Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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I always felt that Bonnie's recovery from left rear leg amputation due to mast cell tumor was going too well and we kept waiting for the shoe to fall. Well...it happened!! She began on Sunday evening with phantom pain . She had only one episode around 9:39pm and it was terrifying listening to the yelping. We were able to calm her down and all was well. Went to the vet on Monday for check on anal glands and reported to the doctor, who was reluctant to prescribe any pain meds for after only one episode. Last night was hell!!! She had 3 major episodes at 11:30pm, 2am and 5am. We went out for a walk around noon and she had two episodes while out. Has had a few more this evening.
Aside from more pain meds, does anyone have any hints on how to help with the phantom pain ? Bonnie appears to be so depressed. It's like having a newborn all over again. We napped earlier today and we're holding our breath that tonight will be better.
18 October 2009
I'm sorry Bonnie is having such a hard time.
I went back and read your other posts...so you are about 4 weeks from surgery now?
Most of the phantom pain I've seen here comes closer to surgery but it's not unheard of to come a few weeks later.
A couple questions:
When you say 'major episode' and you describe a bit more? Often we see phantom pain be a short yelp with a rather quick recovery. What is her activity level like? When she has the episodes can you feel any muscle spasms around the amp site? Is she on any meds at all now?
You should ask the vet for Gabapentin- it has been shown to be very effective for phantom pain .
You might also consider having her evaluated by a certified rehab vet- they may be able to help identify where the pain is coming from if it's not phantom pain .
One other thing to consider- you should check the incision area for a suture that got left behind and you might discuss with the vet they type of internal sutures used. Every now and then we see a pup with an external suture not removed or an internal suture that didn't dissolve which causes episodes similar to phantom pain .
I hope Bonnie gets relief soon!
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.
1999 to 2010
Thanks for the response Karen.
As I called it a "major episode", it could very well be that it startled us so much we're calling it major!!!! The spasm lasted approximately 5-10 seconds with loud sustained yelping. We had been watching her for a possible anal gland impaction so I thought possibly she had ruptured an anal gland. Both my husband and I ran to her and she was able to calm down somewhat but remained heavy panting for about 10 mins and the stump continued to quiver. The anal glands looked normal so that's when I suspected the phantom pain . She hopped to the door so we took her out for her nightly pit stop and she slept the night.
She continues to have brief episodes which she appears to be handling better, and perhaps her parents are handling better now that we know what it is. The stump quivers for quite some time after each episode but she's able to calm down sooner.
We'll continue to monitor her and if the intensity and number of episodes increases, we'll ask for the Gabapentin.
24 September 2009
Awwww poor Bonnie. I say ditto to the great advice Karen gave you. This does sound like phantom pain (click on the link for all of our articles about it). Please get the Gabapentin now, don't wait for things to get worse and don't take no for an answer from your vet, or it will take twice as long to get the pain under control. You may also want to consider a Farabloc pain blanket, which many people and pets find helpful.
If your vet doesn't want to prescribe Gabapentin (and especially if Bonnie never received it in the first place), I recommend taking the advice of vet pain management expert Dr. Downing:
If you...have a veterinarian who is not trying to stay ahead of the pain curve...it’s time to fire that veterinarian and get yourself a different one because those days are gone. -- (See all our interviews about pain management with Dr. Robin Downing)
And also please consider making an appointment with a canine rehab therapist. The Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit ! All Tripawds can benefit and especially those who have a sudden onset of post-op pain like this. If you'd like help finding a practitioner please let us know.
Let us know how she is doing OK?
Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
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