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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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1st night after amputation, had heavy bleeding
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Auburn, CA
Forum Posts: 248
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28 October 2009
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28 October 2009 - 2:46 am
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Raven, my almost 9 year old Rottie, had his front leg amputated (including scapula) this afternoon for a bone lesion that looked classic osteosarcoma (biopsy results in a week). He's extremely agile, excellent hips, xrays showed no arthritis, good candidate. I felt okay with the whole thing until tonight. 🙁

When my Mom and I were struggling with him (112#) to get him from the car to the house, we were trying to pick him up, etc, and must have ruptured all the work, because he started bleeding profusely from the large incision, blood pouring out of the entire length! I put pressure on it with a towel, which became soaked, my pants were soaked, Mom called my vet who arrived within 15 minutes. I was in hysterics with fear he was dying in my arms. It was horrible.

The vet brought towels and bandaging and put pressure bandages and wrapped it tight around his chest and neck. Then carried him to my living room. He doesn't think it was the femural artery or anything, he stitched all those with one or two stitches really well. He thinks it was just all the many cappilaries bleeding out when we pressed on him in a bad way. 🙁 He was so sorry I went through that, he's a good friend of mine. He's coming by tomorrow to remove it and put new padding and rebandage and then said we'll remove that after 3 more days.

So, Raven is laying very uncomfortably, whining and struggling now and then. I have him on an IV with saline since he hasn't and shows no interest in eating or drinking. He had morphine before surgery, then at 6pm after, and I just gave him a dose at midnight. I hope every 6 hours is okay, he said the shot could last anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the dog. I want him to be still to not start bleeding again or pull out the IV catheter.

I am physically and mentally exausted. I have worked with my vet enough that I'm capable to handle this at-home care. I just need to vent. Has anyone had this bleeding come up? I fear that a lot of his pain is from the tight vetwrap in his armpit and neck. I've padded it with towels so it isn't cutting in, but it has to stay tight to do its purpose.

Going to sleep on the floor next to him hopefully for a few hours...

Glad to have found this website. 🙂

Dawn and Raven

 Rottie Raven, osteosarcoma at 8-1/2 years old, amputation in October '09 and in February '10 due to liver mets he went back to heaven where he came from.  raven.tripawds.com

Now I have Miles, rottie mix amputee from a shelter and traveled 1500 miles to find his way here through the Rescue Railroad thanks to tripawds.com.  miles.tripawds.com

Michigan
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28 October 2009 - 4:13 am
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Dawn, I'm glad you found this site too. Laugh

I am sorry to hear that Raven had a rough first night home. It's nice that your vet makes house calls, and will be monitoring Raven's bleeding. My dog Rocky had a constant dripping of pink tinged fluid. So much so that he had to keep his stiches in for 3 weeks instead of 2, but no bleeding.

Wow, Raven came home really soon after surgery, didn't he? And he's still on an IV? That's a lot for you to deal with. You mentioned that you work with your vet, are you a tech? 

It will be a tough couple of weeks for both you and Raven, but just let him rest, give him lots of love and I'm sure he'll do just fine.

Take care of yourself tooSmile

Michelle

Wesley Chapel, FL
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28 October 2009 - 6:02 am
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Hi Dawn,

I'm sorry that Raven had such a bad experience post op. I also worked as a vet tech for many years, and so my vet (who is also a friend) let me take Jake home just several hours after his surgery. He wrapped a pressure bandage around his incision and chest to help prevent something just like this. Luckily for me, my husband was able to carry Jake in from the car. He's not as heavy as your baby (only 80#s) but lifting all that dead weight sure is hard. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you and your mom to lift Raven. Hopefully, everything has clotted by now, and your vet will stop by to check on things.

Jake had to have his bandage changed and his incision examined every 3 days for the first week or so... The pressure bandage also helped to prevent any fluid accumulation in the area... and also had enough padding to absorb any drainage.

Just know, that the first week is going to be the most difficult for Raven (and you!), but after that, things should start to get better. Do you have a sling to help him get around the first week, while he gets used to balancing on his remaining legs? If you don't have one, then you should probably use a large towel or sheet to help support him when he finally does try to get up and go out to do his business.  I had purchased an inexpensive one for him at Foster & Smith http://www.drsf.....2 and that was a tremendous help! Once his incision healed and his staples came out (2 weeks post-op), we were able to put on a harness to help him... He wears that during the day now...

I hope that everything starts to go smoothly for Raven, and that you don't have any more scary issues with him. Keep us posted on his progress!

Sending you a big hug!!!

Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Auburn, CA
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28 October 2009 - 6:20 am
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Thank you both for the encouraging words! I actually dozed for about 2-3 hours next to him just now. He's not vocalizing as much and that was such a huge relief. Just a mild whimper and his breathing is much slower and more normal. I think he was actually reacting to the morphine, rather than pain, in his restlessness from 1am-3am... We'll see if I can get some Tramadol in him in a bit in the place of another morphine shot when it wears off.

How do I post a picture?

Any more comments from those that used pressure bandages and/or had bleeding/edemas, would be very reassuring.

Thank you so much,
Dawn and Raven

 Rottie Raven, osteosarcoma at 8-1/2 years old, amputation in October '09 and in February '10 due to liver mets he went back to heaven where he came from.  raven.tripawds.com

Now I have Miles, rottie mix amputee from a shelter and traveled 1500 miles to find his way here through the Rescue Railroad thanks to tripawds.com.  miles.tripawds.com

Northern Indiana
Forum Posts: 356
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28 October 2009 - 6:40 am
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I am sorry that Raven has had a rough night, thank goodness you and your vet were able to be there.  Paris did not have any bleeding, thank goodness, but most of us have slept on the floor by our pups in those initial days & nights. It sounds like they will keep a close watch now, hang in there, and get some rest when you can.

Welcome to our little community, sad you had a need but glad you found us!

Take good care of Raven & you too!

Gineej & Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

Harrisonburg, Va
Forum Posts: 118
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28 October 2009 - 7:08 am
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I can't imagine how stressful that must have been to have Raven bleed like that.  I certainly hope he does better in the coming days.  I haven't heard of post-amp dogs going home the same day of surgery....they usually stay at least overnight to a few days.  I know that leakage is common so that's not much to worry about but that bleeding is not good.  Hopefully the vet took care of it and it won't continue to be a problem...poor little guy, er, big guy.  At least you are doing a good job of trying to keep him comfortable with the pain meds.   

If you want to post an avatar pic here is a link describing how /forums/technical-support/what-happened-to-my-avatar/ but if you want to put a pic in the actual post you need to load it to a pic-storage site online first before you link/paste it in. 

Hope that helps and that both you and Raven will be able to get some good shut-eye from now on, although for the first couple of weeks that probably won't be the case.  I'm sorry that you guys have had to go through any of this...it's not fun.

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28 October 2009 - 9:10 am
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Dawn, Raven, and family

We all are extremely sorry to hear of Raven's diagnosis and then the additional complications trying to get him home.  While it was extremely worrisome, Cherry spent the night at the emergency clinic which shares a large facility with the surgeon and oncologist.  When she was released to come home, she pulled the tech across the room trying to get to us.  Later she collapsed.  It is good that you and Raven got some rest and remember that the pain killers will have a major effect on Raven.  As these chemical start to wear off you should see more of the Raven of old and I would expect that in the end, you will be amazed at how quickly he rebounds.  Just bear with these down times for now.  Cherry is a front left leg amputee, so I am aware of the difficulties of the added weight on the remaining leg.  Lucky, Cherry has always been on the smaller size for her breed which is substancially less than a Rottie.

Jackiandmac has already posted the link to posting the avatar picture.  One of the extremely great things about this site is the wealth of contributors and a broad experience base.  If one set of eyes do not see the post, another will be there quickly to help.  Also, I will post my usual set of "helpful" hints eventhough you already have experienced comming home.  Stealing from a recent Jerry posting, I would suggest:

What to Expect Part 1:

http://tinyurl......tToExpect1

What to Expect Part 2:

http://tinyurl......tToExpect2

Also, there are my usual suggestions:

1)  Remain as positive as possible around Raven.  They will pick up on your feelings and if you are down, it will only make it harder.  I have often left Cherry, left the house, and then totally lost it before regaining composure and returning with a smile.  It will make a difference.

2)  Remember to treat the spirit as well as the body.  Find something that they love and can still do during recovery.  Then exploit that love to give them purpose.  For Cherry, it was/is her trips in the truck/car.  It was the first and for a long time, the only place that she would willingly take food when offered.  To this day, as the time when she thinks that she is going for a ride approaches, you can see the excitement grow.  Jake's mom would probably tell you that for Jake it was the swimming pool.  Once Jake saw the pool and was allowed back in, the improvement appears to have been remarkable.  View the Fun!  Doug and Heidi will tell you that for Molly it continues to be canoe trips.  Watch her celebrate her one year anpuversary!  Help them find a purpose to fight.

3)  Consider keeping a journal.  I kept a journal and posted it on-line.  It allowed me to go back days/weeks/months and make a good comparison.  This really helped to make honest assessments of Cherry's progress during the ups and downs of recovery.  Our oncologist actually used these journal postings to keep up to speed on Cherry's condition.  I have a page of thumbnail photos (with links to larger versions) covering from just after the diagnosis, first days home, chemotherapy treatment, through recent days.  View Cherry’s TriPawd photos.

Hopefully this will help and please keep us updated.  Paws Crossed and Sending Pawsitive Thoughts,

Bob & Cherry

Here and Now


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28 October 2009 - 11:48 am
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We're so sorry to hear about the troubles Raven is having with recovery. Keep in mind that much of his apparent discomfort may also be due to the medication. Once you get through this rough spot over the next few days, Raven should adapt well to life on three legs.

Thanks for joining the discussion, we look forward to following his progress.

Kirkland, WA
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2 June 2009
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28 October 2009 - 11:56 am
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Although I'm sorry you had to find us, I'm glad you did!  Man, that must have been terrifying to have all that blood plus the stress of getting home your new amputee, PLUS the stress of possible osteosarcoma.  My dog, Jack, is much smaller than yours (he's 40#), but we also had bleeding due to the fact that he was too active after surgery.  However, ours was different because Jack had a compression bandage.  Because of this, instead of bleeding externally, he began to bleed internally and the bandage squeezed all the blood into his abdomen (his entire groin and tummy area was purple/red - it was terrifying).  He also developed phantom pain at the same time.  We took him back to the vet where he was on monitored bed rest for 2 1/2 days and he was prescribed gabapentin for the "pain".  It worked like a charm.  Now, almost 5 months later, he's bouncier, happier, and friendlier than he has ever been.  It's tough and scary at first, and sometimes we hit little glitches (ie: BLEEDING!  yuck!), but you'll see that once Raven recovers, he'll be the same dog he was before this all started.  Best wishes in a speedy recovery!!!!!

<3 Laura and Jackers

macsmom
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28 October 2009 - 3:02 pm
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Our vet kept Mac in the office overnight after his surgery.  They also put a drain in to allow the excess fluids to drain out rather than asking the body to reabsorb it.  The tech that stayed with him overnight said that the area where he stayed was awful-she even had to change quilts half way through the night because he was bleeding and oozing all over it and it was saturated!  By the time he came home the next day, he was still bleeding/oozing significantly.  We had to keep him in our office (the only room on our main floor that has doors) with quilts covering the floor for over a week.  That was one of the hardest things about the whole experience.  We never did any type of compression because of the drains.  It does get better.  Obviously the first few days were the worst.  Ask your doc if you can give her some bromelain or arnica montana (Bromelain is for the swelling, arnica is for bruising). 

My only other advice would be to take care of yourself in whatever ways are your specialty.  I got several strawberry dark chocolate truffles and would eat one when I was at that point where I didn't know if I could handle it.  Whether it was the chocolate or the time to myself, it was my little bit of sanity that gave me strength.  I'd also look forward to a glass of wine in the evenings, but that's me.  Whatever works for you, try it!  Each day does get better, though you'll also have setbacks and hopefully by that time, you'll have the good days to look at.  ((HUGS))  Feel free to vent anytime!

Wesley Chapel, FL
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28 October 2009 - 4:49 pm
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How's Raven doing tonite? Any better? Has the bleeding stopped, has he wanted to go out to pee yet? Did he want to eat his dinner? I've been thinking about you and Raven all day!!! Hope things are OK!

Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Grand Rapids, MI
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28 October 2009 - 7:10 pm
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Hi Dawn!

Welcome! I am so sorry you had such a rough first night home! I have a 9yr old greyhound, Boo, who had all sorts of post-op bleeding complications! Her RF leg was amputated on Sept 8 but she kept getting capillary embolisms that would burst and cause her stitches to bust open. Boo had a second surgery on Sept 14. Our vet removed more tissue, re-stitched and stapled the area, and 2 drainage tubes were put in. Surgery went well and a few days later Boo was sent home. The next morning Boo's stitches had busted open again! We brought her back to the vet, surgery #3 was done on Sept 21. Lather, Rinse, Repeat... I was terrified to bring her home, but I am happy to report that the third time was indeed the charm!

Today, Boo is doing fabulous! She home, off all her meds, stitch and drainage tube free, RUNNING around like a maniac, and actually growing her fur back! I know it all seems so overwhelming right now, but you will make it through this! You will discover strength you never knew you had!

Keep us posted!
- Amanda

Boo became a Tripawd Warrior Princess on Sept 8, 2009. She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge 2.7 years later on April 29, 2012. Run free Angel Boo!

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28 October 2009 - 7:31 pm
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Hi Dawn,

Oh my gosh, I would have passed out if I would have been you!  Even being a vet tech I htink it must have felt different with it being your own sweet baby!  I am not a medical person AT ALL.  I am sorry that you had to go through all of this.

How is Raven doing today?  And also how are you?  Take care of yourself, too.

Debra & Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Auburn, CA
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28 October 2009
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30 October 2009 - 11:50 pm
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I have been trying to catch up on some sleep, still behind. I only worked Thursday and today this week, but I am soooo happy it is Sat/Sun and I cancelled everything I had planned and will be with Raven the whole time. 🙂

He had his surgery Tuesday and Tuesday night when I found you guys was the worst, longest night of my life. The next morning was no better. But then a turn for the better when a friend came by with some food for me (I hadn't eaten, lost my appetite from stress) and Raven wagged his stubbie and whined to get up to see her. So she and I helped him up and spent some time teaching him to walk a bit. He finally drank some water! 🙂 Then he ate his dinner that night, so weaning him off the heavy meds has been much better.

He is learning to walk, but it's so hard to watch him fall. Especially when he wants to pee. He tries to lift a leg and then goes to the ground. He's gotten it right a couple times to keep all three legs on the ground and pee like a girl, but old habits die hard.

He tries to do our routines. Wants to go to the barn with me in the morning, but can't go that far. And last night I let him out and he never came back. I went with a flashlight and found him by the burn pile in the pasture, just admiring the stars. I think he just went too far and wasn't strong enough to make it back. The hopping is hard work until he strengthens those muscles.

His pain is much less. He was bleeding a lot yesterday again and soaked the new bandaging. I happened to have a cow vet out in the morning for a cow and she looked at him for me. She said it's normal. All that blood needs to find a new place to go and reroute itself. So, I redid his bandaging again, he's yellow instead of pink now. He's got a large ventral edema where the internal bleeding is pooling. I'm going to ask the vet about that tomorrow. It's like a purple water balloon along his mammary line, even his penis is pendulous and purple. 🙁

But I think the worst is behind us. Biopsy results next week... Tomorrow I am going to spend the day catching up on emails and read through this wonderful website and post some pics! THANK YOU all for being there for us through this, is is such a huge comfort. 🙂

Dawn and Raven

 Rottie Raven, osteosarcoma at 8-1/2 years old, amputation in October '09 and in February '10 due to liver mets he went back to heaven where he came from.  raven.tripawds.com

Now I have Miles, rottie mix amputee from a shelter and traveled 1500 miles to find his way here through the Rescue Railroad thanks to tripawds.com.  miles.tripawds.com

Here and Now


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30 October 2009 - 11:58 pm
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Glad to hear that Raven is back on the road to recovery! Try to follow his lead ... 😉

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