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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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Overweight Doberman is now an Amputee
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23 March 2016 - 10:04 am
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The amputation was the beginning of the month, right?  It is still pretty early, and I would have to think that the cold weather would make her stiff.  Otis is slow to get up in the mornings, I think just because his joints get stiff. Maybe she just needs a more sedentary lifestyle (and I know you are worried about her weight, but hopping is hard work.  My vet told me to imagine just going to the post box hopping on one foot.).

That she is eating well is a good sign.  Hopefully some of the more experienced members can provide more insight.  I have seen other posts on this site where a member was thinking it was near the end, and suddenly, the dog bounced back, so keep up your spirits.  We are with you in spirit!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Virginia




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23 March 2016 - 10:24 am
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Geez! Jist catching up on all the latest.

I KNOW you are frustrated, confused, scared and exhausted! You are exhausted physically and emotionally. Yiu are stressed out more than you even realize. You feel pretty hopeless and can’t find any solutions. That’s when you feel like giving up and that’s certainly understandable!

HOWEVER, the bliss of being dog is that Benus iisn’t feeling any of those emotions! And Venus certainly isn’t giving up! She’s obviously a fighter and is still enjoying her sunbathing and @etting neighborhood dogs know she’s still da’ boss!clap

Stay connected to us. Vent, rage, cry, but lean on us and we’ll all get through this together, okay? Benus WILL get better!! She’s been through MAJOR surgery with MAJOR adjustment issues while adapting to three legs, going back u der anesthesia for teeth cleaning and now a very sore owwweee on her remaining back leg. On top of all that, she probably feels like she’s being starved and, because of her food intake reduction may even be a little week. As you know, it’s not necessarily about “cutting her food in half”, as it is giving her the right foods and in the right amount so her system isn’t compromised and deficiencies are developed.

Definitely keep her on the Metacam and maybe even another light dose of a pain med…of course with your Vet’s input.

Does she show any signs of pain when you rub up and down her spine, her leg, her butt with gentle pressure?

I do think her leg issue will clear up. IF she overdid it in the beginning, and still does on occasion, it takes a long time for muscles and joi ts to strengthen and recover. That video of Wyatt really gives you a clear picture of the improvements that can be made with patience and time.

Nancy will gave you some could insight, as has everyone. Just gonna throw something really crazy out there….really crazy and with no basis whatsoever! ,I wonder if a Vet woukd think it was okay to “treat” her for hypothroidism, even though she may, or may not, have it. Would it be worth a shot for a short time and woukd it do any harm if she didn’t have it ? Just throwing stuff out there!

Hang in there! You are stronger than you know!

And give Venus lots of boiled chicken. It will fill her up and not add too many calories! And give yourself lots of CHOCOLATE! It works wonders for stress!

Lots of love and 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!

Maputo, Mozambique
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28 March 2016 - 2:50 am
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So sorry for the delayed response! Having a crazy few weeks in terms of work. Looks my pessimistic side kicked in too early. The weather has really warmed up and the metacam that we’re giving now really seems to be working. She’s as bouncy as she could ever be and just this morning she had a naughty tussle with our cat!! 

Speaking of metcam, 3 vets advised us to discontinue it after her surgery (it was recommended to us by a vet in South Africa months ago, when she had four legs, because he heard about her bone cancer. So we discontinued it after surgery, but then during after that 1-2 days that she didn’t want to move and seemed in pain, we started it up again and I’m pretty sure that’s what keep her going. I REALLY don’t want her to be dependent on this though! Does anyone have any thought or recommendations/experiences with Metcam? Months and months ago, before the surgery, we thought she had arthritis and another vet said the same. So we’re giving her those fish oil/vitamin supplements in additions to some powder that the vet gave for mobility in older dogs. 

@otisandtess, amputation was on the 25th of Feb, so by now it’s just over a month. 

I would also prefer that she have a sedentary lifestyle, but he weight does frighten me sometimes (also, it’s so hard keeping her still lol!) You made an excellent point about the hopping. Maybe in one way, 3 legs is good for her because she spends all the excess energy that she always seems to have. 

@benny55 – Yep, I am always negative and don’t look on the bright side, unlike my venus 🙂 And lol – she is certainly keeping up with her sunbathing and barking routines!! 

We have been giving her boiled chicken occasionally but I will take your advice and increase that a bit – she loves it anyway. 

I don’t think she shows any pain when I rub her body – since I do it in a massage-like fashion. But I have to double-check this. 

You make an interesting point about the hypothyroidism – although I doubt any vet here would do that, or even have the medicine available since they don’t even offer tests for thyroid!! One vet looked at us like we were crazy when we asked about the test. 

I am visiting the states soon, so we can’t really do anything right now, but we’ve decided that if she hasn’t lost weight by the time I come back, we’ll take her to a completely new vet and check for this (hopefully they’ll have full working xray machines too!) 

As usual, thank you both for being so supportive, even while I have crazy thoughts of putting her down! I have taken some video of her walking so hopefully I can get that uploaded at the end of the week for your opinions. 

By the way, she has a lot of loose skin hanging down (lower abdomen section) that seemed more after the surgery – is this normal? Was some of that skin perhaps attached to the amputated leg? It also gives the impression of her being fatter than she already is, so that’s why it bothers me.

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28 March 2016 - 4:23 am
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So glad you posted and that things are going better.  I have to admit that I was worried about you, but didn’t want to invade your privacy.   The one month mark is when we started with short walks – about 400 people steps.  And he still lies down midway through.  When you come to the U.S., will you be near anyone from this site, perhaps an opportunity to visit another Tripawd, and maybe have the chance to speak to someone’s vet?  I am already envisioning you going home with a suitcase full of dog gear!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Maputo, Mozambique
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29 March 2016 - 5:46 am
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Thank you – I’m so touched! No privacy invasion here – I just tend to write longer posts so I take more time to reply 🙂 I love how concerned and supportive this community is. Hopefully after I gain a bit more experience with this I will be able to help others here.

Venus has been running since day 2 after surgery, so no control there 🙁 Although she is absolutely not allowed to climb stairs or up onto the couch, nor have we taken her for our weekly beach walks/runs. Not sure when we’ll be able to do those things.

In USA, I’ll be in Dallas, Raleigh and then NY. My schedule is very hectic, but I am definitely buying a dremel at the very least for Venus’s nails (that’s recommended by many American dog owners) I will already be overweight with luggage, but will definitely bring whatever I can…

Btw, how long has it been since Otis had his surgery? And it seems the usernames of most members here are their dog’s names? 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 March 2016 - 8:53 am
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Wow that’s neat you’ll be able to come to the states for a bit. When are you coming?

As for stopping the Metacam. Interesting. Many dogs here are on it for maintenance. Our Jerry was on it for 2 years. You just have to be vigilant about getting lab work done to make sure it’s not messing up the liver, but otherwise for most with osteoarthritis it’s quite safe and routine to be on it long-term. If it’s working for her I say why not? Let your vet know and make sure to get her labwork done.

Loose skin…I imagine that’s normal. Hard to tell on dogs with a lot of fur like our Wyatt Ray . I’m sure it’s more obvious with smooth coated pups.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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29 March 2016 - 11:19 am
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Otis had his surgery on February 9, and came home on the 10th.   He had broken his wrist on the 7th, so had one night in an emergency vet clinic, and then was transferred to the animal hospital where he had his surgery for one night before the surgery.  Otis probably has a less active demeanor than Venus overall, and both my dogs have been somewhat activity restricted since summer, when the female had cruciate repair surgery.  So, probably easier for him to adjust.   But, he was up on the sofa in week 3 – surgeon had the sofa on the forbidden list until the first month.   Otis has black fur and black skin, so it is already almost hard to tell where his incision was – there is a little loose skin at the bottom of the incision, but doesn’t really bother him – just an empty “flap.”

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Maputo, Mozambique
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2 April 2016 - 2:42 am
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Sorry for the delayed response! Turn out I also have dental problem that’s giving me hell… and just 10 days before I’m supposed to travel!

@Jerry, I am in Dallas from the 12th-17th, then in Raleigh until the 22nd, then in NY til the 28th 🙂

I remember when we did a blood test while she was on metcam, her urea and and BUN (whatever that it) were quite high and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the metacam, so that’s what I’m worried about , because our previous 2 dogs dies of liver/kidney problems.

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 April 2016 - 7:23 am
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Yikes! Hope you feel better soon.

Yes, that’s a reason to be concerned about Metacam. Was your vet concerned? Just wondering.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 April 2016 - 9:48 pm
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About the metacam…my Susie was on it for about four months–three of those months were before surgery–when she was in a lot of pain. I think it really helped her, but the surgeon was adamant about her coming off it right after surgery…in fact, she wanted Susie off the Metacam (called “Meloxidyl” in the form we used) just a week after surgery, because she’d had experience with a number of dogs going into kidney or liver failure or having gastric ulcers that triggered internal bleeding. It’s just like any potent drug–great when it works, but a nightmare when it causes problems. I totally get why you will feel relief to have Venus come off it. My regular vet was willing to keep prescribing it for Susie, so I did keep her on it for about a month after surgery. Yet I worried constantly about the possible side effects.

It’s such a fine line…to keep them free of pain and yet to not flirt with dangerous side effects. It sounds as if the Metacam is helping Venus cope with the pain of dealing with her new way of walking–it has got to hurt more because she has to transport more weight on just three legs than the average tripawd.

Having a higher BUN level means her kidneys could be at risk, so make sure the vet monitors that (and her liver function) on a regular basis. As for the bleeding gastric ulcer possibility, I asked the surgeon if I could give Susie Pepcid, and she agreed. I gave her 10 mg a day while she was on the Metacam, but I imagine Venus might need a higher dosage as she’s larger.

Venus sounds like such a darling…so glad you haven’t given up on her! And I’m so sorry about your dental issues!

I just got back from a couple of weeks in England, and it was a three day struggle to get back home, as Storm Katie cancelled tons of flights (plus my plane had mechanical failures).

I hope your dental problem is resolved and that you have a wonderful trip.

(((hugs)))xxx from Nancy & Susie

Maputo, Mozambique
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5 April 2016 - 2:54 am
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jerry – Our vet didn’t seem concerned about it (I think he was just surprised that her overall bloodwork was normal due to her cancer), but it was I who tied the results to the metacam – he didn’t even mention it.

@lyriclemom – we’ve already crossed that one month of giving metacam after surgery (we’ve reduced the dosage, but still), so that makes me a little worried. Did you see any effects of metacam in your Susie’s bloodwork?

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5 April 2016 - 12:02 pm
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Thankfully, no, but the surgeon was still worried. She had blood tests right before her biopsy and then again right before surgery. (They needed to check her blood again to make sure her liver and kidney levels weren’t already elevated, so they’d know whether they could continue the Metacam or not.) She didn’t have blood tests after that, because I took her off the Metacam as soon as I possibly could.

One thing that you could follow up on is to see if a different anti-inflammatory drug might not have the same effects on Venus as the metacam. Some dogs have elevated levels on metacam but not on a similarly-acting drug like Rimadyl. (On the other hand, some dogs have nasty side effects with Rimadyl that they don’t get with metacam.)

It’s such a tightrope we walk, when trying to do the best for our dogs!

Since the vets you’ve seen there have not been much help when it comes to medication side effects, you might want to post your concerns in the “Ask A Vet” forum. I did so, when three of my vets (the veterinary school surgeon, the veterinary school oncologist, and the regular vet) did not agree on meds for my dog. I found the answer in “Ask A Vet” to be very reassuring. It’s nice to be aware of options so your dog isn’t in pain from the wear-and-tear on her joints. And it’s like getting a second opinion!

I forget, does Venus take fish oil capsules?

((((hugs))))xxx from Nancy & Susie

Maputo, Mozambique
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7 April 2016 - 3:13 am
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Thanks for the tip for ask a vet! Looks like a good option for me.

We’ve been giving venus this: https://www.pet…..mirra-cote (the oils which contain vitamins, fish oild, etc.) and were also recommended this for short term by our vet: https://www.pet…..og-and-cat

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7 April 2016 - 1:44 pm
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Those products both look great! I’m a firm believer in using natural products (like vitamins, minerals, and especially fish oil) to help ease inflammation–in people, as well as pets!

Yes, I’m so glad there’s an “Ask A Vet” forum on here. When there’s a dearth of knowledge in your area about treatments, it’s nice to get a second opinion. Plus (as in my case) when your dog has a surgeon, and oncologist, and a regular vet for doctors and they don’t agree on treatment options, it’s really nice to have a third-party weigh in!

You sound like such a wonderful “mom” to Venus. I think things will turn around for her! I think the fact that she’s so active may help her to lose the weight. Every dog has their own timetable, and it sounds as if your Venus certainly knows her own mind! I just love her!

Love and ((((hugs))))xxx from Nancy & Susie

Maputo, Mozambique
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8 April 2016 - 11:06 am
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Thank you, she’s a real trooper. She’s actually my parents dog and didn’t get the care and attention that she deserved when she was younger, so now my brother and I are trying to make it up to her 🙁

I’m going to miss her so much in these few weeks that I’m gone – and I’m her favorite so she always pines for me even when I’m away for like 10 minutes 😉

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