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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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Senior dog. How soon until he can move around on his own?
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Forum Posts: 5
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16 September 2015 - 4:31 am
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Hi All,

I am new here. Our sweet 13 year old boy, 81 lb, mixed breed, Buddy, had amputation Monday afternoon. He had a rapidly growing tumor in front leg that had started to bleed. We made the choice to amputate rather than to end his life as we felt that he was not ready to go and we weren’t ready to let him go just yet. We brought him home last night(Tuesday). He is resting comfortably. We are having a hard time trying to figure out how to get him outside to pee. We carry his bed out and then place two towels under him as a sling to help him pee on the grass. Should we be lifting up his front end? His back legs are still very weak. I keep reading how so many dogs are up and moving around already. So we are a little concerned and overwhelmed. Its only 6am on Wed. We are hoping for a better afternoon. I imagine its just taking some time for his heavy drugs to wear off. We would love to hear experiences with older dogs and advice please.

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 September 2015 - 9:30 am
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Hello and welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away anytime OK? I’m sorry to hear about Buddy’s tumor. What kind of cancer was it?

First, breathe. It’s natural to be concerned, it’s hard seeing our pup’s so dopey and with that big incision. And when the pain meds make them dopey and seeing pink elephants, it’s even more difficult. But yes, you are right, he’s doped up and goofy from this major procedure. The best thing you can do right now is let him sleep and rest.

As you mention, it hasn’t even been 48 hours and with human amputee patients, they for sure wouldn’t be getting around very well right now and neither do most senior dogs. The thing to remember is that although you’ve read examples of dogs who hop out of the hospital and bounce off the walls right away, those dogs are usually younger. Buddy isn’t the only senior member here, we have lots, but the majority are within the 8-10 year old range. So, as with any dog or human that’s an elder, it’s important to give him some leeway and not compare his recovery to others. Senor dogs, in general, do need more time to get around but they do get there!

I posted this forum topic about senior dog recovery a while back, but there’s lots more good examples within this forum so you are definitely in the right place. Poke around and you can see how other older pups have done. Your feelings are totally normal, just remember though that Buddy will follow your example. So the more upbeat, optimistic and hopeful you can be, the more he will reflect that back.

If you need anything at all, the Tripawds Helpline is here for you too. 844-TRIPAWD. I”m on duty today so do feel free to call. I hop in and out of the chat room as well, so stop by.

Oh, regarding the towels. Try the grocery bag sling, it’s much easier.

Image Enlarger

Guide him gently but don’t force him. If he has to pee, he will. If he hasnt’ within 12 hours of his last urination, call your vet to let them know, you may need to express it. Don’t worry about poop, pain meds make dogs constipated. He’ll get there eventually.

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




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16 September 2015 - 10:11 am
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And DITTO everything Jerry said!!

You are not alone, okay? We get the intensity of this journey like no others can. And we understand completely your commitment to giving Buddy extended quality time for more loving and spoiling! Clearly Buddy wants ro hang around for all that, plus all the extra goodies he’ll be getting!!

Aside from the fact that he just had MAJOR surgery and still nas hospital pain meds in him, Buddy is a big boy AND a senior! And, on top of that, front leggers so etimes do have a harder time adjusting. As Jerry said, try not to compare!!! Every dog is differe t and every recovery is different. Buddy will get the hang of it at his own pace.

This first part of the recovery is so hard to “watch”. I found this site six days after my Happy Hannah’s amputation (125 Bull Mastiff, somewhat of a seniore for her breed). I was hysterical because I thought I had made a horrible decision! She was absolutely miserable and certainly not “bouncq back” at all!! All I could tink was, “What have I done TO my dog?” I held into this community and their experiences, knowledge and support pulled me through! It took about three weeks, but I was fi ally able to say, “Look what Ive done FOR my dog!”

It may take several more days, but Buddy WILL start standing, he will start walking. Right now he is doing exactly what he needs ro do…rest. he’s just so woozy right now and pretty disoriented. Try some ge tle, very gentle, stretching and massaging of his legs, up and down his spine and neck, to get the circulation going before trying to get him to stand

Once he’s able to stand on his own and he’s not as druggy, you can try loosening the sling a little. My Happy Hannah did not like her “sling” at all and would just freeze. Some dogs have no problems with eat.

Oaky, we are right here by your side. As Jerry said B R E A T H E…….B R E A T H E…….and it never hurts to keep a bag of CHOCOLATE handy either!

Stay connected! We’ll be waiting ro hear from you!

Love a d 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!

Maryland
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16 September 2015 - 10:34 am
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We had a girl and a rear leg amp, so I’ll let others comment on the best way to help Buddy w/ the sling etc. But just to echo what others have said, don’t be discouraged at this point about how Buddy is doing. We also felt overwhelmed! While it is good to get them out of the hospital and home where there is quiet (and lots of lovin’), it is like getting thrown in the deep end for the poor pawrents. At least we felt that way. And we also worried about Ellie not doing as well as ‘other dogs’. We were convinced for a while that something else was wrong because she tired so easily and seemed so weak in her other back leg. But really it just took a bit of time to let her muscles adjust and have her learn how to move. The first couple of weeks were definitely a challenge but you’ll get through it!

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

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16 September 2015 - 12:29 pm
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Thank you all so much for your supportive kinds words! I really needed to hear all this. You all are so helpful. I haven’t slept in 3 days. I am sitting here sobbing. This was such an excruciating, painful decision to make given his age. We felt like he has so much more life in him as did his vet. I believe it was  a mast cell stage 2.  We had it removed in January with the knowledge that it would come back. We were lucky that we got him this far. The vet could go in and debulk the best she can but it was going to come back twice as aggressive. So we made the choice to stop messing around and save his life and amputate. Lungs are clear as were hips and back. They told us when we picked him last night that he was 81 lbs and is now 71 lbs. He’s a medium size dog. 

I am going to try the grocery bag sling this afternoon. I hate the towels!

I got him to drink a big bowl full of watered down chicken broth and a few pieces of lunch meat turkey but no luck with his dog food yet. 

Again, thank you all for your help. Will let all know his progress. 

Virginia




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16 September 2015 - 1:01 pm
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Glad you can now feel a bit more supported and comforted knowing Buddy’s recovery is “normal” (if you can call anything about this hourney “normal”).

You have done, and are doing, everything possible for Buddy’s well being. When our dogs still shows theyre not ready to give up on living and they are still enjoying life, we almost have no other choice but to go forward with amputation. We just cannot deprive.them of that chance. Even if things don’t work out as perfectly as we would like, we have to TRY!

As absolutely agonizing as it is to make this decision, for me anyway, to not have tried while my Happy Hannah was still so full of life, would have been more agonizing.

Let the tripawds community be your lifeline, as it was for me and everyone on this journey. Hold on, we aren’t letting go! Again, we understand like no one else possibly can!

TRY and get some rest. You are exhausted physically and emotionally. Buddy is going to get through this. So you need ro be in tip top shape as his sparkle starts to come back!

Sounds like you’re getting some liquid and a bit of food in his system…good job!! Maybe some boiled chicken, hamburger, any yummy stuff he doesn’t get on a regular basis.

Oh, as far as the weight, not to be gruesome, but you’d be surprised how much a dog’s leg weighs! Add to that the fact that vet scales fluctuate a lot with every single movement!!

Alrighty, you’re doing great missy! You are!!!

Lpts of 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!

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17 September 2015 - 6:32 pm
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Thank you all again so much. I showed my husband your replys. He was so deeply touched that it brought tears to his eyes. Buddy had a pretty good day today. A little stronger and hopped a bit by himself to his bed! Even ate a little more today! We carried him to the back deck so he could enjoy the outdoors which really lifted up his spirits. Little tiny babysteps! 

 

Tracie, Steve, Matthew, Lindsey, Alex and the Amazing Buddy

Virginia




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17 September 2015 - 9:02 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR BUDDY!! On this journey, “little baby steps” are HUGE!!! clap

Buddy is a very loved pup, that’s for sure. I know he enjoyed being outside today catching some of the scents of nature.

And eating a little better too? HUGE!!clap

Thanks for taking the time to update…looking forward to more when you can!

Hugs to ALL!

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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18 September 2015 - 8:52 am
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That is fantastic, so hoppy Buddy got to have a good day! May there be many, many more.

By the way, you have a pretty great vet. There are many out there who would automatically dismiss a dog as an amputation candidate because of age. We see it all the time and it’s just ridiculous IMO. The fact that your vet sees what you see in Buddy, lots of spunk and fight left in him, is really, really great. Sounds like you’re in the best hands.

Keep us posted OK?

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