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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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Day 7 Post Surgery - Need Advice
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Forum Posts: 12
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2 July 2020 - 11:52 am
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I’m moving my post to this category and hoping to receive feedback. Thanks much to all in advance.

Hi All,

My pup was recently diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. A lot has happened in the past few weeks…I found a local animal hospital that tentatively accepted her for the Elias clinical trial and she had her amputation last week Wednesday. 

This post is specifically about her recovery. As others may have experienced it’s been a roller coaster. But I’m now concerned about her, mobility. She did really well the first days after she was discharged and was doing her best to move about and adjust back to  her normal routine. Taking her outside to eliminate was tough as she got winded and would not move, but we worked through it. 

But in the past 48 hours things have seemed to take a turn. She now doesn’t want to walk at all. She had pre-existing osteoarthritis and when observing her upon standing, her back legs seem unsteady. Last night she tried to move once and even cried. Since she doesn’t want to get up, she doesn’t want to go outside to today. Yesterday she went outside for the first time at 7:45pm And that was only because I tricked her with a car ride.

Has anyone else experienced this?

I’m concerned that maybe her osteoarthritis has exacerbated. I pray her back legs dont totally go out on her. Since she may be moving forward on the Elias study, she cant take certain medications like Adequan. But I am just so worried. Also as of today, she is not interested in her food though if I had feed her pieces she’ll eat.

If this sounds familiar to anyone, do you think her behavior is pain related? Is this common? Shes on 100 mg of Carprofen and 600 mg of Gabopentin 2x daily. I don’t give her the sedative since it was only as needed and she sleeps a lot anyway. Would appreciate any suggestions or feedback. I spoke with her doc today and they are calling me in a morphine type drug to a local compounding pharmacy and I’ll drop the carprofen, as they dont want to risk GI issues.

At this point it would be comforting to know if anyone else has experienced this and things got better later, what helped, etc. 

Thanks

Johnette



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2 July 2020 - 12:16 pm
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Hi Johnette,

Sorry to hear there is a bit of a set back. It’s not uncommon and it’s good you talked to the vet. It sounds like the vet thinks its pain related. Hopefully the new prescription helps. It sounds like your pup will only be on the new prescription and gabapentin but no anti-inflammatory, is that correct? Does the vet have any advice to manage the osteoarthritis?

My tripawd is a cat so I can’t speak to the pain management but others with canine tripawds will likely chime in.

Many of us find applying a cold pack to the surgical site is helpful to reduce inflammation and pain. My cat loved it. Just wrap the cold pack in a towel and apply for about 10 minutes. I usually just draped a cold damp facecloth over Mona’s site.

How is the incision healing? It’s important to monitor for infection.

I’m sure you’ll hear from others soon. I hope the new meds help.

Kerren

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 July 2020 - 2:54 pm
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Johnette, this is not unusual at all, try not to panic. Seven days is still really early in recovery and many dogs go through the same rollercoaster. Many dogs have amputations even though they have arthritis too.

It does sound like your vet clinic is on top of pain management so that’s good. I would ask if the gabapentin dosage can be increased. Most dogs are on it 3x daily during the first couple of weeks after surgery.

Right now she should only be going outside on leash to potty, no walks or playing with other dogs, that kind of thing. You can ask her to go eat at her usual spot to keep her legs from getting stiff, but it’s so early that she should be getting some good R&R in. 

Remind me, do your floors have traction or are they slippery? Also, are there other dogs in the house that she is playing with? Slippery flooring causes a ton of muscle strain in Tripawds, especially new one. Could it be possible that she pulled a muscle when you didn’t know it? Just throwing these things out there. 

Odds are that once your vet gets the pain under control she will start to get some mobility back. Keep us posted OK?

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Virginia




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2 July 2020 - 9:33 pm
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You’ve gotten great input from Kerren and Jerry.  Obviously  you are concerned,  but, as already noted, this is not unusual.

Only other suggestion I woildmoffer is to massage several times a day.  And when uoj do, see if  you notice any tension when you go and down her spine, around her neck and shoulders.  It is soooo easy to tweak something  this early on.  And sometimes what seems to be a leg ,issue, is often a tweaked muscle in the back.

The carprofen will help with arthritis, so sorry that is being eliminated.   Interested to hear what the morphine type drug is.  We’re always learning  new things here from each other.😎

Refresh my memory,  how much does your pup weigh and how old?

Update when you can.  

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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2 July 2020 - 10:59 pm
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Hi All,

Thanks so much to those who took a moment to post.

To Benny55 she is 8 yrs old and about 112 lbs right now. The morphine type drug is buphrenorphine. She was prescribed that and I was told she could stay on the 600mg of Gabopentin and her surgeon didn’t feel comfortable with a higher Gabopentin dose. I will try the massage and pay attention to her spine. Thank u!

To Jerry, as of today she is not showing interest in food. I was feeding her a lot of kale and broccoli warmed up in bone broth with some Steve’s raw food on top. But today she wasn’t having i except for a few bites from my hand. This eve I fed her lightly heated raw turkey with the Steve’s raw food. She still had no interest but when I hand fed her a little and sat the bowl in front of her she ate it. All while laying down though. She has no interest in going outside so she doesn’t eliminate during the day. Past 2 days I’ve had to trick her early evening with a car ride which she’ll always get up for. Then I coax her to eliminating after we return and I get her out the car. House has hardwood but I have a ton of non slip rugs down. No other dogs in the house. I don’t know know if she pulled a muscle but I’d welcome something that simple. 

To Kazann, no anti-inflammatory now. Her surgeon seemed to think her inflammation should be under control or at the very least it was not worth any GI upset by continuing the Carprofen. I sure hope he’s right. She had had on a surgisox nylon vest so I haven’t really seen her incision except when it has slid down a bit and from what I could see the incision was dry and healing well. She had some minor leakage when laying on her surgery side past few days but that has resolved. She initially wouldn’t let me get near her incision area and her surgeon said she can keep the vest on u til her follow up visit (next week) so I haven’t touched it. I will definitely try the ice pack now that she is not as protective about her incision area.

To all of you, the most concerning thing I noticed today is her breathing is different. Sometimes when she gets up she has some intense breathing and I hear a lot of crackling and fluid with her breaths. Like when a human breathes and has a lot of chest congestion. She has some coughing periodically also although it’s not constant. Her last chest X-ray was last Tuesday before her surgery and it was pretty clear per her surgeon. He saw what looked maybe like a tad bit of bronchitis And a few minor spotty areas but he said overall he saw nothing that concerned him and the xrays looked good. 

I found out today she was randomized to the chemo arm of the trial and she didn’t get the new treatment. Oh well. I’m grateful she’s getting something. Her first visit isn’t until next Wednesday. I’m afraid to tell them about her coughing and fluid I hear because she may not be eligible to move forward with the study off too much changes about her current condition. But I’m so worried guys! I was reading about pleural effusions and how they can contribute to lethargy and lost appetite also. I’m praying all of this is attributed to something else. So sorry for this super long post. Any and all feedback is appreciated (and comforting!)

johnette

Virginia




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2 July 2020 - 11:38 pm
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Others can chime in, but I would definitely get the vet to check into her congestion and bronchitis. Can you take her temperature yourself? That could explain the breathing, crackling noises Etc. A good dose of antibiotics should be able to clear that up but you need to get them started quickly if that’s the issue.

One other quick thought, maybe the meds could be closer together as opposed to every 12 hours.

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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2 July 2020 - 11:59 pm
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I’m with Sally on getting the bronchitis cleared up. That would help take your worry away and she would be as healthy as possible going into the trial.

I understand your worry but be careful reading too much about conditions your dog may not have. Once I thought I had kidney stones when I actually needed a hip replacement. Dr. Google can be scary!!

Hugs,

Kerren

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3 July 2020 - 12:42 am
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Hi both,

To Sally, how do I take her temperature? She was on cephalexin prior to surgery for a minor skin infection and the doc that did her amputation kept her on it post surgery to stave off infection so she has been on that with her pain meds. But the fluid sound has gotten more noticeable lately. She’s supposed to have her first post op checkup next week. Would you wait til then or get her in to her regular vet before then (totally separate provider from amputation and study team). I’m afraid of what I’ll learn when they examine the issue but you are right that I need to look into it.

To Kerren, that’s so funny on Dr Google. I definitely lean in on the web research….probably too much sometimes. Helps me feel a sense of control I guess. Smh. 🙂

thanks so much both.

johnette 

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 July 2020 - 12:02 pm
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Hmmm…to me, it sounds like this would be worth a vet call and possibly a visit. They can take her temperature  or you can, but rectal is the only way for animals as far as I know. I have a 30-second thermometer just for our Wyatt Ray .

Don’t panic. She may just have something really minor going on that is making her not want to eat. In the meantime, whatever you do don’t put her pills into her food, or even feed her from the same bowls that pills have been in. Dogs can smell them even if we’ve run bowls through the dishwasher.

Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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3 July 2020 - 12:03 pm
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kazann said
I understand your worry but be careful reading too much about conditions your dog may not have. Once I thought I had kidney stones when I actually needed a hip replacement. Dr. Google can be scary!!  

THAT is funny Kerren! Such a good example of why we shouldn’t self-diagnose. Sorry you needed the replacement. Ouch!

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4 July 2020 - 3:11 pm
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Hi all,

I thought I responded with an update yesterday but may have put it somewhere else by mistake. Anyway, I took everyone’s advice and got her to a vet urgent care yesterday.

Of course since Xhosa was so nervous her adrenaline was high and none of her symptoms I described were present for the doc (lethargy, coughing, etc). Good news is her X-rays were clear. The doc also couldn’t hear anything in her lungs like fluid (that was unmistakeable to me). She still prescribed some Doxycycline just in case. 

She also suggested I try Tramadol vs buphrenorphine for the arthritis pain in her back legs. I tried it today with her gabopentin and I’m not sure it’s working. 4 hrs into her first dose, I called her to me while she laid down. She slowly got up walked halfway to me and stopped. When I called her to come all the way to me she started whining like she couldn’t. I rushed over to comfort her and she carefully sat down. I can’t help but believe it’s her back legs that are giving her trouble.

I offered her favorite treats and she wouldn’t even take them. It’s so heartbreaking. I wish I knew how to help her. I’ll have to start the buphrenorphine again this eve. It’s just hard to tell if it’s helping because she’s knocked out. 

Have others dealt with arthritis or similar pain mgmt post surgery? We are on day 10.

Johnette



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4 July 2020 - 3:41 pm
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So you got some good news that her lungs seem clear! That’s a relief.

I can’t help around the medication for dogs but I did find the buprenorphine effective for my cat Mona except she was sometimes a little wild from it. The dosage was for a specific amount 3-4 times a day. Thinking that less often was best (???) I gave it to her 3 times a day and realized after that 4 times a day would have been better to keep ahead of the pain. Also she was also on a NSAID at the same time. I realize that Xhosa was taken off her anti-inflammatory due to GI concerns. Are there any other options such as prednisone for short term use?

I believe I read here that it’s recommended to use tramadol with gabapentin for it to be effective. Perhaps you can post the dosage and schedule here with your dogs weight and some of the experienced folk can evaluate for effectiveness.

Have you tried ice packs on the arthritic legs? It can ease the pain from the inflammation.

Hugs, I know this is hard to see your dog in pain.

Kerren

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 July 2020 - 4:05 pm
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I’m so so so glad the x-rays were clear! That’s awesome.

Yes, others have dealt with pain post op, see this recent blog post.

Kerren is correct, Tramadol isn’t the most effective drug but vets believe that when used in combination with Gabapentin it does have some effect. Did you cut the Gabapentin out completely? 

If your vet doesn’t have a plan for diagnosing the pain source, it’s time to find a pain specialist so you can get her feeling good again. Let us know if we can help locate one.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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5 July 2020 - 8:37 pm
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Hi All,

I keep forgetting the ice packs so I’ll try that soon. And yes I’m so happy about the chest X-ray news. I know there are typically microscopic cells sadly hanging out but I celebrated the lack of obvious issues:)

Also, I was in fact giving the Tramadol with Gabapentin. For dosing, my girl is about 112 lbs, she was on 600mg Gabopentin and Tramadol 150mg, both 2x day. Wasn’t helping. So I stopped the Tramadol and Started her back on buphrenorphine (1.1/7 syringe) with the same Gabopentin dose 2x a day.

Unfortunately, today it seems like her pain is getting worse as she’s crying more when standing still or sometimes when trying to get up. I also noticed her licking one of her back legs after laying down. Shes also more irritable. So now I’m really afraid she has a fracture or something.

We haven’t even made it to our first chemo session and I just can’t seem to stop her mobility and comfort decline. She is clearly in so much pain. Can’t even make it outside to eliminate. We will have rehab consult same day as chemo This Wed but I feel like that’s so far away. Also not sure what rehab can do if it’s something more serious. Do they even do X-rays? We have a consult Thurs with a separate orthopedic specialist.

And with COVID all the visits are stressful because I have to hand her off to medical staff and can’t be there to comfort her. Always worried how much they are making her walk, stand etc. Hope to get her help soon. 

Johnette  

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5 July 2020 - 9:01 pm
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Oh and can’t use prednisone as it’s not allowed during her clinical trial 

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