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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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Schlomo's story and recovery
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Forum Posts: 68
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25 June 2017 - 6:30 am
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This is a long story, sorry…

Schlomo started limping about 4.5 years ago. It was a slight limp and I couldn’t localize any pain. We had just returned from a trip to CA but there was no injury or moment that I could recall where anything out of the ordinary happened. I took him to his regular Vet, who couldn’t find anything. Pain meds didn’t work, he took x-rays and couldn’t see anything.

I took Schlomo back to his surgeon who performed his bilateral patellar luxation surgery when he was 3. He took additional x-rays etc but couldn’t find anything. He thought the injury to be his shoulder rather than the paw. He also said if not treated immediately shoulder injuries turn chronic. It wouldn’t be painful but it would impact his range of motion in the right shoulder. He got a couple of cortisone injections directly into the shoulder . 

The limping got worse and he started lifting up his paw as if it was cramping. We went back. Many, many times. No Vet could tell me what it was. My surgeon said “sometimes we have to wait for a disease to reveal itself”. So we waited and I checked in with him every couple of weeks.

Finally, about a year into the initial limping, it could be localized. It was a small, tiny bubble below his big paw pad. The surgeon even suggested it could be a ganglion cyst (I had one removed myself years back). After surgery was done he told me it was a tumor, which turned out to be a hemangiopericytoma/fibrosarcoma. A low grade tumor found in the connective tissue of the skin and beneath the skin. They are almost impossible to remove completely and still leave enough skin to close the site with sutures. The tumor has tentacles, that was the easiest way for me to imagine. They are locally invasive with a low percentage to spread anywhere else but they come back with a vengeance, very aggressively. Radiation was recommended. It didn’t feel right. Schlomo is a really sensitive dog, he’s so nervous going to the Vet. 18 consecutive radiation sessions, anesthesia, it being below his paw etc. 

I took him to Smith Ridge to get another opinion. Everybody seemed to agree but it didn’t feel right. I know him better and I really think it would have crushed him. Apart from all the poison that is in his body then. 

3 months sharp he started lifting his paw again. I took him back, they couldn’t see anything yet. He had another surgery 3 months later. And after another 3 months he lifted his paw again, the cramping got worse. And another surgery 3 months later, really every 6 months. Last year I was at my wit’s end. Schlomo’s surgeon retired and I felt abandoned. I went to 7 different doctors to see where to go from here. It was awful. I felt like everybody wanted to put their own twist on things, like a signature making them a better doctor, even coming up with high tech solutions that didn’t entirely address the issue . It was discouraging to say the least. I found a new general Vet whom I love, she believes in a holistic approach and referred me to an Herbalist that also works with animals, he worked with her dog. This felt right. If anything to boost his immune system and keep him as healthy as possible. We incorporated cancer fighting regimens, homeopathy, we did acupuncture, I tried to learn how to do acupressure on him, but nothing could relieve the pain. 

In December I decided it was time for a more drastic route. It had been 4 years of constant doctor’s visits and Schlomo turned 11. He is in great shape and very youthful otherwise but it needs to be about his quality of life and being pain free. The new surgeon whom I liked suggested removing the entire paw pad. My gut told me to amputate but I also wanted to believe and try to save his leg. The recovery took almost 2 months, longer than amputation. He was fine for a month and then it came back right about the infamous 3 months mark. I was so angry. I was angry at myself for letting them talk me into it. 

So looooong story short, Schlomo’s appointment was this past Wednesday, Sommer Solstice. It was gut wrenching. They typically keep patients there for 2 days following the amputation. I was able to visit him on Thursday and it was awful. I kept asking myself “What did I do?”. I wanted to know what they did with the leg. I felt like I wanted to thank it or ‘bless’ it. It is a bizarre thought to toss it when it is part of his body. 

I brought him home on Friday. He didn’t utter a sound. He does not like a sling. He was hungry, thirsty and pooped (yay!). I didn’t sleep much the first night because I kept checking on him when I heard him breathe harder or moving. Then Saturday he was all tail wags. He came out into the living room by himself; he hopped over to the door when people came over; he was happy seeing some neighborhood dog friends of his… I live in a 3 story walk up and I’ve carried him downstairs for about a year. I carry him up now too, way slower than down but we got this!

He is still figuring out coordination with his back legs, but it is amazing to see how much better he is already. So we’re taking it a day at a time. I can’t wait for him to be able to got back to the beach, his happy place. 

I will post some before and after pictures and videos as we go along. 

The information and the support in this community has been invaluable. It is really good to be able to talk to people who also have been through these decisions. You don’t quite know what this means until you do it…

Thank you!!!

Mascha and Schlomo (the handsome devil)

Virginia




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25 June 2017 - 2:59 pm
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Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to chronicle everything you and Schlomo have been through!! And goodness knows, you have been through a lot!! 🙂 I have no doubt Schlomo’s experience will help others on this journey when faced with so many different opinions and seemingly endless surgeries with no results. By posting here you have definitely prevented ithers from having to endure what you two have these past few years!

You are moving forward now and avle to start to see you did this amputation FOR Schlomo and not TO him!! Recovery is no picnic for another week or possible more. But you will soon be able to see Schlomo’s sparkle come back bigger and brighter than before!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 And NO MORE SURGERIES!!!! NO MORE PAIN!!!! NO MORE ENDLESS VET TRIPS!!!!

Oh, before I get, HAPPY POOP DANCE GOING ON OVER HERE!!!poopicon_png

Maybe in the future Schlomo can handle going UP the stairs. It’s harder for front leggers to go down, so carrying may continue to be in yiur future! Slow and easy for now. As you said, ine day at a rime.

You WILL be amazed at how well Schlomo can handle three legs! You’ve given him his pain free quality life back!!! 🙂

Now, you know we have to have pictures, right?:-)

How bout a scoop of ice cream and a cheeseburger for Schlomo…he deserves it!!! And a HUGE vowl of ice cream for yourself! Goodness knows you deserve it too!!

Update when you can!! We’re all cheering for Schlomo!!! 🙂 🙂

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 June 2017 - 3:39 pm
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Hi Sally!

Thank you so much for your response! The first time I reached out on here was about 10 months ago and I am so grateful to have this support. 

I am trying to keep that in mind that it is for him and not to him. That is such a good distinction. 

He did really well yesterday, today is still good but iffy on his right back legs, which freaks me out. He had knee surgeries on both knees years back and if something were to happen with that now or him being too weak to be on 3 legs would crush us. I don’t know if it’s possible to be a spasm of sorts? It’s only day 4 and this likely happens, right?

I checked out online passive movement and massage tips for back legs. I’ll give that a shot. 

I will post pictures as soon as I get them uploaded!

Much love, 

Mascha & Schlomo

Schofield, WI
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25 June 2017 - 4:26 pm
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Sounds like things are going well for the most part for you and beautiful Schlomo!  He might be going through the post surgery slump.  Tripawd hopping takes a great deal of energy and uses muscles that aren’t used to being used.  So much like a persons first workouts they get a bit “sore”.  Now add to that the hospital meds are now out of his system well….even with the pain meds he’s on I’ll bet we’d all be complaining and laying around a bit too.  A bit of gentle massage probably would be great to help him feel better.  Maybe give him an added boost of protein (chicken or some steak) and I’ll bet he’s going to be feeling better very soon!   Hugs to you and your boy!

Virginia




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25 June 2017 - 4:47 pm
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Yep,DITTO Linda!! I know it’s hard not to focus on mobility this early on…BUT DON’T FOCUS ON MOBILITY THIS EARLY ON! 🙂 Stiffness, leg cramps sore muscles, all part of recovery. Yeah, try the gentle massage all up a d down her back, his shoulder, hisr neck, etc.

Weve had many dogs here with previous jnee surgery, hip surgeries arthritis, etc. SLOW AND EASY….SLOOOOW AND EASY. Potty breaks then rest, rest, rest. MAJOR SURGERY takesa whileto recover!! If he’ll let you help him with a towel sling, at least to get in a standing position, that may help too.

How much does he weigh? What’s his pain med route and amounts?

Update when you can and, as hard as it is, try and be patient AND confident!! Schlomo will feed off your energy. Constantly tell him what a good job He is doing…And he is….And so are you!! 🙂

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 June 2017 - 5:11 pm
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Hi Linda!

Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. It’s the back leg on the same side of the amputation so there is likely more strain on it to stabilize him. It looks almost like he’s turning it out a bit. Massage and chicken it is. There is plenty of that to go around! Thank you…

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25 June 2017 - 5:27 pm
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Hey Sally, it’s so true! Maybe my lack of sleep gets me into panic mode immediately too. And energy is completely transferable, I agree. Gotta switch to Mom Healer mode and not crazy Mom mode whatever

Slow and easy… Yes!

He weighed about 46 pounds before surgery. He gets Clavamox 250mg and 1/2 Rimadyl 100mg twice a day every 12 hours. 

He still loves his food! That has not changed at all laughing

Virginia




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25 June 2017 - 5:34 pm
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Wait! Hold up! No pain meds like Tramadol or Gabapentin?? Or maybe a pain patch?

And yeah, lack of sleep and sheer exhaustion is not a good thing during this recovery period. Not sure any of us were ever successful sleeping really well during the first week or so though!! 🙂 Nap when you can!

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!

Forum Posts: 68
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25 June 2017 - 7:11 pm
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Nope. Once he was done with IV fluids on day#2 this is what he was brought to. I do have him on T-relief, the homeopathic wonder pill. But that is it. 

I’m about to post pictures and video!

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25 June 2017 - 7:13 pm
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This is the handsome man before surgery

Handsome SchlomesImage Enlarger

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25 June 2017 - 7:16 pm
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This is him when I just brought him home. I took my bed apart and moved the mattress to the floor. 

Schlomes Post AmpImage Enlarger

Post Amp close upImage Enlarger

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 June 2017 - 7:23 pm
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Oh Schlomo you are adorable! I’m so glad I got to see your gorgeous face.

So no pain meds and Schlomo is doing alright overall? I haven’t heard of T-relief before but that’s pretty unusual for it to be all that he needs right now. I’m wondering if the spasm-type signs you’re seeing are related to him overtaxing his muscles and not getting enough pain meds?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 68
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25 June 2017 - 7:31 pm
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Hey Jerry! I know, he is my main man and hero 🙂

He is on Rimadyl and Clavamox (anti inflammatory).

I left a message for the surgeon and will call her back in the am regardless. I’m guessing by these responses you know them to be on stronger pain medication? 

I still have Tramadol here from past surgeries of his. 

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25 June 2017 - 7:39 pm
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This is Schlomes walking Day#4. I didn’t think about bringing a phone with me before clown

He understands peeing with a leg up is not really working anymore. 

Minnesota
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25 June 2017 - 8:20 pm
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Mascha & Schlomo,

Ok, I’m in LOVE. I had been missing my girl, Lucy, today and when I signed in tonight and saw your new post I couldn’t believe it. I think Schlomo and Lucy are long lost cousins and as soon as I figure out how to post a picture in this forum I am going to show you.

So I am a bit biased but I think Schlomo is just gorgeous and I love his frosty face. You too have been through so much but I am so glad that his surgery went well and that he is feeling better. I love the video – he’s a whiz bang hopper already. Yes, those first nights are killer but by week 2 Rusty and I were sleeping through the night. Oh, and I love his little woodland friend toys, super cute.

Rusty slept a lot of his first few weeks after surgery (5/5/17) and had some trouble learning to balance and was knuckling under on his remaining back leg but we started doing strengthening exercises and started him on a joint supplement and he has shown a lot of improvement. It sounds like you definitely have some good vet resources and I see my Tripawd loving heroes have already reached out to you here so you are definitely in good hands. Rusty was on Tramadol and Galliprant for 10 days after surgery (he was also prescribed Gabapentin but it makes him incontinent so we had to discontinue that).

I can’t wait to hear more about your handsome devil!

Love, Amy & Rusty

Mascha and Schlomo

Mascha & SchlomoM

Mascha & Schlomo
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