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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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First day home after surgery, help?
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Forum Posts: 13
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5 August 2015
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7 August 2015 - 8:05 am
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I posted previously about Louie my 172 pound mastiff who had his left front leg removed this past Tuesday due to osteosarcoma. He had not been standing or trying to walk at the vets so they kept him till yesterday. He was just starting to support himself enough to get in and out of the building. We built a ramp for him which he manages with great difficulty. When I take him out he manages to get down the ramp and just collapses on the grass. He makes no effort to pee or to poop and has only peed once since Tuesday. Is this normal? Also he whines and whimpers a lot. I got up 2 times last night and got down on the floor next to him and just talked to him and rubbed his back till he fell back asleep. Last night and today he is refusing any and all food I am offering him. It is so very hard to see my once strong fearless gladiator of a dog reduced to a whimpering mess. I am so afraid he is giving up the fight. Is all this normal? My heart is broken for him. 🙁   I would love to upload pictures to my post but can’t for the life of me figure out how to do that.

Westminster, MD
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7 August 2015 - 8:24 am
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I have been following your story about Louie since his amp a few days ago…..I know this is really hard on you but try to hang in there. Like Karen and Sally said in the other forum post, sometimes larger breeds take awhile to adjust to their “new normal” and Louie is very early in his recovery. Plus, getting the right combination of pain meds can sometimes play a part in his behavior. He may just be really fearful as well right now, too, which could still be the pain meds.

We all second guess ourselves with everything we do for our pups and kitties after getting this awful diagnosis, but you have to also remember that everything we do is the absolute best we can…… Nothing we do from this point on is wrong. So please don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Most of our beloved canine and feline companions generally need a week or two to adjust, and get back on their feet comfortably…..some sooner than others, but all of them need to adjust. We are here for you to help get you through this difficult period.

Sending positive thoughts your way, and just take one day at a time with sweet Louie,

Bonnie, Angel Polly, Pearl, and Zuzu

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7 August 2015 - 9:48 am
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I’ve also been following since your first post about Louie not getting up. I didn’t get a chance to reply earlier so I’m glad to know he’s at least home. The first couple of weeks after the amputation are going to be a rollercoaster. I know you are worried but it does get better. He’s had major surgery—especially for such a big boy! He’s going to take time to adjust. Our Ellie (itty bitty 100lbs next to Louie!) took a good 3 weeks to recover. 

He probably won’t poop for several more days. The drugs they give them are constipating and besides, he isn’t moving around that much so he’s probably not getting the urge. He’s also probably got a ginormous bladder, so he might still be holding it. The whimpering and whining I know are heartbreaking. Sometimes though it is just the disorientation and surgery drugs wearing off.

I hope he’s on some sort of pain meds. Often they come home w/ a Fentanyl patch (morphine) along w/ something like Tramadol and something for nerve pain like Gabapentin. I’d certainly talk to the vet if you feel Louie hasn’t been given enough (or the right) pain meds. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie. 

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

The Rainbow Bridge

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7 August 2015 - 10:22 am
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Glad to hear he’s home!

I didn’t get a chance to see your reply to the other topic, but what pain medication is he on? Remember that it can cause appetite loss and lack of coordination. Appetite loss is temporary. Is he drinking water? That’s the most important thing. Have you tried tempting him with no-sodium chicken broth in his water, or super smelly stinky foods he loves?

A vet told me that if a dog doesn’t pee in 12 hours that you should let your vet know and possibly learn to express his bladder. There are YouTube videos on how to do this, it’s not hard. Let your vet know what’s going on though, you don’t want it to go any longer.

I don’t know if you saw Sally’s experience with Hannah, her Mastiff, but it was very similar. I hope this helps you feel a little better:

six days after rear leg amp and getting worse–update: VERY HAPPY-GREAT DECISION

I’m not there with you so I can’t say for sure but I’m betting that in no way at all is he giving up any fight. Recovery is HARD, and especially for a bigger dog. BUT it’s not impossible, that we know for sure, and what we can tell you is we’ve seen this before and dogs DO get better. If he has no other problems like infection, odds are this is very temporary. Keep that in mind and be patient. I know it’s hard. Let your vet know you are worried and keep us posted, we’re here to lean on.

Here’s how to add images to your posts. It’s not hard, you can do it! If you still have trouble and you’d like help, send me a couple photos and I’ll post them for you.

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Forum Posts: 1451
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7 August 2015 - 10:29 am
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I’ve been reading your posts, too, and my heart is breaking for you.

Murphy is really small at just 50# lol

What medications is Louie on?  Maybe he’s not on enough, or on too much.  Both too much medication and not enough medication can show itself in similar ways with our babies.  Murphy came home on 3 meds – tramadol, gabapentin and rimadyl.  I wrote out a medication sheet to make sure that we got all of his doses in since they were all on different schedules.  With Louie being so big, the doses might not be right. 

Try putting and ice pack to his incision a couple times a day .. it helps with swelling and with pain.  Also, massage around the area to help the extra fluids get reabsorbed.

Chicken broth with some rice is good, or scrambled eggs with some cheese.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs



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7 August 2015 - 11:48 am
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Okay…we do have so e good news worth celebrating…and it is good indeed!!!

YAAAAAAAAAY LOUIE IS HOME!!!! And YAAAAAAAAAY LOUI IS WALKING!!! No, he’s not running a marathon yet by any stretch of the imagination, but he IS walking!

As Jerry, said, as long as there is no infection or underlying issue, Louie is just having a rough recovery from a MAJOR SURGERY!! Humans would’m probably still be in the hospital on a morphine drip!!

From everything you’ve said….. not eating, not wanting to move very willingly, whining….are all “normal symptoms” of recovery.

Jerry gave y ou the link to my first post six days after my Happy Hannah’s amputation. The “update” part added to the title later, “erased” the lart rhat said…..”fear I made a horrible decision!”

.any dogs do have appetite issues…that was never a problem with my Happy Hannah! One of hers was drinking. She just did not want to drink! I had to resort to putting a scopp of ice cream in her water and coax her that way. That went on for a couple of weeks!

Whining and crying were basic non-stop for days. Sleeping was nonexistent. It took me weeks before I felt REALLY good about the decision. Most people feel pretty good about their decision within two weeks. One thing we cannot do on this journey is compare one dog’s recovery with another…EVERY DOG’S RECOVERY IS DIFFERENT…..some slower…some faster.

Louie has NOT given up! Louie is recovering from a major surgery and adjjsting to three legs! And he’s loopy and u steady as a result.of drugs on top of everything else!!

The ONE thing that does stand out is needing to empty Louie’s bladder. I would get that handled with your vets’s directions. As Donna said though, at least Louie has a big bladder!!

When you can, let us know his pain meds dosage. It is such a fine line keeping him out of pain, but not so loopy he cantw walk. REST is exactly what he needs though…just potty breaks and rest. My Happy Hannah was also on Tramadol, Gabapentin, Rimadyl and an antibiotic.

You are exhausted and emotionally drained! This is such a scary time of uncertainty and second guessing. It is just a rotten time to see Louie like this. We all unders all to well! And we all alao understand that Louie’s sparkle WILL come back!! He WILL adjust and this WILL help Louie have more quality time with you!!

Hang in there! You are stronger than you know!! Louie will feed off of your confidence.

Thank you for updating us while you have so much on your plate. We are all looking forward to more updates and, when you can, let us know the pain med plan Louie is currenty on. We’ll be waiting!!

We are all cheering for ya’ Louie!! You ARE making progress!

Hugs a d love!!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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7 August 2015 - 9:12 pm
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He’s back home, and has been walking a bit 🙂 How old is he?


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10 August 2015 - 10:15 am
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Update us on. Louie when you can.

Thinking of you…….Sending love……..

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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