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Advice - Day 13 post rear leg amputation - New onset refusing food and seems down
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1 December 2020 - 12:39 pm
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Hello –

Our 7 year old chocolate lab is on day 13 post left rear leg amputation due to rapidly growing melanoma on her ankle. She was discharged home the day after surgery on 7 days of carprofen, and 2 days later, we received a rx for gabapentin (600mg q8-12 hours – she is 75 pounds) because she was seemingly having phantom or shooting pain (looking back at the incision, jumping up and running with ears tucked…). 600mg seemed to make her loopy, so after the first dose, we’ve decreased to 300mg q 8-10 hours. For the past week, so has done pretty well; however, starting 3 days ago, she began refusing her dog food (which she normally LOVES) and seems very down.  

I have not been sure if it is pain (Her last day of Carprofen was Thursday) or a reaction to the medication (if the pain was subsiding now).

We took her in yesterday/on Monday to the vet, and they did a physical exam and removed staples. They said it seemed to be normal behavior. She also got the 2nd of 3 planned Tourigen vaccines. 

Overnight last night, she refused the gabapentin tucked into chicken, and we decided to hold it in the morning to try to see if the medication was making her feel poorly. She ended up going ~21 hours without any meds and wouldn’t even stand up when my husband come home this afternoon (normally, and in the week post surgery, she was very excited and would hop across the room). 

I’m just concerned because she was more chipper and had a nearly normal appetite until just a few days ago. She has eaten some ground chicken and turkey breast and has points where she’s wagging her tail and seeming happier, but she just generally seems like she feels very crummy.

I appreciate any advice. I hate seeing her feel so poorly. 🙁

Thanks in advance.

Amy

The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2020 - 2:31 pm
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Hi Amy and family, welcome. What’s your dog’s name? I’m so sorry you had to join our club. Melanoma as a cause for amputation isn’t too common around here.

Since your girl is almost 2 weeks out, I’m guessing that she was probably getting to be pretty active until this downturn. What kinds of activities was she doing during the day? Are there other dogs in the home that she plays with? I ask because the most common setback we see here is when a new Tripawd appears to be doing really well, their people loosen the reigns too quickly and the dog gets too much activity too soon after surgery. In no time at all their body catches up and the pup ends up in a little slump. Usually, getting back to more controlled, shorter activity can help, along with pain control.

Speaking of the pain control. It sounds like she is giving some pain signals . The lack of appetite and not getting up are two common ones, usually related to getting too much activity too soon. When giving pain medications, never hide pills in food. Dogs can smell it and when they associate ills with feeling lousy, they’ll refuse even their favorite foods. There are other ways to get pills in. Here are some articles that explain how to give pills:

https://nutriti…..medication

My recommendation is to talk to your vet and get some guidance on where to go from here. But do it soon, because it really does sound like she’s in pain based on what you’re describing. And let us know how things are going OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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1 December 2020 - 2:32 pm
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I’m in the Tripawds Chat for a little while if you want to talk.

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Virginia




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1 December 2020 - 9:35 pm
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Yeah, ditto Jerry!.  Sounds like she could still use some Gabapentin.   Most dogs are on pain meds “approximately ” two weeks.  Some maybe a little less, some maybe a little longer.  

The first several days home she still had some strong  hospital  meds in her system.   That may have helped her to feel a little “perkier” at first.  Caprophen is basically an anti-inflammatory and is not strong enough to deal with the pain of MAJ surgery like amputation.  Even if the Gabapentin  made her a little lethargic, that’s  better than being in pain.  300mg every 8 to 10 hours is not a lot for a 75 lb dog.  Of course, every dog is different  and reacts  to pain meds differently. 

I did read that a side effect of Torigen is lethargy.  So that could  be something  to check out with the Vet.  And definitely  ask about putting her on so e pain meds. 

Just curious, Is it possible  the vaccine  could be delayed  another week or so until she recovers from the surgery and maybe doesn’t  need pain meds in another week of so?

Also, try massaging  all up and down her spine, her neck, her shoulders.  Does she show any sign of tension  or soreness?  It is soooo easy for a new tripawd  to tweak a muscle this early in recovery. 

For the first two weeks, it’s just short leashed  potty breaks and back to bed for rest.

We’ll look forward to your update.  Recovery  doe last furever….it just seems like it at first!

Hugs

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

PS….just as an extra precaution, can you take her temperature?  I’m  sure she was on an a for a week or so, but always good to keep an eye out for anynfecer, etc.

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 December 2020 - 11:01 am
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jerry said
Hi Amy and family, welcome. What’s your dog’s name? I’m so sorry you had to join our club. Melanoma as a cause for amputation isn’t too common around here.

Since your girl is almost 2 weeks out, I’m guessing that she was probably getting to be pretty active until this downturn. What kinds of activities was she doing during the day? Are there other dogs in the home that she plays with? I ask because the most common setback we see here is when a new Tripawd appears to be doing really well, their people loosen the reigns too quickly and the dog gets too much activity too soon after surgery. In no time at all their body catches up and the pup ends up in a little slump. Usually, getting back to more controlled, shorter activity can help, along with pain control.

Speaking of the pain control. It sounds like she is giving some pain signals . The lack of appetite and not getting up are two common ones, usually related to getting too much activity too soon. When giving pain medications, never hide pills in food. Dogs can smell it and when they associate ills with feeling lousy, they’ll refuse even their favorite foods. There are other ways to get pills in. Here are some articles that explain how to give pills:

https://nutriti…..medication

My recommendation is to talk to your vet and get some guidance on where to go from here. But do it soon, because it really does sound like she’s in pain based on what you’re describing. And let us know how things are going OK? 

  

This post was very helpful to me! Our 8 year old timberwolf/husky hybrid (Nymeria…we’re nicknaming her Trimeria now) is 9 days post-op from a rear leg amputation from osteosarcoma that was diagnosed in March/April. We chose not to pursue chemo/radiation to maintain her quality of life and we and assumed we were doing palliative care until we had to say goodbye. We learned two weeks ago that the cancer didn’t seem to have spread beyond the leg and were pretty overjoyed to have the opportunity to save her with an amputation. I found this group a few days too late, and it seems I’ve been doing all the wrong things post-op. I’ve hidden nasty meds in her food, and since she seemed to have a whole new lease on life within 72 hours of the surgery I pushed her too far/too fast with walking around the yard and up the driveway and reducing her pain meds that made her feel lousy. After day 6 she decided she didn’t want to eat again and became slower, it seemed harder to get up than it had seemed before, and she became…not exactly lethargic, but at least lazy. I think I just pushed her too much, and I also made her eat when she didn’t want to. After staying up most of the night reading this site and crying my eyes out, I’ve decided that her body probably knows what it needs, and if what it needs is to be off food for a couple of days (she’s still drinking lots of water) and to rest then that’s what I should let her do. 

She’s scheduled to get her sutures removed tomorrow, and I’ll bring up her appetite loss with the vet at that time. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to offer dog food at regular meal times but I’ll stop trying to add a bunch of stuff to it to coax her, and if she doesn’t want to eat within a half hour or so I’ll go ahead and take her food up. Besides not forcing the food issue and allowing her to rest while she heals instead of pushing her, I’m trying to be a strong/positive pack leader and not being anxious or sad around her (although TBH I’m struggling with this more than I thought I would). What else should I be doing for her? Or…for me? 

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6 December 2020 - 2:40 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Trimeria! Please consider starting a new topic to share your story and get answers to your questions. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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6 December 2020 - 2:55 pm
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Hi. My choc lab also went through amputation at age 12 due to bone cancer. He was on meds for three weeks. We started tapering off on week three. He wore a pain patch. He also had tramadol and gabapentin.  Brownie did not seem to experience and pain during recovery, but he was a little looped. I gave Brownie hos meds with a spoon of cottage cheese. He would take it right off the spoon. I also would hide it in a cheese ball. He thought he was getting a treat. 

Would love to see pictures! I hope your girl gets to feeling better soon!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Virginia




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6 December 2020 - 4:03 pm
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Do NOT best yourself up for not knowing how to handle recovery!  Many of us have very little guidance at discharge for pain meds, limited activity, etc.  This comm exists in large part  to help each other navigate thru recovery.

You have pinpointed exactly what needs to be done now.  Go back to rest, SHORT LEASHED potty breaks and more rest.  Even if the pain meds make her a LITTLE lethargic, that’s okay.  REst is good

As jackoe noted, many dogs stay on pain meds three weeks, sometimes longer, and sometimes at a reduced dose.

For now feed her anythong she will eat.  Cheeseburger,  scrambled eggs , bacon.

And do get her back on some pain meds….of course with Vet  approvsl..we are not vets.

MAssage up and down her spine,neck, shoulders to help relaxed overused miscles.

You are doing a good job! UPDATE WHEN UOU CAN.

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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