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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
28 November 2023
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29 November 2023 - 9:05 pm
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Remus is our 9ish year old German Shepherd who rescued us five years ago when he just showed up out of the blue at the gate of the property we were living on in a rural area at the time. After attempting to find his people, we ended up adopting him and have loved him like family ever since. He came just in time to help us say goodbye to our 15 year old boxer when she sprouted her angel wings a few months later. It was very clear he had never had any training, been on a leash, or been socialized. We were able to solve some of his mysterious past later on and are so happy he found his way to us. He has come so far and is now the sweetest, lovable, goofball of a dog.

In the beginning of November he developed a limp pretty much over night at which point we discovered a small lump in his front left paw. After x-rays and a second opinion from an oncologist he has been diagnosed with "maybe" osteosarcoma. I say maybe because though it's likely that's what it is, they won't be sure until they biopsy the mass. They recommended waiting until amputation to biopsy as they advised the results can be inconclusive from just a small sample. I was told either way, whether its osteosarcoma, another type of tumor, or even a fungal infection the best recourse would be to amputate the full leg. 

The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow and as you would expect, we are both sick with worry for him, but reading everyone's stories has been such a comfort.

Any words of comfort and advice would be greatly appreciated!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 November 2023 - 11:34 am
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Hi Lindsey, welcome. You had me at "German Shepherd" icon_lol

I'm sorry you and Remus are going through this. Yes it's a good idea to wait for the biopsy until after amputation, since a bone biopsy is super painful and if the leg needs to go anyways, why put him through two surgeries. So good move!

Have you seen our What to Expect articles , or the Tripawds Recovery Shopping List ? Or Jerry's Required Reading List ? We need to update that but you'll still find good info there. Our Tripawds e-books also have lots of answers to your questions.

Tell us about the vet practice. Have you discussed pain management with them?

The best way to prepare is to get your own mental outlook in a positive space. As you know, our dogs reflect our emotions back at us so what you feel, Remus will feel. The more optimistic and pawsitive you are, the more he will respond to that.

Ask as many questions as you'd like, we are here to help!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 November 2023 - 12:40 pm
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Can only say ditto  to Jerry and the great links👍

Will add what a lucky boy Re pmis is to have you as his loving hoomans who clearly adore him.  I think your sweet Boxer made sure he found d his way to you  so he could be loved like you loved him (your Boxer).  

When you go to pick up Remis after the surgery,  be upbeat and pawsitive.  Sont even bother drawing  attention  to his incision.   Just look into his eyes with a smile on uour face and tell him hes going home!

You'll see from the links uou will want to put down non slip scatter rugs for traction   if  you have hardwoods or vinyl.  

Drinking  and peeing  are imp, but jonworries of he doesn't  poop and not too hungry for a few days.

Okay, keep us posted. We are here to help you navigate through recovery and here to celebrate as Remus continues to be a happy pain-free boy again! You've got this!

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!

Member Since:
28 November 2023
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30 November 2023 - 12:56 pm
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Thank you for the encouraging words, Jerry and Benny!

Yes, I have been making my way through the e-book and am finding it to be incredibly helpful. We have reviewed your shopping list and articles and feel pretty prepared, and have lots of treats for him when we get him home. It’s been quite the emotional ride, but we are doing our best to lean into acceptance and a positive mindset. Again, this site and the e-books have been so helpful for that — so thank you! I am mostly trying to prepare myself emotionally and am just so worried about his pain.

We had him diagnosed by our private vet who referred us to the VCA here where they have an oncologist and surgeon. He is currently on gabapentin and carprofen. They said they will be using a fentanyl patch as well as a nerve numbing medication for the surgery, but he will only come home with the gabapentin and carprofen. They said they would prefer to see how he does with those before administering anything more like codeine. Does that seem normal? 

I liked our oncologist and the surgeon as well. They were both very communicative though we weren’t able to have our consult with the surgeon until yesterday, the day before surgery. But she was happy to answer all our questions and helped to put me at ease.

Depending on how he does, Remus will stay 1-2 nights in the hospital where they have overnight care. 

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 November 2023 - 1:00 pm
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Sounds like you are getting some top notch care for him!

Yes it does sound normal with the pain control he is coming home with. Dogs, especially GSDs, can be SUPER sensitive to pain meds. They hate feeling wonky and out of it. So as long as the Gabapentin is a good dosage he should be OK. Will he get a Nocita injection during surgery? It should be on your estimate. It's a 3-day medication that controls pain. And it's good that he is staying there overnight with people to check on him. I'm not too concerned if you're at a VCA, they generally handle amputation recovery pain management really well. 

So happy we can be there for you and Remus!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 November 2023 - 1:10 pm
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Sounds like you have a really good team and they are all up to date on proper pain management . That's half the battle right there, especially being able to communicate, ask questions, and get them answered fully and respectfully.

 

Not saying recovery is any picnic but it doesn't last forever. We are here right by yourself to help support you we've all been where you are and we understand the emotional roller coaster ride that this journey puts you on. We also understand how relieved you will feel when you see Remus return to normal!

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!

Member Since:
28 November 2023
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30 November 2023 - 2:11 pm
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Yes, he will be given a Nocita injection. It’s helpful to hear your thoughts on the VCA. We are thankful to be able to have access to such a good care team! Our friends and family have pitched in with some crowdfunding for us and I’m also receiving a grant from BINC, a non profit charity for booksellers (an amazing foundation!). We aren’t sure we will afford chemo yet, but making sure he is pain free is our first priority. 

I will update on his recovery and I’m sure I’ll have more questions when we bring him home. Is there a better discussion thread to move this to?

Thank you both 🙂

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