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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Skye: 5 Month upate
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Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
25 April 2012
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22 September 2012 - 9:17 pm
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Hello everyone, I have been away from the Tripawd community for a couple of months. I wanted to update you guys on how Skye is doing but I also want to apoogize for the long update I think there is some healing therapy in getting this all out with others who have or might be going through similar situations. Skye, my 13 year old siberian husky had a rear right amputation on April 24, 2012. I wish I had wonderful news but i guess everything is relative. Saying it’s been a few rough months is honestly putting it mildly, it’s been an emotional rollercoster. Throughout these past few months and struggles, Skye’s attitude has been good. She still looks happier than what she was looking when she had the tumor and her big love of food has not diminished at all!

After returning home from her surgery and post two week rehab, we started doing in home physical therapy and massage. We got some equipment from fit paws. We had a fitness routine going but saw little improvements, but we did celebrate the little improvements we did see. We were really hoping she would be able to gain enough strenth to go potty by herself but as of yet, Skye has only been able to take a few steps on her own, so needs assistance to go to the water bowl, get to her meals and to go potty. Basically, she needs assistance for everything. We did get the help-em-up and the webmaster harness for assistance. In June, I found a local canine acupuncturist, it was a God sent since there is nothing availabe as far as physical therapy here in west Texas.. We have continued to work every week in relaxing her back, relaxing her fore limbs which she had been compensating by pulling herself. She is not really using her remaining back leg to push up.

On June 24th our family dynamic changed. My husband brought in a 3 month old puppy who really needed a home. This new pup brought our house hold pups to five. I really wasn’t ready for another addition. There was much resentment and not total acceptance because I felt I was robbing Skye of time and attention she really needed (things have gotten much better and ofcourse the little one is loved just like all our other babies). It was rough, our little routine was totally turned up side down. I want to believe what someone told me, God sends you what you need, not exactly what you want. There has been days that I don’t think I am doing enough for her. When The days Skye had a bad day were especially hard but during all this time. There were days that she was not wanting to go outside or walk at all. Sometimes, when I would be taking her out or moving her, I felt like I was carrying all her weight. There were days that I thought the time had come but everytime that could happen, Skye would take a few steps and have a good day. Like I said, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

We (the five pups and I) travelled back to Houston in early August and took advantage of having a vet specializing in pain management and physical therapist available. The vet found that although there was less pain in her lumbar sacrial area, she did have more arthritis in her forelimbs from her pulling her self up. For five weeks she had physical therapy and I could see that she had a little more strenght, she even seemed happier. Towards the end of our time there, the vet recommended that Skye use a cart to help her get around , reduce the time she is laying down and give her a better quality of life overall. I agreed, what did we have to lose. We went with the vet’s recommendation with a walk-n-wheels cart. We have had the cart for three weeks. She was able to spend the first two weeks working witht he cart at the clinic. this is the first week we have been home so I have worked with her and her cart. It has been a bit of a challenge putting her in and taking her out of the cart. She really does not like it but does enjoy going out for small walks. Once I had a little breathing time, I researched canine wheelchairs and carts and was disappointed in my choice. I really feel horrible for just taking the vet’s recommendation. My heart sank when I found out more information about my purchase but what is done is done, a learning lesson. Yesterday I spoke to the people at Eddie’s wheels, I am placing an order on Monday. At this point, I just don’t know what to do. I don’t feel like Skye will be joining all the wonderful Tripawds walking happily but I think she still has spunkiness and has had more good days than bad that we will be able to find our own kind sucsess. Are there others like us? I rejoice reading about all those wonderful babies who do so wonderful after amputation but are there others out there have had to deal with similar situations?

Thank you for allowing me to vent and bring you up to date with Skye’s progress, and yes, there has been progress. Again, to those who may be reading this and struggling with the decision to amputate or not, I hope this does not discourage you. I feel 100% sure we made the right decsion to amputate and I am stead fast in believing that even through the struggles, Skye is just not ready to leave us yet. Having said that, I feel i need to do what I can to make her as physically comfortable as possible and keep her an active participant member of the family. I will continue with acupuncture, in home physical therapy / massage and working with the cart / wheelchair . If anyone has any tips or anytthing that would be helpful, please let me know. Sometimes I feel I can’t see the forest through the trees sort of sate of mind.

I was going to attach a picture….I just don’t know how :(

22 September 2012 - 11:15 pm
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Oh my, I’m sorry Skye is having such a hard time. There have been a couple cases here that sound a little like yours. The one I think of first is Daisy, a rear amp Dal that never got walking very well, and used a cart. You might have seen her picture in the rotating header with Samson and Lady. If Julie doesn’t see this post you might try sending a PM (private message) to samson007.
You can read about how to post pictures here:http://tripawds…..your-post/

I hope you continue to see progress with Skye.

Karen and the pugapalooza

Sydney, Australia
Forum Posts: 628
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23 September 2012 - 4:38 am
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I’m so sorry to hear that Skye is struggling with 3 legs.  But it sounds like you are doing a lot of great things for her with the cart, massage and acupuncture.

We didn’t have the same sort of problem but in Magnum’s last couple of months her mobility was increasingly reduced due to bone mets.  In that last month she didn’t walk far each day BUT she got so much pleasure out of sitting at the front window watching people walk past and getting in the car and then doing a really short walk to then just sit in the park and watch everyone (being a rottie guarding came naturally to her).   We also used to throw the ball to her as she sat and she would throw it back a little game she had learned and loved since she had always loved chasing the ball.  We just modified it!  She adapted to her physical constraints and continued to get a a huge amount of enjoyment out of life.  If the pain and risk of fracture had not continued to increase to unaccepable levels I could easily have seen her living very happily like that for many more months and even years. 

I guess what I”m saying is that if you can keep the pain under control and Skye can continue to find enjoyment in what she can do then you are well on the track to enjoying more wonderful quality time together. 

Good luck.  The cart sounds particularly good. I wish I had had one for Magnum.



Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ......

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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23 September 2012 - 6:24 am
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I applaud your persistence.  It is so hard when they don’t get around well. In Trouble’s final days she had arthritis that took her mobility.

I’m sorry you regret taking the vet’s advise on the cart.  I think it is natural that we trust the professionals to have the right answers for us. I’ve read about Eddie’s Wheels, and will be interested in hearing your experience.

I hope the wheelchair offers you great days ahead.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

The Rainbow Bridge

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23 September 2012 - 8:44 am
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Jean and Skye, I”m glad you shared your update. I hope you don’t mind that I moved your post here but since you are coping with a senior dog’s amputation recovery I thought it would be better in this Forum so others with older pups can read easily find and read about it.

Please know you are going above and beyond what most people will do for their pups, and Skye knows how hard you are trying to give her a good quality of life. If you are ever questioning her quality of life, this blog post can help you give it a good analysis.

Why isn’t the wheel cart working out for you and Skye? Did you talk to your vet about it? Your vet sounds like a great doc, I would give them a jingle. Eddie’s makes great carts, especially because they are custom made to your dog’s measurements, but before you invest in another one, making your current one a better fit could be as easy as a few simple adjustments. 

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