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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A friend found this website after my baby girl Caribou had her front left leg amputated due to bone cancer. She is on day 2 of being home with us, and we are struggling with seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. She is so sad! We get the occassional tail wag, but I know in her eyes she is depressed and confused.
I guess my main questions now are:
1. How long will it take for the swelling in her chest and stomach to go down? And when should I fit her new harness on?
2. Am I pushing her too hard when I help her outside? She gets worn out almost immediately after standing up, and lays in the grass to rest after making it outside. Should I let her be? Should I coax her into getting back up and inside? Is the exercise and practice good for her or does she need more time? It has been 5 days since her limb was removed.
3. Do dogs ever understand why we take their limbs? I worry about this every day…. does she know it was because she was sick? Does she think she is being punished?
Any advice is helpful. We have never had a handicapped dog, and we want to do everything possible to make sure she is happy.
25 April 2007
Welcome and best wishes for Caribou, please consider registering to take full advantage of the Many Tripawds resources. For starters, your forum posts will not require moderation.
1. Every dog is different. Swelling and bruising normally reduces within the first week, and can be helped with hot/cold compress therapy. Don’t cofuse swelling with a seroma , which is common and can be drained if necessary.
2. No need for any exercises until she is healed. Confinement and short leashed potty time is all she needs right now. After the stitches are out consult with a certified rehab therapist for specific exercises you can do to help rebuild strength and keep Caribou fit and strong. FYI: Walks do not build strength, only stamina.
3. Try not to personify this experience. Dogs are very resilient they overcome and adapt. They do not ask “why” this happened.
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22 February 2013
You have come to the right place for support, understanding and information. Qe understand the me tal snd physical exhaustion getting to this point… the fear…the panic…the lack of slip…the second guessing…yeah, we get it.
Okay…deep breaths… seriously…take some deep breaths….inhale slowly…….exhale slowly..repeat ten times.
Caribou just had MAJOR surgery, as well as adjust to three legs, while on some good pain meds (hopefully). This is very, very, very early in recovery. Humans would probably still be in the hospital on a morphine drip!
Yes, just help her out for potty breaks. And if she needs to lay down and rest after potty, that’s fine. She may enjoy being outside for a few minites. Then, after she’s rested a bit, it’s okay to help her back in. What’s the weather like where you are? Do you have a blanket she can lay on and soak up some sun? Resting is EXACTLY what she needs now….smart girl!
No, you aren’t seeing “sadness” or depression in her eyes. Yoi are seeing the look of a dog on some good paun meds. You are seeing behavior of a dog recovering from major surgery who doesn feel like running a marathon quite yet!!!
How much does she weigh and what pain meds is she on, the dose and frequency. Is she showing any signs of pain?
Is she eating , drinking, pottying okay? Some dogs don’t feel like eating much at first and most don’t poop for several days due to the meds. Drinking and peeing are important though.
Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks. This is the phase where we think we did this TO our dogs. Soon though, you will be saying you did this FOR your dog!!!
All Caribou knows is his pain from that bum leg is gone. As Admin Guy said, dogs don’t think in human terms (they’re too smart for that). She just knows she is adjusting to a new way of walking, and doing so at her own pace on her own timeframe.
You’ve already had a victory to celebrate, and I think you missed it!! Ypu arr fetting sone tail wags already! Yes! That is a victory! Some dogs take a lot longer to give us a tail wag. Every seemingly “little” improvement like that is a HUGE improvement during recoveru!!
Stay strong and confident around Caribou. Keep your energy level pawsit snd upbest. Lots of praise, lots of smiles, lots of exaggerated “good girl”. She’ll pick up on your energy.
Stay connect and update when you can. TRY and get some rest…do your deep breathing exercises…and eat some chocolate!!
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!
25 April 2007
Hi April and Caribou! I’m sorry you had to join us but am so glad you posted. What you are feeling is so normal, and to be expected. But it’s also super important to learn how to Be More Dog and set a pawsitive tone so that Caribou will follow your lead. The more optimistic and hopeful you are, the more she will give that energy right back to you.
I agree with what Admin and Benny55 have said: sounds like Caribou is on some good pain medication and her behavior is completely normal. As long as she is eating, drinking and eliminating, she’s on the right track for a normal recovery.
Just wondering if you’ve talked to the vet about the swelling? It’s to be expected, especially with bigger dogs, and is probably a harmless fluid build-up known as a seroma . Let them know what’s going on just in case. They may want you to apply a warm compress for a few minutes a couple of times a day to help the body reabsorb the fluid.
Let us know how she’s doing. We are here for you!