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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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The first day was harder than I thought
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Forum Posts: 13
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8 May 2020 - 4:24 pm
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So my dog Smudge is a little 10 year old Jack Russel. She quickly developed an aggressive form of skin cancer and her front left leg was amputated yesterday, we just brought her home today. 

She was obviously exhausted and mostly slept. I was getting her ready for bed, brought her outside, water etc. and when I tried to pick her up it hurt her and she yelped. I put her back down right away and she just lay down on her side, almost collapsed really. Shes been shaky all day and this was almost like she was going into shock. She’s ok now and has since eaten and perked up but it really shocked and scared me. 

I was kidding myself that this would all be ok. And I think other owners and vets online have whitewashed it a bit. They want to encourage people to go through with it because it is best for the dog, but it also sets unrealistic expectations. 

This is really hard and I just want her to be ok. The stress of it all combined with quarantine have me and my dad about to kill each other, so that hasn’t helped

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 May 2020 - 4:44 pm
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Smudge and family, welcome. I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Back in a sec with some thoughts.

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



Forum Posts: 27777
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8 May 2020 - 4:50 pm
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So what kind of cancer? Just curious. Mast cell?

We know how difficult the first days are, and how upsetting it is to care for your new Tripawd when it’s the last thing you ever expected. Especially at a time like this in history. It’s a crazy world out there and this just makes it even more difficult.

It’s so hard to say exactly how a dog will react when they come home. That’s why you see phrases like “In general, dogs do great.” They really do, but all dogs need some time to adapt, time for the medication to do it’s thing, time for you to adapt also. Caring for a new Tripawd is as challenging as caring for an infant so if you’ve never done that before, things are super scary.

If you haven’t seen our “What to Expect” series of articles, or Jerry’s Required Reading List , I encourage you to check them out.

Right now, Smudge is pretty dopey and feeling the effects of the medication, and the surgery, which is an exhausting procedure in itself. Sometimes behavior like yelps and anxiety are signs that there is too much, or too little pain medication running through the body so if you are at all concerned about her behavior, call your vet and let them know what’s going on. You aren’t bugging them when you do. She may need a medication adjustment to keep her comfortable.

Recovery doesn’t last forever, and things really do get better after about a week or so (again, generally speaking). As a small breed dog, Smudge will adapt so well, just wait! But remember, she will look to you for guidance. So the stronger and more pawsitive you are during her recovery, the more she will feel your energy and reflect it back to you. You and Smudge are a TEAM and together you can get through this. 

I hope this helps. We are here for you! Feel free to post here, jump into the Tripawds Chat or call the Tripawds Helpline anytime OK?

Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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Forum Posts: 45
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8 May 2020 - 4:52 pm
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Hey there and welcome! I am so sorry about Smudge’s skin cancer that resulted in amputation. I am new to this forum too – my dog Dexter just had his right front leg amputated May 4th and you are right, the first days are the absolute worst. I was in pieces the first couple of days. I worried endlessly – but take heart! The first day home is the worst, but each following day gets a little better. Hang in there! I’ve gotten a lot of reassurance from both my friends and this site. Each day I see improvement in Dexter. Of course, every dog is different, and each responds to meds in his or her own way. Just get through these initial days. Rejoice in small victories. And yes, it’s especially tough going through this in during “COVID times” but hang in there. You are not alone and everyone on this forum is here to help. I know how much kindness and reassurance I’ve gotten through Tripawds and I am sure you will find comfort and information here too.  Best wishes!

Liverpool, UK
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8 May 2020 - 4:59 pm
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Hey, thank you for reaching out. You’re in the best place to get help and advice!

My dog Hazel is a 10 year old staffy and had her leg amputated on Tuesday and has been home for just over a day now so we’re in the same boat sp_hearticon2

In her first few hours of having her home I watched as she fell flat on her face and then yelped loudly as I tried to help her up. I felt AWFUL but it’s just part of the learning curve. I assure you that whatever problem you have and however you’re feeling there will be someone here ready to help you. 

Keep posting here ask any questions you need or even just vent your feelings, everyone is so helpful and staying connected is important. 

Sending love to you and smudge from nyoom and Hazel sp_hearticon2

Virginia




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8 May 2020 - 5:46 pm
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As you can see from the informative  replies from Jerry, Dexter’s Mom and Hazel’s Mom, recovery  is rough at first.  One of the many reasons  this community  is so helpful is because, unlike Surgeons, we see the dogs during the actual recovery!  We KNOW how scary it can be and we know Surgeons do not see it, so they don’t  prepare us for it.

Yes, dogs do “well” after surgery, RELATIVELY  SPEA,KING!  A dog does “well” considering  they just had MAJOR SURGERY with a lot of stitches, all while trying to adpate to three legs and on heavy duty pain meds!!

Your pup will balance out and  be more settled at her own pace as she shakes off the anesthesia and hospital meds.

Wjat meds is she on now? Dose?  Frequency?

No worries about eating too much right  now or pooping.  Sometimes  the meds interrupt with that at first.  Drinking  and peeing are important  though.. 

My Happy Hannah was restless and whiny and just in a condition  that I was completely  unprepared for.  She could sleep, she couldn’t  get comfortable, ot was awful!!  I had NOT found  this site yet. All K could think of was what have I done TO my dog!!   .At day six I  found  this site and the reassurance  I got was invaluable, along with information .of what was “normal”, etc  was waaaay more helpful than a thing I got from the Surgeon!

It took a couple of weeks, but I finally  got to the point of saying I did this FOR my Happy Hannah!  You’ll get to this point too!  Promise!!!

STAY CONNECTED!!!  YOU ARE. OT ALONE, OKAY??

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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8 May 2020 - 6:15 pm
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Hi Jerry,

Yeah it was mast cell, the whole thing happened so quickly, one moment she’s fine, and the next there’s a 2 centimetre lump on her leg, and her legs are tiny.

The decision to go through with the surgery was difficult as we can’t be sure if it has spread yet or not. After she was biopsied she started getting sick and could barley keep water down. We were afraid that it had spread to her stomach but the vet settled her down and she went back to normal very quickly. We are hoping we made the right decision as we would hate to put her through this unnecessarily. The vet was comfortable going forward after she went a week without getting sick so hopefully her instincts were right.

Thanks for your advice, it’s comforting to have someone to talk to, I’m amazed at how responsive this community is, it’s really wonderful!

I know I have to wait this out and she’ll be ok soon, it was just a shock

Thanks so much! 

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8 May 2020 - 6:21 pm
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Hey! Yeah I just saw your post a while ago, I sorry about Dexter and I hope he does well, I can’t imagine how shocking an expected sprain turned cancer was! We had a lump so we kind of knew what to expect.

It’s nice to hear that we’re all in the same boat, I hope Smudge goes the same way as Dexter!

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8 May 2020 - 6:24 pm
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Oh and just to add, her cancer was rated as medium. It almost made it harder! If it was low we would have been confident to go ahead, if it was high then the decision was already out of our hands. But a medium put everything on our heads, all of us including the vet had to wrangle with some heavy ethical questions, that was quite a philosophical week for me 

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8 May 2020 - 6:27 pm
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Oh god isn’t just the WORST feeling!! Afterwards she kind of fell over and started shaking, I felt so horrible! 

We’ll get through this and hope that tomorrow it a bit better, the so on day after day.

Lots of love to Hazel, our old dogs still have lots of life left in them!

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8 May 2020 - 6:48 pm
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Hi, thanks so much for the reply, everyone here is so kind. The ‘you are not alone’ has definitely been felt, that has made a big difference. 

she’s on 10ml metacam. once daily x 3 days. But we need to stop if she gets sick, this might have been what caused her spat of sickness before.

10mg Losec once daily x 2 weeks

50 mg Synulox twice daily x 7 days

I’m in Europe so I don’t know if the meds would be the same.

She hasn’t peed yet so might bring that up with the vet, that’s what caused her episode today, I was bringing her out to pee but she just sat down.

I’ll just have to take it day by day

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8 May 2020 - 7:06 pm
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Hi Smudge and family!  Smudge, what a cute name!  Welcome.  This is the place for you to find support and hope.  I sure did!

My dog Jake had his left foreleg removed on 4/21.  He had a soft tissue sarcoma in his elbow, and the location made it impossible to remove it.  Tripawds helped me come around and accept that Jake needed his leg removed so he’d have a chance at a good life.  The decision was extremely difficult.  I have gotten SO much support here.  His recuperation from surgery was tough.  He wouldn’t eat and after the first night home we had to bring him back for IV pain meds/antibiotics, etc, for 4 days in the animal hospital.   I felt horrible!!  But then 2 weeks post amputation I videotaped Jake playing fetch then happily digging a hole later in the day.  I was and still am truly amazed!  Hang in there and know that each day Smudge will improve and become the Smudge you know and love soon enough.  I know how you’re feeling.  I cried after surgery wondering if I had done the right thing, especially when we had to bring him back to the vet.  But now, 2 weeks and 4 days later Jake is playing with his squeeky toys, barking and acting like he always has.

Hang in there and know you did the right thing and Smudge will prove it to you soon enough!smiley9

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8 May 2020 - 7:42 pm
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Hi, and I’m sorry you are going thru this? the medication you listed, are they for pain? I think one is an antibiotic?

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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8 May 2020 - 7:51 pm
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So if Google is right you have a medication for acid in the stomach, antibiotic, and a anti inflammatory.  I would definitely ask your vet for some better pain medicine.

Most dog come home with tramadol and maybe a pain patch.

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Virginia




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8 May 2020 - 8:38 pm
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Yeah, as Brownie’s Mom said, IF her google search is right, then Smudge definitely needs stronger pain meds!  Not sure what rhe equivalent of Gabapentin and Tramadol would be, but those are two drugs here in  the States  they work well together.

We KNOW it’s so hard to watch as our dogs struggle those first many days of recovery.   Right now she is still shaking  off the anesthesia  while trying to recover from MAJOR SURGERY.  It takes some dogs several days to get mobile and to stand or walk on their own.

As hard as it is, do as you said and  just take it one day at a time.  And remember,  we are right here by your side and know how rough this first part is.  We also know how happy  you’ll  be when Smudge is done with recovery and is back to being Smudge again, but with no pain !!

TRY and get some rest.  We know how exhausting  this part of the joirney can be mentally  and physically.

And try and get some food in her tummy when taking those pills.

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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