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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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Jake's Story
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23 October 2020 - 12:13 pm
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Oh I was freakin out going into nurse mode, thinking worse case scenarios like infection, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, etc, and of course pain. But he appeared so cozy despite the breathing, his heart rate was relatively normal too and I couldn’t make sense if it. I thought maybe anxiety? I was sooo close to calling the on call vet/surgeon, I started getting ready to drive him to Tustin and when I came out of the bathroom I found him in one of his favorite positions doing the stink bug pose. Breathing was back to normal, and was making happy moans again.

I know he was very mellow at my mom’s house because I kept checking on him throughout the day so I don’t think it was too much activity. He did wake up @ 3:30am last night like he’s been doing, he peed and pooped again yay! But was a bit restless after that and I’m not sure why. He’s been waking up at that time since his surgery, I figure it’s all the meds in his system, maybe the narcotics which I’m supposed to start weaning down. Today is one week from surgery so I know we still have a bit to go before he starts to feel normal, is humans would probably still be in the hospital on a morphine drip so I know he’s going to be ok. Just need time, but gosh was I worried, I’m still not sure what it was. 

Something else I’ve noticed but it’s probably normal, when I take him out potty he do his thing but then just take a few steps, stand there, and sniff the air, looking around but not doing anything. So I’ll wait to see if he’s finished with his business, try to get him to go again, but end up just picking him up and carrying him back upstairs to my apt on his bed. He was restless after that till about 5:30 of course when I had to get up for work, then he was happy back to sleep. Not sure what to make of it, maybe just little behavior quirks with all the changes?

Cozy at home : )

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 October 2020 - 2:35 pm
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Awww smoochy face! I want to cuddle with the little stink bug. Glad he’s better.

I can’t blame you for jumping to all kinds of potential diagnoses. You know what they say about a little knowledge…

His nighttime episode sound a lot like Kip’s restlessness. Weird! My guess is that it’s partly just him getting used to his new way of moving around, whether that’s getting cozy in his sleeping area or recovering from a short nighttime potty walk. I do have memories of our Jerry doing the same thing for about the first two weeks after surgery. It didn’t last too long. I hope it doesn’t for him too!

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




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23 October 2020 - 6:53 pm
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I remember that my Happy Hannah would would have restlessness off  and on at night for a week or two.  I really dont think I made any adjistments… possibly tweaked the meds a lottle…not sure.

In her case Ithink ot was a matter of simply wanting to change positions and having trouble figuring it how with three instead of four.

With everything else being apot on and this poi tank recovery, I wouldn’t  be concerned. ,obvious, if you do have any concerns check with your Vet.  But, at least  I happy Hannah’s case I think it was all a put learning  to sleep in different positions.  Dogs, just like hoomans, have a preferred  direction of curling up, or a preferred side to sleep on when stretching out.

As far as standing  there and sniffing I think he is just thoroughly  enjoying all the scents the night air has to offer.  The truth is, the enjoyment dogs get from a “wall”, is really just about sniffing!  They would much prefer being a le to slow meander,  sniff, mean der, sniff some more.

Anway, just throw stuff out there.  And tha ks for the “cozy pics”…love them!

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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24 October 2020 - 6:25 pm
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Yes I agree with both of you, I think the restlessness is just him figuring out how to get cozy & getting in the perfect position. And the sniffing he’s always done but not usually for so long and w/o going potty. I think he must feel cooped up inside so I don’t blame him for wanting to get out & about if only to sniff. Each night seems to be just a tiny bit better, it will be so nice when he sleeps through the night again.

It’s been a pretty good day overall, we tried a new game today that I read about on this site. The one where you use a muffin tin and hide treats under tennis balls, he loved it.

There was one little hiccup, however. I noticed 2 things today. The first thing was, the top part of Jake’s incision site looked a little red and somewhat puffy, it wasn’t warm to the touch and there’s no drainage. I took a pic this morning and took another this afternoon for comparison. It had become more red and swollen to me, I sent them to the vet. They called me to pick up another round of antibiotics (Rilexine 300mg 2 tabs q12hrs). The surgeon said it was fluid accumulation under the skin, is that just a sugar coated way to say infection? So we took a little road trip & we’re back home resting and starting our 2nd round of antibiotics. I’ve been so careful with him and making sure everything was clean for him. Is this fairly common?

Oh and the second thing was something odd, he’s never done this before. But he was sleeping and looked like he was having puppy dreams, when I walked by I noticed he had peed a little in his sleep, not very much, but it was like he sprung a tiny leak, just a few drops. I’d taken him potty not too long ago but took him out again when I noticed this, he peed a ton. He always lets me know when he needs to go out, but not this time, so just something strange I noticed today. Hoping tonight he does a little better sleeping wise : )

Good day with a little hiccup

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 October 2020 - 2:04 pm
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we tried a new game today that I read about on this site. The one where you use a muffin tin and hide treats under tennis balls, he loved it.

OMD we must see pics next time! Too cute! Good job keeping his brain active so he can rest.

The surgeon said it was fluid accumulation under the skin, is that just a sugar coated way to say infection? So we took a little road trip & we’re back home resting and starting our 2nd round of antibiotics. I’ve been so careful with him and making sure everything was clean for him. Is this fairly common?

Yep, common and probably just a harmless seroma but the vets are being cautious and adding antibiotics into the mix just in case it’s headed toward infection. I love that you were so observant and able to send them comparison pictures, that is really helpful to head off problems.

He always lets me know when he needs to go out, but not this time, so just something strange I noticed today. 

I’m guessing he’s just pretty tired lately between the recovery and the pain medications, and just too pooped out to get up and tell you. If it keeps happening I would let your vet know but try not to worry right now, that sounds pretty harmless from what you described.

Hope you guys are having a nice day!

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




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25 October 2020 - 4:49 pm
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Thanks for the pupdate. Jake is having a good recovery and that’s  what we all like to hear!

Jerry answered  all your concerns with great insight and a good dose of reassurance  as usual 😎

Smooch Jake’s muzzle 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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25 October 2020 - 5:00 pm
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Thank you both for the help and insight, I will definitely increase the smooches, lol. He’s doing much better today and even slept a little better last night, even though he’s still waking up at least once always around 2-3am, but his potty routine is getting a little more back to normal.

The sutures come out this Thursday, I can’t wait. Then hoping we can look into some PT so he’ll start feeling better gait wise, getting used to being sturdy as a Tripawd : )

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 October 2020 - 9:19 pm
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You are so welcome! Smooches are great medicine! You’ve both got a big week ahead, rest up and keep us posted.

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26 October 2020 - 6:42 am
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Will do! I’m excited we’re making progress in week 2, even though yesterday he seemed a bit down and tired, he actually slept through the whole nite, yay!!!! I think we both got more rest : )

This may be a silly question at this point, and even though he’s making great progress after only a week. Is it normal in the beginning to have these moments of feeling like, “what have I done to him?”

I know I made the right decision and maybe it’s just a little fatigue, but I still have a bit of guilt at times. However I don’t see any other alternative to the choice I made with my vet. Anyway, just wondering if this is normal or I’m just tired, probably both, lol.

I’ll update soon with more pics, thank you all for the love : ) 

Virginia




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26 October 2020 - 9:44 am
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Holy cow!!  Are you kidding?  Is it normal in the first week to ask “What have I done TO my dog?”  HECK YEAH!!!   For me, it took me three weeks to fi alky say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah!!!

You will see  Jake’s sparkle come back and he will soon reclaim all his normal routines come back.  And that’s  when you will know with absolute  cert uou did this FOR your Jake!!  Promise!!

And YAAAY for a good night’s sleep!!!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 October 2020 - 3:12 pm
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It’s TOTALLY normal! Yes I totally felt the same way and I think it’s safe to say everyone else who’s been through the recovery journey has too. And like Sally mentioned, reframing it as doing something FOR Jake and not TO him helps put things in perspective.

So happy things are going well. Keep focused on that pawsitivity, it’s working magic!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 October 2020 - 1:14 pm
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Oh my goodness, so normal! I recall my doubts increased toward the end of week 1 and into the beginning of week 2. By the end of week 2 (when sutures were removed), I was back to having zero doubts. I think that in-between time is hard, since recovery pain is still there, they are off the really good meds, and it is hard to know how much pain they are in and how to adjust meds to meet that (instructions to give things “as needed” are not super helpful for a dog that doesn’t generally whine or cry out of pain). And, add onto this, they are moving a bit more but still getting used to how their new body works and tire easily. That time was pretty stressful for me and I definitely was distressed at times when I thought about what Maddie was going through. But then I remember the severity of that limp and the pain it was causing her.

For my dog, there was a huge positive change when we had the sutures removed. She seemed more comfortable, started lying on the incision side, more interest in moving, etc. It may be coincidence happened to feel better doing these things on the day we got the sutures removed, but I don’t think so. I think it was just one more thing that made her feel odd.

Keep trucking! 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge



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30 October 2020 - 2:52 pm
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sytske said
Oh my goodness, so normal! I recall my doubts increased toward the end of week 1 and into the beginning of week 2. By the end of week 2 (when sutures were removed), I was back to having zero doubts.

This is so valuable to get others’ perspectives! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time to share and support other members smiley4

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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1 November 2020 - 9:15 am
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Omg y’all were right about the 2 week mark! Wow there have been so many positive changes, he really is a wonder weim. Thank you all so much for relieving my worries about what’s normal and what’s not. There have been these little behavioral quirks that I’m still getting used to, but he’s also really starting to act like himself again and get that little sparkle back in his eyes just like you guys said he would. He’s also getting his mischievous streak back as well which I love : ) 

Since the sutures came out this past Thursday, things have been happening even faster! While my mom was watching him while I’m at work, she has a baby gate up to prevent him from following her up the stairs, well she forgot to close it and went upstairs. Sure enough while she was putting away some laundry she turns around and there’s Jake, panting but smiling at her all wiggly like he knew he’d been naughty. She freaked out worrying he had overdone it and went to pick him up to take him back downstairs, but he refused and took himself back downstairs no problem. My mom was so worried about him but he was fine. But seriously I don’t want him doing too much too soon so we didn’t let anything like that happen again, until yesterday. I’m home doing laundry and Jake and I live in a one bedroom apartment, it’s not hard to keep track of him, but I had my back turned for just a minute and heard him walk into my bedroom. Before I could stop him he jumped up onto my bed, made himself all cozy in my pillows and promptly fell asleep all happy. Wow. But he seems to know that it’s too high for him to jump off so he waited for me to lift him down thank goodness. I just hope he doesn’t try this when I’m not here. He’s rarely alone but I did leave him for about 2 hrs yesterday to run some errands and he did great. 

Other exciting things this week, we also had to contend with the Silverado Fire; I live less than 5 minutes from Cook’s Corner if anyone is familiar so we got a pretty good view of the flames. Luckily we were only under voluntary evacuation and didn’t have to flee but it was definitely scary. It still smells a bit smoky here but at least no homes were lost and everyone stayed safe.

Some other things I’ve noticed, he wants to walk farther and farther and is no longer satisfied with just a potty break. But I’m not sure how much I should let him, how far he should walk and for how long. He does tire a bit easier but I know that’s normal, but how much should I be allowing him to walk at this point? Also, he is still trying to lift his leg to pee not realizing it’s a bit tricky now. He tries and then stumbles a bit into a bush and then gives up and squats. I feel so bad that he can’t do it and try to help by holding him up but he doesn’t like that either. I thought that his leg lifting days were likely over, or is that something that he may possibly be able to do once he get’s his gait and balance back? Do you guys recommend anything I can do to help him get stronger and keep his joints healthy, especially the remaining front leg?

His vet recommended Just Food for Dogs, which is human grade food for pups that loaded with nutrients, probiotics and joint support supplements, he seems to like it so I hope it’s making him stronger too. At times his gait is a bit wobbly and others I think he’s going too fast and his hop is rough. Will his gait smooth out a bit over time as he adjusts? I’m just worried he’s coming down hard on that front leg and don’t want him to suffer an injury. But overall he’s doing amazing, becoming more stubborn about going back inside after a quick potty break, he just wants to keep walking and sniffing, I don’t mind. I can’t wait for what he accomplishes next week, thank you all so much for the support and guidance. It’s honestly saved my sanity and brought me some peace, thank you! 

What an exciting week

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 November 2020 - 3:16 pm
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Hah Jake you naughty dawg! You’re going to give us all a heart attack. But you’re so darn cute and impressive, we could never be mad at you for taking charge. How awesome your stitches are out. It’s like like begins all over again. YAY!

Wow I had no idea you were so close to the fires. I’m so glad you guys are safe! Scary stuff.

It’s exciting to learn that he’s doing so well and that you are asking terrific questions. Here are some thoughts:

But I’m not sure how much I should let him, how far he should walk and for how long. He does tire a bit easier but I know that’s normal, but how much should I be allowing him to walk at this point? 

Generally, a very fit and recovered Tripawd should keep walks to 10-15 minutes tops, a few times a day. Shorter, more frequent walks are best. If you get Jake into rehab therapy, a therapist can let you know for sure what he’s capable of now, and what you can do to help him get stronger so those walks can get longer. Also, our e-book Loving Life On Three Legs has lots of material on that subject.

I thought that his leg lifting days were likely over, or is that something that he may possibly be able to do once he get’s his gait and balance back?

Hmm. I’ll let the community chime in on that. Our Jerry was always a squatter so we never had that issue.

Do you guys recommend anything I can do to help him get stronger and keep his joints healthy, especially the remaining front leg?

Again, a therapist can guide you on the best exercises and supplements for him. Our Tripawds Nutrition blog has tons of supplement ideas that we and other members have tried and seen good results while giving them to their pups.

His vet recommended Just Food for Dogs,

We LOVE that company

At times his gait is a bit wobbly and others I think he’s going too fast and his hop is rough. Will his gait smooth out a bit over time as he adjusts? 

The hop will always be there. But a therapist can help you help him with exercises that minimize it, strengthen and build endurance in his core. With a Tripawd, it’s not so much about leg strength but about building core muscles to support the body while it’s moving. That is how a Tripawd gets strong, just like people. And oh did I mention the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit ?! 

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