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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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New tripawd coming home today
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Portland (Lake Oswego), OR
Forum Posts: 97
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19 July 2008
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23 August 2008 - 3:23 pm
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Smokey is coming home today for the first time since his surgery.  His front right leg was amputated on Wednesday.  I haven’t seen him yet… I didn’t want to go visit him as I knew I was going to be upset and I didn’t want to upset him and then have to leave him.  A friend of mine visited him for me and she said that he looked really good – he was very alert and happy and gave her kisses 🙂

The techs continue to tell me he’s doing well… he has trouble getting up at first but seems to be getting around.  I have to say I’m not entirely thrilled with the staff there as far as trying to get any information or answers from them… with the exception of the woman I talked to last night when I called to check on him and I can’t remember name!  She was the first one who actually sounded cheery about how well he was doing and explained that they are on slick floors so that’s why he’s also having issues getting up.  The others never once told me that which hello!  That is part of the reason why he’s having issues!

I’m very happy with the surgeon but I’m just tired of not having good contact with anyone else in that office… and unfortunately it’s the only one in the area that I could go to.  They just aren’t warm and fuzzy.  I understand that they must see horrendous things but they could at least try to put the owners at ease given how serious most situations are once people have to go to them.

So I’m very nervous to see him but I’m excited because I miss him so much!  It hit me yesterday that even though today is going to be a shock, he’s still the same Smokey with the same amazing spirit!  I’m just having a hard time dealing with the fact that we had to do this.  I know each day will be easier and my parents are helping lots.  They come up today to go with me to pick him up and then we’ll be going home with them over the next two weeks to recover, as they have a yard and it will be easier for him then being in our apartment.

I hope that his progress continues to go well… I’ll keep updating this as I’m sure I might be asking a lot of questions once we get him home!  My friend also said that the incision area looked really good and they did a very good job of keeping it clean and stitched well.

And here we go…

Michigan
Forum Posts: 289
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26 July 2008
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23 August 2008 - 4:24 pm
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Sorry you had such a hard time with your vet.  I think sometimes some of the larger, busier vets forget about the importance of communication with the dog parents. 

Glad you got some good news about his progress.  When you get to your parents house if they don’t have rugs on the floor you can get Smokey "sure-paws" or other non skid product.  I’ve used this on slippery floors at dog shows and it works great.  It’s basically the same stuff that bowlers use to keep their balls from slipping off their hands so you should be able to get it at your local bowling alley if not in your pet store.  That will help him with footing while he adjusts.

Try to stay positive and treat Smokey like you always did.  I had the same realization about Radar before he came home from surgery.  It wasn’t his legs that made me love him so.  Hang in there and be patient – there will be ups and downs but Smokey will be back to his old self in no time.

Hugs

Connie & Radar

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28057
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23 August 2008 - 10:42 pm
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Oh Smokey, I’m so glad that the surgery went well and you’re coming home. I was just asking about you in another thread. Sorry to hear that the vet hospital’s bedside manner was so-so. Bet you’re glad to be outta there!

By now I’m sure you’re home and your Mom has gotten over the initial shock of seeing you after surgery. Yes, it’s hard for humans to see you like this, so be patient with them. And sure, you do look different to them, but inside, you know you are the same old Smokey. I know they’ll realize that too. Once you recover, you’ll be back to your old silly self, and life can go on. 

Step by step, paw by paw. Recovery is different for everyone, but for the most part, we dogs are so stoic and heroic and just rock stars when we deal with this kind of thing. You will be too! I know you’re gonna amaze your family.

We are here for you if you have any questions at all OK? Be well, take it easy and keep us posted.

Your friend,

Jerry 

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



Forum Posts: 28057
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23 August 2008 - 10:43 pm
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borzoid said:

When you get to your parents house if they don’t have rugs on the floor you can get Smokey "sure-paws" or other non skid product.  I’ve used this on slippery floors at dog shows and it works great.  It’s basically the same stuff that bowlers use to keep their balls from slipping off their hands so you should be able to get it at your local bowling alley if not in your pet store.


WOW! What an awesome suggestion! Do tell! We didn’t know this was out there. What else can you tell us about it?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Portland (Lake Oswego), OR
Forum Posts: 97
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24 August 2008 - 12:44 am
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Smokey is home with family!  I actually didn’t notice the missing leg at first because I was so excited to see him and it was just a crazy chaotic time, getting him outside to potty and then in the car.  But when we tried to get him in the car it was a bit of a struggle and then I really noticed the incision.  We had to drive 4 hours to my parents house…my mom drove with me while my dad followed and Smokey did really well.

 It was very hard getting him out of the car when we got here and then as we were making our way to the front door, he tipped over in the grass 🙁  So we took a break, got him up, and made it inside.  I tried to hide my tears and my parents took over and have been amazing – they love their grandson 🙂  Then all of a sudden a little while later Smokey pops up and hops over to his water dish – I was amazed!  Then we made it to the backyard and he fell onto the grass.  I’m looking forward to every day so that he continues to get better.

Right now he’s sleeping next to me – his medicine is kicking in… and I’ll be sleeping next to him wherever he ends up tonight!

I have to say… this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I’ve had such amazing support and my parents are proud of me… It is all about Smokey’s spirit and it’s definitely still here!

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes!  I’m sure I’ll keep posting more of his progress as the days go on… and I think I’m going to cuddle up next to him and get some sleep myself!

Michigan
Forum Posts: 289
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24 August 2008 - 6:46 am
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jerry said:

WOW! What an awesome suggestion! Do tell! We didn’t know this was out there. What else can you tell us about it?


It’s a wax based product that you put on the paw pads to make them non-slip. I can’t seem to find the sure-paws on the web but I’ve had mine for a while so maybe they stopped making it. The 3 brands that I can find now are: Eight In One Excel Paw Wax , Shaws Paw Wax, and Tacky Paws. We’ve used them at dog shows when we have to run around on slick tile or cement flooring. They also condition the pads and keep them from cracking. Great stuff. At one time I was working with an animal herbalist and we were going to make our own with beeswax and honey (to make it tacky) but my herbalist moved on.

Glad you are home Smokey. Sounds like you are already impressing your mom with how resilient you are. I know it’s hard Mom but you are already seeing his spirit over his legs and that’s what’s important. Hugs to you all. Please keep us posted on Smokey’s progress.

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 August 2008 - 3:01 pm
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Smokey said:

Smokey is home with family!


Yipee! That is great news. The first couple of weeks are the hardest. Just remember though, take a lesson from Smokey, and follow his lead. Fear not, and keep hopping along.

Dogs are quite inspawarational when it comes to coping with adversity. 

Keep us posted!

-Jerry

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



Forum Posts: 28057
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24 August 2008 - 3:03 pm
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borzoid said:

It’s a wax based product that you put on the paw pads to make them non-slip. 


I had no idea that paw wax was to help keep us from slipping. Mom and Dad used to use it on me all the time when I went to doggy daycare. I would play so hard that I would tear up my paws. Then they started using paw wax on me and it took care of the problem. I could play play play all day long with that stuff on my feet.

So neat to hear how it can help Tripawds. Thanks for the tip!

-Jerry 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Golden, CO
Forum Posts: 30
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16 August 2008
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24 August 2008 - 6:45 pm
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Great to hear that Smokey’s surgery went well and that he is back at home. Our 11-year-year old Chessie, Molly, is 10 days out of surgery and gets her stitches out tomorrow. Like you, we set up a futon downstairs so we could sleep right next to her during her recovery. Molly also tipped over a couple times like you describe. That scared me a lot. There have been some ups and downs, but we just take it day by day and focus on the positive. Like Jerry said, just follow Smokey’s lead. Other than a few perky moments, Molly was extremely tired the first week and slept almost non-stop. Getting her up to go outside was a bit of a struggle sometimes. She had her usual voracious appetite, but wouldn’t drink any water (unless we tossed a few pieces of kibble), which was really starting to worry me. What a change this morning! She woke up, drank a bunch from her water dish and was wagging her tail a lot (which she had hardly done after the surgery). We decided to see if she wanted to go for a ride in her Doggy Ride bike trailer (which we bought several months ago so my husband could commute to work with her in tow… little did we know then how handy it would now be.) Sure enough, she hopped right in. We took her for a ride and stopped at a nearby park where we let her sniff around a bit and dip her toes into the shallow creek. She was so happy! It was like she was thinking, "Oh yeah, now I remember what it is like to be a dog and have fun!" You are right, your dog’s body might be different now, but his spirit is the same.

Hang in there and keep looking at this site. It has helped us a lot!

-Heidi, Doug and Mollydog

 

Molly was diagnosed with Synovial Cell Sarcoma (grade 3 with hystiocytic markers) and had her front leg amputated on August 15th 2008.  We had a wonderful two years with her until she passed at age 13.5 on August 29th 2010.  As far as we could tell, her cancer never returned.

Forum Posts: 262
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24 August 2008 - 10:01 pm
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Smokey and Family

We are so glad to hear you are doing so well. My mom and I totally understand her frustration with the vet. She felt the vet was not communicating with her as well as she would have liked. Jerry gave her a good idea she is going to create a health resume for me and start looking for a new vet once I am recovered a little more. My mom understands they have alot of patients but since our pawrents do the talking for us you would think at times like these they would make an extra effort to communicate with your pawrents. I mean what if someone they cared about was sick and the doctors weren’t communicating well with them on what was going on. What if they felt the doctor treated that person as just "another patient" I am very disappointed in these vets who don’t communicate well with the families. I wish they could put themselves in our pawrents shoes.

Titan and Heidi

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24 August 2008 - 10:16 pm
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Hey there Smokey – I bet you are getting the super star treatment!! yippie! Tell your mom and grandparents (they all sound like super special people) that the most important thing (other than obviously taking medical care and getting your rest) is for them to stay upbeat and positive. I know that I always pick up my mom’s emotions and when she is sad, I’m sad…when she is happy, I’m happy – it helped my recovery so much that she stayed upbeat and positive around me. Now, I know that she cried – don’t get me wrong and it’s ok to do that (you humans get so emotional over us), but I liked to see her happy and smiling which made me happy and waggin my tail.  I tripped a lot to at first and I still take some chin dives on the stairs now and again, but she just encourages me to get up and try again and doesn’t baby me unless I really need the help (which I did sometimes at first).

It took me 2 weeks to really feel better – I hated the pain medicine, it made me pant A LOT and the stitches really bothered me, so once all that was gone, I was ready to rock and roll.

Take it easy and we’re so glad that you’re here – get a lot of R&R and no stairs unless you have to use them to get outside for a week or so.

keep us posted on your recovery – we want to know how you’re progressing. 🙂

Much love,

Zeus 

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Portland (Lake Oswego), OR
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27 August 2008 - 9:06 pm
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Thank you to everyone and their well wishes!  Smokey is continuing to do very well.  Today has been his most active day yet.  It’s been one week since his surgery.  He’s finally had a few successful bowl movements.  Who knew that could be so exciting? 🙂  And he’s kept his balance perfectly.

He gets very shortwinded when he’s hopping around, but it’s amazing how well he can get himself up off the floor.  His appetite is still very much here and today he’s been the hungriest.  He has slept a lot so that’s good.  Yesterday we didn’t have a very good afternoon… I felt that he was in a lot of pain but not today.  He is pretty restless though… but he’s been walking around a lot… I was in our kitchen getting ice (which is one of his favorite treats) and I didn’t realize it but as soon as he heard the ice maker, he was up and at the edge of the kitchen!  Very alert and very happy.

I’m feeling very lucky that we haven’t had any complications… and his hair is already quickly growing back – it’s amazing how fast it returns… and he’s a very quick healer.

And as for me, I’m very lucky that we’re here with his grandpawrents 🙂  I definitely couldn’t have done this alone! 

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 August 2008 - 10:28 pm
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Hey that is wonderful news! Isn’t it amazing the way we slowly get our old selves back?

I can’t believe his hair is already coming back. Mine took months!

Smokey is a lucky boy to have such good humans around him. Keep it up, and keep us posted.

Love,

Jerry 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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West Chester PA
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28 August 2008 - 6:11 pm
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Bonnie and I are glad to hear that Smokey is doing so well. 

I just can’t imagine steps at this point.  Bonnie took three step with assistance, and that is what I have seen thus far.  She tried to stand up and go with me when I turned my back once and fell over almost immediately. 

Best of luck, Smokey, we are going to follow your lead on our timetable and hope we keep up. 

Chris & Bonnie 

chris-bonnie

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28 August 2008 - 7:45 pm
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It is so great to see all of you bonding together:  there’s Zeus, Mollydog, Borzoid and of course, the loveable Jerry.  Well, we’re here to offer hope and prayers for all of your beloved pets.  Smokey, you keep hanging in there sweet dog.  Your family loves you very much and so do we!

Love,

Blazer, Kimber & Vicki

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