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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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Forum Posts: 8
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18 July 2019
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18 July 2019 - 2:18 pm
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Hi. My name is Frank. I am new to the site. I rescued a lab/retriever mix about three years ago. About two weeks ago, he started showing a lump on top of his right shoulder. We took him to the vet and he tested it and didnt think it was anything but a growth. He was scheduled for surgery this past monday. The vet called in the middle of the surgery and said that it was cancer and that the growth went clear to the shoulder blade. He said while cutting the tumor out, he had to cut a lot of muscle and Duke would lose use of his leg. We decided to go with his recommendation and had him amputate the front right leg. 

We now have him home and I am a wreck. Everyone is attached to their dogs, but Duke is a little extra. He was part of my treatment for PTSD and now I feel I have failed him. I cant help but think that maybe I shouold have left the leg, or that there was something else I could have done to prevent this. I think about all the things he wont be able to do and watch him have such a hard time doing things and it just crushes me. Its like, he helped me get through one of the most horrible things Ive experienced, and now its like I caused him to live the rest of his life with limitations. 

Im hoping that this group can give me some positive input on dogs being happy and able after this terrible incident. Thank you in advance. 

Frank

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 July 2019 - 3:52 pm
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Frank, I am in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Back in a sec with some feedback.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25417
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18 July 2019 - 4:00 pm
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Hey Frank,

We are so glad you joined us. You are not alone, we understand how you feel and yes, it is difficult to see past the recovery phase when you are in the middle of it. First, if you want to talk to someone on the phone, please don’t hesitate to call the Tripawds Helpline OK? One of our pawesome volunteers will call you back if you leave a message.

Let me ask you this, how is Duke doing otherwise? Is he eating and drinking? Going to the potty? How is his mobility? Tell us more about him. What’s he like? His personality? Got any photos? We would love to see them if you feel like adding images to your posts.

One of the most important things we say here is, “You didn’t do this to your dog, you did it for him.” There was nothing you could have done to prevent the cancer. No scientist on the planet can prove otherwise. But what you did do, is you gave Duke the chance at a pain-free, great quality of life! He will show you that without his bad leg, he is his same old happy boy. And he will amaze you even more than before! 

Another thing we say here is “Be More Dog .” Learn to follow Duke’s lead. Don’t mourn the past: you cannot change it. Don’t fear the future: you can’t control it. All you and Duke have is right here, right now, and that is such a gift! Unwrap it, love him up and know that your pawsitive attitude will be the key to a good recovery.

I will bow out here and let others chime in OK? We are here for you!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 July 2019 - 7:41 pm
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Hi Frank,

I also have a lab. He is 12 and due to his age I was only going to treat with pain meds. But he was doped up all the time and thought what kind of life is that for him. So I found this site and had Brownie’s left font leg amputated up to the shoulder. The first couple of weeks was tough but then he started to come back and improve every day. The best advice I got was to be patient! Brownie does everything he use to do, but he just figured how to do it a different way, and instead of being doped up and in pain he is happy and just being a dog, and so will Duke!

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18 July 2019 - 7:50 pm
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Hi Frank and Duke welcome to tripawds.

Duke sounds like an extra special fellow! I know how emotinally draining getting this kind of news can be. Please know that we’re here for you both for what ever support we can offer❤. 

So dukes surgery was 4 days ago? Hows he moving around? Im assuming he’s probably on meds?

I know its hard right now but try not to blame yourself. Cancer is a real sucker punch that non of us saw coming. Right now every decision you’ve made has been out of love for duke.  The first week or 2 is difficult but it will get better. After the meds are cut back and hes healed a little he will bounce back. My big girl Roane took about 2 weeks to get that spark back. I feel like alot of it was the meds dopping her up. 

You said Duke is a therapy dog so my guess is that one of the biggest pleasures he has in life is being with you. 3 legs or 4 he doesnt blame you and as long as he gets to love you and feels like your happy he will be happy too.

Let us know if you have recovery questions or need to chat. We’re here for you both.

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

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18 July 2019 - 10:58 pm
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[Image Can Not Be Found]

Here and Now


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19 July 2019 - 7:23 am
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stlhd2 said
[Image Can Not Be Found]

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts . If you don’t already share photos online somewhere, you can start a free Tripawds blog any time and upload them there. Need further help? Post in the Tech Support forum and we’ll be happy to help!

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19 July 2019 - 8:20 am
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The day I got himImage Enlarger

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19 July 2019 - 8:24 am
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He likes his ridesImage Enlarger

Virginia




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19 July 2019 - 9:01 am
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DUKE!!!! DUUUUUKE!!!  THOSE BEAUTIFUL  SOULFUL EYES, THAT HANDSOME  MUG!!   My heart is melting over here!!!   Clearly you are a very loved dog and a very happy one!!!

Frank, you’ve  gotten great tips from everyone.  We all understand far too well the emotions involved in facing amputation  for our dogs.  It is MAJOR surgery and recovery is no picnic fot a couple of weeks.  Humans would still be in the hospital for days with a morphine drip!!

As far as pain meds, what is Duke taking? Most dogs come home with Gabapentin,  Tramadol, Rimadyl and an antibiotic.   Some also come home with a pain patch.

For what ever it’s  worth, all the second  guessing, the wudda’, shudda’, cudda’…all normal!!  All those  negative thoughts will go away as you start to see Duke become Duke again.

Did the Vet send tissue out to a pathologist?  It sounds like that darn tumor was quite invasive and, absolutely  without question, that painful leg had to go!!  Because  of the circumstances you didn’t  have a chance to “prepare” and do research.  Your research  would have shown you that amputation  was the only solution  to giving  Duke a quality  pain free life!  

Sloooow and easy.  Short leashed potty breaks and then back to rest, rest, rest.  No stairs, no jumping,  etc.  If you have hardwood  floors, you’ll  need nonslip scatter rugs for traction .   If he’s  not gotten his sea legs yet, a towel sling can help with his mobility to go potty.  

Let us know about the pain meds and how he’s  doing as far as sleeping, or restless, whining (or  not), etc.  Drinking  and pee are important, but pooping  might take a few days.  Eating may be off a little too, so give him anything  yummy he will eat.  When he does start getting  a little mobile, he may have a face plant a time or two, so no worries.   He’s  just figuring  things out.

Put off a strong and confident  pack leader energy.  Duke will pick up on that  and it will help him heal.

And let us know when you get a tail wag.  Tail wags are always s good sign.  Same goes for poop.  We celebrate  anything  around here!

STAY CONNECTED.  We are right by your side and are here to answer any questions, okay?  

And more pictures!  Love this dog!!!!!😊

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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19 July 2019 - 9:11 am
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What a beautiful pic of the two of you! Duke looks like such a sweet guy who just loves his papa!

Sending lots of pawsitive vibes your way ❤ give that boy a snuggle for us.

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

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19 July 2019 - 10:33 am
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Thank you everyone for all the positive advice and words. By what you are telling me, he is doing quite well. He has been mobile since he got home and doing better and better every day. I have cut his food down a bit to drop a few pounds, per the vet. He eats all I give him! Lol. 

He has figured out he needs to squat to pee, after being a leg lifter. Lol. He has taken a couple spills but his confidence s definitely not a problem. As far as the tail wag…….. that was present when I went to get him and bring him home. He definitely loves his people. 

He he was sent home with a fentinol patch, I’m sure that’s not how you spell it! Lol. We just got back from having that removed. We are continuing Rimadyl and Amoxicillin. 

Soooo, overall I think he is doing well. You all have definitely helped with my mindset of his well being and a more positive outlook. This site is also full of great information and positive people.

Virginia




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19 July 2019 - 10:46 am
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YAAAA FOR TAIL WAGS!!! YAAAAY FOR MOBILITY!!! YAAAAY FOR PEE SQUAT!!!  YAAAAY FOR DUKE AND HIS DAD!!! GOOD JOB!!

Now, one thing we are huge on here is pain management ! The patch is great, but it will be completely out of his system  shortly.  The Rimadyl  is basically  an anti-inflammatory and is no match for the pain this major surgery can produce. Yes, some Bets are still “old school” when it comes to managing pain in dogs.  Can you imagine  hav a surgery where nerves are cut, muscles  are cut, etc and only given an anti inflammatory? Ouch!

Call your Bet back and advocate  for Gabapentin and Tramadol.  They compliment  each other very well. There is some  question  about the effect of Tramadol  by itself, so advocate for both.  Most dogs here are on pain meds fot approximately  two weeks, sometimes more, sometimes  a little less.

Hang in there!  Recovery  doesn’t  last furever.   It sounds like Duke is a little ahead of the curve this early on! YAY!

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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19 July 2019 - 11:15 am
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Go team Duke! it sounds like he has a wonderful head start on recovery! dog adapt so much better than us silly humans, he will be doing all the things he use to do in no time!

As Sally said amoxicillin and rimadyl are defiantly a plus, but he may need a little something in the pain med department.  Roane was given gabapentin as a pain med to go with it. all dogs are different and I certainly don’t want to cause you unnecessary worry. never hurts to call the vet and ask, some vets need a little motivation (my previous vet was one of these.) Here’s a great link on pain signs to check out if you haven’t already. https://tripawd…..ow-pain/ 

We’ll be looking forward to updates and routing you on! I’m so glad we could give you a little piece of mind and help you both on your journey.

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 July 2019 - 11:18 am
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SUUUUUPER DUPER news! smiley_clap Duke is on the healing path, he’s a rock star! smiley_clap What a relief. I’m so hoppy to hear it in your voice.

Yep, keep an eye on his pain signals and stay in contact with your vet. As Sally mentioned, dogs usually come home with additional pain medication for a surgery like this. 

I’m so glad things are going well! Thank you for sharing the adorable photos too. You guys are quite a team. 

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