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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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Recovery post Amp. And weakness
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Forum Posts: 2
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20 September 2015
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28 September 2015 - 5:04 am
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Hi guys I am hoping for some advice or your own experience to help me cope with guilt – my 7.5 year Great Dane just lost his front leg – it’s been two weeks since amputation and I know he needs time to built up strength and learn to walk easy on three – but my guilt comes from seeing his so sad that he can’t do what he could before – he gets tired after about 5-10 min of hopping and he looks so sad , pain is under control and we will get him a physiotherapist , but I am doubting whether he will ever be strong enough to walk half hour- hour maybe ? With rest of course , but I am a dog walker and he spent last 5 years coming to work with me and now leaving him behind breaks his heart , he s always been a very active dog – just 6 weeks ago he still won best veteran at show – and he his so crippled – how long till he builds up his strength for walking more ? Will he ever ? Seeing the videos of other tripawds doing so great – and then looking at him I don’t know when or if he ever will be able to do that ? Any help or advice or sharing personal experiences will be much appreciated guys – just need to know if there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for my boy ? I love him too much to see him suffer , even mentally
Bea and Bailey

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 September 2015 - 6:07 am
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Bea and Bailey, welcome. I apologize for the brief response but I’m  on my mobile so I will check in when I am at my desk ok? Meanwhile read through the posts here in this forum topic. I moved your post here so you can see how giant breed dogs have coped. More tips later, promise!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Maryland
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28 September 2015 - 8:06 am
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Hi Bea and Baily,

There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, really and truly! Our Ellie was a 100 lb Pyr mix and I think she was pretty typical for the bigger dogs—it can take longer but they do get there. We also felt like ‘other dogs’ were doing so much better—up and running circles while our Ellie was still having a hard time getting around to do her business in the back yard. It was heartbreaking. \

But two weeks out from amputation Baily’s probably just had his staples out so he’s still early in the recovery. We definitely regret not doing more in the way of rehab earlier in the process, so I think it is really really good for you to tackle it right away. I think it will really help him. As he recovers, he’ll probably surprise you how well he’s doing. But right now it takes a lot of patience.

I will say Ellie never got back to the same distances as pre-amp but she even w/o going as far, she still loved them and enjoyed every single one. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 September 2015 - 9:46 am
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Thank you for chiming in Denise!

So, why did he lose his leg? And what kind of pain medication is he on? It may need to be adjusted, he could be over-medicated. Often times what we humans think is depression is in reality a reaction to pain medication as well as the hard work of learning to get around on three.

Ok, so….two weeks is not a long time, especially for a bigger, older, front-leg amputee. Amputation surgery is a big deal and the fact that he made it through surgery, he’s getting around and doing pretty well is reason to celebrate so don’t forget to applaud him for that, we sure are clap

When it comes to a front leg Tripawd, moving around is real work. It’s as if you were trying to run with your arm outstretched in front of you, holding a heavy purse or hand weight. Imagine! And you are correct, rehabilitation therapy will make a huge difference. Have you found a therapist yet? Check out the Canine Rehab Institute directory to get started and download our Tripawds e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , you’ll find lots of tips there.

Dogs do get there and rehab will make a difference. A professional can assess his strengths and weaknesses and let you know what you can expect as far as how far he will be able to walk. In general though, most rehab vets will say that a strong, fit Tripawd should take shorter, more frequent walks of no more than 15-20 minutes max. If a dog has to sit down on their walk, that walk was too long and  needs to be shortened.

I know it can be heartbreaking for us to adjust to what we call “the new normal” around here. Our Jerry used to hike for miles with us before he lost his leg. After the amputation that was no longer possible, even at his most fit, for his safety we would only allow him to do very short 10-20 minute walks at most. We got kind of sad at first, but you know what? Those walks meant SO much more! Because he was with us, he was alive and enjoying his life and he was beating the cancer just by being alive and doing great. Every day was icing on the cake! That is a real victory! The more you learn to see these gifts, the more special every hop is with your pup.

Of course it’s hard leaving your dog at home. Have you considered getting a stroller? MANY people do this and it works out so well! Check out this post:

http://gear.tri…..strollers/

Also, it may be that a friend would do well for him too, if that’s something you’re able to do right now.

I hope this helps. Please check out our Tripawds Member blogs for giant breed stories about Danes (you may have to scan the results to find applicable blogs but you’ll get there) and you’ll see  how great life is in the new normal. Also check out this story, it’s one of our favorites:

http://tripawds…..og-parade/

Keep us posted OK?

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




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28 September 2015 - 6:58 pm
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Hi B & B,

I can’t help you directly with the big dog question- my tripawd was a little rear amp named Maggie.  But the first  tripawd pal Maggie met was Cemil, a 150 pound front amp Anatolian Shepard. Cemil has survived over 5 years past his amp for OSA.  He doesn’t get as far as he used too, but he is still hopping.  You can see some pics of him in his blog.

I will say that my pug Maggie took a loooong time to get used to her new normal.  Long after the meds were done she pouted, it was 6 weeks before she started playing with me again.  Most small dogs seem to bounce back pretty quick- but not my Mag.  It just goes to show that all pups heal and deal with their new normal at their own pace.

I did have a stroller for Mag- but pushing 17 lbs of pug in a stroller is pretty easy.  But they do make big dog strollers….

Also- have you thought about leaving Bailey some type of treat when you leave?  Something he can handle with his one front paw.

 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia




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28 September 2015 - 9:24 pm
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As you can see, you ave joined a wonderful family!! We understand the emotions, the fear, the stress, the second guessing like no others can.

For Bailey to be doing as much as he is doing this EARLY in recovery is HUGE lrogress!! Progress has ro be redefined in so many ways during recovery…especially the first thirty days plus. Bailey is NOT a cripple. He IS adjusting and recovering after major surgery! Two weeks after MAJOR surgery AND learning to adjust ro three weeks is no picnic! Of course Bailey doesn’t feel like pawtying yet!

Bailey isn’t as interested in how far he walks as much as he is just being with you!! As Denise and Jerry have already mention, walking on three legs takes a lot of effort and it can be very exhausting, especially at first. The “length” of a walk means nothing to Bailey. Being outside,soaking up the sunshine, smelling all of scents of nature, being with his favorite human…yeah, that’s all that matters ro Bailey! A half hour walk with rest and just being in the moment with each other…you can be assured that will happen!

Keep your energy upbeat and confident around Bailey! Lots of praise and joy! Bailey does NOT feel sorry for himself. My Happy Hannah needed some pain meds well into the third week of her recovery. For three weeks I questioned what I had done TO my dog!! As her sparkle came back brighter than ever, I knew I had done it FOR my dog!! Oh, and make sure Bailey isn’t still feeling pain.

This recovery part is sooo hard! It’s hard to imagine the “light at the end of the tunnel”. But we are all here to assure you Bailey WILL get his sparkle back. He will thoroughly enjoy soaking up all that wonderful loving and spoiling he will be getting from you. He will thoroughly enjoy all those extra tummy rubs while being on the couch next to you! He will thoroughly enjoying stopping and smelling the roses with you on walks.

Stay connected to us and update when you can. You are not alone! And we would love to see pictures! His avatar is very handsome!

Love and hugs to you and Bailey!

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!

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29 September 2015 - 6:14 am
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Hi guys thank you so so much for all your help and advice – we unfortunately have bad news – looks like Bailey has wobblers – surgeon missed it before his amputation CT scan – but neirologist confirmed – I think this is the end of the road for him and it explains the extra pain and weird back leg gait , his wobbler was almost as symptomatic before but after amputation where he uses his neck more for balance it aggravated the wobbler and now it’s obvious

Idaho
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29 September 2015 - 8:25 am
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Check out the story of mighty Atlas, who was also a Tripawd Dane with Wobblers. He had an amazing number of months following his amp! I’m sure someone will be able to send you to the right place for the story.

Kathi and the .turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork

PS. I found the link to his blog. Hope this works. http://atlasthe…..ipawds.com

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!

Virginia




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29 September 2015 - 8:48 am
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Yes, please check out the link Kathi gave you to the story of Atlas the Great Dane!!!! He was diagnosed BEFORE the surgery and it was suggested he be put down. The owners got a second opinion, did the amputation and Atlas had almost two years of lov i ng and spoiling and great quality!!!!

The acupuncture did wonders for him, along with physical therapy. Please check it out and update us when you can. You could even set up a consult with Atlas’s vet maybe.

Sending kots and lots of love and hugs

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 September 2015 - 9:12 am
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Well you ladies beat me to it, thanks for sharing Atlas’ story. Here’s another link.

And the link I shared with you about Moose, he also had a wobblers-like condition. That’s two Danes who were not ideal candidates but did very well on three.

I’m really sorry to hear about the diagnosis, it sounds like a scary thing but as the others have mentioned I encourage you to get a second opinion. I believe Atlas’ people got three. You can also Private Message them and I know they will be happy to talk to you about their experience, they are very nice people.

Whatever you decide, remember that all that matters right now is making the most of every day together. I really think a stroller would be a great way to spend time together on those long dog walks with your clients.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Maryland
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29 September 2015 - 10:37 am
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Bea and Baily,

I’m so sorry. I don’t know much about Wobblers, but others have posted some good references for situations like yours. I don’t have any good advice except that whatever decision you make will be made with love so it can never be the wrong decision. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie. 

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

Norene, TN
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6 October 2015 - 1:38 pm
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I know I’m late to the discussion, but just wanted to add something to all the great responses.

Guilt is a normal emotion you’re feeling right now and you will get past it. It might rear its ugly head from time-to-time, but you need to realize where the guilt is coming from. The amount of guilt you feel is proportionate to the depth of love you have for your fur-baby. So now that you know where the guilt is coming from, deal with and put it behind you so it doesn’t steal time from you and Bailey.

It doesn’t serve any purpose other than to distract you from all that healing love you have to give.

xoxo

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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