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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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Cali, 160 Pound Mastiff with Bone Cancer: What to Expect?
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4 June 2019 - 9:09 am
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I am brand new to this site so please forgive me if i am not posting this correctly.  My 6 yo English Mastiff, Cali, was diagnosed with Bone Cancer in her distal radius of her left front leg this past Saturday.  She started limping a couple weeks ago and it went away only to return last week.  When she woke up Saturday her leg was swollen so we took her into the vet and she received an x-ray of her leg which barely showed the tumor.  Her lungs appear clear.  We started her on tramodol for pain and an anti inflammatory as well as CBD oil.  We have decided on an amputation of her leg in order to relieve the pain.  The surgery is scheduled for this Monday 6/10/19.  Cali weighs 160 pounds and I am concerned about how she will get around.  She sleeps in our bedroom upstairs and has to be right with us at all times.  I’m sure other English Mastiff owners understand the way our dogs like to constantly be at our feet and have to be touching us!  What should I expect when I bring her home from the hospital?  What tips do you recommend with getting around?  Also, we have 2 kids ages 9 and 5.  Any suggestions with them?  So much to consider.  I would like to be prepared for when Cali comes home to make her as comfortable as possible.  TIA

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 June 2019 - 9:50 am
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Hello and welcome. I’m so sorry about the diagnosis, it comes as such a shock when you get it. How is Cali doing today? She may need additional pain medication, be sure to watch for pain signals and let your vet know if she starts showing any.

So it sounds like the vet team thinks Cali is a great candidate for life on three legs, which is terrific! We have had many members join us with dogs her size, even larger, so try not to worry. As you can see from other Mastiff and giant breed dog parents, recovery can be a little slow going for dogs Cali’s size, but it’s not an impossible obstacle. They get through it, and they show everyone that life on three legs is sooooo much better than life with a horribly painful bone tumor. You and Cali will get there too! 

My best advice is to:

  1. Stay away from naysayers. 
  2. Read Jerry’s Required Reading List and our Tripawds e-books library.
  3. Check our the Tripawds Recovery Shopping List for ideas to Tripawd-proof your home.
  4. Remember to Be More Dog
  5. Stay confident and optimistic. Cali and your kids will read whatever energy you put out there and reflect it right back to you. If it’s pawsitive, you will experience a far better recovery.

And don’t compare her recovery with others (especially smaller dogs). Cali will be on her own timeline. As long as her pain is well-managed there is no reason why she can’t do well on three. If it helps you feel better, one of the world’s best vet surgeons, Dr. Denis Marcelin-Little, has told us himself that just because a dog is big or older, there is no reason why they can’t do well as an amputee. Anyone who tells you differently is old-school thinking and doesn’t know Cali like you and your vets do.

I see you’ve already browsed our Size and Age Matters Forum topic, so you’re off to a good start learning about other Mastiff Tripawds. You’ve got this!

If you want to talk, I tend to be in the Tripawds Chat room during morning hours (Mountain time) and also there’s the Tripawds Helpline you can call anytime and one of our awesome hosts will call you back to chat. Don’t be shy. We are here to help!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 June 2019 - 11:23 am
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Thanks so much!  Reading is my new favorite hobby since I have been doing so much of it!

-Carla-

Virginia




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4 June 2019 - 2:11 pm
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Yes, I’ve been owned by Bull Mastiffs, and like anything Mastiff, I understand  what you mean about always want to be with their hoomans!

While I’m sorry you find yourself here, as you can see from Jerry’s post, this is the best place to be for support and information. 

As she said, larger pups may take a bit longer to get mobile and to get through recovery, so no worries there.  I’m  assuming  Calimis staying at least one night, if not more, at an overnight staffed clinic.  When you do go pick her up, don’t  even draw attention  to the incision, just smile and praise her and tell her what a good girl she is!!!

She should be fairly well medi7 with good hospital  meds.  Some come home with a morphine  patch, some don’t.   pain management   is crucial.  Most dogs come home with Gabapentin,  Tramadol,  Rimadyl  and an antibiotic.   The hospital  meds are usually out of their system  around day three or so.  That’s  when tweaking the amounts and timing of meds may need some adjustments.

The first two weeks it’s  jist resr, rest, rest, short potty breaks and more rest.  Peeing and drinking  are important, pooping and eating may be off for a few days due to all the meds, etc.  It is major surgery and recovery  is no picnic st first.

Here’s  a post on Nailla, who is a Mastiff (on the smaller side), but took a few days to get mobile, and is doing very well now at day eight (still early  in recovery  though).   You’ll see post on TAZZIE. She was a large 170 lb plus Mastiff who mastered the art of three just fine.   Had some Great Danes 170 lbs plus, Eurydice  and Atlas who lived life to the fullest  on three.

My Bull Mastiff Happy Hannah, was a rear legger st 125 lbs.  As a rear legger, she never really mastered  the art of goin UP stairs, but could go down.  Front leggers have it easier going up, harder going down.  I simply moved my mattress downstairs  and slept on the floor with her.  She was able to get up on HER sofa that she allowed me to share😉  I found The Big Barker Bed to be THE  best support for a large dog.  You can check it out in our Gear Shop.  

STAY CONNECTED  and let us know how we can help, okay?  YOU ARE NOT ALONE on this journey❤

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.  Just let the kids know this is a GOOD thing so Cali doesn’t  have to be in bad pain.  Others with twom egger kids can give you better advice.  ,auberge show pictures of incision, or have her come home with a tee shirt.   Some Vets  wrap front  leggers woth a compression  wrap.  But again, this is a good thing.   Jist loke qhen a kid has a bad scratch…it may look rough at first, but that’s  hownI body heals so it can get better and not hurt anymore.  Soon everything  looks normal again 😎

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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5 June 2019 - 7:52 am
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I did sleep downstairs with Tazzie on a mattress next to her for the first few weeks.  You are right about Mastiffs needing to be by your side…how many stairs will she have to do?  We kept Tazzie off the deck stairs because they were long and steep but many large dogs can eventually do stairs.

Pam

Virginia




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5 June 2019 - 8:17 am
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And here’s  another large dog to check out.  An Irish Wolfhound Gatsby is at day five of recovery.  

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!

Virginia




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5 June 2019 - 8:19 am
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Geez, as you can see from the above post, and the one of mjn before that, I’m  having a hard time copying links.  No worries,  oir genius  techie members can do it.   They’re very adept st visi g mu screw ups (lots of practice)!😁😂🤣.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 June 2019 - 11:25 am
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Heh heh Sally! Done. Here is the link to all of Gatsby’s posts. Thanks for sharing!

https://tripawd…..038;type=5

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 June 2019 - 12:07 pm
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I wanted to give an update on Cali.  She is 1 day post op and seems to be doing good according to the vet.  We have not seen her yet.  The vet didn’t want us coming in after surgery since she would be so out of it.  Then today, after speaking to the vet we decided not to go visit.  I didn’t want her seeing us and get really excited to come home…only to have us leave her there another night.  

The vet said that she is not really walking for them.  The thing is, with Cali, she is scared of everything.  The big dogs are the most scared!  She wouldn’t walk in the vet on 4 legs so I didn’t expect her to walk around on 3!  She just doesn’t like it there and is afraid.  She also doesn’t like being told what to do.  If i try to force her outside and she doesn’t want to go, she would always pee if I tried pulling her out.  She likes to do things in her own time.  I think she gets that stubbornness from me, her mommy!  

The doctor said that she is also still oozing quite a bit of blood so they want to keep her until she stops oozing so much.  The doctor was not concerned by her not wanting to walk since she has never been excited about walking around at the vet.

I have to admit, i am scared to bring her home.  I am doing everything that is recommended.  I have read everything suggested.  I am just scared of all the what ifs.  What if she doesn’t walk around even at home?  What if she can’t figure out stairs ever?  What if she refuses to go outside?  What if, what if, what if….  You get the point.  

I’m trying to stay calm.  I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.  I am really trying.  Everyone says, dogs don’t care about only having 3 legs.  But how do they know?!  I mean, really, how do they know?  My dog could be thinking, what just happened to me?  I went to sleep with 4 legs, I wake up with 3 and where is my mom and dad and why am I in this cage?!  

I just needed to get this all out to others who understand.  Thanks for listening!

Carla

Virginia




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11 June 2019 - 3:54 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAAY  FOR CALI!!! SURGERY IS DONE AND SHE’S  ON THE WAY TO RECOVERY!!!

Your Vet is definitely  on top of things, so that’s  a real pawsitive!   He’s  on top of the seepage (most likely  a seroma ), as well as a good understanding that Cali is stubborn Cali and is not interested  in being mobile right now!  Sometimes they use a compression  wrap for the seepage; sometimes they even put in a drain.  All solutions  that the Vets are used to and know how to handle.  Of course, the fact that Cali is well drugged and still shaking off the effects of anesthesia is probably the main reason she has no interest  in walking right now.  I’m  sure she’s  still quite woozy…and that’s  better than being in pain.

As Dr Pam has told us about her Mastiff Tazzie, she spent three nights at the clinic, and Dr Pam is a Vet! 

And what we do know about the thought process of our dogs is that something  is different and they need to figure out the best way to adjust…and they do!  That’s  their priority, not sitting and wondering “why”.

And I dont mean to sound …..hmmmm…. er…..harsh, but she’s  so well drugged she probably  is having “visions” of you right by her side, even though  you aren’t!!😎   And like all Mastiffs, I’m  sure all the staff are completely  and totally  in love with her and giving  her tons of attention!

And all the “what ifs” will fade as you see her overcome  one hurdle at a time…slowly but surely.  She’s already overcome ine hurdle…surgery!!  It sounds like she just may decide not to take her first steps until she gets home.  We’ve seen that happen with big dogs before too! Even some stubborn little dogs!!  And we are all here for YOU to infuse confidence and pawsitive energy while she recovers!!

And k e lottle “pearl of wisdom” ro offer.  Ya’ see, the word try, gives us the option to “not do”.

Now, if you replace TRY with COMMIT,  then you have no “out”.  Your whole internal demeanor changes!  So from this point forward, you COMMIT to staying calm and you COMMIT to not getting  ahead of yourself!  And stand tall when you say it!  Say it out loud  with determination!!  See!! Wasn’t  that fun and empowering???

And if that didn’t  work, just eat lots of chocolate  and ice cream!! That always empowers me!!

Extra ((((((((((((((((((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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 June 2019 - 4:59 pm
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Carla I am in the Tripawds Chat room for a bit 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.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 June 2019 - 5:04 pm
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Is Sally the best motivation coach ever or what? Everything she said is spot-on.

It’s OK to be afraid, but when you see her, your attitude is going to affect the outcome of her recovery. So the more pawsitive and strong and committed you are, the better this entire journey will be. Guaranteed! 

You’ve done your homework, you are prepared. Keep in mind when your vet said she was leaking blood, s/he probably meant leaking seroma fluid, which is simply a bodily fluid that has nowhere to go when the leg is removed, so it takes the path of least resistance to get out of the body. Seromas are usually harmless and not life-threatening at all. So don’t let that freak you out.

As for the what ifs . . . there is no point in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, and may never, right? Those what-ifs and the future itself is out of your control. Focus on what you can control now, which is your positive approach, and this can help this recovery be as good as it can. 

Keep us posted!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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