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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22 August 2021
my 11 year old westie, Pebbles, was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in March, she had cat scans and blood tests and the cancer hadn’t spread so she had her front leg amputated and has three rounds of chemo. She coped very well indeed for two months but then started to be uncomfortable on her walks. X-rays revealed she has chronic arthritis in her back knees. She is on previcox and gabapentin and has had one jab of librella but she is not improving. She is having supplements as well. It is breaking my heart as her favourite thing to do is go walkies and gets very excited when she goes to the park but after ten minutes has to go in her buggy and then spends the rest of the day indoors only going in the garden to go to the toilet. She is eating well and is alert but seems depressed. Can anyone give advice as to what to do. Many thanks
Hi Pebbles and Mum, welcome! I see you were in the Tripawds Chat ! Sorry we didn't connect. I'm usually in there during the day. Meanwhile, I'm so glad we posted here.
So, it does sound like Pebbles is having some pain management needs that need to be addressed. What we see as depression is usually related to pain. It's GREAT that she is getting the Librela. Another UK member, Meg, is also receiving Librela injections, see the link for details. Her mum Clare says that most dogs don't see an improvement until the second dose, and that's what happened to Meg too. So try to be patient. Is a physio therapist prescribing the medication to her? Has she seen a physio yet? If not, it would be a really good idea to check in with one. These experts can tell you the best ways to help manage her arthritis and physical activities so she gets and stays strong and doesn't overdo things. We encourage all Tripawds to see one, it's so educational for us!
Another question, what is her weight like? If she is even one or two pounds overweight it can make a huge difference with her ability to get around. Losing weight is the #1 thing that can be done to help a dog's mobility quickly improve. Does your vet have any concerns about her weight?
Clearly Pebbles is a well loved and well cared for pup. ♥️ Westie's are soooo darn cute. Would love to see pictures of Pebbles when you have a moment. Adding images
So glad Jerry linked you to tripawd Meg's post. I think Clare (Meg's hooman) also uses acupuncture, chiropractic visits, as well as swimming. Oh, and also give lots of massages to keep muscles flexible and relaxed.
As hard as it is to be patient, hang in there. You are on the right path to solutions to help her improve. Also I'll drop a note to Clare to see if she has any add insight.
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!
15 December 2015
Hi there, Pebbles and Mum! And thanks so much Sally for alerting me to this post.
It's great that Pebbles coped so well initially, and I completely agree with the comments above, including the request for pics!
Are you in the UK too? I would second the advice to see a physio or rehab vet, i.e. someone with specialist training and experience in managing longer term conditions such as arthritis, and in helping dogs adapt post surgery, when they have to get used to using different muscles, change in gait etc. If you haven't seen a rehab vet/physio yet, then Tripawds will even pay for your initial visit https://tripawd.....rsement/ If you are anywhere near London, then I can recommend Active Pet, near Beaconsfield, which is where we go, but there are obviously plenty of other places elsewhere. Meg receives acupuncture and laser. The laser is particularly good for the arthritis, and the acupuncture for pain management and for keeping on top of any niggles in her spine. It occurs to me that although Pebbles clearly has arthritis in her knees, it is possible that the sudden discomfort is caused by a tweak elsewhere (e.g. her back) from adapting to her new gait. Losing a front leg would not after all place a vastly different load on the back legs, though clearly it would make some difference.
Ditto the above re the Librela. I would definitely stick with that. My Meg also showed little if any response after one injection, better after two, but completely transformed after three (I really would not have believed the difference) She has just had her fourth. When she had the first one it had only just been licensed, and in fact she was the first dog to receive it at the hospital where she goes, but now I am finding more and more people with older dogs stop me on walks to tell me about it and ask if I've heard and tell me about the amazing impact on their dogs. They all have a similar tale to tell of it taking a couple of doses to see the effects. Also, the nurse I saw the other day to give Meg her injection said she was hearing such amazing things that she almost wished she had an older dog herself so she could give them Librela!
Obviously a vet would be the person to advise on medication for pain management in Pebbles specific case. Again, seeing a specialist such as a rehab vet with pain management training might be really useful. Meg, who also has arthritis in her back legs (hocks rather than knees) as well as in her front elbow and foot is on the following (she weighs around 16 kg):
Gabapentin 200 mg 3 x a day
Metacam 16 kg dose once a day
Amandatine 50 mg once a day
Paracetamol 125 mg 2 x a day
Librela, injection once a month
Ketamine (micro dose) injection once a month
In terms of supplements, she's on Dasuquin, fish oil and turmeric
Hope some of this is helpful, please keep us posted and lots of love to you and to Pebbles
Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx
Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie My life as a MEG-A-STAR