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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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Dog has no interest in moving day 4 post op
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Member Since:
23 May 2022
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24 May 2022 - 3:23 pm
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My 9yo Vizsla named Rusty is 4 days post op left rear leg amputation for osteosarcoma. Pre-surgery,   I reviewed a lot of post- amputation videos of tripawds to reassure myself that Rusty would have a good quality of life after amputation.  However, I haven’t come across any videos that show a slower, more challenging recovery time-the vast majority show dogs popping up and playing within 2 days of surgery.  Since coming home, Rusty has been completely disinterested in trying to walk.  My best description would be that he is just a dog head at this point.  When we try to help him to go out to the bathroom, he stands for maybe a few seconds at most, then collapses onto the ground and lays on his side, urinates like that.  He will wag his tail when someone enters the room.  He will eat if hand fed and drink if a container is held within lapping reach of his tongue.  A few times he has sat up and supported himself on his front paws, but not long.  The vet had us wean off tramadol, but still no interest.  He was on the other meds he is still taking for two weeks before surgery and was very active at that time, no change in personality.  Anybody else with this type of experience with their post op tripawd?

The Rainbow Bridge


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24 May 2022 - 5:39 pm
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Hi @sujiwolff, I'm in the Tripawds Chat right now. Stop by if you want to talk. I'll be back in a sec with some feedback.

Virginia




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24 May 2022 - 5:59 pm
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And one thing we say around here all the time is to not compare  your dog's recovery to that of others!!!!  Every dog recovers at their own pace and in their own way.

To not have his sea legs yet this early on os NOT all that unusual at all!  

Couple of quock questions:

How much does Rusty  weigh amd how old is he?

What pain meds is he on mow, the frequency, dose, etc?  Is he on a Fentynal patch?

I'll come back,  but just wanted tompo in quickly with these questions AND to assure you thst these early days are the toughest!  Eating and drinking even  if hand fed are all good!!

Rusty just had  MAJOR SURGERY and is trying to recover from the surgery,  as well as get his sea legs, all while, hopefully, on some good pain meds.  

If you have jardwood floors, you'll want non slip scatter rugs.  You can try a sling towel to help assist Rusty.  There are lots of things we can help you with, but letting us know his med protocol,  weight, etc. will help.

Hang in there!  Stay connected!  It gets better promose!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


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24 May 2022 - 6:12 pm
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 Anybody else with this type of experience with their post op tripawd?

Yes! It's not uncommon but unfortunately people just don't seem to document it on video. I can't blame them, it's not fun to watch your dog in a state like this.

I know you talked to your vet yesterday, what were their suggestions about helping him get his sea legs?

As I mentioned in the chat, some dogs are extremely sensitive to pain medication and the effects of anesthesia. They take longer to bounce back, but do get there. He might have been doing well on the Gabapentin before surgery, but the procedure itself really wallops the body and is exhausting. 

Whatever you do, try not to compare, that only leads to feeling discouraged. Four days is not a long time at all. Most new human amputees are not even close to where he is after amputation surgery. He is his own dog with his own physiological profile. Recovery is happening, even though it doesn't seem that way right now and it's breaking your heart. I get it.

But, I would still stay in close contact with your vet and let them know tomorrow if he is not standing and going potty on his own. They need to recommend a better pain management combination that won't zonk him out so much yet still provide pain control.

By the way, what are your floors like? And how far is it for him to go outside and do his business?

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24 May 2022 - 11:09 pm
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Thanks for the replies.  Rusty is 9yo and weighed 53lbs before surgery.  He went home with tramadol 100mg twice daily, which was new after surgery;  he continued the 50mg vetprofen twice daily and 200mg twice daily gabapentin that he was on for pain preamputation.  The vet recommended stopping the tramadol and checking back in with her in 2 days if no improvement in activity. She also said to stretch his legs, full range of motion.

My floors are epoxy and I plan to get some skid proof rug mats;  he is currently in a room that has carpeting though.  The floor doesn’t seem to be the issue at the moment given he has absolutely no interest in moving.   He is about 2ft away from the door to the outside.  

I understand that all dogs recover differently;  Rusty’s recovery course has been so different from the published videos, I was hoping to hear from others who may have had an experience more similar to ours.   Without a sense of the range of recovery experiences, I have found his complete lack of interest in moving a bit distressing (he is alert, not sleeping the day away, not glassy eyed and out of it, he appears to be his usual self from the neck up in terms of consciousness.)I have to pick him up by the handle of his harness like he was a suitcase to get him out to pee, and he provides little, if any assistance, and seems to even be putting some energy into opposing standing up by trying to lie back down.  I guess I was hoping the vet or someone with knowledge about recovery would say something like, “Oh, some dogs don’t move for two weeks, don’t worry about it, when he is ready, he will let you know.”

The Rainbow Bridge


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25 May 2022 - 8:54 am
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You are so welcome, sorry we couldn't put your mind at ease more. It's hard not to compare so we feel better when things don't feel right, we all want to do that, it's a human thing. You are describing some really good things about him right now, like his alertness, and wanting to try to stand up and lie back down again. Those are really positive signs that he's on his own timeline.

I would say describe all of this to your vet, it's very helpful. He may be having pain that makes him not want to move, and oftentimes a tweak to the medication dosing and frequency does the trick. 200 mg twice daily of Gaba could be spread out to 3x daily to see if that helps, possibly at an altered dose.

What happens when you stretch his leg with the passive range of motion movements? Does he pull away at all or seem reluctant to let you do them?

Livermore, CA




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25 May 2022 - 9:39 am
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Hello and welcome.

Some other thoughts:

Did they give Rusty a long acting pain shot or did he come home with a fentanyl patch in addition to the oral meds? Is he super sensitive to anesthetic?

Is Rusty a dog that is sensitive to changes in his routine?  Has he slipped or fallen since the surgery?

My Pug Maggie was very sensitive to change and spent 6 weeks in her bed post surgery when her back leg was removed.  She would however get up on her own but didn't show interest in much of anything.  At first she could only stand for a few seconds before she would sit back down.

Are you strong and positive around him?  I made that mistake with Maggie, her amp was before Tripawds was established and the only input I had was from the vets who all said 'dogs do fine on 3 legs'.  When she seemed to be struggling I was down (and exhausted and stressed!) and in hindsight I saw how much my mood affected her.

Keep talking with your vet about what you are seeing and keep track of any little signs of improvement (I didn't do that either).

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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

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25 May 2022 - 4:53 pm
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That is good to know, Karen, thank you.  

I just took him to the vet, and learned he has severe post-surgical anemia, bordering on needing a blood transfusion, but his vitals are strong.  So, I have my answer:  his behavior hasnt been normal!   They don’t think there has been internal bleeding, but he was bruised extensively from the surgery. They are going to give him a clotting agent, and IV fluids (with small risk of further diluting pcv) empty his bladder and observe and decide on blood transfusion in the morning.

Member Since:
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25 May 2022 - 5:24 pm
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That's awesome that you caught the problem! You were on it. I hope it resolves his disinterest. In case it doesn't, my dog was physically mobile/trying but overall "off" and it was the tramadol. So just a heads up once you've fixed the anemia, if you think he's still acting odd. 

Virginia




Member Since:
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25 May 2022 - 7:38 pm
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WOW!!!   This is quite the rarity!  So glad you got to the Vet and fot him assessed.  Sounds like they are getting  a handle on things.The fact that his vitals are strong is great news.....really great news!

Just curious.  Had the excessive bruising  just started showing up or did he come home that way?

Please update  when you can... and try and get some rest while hemis getting nthe care he needs.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


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26 May 2022 - 12:42 pm
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sujiwolff said

I just took him to the vet, and learned he has severe post-surgical anemia, bordering on needing a blood transfusion, but his vitals are strong.  So, I have my answer:  his behavior hasnt been normal!   They don’t think there has been internal bleeding, but he was bruised extensively from the surgery. They are going to give him a clotting agent, and IV fluids (with small risk of further diluting pcv) empty his bladder and observe and decide on blood transfusion in the morning.

  

WOW! That's a head turner! Woah! Well thank dog they figured it out quickly. You acted fast, and possibly saved his life! 

So, so glad that there's a treatment plan. How is he doing today? Did he need the transfusion? 

I'm so sorry we didn't even think of anemia! I searched the forums for anemia and see some folks have dealt with this at one time or another, either before or after surgery. Thank Dog your brilliant vets thought of it.

We are keeping our paws crossed for a good pupdate. Stay strong!

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