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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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Older dog amputation, slow recovery?
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Forum Posts: 12
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13 June 2013
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13 June 2013 - 8:54 am
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I’m new to this forum and I’m looking for some info. My dog Willow is a 12 year old, spayed, Sheltie mix. She weighs around 30lbs. She had her right hind leg removed on Monday June 10, today is Thursday June 13. What am wondering is what to expect in the early stages of recovery. So far she hasn’t really wanted to move around. She is drinking and urinating, but hasn’t walked yet. She is still pretty painful and on pain meds. Last night the vet noticed some drainage from the incision and her good leg had a bit of swelling. She thinks there is some infection and she is on antibiotics. The thing that concerns me is that it is 3 days post op and she still hasn’t made any effort to try and stand. Plus she has no interest in eating. Is it normal for a 12 year old dog to be slow to come around during the first few days after surgery? When should I expect to see her want to get up? And when should her appetite return? Are infections common? What about the swelling in her good leg? Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Mike 

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 June 2013 - 10:45 am
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Hi Mike, thanks for joining. Your future posts won’t require approval and will appear immediately.

I’m sorry to hear Willow lost her leg, why did she need it amputated?

As for recovery, it’s pretty normal for any dog no matter what the age to have ups and downs so soon after surgery. Oftentimes there is a two-week period where things are ruff but they do get better. Have you been in contact with your vet to let them know what’s going on?

If you haven’t already check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and ebook library, these things, along with our pawesome community, will put your mind at ease and answer most of your questions.

Keep in mind that pain meds will make dogs groggy and not want to eat. What kind of meds is she on? Are you working with your vet to tailor the doses to her needs?

The swelling could be concerning but it could also be a post-op seroma , which is fluid build-up that’s usually harmless. As long as there is no smelly or green discharge coming from it, she’s probably OK. You’ll find more info about seromas in Jerry’s Required Reading List .

I hope this helps. Stay calm, be strong and know that these symptoms sound very normal (try to put yourself in her paws, amputation recovery can be ruff!). But do keep your vet in the loop and come here whenever you need a place to lean on. Thanks again for joining.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Lancaster, PA
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13 June 2013 - 11:06 am
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Hi mike, I have a dog who had amputation on Tuesday (front leg) about the same weight. He is getting around alright (but he is 4, not 12), but his other leg is getting a bit swollen. Using an ice pack over the incision for 20 minutes at a time was starting to help.

Every dogs recovery is different, I’m sure some of the other veterans will chime in soon too! Never be afraid to call your vet with questions and concerns. That’s why they are there.

Good luck, Heather

Barret was diagnosed with Hemangiopericytoma May 16, 2013. Front left leg/scapula/pectoral muscle was amputated on June 11, 2013 and we've never looked back. Follow our story on http://barret.t.....pawds.com/ and read my column on That Pet Blog

Virginia




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13 June 2013 - 12:02 pm
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Hi Mike and Willow!

Willow is sooooo early in recovery and it’s great that she’s drinking and URI rating! Any pooping yet?? Meds can interfere with that also.

Not eating is not that u usual either and of she has an infection that certainly could make her not feel like eat I g, as well as a MAJOR surgery!!
Yeah, as Jerry said, keep connected with the vet regarding the swelling…you what to keep good tabs on that. A dog named Dotty had a very rough start about two weeks ago with infection, not eating, not wanting to walk, etc. She’s doing great now and I’m sure she’ll see your post and chime in.

There are tons of things to try eating wise……the smellier the better sometimes. ‘m sure you’ve tried boiled. chicken, hamburger, hot dogs, baby food, etc. Even try this gs lie ice cream and if that works, sneak in a little chicken.
I KNOW this is such a difficult time for Willow AND you!! Some dogs must take a little lo her to recover…..although it’s WAY to early to even begin to think she. any fit that category.

It took y Happy Hannah longer than. oste to recover and, had it not been for the kids d souls on this site help g me stay strong and PROMKSING it would get better, I think K would have lost my feeble. mind!!

WILLOW WILL GET BETTER—-PROMSE!! Happy Hannah is four months past amputation and is one of the nappiest dogs in the land!! We live in the moment and are grateful for every second we get to spend in the “lap of joy”

PLEASE stay connected to s and keep us updated! We are here for you, we u derstand and have a lot of shared ex
Erie CES!

Surrou ding you with healing energy!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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13 June 2013 - 5:56 pm
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TJ is coming up on two weeks post amp on Monday.  He has come a LONG way in that two weeks.  I was a wreck and the slightest out of the ordinary thing had me in a panic.

Just remember your dog just had a MAJOR surgery and will have aches and pains.  Keep up with the pain meds.

The biggest thing I think that helped TJ was that I would lay on the floor with him and put my hand on his chest where I felt cool spots… and also messaging his neck muscles.

Depending on what the vet removed your dog will be relying on new muscles in new ways… so learn to massage his good shoulder and neck.

I can put my TJ to sleep in minutes by rubbing the one spot on his neck…

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 June 2013 - 7:08 pm
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Thank you for sharing your experience tjm, I know it helps folks a lot!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Montana
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13 June 2013 - 10:23 pm
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Welcome Mike and Willow – Sorry Willow had to have her leg removed, but please know that after a couple weeks you will begin to see the old Willow appear. If she was fairly active and healthy prior to surgery, then she should adapt very well. Shooter is about the same size and age and he has done just fine.

Just an FYI – since Willow is a herding dog breed you may want to ask your vet about testing her for the MDR-1 gene as that affects how some dogs react to certain drugs and it usually is found in collies, aussies, etc.

Ditto on the massaging. The first few weeks Shooter would be reactive in his neck, shoulders, back and thighs. I would massage until yhe musclrs quit spasming. Seemed to really help him relax. I can’t help much with the eating as I was lucky and Shooter never lost his appetite, but many on here have faced that problem and have some great ideas to help.

If she has an infection that could be one of the reasons she isn’t making a big effort to stand. Just think how bad you feel when you have a fever and infection and all on top of major surgery!

Hang in there and keep on giving her lots of love and support and remember to get yourself some rest too. Keep us updated.

Luanne and Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

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14 June 2013 - 4:29 am
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hi there mike im natalie destinys mum well after destiny had her leg removed shes 12 in july she had a rough road for 3 weeks she has picked up alot over the months since feb when it happened she chases her ball shes generally happy again its heartbreaking but give ur dog time paitence ok

Columbia, MO
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14 June 2013 - 6:03 am
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Hi Mike and Willow.  Sorry that Willow is having such a rough go of it.  Amp surgery is pretty hard on them.  My Daisy was 6-1/2 y.o. and 80 lbs. when she lost her leg.  While she was able to walk out of the vet it took till her fourth week to begin to really return to being herself.  She had no appetite so I had to hand feed her boiled chicken and hot dogs while she laid on the couch.  I had to force her to go out to do her business.  Alot of it is all the drugs they are on.  It makes them loopy.  Plus they are so sore from the surgery itself and learning to balance on 3 legs.  It takes alot of different muscles than they are used to using.

Best of luck to you and Willow and keep us updated okay.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

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29 June 2013 - 1:57 am
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Update on Willow. It is almost the end of week 3 since her surgery. First I wanted to say thanks to everyone for all your words of encouragement. Willow is doing great. The first 2 weeks were very difficult as she was very weak, anemic, had an infection, was in lots of pain and almost died from low blood pressure. But she hung in there and in the past week she has gone from needing to be carried everywhere to being able to walk on her own as she has gotten much stronger. She still needs a little help sometimes but overall she is doing great. Hopefully she will come home from the hospital next week. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 June 2013 - 8:08 am
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Wow, what a long road you and will have traveled, but I’m so hoppy to hear things are looking much better. We have our paws crossed that she will be home soon, please keep us posted.

What a lucky girl she is to have you for a pawrent. Thanks for being so good to her.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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29 June 2013 - 8:21 am
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Sorry I’m late, but just reading your post. I’m so glad to hear willow is doing better. What a rough start, but what a great pawrent that you have persevered through it and Willow is showing she is that strong too. Sending you all pawsitive thoughts for a happy homecoming in the very near future.
Would love to see a picture of that sweet willow!

Patricia & Mighty Atlas

Montana
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29 June 2013 - 8:30 am
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Yay for Willow! So happy to hear she is improving. Anemia, infection and low blood pressure WOW – she is one tough pup. Keep us updated on her homecoming and take care.

Luanne & Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

Virginia




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29 June 2013 - 9:21 am
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I tell ya’, sometimes our fellow tripawd family can just about give us a heart attack when we don’t hear from them for awhile.! Then you see a post come up and you hold your breath……………….OMD what a rough start Willow has had!! But FINALY on the road to recovery! YAY!

Has she been at the vet’s this entire time?

What a homecoming this will be! And I know she’ll even do better once she is home!

PLEASE, PLEASE, keep us posted! For her to go through the rigors of a major surgery, adjust to three legs, and add all the other crap on to of that? WOW! She IS one strong, braved, determined IRL! Willow is a lovely gentle name! Now I think you can add WARRIOR Willow!! What a fighter! I know being surrounded by your love is very healing to her.

Please keep us posted and send s pictures when she gets home.

Look forward to many, many ore celebrations! We love pawrys round here!
Did I mention we like updates too?:-) :-)

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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29 June 2013 - 8:46 pm
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I tell ya’, sometimes our fellow tripawd family can just about give us a heart attack when we don’t hear from them for awhile.! Then you see a post come up and you hold your breath……………….OMD what a rough start Willow has had!! But FINALY on the road to recovery! YAY!

Has she been at the vet’s this entire time?

What a homecoming this will be! And I know she’ll even do better once she is home!

PLEASE, PLEASE, keep us posted! For her to go through the rigors of a major surgery, adjust to three legs, and add all the other crap on to of that? WOW! She IS one strong, braved, determined IRL! Willow is a lovely gentle name! Now I think you can add WARRIOR Willow!! What a fighter! I know being surrounded by your love is very healing to her.

Please keep us posted and send s pictures when she gets home.

Look forward to many, many ore celebrations! We love pawrys round here!
Did I mention we like updates too?:-) :-)

Sally and Happy Hannah

Hi, Willow was actually home part of the first week. But she was back and forth between my home, the vet that did the surgery, and the emergency hospital. The first week was exhausting mentally and physically. She had to go to the emergency hospital the night of the surgery because the main hospital didn’t have staff overnight, which meant Willow would have been left alone, and there is no way I was going to let that happen. And it’s a good thing I transferred her to the emergency the first night because her blood pressure dropped so low she almost died. For the rest of the first week she would spend some nights at home, but would often have too much pain and I would have to take her back to the ER. And then I’d have to pick her up at 8am and transfer her back to the main hospital. However the main hospital has had a vet tech on duty 24/7 the last 2 weeks so Willow has been there the last 2 weeks and getting physical therapy. It looks like she might be home this Monday or Tuesday. I will post a pic on my profile of Willow.

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