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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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Hello from Polly and me. Thanks for this great site
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Forum Posts: 3
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19 October 2019
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19 October 2019 - 9:49 am
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I’ve been reading through some of the content and posts on this site and I wish I’d found it a week ago. I thought I’d add a post here to say hi.

I found my Polly dog on my company’s mailing list about 9 years ago. A family had found her alone at their doorstep but couldn’t keep her (they had a full house of rescues already). They called her Polly because “doesn’t she just look like a Polly?” (She does.) She grew up to be a pretty, big 65-lb dog with a cat-like personality. She lounges in my office while I work, we take our breaks outside together, she helps me garden on weekends by nibbling on my plants, and are pretty much never apart.

She’s had a few health issues over the years, really bad allergies and ACL tears in both her knees, but this one takes the cake. She started limping and our vet initially thought it was a soft tissue injury. When it didn’t go away they did blood tests and took xrays and still couldn’t spot the problem. We had an appointment with an orthopedist there, but the appointment got pushed back due to bad weather. That was about a week ago. Last Friday ago I was helping her down the stairs and I touched her leg and she yelped. I had a terrible feeling, took the day off work, and called around until I found a vet with a resident orthopedist who was able to see her that day. They took more xrays and told us they’re 95% sure it’s bone cancer. I didn’t expect to hear that and it hit me hard.

I don’t blame our regular vet for not catching it right away, they really covered everything they should have and it was just bad luck. The first xrays were blurry right where they needed to be sharp, and the orthopedist pointed out how much worse it’d gotten in just a week. Polly had a small fracture where the bone was thin too. After the vets there answered a lot of questions, we decided to amputate her left front leg to manage her pain. That happened on Tuesday (Oct 15) and we brought her home Wednesday. It sounds like we should know the biopsy results in a week or maybe a little longer and I guess the next steps depend on what they find there. Her lungs looked clear on the xrays and they didn’t find any lumps in her abdomen with the ultrasound so I’m cautiously hopeful.

Right now it’s just hard seeing my friend in pain. She’s on gabapentin, rimadyl, and cephalexin. She also had IV antibiotics after the surgery. She has tramadol and an anti-anxiety drug we can give her if we feel like she needs them. The tramadol makes her hallucinate I think and I am almost reluctant to use it.

I think she’s just at that point where the nerve blocker she had during the surgery is wearing off. She woke up making a terrible screaming noise last night, and shivered and panted for a few minutes after that. It was so scary and I wasn’t sure how to comfort her so I just told her what a brave girl she is and petted her until she seemed to feel better. I think some of you have mentioned rearranging when to give each of the pain meds so that they have more overlap, so I’m going to try that today. Reading everybody’s stories has been so helpful, it sounds like a lot of dogs start feeling better steadily after a kind of slump like this after surgery. As heartbreaking as it is to hear about other puppies hurting, it’s showing me that this is maybe normal for the circumstances and not something that’s going to last forever.

One thing Polly’s surgeon did that I don’t see a lot of people mentioning was that she used a bandage over the wound. She said she finds that the compression helps minimize swelling and provides a bit of padding if she wants to lay on that side. Polly doesn’t seem to mind it. The vet techs added some little heart shapes on it (they were so good to her!!). We are going back for a bandage change/checkup on Monday, and then they will likely remove the bandages a week after that.

A sad dayImage Enlarger

I am hoping that she can rest comfortably and sleep as much as she needs. I am also hoping she can do a big ol poop today. This post is much longer than I thought it was going to be, so I’ll leave it on the poop note. Nice to meet you all!

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 October 2019 - 10:10 am
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Hi Polly and family, welcome. It’s nice to meet you too! I’m sorry it was because of this reason though. 

I need to run right now but will be back later. For now, please let your vet know about Polly’s pain signals . She should be comfortable and not having pain medication side effects like that. It may take some additional medications to help her feel better, right now it sounds like she is on a minimum (the longest any post op drugs will be in her system is about 3 days). Let them know so you can help her get comfy. I’ll be back with more thoughts in a sec.

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




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19 October 2019 - 10:48 am
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Polly looks like such a sweetheart.  We know it’sreally rough hearing rhe diagnosis  and then going through recovery.  It’s  all so exhausting  emotionally snd physically.

Thankfully recovery doesn’t  last furever snd Pollh will soon be back livi g jer lofe yo rhe fullest  paun free!!!

Yeah, all the hospital  meds ahould ve oit pf jer system  now so getting the pain doses and frequency  can take a bit of tweaking. It is MAJOR surgery and Polly is not goi7 to feel like having a pawty fot avout two weeks-ish.

  How much does she weigh?  What does amou ts pf Gaba and Tram is she own and the frequency? Tramadol and Gabapentin  do compliment  each.  Some dogs do have restlessness with Tramadol.  Right now though, it’s hard to say what’s  pain and what could be med sife effects.

How is Polly doing otherwise? Eating, drinking, pooping,  peeing? Is she mobile yet?  Pooping may take a few days and eating may be off a bit.  Rest, rest, rest, short potty breaks and more rest.

Okay, deep breaths, eat chocolate and we’ll be looking for your update!

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!

new hampshire
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19 October 2019 - 11:17 am
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Hi Christy & Polly, welcome to tripawds. Im sorry you had to find us this way but your in good company now. 

So it sounds like beautiful polly is 4 days post amp? It does sometimes take a sec to get the pain meds on the right dose and schedule. It sounds like it might just need a little tweek to suit her better. Whats her dose and schedule right now?

I know its sat and most vets are closed. do you have an emergency clinic in your area? you could try giving them a buzz for a little q&a about pollys pain med dose. Most of them are happy to help.

You sound like you’ve done your home work and are doing a great job trying to make her journey as easy as possible. Its so hard for us pawrents to watch them go through this part of the healing process but it will get better soon. Fingers crossed for a restful day and poo!

Keep us updated if you have a sec we’re here for you both and sending good vibes and big hugs,

❤ Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel roane & angel dog Gypsy.

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

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19 October 2019 - 11:21 am
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Thanks Jerry and Benny.

She’s been taking 50 mg of rimadyl every 12 hours, 75 mg of tramadol every 10 hours, and 100 mg of gabapentin every 12 hours. She was 65 lbs going into surgery and I didn’t get a weight on her after but probably about 63 lbs now?

I just texted with Polly’s surgeon and we are cleared to increase the frequency and dosage of the Tramadol and Gabapentin. The Dr says she may need this especially over the next few days, but that we can try decreasing the frequency a bit after three days if we feel like she’s overmedicated.

The Tramadol really seems to affect her. She stares all around and I think she’s hallucinating, and she barks at things that aren’t there. Paired with the anti-anxiety medicine she’ll sleep through it so I think it’ll be ok. Tramadol’s an opiate and our vet said it does have that effect. I’m pretty sure it’s the Tramadol and not something else she’s taking right now – she had a similar reaction when she had this medicine before after the knee problems.

She’s able to hop around quite well but gets tired very fast. Bathroom is a bit of a problem. She had TPLO surgeries on both knees when she was 7 years old and I think she doesn’t quite feel steady between the knees and the new limb configuration. Without support she’ll often do a bit of a forward roll when she tries to squat. I have a harness to help support her but she doesn’t want to go #2 with me standing so close. She always took FOREVER to find the perfect spot to poop in and I think it’s frustrating that I won’t let her wander around for a half hour to find that most perfect, ideal spot (she’s limited to 5 minute bathroom breaks). She’s peeing ok with support and drinking a lot. She’d been eating fine until today but seems a little reluctant this morning, hopefully I can tempt her with some sweet potatoes and rice.

The chocolate was an excellent suggestion. Thank you. icon_lol

new hampshire
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19 October 2019 - 11:52 am
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Oh good, so glad you were able to get ahold of the surgeon! I was hopping they might say that about increasing the gabapentin. Roane was twice pollys size (130 lbs) and i think she was taking 600 mg 3x a day, every 8 hrs at first. It really seemed to help her to have an overlap at 8 hrs instead of 12. Hopefully after shes feeling more comfortable eating will be easier too.

It sounds like all things considered shes moving well for 4 days out. I know its kind of contradictory with upping the meds but she might be less tippy when shes off them or on a lower dose. Finding that perfect poo spot can be a challenge! 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 October 2019 - 12:03 pm
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Hey Christy I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk.

I’m glad you consulted with your vet, that sounds like a reasonable plan. Yes, Tramadol does that to a lot of dogs. If you need to take it away and she still needs more relief, your vet can prescribe something else like Amantadine to help control pain.

Glad to hear she’s doing pretty well. You are doing an excellent job managing her recovery!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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19 October 2019 - 12:27 pm
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I tried taking her outside but she just trolled me by pretending to be about to poop, but then rolling around on the grass making a goofy face. I think the sunshine must feel good after being cooped up for a while. She’s had her meds for the next several hours and is having a sleep now so I think I’ll do the same. (I’m working nights so it’s sort of bedtime for me now anyway.) Thanks for all your kind words and suggestions, I really do feel better after confirming with the vet about the medicine dosage.

Virginia




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19 October 2019 - 9:58 pm
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Oh good, glad the meds are getting tweaked a bit AND that you both can get some sleep!  Based on the feedback you gave us, it looked like there was some wiggle room with the dose amounts, espec rhe Gabapentin. My Happy Hannah was so restless and so uncomfortable at first, she and I got almost zero sleep for three nights after coming home.

Yeah, hopping on three is pretty exhausting at first, especially  drugged while trying  to get over MAJOR surgery!!  Good that  she’s  drinking  plenty and eating, even if her appetite is a little off.  So yeah, any yummy foods she will eat right now to keep her tummy coated.

The sun really does seem healing for the dogs.  I love that she felt good enough to take a roll outside  in the sun.  

Have a good snooze.  And yeah, chocolate  for breakfast always helps hoomans handle recovery😎

You’re  doing a great job!!!  Really, you are!

Hugs

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

PS after recovery maybe you could get an appointment  or two with a Rehabilitation  Specialist.   They can give you some good exercises  you can do at home to help her build her core muscles.   The Tripawds Foundation   will pay for the first visit.

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!

Livermore, CA




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19 October 2019 - 10:22 pm
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The Tramadol really seems to affect her. She stares all around and I think she’s hallucinating, and she barks at things that aren’t there

My Pug Maggie really freaked out on Tramadol too, not recovering from her amp surgery but later in life (gaba wasn’t available then).  One night I gave her a dose of tram and she was awake for 12 hours and she acted like something was after her the whole time.

Hopefully the cocktail of drugs will keep that from happening for Polly now and she will be as comfortable as possible.

Otherwise I just wanted to welcome you and Polly- lots of experience on this site so lean on us when you need to.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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