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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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My 9 year old Bouvier Ludo
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Member Since:
23 August 2016
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26 August 2016 - 9:57 am
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was diagnosed wtih osteosarcoma last week and had his surgery yesterday. It was his front right leg. My wife and I are pretty torn up about it and questioning whether we made the right decision. I do not think I have ever made such a grave decision about another's welfare. 

He is still in the hospital and we just learned that he hasn't moved or stood much. In any case, they do not think he is ready to come home today. 

I ordered the harness and we are going to carpet the stairs and move our bed to the first floor. I am glad I found this place as it has been a great resource. 

On The Road


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26 August 2016 - 10:04 am
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Hi and welcome to you and Ludo. We are so sorry you got the bad news. Weird timing, we also had another member with a Bouvier join us this week, Bruce. As you can see you are in good company with a community that understands how upsetting this situation is.

Tell us more about Ludo (great name!). Does he have siblings? Is he an active dog? What are your biggest concerns?  How can we help?

Be sure to check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books if you haven't already. Hang in there, Ludo will be home in no time at all and he'll move on so much faster than you imagined. We will be here for you both every step of the way.

I'm in the Tripawds Chat Room for a few minutes if you want to talk OK? You can also call the Tripawds Helpline if you want to talk to someone live. We're here for you!

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

Member Since:
23 August 2016
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26 August 2016 - 10:10 am
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Hi Jerry. Thank you for responding. 

Ludo has a sister, Mina, who is 8 and also a Bouvier. They are our first and only dogs. While Mina is energetic and always seemingly in good spirits (she only seems to want to play play play), Ludo is a more complex and moody dog, but in a very good way. He can be crotchedy and mischievous and is also a caretaker. He has strong opinions on all things. 

My biggest concerns are at present centered on transitioning him back home and working through the adjustment. My biggest practical concern is whether he'll ever be able to come upstairs again (which is where our bedrooms are). Also, I am concerned about how Mina will react and respond to him. 

I am sure there are other things  but my mind is a bit too overwhelmed to articulate them. Thanks again. 

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
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26 August 2016 - 10:15 am
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Hello and welcome.  I'm sorry you are dealing with cancer in your boy Ludo.

I know how hard this is- having to make such huge decisions in a short time all the while feeling overwhelmed.  Lots of people here who have been where you are now and can offer support and information.

I think most, if not all of us questioned our decision at some point.  For me it was after my pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to mast cell cancer.  Maggie was a stubborn thing who hated change in her routine- it took 6 weeks before she would play with me again!  I spent most all of that time sure I had made a huge mistake (Tripawds wasn't here yet).  There were no medical issues just a stubborn pug. She did come around and hopped happily through life for almost 4 years.

Be prepared for lots of ups and downs in the next couple of weeks- the initial recovery period can be hard. It's hard to stay positive sometimes but Ludo is depending on you to be a strong pack leader.  Remind yourself that what you took away is a painful leg that would have only gotten worse and that you are giving Ludo a chance at more quality, pain free time with your family.

Lean on this community for support- we have all been through it and can help.

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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26 August 2016 - 10:24 am
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krun15 said
Hello and welcome.  I'm sorry you are dealing with cancer in your boy Ludo.

I know how hard this is- having to make such huge decisions in a short time all the while feeling overwhelmed.  Lots of people here who have been where you are now and can offer support and information.

I think most, if not all of us questioned our decision at some point.  For me it was after my pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to mast cell cancer.  Maggie was a stubborn thing who hated change in her routine- it took 6 weeks before she would play with me again!  I spent most all of that time sure I had made a huge mistake (Tripawds wasn't here yet).  There were no medical issues just a stubborn pug. She did come around and hopped happily through life for almost 4 years.

Be prepared for lots of ups and downs in the next couple of weeks- the initial recovery period can be hard. It's hard to stay positive sometimes but Ludo is depending on you to be a strong pack leader.  Remind yourself that what you took away is a painful leg that would have only gotten worse and that you are giving Ludo a chance at more quality, pain free time with your family.

Lean on this community for support- we have all been through it and can help.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls  

Thank you Karen. I am reading Maggie's Story now and it is giving me  hope.  

Virginia




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26 August 2016 - 11:36 am
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Hello Handsome Ludo and family!

Sorry you find yourself here, under the circumstances, there is no better place to be for understanding, support and information. You have already gotten great advice.

It's Not Unusual at all for a dog to have to stay at the vet for a little bit of extra time. First of all, it's major surgery. Second of all, they are coming off of heavy Hospital drugs and are pretty much out of it. The ability to stand right away is Not Unusual at all. In fact, sometimes it takes several days for dogs to get their sea legs while they are getting their pain meds balanced so they aren't too wacky!

For now, be prepared to sleep downstairs next to Ludo. It is harder for rear leggers to go up the stairs and it is harder for front leggers to o down the stairs. For now though, no stairs, no jumping, just short potty breaks and lots and lots of rest.

You'll most likely find that Nina will give him a good up and down sniffing when he comes home and, after that, probably just give him his space. Dogs have an amazing ability to recognize when their buddies need time to heal.

Try and keep everything chunk down for now just focus on the homecoming and the recovery. Everything else will fall in place.

When you do go pick Ludo up, don't even bother to look at his incision. Just look at his happy smiley druggy face, give him lots of kisses, and tell him what a good boy he is.

Try and get some rest. Ludo is in good hands and probably still pretty high. I imagine he's still seeing some pink elephants fly across the room.

Stay connected!! You are not alone!!

Hugs to all!

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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26 August 2016 - 12:28 pm
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I also have two dogs, Otis and Tess.  I have never had to separate them (and if fact, they refuse to be separated) when one is recovering from surgery.  Tess had cruciate repair last summer, and Otis became a tripawd in February.   They both knew when the other was hurting, and were so loving to one another.   Otis surrendered space on the mattress and slept on a dog bed when Tess was recovering, and each waited until the other was initiated play.   I bet your's do great too.  The bond between dogs is just beautiful.

In terms of stairs, my first blog photo of him on the second floor is April 20, and that was pretty much when he started going up.  (Amp. on February 9).   I kept the stairs, and the sofa, blocked off until after the staples come out (about day 10).   I unblocked the sofa first, and he was up on it immediately.   I kept the stairs blocked off, and opened them up after his 2 month ampuversary.   He just looked at them for a couple of days, and then he was up.   It was terrifying (for me) to watch him go down the first few times, but he quickly developed a technique and lots of control.  Ultimately, we all moved back upstairs at night (I had been on the mattress for six months after the cruciate repair - my back hurt!), although I keep the stairs gated off during the day to prevent him from overdoing it.   Most dogs get the hang of it, but some do not.  

When he first comes home, he will likely go outside and pee (poop usually comes later) and then go to sleep.   At first, sleep is the best thing and he should have only short leashed potty breaks.  You might have to hand feed him or carry water to him.   This is all normal.   Ideally, you need to stay put with him so he doesn't feel a need to be a "Velcro dog."   So, bring your laptop, TV, work, chores, etc. into the room where you will all be sleeping.  You will probably be surprised at how well he does - most dogs come hopping right out of the vet's when picked up.   You might, however, get a bit of a crash around day 5, when the hospital meds wear off.   Keep on top of the pain med schedule (most of us came home with a Fentanyl patch, tramadol and Rimadyl, some with Gabapentin as well, plus an antibiotic) - you will be giving meds in the middle of the night, but it is essential.  You might also want to keep a log of meds, outdoors, food, water, etc.  Be in touch with your vet if you feel his pain is not well managed.    Many of us had to work with our vet to adjust pain med dosages or schedules. 

I do not regret the amputation at all - somewhere in the first week, Otis hopped over the a sunny spot to lay down.  In that instant, it was all worth it, because he was still with me.  Your guy will surprise you with how well he will do!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Michigan
Member Since:
2 April 2013
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26 August 2016 - 7:27 pm
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We have 3 dogs in our house, and  the other 2 really didn't bother Murphy much at all when he came home.  Of course they sniffed at him, but they didn't rough-house with him or anything.

Of course you are questioning whether or not you did the right thing - we all go through that!  The recovery is such a roller coaster of emotions, but you will get through it.  Murphy was 7 when he had his surgery, and he was perfectly healthy except for that stupid leg, so we felt that we owed him a chance. 

Sometimes the bigger dogs take a little more time to get up & start walking, but eventually they get there.  One of the biggest battles is pain control.  You're going to want to make sure you give Ludo his medications around the clock for adequate coverage.  Murphy came home on Tramadol, Rimadyl & Gabapentin.  Some dogs have a Fentanyl patch & some have antibiotics. 

Keep in touch - we'll be here for you.  You can post here and usually someone will respond, or you can try the chat room .  You can also call the help line if you need to.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png



Member Since:
21 May 2016
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29 August 2016 - 5:39 pm
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Hi Ludo and familyheart

You already had great advice from others so I don't have much to add.

My girl Eurydice is a great dane who lost her right front leg to osteosarcoma almost 4 months ago and she is doing great.

She does not go up and down stairs and I don't think she ever will but that is due to her size.

Recovery was difficult in the first couple of weeks but after stitches came out she got better and better. 

Be patient and before you know it recovery will be over and Ludo will be Ludo again, enjoying life to the full.

We are all here for you!

Sending you a big hug and cuddles to your sweetie heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Minneapolis, MN
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29 August 2016 - 6:05 pm
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Also checking in on Ludo and family.  I hope he is home now and you are seeing improvement.  My boy was nearly 12 this may when he had his front leg amp and he is a big dog, too.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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23 August 2016
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30 August 2016 - 7:52 am
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Hi everyone. Thank you so much for all the support and stories. As an update, we picked up Lu yesterday around 1pm as he finally got the clearance from surgeon after finally standing up on his own a little on Sunday.

I worked from home and the rest of the afternoon was restful. He seems pretty groggy. Mina seemed glad to see him in that she had been acting out of sorts after the first day without him. But she seemed to notice something was wrong and gave him space. We moved a spare bed into the sun porch and a wall AC unit and all slept downstairs together. I suspect we will for the foreseeable future which is fine.

The biggest concern thus far is that he has neither peed nor pooped since we got him. I suspect it's the meds and some instability. It takes the two of us to carry him outside. We have two slings from hospital and the ruff wear web master plus. I know we should be patient but I am a little concerned about this. I commute into NYC and am an hour away and I don't think my wife Tracy is able to get him outside alone. So I'll try to work shorter days.

In any case, I'm worried that she may get discouraged as she will be on the front lines.

Any advice about encouraging bladder relief? I am trying to strike that balance between patience and reasonable concern and am struggling to figure out what his limits of physical movement and strain should be. I know it's 3 trips per day for 5 mins per the vet but am concerned

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14 February 2016
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30 August 2016 - 8:42 am
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Don't worry about poop yet.   Many dogs do not for several days post-surgery due to the meds in their systems.   In terms of pee, do you have any sense of how often he went pre-amp?   My Otis can easily go 9 - 10 hours without going, always has, so I made it a point to get him out when he was at that time period, but otherwise, if he did not want to get up, I didn't force him.  Otis is 100 pounds, so I also could not have lifted him myself, but honestly never needed to.  I did, however, use lots of food bribes to get him up when I really thought he needed to go.   Keeping a log helps, so you can remember meds and when he went last.  With a male dog, who is used to lifting his leg, loss of the front leg can make it hard to figure out how to go.   Make sure that he has something stable to lean on.   The first couple of days, Otis leaned on (and peed on) the house.   Gross, I know, but as soon as he had better balance he moved to bushes and trees.   I also found that he would not pee with the leash on - I used it to take him to his spot, unclipped it for his business, and then reclipped to come back inside.   Make sure also that you can get him to somewhere in the yard where he has peed in the past - some dogs want to feel "hidden" or have favorite spots (or have been trained not to go right outside the door on the stairs or patio).   One member ended up driving his dog back to the vet's, with all of the interesting smells, where the dog promptly peed.   Do you let your female out at the same time?   My male often pees on top of the female's.   Of course, if you do not see pee soon, or if Ludo seems uncomfortable, call the vet.  

Lastly, remember that this recovery is usually fairly short.   Most dogs really perk up around day 10 when the staples come out, should be reassuring to your wife to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.    Your wife can always reach out to this community - many of us are single dog moms, with large dogs.   

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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30 August 2016 - 9:15 am
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WELCOME HOME LUDO!! 🙂 🙂 Just the fact that he is resting comfortably is really good!

Good insight from "Otis".' No worries about the poop...that may take a few days. The pee is something to watch for though. Sometimes a dog has to go back to have his bladder expressed if there is too much of a delay. A d yeah,a lot of dogs just will not pee with slings or if you are right next to them holding them up. The meds have them all confused too.

Okay, we're all friends here, right? You just may have to take one for the team! Ready? Here goes! Go to Ludo's favorite pee spot and yeah....mark it yourself! Stand back and I bet you'll see Ludo taking a whiz right there! 🙂way-cool

Let us know how things go.

Hugs to all!!

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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30 August 2016 - 10:24 am
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Hooray for Lu! That's so fantastic he's home and on the mend.

Yep, what OtisAndTess said is what I wanted to say as well. Generally if a dog doesn't go pee in 12 hours you want to let the vet know. It's not something to panic about, and keep his regular routine in mind too. Our Wyatt Ray can also go 10 hours at a time without peeing, though we try not to allow it too often just because it hurts me to think about waiting that long! If Lu still hasn't gone you may need to expel his bladder for him. It's not difficult and hopefully you won't have to.

And oh my dog OtisAndTess your description of peeing after surgery is so spot-on! I may quote you in a blog post if you don't mind, this is a fantastic description of what to expect. You wouldn't happen to have any photos of Otis peeing on the house?

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

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30 August 2016 - 10:29 am
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Feel free to quote me, but no, no photos - not exactly something I was hoping to memorialize.   (And not something I every would have shared, except for here)big-grin

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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