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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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Night before the amputation!
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Member Since:
5 September 2014
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8 September 2014 - 2:32 pm
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Dear friends, 

Any tips for surviving the night before a foreleg amputation? Our 8.5 year old, 70-lb chow/shepherd mix was diagnosed last week with a myxofibroid sarcoma. We scheduled his amputation for tomorrow morning at 9 am. I feel comfortable with the facility and veterinary staff. They are compassionate to both me and our first baby, Hero. I do have a few questions if you have time to answer them. 

1. We have another dog that Hero has been with since they were 4 month old puppies (they’re both 8.5 now), his sister, a collie, Vanna. Did anyone who has two or more dogs have any difficulty getting along/reintegrated post-amputation? 

2. Unfortunately, Vanna has an upper respiratory infection that she’s on medication for. We are going to see the vet tomorrow afternoon – any idea if Hero will be more susceptible to illness following amputation? (And he is scheduled to start Chemo 2 weeks after the stitches are removed from his amputation).

3. What things were most helpful to both you and your dog for the first few weeks post amputation? 

4. We bought Ruffwear’s boots for Hero as we have hardwood floors – hoping that this will work for him and that he won’t hate them too much…any tips and tricks for your dog keeping the boots on? 

That’s all I can think of for now. Any tips/tricks for the human surviving the night before and day of amputation (the waiting) please let me know! 

Thanks so much for your input and experience and time and patience! 

Sincerely, 

Erin and Hero



Member Since:
27 July 2014
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8 September 2014 - 2:53 pm
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Hi Erin and Hero,

My kitty Mona had her leg amputated in June. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of responses to your questions specific to a dog amputee but I’ll address one:

3. Get the information in advance about the pain medication so you can learn more about it before Hero comes home. I was so stressed with Mona’s craziness from the pain that I couldn’t even figure out how to open the bottle for her pain meds.

Also, ask other for help for you, such as nutritious meals. I did not sleep well for a couple of days and did not eat properly. When Mona escaped the house a couple days after surgery some friends came to my rescue. I realized then that I needed help as much as Mona did.

It can be a stressful time and it’s great that you’re getting prepared.

Hope all goes well,

Kerren and Mona

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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8 September 2014 - 9:09 pm
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Hi Erin, sorry I just saw this now. We will be thinking of you tomorrow so keep us posted. Meanwhile I’ll try to answer your questions but first, do check out Jerry’s Required Reading List if you haven’t already, we’ve addressed a lot of pre-op concerns there.

1. We have another dog that Hero has been with since they were 4 month old puppies (they’re both 8.5 now), his sister, a collie, Vanna. Did anyone who has two or more dogs have any difficulty getting along/reintegrated post-amputation? 

Lots of people here have multiple dogs. Unfortunately we do not so I can’t answer that but if you search for “siblings” here in the Forums you’ll find lots of results. What I’ve seen through the years is that most times the other dogs in the pack will be kind and give their recovering patient lots of space and room to recuperate. Separating them can be a good thing though, especially if you have young pack members.

2. Unfortunately, Vanna has an upper respiratory infection that she’s on medication for. We are going to see the vet tomorrow afternoon – any idea if Hero will be more susceptible to illness following amputation? (And he is scheduled to start Chemo 2 weeks after the stitches are removed from his amputation).

I’m not a vet but it seems to me like if a body is already fighting an infection that anything else major that occurs to the body could put it at risk. However, don’t listen to me, you definitely want to point out your concern to the vet. All patients get post-op antibiotics so your vet will certainly address that issue. As for the chemo, if he does well after recovery and there are no infections I don’t see why that’s an issue. Some Tripawds start chemo as soon as a few days after so that should give him plenty of time to recover.

3. What things were most helpful to both you and your dog for the first few weeks post amputation? \

Wine and chocolate! ;)

See Jerry’s Required Reading List for our ideas.

4. We bought Ruffwear’s boots for Hero as we have hardwood floors – hoping that this will work for him and that he won’t hate them too much…any tips and tricks for your dog keeping the boots on? 

http://gear.tri…..ing-boots/

Hope this helps. Good luck tomorrow!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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8 September 2014 - 9:24 pm
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Starting with the most I m portant…and it’s already been addressed…..CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE AND MORE CHOCOLATE! If you drink, drink more. If you don’t drink…start now!!! Personally, I prefer tons of chocolate, ice cream and cupkaes…al l day long!

Do try and get a lot of non-slip runner rugs, scatter rugs. He may have trouble to adjusting to three legs AND the booties all at once!

I didr joinnthis site until day six of recovery….THE bes advice I can offer is stay connected tonthis site!!!! For myHap o y Hannah it was a slow and tough recovery period…lots of whing, crying, pacing for days…this site pulled me through with loving support and tons of first hand experience knowledge!

Give the pain pills consistently. This is major surgery and it hurts! Owwweee!

Let usnknow when Hero has his first poop! We celebrate everything around here!

Try and get some sleep while he’s at the vets recovering…you may not get much at first!!

HUGS TO YOU AND YOUR PACK!!!!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

PS…Glad you started a thread for Hero

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:
18 September 2013
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9 September 2014 - 3:50 am
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Good morning

I will be keeping you in my thoughts today as you and Hero begin this journey together!

Hope you got some sleep last night….we two-legged types worry so much….I bet Hero slept just fine :)

Along with the other suggestions, I would recommend raised feeding bowls.  Tucker, my ten year old Lab, also is a front leg amputee and these bowls make eating so much easier!

We never tried the boots….my house was transformed with scatter rugs for Tuck….and they remain there to this day…he actually looks for them…and will wait until one of his feline sisters moves before he continues on his travels if they choose to “block” his way.

Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

Linda and Tucker

Martinsburg, WV
Member Since:
3 June 2014
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9 September 2014 - 8:29 am
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Hi Erin and Hero,

Well I just want to say that I hope things are going well and I’ll be keeping Hero in my thoughts while his surgery is going on.

Like others have mentioned putting down rugs/runners with the rubber backing was helpful for my Leland (hind leg amp).  I didn’t try the booties so I can’t really speak to that.

Also, since Hero is a front leg amp you may want to check into the harnesses offered through this site.  A harness will be able to assist you in helping Hero to get around when he first comes home to go potty or navigate stairs (if you have them in your home).

Like others have mentioned stay on top of managing Hero’s pain.  There are lots of different pain medications used so if Hero appears to be uncomfortable don’t hesitate to contact the vet/office.  Our surgeon wanted to prescribe Leland Tramadol but Leland didn’t do well on Tramadol when he took it before.  So Leland was on Gabapentin and did fine on that.  Others have had Fentanyl patches, Rimadyl, and Previcox to name just a few.  Not every dog is the same and they can respond differently to different meds.

Stay connected to this community…there’s a lot of wonderful people here who are happy to lend advice and support.  The first couple of weeks will be tiring but hang in there…Hero will get things figured out and you and your family will figure out how best to help Hero.

Keeping you and Hero in my thoughts.

Sahana and her Angel Leland

smiley

Leland

November 17, 2009 - June 30, 2014

May you finally be healthy and running free at the Rainbow Bridge. Until we meet again my sweet boy!

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
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9 September 2014 - 9:07 am
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Well, by now you have survived the night before…

Be sure you have something to keep you busy today- surgery day for me was very looooong waiting to hear how things went.

My little pug Maggie was a rear amp who would not wear anything on her feet.  I had to put rug trails on the laminate floor so she could get around.  About 2 months after her amp I had the laminate replaced with tile (planned before the surgery) and she was able to navigate on that without rugs. I later installed a trex deck in the back yard which was a little slick, but not bad.  Mag could walk on the deck OK, but would only go up and down the stairs when her traction rugs were in place.

Mag was 7.5 years old at the time of surgery and her little sis Tani, also a pug, was about 6 years old.  They had been together for 5 years and were pretty inseparable. Mag was always the alpha although Tani challenged her periodically. My dad kept Tani for me for a couple days after Maggie’s surgery so she could recover and I only had one dog to deal with. But Tani was really mopy without her big sister so we decided to bring them together.  I should have been more careful but we just let Tani approach Mag thinking they would wag tails and then Tani would look for a snack like always. But Tani must have sensed a weakness because she attacked Maggie in her bed. Before I could intervene Mag put Tani on her back and asserted herself as still the alpha!  Not a great idea a few days after surgery but she came out unscathed.  Mag lived for almost 4 years after that and Tani never again challenged her. The were back to sleeping in a pile and being best buddies.

I hope everything goes well today, I’ll be looking for an update.

 

Karen and Spirit Mag (and Tani who is now 14 and the alpha!)

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

Member Since:
22 August 2014
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9 September 2014 - 9:29 am
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What things were most helpful to both you and your dog for the first few weeks post amputation? 

Haha I agree with everyone on the wine! And definitely stay busy, I kept telling myself over and over that amputation is very common, and that everything will be fine. I also looked at pictures and videos of tripawds so that I could prepare myself for what I would see, but also to get myself confident that he would be able to get around and would be as happy as ever.

Do not be discouraged if Hero cannot walk out of the hospital on his own. They say it’s about 50-50. Theodore really couldn’t do much on his own until 5 days post-amp after we took the fentanyl patch off. After that, he was alert and back to his old self!

Hope to hear an update on Hero soon!

Member Since:
28 August 2014
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9 September 2014 - 9:53 am
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Praying for you all today!! 

We ordered toe grips for Ruby. They come tomorrow, so I will let you know how they work out. They are for each nail to grip. She hates her feet being touched so I didn’t think she would like booties. Rugs were a huge help the first few days while it was hard to get around. 

snagglemom said
Do not be discouraged if Hero cannot walk out of the hospital on his own. They say it’s about 50-50. Theodore really couldn’t do much on his own until 5 days post-amp after we took the fentanyl patch off. After that, he was alert and back to his old self!

I 100% agree. I was expecting her to come home hopping around and that was not the case. We had to help her a lot, but once she got it, there was no stopping her. The fentanyl patch was hard on Ruby. It was making her WAY to drugged up. She had a constant cry for about 24 hours and could get comfortable. She would get up and move around and cry the entire time, and then lay down and cry more. With the direction from her Dr. we took the patch of 3 days before it was originally supposed to come off. Within about 2 hours of removing the patch she stopped crying, within 12 hours of removing the patch she went outside on her own without support! 

Be aware that pain symptoms and too much pain medicine can look the exact same. She was on soo much medication we knew there was no way she could be in pain, so we eased off and it helped. Apparently they are delirious and can see things when on high dosages of meds. 

Don’t hesitate to call the vet and lean heavily into this site!!! 

Thinking of your and visualizing Hero well! 

Cheers, 

Laina and Ruby 

Member Since:
5 September 2014
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9 September 2014 - 4:10 pm
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Dear friends,
Thanks so much for your replies! We got a phone call from the vet who told us that there were absolutely no complications, and that things went very well. They took his leg and his shoulder on the left front side. The vet said that Hero was being “observant” and taking his surroundings in. He didn’t try to stand up yet, but it was only a little while after he finished and sewed his leg area back up. Probably like your pets, he will remain in the hospital and stay on pain meds and iv fluids and antibiotics until tomorrow. Then I am to call at 9 am (I’ll call later to check in on him) to see whether they will safely discharge him tomorrow or Thursday! HOORAY!
Such amazing news. I can’t wait to hug and kiss our first baby.
Sincerely,
Erin and Hero

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 September 2014 - 4:22 pm
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Yaaaay! Here’s to a great surgery! So happy everything went well. Don’t forget to breathe.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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