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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 on my staffy just after amputation!
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Member Since:
22 August 2013
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22 August 2013 - 11:15 pm
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Hi my name is jeff, my baby, Mala is brand new to the amputation and she is bruising really bad 2 days in. Im reading on here that this is normal and will subside but im up all night terrified that its a situation.. She seems fine, her spirits are great. She gets around just fine. She had a nerve sheath tumor that they took out with amputation. And the vet says the bruising is fine but its really dark red and purple all over her chest belly and up near the neck. Yesterday (day one) was not nearly as bad. Now today, check up day, we're home and its just really scaring me. Shes breathing a little heavy and im thinking its cuz she hasnt gone "poopies" shes eating, drinking plenty of water, and resting plenty. I m just laying with her and her breathing is worrying me.. Please someone that has experienced this shed some light for me??? I know that surgery can cause some plentiful bruising, im just worried and am unaware if it could be serious??? I love my baby so much it kills me to think that if i can do something and dont that it will be a mistake... Any advice on experience with this matter is greatly appreciated! I just want to do right by my lovey love best friend ever! I love her so much and will do anything to help my baby be safe and happy..

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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23 August 2013 - 6:30 am
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Hi Jeff & Mala, welcome, your future posts won't require approval.

Bruising, panting and not being able to eliminate for a few days are very normal so I know it's hard but try not to worry.

About the bruising: if you look through our photo gallery of post-op pictures (scroll down to see them) you'll see what bruising has looked like for other dogs. Remember this is a big surgery, it's normal for it to bruise. What is not normal is for bruising to be dark brown in appearance, or for there to be a smelly discharge coming from the incision. Keep your vet updated on the situation so they know what's going on and things should be OK.

Most dogs have problems eliminating after surgery because the pain medication causes constipation. You can help her move things along by adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil or bran flakes to her food. You can also ask your vet for a stool softener if it continues.

Finally, the panting is normal and is again, usually due to pain meds. What kind of medication is she on?

I hope this helps ease your worries. We have a great book called Three Legs and a Spare that has a lot more info about post-amptuation life, be sure to check it out if you're inclined. Oh in the meantime I've reset your avatar photo; your photo file was either too large or the wrong format. Try again with a different image and it should appear. We can't wait to see your beautiful Mala!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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23 August 2013 - 7:02 am
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Hi Jeff and Mala!  Jerry's right--the bruising is totally normal even though it looks awful.  Daisy's amp site was purple and dark red, too.

As far as the panting it is usually from all those heavy duty meds that she received in the vet hospital that are working their way out.  Daisy panted so bad 3 days after surgery that I was beside myself and thought she was dying of lung mets already (which in hindsight was totally stupid of me since the pathology report came back as not cancer after all).

It is really scary since they can't tell us what is wrong.  Since Daisy's amp I am a total worry wart about everything with her and it's been over 1-1/2 years now.

Mala sounds like she is doing great.  This is a major surgery and you are gonna have ups and downs these next couple weeks so hang on.  It can be a rollercoaster.

We are all here if you have questions or just need to vent.  Good luck with Mala's recovery!

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Lancaster, PA
Member Since:
17 May 2013
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23 August 2013 - 7:17 am
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Yes, bruising and swelling are pretty normal. Even a little leakage is normal too. The panting could be pain (what kind of meds is she on, maybe not enough pain control?). The panting can also be a side effect from the medications. Its frustrating not to be able to ask Mala if she hurts or if she is seeing pink elephants! You just have to make the best guess at what is going on. Talk with your vet about your pain control protocol, they may want to adjust it based on how she is acting. It took us a good week to get the right combo and dosage of meds to control pain without bad side effects. 

The first few weeks are a little bit tough to get through emotionally. It will be OK in the end after the stitches come out, you'll both come out of the other side of this bonded much closer and Mala won't even notice the missing leg. 


Good luck!

Heather & Barret

Barret was diagnosed with Hemangiopericytoma May 16, 2013. Front left leg/scapula/pectoral muscle was amputated on June 11, 2013 and we've never looked back. Follow our story on and read my column on That Pet Blog

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