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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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5 days post-amputation update for Dixie
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Chicagoland area
Forum Posts: 20
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1 November 2011
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8 November 2011 - 10:07 am
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Five days out, and Dixie’s recovery from her right rear leg amputation has gone better than I expected.  She never lost her appetite, and the pain meds made her somewhat groggy but it was hardly noticeable.  By Sunday she was hopping along nicely, and by Monday she was moving around the house with ease.  She takes 1-2 stairs, both up and down, at a time with absolutely no help from me.  When I take her out to potty I have to trot alongside her to keep up! I am torn between trying to limit her so she doesn’t overdo it vs. encouraging her to continue to improve.  The vet clinic was really surprised at how well she was doing when we came in yesterday to remove her drains.

The hard thing for me right now is that as great as her recovery is going, it’s no indication of where we’re at in terms of cancer.  I don’t even want to type the word.  We are still waiting for lab results so that we know what we’re battling. My friends and even my husband always say things that indicate they think the surgery was an attempt at a cure – it’s hard for me to explain the reality of the situation to them each time I am asked.  I think my husband gets it now, but he doesn’t want to think about it.

I just ordered “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” by Dr. Dressler with the hope that it will give me some direction as to our next steps. I can’t seem to make a decision in regards to her diet – there are soooo many options!  Also – Chicago pawrents – are there any rehab clinics in the area that you recommend?  I live in the SW suburbs but am willing to go anywhere.

Here and Now

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8 November 2011 - 10:18 am
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dixiekicks said:

…it's no indication of where we're at in terms of cancer.

Where are you at? You are here and now.

The biggest lesson we learned from our journey with Jerry, is that every day is a great day, no matter what life sends your way. Try to follow Dixie's lead and Be More Dog . The past is behind you and the future is yet to come. Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.

We're happy to hear Dixie id doing well. Thanks for the update!

knoxville, tn
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8 November 2011 - 10:22 am
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good to hear how well dixie is doing!!!  sometimes we dwell on the challenging pups, and it’s good for folks to know sometimes the healing process is pretty smooth.  we too, were so overwhelmed by the amputation, the cancer didn’t seem to be such an issue at first..but then it hits you…

we haven’t read dr. dressler’s book, but hear great things about it.  just take it one day at a time, and you’ll do the right thing.  do your research, work with your vet and listen to dixie…it sounds so easy.  there are definitely rehab facilities in the chicagoland area, but we don’t know what they are (we’re in knoxville tn)…cynthia and her dog live in chicago and do might try looking her up in the members directory and send her a private message (PM) asking where she recommends.  paws crossed for continued improvement – hugs to dixie!!

charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


Chicagoland area
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8 November 2011 - 11:23 am
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Yowch.  I knew typing up such a happy post would bite me in the butt.  Dixie had her first two phantom pains – what a terrifying experience! Vet says to put a cold pack on the area and keep up her tramadol – he didn't recommend Gabapentin or anything.  I've read to use a heat pack as well.  Well, anyway, she's still on the up and up!  I really can't complain.

Chicagoland area
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8 November 2011 - 11:24 am
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Etgayle, thank you -I will look up Cynthia for sure.

Here and Now

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8 November 2011 - 11:44 am
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dixiekicks said:

Dixie had her first two phantom pains…

Definitely consider Gabapentin and get another opinion if your vet hasn't heard of it. If you have not already found these posts by searching the blogs, here are a few more helpful links:

San Diego, CA
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8 November 2011 - 12:04 pm
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I liked the Dr. D. book. As you mention, there is SO much info out there and I think his book does a good job of weeding through all the options and summarizing everything. We are not doing EVERYTHING Dr. D. recommends – but that's another nice thing about his book – he kind of highlights how you can pick and chose the things you want to try. He also mixes the traditional w/ the holistic, which is nice. (I call that going “halflistic” since we are not wholly holistic. We are doing some holistic supplements, but also MP – chemo pills given daily at home.)

It's true the surgery is not intended to be curative – but you never know… You could be one of the lucky ones and it could be if the cancer has not already micro-metastasized.

Hope you get good results from the lab report! (Abby only had 2 episodes that I thought might be phantom pain – or just plain 'real' pain. Hopefully Dixie will only have those 2!)

Hope Dixie continues to recover well,

Jackie, Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

8 November 2011 - 12:43 pm
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Cynthia posts as littlemanjake, you can look that up in members search.  Cynthia is not currently active here, but hopefully she will respond to a PM.

I know how confusing all this is…so many choices.  But you don't have to decide everything now.  Decide on treatment next, and what kind. Get started on whatever you want to do- weather it is chemo or something else.  Once that is going work on diet and supplements.  And if you go the chemo route it might not be a good time to change diet anyway.  If Dixie has some stomach upset during treatment you would not want it complicated by a new diet.

Good to hear that she is doing so well, at least until you posted anyway oh-my.

I hope Dixie keeps improving.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Plainfield, Illinois
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14 May 2011
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8 November 2011 - 1:53 pm
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Sorry about the phantom pains 🙁  We didn't have those with Chili Dawg.  I am so glad to hear that she's having a good recovery, it's nice to hear, specially lately with all the dogs crossing the rainbow bridge lately.  We didn't do any rehab with Chili Dawg, but there's got to be places around here that do it, like Naperville or closer to the city.  You could also try out one of those balance discs.  I think Maggie the agility dog and Butchey and Kess the disc dog use those- I might be wrong.



Diagnosed with OSA: 5/2/2011 Ampuversary: 5/11/2011 OSA returned in hip: 8/26/2011
Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8/30/2011 & is now pain free. He was my heart dog, and I miss him every day.

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8 November 2011 - 4:30 pm
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Dixie…keep going forward sweetie!



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8 November 2011 - 4:35 pm
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Glad to hear Miss Dixie is recovering so nicely. Rio never had the phantom pains, but then her cancer never caused her pain prior to the surgery either.

I know that hearing your dog has cancer is fairly intimidating, but don’t feel you have to make any snap decisions regarding chemo/metronomics /etc.. Take a little time, do some research, familiarize yourself with treatment protocols for your particular cancer, ask lots of questions both here and at your vet’s/oncologist’s office, make sure you are comfortable with the information before deciding anything. And know that even if you do decide to do chemo, you can stop part way through if you don’t feel comfortable with the side effects. They typically don’t dose the dogs nearly as hard as they do humans, because its simply meant to buy some time, not cure. Rio only had a few side effects with either of her chemo treatment protocols (she had chemo in 2008 and then again earlier this year), but some dogs don’t handle it well.

If people ask “why did you remove the leg if it’s not a cure,” just tell them that, short term, you were getting rid of the pain, and in the process, hopefully you will have bought her a lot more quality time.

Good luck,

Micki and Rio

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

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8 November 2011 - 5:02 pm
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Bo had pretty severe phantom pains after surgery. Admin’s link to the phantom pain blog helped me understand what Bo was experiencing. The pains are SCARY! It’s difficult not to get unnerved, but I found the calmer I was, the quicker Bo would recover from them. I would definitely recommend getting some gabapentin for nerve pain and we did some “ice therapy” as well. Gentle massage is soothing too….for us and them! Haha!

We dwelled on the “c” diagnosis for a bit. Then it hit us….we have Bo now….we have today. It’s hard getting to that point, but I’m glad we did. I had moments where I needed to cry or be sad and I tried to do it away from Bo. (of course he still knew) Hopefully you will get the results soon though…there is peace in knowing, no matter what the results.

We’re hoppy to hear that Dixie is adjusting well!! Keep us posted!!

Portage Lake, Maine
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9 November 2011 - 6:07 am
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Hi Dixiekicks,

You’ve got a pretty good recovery going so far…my Maggie didn’t have phantom pains but she was on Gabapentin before AND after surgery as her pain was very severe before surgery.  I’d highly recommend gabapentin!  The local vet up here didn’t know what it was but my sister, who is a Vet Tech at a holistic vet downstate did and recommended it to me, thankfully!

Chilidawg is right…I do use a balance disc with my dog, Maggie.  I also use balance pads and balance domes.  I just got another balance dome in hopes to work Maggie on top of two at the same time, to mimic working on top of an eggball.  I’ll be trying it out tonight.

Here’s a link to a blog that Admin did on Maggie’s workouts FYI:


If it weren’t for PT work I do on Maggie, I’m afraid she wouldn’t be as strong as she is today.  She’s really a couch potato by nature and even moreso, now being 3 legged…  So she must do her workouts! wink

I am not sure when you should start, however, this being so soon after surgery…I would give it a month or more, I guess to get her recovered well.  Maybe Admin can direct you to Dr. Waldman's CARE videos as well regarding PT work.

Tracy, Maggie’s Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


New Jersey
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4 June 2011
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9 November 2011 - 11:48 am
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Glad to hear that Dixie's recovery is going so well. Fingers and paws crossed for best possible lab test news!

9 November 2011 - 5:19 pm
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Yay for Dixie for doing so well!! That is so completely Awesome!!!! Boo for the phantom pains though. Hope you can find a way to ward them off. Valentina never had them but from what I have read in many other posts they can be really horrible. I'm glad she is doing so good in all the other ways and I will be keeping the two of you in my thoughts and prayers.  smiley

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