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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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Bailey the Boxer is home from amp surgery!
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Forum Posts: 6
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2 August 2019
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8 August 2019 - 7:44 pm
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Bailey had his front leg amp surgery on Tuesday (soft tissue sarcoma). I picked both Bailey and Tele up from the vet this evening. Tele had surgery to remove two mast cell tumors on Wednesday. They got to recover in kennels right next to each other, so hopefully that made things easier for them both. I was so worried about how I would react the first time I saw Bailey and how different he would seem. He hopped into the room with his tail wagging like crazy – he was so happy to see us! I cried because I was so happy to see BOTH of my dogs and I’m hoping their pathology reports will show they are now both cancer free. It was a little sad to see my big strong boy this way, but I’m definitely overjoyed that he’s still with us. I got him the Webmaster Plus Brush Guard harness as recommended on this site, but he doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of it yet. His incisions are kind of weird and jagged across his chest so I’m not sure if the harness is tugging at them a little and thats why he is not yet a fan. Speaking of the incisions, they took me a little by surprise – they look nothing like the one clean line of stitches I envisioned in my head. Is it normal to have two big surgical lines that make kind of a V shape rather than just one clean line?

So far he is only able to get himself up off the ground and hop about 5-6 steps before he tires out, sits down, and starts panting like crazy. Is this normal for 48 hours post-op? We are concerned about his arthritis in his back legs, so I’m hoping that this level of activity is normal for this point and not indicative of the arthritis causing further mobility issues. I’m not sure if he’s panting because he’s over exerting himself, he’s just getting used to hopping, or he’s in pain. He’s on Carprofen and 200mg of Gabapentin twice a day. (Tele is actually on stronger pain meds than Bailey is – 300mg of gabapentin – which is what is confusing to me as he had a leg cut off and she only had some tumors cut off her tummy). I also have Trazadone to use as needed, but I think its a sedative rather than a pain medication and he is pretty sedate as is. What were your large dogs sent home on? Do his dosages seem sufficient for his size? 

How long does it take them to master a few stairs? We have two steps from our back door down to our yard. Should I get a ramp for him or is this something he should be able to do in a few weeks? He has already surprised me and hopped down the one step into our sunken living room, although he laid down and panted pretty hard afterwards (and getting back up that one step may be more challenging). I really have no idea what the norm is after this type of surgery. I appreciate any advice or input. 

Virginia




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8 August 2019 - 9:45 pm
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WELCOME HOME BAILEY…AND TELE TOO!!!

Some dogs are not mobile at all this early on, so if Bailey is able to get up and hop a few steps, he’s doing very well!!  Yes, it is exhausting at first as they start to adapt to three, all while on pain meds and recovering from MAJOR surgery!  It’s  important to remember it is major!  Humans would still be in the hospital on a morphine drip!

Yeah, it may be a little early for the harness for a front legger as the incision  is still sore.  You can try and pad him with a tee shirt.  Or in the meantime, use a towel sling if he needs help getting up and down and around.

It is harder for a front legger to go down steps, and easier to go up.  I’m  sure he’ll master those couple of steps within a couple of weeks though. 

How much does Bailey weigh? It does sound like the pain meds are on the ‘light” side.  In add to the mess you men, a lot of dogs come home with Tramadol too.  It apparently  works in conjunction with the Gaba.  Also, depending  on the weight, usually  the Tramadol and Gabapentin meds are given three times a day, as opposed to the twice per day.

Talk with your Vet  about giving the meds more frequently.  Panting  is generally  a sign of pain.  Amd yes, the Trazedone is a sedative… does nothing for the pain per se.

Drink and peeing are important.  Eating may be off a vit and pooping may  tske a few days too.My Happy Hannah was a rear legger, so I can’t  address the shape of Bailey’s incision.  

Sounds like Bailey is recovering in a manner that we’ve  seen others, so no worries.  Keep us update and TRY and get some sleep yourself!   

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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10 August 2019 - 7:04 pm
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Bailey weighed 79 pounds pre-surgery… I’m sure he’s a little less now due to losing the massive tumor and arm 🙂 I called the vet last night to inquire about additional pain medication but he said he doesn’t think Bailey needs it since he only pants after hopping around and not when he’s resting. I do have quite a bit of extra Gabapentin so if it seems like he is in pain, I will just up the dosage back to 300mg or 400mg, which is what he was on pre-surgery.

He is drinking and peeing like normal. Is only eating about half of his dog food, but we are making up for this by spoiling him with peanut butter and steak as he recovers. He has been pooping every day, sometimes twice. 

Even though we aren’t using the harness to help him walk much right now, I’ve decided to keep it on him as it protects his incisions somewhat from the other dog, the ground, and our child. 

He is doing pretty good getting around from room to room. He’s always been a pretty sedentary dog so we are used to him spending long stretches of time snoozing and being lazy. He makes sure to hop into whatever room we are in and settle down for a nap, but he does take little breaks every 5-6 steps. My daughter and I were outside swimming for four hours today and Bailey hopped himself down the back deck steps and laid down next to the pool like he always does. He even hopped over to the fence and barked at neighbor dogs a few times. He is pretty good going down a few stairs, but has an awful time getting back up them. I purchased a ramp and some anti slip tape that will arrive Monday, so hopefully that will help boost his confidence. Wondering if there is anything else I can do to help him improve his method of going up a few stairs/steps? He has face planted a few times trying to go up stairs or drink out of his water bowl, which makes me so so sad, but I purchased a raised food/water bowl set for him today so hopefully there will be no more face planting into them. Has anyone else experienced the face planting with a front leg amp? 

He is doing MUCH better than I thought he would be doing 4 days post-op (as he sits in front of me begging for some of my steak), especially with his arthritis. I was so worried he wouldn’t even be able to stand up on his own. He is definitely favoring his left side limbs and not putting much weight on the right rear leg at this point. Since it was his right front leg that was amputated, I hope he figures out that he needs to use his remaining right side limb in order to stay upright. I ordered some joint supplements that will hopefully help with this as well. 

I know I’m thinking waaaay far ahead here, but do they ever gain enough mobility to go up an entire flight of stairs? I miss having my pups sleep in my bedroom at night. 

On a separate note, I’m terrified to get the pathology reports back this week for both of my dogs – so worried that it will show something worse than what we initially were told…. please send good thoughts our way 🙂

Virginia




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10 August 2019 - 8:43 pm
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BAILEY REALLY, REALLY IS DOING EXTRAORDINARILY  WELL!!   I love that he hopped out to the pool to be with his hoomans.  And returning  to begging for food….yeah….EXTRAORDINARILY  WELL!!

I’m glad you have some extra pain meds on hand should he show any signs of discomfort. 

And yes, face plants od jappen woth front leggers as they are learning to adjust to their new gait, balance, etc.  Glad you are raising jis food bowl.  That will help definitely.

JERRY has a great video of him mastering stairs, up and down.  I’m sure someone will,post it for you.I wouldn’t  worry too much about the stair situa this early on.  He shouldn’t  be trying stairs the first two weeks anyway.

I slept on a mattress on the floor downstairs most of the time after Happy Hannah’s amputation with her. She never could master going up the stars to the bedroom,  but they were really steep skinny stairs (an old.house).  No, not sleeping with my dogs was just not something I could ever tolerate!!

I think you’ll find your pups will be avle ro get UP the stairs after appropriate recovery time.  And if not able to do it on his own, the harness will DEFINITELY  make it happen!

And we are absolutely  sending  massive amounts of pawsitive energy for good reports! No matter what, your pups aren’t  reading any of those reports anyway.  They’re  just getting on living life to the fullest with no worries!

Oh, kne mpre thing.  When you build the ramp, if at all possible put rails on it.  Something  about dogs not really seeing depth perception  and the rails help keep them focused on just the ramp, not wha’s over the side.

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!

Here and Now


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11 August 2019 - 12:54 pm
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boxerbailey said
…do they ever gain enough mobility to go up an entire flight of stairs?

In short, yes!

There are many starter exercises you can do once completely healed to rebuild strength and regain confidence. Just take things one day at a time, and consider consulting a CCRT or CCRP for a rehab and exercise program or download Loving Life On Three Legs for plenty of helpful tips.

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13 August 2019 - 7:04 pm
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Bailey is still doing well… he doesn’t seem to know that he’s supposed to be relaxing and recovering. Yesterday he went a little crazy when he saw the UPS man at the front door, plus my husband forgot to put the dog gate back up this morning and before we knew it, Bailey was attempting to climb the flight of stairs from the main floor to the second floor. So he has a little light bleeding at his incisions today. I emailed pictures to the vet, but he doesn’t seem concerned. The skin looks a little dark/blackish to me in one spot, but I’m trying not to spend too much time on Google since the vet says it looks the way its supposed to. He is still heavy panting after he moves around a lot from room to room or when he’s outside. I’m going to give him a sedative for the next few days so he will stop trying to be more active than he needs to be.

The good news:

-He has now mastered going both up and down the 3 stairs from the back deck to the yard. I did buy a ramp but have not yet taken it out of the box – thats an activity for this weekend. It does have raised sides, but not full rails.

-He is now eating about 70% of his dog food for the day, rather than 50%. He is not yet interested in the raised feeding bowls and seems to prefer to eat while laying down or to be hand fed. Still begging for human food from me every meal though 🙂 

-I got the pathology reports back for both Bailey and Tele. Bailey’s confirmed the low grade soft tissue sarcoma/nerve sheath tumor from the biopsy as well as showing that the cancer had not spread to the blood or the lymphatic system. His mitotic index score was 4, but I’m not sure that even matters since the entire limb with the cancer was removed and they got clean margins. Tele’s also showed clean margins. Both of her masses were grade 2/Low with mitotic index score of 1. Hers had not spread to the lymphatic system either. I was so worried that either or both reports would show a totally different kind of cancer or higher grade than we had previously been told, but both reports were excellent news! 

Off topic question, but can dogs with only one front limb still swim? I’m worried he’s going to fall into the pool and drown. If you can’t tell from my posts, I am a worrier. smiley5

Virginia




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13 August 2019 - 7:35 pm
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Bailey!!! You are a RockStar!!!!  A UPS chasing,  stair climbing. hooman food begging RockStar!!!😎

And it sounds like Baikey and Tele both had good reports back!  YAY!!

YES!!  Tripawds can still swim! Jerry, Wyatt, Meg……oh my goodness, too many to name!!!   A float coat is recommend though.   I’ll see if I can pull up a couple of video.

Thanks fot update😊

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!

Livermore, CA




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13 August 2019 - 8:40 pm
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Oh wow, I don’t think you could get much better results.  The MI for the MCT in Tele is great at 1!

And Baily is a recovery star!

Lots of Tripawds swim, many use a float coat . Here is a link to the Tripawds Video gallery. Scroll down a bit and there is a section on Tripawds swimming.  And here is the Tripawds YouTube channel which has lots more videos.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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