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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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Michigan
Forum Posts: 1447
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15 October 2015 - 8:18 pm
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Oh, he’s like a big teddy bear!!  All smooshy!

Good for you Major, you made a little bit of progress, that counts!

He’ll get there, he’s just got to get it all figured out.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

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Maryland
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16 October 2015 - 5:17 am
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Oh Major, I suspect some of that natural Pyr stubbornness is at work! Getting up by yourself and getting in your bed by yourself proves you can do it. That is good progress and around here we never underestimate how good a little progress is. 

As to the poo, I suspect when you finally get around to it, it will be a monster of a pile. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie (and Toby Two-toes too).

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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20 October 2015 - 10:47 am
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It has been a real rollercoaster as far as Major’s progress or lack thereof. Saturday he had a great day. He was outside. He vastly just lay on the grass, but he did pee and poop!  And he was visited by neighbor’s dog, which was exciting enough for him to actually get up and almost run to greet her. OK, more like stagger, but still….it was a sign of interest/life. 

Then Sunday was back to not caring about anything (including neighbor’s dog).  He was clearly uncomfortable. We had yet another sleepless night. 

Monday we went back to the vet, and apart from not wanting to go into the vet’s building, the day was a diamond. He actually was excited to get a car ride enough to sort of try and run to the car. Again, more like a stagger, but this was the first time he elected to walk away from the house for any reason.

At the vet he got an Rx for Deramaxx, which seem to have a wonderful effect on him. He FINALLY slept through the night, he FINALLY stood up to eat his dinner, and he FINALLY at least try to move his hind legs while going up the stairs. 

So this morning has been a complete disaster so far. He was clearly very stiff.  Had a very hard time getting up etc. He really had to go to the bathroom. I took him out and he had to take a rest before being able to get up again to pee. After that we went back home, but within about 1 and 1/2 hour he had to poop really badly, because he decided to head down the stairs by himself. As soon as I realized it, I launched myself to grab him, but I tripped and fell down, and before I had a chance to get myself up, I heard him crashing down the stairs. I run to help. By the time I got there he was standing by the front door, so I don’t know how far he fell (we have 7 stairs).  I took him out. It looked like he really wanted to go urgently, but as soon as we got on the lawn, he had to lay down. I don’t know if this was from pain or exhaustion. I palpated his body, but didn’t feel anything obvious, nor did he react to any of it. It did take him about 1/2 hour before he got up to actually poop. He looked pretty stiff, and he nearly plopped himself in the poop afterwards. He just missed it.

I feel terrible for him.  He must be pretty battered. I hope we have another good day tomorrow. 

Here and Now


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20 October 2015 - 2:36 pm
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majorsmom said
I don’t know if this was from pain or exhaustion…

Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but have you consulted with a certified canine rehab tech (CCRP or CCRT ) yet?

FYI: The Tripawds Foundation is still offering a limited number of Free Vet Rehab Consultations!

Virginia




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20 October 2015 - 3:06 pm
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Major, you are doing a great job of “demonstrating” why we call this recovery phase a ROLLER COASTER ride!

And Mom I’m glad you are okay after that fall…and Major too of course! Scary!!

Although I’m familiar with your update, I just went back and re-read each one so I could feel confident in what I’m about to say…… MAJOR IS…IS…IS…MAKING PROGRESS!! Slowly, but surely. Yeah, may two steps forward, but only one backwards.

.ajor is NOW pooping and peeing on his own…..getting up and WALKING (staggering counts as walking during recovery!)….standing to eat his meals…excited to see neighbor’s dog…slept through the night…PROGRESS!!

I’ve forfotten your sleeping arrangements, but many of us moved a matress downstairs so our dogs wouldn’t try the stairs. My Happy Hannah never could really master going up the stairs (a rear legger…front leggers usually have trouble going downthe stairs).

Keep on with the Rimadyl. You may even ask your vet about Adequan (or maybe it’s Dasequin…I may be confused…not a surprise!) injections to help should arthritis be showing up. Sometimes you don’t see the symptons of arthritis when they have all four legs in use. It is not unheard of at all for it to show up after amputation sometimes. But usually it can be treated successfully.

It doesn’t sound like he is in pain….just stiff and sore from working muscles he’s not used to having to work so hard.

As long as the vet is finding no underlying issues, Major just needs more time recovering and maybe continuation of arthritis meds.

As Admin mentioned, rehab may do wonders. And, if at all possible, try gentle massage and gentle stretching before he attempts to get up. You may already be doing that.

AND…keep those precious pictures coming! We all want to jump through the screen and snuggle with that sweet boy!!

Sending you lots of hugs!!! And don’t forget to eat lots of CHOCOLATE! It does wonders for your psyche 🙂

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Maryland
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20 October 2015 - 3:49 pm
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Absolutely agree w/ what Sally said about Rollercoasters and progress! I know it is hard when you’re in the midst of it, but it does sound like he is making progress. Really and truly. And yes, it does sometimes seem impossible that things will get better but they will. We also had a “stairs incident” so I know how that goes. But Major is making progress. Good days (laying in the grass, greeting the other dogs) is terrific progress. Don’t underestimate it. 

And yes, rehab is the one thing we really missed out on and I would definitely recommend it. Even if you can just go once or twice and they can show you how (and where) to massage him and stretch his legs. I think it will help, really. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie (and Toby Two-Toes too!)

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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20 October 2015 - 6:06 pm
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Thank you guys, for the input. You are so right. Being in the mids of it all is like being in panic mode 24/7.

I have considered rehab. There really are only 2 facilities near me (within 1hour drive).  I did ask about pricing, and unfortunately, I simply can’t afford them. 🙁

Our house is one of those ridiculous 1970’s designs, where you are forced to go up the stairs to the living areas, as soon as you are through the front door. We do have a walk-out basement, and I did plop a mattress down there, the first few days, when Major was not able to even stand, so that I could drag him out somehow, so he could relieve himself (not that he did during those first days).  I tried as long as possible to camp out in the basement, but my own physical issues prooved too much after just a few days, and to be honest, I think Major felt like he was being banished from the living areas, so back up we went.

He was actually getting slightly better on the stairs, as of yesterday. He was finally actually using his legs (somewhat), so I did not have to support every ounce of his 118 lbs (minus leg).  Then today, I have no idea what got into his head. He just launched himself down the stairs. So tonight I need to move furniture to block the stairs, so he doesn’t repeat the performance in the middle of the night. way-confused

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20 October 2015 - 6:15 pm
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And here is a photo from this Saturday (a good day).  He looks so happy in this, and he was doing so well.  It kills me that we seem to have slid back a week’s-worth of progress in one morning.

Image Enlarger

Michigan
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20 October 2015 - 8:30 pm
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A lot of times when Murphy over-does it he gets stiff.  So I would bet that’s part of it … Major has a good day and moves around, but then because he moved around, he’s sore & stiff.  Kind of a vicious cycle right now.  But he sounds like he’s making little bits of progress!

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 October 2015 - 8:42 pm
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majorsmom said
I have considered rehab. There really are only 2 facilities near me (within 1hour drive).  I did ask about pricing, and unfortunately, I simply can’t afford them. 🙁

Promise not to belabor this but ….

Even if you went just once, and made it clear that ongoing treatment was out of your budget, you could get some important feedback on how to care for him. Great rehab vets understand that not everyone has it in their budget to do it and will give “homework” tips and such for making the most of life on 3. I know this could really help Major, so please, don’t hesitate to apply, the Tripawds Foundation will pay for up to $200 of the first consult. There’s no commitment to go after that, you’ve got nothing to lose. PM me if you want to talk more about it OK?

{{{hugs}}}

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Idaho
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20 October 2015 - 9:07 pm
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I cannot recommend rehab highly enough. It made such a huge difference in Murphy’s recovery. As Jerry said, even if you only get a short course in what to do by going to the initial consult, it will be well worth your while. There are so many of the exercises that can be done at home once you know what they are.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

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21 October 2015 - 11:56 am
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I will definitely look into having at least the one session of rehab, as Jerry and murphysmom suggested.

Major is doing a bit better today.  I plan on taking him on a car ride to the store, since he was trying very hard to get into the car last night, when I grabbed a leash in hopes of getting him to move off the grass.  He just assumed that I meant a ride, and he hopped over to the car.  He was quite disappointed that we were not going anywhere, so I want to make it up to him.

He has developed a pressure ulcer on his remaining front elbow, within 24 hours after surgery, and unfortunately, he had to get stitches on Monday, despite having the whole elbow padded and covered with dressings since the surgery.  Anyway, he needs more dressings, so I have to go pick some up, and he may as well come with.  While we are out, I also want to get him elbow pads.  The kind with a hard plastic shell that are used for skating and skateboarding.  Hopefully they help to get his elbow to heal.

Virginia




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21 October 2015 - 3:00 pm
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I love that he responds to thinking he’s going on car rides. That shows he still jas some spunk and enjoyment.

Some of the computer geeks will jave to give you the links to helping treat pressure sores. They do, unfortunately happen.

Okay Mr. Major…when you thpught you were going for a car ride, you apparently had the strength to get up and hop to the car. A v ery good sign indeed! It may also be that he enjoys laying outside and just does want to go in. All the different scents of nature are an exquisite pleasure for dogs.

Let us know how his car ride went. Do yiu take him through a drive thru too? That would be an extra little treat for the sweet boy.

You are doing an n outstanding job of being patient. This recovery part is just so darn difficult and being patient is reallu, really hard!

Hugs and love to all!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

PS…Did you ask the vet about arthritis and possible additional treatment for that if it is showing up?

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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21 October 2015 - 3:16 pm
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Yay! Let us know if you have any questions about rehab. Be sure to check out this directory to locate a qualified practitioner.

Bummer about the hygroma. Here are some ideas that may help Major:

http://gear.tri…..?s=hygroma

and this

http://nutritio…..al-wounds/

Definitely give Major that car ride to do something fun, he sure deserves it! 🙂

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