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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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7 days post amputation, panting and restless
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The Rainbow Bridge



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7 April 2020 - 6:14 pm
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I couldn’t agree more with Sally; soft tissue tumors that were as advanced as Genie’s was leave few options after they get to a certain point. In some cases people will do a tumor resection / reduction, but more often than not the tumor’s “tentacles” return and the leg must be amputated anyways. And it could have gotten soooo much worse for Genie based on what you are describing. No, you didn’t act in haste, you did everything necessary to spare her more surgeries and recoveries. 

Yep, when recovery it’s tough not to second guess yourself but try not to do it. Focus on the here and now, and the fact that Genie really is doing pretty well aside from this challenge. I’m sooo glad to hear that taking the collar and harness off helped her be more comfortable!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 April 2020 - 7:10 am
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Thank you for your encouraging words Jerry & Sally. We are still trying to come to terms with this. And yes she was limping with that leg so I guess amputation would’ve happened anyways. You both have been very supportive during these times. I might have more questions as we get used to the new normal :). 

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 April 2020 - 11:14 am
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You are so welcome. Ask as many questions as you would like, we are here for you!

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11 April 2020 - 8:41 pm
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Hello again!

Genie is 11 days post op. She has been completely off painkillers for 3 days now. We had her stores sutures removed yesterday (10 days post op). The surgeon said she has healed very well and her gait is good and she can return to her normal activities. 

However she has been very dull ever since the surgery. She is unexcited about her toys or ball (which she loves a lot). She gets up to eat food, but sometimes prefers to eat lying down and I end up feeding her. She refuses and is not excited to get up. We have to push her to get up for her poop and pee. If we don’t she goes for more than 12 hours without doing her business. I mentioned this to the surgeon but she said she didn’t find anything wrong in Genie’s behavior. In fact even I noticed she was very excited to go to the vet. But the moment she is home she is very dull.

I can’t help but wonder if she is missing having her 4th leg. How long does it take for her to come back to her normal activities? She seems to struggle to get up and get balance. Could she still be tired from the surgery and the antibiotics (she completed the course 4 days ago)?

Virginia




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11 April 2020 - 9:38 pm
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A couple of things jump out. 

If I read it right,  Genie has been off pain meds since day eight.  That’s  earlier than what we usually see on here.  Generally, not always, dogs are on pain meds to arpound the two week mark.I had my Hapoy Hannahnoff at the two week mark and had to put jer back on at a reduced  dose during the third week.  

So check with the Vet about fetting her back on some pain meds for another several days and see of that helps.  Dogs are very stoic and hide their pain realky well.  Laying down while eating, not really wanting to get up, could all be subtle pain signs.

Also, you mentioned Genie got excited  going to the Vet.   So a change of scenery  and being  around others sid her good.  That’s  a good sign!  Make sure your energy is upbeat, enthusiastic,  confident and strong.  She will feed off your energy. 

I k ow we say this a lot, but ten, eleven days is still early in eecovery!  She’s getting over MAJOR surgery, she’s  adjusting to three legs , trying to move past the pain and just doesn’t  feel like running a marathon yet!  

She’s recovering  at her own pace.  Her sparkle will come back.  You already saw a bit of ot at the Vet.  Can you take her oit in the car to a drive-thru to help stimulate jer?

Try massaging llmpver her neck and shoulders and spine before she gets up.  

Try giving her yummy foods in her bowl.  Warm chicken, stinky liverwurst, cheese, etc.

So check into putting her back on some pain meds.  And make sure you are upbeat and positive around her.  Exaggerate  your enthusiasm.  

It probably took me at least three weeks before I started to see some of Happy Hannah’s sparkle come back.    It’s soooo hard to be patient, but Genie will get through this. 

Higs

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

PS. If you have jardwoods, make sure you have nonslip scatter rugs for traction   to. Build up her confidence.

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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11 April 2020 - 10:09 pm
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I felt the same as well  that she has been off pain meds very early on. The surgeon insisted that she shouldn’t be in any pain anymore and that she has no idea why Genie is whining or dull. She also said to avoid pain medication since she would get used to it and kept telling us that she can get back to her routine and be her happy self with no restrictions. I am trying to contact her primary veterinarian for more medication. But since it is the weekend we have to wait it out. It surely looks she is in pain. Her eyes and ears are droopy.

Thanks again!

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 7:12 am
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I’m sorry to hear she’s not back to herself just yet. It’s still early so try not to panic, but Did the surgeon have any recommendations for helping her? It would concern me if she did not mention a plan like rehab/physio therapy to assist her in getting her mojo going.

You did right by consulting with your GP. You both know Genie better than anyone else, so keep advocating to find out how to get her sparkle back!

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




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12 April 2020 - 9:04 am
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lovegenie said
 The surgeon insisted that she shouldn’t be in any pain anymore and that she has no idea why Genie is whining or dull. She also said to avoid pain medication since she would get used to it and kept telling us that she can get back to her routine and be her happy self with no restrictions. 

  

WOW!   Just WOW!!!  If there’s one thong that  ticks us off around  here is lack of proper pain  management!!!   Tjat surgeon has such  an “old school ” way of thinking.  And then to say that Genie would “get used to the meds”!  That’s  sooo crazy!!

Yes, here eyes and laid back ears are pain signs.  Goof for you for recognizing  them and good for you for getting with your regular Vet  Mondsy!  It ,at take a day or two for the pain meds to catch up with knocking the pain out, so hang in there!

Refresh my  memory.  What pain meds did she have?   Most dogs here come home with .Gabapentin,  Tramadol, Rimadyl and a antibiotic.   

Oh, and as far as “no restrictions ‘.  The firs two weeks are all about bed rest and short potty breaks..and that’s  it.  Then, around  the two week mark, dogs can start returning  to SOME od their normal routines.  I felt like that I could say it took my Happy Hannah (125 lb “fluffy” Bull Mastiff) about five weeks to get ALL her sparkle back and return to ALL her rputines.

Amd yes, do check into Rehab .  They can provide you great ins into how to keep a tripawd fit and strong. 

We’ll be looking for your update.  Again, you are doing a great job of adv6 for your girl!

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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12 April 2020 - 12:46 pm
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Hi Jerry

The surgeon has been very indifferent. She wasn’t even compassionate enough to answer our questions. The rare occasions when she called back, she would’nt give us proper answers and seemed irritated when we asked her more questions. With the Covid19 situation we haven’t been able to meet the surgeon in person and I expected her to give us more time over phone. She was also hesitant to refill painkillers after day 7. We have emailed Genie’s vet and awaiting their response. Due to the virus scare there has been some delay from their end. We are trying to bring down the pain with leftover Carpofen. Using it very sparingly!

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12 April 2020 - 12:57 pm
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Hello Sally

Genie was on Gabapentin, codeine and Carpofen post surgery. We were out of Codeine and Gaba on day 6. That’s when we called surgeon for a refill. She was very hesitant to give one and finally did. We continued on Carpofen and Gaba for couple more days and stopped everything since day 9 as that was the time the surgeon insisted that she doesn’t think it is pain from surgery and we have to treat her like a dog and not a human and let her be. I felt it was a rude response from her. After 3 days of no painkillers we gave her Carpofen yesterday since she wasn’t able to stand even. She is better today. But we are using it sparingly as we are running out of it. We didn’t want to give Genie Gaba as 6 hours into taking the medicine she would shiver all over (tremors). It seems like it is some side effect with the medication. And I’ve noticed a couple times earlier too. 

Carpofen (NSAID) seems to be working well so I am going to try and call her vet tomorrow to get a refill on it. He is a very good vet and hoping to hear from him soon.

To be frank we didn’t have enough support from  the surgeon. She didn’t respond well to our concerns and questions (about the tumor and post surgery care). Only you guys have been able to give us confidence during these hard times. Thanks much for that.

Thanks!

Genie’s Mom

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 2:29 pm
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Oh. My. Dog. smiley7 AGGH!

she doesn’t think it is pain from surgery and we have to treat her like a dog and not a human and let her be.

I’m so very, very sorry. I was on my phone earlier and since I’m not very good at typing on it, I didn’t get into the alarm bells going off in my head based on what you wrote. But now that I’m at my desk and I just saw this, well, that just infuriates me and I’m going to let loose here.

Unfortunately you have a surgeon stuck in a mindset from the days when veterinary medicine didn’t know that yes, animals DO feel pain in the same way that humans do, even sharing the same type of pain pathways. Unfortunately you found out now, and I’m so sorry for that. If it makes you feel any better, you aren’t alone, others have learned the hard way too.

pain management has come such a long way for animals in the last decade, and it’s tragic that some technically, very capable vets haven’t heard the news. They do animals such a disservice.

Here’s a little pep talk on that subject from our hero, one of the founders of veterinary pain management education, Dr. Robin Downing:

Good for you for advocating for Genie, and using care with the Carprophen. I’m looking forward to hearing what your vet has to say. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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23 April 2020 - 9:44 pm
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Thanks for all the advice and support Jerry. I wanted to update you that it’s been 3+ weeks post amputation and genie seems to be getting better. She has been willing to go on few walks on sunny days (she hates cloudy weather..more so now). Her veterinarian has given a refill on gabapentin and it has helped her. She was also on entyce for a few days to increase her appetite. I am hoping she continues to get better and become her active self.

Thanks

Genie

Virginia




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23 April 2020 - 10:31 pm
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So glad to jear from uou and to kmow Genie is doing better.  She sure had a rough start…an unnecessary  rough start.  So glad you stood strong  and advocated  for  ore pain  meds.  She should start getting her sparkle back more and more now that she is healing  and.not having to use her energy to fight pain.

And yes, sunbathing and taking walks on sunny days  is very therapeutic. Genie’s  on her way to being herself again.  She’s actually doing okay for three weeks out AND for not being  given proper pain meds her first two weeks.

Keep up with the Entyce and a thing yummy she’ll eat. The Bet can try and appet stimulant of the Entyc isn’t  helping.

Thanks for the update.  We’re cheering for Genie!!

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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24 April 2020 - 11:19 am
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You made my day, thank you for letting us know. I’m elated that she is doing better. And I’m with her, cloudy days are not my thing either. I love sunshine! smiley16

I wanted to let you know that Tripawds Foundation has a rehabilitation therapy reimbursement program that will pay for Genie’s first rehab visit . Since she had a hard time with the early days of recovery and pain control, I encourage you to take advantage of the program to help her continue on this path forward and feel 100% again. Let me know if you have questions about it and give Genie a smooch from us!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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2 May 2020 - 7:34 am
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Sally & Jerry, I can’t thank you guys enough. Genie had some issues with phantom limb pain. She would suddenly wake up from rest and run with her tail inwards like she is terrified of something. She would lick her suture area on and off (and ended up bruising the skin there). We consulted her veterinarian and she suggested we give her gabapentin twice a day for another 2 weeks. It’s been four days now and she is doing so much better. She is almost back to her pre surgery days….plays with the ball, comes on walks with us and I see the spark coming back  although we are still waiting for her to bark at us (food, pee and walks. She would bark on our face haha). 

Thanks for the constant  support and assurance from you both. Her vet told us to wait for the physiotherapy until the COVID19 situation is under control. But we are trying to keep her active in other ways.

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