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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 two months post-amputation
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Member Since:
25 September 2022
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26 November 2022 - 12:32 am
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Hi everyone,

My baby boy Louie is a little over two months post-amputation of his right front leg. I posted early on in his recovery because we had a horrible first week post-surgery, but through October he just improved so dramatically, that I luckily haven’t had to post again (until now).

Over the past couple days, Louie has developed: 1) some swelling, 2) at least one hard lump under the incision, and 3) bruising jutting out from the incision. Despite the bruising from the past 2 days, he has otherwise seemed fine, up until this afternoon. This morning he woke up totally normal, super playful/energetic, etc. but then around mid-day, he had a super loud series of yelps and has just been really sad/mopey/in pain ever since. What worries us most about this whole thing is that his bruising looks the exact same as the degranulation signs he would show pre-amputation (he has Mast Cell Tumor, and when the tumors would get disrupted, they would degranulate and cause bruising). So, obviously recurrence of the cancer is the absolute worst case scenario, but I wonder if this could instead be a random post-surgery complication since we are still relatively close in time to when the surgery took place. We have a re-check with his oncologist on Monday, but in the meantime, perhaps to naively ease my worried heart, I’m wondering if anyone can point to a reasonable, non-cancer explanation for what we are seeing. I would post a pic, but I don’t know how.


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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26 November 2022 - 8:02 am
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I know it's easier said than done, but try not to panic. This could be any number of random things, so try not to jump to worst case scenario. This journey always makes us think of horrible things when usually it's nothing to be concerned about. I don't have any specific feedback for Louie's situation, others might.

In the meantime continue to Be More Dog and just enjoy each moment as they come. You'll have some answers monday.

One thing that did cross my mind was wondering if maybe there was still some staple left that's causing this. The fact that he was yelping when touching the incision could indicate something like that.


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

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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26 November 2022 - 2:44 pm
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Best wishes for Louie. Bruising, swelling and seromas are common and often get ugly. Check out the Tripawds Galleries for post-op pics to compare.

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts . Need further help? Post in the Tech Support forum and we'll be happy to help!

Member Since:
25 September 2022
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3 December 2022 - 12:49 pm
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Hi again everyone. Well, unfortunately our worst fear came true, and Louie’s cancer has resurfaced just two months following amputation. My goal is to stay joyful for him and appreciate every single minute of every single day. I appreciate the “Be More Dog ’ advice, so thank you to the person that pointed that out. I’m trying to adopt that mentality and just live moment to moment. If you have any other advice to offer to get this emotional mama through what I know is going to be a very hard time, please let me know

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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3 December 2022 - 2:21 pm
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I'm so sorry that the cancer came back so soon.

My Pug Maggie had mast cell cancer, as far as we know it didn't metastasize. But she developed a second cancer, an oral melanoma.  Because of her age, other health issues and all she had already been through I decided against aggressive treatment, we did a holistic/palliative approach.  I never asked for a prognosis but I knew at the time of diagnosis that time was short.

I did two things that helped me down the line.  First, I defined her minimum life quality.  It was complicated because she was also dealing with kidney failure so I couldn't use lack of apatite as sign.  Mag's original cancer had most likely damaged her liver and with the kidney failure she could not take most pain meds or anti-infammatories, and even when she took pain meds they tended to freak her out.  I thought about her ability to potty on her own with out falling.  Her ability  to sleep through the night.  Her being engaged in what was going on around her.  But the big trigger would be when the tumor broke through into her jaw and she needed pain meds.  That happened in the middle of the night of course so I did give her pain meds- she was then awake for more that 12 hours and totally agitated. That day I helped her across the Bridge.

The other thing I did was to write down my decision making process.  Why I chose not to do aggressive treatment and what my end of journey process would be.  I wanted to do all that before I was too exhausted and emotional.  We humans tend to second guess ourselves- and after she passed the thoughts would occasionally pop into my mind....'what if I had done the surgery...maybe I should have tried chemo again...'.  But looking at my notes reassured me that I had done my best and chosen the best path for Maggie.

One other thing that wasn't available to me back then; a vet coming to my home. Last summer I said goodbye to my 16 year old Pug boy.  I knew he was slowing down so I contacted the vet and found out what the process would be, how soon she could come when I texted, etc.  It was helpful having the relationship established a head of time.

You have the right attitude...make each day Louie's very best day.  Understand what is happening but try and not think to far ahead.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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3 December 2022 - 2:23 pm
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Oh no! I'm so very, very sorry. Cancer is so mean! Agh! 

You have an incredible attitude, just like Louie. Yes, make the most of every day and follow his lead. Remember that he doesn't know what the xray report said, he doesn't care about stupid cancer. Louie is still Louie and making the most of every day.

My best advice is to yes, Be More Dog ! Spoil him rotten and make a bucket list of things Louie loves doing. Do as many as you can to make your sweetie so happy, and remember that there will be plenty of time for tears later, but not now. All he wants is for his favorite people to be happy and enjoying life together. That is the best medicine you can give him.

We published this article about preparing to say goodbye that you might want to read. I know it's not time now, but it's got some things to consider that will make the journey going forward a bit easier. Also, consider working with a pet hospice provider to evaluate him now, so that when you start to suspect that things are going south, they can best guide you on keeping him comfortable. 

Keep us posted OK? We are here for you.

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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4 December 2022 - 1:53 am
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I'm so very sorry to hear that his cancer has come back, but love your Be More Dog attitude. Sending love and hugs and hoping you get lore time together, cancer sucks, xx

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