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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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bruising after surgery???
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knoxville, tn
Forum Posts: 1705
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12 February 2010
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7 November 2011 - 5:48 pm
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gosh, you are definitely 'in the throws' of the two weeks of hell we all were challenged with.  some good days, and some bad days, and no consistency at first.  we found the tramadol made gayle very wacky and IT DID MAKE HER PANT LIKE CRAZY…so tell your one vet that!!  of course, it does help with the pain, so i wouldn't just go 'cold turkey' and stop using it.  maybe some ice (wrapped in a towel) on the site will ease some of the pain/soreness.  we are firm believers in the power of the 'medicinal nap' and the healing powers of sleep.  resting is our way of allowing the body to heal.  there are other pain meds, i think gabepentin is one – but we don't have experience with that…  hopefully someone else will chime in with info about that. 

take a breath, know that this will pass as charlie heals.  definitely try the ice too.  sending our best 'et juju' hoping charlie is turning the corner soon, to get back to his charming self!!

charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


San Diego, CA
Forum Posts: 2503
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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7 November 2011 - 6:09 pm
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I've heard many people say their dogs panted like crazy after the surgery while on the tramadol. And many people also said that their vets disagreed that it was caused by the tramadol. I know Abby panted a lot and we definitely suspected the tramadol – but we did keep giving it to her. As Charon said, I've also heard people say good things about gabapentin, but don't have any experience with it either.

I think it's probably better to have them be “weirded out” – even though it can be scary to see/deal with – than to be in pain, so I probably wouldn't go cold turkey off it either.

Hang in there. (You might find some similar posts/answers if you search/skim through the 'ask a vet' section??)

You are deep in the worst of it! It'll get better.

Jackie, Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Forum Posts: 2021
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8 November 2011 - 11:05 am
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Any narcotic drugs can make a dog pant more and many dogs receive morphine, buprenorphine, fentanyl patches or other narcotics both pre and post-op after an amputation. Tramadol is a very weak narcotic but I think it could make a dog pant when combined with everything else they are taking.  I routinely use this drug for dogs with arthritis and most of these dogs have no problems with panting or odd behavior while on tramadol so I think it is an issue that the tripawds have mostly because they have been through a big surgery and have other narcotics on board.

Having said that I would rather have my dog be a little spacey than in pain.  You can add gabapentin to the Rimadyl and tramadol  but you should not just stop the drugs without weaning off.  Remember that a lot of tripawds pant more anyway especially the first 2 weeks and the body has a lot of healing to do!


Forum Posts: 37
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27 October 2011
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8 November 2011 - 6:27 pm
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Thank you again for the information.  Charlie had a better day today…still panting but, we are keeping a steady dose of the tramadol and rimadyl and keeping him comfortable until we meet with the surgeon again next Monday to remove sutures.  Then, we will reassess him and talk about weaning him from the tramadol. 

My husband talked to the surgeon this morning and we have been waiting for the path report…it is day 8.  She explained to him that she never sent it out because the margins were so clear.  The mass was over his metacarpals and his amputation went up to his shoulder, including his scapula…which I'm assuming is standard protocol.  Before his surgery, I asked her to also send some lymph nodes for pathology to make sure things hadn't metastisized to his lymphatics.  After the surgery, she called to update us on his progress and explained that there were no swollen lymph nodes that she found so, didn't send any. 

Is it strange that the tumor “his leg” wasn't sent for final diagnosis?  Our pathology report from the surgical biopsy at our vet said “soft tissue sarcoma grade 2”.  From reading, it is clear that there are many different types of STSs and some are more agressive than others.  For our own piece of mind, we needed to know. 

It seems strange that the surgeon decided on her own, without asking us, to not send it out for diagnosis.  Am I right?

knoxville, tn
Forum Posts: 1705
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12 February 2010
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8 November 2011 - 6:39 pm
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it sounds a little bizarre to us too.  gayle had a sts grade three, they biopsied her leg and several associated lymph nodes after the amputation. 

charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


Morgantown, WV
Forum Posts: 32
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26 October 2011
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10 November 2011 - 10:04 pm
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Hey, just checking in…glad to hear Charlie is doing well!  Katy pants a bit with the Tramadol as well; my vet had told me I could break the tablets in half if I felt that giving a whole pill was too strong, maybe that's an option?  She's on 50mg tabs, they're not scored but if you put it on the edge of a table or counter and push down, it snaps right in half very evenly.

I agree that it is strange that no tissue was sent out for biopsy.  Katy was diagnosed with “highly likely” soft tissue sarcoma (original biopsy was not clear), and my vet sent out her whole lower leg for histopathology.  I didn't think to ask about lymph nodes, but given that the swelling was confined to her lower leg and her chest x-rays were clear, I guess my vet wasn't worried about metastasis.  I would say, if you paid for histopathology, then you should insist on it.  Bottom line is, we are responsible for our kiddos' health care.  You tell the vet what you want, and if he won't give it to you, find another vet.  My professor (a vet) told me that when we first found Katy's lump and our vet wouldn't do a biopsy.  So we saw the other vet at the practice, and he did the biopsy and also the amputation.  🙂

I'm Crystal, but you can call me Katymom.  :)  I'm Triproud of my Tripawd!

Katy Sue Sarcopski – born approx 2/03, found "the lump" 9/7/11, suspected soft tissue sarcoma (most likely liposarcoma) 10/11, became a Tripawd 11/1/11, official diagnosis of infiltrating lipoma 11/23/11

Follow her "tail" at!

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