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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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Forum Posts: 132
Member Since:
11 February 2009
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17 February 2009 - 4:33 am
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Cooper has a drain tube in…it's to be removed on Thursday morning (six days post op.) There is some slow drippage of watery looking blood (or bloody looking water…), which I am assured is normal, and helps prevent fluid build up and swelling. His incision still looks really good and clean…I'm wiping off the crusty bits and he cleans off what he can too – he's not licking or bothering the incision at all, just the area below the tube.

Do all dogs have drain tubes in after this surgery? I didn't see them in some of the photos. It's his left front leg, shoulder and all, that was removed. If there is still a little drainage on Thursday morning when it comes out, can I expect some swelling?

Forum Posts: 22
Member Since:
22 January 2009
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17 February 2009 - 9:39 am
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Hi! I hope all is going good for you! I know its a little scary and trust me I freaked out at every “new” incident even though I had worked at a vets office for 8 years and knew what most of the answers were!

As far as the tube I am not 100% sure if ALL dogs have the drain after surgery but I do know that Tucker my yellow lab had a tube after surgery. They put the tube in to prevent the area from “collecting” large amounts of fluids and blood. Drainage is totally normal which only means its doing its job. As far as allowing Cooper to lick that area I would probably discourage this because the vet told us they can sometimes pull the drain out. Tucker really wanted to do this so we had to keep an ecollar on him for the entire time the drain was in unless we were sitting in the same room as him… he was really sneaky!!

We were supposed to have his drain removed on a Saturday but when we got to the vets she noticed that the drain was still draining some fluids so she wanted us to leave it in until Monday so there wouldnt be any swelling. This of course like every other decision is up to you and your vet and their professional opinion! Good Luck!

Northern CA
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
23 December 2008
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17 February 2009 - 10:43 am
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Hey Cooper,

Glad to hear you are doing well- hope all continues to go great for your recovery- Wrigely had a drain tube as well. Her tube came out 2 days after surgery ( because of the christmas holiday and vets office closed…. ) and that was probably too soon. She did develop swelling and ended up having to go back and  be “drained” a few times. You are lucky to have it in as long as you can so it can drain properly.  I am not sure if you will still have swelling after your drain does finally come out since it has been in so long- but if you do and have to use a warm compress- we used the Bellas hot/cold pack ( as seen here on Jerry's site) and found it very helpful. The velcro straps make it really easy to stay on the dog. Also , it doesn't get too hot.

Best of luck to you.

Seanne and Wrigley ( wrigley was also a left front amp- shoulder and all)

Seanne and Angel Wrigley

Linden, MI
Forum Posts: 458
Member Since:
11 November 2008
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17 February 2009 - 10:53 am
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Nova did not have a drain tube. But there was some swelling, althought it wasn't as much in the area of the incision as it was in her remaining legs and feet. They were swollen to more than twice the normal size. Just getting her up and around on a regular basis helped the swelling go down. I also lightly massaged the swollen areas to help all the gunk move it's way out.

I am so glad that Cooper is doing so well!

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27443
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25 April 2007
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17 February 2009 - 11:16 am
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I didn't have a tube but I had that nasty fluid. It's called a “seroma “. Here's some info about it.

Sounds like everything is progressing normally for tucker. Take Wrigley's advice to use a warm compress or something like Bella's Pain Relief pack, that will really help. Keep up the good work Mom! And you too Cooper 🙂

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Livermore CA
Forum Posts: 684
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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17 February 2009 - 11:48 am
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Cemil had a drain, and drained pretty profusely too.  They took the drain out on Day 5 and he continued to drain through the hole for another week and a half.  The vet advised me to use warm compresses to keep it from healing shut too soon.  He has finally stopped draining and it is starting to heal over, and there isn't a lump underneath, so I guess all is well.  If you look closely at his picture when he was going to get his staples removed, you can see a drip escaping from the drain hole.  I think it's totally normal.  I kept a t-shirt on him with paper towel underneath to keep his bedding cleaner.  The only caution I had from the vet tech was to change the t-shirt morning and night to prevent bacteria from growing in it.  (I was doing that anyway, just because).  Hang in there, Cooper and Carina.

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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17 February 2009 - 5:35 pm
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Thanks all! It seem that when there's a tube, about day five is when it comes out. So we're on track. I figured that it was good that there's a slow seepage. Luckily a friend gave me two big bags of old clean towels and they've come in really handy…I did put a tee shirt on him initially, but it got soiled quite quickly, and I also had the thought that it would be better to let the air circulate and avoid anything getting stuck to the incision. Good thought about the compresses and keeping it open…I have done this for cat bites, it's important. That and the five gallon bucket of Cephalexin, 3000 mg a day.

Coop seemed a little depressed last night and this morning…I really had to coax him into getting up and going out to the yard. He's perkier tonight…unfortunately I have to work outside of the home all week. 🙁

Cemil's person – is he an Anatolian? I lived in Turkey and have always had a soft spot for them, and LGDs (livestock guardian dogs) in general.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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17 February 2009 - 9:40 pm
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Trouble did not have a drain and had no swelling and little bruising.  Her incision was beautiful as incisions go.  It really was amazing, from the first day home she would lay on that side just as if nothing were different.

Hopefully Cooper will have an easy recovery.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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