a 3-day injectable painkiller? If so that's great. Regardless, watch for pain signals that may indicate his meds need adjusting, which is pretty common during the recovery phase.

It's awesome he's doing so well, so soon after surgery. I hope his potty trip went well. Thanks for letting us know how he's doing.

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

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11 December 2021 - 5:38 pm
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Potty trip went well!!  He got himself up on his own and walked without help to the front door which was about 25 feet.  I had to help him down the stairs with a towel and he was able to get out to the grass and relieve himself on his own.  Success!  Now, going back inside didn't work too well.  I guess I must have hurt him with the towel (it slid forward) and he turned and nipped me.  Thankfully didn't break skin but it was a good reminder for me to be careful.  I will have the muzzle handy for the next time.  My husband arrived home just in time and carried Harley back inside.  He's eating like a champ and overall doing much better than we thought he would.  We've already decided that 300mg of Gabapentin was not enough and have doubled it because that's what he was getting before the surgery.  Hoping that will also sedate him a bit so he gets a lot of rest.  I wish I could figure out how to post a picture......   

On The Road


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11 December 2021 - 6:10 pm
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WHEEEE!!! That's awesome he let you assist. Good boy!

Ok so yeah you guessed it about his reaction to the towel movement. Incisions can be really painful. If you use the muzzle, is he already used to wearing one? Just want to take it slow so that he's not associating it with your trying to help. He's got a lot on his mind right now!

Eating too? YEAH!

Gabapentin typically needs to be adjusted during the first week. Let your vet know you went back up just to be safe. I hope it helps him (and you) rest up tomorrow.

This is how adding images to the Forums works.

- Upload pics to a photo sharing site like imgur.com or your own Tripawds blog (https://tripawd...../supporter). Pictures and video have to be hosted (live) somewhere other than in the forums. 
- Once the photo is uploaded somewhere, right click and copy the Image URL or just copy the image if you’re on a phone
- Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself) in your post. It should automatically appear. 

If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know, just message me.

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

Member Since:
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12 December 2021 - 3:14 pm
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Harley continues to do well although we had a bit of an incident last evening.  I think I waited too long to give him his pain medication and the effects wore off.  He was sleeping so soundly that I didn't want to wake him to give meds.  He was up at 3:30am and needed to pee.  My husband carried him out and he voided his bladder on his own.  Now, getting him back in was very challenging.  I had given him his Gabapentin before he went outside to pee.  Harley wanted no part of my husband carrying him back inside and he was growling, snarling and snapping anytime we got close.  Luckily, it wasn't too cold outside and wasn't raining.  So we let him chillax for a bit while we figured out a plan.  We thought we would muzzle him and then get him on a blanket and carry him in that way.  Harley is used to the muzzle and we use it for all vet visits and any time we have to clean his ears (lesson learned after 3 bites.....  )  We waited for about 20 minutes which gave the meds time to start working and we went back to him.  I was able to get the muzzle on no problem but anytime my husband went to try and get him up (so we could move him onto the blanket), Harley was snarling/growling and trying bite through the muzzle.  It's a heavy duty muzzle so no way for him to bite unless it comes off.  We may try the cone of shame the next time (saw the ER techs used that instead of the muzzle I had offered).  My husband was able to get him up on his feet and then instead of putting him on the blanket, he picked him up and carried Harley inside.  When he put him down on the bed, Harley was still growling at my husband.  We let him be and I decided that he could probably be fed seeing it was now 4:30, and it could also get more pain meds into him (carprofen and codeine) and his Prozac.  Anyways, my husband went back to bed and I was in the kitchen getting the food for both dogs ready when I heard some shuffling behind me.  Yup, Harley had gotten up on his own and shuffled into the kitchen.  About 20 feet and he managed to stay on his feet the entire time while I finished getting his food and medication ready.  That was about 5 minutes.  He wanted no part of the raised feeder and didn't want to lay down to eat so I put his food down and he stayed on his feet the entire time and ate his food.  He had to adjust a few times but overall, his balance was pretty good.  With a full belly, and meds on board, I got him back onto his soft bed and he slept for another 2 1/2 hours.  He managed to figure out how to get himself back up the two stairs on our front porch (twice today already).  Going down is still a challenge.  I am staying on top of his pain meds and making sure they are not overdue.  He's eating VERY well.  Still waiting for the first poopiconpoopiconpoopicon  It's going to be massive!!

On The Road


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12 December 2021 - 8:07 pm
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That's such great news that overall he's doing well. Little by little he will get there. And try not to beat yourself up too much about the episode. Yeah, it does sound like he overdid it. Right now, potty walks to the yard are all he should be doing. We all learn on this journey, and sometimes things like this happen. But as long as you keep his activity level way, way down until stitches come out (and even then, it should still start up again very, very slowly), he should be OK.

If he's showing any pain signals let your vet know. But with you staying on top of his meds and keeping on schedule, my guess is he'll be fine in the morning.

And yeah that first poopicon can be a real doozy! Good luck!

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

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13 December 2021 - 2:47 pm
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jerry said
That's such great news that overall he's doing well. Little by little he will get there. And try not to beat yourself up too much about the episode. Yeah, it does sound like he overdid it. Right now, potty walks to the yard are all he should be doing. We all learn on this journey, and sometimes things like this happen. But as long as you keep his activity level way, way down until stitches come out (and even then, it should still start up again very, very slowly), he should be OK.

If he's showing any pain signals let your vet know. But with you staying on top of his meds and keeping on schedule, my guess is he'll be fine in the morning.

And yeah that first poopicon can be a real doozy! Good luck!

  

Yeah - much more painful today.  Guessing the long-term pain shot/local anesthetic has worn off.  Harley was very subdued today - not upbeat like previous days and it was definitely much harder to get him up to go out to do his business.  On the third attempt (he hadn't gone for 9 hours), my husband carried him out and right after he put Harley the ground,  Harley tried to bite him several times....  luckily my husband is faster than Harley is right now.  I called the vet and told them that Harley is quite painful and that the current regimen that I had already doubled wasn't knocking down the pain.  They said that the doubled meds (which were the same amount he was getting before surgery) could account for the increased aggression.  I don't buy that but all they offered was Acepromazine which is a sedative.  He did have his first BM since surgery this afternoon which is a relief.  And we let him just lay  out in the grass for about 30 minutes with supervision rather than try to get him back inside when he was still upset with my husband.  He was not keen to get up at all.   I sat with him and soothed him for about 20 minutes and then I was finally able to coax him back to the house and up the 2 stairs with some turkey burger and then fed his dinner.  Luckily he's very food motivated but earlier today, he wasn't interested in food much which is another clue that he was not feeling too comfortable.  He's now resting comfortably with the pain meds given 3 hours ago and he just got his Carprofen about 45 minutes ago which should also help.   The vet recommended cutting the meds back to what she had prescribed which is only 40mg of Codeine and 300mg of Gabapentin every 8 hours along with 75mg of Carprofen every 12 hours.  He's over 80 pounds.....   

On The Road


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13 December 2021 - 9:23 pm
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Ohhh poor guy! I'm glad your husband wasn't hurt, that must have been scary. You did the right thing by allowing him to chill outside for a bit. A dog shouldn't go more than 12 hours without urinating so good move. And YAY on the poopicon, that's a great sign!

It's not unusual for a new Tripawd to have a painful setback during recovery, many people go through that like Katie is right now. Managing the pain signals are key to getting things back on course. You are really good at advocating for him, be proud of that.

Sometimes dogs can be totally freaked out by pain meds, but usually it's the opioids that do it.  Ace can sometimes make dogs really weird too. They just don't like feeling out of it and Ace does a very good job of that. I hope he's feeling better by tomorrow. Keep advocating for him if you suspect the pain med directions aren't helping. 

Hang in there, things do get better!

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

Virginia




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14 December 2021 - 11:54 am
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You are sich good caregivers for your Harley.  He's having a vit of a rough fo right now, bit that's  only temporary. 

Wo Manu things to celebrate  though....mobile....eating and drinking...and peeing and poopiconpoopiconpoopicon   YAY for poopiconpoopicon

Obviously no Vet and certainly  not giving  Vet advice.  Just seems like the combination Opiods, the Ace and the Prozac could really be messing with his brain😱

Would be interesting  to see of you coild just give him the Gaba and the Carprofen.   Then you could tell if his personality  was a little more balanced withoit the "mind altering " drugs and you could tell if was having true pain signs.  The Vet may then decide  to increase the Gaba dose based on your feedback (if meeded).  Not sure of I was making sense....   maybe????

Anyway, hang in there!  A bit of a crash at this point and some pain med tweaking  is not unusual at all.

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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14 December 2021 - 2:48 pm
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Harley had a much better day today.  He didn't sleep great last night but I think that was my fault.  We got him on his cushy bed and he's able to adjust himself.  He ended up on his "amp" side laying against the bolsters.  In the middle of the night I heard him breathing really hard and got up to check on him.  Several times.  I probably should have gotten him up and had him readjust to lay on his good side.  I don't think he could get up from that side (hurt too much).  At 4:30, I gave him his Gabapentin and Codeine, and then got my husband up so we could get him outside because he was acting like he needed to go.  Managed to do that and he had a poopiconpoopicon right away so that may have been part of his discomfort and heavy breathing.   He also peed.  I am amazed at his ability to hold himself up to poopiconpoopicon without any difficulty.  I was worried about that.    We were able to coax him back inside with food and then fed him his morning meal.  His appetite is really good.  I am cooking a home-made "cancer" diet for him but still having to use a bit of regular low carb dog/high protein food to supplement.  Looking into The Farmer's Dog for both him and my other dog.  It looks like they have one recipe that is high protein & fat and low carb which would work for Harley.  What I am making is pretty much the same but I am making food every 4 or 5 days.....     Got the rest of his meds in him and he had a much better, restful morning and early afternoon.  He seemed really bored so I gave him a bully stick wondering how he'd handle it with one front leg.  No problem....   I took it away (traded for something higher value) when it was getting too small.  He's alert and less painful today for sure.  Allowed my husband to pick him up and carry him in and out a couple of times already today.  We are still using the muzzle though just in case.  He's had a t-shirt on since we picked him up after surgery but today I was able to kind of get it up high enough on his chest to check the incision.  It looks great!  No weeping and no seroma so far.  Cross fingers it stays that way.   We are not doing any cold or warm compresses.  He really doesn't like any activity in that area of the incision so rather than stress him out or creating a bite risk, we're just not going there.  Thank you all for the support.  The "warning" that there would be back-sliding after the long acting pain injection wore off was key because we were kind of prepared for it. 

Virginia




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14 December 2021 - 8:05 pm
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PROGRESS!!!!!   PROGRESS!!!!!  PROGRESS!!!!  Good job of recognizing and  celebrating  the progress!  Harley really has had so many improve since yesterday.

And yea, while he may have been u comfortable  laying on the incision,  it was also pro because he needed a potty break.  You and your husband  and so very tuned into this fine boy.  Such a beautiful  bond♥️  And good job on the nutrition commitment 👍

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!

On The Road


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14 December 2021 - 9:00 pm
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Well that's some progress! YAY! It's little steps like this that add up. 

I would bet his panting was for the pain meds and having to poop. With that out of the way now, I hope you are all getting some rest tonight. Keep us posted.

P.S. Feel free to share your feeding recipes and routines in our Eating Healthy Forum, we'd love to learn from what you are doing.

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

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15 December 2021 - 12:39 pm
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Today is a pretty good day for Harley.  He's getting himself up a bit more frequently than yesterday and overall seems much more like himself mentally.  He had one small incident this morning when he was laying on the floor on his "amp" side and had difficulty getting up.  When he tried, he cried and I was close by and he snapped at me.  I was far enough away to no be in danger.  I had to adjust him a bit so he could roll himself up and then he was able to get all the way to his feet.  Not being able to do much with a towel has been challenging.  With our last dog that we lost 3 months ago, we were able to towel walk him to/from the vehicle, outside to do his business and up/down the 2 stairs but Harley is not stoic and when get that tinge of pain, he gets snappy/nippy.   When I got home from walking the other dog, my husband had Harley outside and when I drove up, Harley popped up off the ground and was barking and wagging his tail like nothing was amiss.  

We are having problems getting an Oncology consult scheduled.  Everyone wants to wait until the pathology report comes back and then they'll schedule but most admit that they are already booking into February.  We have a consult at OSU vet school for Jan. 11th but hoping to find something closer as it is a 3.5 hour drive each way.  

Virginia




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15 December 2021 - 2:32 pm
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Bummer about the scheduling  problems.  Wonder if there is any way your regular Vet can put in a call to the Pathologist  and see if they can speed things up? Long shot but worth a call anyway.

Soooo glad Harleynis spaghetti g his sparkle back.  When you see things like him getting up to give you a welcome home bark I k ow it does wonders for your spirit...as well as his!

Mu Happy Hannah did lay on her amp side comfortably  u til around the fifth week.  I know some dogs may do it a lot sooner, but J also think the incision  is painful longer for some dogs when laying on it.  Wonder of you got him a firmer orthopedic  bed like a Big Barker he woi,d be able to rotate himself a little better.   I know I sound like a commercial......  and  they are an investment...but they never shift or sink and are great for large Tripawds and good for their joints too.  I 've had my longest one for about eight years and there is zero change in the density.  I even slept halfway in it whe. my Hapoy Hannah was recovering and it was very good for my back!

Omay, back to celebrating  what an exceptional  dog Harleh is and what a wonderful bond you and hiur husband have.  It's quite wonderful the way uou recognize the reason for getting nippy and accept that and deal with it jn a very understanding way.  He's communicating  how he feels about certain  thi gs going on in doggy language and you are listening  with doggy understanding. 

Hugs

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

PS...sorry about your other dog having to leave his "earth clothes" in order to be free and uoung and heal again.  I k ow he's watching over all of you and  he's being a good Protector for you and your crew now.

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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