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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 year old mastiff increasing pain 1 month following amputation
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Member Since:
18 October 2022
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18 October 2022 - 11:32 pm
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Hello, 

I am new to this forum after desperately searching the internet for answers. Our bullmastiff was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in July – we amputated 23 August. His recovery seemed uncomplicated until perhaps the last 2 weeks 

We first started noticing him whining when my partner picked him up (to go down the stairs) – we put him back on metacam. We couldn’t sort out where the pain was coming from. One evening he couldn’t get comfortable, was whining and shifting position +++ we put him back on gabapentin 400 mg twice a day. Just recently he has been really resisting getting up and after ambulating we notice a spike in his pain. We can’t find a source of his pain – we have felt his paw, leg, ribs and we can’t find it but he is SO uncomfortable whining and whining and whining until he falls asleep and it seems to settle. Episodes seem to be worse in the evening and after he hops, and occasionally while being carried. We have since upped his gabapentin to 3 x a day 400 mg 

He is currently snoozing after a particularly bad pain flare. 

x-ray and blood work pre amputation we’re all clear. 

We have done no CT scans and no x-rays following his amputation.

I just saw another user post about a similar situation and they suspected spinal Mets. 

i would appreciate any wisdom, or thoughts pertaining to our baby. 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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19 October 2022 - 10:42 am
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Hi Yogibear and family, welcome. Your future posts won’t require approval so post away.

I am sorry to hear about your pup’s situation (is Yogi his name?). Have you talked to your vet about his pain signals ? If so, what is their plan to help him feel better? 

What do you think started the discomfort? Could he have slipped? Do you have hardwood floors that he might have lost his footing on when you weren’t around? Many times dogs will pull a neck or back muscle when learning to get around. Hardwood floors are their worst enemy so if you have them, get some no-slip throw rugs to give him traction .

Gabapentin is a start but resolving pain can take multiple approaches, such as a rehab therapist and other modalities including acupuncture. Has Yogi been evaluated by a canine rehabiltiation therapist yet? If not, now is the time. Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so don’t delay, call asap because they usually have long waiting lists. Meanwhile let your vet know what’s going on if you haven’t. Another type of pain reliever such as Methocarbomol (muscle relaxer) or Amantadine may help him feel better while you wait for a physio appointment.

Sometimes mets can appear in the spine. It’s rare but does happen. The only way to tell is with a CT scan, unfortunately. If that’s something you are able to do it would give you more concrete answers. 

I hope this helps. Please let us know how things are going. We are sending tons of pawsitivity your way! 

Yogibear-08
3
19 October 2022 - 12:20 pm
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(This is the original poster but I somehow got locked out of my account) rnrnYes his name is Yogi 😊 rnThank you for your response.

We have been worried sick about him for over a week but the last few days have been particularly bad. We have put down foam mats for grip since day one but there have been a few incidental slips. We built a ramp for him and our other dog accidentally knocking him off. I didn’t see it (my partner did) but there was lost is squealing with that. So this is a possible source of injury – however he was whimpering with being picking up prior to this.

We have spoke with our vet about his pain from the beginning. We had actually weaned him from all pain medication for a few days maybe a week. We started noticing him whining when being picked up so they suggested going back on metacam and not coming off. They also encouraged us to use gabapentin at our discretion.

Our last check in was yesterday – they suggested tranadol and if things aren’t improving to bring him in.

we have called another vet and spoken with a pet pharmacist and they are all suggesting it could be a muscle strain. He has gone up and down the couch, and he’s a big boy, but it’s hard for me to think it could be a muscle strain with the amount of discomfort he is in.

i am planning to bring him in tomorrow or Friday for an appointment and we will discuss the muscle relaxants then. Thank you for your suggestion!

We are from Canada so I assume the rehab coverage doesn’t apply but I will do some research around that. Thanks for all your suggestions. I can’t believe something like this exists. Thanks for all the time and hard work folks put into this! 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
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19 October 2022 - 1:38 pm
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Welcome back! Sorry you got blocked. If it continues let us know. Multiple failed log-ins will do that. If we can help just bark.

So I’m super glad you have your house set up and are in communication with the vet team. It really is hard to say what this can be, but I can tell you we see it often and usually a combination of pain management and rest will make things much better. And time, of course. Let us know what the vet says after the appointment.

Yes our physio program is worldwide! As long as you see a CCRT or CCRP credentialed therapist we will reimburse for that first rehab visit

Keep us posted!

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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19 October 2022 - 7:41 pm
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As Jerry said, this type of issue does show up so etimes a couple of months after amp and is usually a muscle tweak, soft joint injury, etc.

It takes very little to cause a “tweak” the first mo th or so as a pupper adjusts to his new gait, using his muscles  in a different way, etc.  There may have been some soreness and the. The tumble off the ramp escalated it.

What was his activity like the first several weeks after the amp and what has it been like these past couple of weeks?  Have the stairs and sofa been off limits?

Really hope you can get a Rehab appraisal.  They are excellent  at identifying  causes of situations  like this, as well as suggesting solutions.

In the meantime, continue to keep him rested and just short leashed potty breaks.   Give him lots of massages to keep his muscles relaxed.  When you massage up and down his spine, his neck, shoulder, etc do you notice any tension  anywhere?

Eating, drinking, pottying okay?

BTW, my Happy Hannah was a Bull Mastiff and she thrived on three once rec was complete.  That’s  her avatar picture.  She’s holding her food bowl.  She carried it arou d like a prized toy.  Would love to see a pic of  Yogi.  This link can help you add a photo adding images

Hugs

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

PS…. FWIW. copying this from a reply Jerry just made on another post about Tramadol 

    What I know based on current science is that Tramadol is worthless. I don’t say this lightly. One of the founders (literally) of vet pain management medicine says it here, and other vets have confirmed it for us.  

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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20 October 2022 - 7:27 am
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I think these giant dogs need NSAIDS such as Metacam a lot longer than smaller dogs and some need it long term. Check with your vet to make sure he is on the right dose and definitely give the gabapentin up to 3 times daily.  Sometimes changing to a different NSAID such as deracoxib can help but often dogs in spinal pain need prednisone and possibly a muscle relaxer.  Jerry is right the only way to identify a slipped disc is an MRI and CT is best for spinal mets.  My own English Mastiff Tazzie did get spinal mets but that was after 14 months.

I know it is hard to get to the vet but sometimes a spinal film can be helpful. Does he already have arthritis or spondylosis of the lumbar spine?

Pam

The Rainbow Bridge


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20 October 2022 - 10:53 am
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Dr. Pam you rock, thank you for sharing your wisdom and Tazzie’s experience.

Member Since:
18 October 2022
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20 October 2022 - 8:35 pm
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Oh my goodness you folks are all so amazing truly! I wish I came on here sooner 😭

We have had a rough 24 hours. His pain is very bad after he ambulates. It completely flares. We finally found the source – it’s a  “nodule” underneath the incision I will try and attach a photo perhaps of the location. 

He cries with palpation and the ambulation must exacerbate it. It flares and takes up to an hour for him to settle then then doesn’t truly settle until morning. 

Tonight we carried him outside on his dog bed like a flying carpet (instead of having him get up on his own to the front door and then we would carry him down the stairs to his potty spot) and then had to coax him and then finally me and my partner had to lift him to convince him to potty. He knows it’s going to hurt. Our hearts are so broken. We almost made an appointment today to have someone come and end it for him because it seems like he is suffering with this, but we couldn’t follow through with the appointment. 

He is eating and drinking well (we have to bring bring it to him) and he wags his tail when we are around. He will not get up on his own right now due to this pain which has been progressive for about maybe 3 + weeks (time is blurring together) 

activity before all of this – he would hop to the front door, we would carry him down, he would hop to the tree 25 ft, then hop another 25 ft and then sometimes down the neighbours sidewalk and that was about it. If we went to a park, he would do a decent amount of hopping, and we would bring a wagon to supplement what he needed to take him for proper walks.  He took lots of breaks and we never rushed him. 

curent meds: metacam, gabapentin 400 TID, tramadol 150-200 TID and we just picked up morphine 10-30 mg TID as needed because last night was sooo awful. 

could this be like a nerves bundle? Or a tumour? Or? We are at a loss and don’t want to give up but also don’t want him to suffer. 

no respiratory symptoms whatsoever that we can identify. 

Our vet is so busy and no available appts today and we were so worried to transfer him but now that we figured out the magic carpet we should be able to bring him to a vet tomorrow. 

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20 October 2022 - 9:02 pm
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To answer Dr. Pam’s questions –  no arthritis at all. History of TPLO but since then he’s been really good until his osteosarcoma 😞 

to answer sally more totally – stairs were off limits, but he was going on the couch maybe 3 ish weeks after but stopped in the last few days. My partner didn’t want him on the couch but I did because he LOVES the couch, but now I regret it. 

Hannah is the success story we are desperate for. Thank you for sharing hope with me! The last few days have been SO hard.

As for rehab I did reach out to the provider in my city and I hope to hear back soon! Thanks for the encouragement! 

I am working on how to add photos! 

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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20 October 2022 - 9:15 pm
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Okay, deep breaths. This has to be a really rough 24 hrs for you.  

I think you are really onto something  discovering that lump and Yogi’s reaction to it.  IAlthough I know it breaks your heart to see Yogi in pain, I’m sooooo glad you didnt make “that call” today.  

Sounds like finding  the source of his pain and discovering  the “magic carpet ride” solution are all good signs that this will get figured out.

Dr Pam and Jerry can chime in.  FWIW in my unprofessional professional opinion, . we have seen “dangling nerves” that weren’t handled  properly  in surgery can  cause really bad pain.  Even a staple left in has been discovered later.  Even wondering if some piece of bone could be the culprit.  Is the lump squishy, hard, warm, no oozing, right? Just throwing all sorts of stuff out there.

I know getting him to the Bet tomorrow can’t come soon enough.. We’ll be looking for an update.  Hoping some of the med regimen  will help get him through the night more comfortably.  In addition  to the real pain, some of his whining is probably  anticipating  the pain.

Extra 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!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 October 2022 - 9:19 pm
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Just saw your post as I was typoing. 

I’ll PM you my email now and if you send me a picture I can post it for you.

Had to chuckle, dogs will not be denied  their posion on THEIR couch!!!  No need to regret letting Yoginkn the couch.  It was probably quite therapeutic  for him.👍

((((((Hugs))))))

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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20 October 2022 - 9:54 pm
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Thank you so much for your kind words. It might sound crazy that we didn’t take him in sooner when his pain was increasing but for one we thought it was soft tissue injury and for another we thought if we brought him in, he wouldn’t be coming home with us and we weren’t ready. I really thought this was cancer spread to his ribs. But we have push and prodded all the ribs and no concern there. 

I feel so confused about pain control after reading the tramadol info. The pet pharmacist we filled it will mentioned it also wasn’t their favorite drug. I guess good questions to bring up once we see a doctor in person. 

Thank you all so much for the starting point and the hope. 

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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20 October 2022 - 10:17 pm
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DRUM ROLL …..Introducing Yogi Bear, perhaps the most smoochable BullMastiff on the planet

  Screenshot_20221021-000906_Gmail.jpgImage Enlarger

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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22 February 2013
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20 October 2022 - 10:19 pm
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Screenshot_20221021-000915_Gmail.jpgImage Enlarger

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




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 October 2022 - 10:20 pm
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  Screenshot_20221021-000926_Gmail.jpgImage Enlarger

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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