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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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7 days post amputation, panting and restless
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6 April 2020 - 8:28 am
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Hello everyone. This is my first post on this forum. I am very worried about my baby Genie. Genie (Labrador mix 66lbs) had her hind leg amputated a week ago. We tapered gabapentin & codeine to 2 times a day as per doctor’s advice but ever since we tapered she has been panting and running around restless every 6 – 7 hours. She gets better after the next dose of meds. Today morning was her last dose of pain medications and we left a message for her doctor and waiting for a response. Is this panting normal? How long are they on pain medication after amputation? She has been peeing, pooping well. Her appetite however has gone down. We have to spice it up with cheese to make her eat.

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6 April 2020 - 11:12 am
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Hi Genie and family, welcome. We are so glad you found us, your worries are very common and we understand completely. pain signals in dogs are new to most of us but you’re learning! 

First, from what you describe, Genie is telling you that she still hurts. Most dogs are on pain medication at least until stitches come out, but some vets will prescribe meds for a shorter timeframe to see how it goes. It just depends on their experiences they’ve had with different dogs. And yep, all dogs are different in how they react to medication. Some metabolize it faster than others and need more, some need less.

pain management is a trial and error process with some dogs and oftentimes it takes some tweaking of the timing and dosage to get relief with the medications you are given. Your vet should be able to give you some guidance on it for Genie. It does sound like she needs more medication right now. She should not be panting or anxious, that is most likely a typical pain signal that can be controlled and eased with the proper medication timing and dosages.

It’s good that she will eat the meds with cheese though, and that her bowel movements are good! Yeah! Don’t forget to celebrate those milestones. She’s a strong girl!

It’s really good that you contacted your vet. Call them again soon if they don’t get back to you asap. Be strong, and advocate for her. You can do it!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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6 April 2020 - 1:52 pm
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 Good for you for recognizing  your girl is showing signs of discomfort  and pain.

Yes, as Jerry said, Genie is showing you pain signs, most likely anyway.  Six, seven days after MAJOR surgery is too early, in most cases, to be tapering  down the meds.  So don’t  hesitate to advocate strongly for your gal.

A couple of options (of course only with Vet approval).  Some dogs do better with the pain meds not spaced out so far apart.  Depending  of course on the dose amount, some ate given meds every six to eight hours as opposed  to spreading  out every twelve hours.

Another thing you can ask about is doing Gaba and Tramdol (as opposed to the Codeine).  The Gaba and the Tram compliment  each other when used together.  Also it gives you the opportunity  to dose the Gaba and then maybe an hour-ish later, dose the Tram.  Of course, not Vets and not giving  Vet advice.

My Happy Hannah was on her pain meds into the third week.  If I recall she started tapering off during the third week.  

And yes, YAY for peeing and pooping!  We love to celebrate poopicon around here!!  And for now, give her any yummy food she will eat…cheeseburgers,  scrambled  eggs and bacon, cheese pizza…whatever she will eat.  Her appetite  will pick back up.  Humans wouldn’t  feel much like eating after MAJOR surgery either!  And Genie is adjusting  to her new gait on top of that.

Keep us updated and stay connected!  Recovery doesn’t  last furever, promise!!

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 April 2020 - 5:23 pm
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Hi! I was so glad to see this question on here as I’m dealing with a similar issue.  Griffin is 4 days post-op and has been very restless and panting the last 2 nights.  He is still on meds, taking hydromorphone and gabapentin 3x/day and galliprant 1x/day.  Griffin was taking both gabapentin and galliprant prior to surgery which were managing his pain well.  I’m not sure his panting and restlessness at night is pain, however, because his meds are spread evenly throughout the day (he takes the galliprant with his afternoon dose) and he doesn’t exhibit restlessness at any other time, resting and sleeping quietly for hours at a time.  He does pant during the day, but it is connected to him exerting himself.  His incision is healing well and he is otherwise progressing normally (peeing and pooping regularly, iffy with appetite but eats at least one decent meal a day, getting stronger and steadier each day).  Any ideas about the source of the restlessness and panting besides pain?  Thanks!

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6 April 2020 - 6:03 pm
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Stacy said
Any ideas about the source of the restlessness and panting besides pain?

Agitation and heavy breathing are common side effects of many pain medications, especially tramadol. Find more information, and helpful tips for identifying pain symptoms and medication side effects in the various pain management articles and video interviews in the Tripawds News blog .

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6 April 2020 - 9:30 pm
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Thank you Jerry & benny55. I feel better after reading your posts and I hope she gets through this phase soon. The doctor gave a refill on gabapentin and said codeine is not needed anymore. For pain they advised us to apply heat pack. However gaba looses its effect on her after 5.5 hours and she is in lot of pain. We’ve been applying heat pack for 2 hours now so she can reach the atleast 7 hour mark for next dose :(. They do not want us to give gaba in less than 7 hour gap. Heart-breaking to see my poor baby in pain and we are trying our best to keep her calm. 

Virginia




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6 April 2020 - 10:19 pm
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Uoi are doing sich a good job of caring dor your Genie.

She weighs 66 lbs.  What amount of Gabapentin  is she taking?  Amd this amount is everyr seven hours, right?  No other pain med was prescribed, right?  Ask again about adding  Tramadol or  …Amantadine…….heck, really screwing up the spelling! UGH!  Someone will come along and give you the correct name. 

It sounds like either the Gaba needs to be increased or another interim pain med meeds to be added.  As Jerry said earlier, every dog metabolizes the meds differently  and they often need tweaking by trial and error.  The important thing is to not let the pain get a head start as it takes longer to get it back under control.  

Also, most dogs ate prescribed  an anti inflammatory  like Rimadyl, as well as an antibiotic.   Did Genie get either of these?  Not sure a warm compress will help much as far as managing  pain.

Okay….will look for your feedback.  I know this is frustrating, but you’re  doing a good job of trying to stay on top of thos recovery  ordeal.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 April 2020 - 11:02 pm
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You are doing a great job advocating for her, I’m sorry this is so ruff right now.

Sally asked the same question I was going to: What is the dosage?

And I also agree that a second medication may be necessary. One usually doesn’t do it because they all work on different nerve pain pathways. Amantadine and an NSAID can compliment the Gabapentin. See how tonight goes and then if the pain signals continue call the vet back first thing. You may also want to post in our Ask a Vet topic to get our fairy vet mother’s insight if Gene still appears to be hurting.

Keep us posted!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 April 2020 - 8:05 am
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Genie is 9 years old and 66lbs (before amputation)

Here are the medications she is on currently:

Gabapentin 300mg thrice a day.

Carpofen 50mg twice a day. She has been on it even before the surgery.

Clavamox 500mg twice a day – antibiotics

She is refusing to walk to pee and poop. My husband has to carry her to the right spot and he is getting tired of late. I don’t know if it’s the collar and harness that’s bothering her but she just refuses to move. It takes a lot of convincing (with treats etc) to make her do her business. Does this mean she is lethargic? She is eating normally.

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 April 2020 - 11:17 am
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Hmmm. That does sound like an appropriate dosage for a dog her size and with the NSAID it should be working. Is she still panting and anxious?

Lethargy is usually accompanied by a weak appetite, but then again she’s a Lab and food is everything to them.

So let’s try to pinpoint why she is refusing. What happens when she goes to the “right” spot…does she go potty right then and there? And how many times a day is she going out? Is it more or less than her usual? And have you guys tried to lure her outside without carrying her, with just treats? What happens then? 

Constipation is pretty typical during recovery. Have you tried adding pumpkin or other kinds of pet-friendly fiber rich foods to her diet? She shouldn’t go more than 12 hours without urinating though. If so, you may need to manually express her bladder.

Another thing I’m wondering…what are the floors like inside your home? Are they slippery? And what about her nails? Do they need a trim? Could her refusal be that she is reluctant to walk on your floors? 

And finally, have you tried gently massaging up and down her body (taking care to stay away from the incision) to see if she’s sore in a particular spot?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 April 2020 - 12:40 pm
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She goes out hardly 3 times and all times we force her to. She pees thrice and poops twice a day. She is not constipated for sure since her poop is very normal. Normally she pees about 5 times but now even one time is a huge fight with her….she outrightly refuses to walk. This is very unlike her normal behavior, which to some extent I know is because of the amputation. But is it possible she doesn’t want to walk on 3 legs? Am really worried if she will be even close to active again or may be I am rushing. 

Her stitches have healed well. There doesn’t seem to be any inflammation in the area. Our floor is hardwood which is also a drawback but she still walks to the kitchen when I make something interesting for her. But the moment we take her outside, she tries to settle down to sit on the pavement/grass and refuses to get up. Sometimes even treats aren’t working.

Two things I know is she hates harness and she hates collar. Could it be that she is refusing because of all these on her?

Sorry for the long post. I am writing whatever is running in my mind. Thanks for your patience 🙂

Virginia




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7 April 2020 - 2:46 pm
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Okay, she is getting Gaba three times day, she’s  got the antibiotic  and the anti-inflmmatory.   I was thinking  the pain meds had been stopped.

Glad you are thinking about out loud.  It helps us help you.i think you nailed a BIG clue!!

I tried to ise a towel sling with my Happy Hannah and she froze!  Would have no part of it.

Do get some non slip scatter rugs when you can for traction .  Even thpugh  ahe hasn’t  had a face plant yet, we don’t  want to push our luck.

So a couple of more thoughts to add to Jerry’s good feedback and questions.

TRY taking her harness and collar off.  Is that the “cone of shame ” collar?  That also freaks some dogs out.  So DEFINITELY  could be the harness and the collar!!

Anyway, don’t take her outside until she starts to get real antsy…really showing signs of gotta pee..   Step away…help her up her up amd try and get her to standing  position…then step away.  IF, after a minute or two,  you have to carry her out do that.  Try and leave her in a standing position near her spot.  Even if she lays down, walk away.  Jave you had to hold her up tompee and poop or jas she held herself up?

So take the Gear off, continue  lots and lots of ,assages before and after she gets up.

SHE WALKS TO THE KITCHEN!!!  SO SHE IS AVLE TO BE MOBILE!!!   GREAT SIGN!!!  Hard to stay patient and not get frustrated , but she WILL get her sea legs!!  Try not to compare her recovery  to others.  She’s  got this at her own pace and her own comfort  level

Let us know how it goes without the gear.

Hugs

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

PS. And definitely  stay upbeat, high energy and confident around her.  She’ll pick up on tjat.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 April 2020 - 3:29 pm
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OK so you answered my questions and don’t worry about the length of your post, the more information the better.

I couldn’t agree more with Sally’s suggestions. Try the no-slip rugs, and see if she will get around without the gear on. Yep, it’s still early in recovery and Genie is her own girl. She has LOTS of good things on her side and other than this issue, she is doing pretty well! That she is food motivated is GREAT! Don’t forget to celebrate these milestones, they really do add up! smiley_clapsp_hearticon2 

I’m curious, is it too cold where you are to let her stay outside and just hang out? If not I would allow her to do that and see if she will go potty on her own. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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7 April 2020 - 4:31 pm
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We just tried without the collar and she did a little better than with one. She peed and pottied too.

I have a different question now. 

The biopsy that vet did initially showed that the cells were of ‘soft tissue sarcoma’ and hence we went ahead with the amputation decision. We didn’t think twice before going ahead because the mass started growing very fast around her rear thigh and their initial biopsy report specified that it was sarcoma. It also grew into the muscles in her thigh and she was limping on exertion and has been on painkillers for a while. Today we got a call from the surgeon  who operated on her. She said that the amputated leg was sent for further biopsy to determine the grade of cancer and the tumor turned out benign and hence we should be happy she doesn’t need any chemo. When i asked her why did we amputate she said Genie would’ve been in pain anyways given the location and size. she also said some benign tumor cells are very similar to the soft tissue sarcoma cells.

Now we are angry, confused and devasted than happy that it isn’t cancer. Did we take a decision in a haste? Could there have been other options than amputation?

Virginia




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7 April 2020 - 5:20 pm
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Okay, deep breaths……YOU MADE THR RIFHT DECISION!!!  YOU DEFINATELY MADE THE RIGHT DECISION!!

We HAVE seen this type of scenario  before and, as your Vet said the leg needed to be amputated for ALL the reasons stated.  The way that tumor was growing, the way the tentacles were invading the surrounding  tissue and muscle, amputation  was the only way to take away the pain and ri stip it from causing further damage.  

You had a biopsy confirm a sarcoma.  You had a path report saying  no cells were found.  To me, regardless of whatever the disagreement in the reports  the best decision was to remove the leg for all the reasons  given.

Because Genie isn’t  quite as mobile as you would like yet, it’s hard    to feel good about the surgery.  Once she recovers… and it’s happening  slowly but surely, .you will see removing that painful leg was a decision that was a good decision for her quality!!!.  And assuming the path report is accurate  you have a victory most of us hope and pray for, but don’t  get that opportunity!!

And she did better without the “gear”!!!  YAY!!   Wonderful news!!!

Higs

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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