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13 year-old Lucy's front leg amputation recovery is off to a rough start
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Member Since:
4 July 2024
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5 July 2024 - 7:56 am
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Hey all, my name is Taylor and my sweet girl Lucy had a front leg amputation on Monday (July 1) after an ulcerated soft tissue sarcoma left Lucy with no other options. She is a 13 year-old 60lb terrier mix and became mine 2.5 years ago by way of a Senior dog rescue after her elderly owner passed away. Lucy can be a stubborn old gal, so I have been really worried about how she would adapt after her amputation.

The operation went well and she stayed overnight at the hospital one night and came home Tuesday. The tech at the hospital told me that Lucy is able to walk but did not want to walk for them. She has been on gabapentin 300mg every 8-12h (has been closer to every 8), hydromorphone 1mg every 8h, and an antibiotic. She had been eating and sleeping which is great. She eats and urinates while lying down on her dog bed at home. She will eat and drink if the bowl is reachable but will not try to scoot or crawl even a few inches to a nearby bowl. On and off she has been whining or screaming. If I lay next to her on her dog bed she will sometimes stop but I am never more than 5 ft away from her on the couch and there doesn't seem to be something obvious she could be trying to tell me (not related to food/potty and she does it when her pain should be managed,  etc.). I relayed this info to the hospital and they said she had been on 75mg trazodone during her stay so we are in the process of getting her back on that (Walgreens is giving me trouble).

The most concerning part is thar Lucy either can't or won't stand. She has been head-down laying flat on her dog bed with her back legs to either side (not fully laying on one side or the other). When I help her up using the harness, she will sometimes work with me using her remaining front leg, but doesn't seem to want me to help lift the back legs with the back handle. She will growl or snap at me. The times I do lift her up, she won't put weight on her back legs. I'm not sure if something is wrong that she physically can't use her back legs or if she is just not feeling well/is medicated or is distraught. I don't know if I should be more persistent about trying to get her standing or if it is okay to let her be for a little while longer.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 July 2024 - 10:11 am
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Hello Taylor and Lucy. So are you find yourself here but you and the best place for support and information and understanding from those who have been on this journey. Your post has been approved post away.

We know it's hard to be patient this early on, but Lucy has just had major surgery and she is a more "mature" girl.  Add being a "stubborn mature girl" and you have your hands full.

The fact that she is eating and drinking is really good! Partying, even if it's in her bed is still a victory!

The trazodone, as you know, is more of a sedative and anti-anxiety type med. It doesn't do anything for pain.

First of all, not a vet and not giving a Vet advice. Before making any medication changes or additions, speak with your vet.

Couple of thoughts, just wondering  if the  hydromorphone 1mg every 8h is causing her to be sort of out of it. It may be that she needs a bit more of the Gabapentin  every hrs.  Also ask the Vet about adding Amantadine in lieu of the hydromorphone. Is she on an antiinflmmatory  like Rimadyl (Carprofen)?

The fact that she does snap at you when you try to lift her up does make me think she still has unaddressed pain.  

One thing you might try if she will let you is to massage very gently up and down her spine around her neck area Etc Does she so any signs of tension or pain?  

If you pinch her toes does she react and  try to pull her leg back? Just want to make sure there doesn't  seem to be a disc issue or something  Neurological.

Keep your Vet in the loop and try and have a direct conversation  with the Vet.

Stay connected  and let is know an update when uou can.

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 July 2024 - 9:04 am
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Thanks so much for approving the post and for your response and words of encouragement!

Touching her spine she reacts but doesn't seem to have pain. If I touch her back legs/paws she reacts and grumbles but doesn't move her legs. I did get Lucy back into the specialty vet center yesterday and they didn't think she had a disc/back issue. They had multiple techs working with her in the back and said they were able to get her to put weight on her back legs. Hard to operate the help 'em up harness on my own and even the surgery vet intern said he wasn't sure how exactly to adjust those harnesses. I'm glad I went in as now I feel better about trying to get her up knowing there isn't something extra going on with the back legs, but they also told me not to worry too much about her losing muscle mass over the span of a week or two if she continues to progress slowly. Lucy and I got an appointment with a rehab vet for Thursday of this week, which will be 10 days post op. I'm looking forward having direction from them and getting tips on fitting the harness correctly.

We only have 2 more days on the hydromorphone, but will continue the gabapentin, so we will see if progress towards standing improves once off the hydromorphone. She has been quite disgruntled so I think the trazodone may help with that. Even on the trazodone it has been a battle to get her to let me clean her, move her, put her harness on her, etc. I'm going to ask my regular vet about an anti-inflmmatory, thank you for the suggestion.

Thank you again for your support,

Taylor

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 July 2024 - 9:38 am
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Thanks for the update Taylor! Glad you were able to get some reassurance from the vet visit.

Yeah, that help him up harness can be a challenge to put on, especially if it's just yourself and she's not able to stand on her own. Check our Gear Shop for more options. I wonder if the  Rough Wear Webmaster harness might work better.

So glad you have an upcoming Rehabilitation Specialist appointment! They will give you some exercises and tips on how to build Lucy's core muscles etc. The best news is the Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first appointment! Sometimes you only need one appointment because, if given proper instructions, you can do a lot of the therapies at home.

Lucy is very lucky to have you as her caregiver and to be such a powerful advocate for her. I know it's hard to be patient, but she'll make progress in her own way at her own pace.

Oh, and another quick thought. Sometimes there are no signs of arthritis until a surgery like this takes place and it can be more pronounced and visible than before. That's one reason the anti-inflammatory can help if that's the case. Even if not, it's still a good idea.

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

 

Do keep us posted after you stop the hydromorphone. You may see a difference in a positive way

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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10 July 2024 - 11:30 am
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Thanks for the suggestion on the webmaster harness and the context on the anti-inflammatory.

As an update, we finished the hydromorphone on Sunday and she has been able to do some crawling. Lucy was able to get up to a sitting up position on her own yesterday which is great progress! Still not putting weight on the back legs when I lift her up. Asked the surgery department about an anti-inflammatory and they wanted to put her on a paid med called amantadine, which I guess is another nerve paid med like gabapentin. They didn't explain why they were against the anti-inflammatory but Lucy has had elevated liver enzymes in the past, and my vet said sometimes that rules out NSAIDs as an option. Started the amantadine yesterday, so we will see how she does on the amantadine and gabapentin for pain.
 
Our rehab vet appointment is tomorrow and I am hope they will help fit her harness better and provide direction. I moved us over to my dad's house so I would have help in the evenings (fortunate to work remotely). A struggle to get Lucy to let me clean her, adjust her harness, get her up to go potty outside, etc. but hopeful we will make some more progress soon.
 
Virginia







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10 July 2024 - 7:13 pm
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Alrighty, we are going to celebrate Lucy sitting up on her own!!!👏👏 Great news!!!

That, along with some crawling, shows that Lucy is a strong willed and determined  girl!!  Of couse, you already know that

So glad Lucy's Grand Dad is onhand to hep with all her care.  Handing this recovery  is hard enough for one person. Add all her mobility challenges, the challenges with that harness, etc  (definitely two people are needed to put on, ESPECIALLY  if  you have to hold up her rear end and she is not able to stand)....very difficult!!

Yes, we see the combo of Gabapentin  and Amantidine a good one used more and more.  Guessing the Vet suggested the Gaba, then use the Amantidine invetween??

I would double check with the Surgeon about not using an anti inflammatory.  If Lucy is showing liver issues in her pre surgery blood work, you need to know.  That would certainly  be a reason not to use a NSAID.

I know it's hard  to be patient, but seniors do take a bit more tomato get theirs leg

I may have already asked you, but prior to surgery, did Lucy show any signs of arthritis, etc?

I'm soooo glad you have a Rehab appt Thursday.  Hopefully  they can better assess what's going on with her mobility and design a path forward.  Think I  mentioned theTripawds Foundation would pay f0r first visit. 

Update when you can.  We are all cheering for Lucy!

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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21 July 2024 - 2:39 pm
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Sorry for the delay, it has been a difficult but eventful week. Difficult in getting Lucy to let me care for her, but eventful as on Wednesday Lucy decided she was bored of lying down and thought it was time to get up and walk!! She is able to stand and take a few steps on her own before lying back down or falling. She was sort of getting the hang of it that first day and kept going from one bed to the other and looked very happy and proud of herself. In addition she unlocked a new lounging spot, one of her old favorites: the couch. She can make it up on the couch without help about 50% of the time.

 

Lucy didn't show signs of arthritis before the operation but it would make sense if that is a factor now because she received a LibreIa injection a couple days before she started trying to walk. Per our vet's recommendation we weened off of the trazadone and have began to taper the gabapentin as well. As I understand, the amantadine takes a while to build up in the system and is usually given in addition to an NSAID. Not sure the full context on why they chose that med for Lucy's case. Still continue to give that once a day.

 

I removed her back harness because even with it fit as best I could, it seemed to be getting in the way. I did get a webmaster harness which seems to be much better and will allow me to 'spot' her as she's falling forward quite a bit right now.

 

She has still been grumpy so I purchased a muzzle to make things easier when I put on/adjust her harness or give her a bath with a medicated shampoo the vet gave (some redness on the belly and thighs from when she was pottying lying down and not letting us clean her).

 

Thanks again for bringing up the rehab reimbursement, I'll get working on my application. The rehab appointment was very informative, though she was grumpy and at that point had not yet stood up so they didn't think she was ready for regular visits. They were going to work on a cart for her, but I sent videos of her walking and they said the cart wouldn't be needed anymore. I'll keep working with her and maybe we can get to a point where she'd benefit from rehab appointments with them. For now I have mats on the floor for traction , will get her up as often as I can (a few times a day), and will continue to carry her up/down the few stairs we have.

 

Thank you again for your support!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 July 2024 - 5:00 pm
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    Lucy decided she was bored of lying down and thought it was time to get up and walk!! She is able to stand and take a few steps on her own before lying back down or falling. She was sort of getting the hang of it that first day and kept going from one bed to the other and looked very happy and proud of herself. In addition she unlocked a new lounging spot, one of her old favorites: the couch. She can make it up on the couch without help about 50% of the time.

Oh my gosh!  This is spectacular  news!!👏👏

 They were going to work on a cart for her, but I sent videos of her walking and they said the cart wouldn't be needed anymore 

Yet another reason to celebrate!  You ARE seeing improvements!!👏 Lucy is doing things her way and at her own pace.

Glad she's off the Trazedone.  Sounds like the Librela could help with the arthritis.   So glad the new harness os helping YOU help her!  You are doing  so many wonderful things for Lucy to help Lucy continue to get her sparkle back....even if she is a little bit grumpy sometimes!

Give yourself a pat on the back for staying strong amd committed and being such a powerful advocate for your sweet.👍🤗👏 It hasn't  been easy getting to this point,  but it's worth it when you see progress!

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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