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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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4 Days post op crying/whining outbursts
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Forum Posts: 7
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9 December 2011
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15 December 2011 - 7:08 pm
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Hello,
Tank is 4 days post op from having his right, front leg removed. I’m not really concerned about his outbursts, but I am curious about what others have experienced.

Tank has not been getting quality sleep, he’s having a hard time getting comfortable, which I know is to be expected, but he will be peacefully laying there one minute, and the next minute he will break out in this loud crying, almost howling. We can’t seem to relate it to a particular movement. He will sometimes sit down and break out crying in mid-stride while heading outside for a potty break. We have to bombard him with loving and he’ll stop eventually. He is a German Shepherd and has been known to do his share of whining, but this is beyond whining. Any comments would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Lisa

Three legs and one ginormous smile!

Tank's adventures can be enjoyed in his blog:

http://tanksjou.....pawds.com/

Chicago, IL
Forum Posts: 537
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15 December 2011 - 7:54 pm
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Sounds to me like phantom pain , gabapentin should take care of it.  We have some around here somewhere that I could send to you but you probably don't want to wait that long; hopefully you can get some from the vet tomorrow. 

Poor baby, it has to be hard to see.  Well, the whole recovery is hard to see…but it doesn't last forever.  Hang in there and give Tank a great big hug from me.

http://tate.tripawds.com/
August 16, 2006 to November 28, 2011
TATE ~ Forever in our hearts.

Forum Posts: 7
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15 December 2011 - 8:31 pm
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Thank you, I was wondering if that could be it.

I was watching Tank sleeping, he was on his side.
When he tried to sit up, he cried, almost like he tried using the missing leg to get up.

Tank sees the surgeon Saturday morning, I’ll discuss this with him.

Thanks so much, he’s only cried 2 times today, so he’s only randomly uncomfortable.

Three legs and one ginormous smile!

Tank's adventures can be enjoyed in his blog:

http://tanksjou.....pawds.com/

Austin
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15 December 2011 - 8:55 pm
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My dog, Happy, is about to have his surgery Tuesday. He's been taking Gabapentin 3x day for probably 2 months(at least) now, and tramadol 3x day for a month..Will this help with this sort of thing, to have a 'jump start' on having drugs in the system already, or will he probably need to up the dose and readjust? The tramadol made him whine at first and i lowered the does(and he stopped). I am expecting this sort of behavior, but kinda worried about it, too. (that I will know what to do and make him more comfortable) I guess I'm just asking anyone who knows about the meds, and curious what others say about the behaviors. All the best for a speedy recovery for Tank!

Chicago, IL
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15 December 2011 - 9:44 pm
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When I started Tate on tram (this was at the end, I mean his end), he was whiny the first day.  Called the vet tech and she said it was because it was making him a little loopy and that he'd stop by the next day…which he did.  Lots of pets and hugs got him through the first day but we were giving him lots of pets and hugs anyway.

He was also on tram for about a month before the amputation, but he still got all weird after the surgery, panting and everything like so many people report here.  The surgeon said it really is their best and easiest choice because it's not a controlled substance and they can dispense it – anything else you'd have to get from a human pharmacy.  It's really hard because you want to do something to fix it but you can't.  At least I never found any good way.  I was worried if I cut it back that he was panting because he was in pain and you are supposed to do preemptive pain management .  I'd use an ice pack, too.  Otherwise, I just had to leave him alone and act normal…even though I wanted to crawl under the dining room table to be with him.

I don't mean to scare you, it's a difficult time but don't worry.  You can manage it and it will all turn out fine.  Best of luck to both of you! 

http://tate.tripawds.com/
August 16, 2006 to November 28, 2011
TATE ~ Forever in our hearts.

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15 December 2011 - 11:26 pm
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Yep, sounds like phantom pain to me. Gus started about 5 days out, the first few times it sounded like he was hit by a car. The spells would only last a few seconds but they were intense, I just tried to be with him while it happened, thats when we started him on gabapentin and  that helped. His lasted about 4 weeks but by the end of that four weeks he would just give a mild whimper, but for awhile it tears your heart out. Hang in there and try and sleep if you can, you will find the combination of stress of the whole situation( on you) and little sleep little things will all of a sudden seem huge and patience will be tried to the max, it's a learn as you go process, but you need to be a quick learner, and thats the great thing about this site, you get answers almost right away about almost whatever situation that comes up. Good luck 

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Golden Girls
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16 December 2011 - 7:12 am
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Skyler never had phantom pain , so no advice to offer. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you & Tank. Let us know what the vet says tomorrow.

Sending many golden hugs,

Cathy

Here and Now


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16 December 2011 - 10:52 am
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Hi Lisa and Tank. Welcome! We feel for you. Like Cathy I really can't give good advice in that area. We suspected Cadence may have had phantom pain , but if she did, it wasn't anything like that and there were only 2 or three episodes. A few days after her surgery she would be sitting down quietly and then suddenly she would jump up, gallop to the other end of the room, do a quick bite or nip at her stump like someone had pinched her bottom and then run back, spin in a few circles and sit down. We think that was some phantom feelings at the site. Just hang on and look at the sites admin recommended for phantom pain . Give him a lot of reassuring pats and hugs and let him know you are there. This hopefully won't go on much longer. I can imagine it must be difficult to hear and see him like that and he can't talk to you to tell you exactly what is wrong. Cadence sends her warm cottony fuzzies to comfort you and Tank. 

Cadence's Mom

Cadence Faye: Born 10/30/04, stepped into our hearts 12/23/2004. Rear leg tumor found 7/24/11 by mom and dad, Xray on 7/25/11, Osteosarcoma suspected 7/26/11, amputation 7/29/11, Carboplatin started 8/23. Met free so far! 

Greater Western Washington area
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17 December 2011 - 6:59 am
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Hello Tank and family,

 

I have to say that sounds exactly like phantom pain to us too.  In Sammy's blog you can read about it.  He would shake and howl for a few moments, really horrible moments.   Because we started the Gabapentin only after he developed the phantom pain (4 days in I believe) it took a couple of days to get through his system and build up enough.  After the 3rd day of taking it was when he finally saw some relief.

 

I love shepperds, they are so wonderfully smart! 

 

Elizabeth and Sammy

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right front leg 8/23/10,

leg fractured 8/27/10,

leg amputated 8/30/10

http://sammyand.....pawds.com/

 

I couldn't begin to say how special Sammy is to us.  Living and laughing with and loving this wonderful boy is priceless.

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18 December 2011 - 12:32 pm
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Thanks for the help!
We saw the surgeon yesterday for Tank’s 1 week post-op visit. He said it wasn’t phantom pain . Tank had his entire front leg removed. The doctor said that since they took the whole leg, it left them with the muscles from the leg. They try to keep as much intact as they can, so while some muscles were removed, others cut. Some of the muscles that used to work separately to move the leg, were now sewn together. He said that when Tank’s brain goes to move that leg, that it causes the muscles to fire against each other causing pain. Tank generally has the pain once he has fallen asleep and is fully on his side. He goes to sit upright and causes himself pain when his brain tries to put the leg out to help him get up. Once we move him into an upright position he’s fine. The doctor said it will take a bit of healing before those muscles learn to work together instead of against each other.

We didn’t have one outburst yesterday, Tank is figuring out how to move in the new ways needed to get around. Like when he used to just roll over, he now stands up, makes a u-turn and sits back down. It’s all new to all of us, so we’re taking it one day at a time.
Lisa

Three legs and one ginormous smile!

Tank's adventures can be enjoyed in his blog:

http://tanksjou.....pawds.com/

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 December 2011 - 5:43 pm
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That explanation totally makes sense! Thanks, we’ll try to remember (“The doctor said it will take a bit of healing before those muscles learn to work together instead of against each other”) next time we think a dog could have phantom pain .

Lisa, you’re both doing great adapting to the new normal. Keep it up!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 December 2011 - 6:43 pm
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This was Charlie….EXACTLY!!!  Right front leg amp, soft tissue sarcoma, 8 year old golden retriever.  He could never get comfortable.  He was taking tramadol 3X a day and rimadyl 2X a day.   After we weened him off of those, everyone recommended gabapentin which we found to help him at night. 

For him, I really believe he needed to be back upstairs sleeping where he was used to sleeping.  My husband slept downstairs on the floor by his side for the first month.  The crying eventually stopped but, we're not convinced it was phantom pain …he just couldn't get comfortable….how helpless did we feel!  We went out a bought a new therapeutic bed…we bought 2 different ones just in case he didn't like one or the other. 

At about 35 days out, Charlie is back to himself…COMPLETELY!!!  All dogs deal and recover at their own speed which I've learned from being on this site.  They really just need some over-the-top love and assurance that everything is good!  Charlie is jumping up into my subaru outback, he gets up on his back legs to greet us, he is begging like a champ, running around the field like he always did…maybe even faster!  He does stairs like a champ!  He just needed time to heal.  What a huge deal this is!  Major, major surgery!  If this was us, it would take a lot longer than a month or so and we might be crying all the time too!

We were completely in your shoes and I just wanted to reassure you that everything gets better and back to normal!

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