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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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Dane: first day home after front limb amp. Struggling
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Member Since:
13 June 2020
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13 June 2020 - 4:18 pm
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Hi all, new here.  I was recommended this forum from a Great Dane FB page and I am glad I found it.

Hank entered a limb sparing trial at Ohio State after his diagnosis of Osteo in feb. He was doing very well but alas the tumor began to grow again ever after 3 rounds of targeted radiation.  3 weeks ago he started not using the leg much and the tumor site became visibly larger.   After much back and forth and due to the sad state of pain med options We decided to amputate.  He was at Ohio State for 3 days and came home this morning.

I am guessing from some other forum posts this is not as easy as we might have first thought.  My boy is struggling and looks miserable.  I am struggling to help him.  He is 140lbs and I am a big guy and am still struggling to help him get up.  The 3 stairs to go outside are the worst and i even went and bought a nice large ramp but he is even struggling with that.

his hind end has a bit of arthritis as it is so he doesn’t have full strength back there.  Just getting him outside to pee (he still has not gone #2 yet) and right back in the house he collapses on the floor in full pant.  If I am not supporting him he will def fall or trip.  He looks miserable. 😢

I am scared I made the wrong decision.  Am I freaking out way to much for first day?   

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13 June 2020 - 4:52 pm
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Hi Hank’s Dad. I’m in the Tripawds Chat if you want to talk. Back in a flash with some feedback.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


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13 June 2020 - 5:30 pm
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First, don’t panic. Many people feel they made the wrong decision during these early days of recovery, you are not alone and your situation is not too unusual for a dog of Hank’s size. Don’t let the easy recoveries of others’ get you down. Every dog is different. Fear not, even the biggest dogs get their bearings and life returns to a happier place.

Now, let’s start with the logistics. A few questions:

What pain medication is he taking, how much and how often? Many times a dog’s pain meds will need fine-tuning and that’s all it takes for better mobility during recovery. I’m wondering if he is super groggy from the meds. Call your vet and let them know that he’s wonky. 

Do you have any kind of lifting device you are using to help Hank get up? Since he’s a front leg amputee we don’t recommend using a harness like the Ruffwear Flagline or Webmaster until stitches come out, but if you really need something to help him and you already have one on hand, then put a t-shirt on Hank underneath the harness. Otherwise you can try the DIY grocery bag sling idea.

How often are you trying to get him up and outside? He should only be going outside to potty twice a day or so, maybe three, but no more than his usual schedule. And don’t worry about the poop yet, that will happen in time, maybe a few days. Just make sure he’s urinating. If he doesn’t go in 12 hours then you will need to express his bladder yourself. 

What are your floors like? Do you have slippery floors? He will do best on floors with traction . Make sure you have rugs down.

Have you tried encouraging him to use the stairs without the ramp? Don’t worry about using the ramp right now. Some dogs just won’t use them because they have a natural aversion (it’s hard for dogs to gauge depth, and ramps can be scary to dogs with poor depth perception) especially in a situation like this. He may use it later on. 

Finally, don’t panic. Lots of big dogs have very similar recoveries. Check out Sally and Hannah’s story, I think you’ll be able to relate.

Ok sorry I know I have a lot of questions but I just wanted to give you some things to think about so that you can keep calm. You can do this! I promise! Keep us posted and stay tuned for feedback from the community. We’ll watch for your update.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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13 June 2020 - 6:24 pm
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Hi Jerry,

thank you for the encouragement! 

So he was given strong pain meds post surgery i believe fentynol.  They weened him off of it friday I believe because he refused to move for them.  As far as his home regiment starting today he will get gabipentin 600mg 8-12 hours (but he will tolerate 900mg 3x a day).  100mg of galiprant once per day.  I am also giving him high quality cbd.   He has been on galliprant and gabipentin for a long time now and ge tolerates then well.  We actually tried giving amantadine before amputation last week when we wanted to try to just manage his pain.  He is supposed to get 2x 100mg once a day but we found if we give him 200mg at once he would throw up.  When we gave him 100mg in the morning and 100mg at night he seemed to be ok.  We also have Trazadone we can give as needed if he gets restless

we are putting a warm compress on him regularly because he has some fluid building up around his tummy and incision

for a sling they sent us home with the under the belly sling but we are finding its quit useless because he walks to fast and just starts peeing on it before i can position it.  We have a harness like the ruffwear one that i am going to try with the t-shirt.

as for going outside, his normal schedule is 4 times a day but he could prob do 3.  However they gave him a lot of iv fluids and he has been wanting to drink like a fish since getting home today.  He practically bursted out peeing when we got home and out of the car and he has peed 3x since then.

we do have wood floors but we did cover almost all of them with rugs or floor mats.

the first attempt at going up the steps this morning was pretty disastrous.  He just could not navigate them which prompted me to go buy the ramp.  I think the inclines too steep though so i moved it to the last step so at least he only needs to go up 2 instead of 3.  Have not tried it yet though.

He is panting after any attempt at moving.  We have tried to keep him in his crate for most of the day but he gets very whiney.  I thought maybe it was a. Pain or b. He had to pee again but when we got him up he went to the bed we have on the floor and laid down so I am guessing he just wasn’t comfy in there.

what are your thoughts on the meds?

is it ok for him to lay on a soft bed on the ground rather than being confined to a crate so long as i am right next to him?

the only pros I have right now are

1. he still has an appetite thats for sure.

2. He wants to drink a ton of water

3. once he does settle into a comfy spot he seems ok for a little while.

On The Road


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13 June 2020 - 6:29 pm
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Oh no I just missed you in the Tripawds Chat . I’m there now! 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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13 June 2020 - 6:36 pm
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Oh my gosh you and Hank have lots on your side right now! He’s eating, eliminating and drinking water? That is HUGE! smiley_clap Seriously, don’t forget those little things, they all add up to a total recovery in time. I know it’s hard to see right now.

So you’ve got your bases covered with the floors and his bed, that’s great. No, don’t crate him if he’s miserable and not used to it (must be a pretty big crate?!). Your goal is to keep him confined but not in jail icon_lol Heh heh. Seriously, you just don’t want him roaming all over the house right now. If you have baby gates that you can use to block off other parts of the house to minimize his activity that’s helpful. 

The panting could be that he needs his pain meds adjusted, especially if he’s constantly panting and not just after moving around. Call your vet and let them know what’s going on. The pain meds sound appropriate but all dogs are different how they respond. 

Oh one last thing, what happens if you try to back away and let him do the stairs and go outside by himself? Can he do them? 

I hope this helps! Remember, stay pawsitive, you can do this!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


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13 June 2020 - 6:55 pm
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I also forgot to mention that in the past when our Wyatt Ray has had CBD with Gabapentin, it made him SUPER wonky. This is rare, no pain medications other than Fentanyl affect him like that. I asked his vet about the combination and she said nobody knows for certain how CBD reacts with conventional medication because the studies aren’t there. But she said it’s entirely possible the combination could be the culprit. We stopped giving the CBD and so far no more wonkiness. Be sure to mention that CBD you are giving to the vet OK? 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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14 June 2020 - 3:41 pm
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Hank Update:  today has been better.  He has been sleeping most of the day but when i took him out this afternoon he did much better!   Still takes all his energy but i did not have to support him as much.

even happier news is he went #2 just a little while ago.  Still a long road and im sure there will be setbacks but today im feeling better

Virginia




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14 June 2020 - 6:05 pm
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I caught up on “everything Hank” just in time to say YAAAAY FOR poopicon!  

And YAAAY FOR SOING A LITTLE BIT VETTER!!  UA’ see, thos early on, and especially  for a bigger doggy with some arthritis,  a “little better”  is a HUGE VICTORY!!!   Really, it is!!!

We KNOW it’s  hard to have patience right now.  Hank just got over MAJOR surgery  and is trying to adjust to three, while on pain meds.  Sloooow and easy….he’ll recover at his own pace in his own way.

Would love to jave pictures.  Here’s  a link to help adding images

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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