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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Forelimb amputation in 12.5 yo golden Day 2
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Member Since:
14 January 2023
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14 January 2023 - 2:30 pm
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Hi Everyone,

I made a really hard decision to have my beautiful golden's forelimb amputated for Osteosarcoma. Hoping it does what it was meant to, which is relieve her pain! But she seems so miserable now and can barely get around. Would love some reassurance that this will get better, and any recommendations for getting there. Looking forward to being part of the community. 

Here and Now


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14 January 2023 - 2:49 pm
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Elizabeth Mitchell said
...she seems so miserable now and can barely get around.

Welcome to the Recovery Roller Coaster! What's your girl's name? How long has it been? What pain meds is she on? What type of activity is she getting. Short leashed potty walks are all Lucy needs early on. Rest and confinement are key to a speedy recovery. Those who overdo it too soon, always regret it!

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Meanwhile, start here for help finding all the helpful Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Livermore, CA




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14 January 2023 - 3:42 pm
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Hi and welcome.

It's not uncommon that tweaks to pain meds and dosing schedule are needed to get optimum coverage.  In addition to meds and schedule what does your girl weigh?  Is she showing any specific pain signs?

We often see here that the more 'mature' pups take a bit longer to get their sea legs.  Our surgeon told us that Maggie was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post op. Rest, rest, rest at this point!

Be sure you are positive around her too- it's amazing how much our pups follow our mood.  I made that mistake with Maggie- she was down, I was down, we fed off each other! 

2 days post op is really, really early in recovery.  Make sure she is as comfortable as she can be- call your vet if you are concerned about her pain levels.  Stay positive and upbeat to show her everything is OK.  Be patient and know she will recover at her own pace on her own schedule.  Look for each little glimmer of her old self- they will soon add up to 'normal'!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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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14 January 2023 - 7:56 pm
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Thanks for the pep

krun15 said
Hi and welcome.

It's not uncommon that tweaks to pain meds and dosing schedule are needed to get optimum coverage.  In addition to meds and schedule what does your girl weigh?  Is she showing any specific pain signs?

We often see here that the more 'mature' pups take a bit longer to get their sea legs.  Our surgeon told us that Maggie was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post op. Rest, rest, rest at this point!

Be sure you are positive around her too- it's amazing how much our pups follow our mood.  I made that mistake with Maggie- she was down, I was down, we fed off each other! 

2 days post op is really, really early in recovery.  Make sure she is as comfortable as she can be- call your vet if you are concerned about her pain levels.  Stay positive and upbeat to show her everything is OK.  Be patient and know she will recover at her own pace on her own schedule.  Look for each little glimmer of her old self- they will soon add up to 'normal'!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

  

Thanks so much. I'm feeling a bit disheartened as we can't even get her out to pee. My husband has to carry her and she's only managed a few little hops then plops down exhausted. I have her on Rimadyl and then today I gave her Gaba as she seemed really really uncomfortable and she got totally snowed and wouldn't move at all. Hasn't moved in hours. She weighs 60 lbs (used to weigh 80) and is pretty skinny right now. She did just now eat a bowl of chicken so that's good. She's super stoic so it's hard to tell when she's hurting but until this afternoon didn't seem to be uncomfortable. Any other suggestions besides rimadyl? I have had her on Tylenol #4 which seems to help a bit but the Gabapentin (300mg) just makes her so lethargic so I'd like to stay away, or maybe reduce the dose.  All suggestions very much appreciated!!

Virginia







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15 January 2023 - 3:43 pm
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We know this earlympart of recovery  is unsettling and scary to say the least.

She just had MAJOR surgery, all while trying to figure out her new gait. Expecting her to ge hoping around and feeling great two days after amputation is not realistic!  She still jas strong hospital m3ds ahe's eliminating  as well as ridding herself of all the anesthesia. 

Also, please do NOT give your pupper any Tylenol  without  Vett approval.   It can be toxic even in small amounts.

300mg is not a big dose at all for a 60 lb dog.  How often is it prescribed?  Every eight hours perhaps?  It does need to be toven consistently  to be effective.  While it can cause  a little bit of sleepiness in dogs, rest is a good thing right now .  Most importantly,  to be pain free as mich as possible  to help in the healing.

Some  dogs take several days to start getting some form of mobility.  We know patience  is realku hard right now.  You are asking  yourself  "What have you done TO your dog?"  We sure do understand  that phase!!!  Soon you will be avle to say you are glad you did this FOR your sog!

So try and keep jer pain meds CONSISTENT.  If for some reason she is one of those sogs that do3s seem to "sedated " from the Gaba, you can have your Bet switch  to maybe Amantidine or some other pain med. Again  though, her Gaba dose seems on the lower side and actua could have room to increase.

We are not Vets and not giving  Vet advice!

And YAY for eating!!!  Deinking and peeing are important (even of she pees on a pupoy pad I side).  Pooping may take several days.  It ,may take several  days for her appetite  to pick up too.

Okay, looking  f0r your update.  Hang kn there!  We are here fpr you and with you!

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS. curious about the weight loss?

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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15 January 2023 - 3:44 pm
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Elizabeth, two days really isn't a long time at all. This is not uncommon.

Have you talked to your vet about the Gabapentin's effect on her? Please don't change any of the dosages or timing until you talk to them. Managing pain, and staying ahead of it by consistently providing medication, is the key to a better recovery. 

And yes, older dogs tend to take more time. Try not to compare her situation with others. She is her own girl on her own timeline.

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15 January 2023 - 4:45 pm
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm taking big breaths, giving her tons of love and trying to be patience. I took some great advice from this group and bought a bunch of yoga mats, also using a towel sling to get her out to pee. So so helpful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Wondering why the surgeons or the hospital (Angell) doesn't tell you this stuff.  Regarding the meds. At the advice of her oncologist I took her off Gaba a while ago. It was making her stuporous. The vet prescribed Tylenol #4 and it was SOOO much better for her. So right now I'm not really sure what to give her. The surgeon said just Rimadyl, but it's not quite enough, so I've added back the T#4. Also, full disclosure I'm an ED doc so have a lot of familiarity with these drugs. I don't prescribe her or give her anything the Vets haven't approved but I do know a lot about them and am very careful about the meds. 

I don't know what I would have done without this group. The 3 vets (regular, Onc, and Surgeon) never prepared me in any way for what was to come and she was discharged without one bit of advice. ):  But this group has really helped me to feel not alone and not the only one experiencing this.  I so appreciate you all.  

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15 January 2023 - 4:50 pm
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Re the weight loss question- Not really sure what provoked it. She had lost about 10 lbs in the last year or so and was in a good weight. I think part of that was losing her big brother last March and being depressed. Then the limping started in the fall and weight seemed to just fall off her, I'm assuming by the hypermetabolic cancer that was eating up her bone. She's 3 and 1/2 months into her first symptoms but you have to assume it's been longer. I thought I was going to lose her before this to be honest and wasn't going to do the amp, but her CT chest was clean and the oncologist recommended it, so here we are. My primary goal is to make her last whatever time she has, as comfortable and loving as possible, so I'm really anxious to get her to a good place so that can happen!!  Again, thank you all. 

Livermore, CA




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15 January 2023 - 5:11 pm
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I'm glad you added the T4 back- an anti inflammatory like rimadyl alone is not enough IMO after a big surgery like this.  You could also add icing if she  will tolerate it. 

Did you say what her name was? 

I've had wildly different results with Gaba. My last Pug had pain from an unknown source in his shoulder or neck.  We tried gaba and at a low dose there was no improvement, at a higher dose he was a drunken sailor barely able to walk.  My current Pug-mix, who is smaller, has been on the higher dose several times and tolerates it very well with just a little sedation.

I didn't get any guidance from my vets either except that nearly all dogs do fine on three- and Maggie had her amp before Tripawds was here!  I spent weeks sure that I had made a terrible decision and that Maggie was going to be the only dog who couldn't cope. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

Virginia







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15 January 2023 - 5:26 pm
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Thanks for the feedback.  

Like you, I had virtually  no directions as far as how to navigate  recover, what to expect, etc.  I joined here on Day Six looking for a lifeline as I felt I had made a horrible  mistake.  This  wonderful  community  took me unfer their wing, calmed my nerves,  guided me through the rough part of recovery and assured me what was "normal" and what was not.  The Surgeons  dont go home with the dogs during the recovery  and see what we see.  .  As far as many are concerned,  the surgery  was a success  (thankfully) and then we're  on our own......unlss you find TRIPAWDS.

I know we sound like a broken record, but pain management is so crucial  to expedite healing.  Most humans would still be in the hospital  on a morphine drip this soon after  amputation!  Nerves are cut, bones are cut, muscles are cut...ouch!

So FWIW  you might talke with your regular  Vet about something  in addition to the Rimady and Tylenol.  As I'm sure you know, they basically are good for inflammation burt not much help with MAJOR surgery pain......especially now that all the hospital meds, etc are out of her system,

Jerry can give you some good additonal links on pain management   but this link is a good start if you want to pursue (or not).  Dogs are soooo stoic at trying to hide their pain. 

As far as weight loss, it is always good to keep Tripawds on the "-slim" side to prevent  any joint issues, etc.  So she is already ahead of the curve in that regard.

She'll get her mobility figured out at her own pace in her own way.  It is not unusual  at all to find out she has yet to get her sea legs.  She'll get there.  It is good that she's sleeping a lot.  Rest is exactly  what she needs right now.

Goldens are such sweet pups.  We would love t9 see a picture...or several!  Here's  a link to help uou post.  adding images

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS. Be sure and get some rest while she resting.  It's exhausting  on hoomans to get to this point  so be sure and take care of yourself!

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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16 January 2023 - 4:12 am
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I'll figure out how to add photos soon!  But here's a link to my occasional blog which recently has featured my love Isabelle. https://www.liz.....g-bad-news

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 January 2023 - 9:54 am
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Thank you for the super sweet comments about the community. We are grateful you are here, so that we can all continue learning from each other. 

I looked at your blog. WOW! You are an ER doc AND a singer AND a fantastic writer?! WOW! Since you already have a blog where you post photos, all you need to do is copy/paste her picture from her blog over to your posts here, like this:

0d00f3_5ae627ad0b8140e18a8d6a66264e4282~mv2.pngImage Enlarger

What a sweet face!

My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry for your loss of Griffin last year, and now this. It's a difficult road you are on right now, no doubt about that. Lean on us, we'll help you and Isabelle through this so that she can get her sparkle back and continue loving life.

When we finally found out that our Jerry had osteosarcoma, we also had to assume he had it for many months before the actual diagnosis. He too lost weight. He was so stealth at eating less and less, probably his body's way of fighting the pain I assume, that we didn't even notice other than occasional "pickiness" we thought. How little we knew back then about how dogs hide pain!

Wondering why the surgeons or the hospital (Angell) doesn’t tell you this stuff.

My guess it for two reasons: 1) vets are incredibly overwhelmed right now, just like in human medicine. Maybe they forgot. Or, if they knew you were an MD, maybe they assumed you knew about recovery. I'm just guessing here. 2) vets see amputations so often, that they tend to forget what it's like to be a worried pet parent. It's not their fault, they're just far removed from the reality of what happens once the dog comes home. That's where we come in, for the emotional support and good information to discuss with the vet.

You can let all the vets know we exist, through our Tripawds Foundation Outreach Brochures. They have questions for discussion with a pet parent's vet who dropped the amputation bomb, and they're free upon request.

 The vet prescribed Tylenol #4 and it was SOOO much better for her. So right now I’m not really sure what to give her. The surgeon said just Rimadyl

That's awesome. I've seen that in some dogs they can become quite dysphoric with it. It's surprising the surgeon only recommended Rimadyl. It doesn't mean the surgeon was not a good one, but probably that they were being overly cautious. Although every dog is different, we've seen here that an NSAID alone is just not enough medication to control post-amputation pain (see what our friend the pain management guru Dr. Robin Downing has to say about pain control). A human amputee would never come home with only an NSAID. We are all animals who feel pain the same way.

Did she come home with a 3-day pain control patch called Nocita?

Most of the pain control medications you're familiar with are also used in veterinary medicine. See our Best and Worst Amputation Pain Medications.  Also see the 2022 AAHA Pain Management Guidelines. In a nutshell, Dr. Stephen Jones, a brilliant surgeon in Park City Utah, recommends:

1 Nocita injection
1 Opioid injection, if the patient shows pain signals
Gabapentin (14 days)
NSAIDs (10-14 days)

If Isabelle is still uncomfortable, ask about Amantadine. That is often used as an alternative when Gabapentin makes a dog too sedated.

Keep us posted!

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16 January 2023 - 11:45 am
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Thanks for all the great info above.  First of all big news: Isabelle pooped today!!  Yeah. It's been 5 days so I was a little worried but she successfully hopped into the snow and pooped (We carried her out). 

Regarding the pain meds I've actually restarted the Gaba (300mg twice a day) and she seems to be tolerating it. I think the anesthesia had to get out of her system but now she seems to be tolerating it better.  We did not get the pain patch, likely because they did a long term anesthetic injection prior to discharge. But I think the 2 weeks NSAID/GABA seems like a good choice. I'll keep you posted. 

I agree with you about the Dr. thing getting in the way. I think the vets assume that cause I'm a doctor I'll figure it out, but as I told him, I have zero experience caring for a pet with amputation, he has all the experience! 

I'm going to take a look at your Brochure and make some recommendations to the folks in oncology at Angell. It would be so helpful to tell people about you ahead of time!!  Thanks again. Feeling more optimistic today.  

Virginia







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16 January 2023 - 4:08 pm
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YAAAAY FOR. poopicon We love to celebrate. poopicon  around here!

Love the picture of your sweet.  Gonna check oit your vlog in a bit.

I know ot seemed like we were harping  on pain management   in post after post and why it's needed especially  after all hospital meds out, etc.  As me tioned, of for some reason Gaba appears to be a problem  with her, there are still mother optionsmthst address surgery  pain.

So glad you are feeling a vit more optimistic.  We all understand  all too well how hard it is to be upbeat when we see our pups hurting and not being who they are.  She'll get there!

Having a good poopicon and getting her pain managed  will help here heal.  Yoi are such a good advocate and caregiver for her👏

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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16 January 2023 - 9:55 pm
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Well YAY and YAY! That's pawesome!

Just take things day by day. Animals can be so tricky when you're trying to figure out the pain medication schedule and dosages. Since they don't speak our language, it's tough to decipher what they are telling us. But you will get the hang of speaking and interpreting dog 😉

If the 300 mg of Gabapentin doesn't seem to be enough as the days wear on and she starts getting around more, see if breaking it up 3x a day instead makes a difference. I also found that getting Gabapentin in 100 mg capsules lets me fine tune a dosage better than with 300 mgs.

Thanks for downloading the brochures! Yes do spread the word. If you want actual printed ones just let me know, we have tons.

Paws crossed for more progress this week. Keep us posted.

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