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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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 needs amputation - any advice for first 1-2 days/ car ride
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Member Since:
29 November 2023
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30 November 2023 - 4:21 pm
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Hi everyone,

Our 12 year old dog has a large sarcoma in his front right leg, near the top where it joins.  We have been told its a soft tissue sarcoma.  We met with the oncologist last week and he recommended an amputation of the full leg and shoulder.  He believes that they should be able to get all of it and his x-rays are clear so we are hopeful that he will not need any further treatment.  It has been a really difficult two weeks but I found this website earlier this week and it has been so amazing and wonderful to read all these beautiful stories and this has really helped ease my mind.  His surgery is scheduled for Monday and they said that he would be released on Tuesday. I've gone through many of the resources here about providing traction and perhaps something to help hold him up for the first few days when he needs to go out etc.

I am quite anxious about those first 1-2 days and the car ride home - how will he get in/out of the car?. He is an absolute monster (in the best way) and will climb on top of things and barrel into things if we try to create barriers so I am a bit worried about keeping him calm & quiet.

Does anyone have any practical tips or things we should think of or take with us?  Will we be able to carry him if needed?  We also have stairs in the house and I know every dog is different but when is it ok for them to climb up a flight of stairs?  

Thank you so much for any advice.

The Rainbow Bridge



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30 November 2023 - 8:10 pm
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Hello Nikhila, welcome. What's your pup's name? 

We are sorry you had to join our club but you came to the right place for support. As you may have seen already, dogs handle this much better than the humans do! Of course there are things that can help make it easier. Check out our What to Expect articles , which will give you some insight on recovery.

It sounds like he is getting great vet care. Of course you are still anxious, which is totally normal.

What kind of car do you have? If he's a larger dog, having someone who can lift him in will be helpful. Most bigger dogs will try to get in on their own but are often reluctant to get out. Having a platform for him to step onto when he's getting out at home will be helpful, even if it's just an old milk crate. 

Keeping him calm may be easier than you think. He should get some good pain medication (sounds like you are seeing a specialist?), which will help him mellow out. You can also ask them for Trazadone, a sedative, just in case he needs it. 

What kind of stairs do you have in the house? Are they carpeted? How many? If you have more than 3 or 4 I recommend blocking them off until he is recovered. Afterwards, assisting him is smart especially if it's a higher staircase. A Ruffwear Flagline harness is our #1 recommendation for that job!

Stay tuned for feedback from others. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away!

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1 December 2023 - 11:29 am
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Hi there!

Thank you so much for that - I'll go through the What to Expect articles .

His name is Voshkey.  He is about 35# now and he does need help getting into and out of the car - he will ususally put his paws up and wait for a boost.  I am not sure about what pain medication he will receive but I've made notes from this website so I will be full of questions when we go through that with the care team.

It is a full flight of wooden stairs on which we already have a non slip stair tread (we have another senior dog with mild arthritis) but we will plan on blocking it off as you recommend!

Thanks!

Virginia







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1 December 2023 - 11:57 am
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  Voshkey is a lucky boy to have such a caring and informed hooman to advocate for him.

Jerry has given you Great Links and responded to your questions. Hopefully this will give you more reassurance that you will be able to handle this recovery like a champ.... just like your pup!

It was just myself when I went to pick up my 125 lb Happy Hannah. The vet techs took her out to the car and put her in the backseat. Although I had my little 14 lb dog with me, I strongly urge you to have someone else go with you to sit in the back with your pup.👍 She was so high on drugs and so anxious to get out of the car, she basically slid out immediately took a long pee and didn't even give me time to put a towel sling under her to help her into the house.  She was a rear legger too.

 

When you do go to pick him  up from the clinic, be confident, positive and upbeat. Don't even bother to look at his incision, just tell him  what a good boy he is and he's going home! He'll feed off of your energy and he'll know everything is okay

Stay connected and let is know as a y questions  arise.  We are here for you!

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!

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6 December 2023 - 8:54 am
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Hi Everyone,

As an update, the surgery went well and we picked him up in the afternoon yesterday.  Again, I am so happy that I found this site because I felt really prepared and the incision didnt even seem as bad as all that.  So a big thank you to everyone who has posted their stories & pictures about their amazing pups!

He was farily out of it during the day but we had a pretty rough night.  I am going to call the Vet today about his pain medication but he is on Gabapentin, an antibiotic and Carprofen for inflammation I believe.  They also gave us Trazodone for sedation if we need it.  We gave the Gabapentin at the earliest opportunity (8 hours) at 1am and a smaller dose of the Trazodone but then within 2 hours after he was whining and crying a lot (for about 2 hours) so we ended up giving him the full dose. He finally went to sleep about an hour after that. 

He was on nocita during surgery (Monday) so that should not have worn off yet.  I guess I'm just asking for any advice about what I can ask the vet other than just to describe his pain symptoms and see what they say.  

Other than that he is doing great - went out to pee a couple of times; has a very strong appetite and is trying to hop around by himself.  So I'm also wondering if this was partly just him wanting comfort from us.  

Thank you!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 December 2023 - 9:33 am
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WELCOME HOME!!  Already earing and pottying??  EXCELLENT!!

The hospital meds are wearing off and now os when you start tweaking the oral pain meds to suit his needs. Most likely you are seeing pain signs as well as aome whining as he tries to figure things out.So yes, check with your Vet about the dose and frequency  of the Gabapentin.   It may be that the dose amount needs to be increased.   Keep in mind the Trazed has no value as far as stopping the pain.  It's just a strong sedative. 

So very, very early in his recovery  from MAJOR surgery.   Overall though, he is doing well👍

Let us know what dose he's on and what the Vet says.  We know its  ha4d to be patient.   Hoomans would still ve in the hospi6 on a morphine drip😟

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!

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6 December 2023 - 10:03 am
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Yes it is still very early and we keep telling ourselves this but it was heartbreaking to hear him whine and cry and we were not sure what to do. I don't want to overmedicate but if thers something we can do then..

He is 35lbs and hes been prescribed the following meds:

Cefpodocime Proxetil - 150mg once a day

Carprofen 25mg - 1 every 12 hours

Trazodone 50mg - 1 or 1.5 every 8 to 12 hours (right now we are doing every 8)

Gabapentin 100mg - 1 or 2 every 8 to 12 hours (we are giving 2 every 8 hours)

I'm waiting for a call back from the vet or nurse.

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6 December 2023 - 12:19 pm
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He sounds like he's doing so well, hopping around right away! Just a thought, Nicholas was on Gabapentin, Carprofen, and Amantadine, which is supposed to  help with bone pain, so you might ask your vet what he/she thinks about it. The dosages were fairly high, several times a day. (the amount doesn't apply, Nick's a giant dog). This recovery period is not going to last long so you might as well treat the pain agressively so his old spirits and his willingness to try out his new body stay strong. We withdrew the pain meds gradually, but I'm not sure that was necessary as dogs don't seem to get "addicted" in the way that humans do. While it's so difficult to see them suffer, you can control the pain and he'll have great mobility soon. Just hang on and stay in touch!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 December 2023 - 12:32 pm
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Glad he's home and mostly doing well! Pain medication seems to always need an adjustment or two over the course of recovery. With his current dosage of Gabapentin I agree with @suzanne5215 that inquiring about Amantadine would be useful and potentially offer him more pain control. Nocita is a 72-hour med so it's likely wearing off now.

Otherwise he really sounds like he's rockin' recovery! 

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 December 2023 - 3:44 pm
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Good reminder from Suzzane

  This recovery period is not going to last long so you might as well treat the pain agressively so his old spirits and his willingness to try out his new body stay strong

 

Your Vet may advise that you have a little wiggle room to up the Gabapentin.   As Suzanne  mentioned, talk to your Vet also about adding the Amandatine.  You can use that in the interim  between Gaba doses, especially if you are staying st the 200 mg  every eight hours.

Keeping in mind the sedation  is doing nothing. To  control his  pain.  It.  might even be making him. Ore confused and whiny as he shakes off the Traz.

Of course, we are not Bets and not giving Vet advice.

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!

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7 December 2023 - 8:24 am
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Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for your thoughts.  The vet asked me to hold steady for 2 days and give him the gaba a bit early and if he is still acting like this then she said she to call back and we could discuss adding something to the mix.  He slept all day yesterday and last night there was no whining but he was a bit restless and kept moving around.  We are paring back the sedation a bit and so far he is doing well.  He is much more alert and wants to go back to his old routine and follow us all around the house. So fingers crossed!

Thank you!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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7 December 2023 - 9:44 am
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So glad you are seeing him more  alert now and more engaged.

FWIW and just my thoughts........I think when a dog can't  quite get settled st night it's because they are used to "circling " one way, used to laying more on one side than the other, etc.  The incision  and amp may interfere with their "sleeping position" at first so they have to do their routine  a little differently.   Of course, assuming  the pain is managed and he can rest comfortably  once he does settle.

Thanks for the update and it's a good one!👍

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!

Member Since:
29 November 2023
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11 December 2023 - 5:17 pm
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Hi everyone,

Voshkey has been doing ok so far.  He has a really restless couple of nights and suddenly at 2 today he had a seizure.  It lasted less than a minute and theyrr running tests  now.   They think it was a stroke.  We are completely numb and unsure what to do or what that means.  Does anybody have any experience or advice with something like this?

he is walking but it sounds like he may have lost some vision in one of his eyes.

Thanks,

nikhila

Virginia







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22 February 2013
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11 December 2023 - 5:39 pm
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Geez, what a bummer.  Inknow that was shocking and comp unexpected.   Good for you  for acting quic.He is in good hands and getting the proper testing  to figure things out.

The seizure could be a one and done, or maybe he'll need some consistent  dose  dose of  phenobarbital to help get things stable.

Have no clue what the cause coud be.  The Vets are going to get to the vottom of this  and figure   out what kind of treatment he may need, if any,  Periodic  seizures  are not too uncommon  sometimes in "mature" dogs.  

Sorry you are dealing with this.   He has been making  such good progress.  He's a fighter.  The fact that he is walking is good.    As far as you know, has he had any more seizures?

Thanks for updat.  Try not to jump ahead and let's just see what the tests show and what treatment plan they suggest.

We are here for you and cheering for  Voshkey and surrounding him with pawsitive healing  energy. 

(((((((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!

Member Since:
29 November 2023
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11 December 2023 - 7:17 pm
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Ok so we are back home.  No more seizures and she was mistaken about the eye - she was able to get a response.  

The only 2 findings were an elevated bp and moderate dehydration, which is very surprising because he has been drinking a lot of water.  So they asked us to stop Carprofen and gave him a low dose of a bp medication and they want him to see his regular vet in a week to measure his bp again.  They did not recommend doing an MRI right now as they didnt want to have him undergo anesthesia again for now.

He is sleeping right now but his breathing is so heavy. he really worked himself up after we got back.  I have no idea how we are going to keep him calm 🙁

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