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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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3 weeks post rear-leg amp.- dog still lethargic and no appetite :(
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13 March 2013
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27 March 2013 - 7:12 pm
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Ruby, our formerly all-enthusiasm 7.5yo Staffie had her left rear leg amputated 3 weeks ago today for a massive osteosarcoma in her rear femur, all other scans were clear, we’ve been told we’ll get 6 months  before it returns somewhere :( , but she’s still pretty lethargic, (not getting up from bed to greet us like usual, not following us around, just laying there), and has to be coaxed to eat anything, (ordinarily she’s a dog VACUUM, she’s a pig, so this is very weird). Is this common post-surgery? She’s physically getting around just fine, when she does come. Great actually. She’s not on any meds at this point, the stitches are out a week ago, all looks great. But our dog seems like she’s just not a happy dog. I’m told dogs who are too sick are just “done” stop eating/drinking/etc. Is this still recovery? Could she have some weird infection and we can’t tell, and we should take her back in? We just aren’t sure what to do.

Here and Now


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27 March 2013 - 8:39 pm
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Welcome, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

What kind of exercise is Ruby getting? If she’s no longer on any pain meds, she may just be overdoing it. It is unlikely the cancer has spread so fast to cause the symptoms you describe. Did you have chest and abdominal scans done before the amputation?

What does your vet say?

Virginia




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27 March 2013 - 9:22 pm
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Hi Ruby! Glad to here you’re getting about well–that’s good news.

I can only tell you my experience so far—–my Happy Hannah is a little over six weeks after rear leg amp and it took her almost four weeks before I started seeing the sparkand joy coming back full time. I was so hhappy for all the dogs whose post reflected such quick recovery—bouncing around after a few days, feeling better than ever! Well, that sure wasn’t our experience and I was going crazy ththink I g I had made a mistake and wonder I g if she would EVER be her happy self again. I was clinging to this site for dear life as everyone was telling me she would get better—they promised me—-SSOME DOGS JUST TAKE A LITTLE LONGER——and I’m here to tell you that is true—-and I promise you, Ruby will get her spark back….SOME DOGS JUST TAKE A LITTLE LONGER.

It is major surgery and it is still very confusing for some dogs gryi g to adjust and reacquaint themselves with a new way of living.

One thing you may look I to is seeing if she needs to be back on some pain meds. I put Hannah back o. Some as I thought..gee..everyone e else is taking their dogs off at two weeks—–well, every experience is different and putting g her back on seem to speed up her recovery between three and four weeks.

Double check with your vet and take her temp. to make sure if there is any u derlying cause for her not hearing. Boil chicken add cheese–whatever you need to for eating. Is she drinking? My computer crashing again so may have to shut it off a few minutes and get back on later

Just want to reassure you—-you are not alone–and it’s not unusual for some dogs to take a little while to get the tail wags going go hug on her and and give her a lot of praise for walking really well–but not overdoing it

We are here for you and sending out lots of support and encouragement. Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Virginia




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27 March 2013 - 11:08 pm
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Okay, back again—this tablet decides to skip letters–type letters I don’t type—it really is part my lack of computer skills BUT also part this crazy tablet…..tried to type “eating” I. Previous post and the word “hear I g” came out

Anyway just for peace of mind you might consider going back to vet and then you can determine if Ruby just falls into slow recovery. Slot. Have you tried fun things to try nd stimulate her—–friend’s coming over and making big deal over her, tons of praise and meeting for every little thing she does

Please keep us posted and I’m sure others will come on in with other advice and solutions. You’ll see a turn round soon and try not to worry. You re definitely in the right place for crying support

Holding you nd Ruby safely in our heart, Sally and ZHappy Hannah

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!

Columbia, MO
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28 March 2013 - 4:50 am
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Sorry to hear that Ruby is still not feeling well.  When my Daisy had her amputation (she was almost 7 years old at the time) she just laid around for three weeks.  I still had to bring her food to her with things like boiled chicken and hotdogs to get her to eat.  Our third week was the worst.  I think she was ok physically as she would go out to the bathroom but she would just lay there on the couch all the time and seemed so sad.  I thought she had given up.  I think she was going thru a kind of depression.  Most dogs here have gone thru something like that at one point during recovery.  She popped out of that during her 4th week of recovery and started going to her food dish and eating on her own and starting doing more of her “normal” stuff.

Only you know Ruby best so if you feel something is just not right I would have the vet check her out again.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

krun15
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28 March 2013 - 11:01 am
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My little pug Maggie had mast cell cancer and lost her left rear leg too.  Mag was really obstinate and did not deal well with change to her routine.  She recovered fine physically after surgery- no trouble getting around.  But she was unhappy for about 4 weeks, and didn’t start playing with me again for about 6 weeks. 

I convinced myself I had done the wrong thing by choosing amputation- I didn’t think she would ever come around.  But she did on her own schedule.

If it will help your peace of mind take her back to the vet and make sure there is nothing physically wrong.  You have to be strong and confident and show Ruby that everything is fine.  She will feed off your emotions, if you act like something is wrong she will too.

Some lucky pups sail though recovery and bounce around like nothing happened, but some, like Maggie, really take their time to get used to their new normal.  And being a tripawd is much more tiring than being a quad- it will take Ruby time to build strength and endurance.

Keep us posted on how she is doing.

 

Karen

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28 March 2013 - 11:16 am
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Thanks guys, that DOES help. We’ve been so puzzled that she seems so depressed and not-moving-much, no appetite 3 weeks in! It’s encouraging to hear that there ARE other dogs that had the same trajectory. :) , and that she WILL get better. This may sound like a daft question, but I’ve never tried to take a dog’s temp. Does one require a special doggie-thermometer? Must it only be done rectally?

 

And yes, we are doing the same thing, Sally and Marla, and having to tempt her with chicken mixed with her food etc. It’s a particularly unsettling experience, since she’s always been such a “chow-hound”, she’ll eat anything, normally, endlessly!

 

Karen, that’s exactly where we are with Ruby, kind of vaguely wondering if we’ve done her in doing this leg. The bummer is, since it’s a super aggressive osteosarcoma, the amputation was to stop the excruciating pain she was in, and hope that it spreads somewhere less painful. We were told it will 100% likely spread, and we’ll only get 6 months (statistical average for osteosarcoma) regardless, but we didn’t want her to die in excruciating pain :( , and have to put her down like that, we were told if we are “lucky” it will spread anywhere else, preferably. We couldn’t do chemo, as we have an immune compromised human kiddo. (which would have bought us on average poss 4-6 more months)

 

SO, thank you ladies, we’d like to hope that she WILL feel better and be our happy all-enthusiasm Staffie again before we lose her!

 

 

Virginia




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28 March 2013 - 12:00 pm
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You silly girl, there are NO daft questions…or if there are, I’ve already asked them! Not a vet so cannot give vet advice, but..it is regular thermometer done rectally and depth depends on size of dog ….your vet will show you how and step range, etc…..it’s a good skill to have

Your thought process sounds sooooo familiar!! Because my Happy Hannah’s recovery was seemingly taking so long I was petrified I wouldn’t get her any quality time before that ugly cancer reared it’s ugly head. My onco assured me that “it” wouldn’t spread that fast but when you don’t see your dog feeling better in fact feeling worse than before the surgery, it doesn’t matter what anyone says!

But–I, like everyone else here, promises OK Ruby WILL get her sparkle back even better than before!!!I know it’s hard to believe when you can’t see it but it is true!!Happy Hannah is. Better than before AND it did take Alost four weeks for her full joy and bliss to come back

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!

Virginia




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28 March 2013 - 12:03 pm
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Sorry, darn tablet cut off again. You may want to get things checked out just to get reassured her not eating is of a big deal. I know because Ru y is such a.chow hound that concerns you.

So much love to you and Ruby. You are great! Sally and happy Hannah

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!

NC
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28 March 2013 - 12:57 pm
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Re: taking your dog’s temp:
I use a regular human digital thermometer. I swirl the tip in a little petroleum jelly before inserting it rectally. I feel a lot more relaxed using the digital type because there’s no question about how far to insert it or how long to leave it in, and it won’t get broken if you don’t have a helper to hold the dog & he wriggles away from you. It takes 60 seconds before it beeps and you can actually watch the temp climb while it’s in there. It doesn’t have to be an expensive digital, mine was $7.

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 March 2013 - 1:50 pm
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If your pup is really anxious, there are 15 second digital thermometers that get the job done a lot quicker. I’ve also seen thermometers that get inserted into a dog’s ear but they’re somewhere around the $60 mark as I recall.

Fear not: many dogs who have been down the osteo road also didn’t get chemotherapy and went on to beat those 6 months projections. I didn’t have chemo and I lived two years! I also have a good friend who didn’t do chemo and he lived four years, and it wasn’t the cancer that finally got him but just old age. We hope Ruby is just as fortunate!

At three weeks most dogs are getting around better but there are also many that need longer. Ruby sounds like one of them. Try not to compare her recovery to others. As long as she’s eating, drinking and eliminating she’s probably on the road to recovery. Keep your vet in the loop and in the meantime try to do things that will get her excited about life again; car rides, new toys, just spending quality time together can make a huge difference.

Keep us posted!

 

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28 March 2013 - 5:12 pm
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I’ll add, that when you take the temp, make sure it’s not stuck in the middle of outgoing poop.  You want the tip on the intestinal wall, not buried in poop.  Just be slow and gentle and it’ll be fine!

On days when Jackson was most depressed, we had special people come over.  Some of them even brought a cookie or a new toy!  That was epic!  I’d encourage that.  I’d also encourage a trip back or a phone call to your vet.  I’d also encourage the wait it out.  Give praise and help your pup whenever and just let time pass.

Keep us posted!  Your Staffie will return!

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

NC
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28 March 2013 - 5:44 pm
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I’d DEFINITELY take her back in for a re-check, but my standard question to everyone seems to be this:
What meds is she on?

Kermit is FINALLY down to a teensy little bit of Tramadol & gabapentin (after a month) and today was the first day he wanted to really chase lots of balls & last night he brought me a toy at bedtime, which he used to do every night but hadn’t since his surgery. I think the meds just made him sleepy!

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