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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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9 Days post operation -won't walk
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Forum Posts: 8
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12 June 2015 - 2:19 pm
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I am so frustrated. My Rottie had a front left leg amputation last week and we are having a difficult time getting him to walk. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He also has arthritis. He is having a difficult time with his back legs and I am scared that he is never going to be able to walk again. We have been using a towel with one person holding towel and the other person helping to guide his back legs. I have tried to call AST to order a pet support suit several times over the last few days and can not get them to call me back.   

Here and Now


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12 June 2015 - 2:31 pm
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moni said
My Rottie had a front left leg amputation last week and we are having a difficult time getting him to walk.

Welcome and best wishes for your pup! What is his name? Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

We highly recommend consulting with a certified rehab vet tech (CCRP or CCRT ). You will also find lots of tips helpful information about the amount and type of exercise recommended for Tripawds in Loving Life On Three Legs .

Perhaps he has overdone it…one week is still very early to be going on any sort of walks. If he is still on pain meds, that will also cause lethargy.

I have tried to call AST to order a pet support suit several times…  

Eric at AST has temporarily halted operation after experiencing a major medical emergency. That’s why we have a notice about delayed production in the Tripawds Gear Shop where you’ll find other harnesses that may meet your needs. 

Raleigh, NC
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12 June 2015 - 3:27 pm
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Hi Moni,

I’m sorry you’ve had to join our club. Some questions for you about your Rottie.

1. How much does he weigh? Is he overweight?
2. Has he been able to walk at all unaided or have you had to help all the time?
3. Can he stand unaided?
4. Can he get up unaided?
5. Does he like water?
6. Is he vocalizing or indicating in any way that he is hurting?

My dog had lots of setbacks the first 3 weeks after amputation but we eventually got it worked out. He couldn’t even stand unaided and I had to put him in a harness and then pick him AND the bed up together and lower him to his feet.

Michigan
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12 June 2015 - 8:14 pm
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Hi Moni ~

Sometimes, too, it’s the medications…they just aren’t themselves on the post-op meds.  Or maybe he doesn’t have enough medication, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

And his gait has changed.  Murphy had me worried for a little while after his surgery.. he was walking like his back legs were really stiff and like his back was humped.  I was afraid that something was wrong with his back or with his back knees.  They did do x-rays for me when he went in for one of his chemo treatments, and ortho saw him… turned out that he was fine, just adjusting to his new gait.  We do massage for him – we rub his back & hips pretty good and stretch out his legs for him, and he will lay on his side and arch his back and stretch out really good, so I think all of that helps. 

Was he limping before the surgery?  Maybe he just needs help standing and then he will get going on his own?  Do you have carpeting or wood floors?  If wood, make sure you throw down some rugs so he doesn’t slip.  We mostly have carpeting except in the kitchen, and Murphy will stand at the doorway to the kitchen and not cross if the rug is missing, or go out of his way to get to the rug in order to go through the kitchen lol  Can you maybe entice him with a treat?

Keep us posted!  You can try the chat room or the help line, too, if you need more help!

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

Virginia




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12 June 2015 - 11:45 pm
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I know recovery is scary. It IS major surgery and it does take some dogs, especially larger dogs, a bit longer to recover and figure things out.

Mobility issues, joints, muscle adjustments, etc. take about thirty days for a dog to strike a normal way kf walking. Also, and you may have already tried this, but once you get him standing can you remove the towel and step away (yet be close enough to suppprt him should he stumble)? My beloved Happy Hannah would pretty much freeze up wjen I used the towel sling.

You’ve gotten great advice from everyone. I agree that he may need to either lower or increase his lain meds. I’m thinking maybe increase a bit after conferring with your vet.

Definitely try the massaging that Donna referred to before trying to get him to stand up. That is often helpful. And gently massage up and down his spine too.

You proceeded with amputation to rid him of a very painful.leg and to give him a chance to get a whole lot more spoiling and loving! Recovery is full of ups snd downs. It does get better! Stay strong! Stay confient!! Stay connected to us!

Look forward ro your next post after you’ve had a chance to review the info. here and answer some of the questions we’ve asked about pain meds, etc.

((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

PS Is he on Rimadyl?

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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13 June 2015 - 9:16 am
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We are so glad you have found Tripawds! This is truly the best place to get support, encouragement, and answers to your questions. You are an AWESOME dog mom to your Rottie and he loves you so much — keep that in your mind and heart!

Molly is slightly arthritic but our main concern is that she has a partial cruciate tear in her right hind leg (she had her left hind leg amputated 8 days ago). She was an “adequate” candidate for amputation — not good, but our vets said that with physical therapy she would likely be okay. They also told us that she had already started her own kind of physical therapy because by the time we got the amp, she hadn’t been putting very much weight (if any at all) on her left leg. She was already strengthening that right leg on her own! The first few days were tough, as you could tell she was leaning on us and the towel sling quite a bit and her right leg was shaking to beat the band by the time we got done with even a short walk from the family room to our bedroom. Each day, though gets better and each day, her leg gets stronger. She has to build her confidence on that leg so we are finding ways to help her do that — little baby steps are key! I agree with the advice to check on his meds, give him massages, let him tell you how comfortable he might be. It can be hard to read those signs but he will tell you eventually… Maybe just standing for a few minutes a few times a day will help him start to regulate his balance. Obviously I am not a vet or certified PT, so please do stay in touch with your surgeon. Ours sent us a PT document with some ideas of things we could do at home. My other piece of advice is to look into glucosamine. We started giving Molly that about 9 months ago for her joint pain (unrelated at the time to osteosarcoma) and it has done WONDERS. 

And as Sally said, hang in there and keep the faith! Keep us updated and if you have time, send us pics of your sweet boy. We are cheering him (and you) on! HUGS!

Kirby & Molly

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13 June 2015 - 11:52 am
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Testing 

Raleigh, NC
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13 June 2015 - 12:06 pm
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moni said

Testing 

We see you.

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13 June 2015 - 12:17 pm
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Hi everyone thank you so much for all of your responses. I have replied several times but for some reason it was not showing up. It looks like things are working now.

 His name is BamBam and he’s approximately six years old. We work with a Rottweiler rescue and fostered Bam and his friend, Pebbles, after they were found as strays in Texas. We adopted them last year after finding that it was tough to find a home to take both of them. They are so attached to one another, and we could not bring ourselves to split them up.

 Bam weighed about 115 pounds prior to surgery. He already had issues with his back legs due to arthritis and some dysplasia. I was very hesitant about doing the amputation due to that, but my Vet assured me that he would adapt.

 When I said walks,  I meant just getting them outside to go potty. He can not get up by himself or stand by himself at this point. He can barely turn himself over without help. All of which he had no problems doing prior to surgery.

 

 Bam Bam is not fond of water, he tolerates bath time.  We have runners down because we have carpet and hardwood floors. We put boots on last night to see if that would help.  It may help a little bit but he still having a very difficult time.

 We have to pick him up and get him into a standing position with my husband using a towel for a sling and I have to get behind him and move his back legs for him. Otherwise they get crossed up or he just falls to the side. We have been massaging him and turning  him from side to side to take pressure off of the nonsurgical side for short periods.

 I am very disappointed that I can’t get the support suit for him, but I did order the Ruffwear double back harness.  I am hoping that makes a world of difference.

I have been looking for a CCRT or a CCRP with no luck as of yet. You would think it would be easy since I live close to the University of Georgia. I will continue that seArch Monday. 

 Thank you all so much for your support. I hope I’ve answered everyone’s questions. I will try to post some pictures as soon as I figure out how to do that. I am very challenged when it comes to technology.

Monica

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13 June 2015 - 1:39 pm
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Thank you for your feedback on Bam Bam! Sooooo heartwarming to know you’ve given both Bam Bam and Pebbles a loving forever home!

You are doing a wonderful job of caring for Bam Bam. I’m still wo dering about pain meds and the dosage.

I know it’s hard to be patient…oh how I know!! I do believe Bam Bam will get things figured out and learn how to adjust to his new mobility style.

Also, have you asked your vet about Adequan injections?

((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Raleigh, NC
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13 June 2015 - 4:44 pm
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Monica,

Emilyb has an XL Help Em Up Harness listed on the Angle Exchange that is still looking for a new home.

If you send her a private message, you can work out the shipping details.  I’ve already contacted her to make sure it was still available.

http://tripawds…..t-harness/

I know you have the Ruff Wear Double Back harness ordered but this harness can be left on all day and has a handle on the hips that can be quite helpful.

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13 June 2015 - 7:05 pm
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We have a Help em up harness that we use for our 90 lb senior golden retriever who has difficulty walking. It works really well. With a shoulder and hip handle, I can easily help him up the stairs. 

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14 June 2015 - 2:14 pm
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Bam is doing about the same. His medications are Novox 100mg every 12 h, tramadol 200 mg every 8 h,  and gabapentin 400 mg every 12 h –    He did not start the Gabapentin until post op day 5.  He seemed to be much less painful after getting that on board. I had decreased the tramadol to 100 mg q 8 and he seemed to be ok with that… but then Vet wanted me to decrease the Gabapentin to q12 h – so I went back up with the tramadol.  He is not sedated by any means. He is alert and eating and drinking well. 

Does the help em up harness work well for front amputations ?  I don’t remember that one being recommended. I would definitely be willing to try it. Do you think it would be better than the double back from ruffwear ? 

I am going to check on the Adequan when we go back for suture removal on Tuesday. He has been taking the Dayquil with MSM and fish oil. 

Thank you all so much ! It is good to be able to talk to people that understand. Some people just don’t. 

M

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 June 2015 - 2:28 pm
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moni said
Does the help em up harness work well for front amputations ?  I don’t remember that one being recommended. I would definitely be willing to try it. Do you think it would be better than the double back from ruffwear ? 

Glad to hear Bam is stable right now. I hope things start getting better for you guys.

As for the help em up; we’ve heard mixed reviews  on it, which is why we don’t carry it. We are biased; Ruffwear products are our favorite and we receive the fewest returns on them. The Doubleback can be left on all day and in fact it’s easier that way, since it doesn’t have quick-release buckles. But, if you can get an angel exchange harness than it sure can’t hurt to try the other one out.

As for a CCRT or CCRP , did you check the Canine Rehab Institute website directory?

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19 June 2015 - 12:06 am
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Hello,

I was in a similar boat concern with my girl prior to amputation, My girl is a pretty big girl too. Very leggy. She already had a Left hing limp TPLO for a torn CCl 3 yrs prior and suspect soreness in her opposite leg. When she was amputated I really tended to her instead of just having her do all her motions activities I desided to assist in everything until her body seemed to do it on her own, the motion of “helping or doing” it for her also gave her tactile, (the feel) of what needed to be done to achieve her movement.  I am a rehab therapist so I tried to incorporate my thinking as I do with people. If you break your own leg and have to use crutches our arms and remaining usable leg, have to build strength to function and make it through your day. each person will adjust differently based on their neuro proprioceoption as well ad their muscle awareness.

My girl took a while to be able to flip over while laying down, then she figure out if she used her head she did these really cool spins..made me laugh. but shes resourceful, ill giver her that.

But as far as getting up, I helped her in alot to just preserve and not stress out the other legs. I got her boots ASAP, a good gripping boot will help alot. as well as retraining her approach to getting up. Ad previously mentioned look up a good canine rehab therapist in your area.

She is 18 months post op CA, and amputation. I went back to helping her after about 8 months ago because she fell and subluxed(semi dislocated her hip(suspected)) because I was just making her do it on her own, but then I felt let me help her to preserve any extra wear.

Take it step by step and think of it as, you just need to make some adjustments so he can figure out how reapproach his initiattion to movement. Hell adapt. Patients, my friend.

Angel Neka

7/4/2003-4/5/2016

2.5yr 3x cancer warrior survivor

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