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 of all,wow… I’m just so glad to have found this website! I have read a great deal here and it has helped steer me in the direction of going through with the amputation of the front right leg of my seven (almost 8) year old Japanese Akita. We are trying to provide him comfort and help him fight the awful and recent diagnosis of osteosarcoma.
So, having underwent his amp surgery just four days ago, I’m not exactly how concerned I should be. We speak with his surgeon daily so she is aware of our situation. Unfortunately, her advice thus far hasn’t exactly provided any solutions to the current situation. Thor is taking both Tylenol 3 and gabapentin for post-op pain. He whines on and off but mainly at night. My biggest current concern though is that it is now 4 days since his surgery and he still won’t eat for us. We have tried homemade meals such as chicken and beef. He has always been a little bit of a picky eater. But, he has never skipped more than a single day without a meal. He IS drinking water and urinating. He is obviously still getting used to life on 3 legs. He wasn’t one of the great stories I’ve read about where the dog just jumps up and carries on like normal. Of course, I wasn’t really expecting that of him.
I’m just curious if anyone has dealt with this type of behavior before and when I should be even more concerned than I already am? We will speak with the vet again this afternoon. I’m trying everything I can to get him to eat. CBD oil in addition to his regular pain meds…I forgot to point that out.
So… Any thoughts or ideas would be most appreciated. He isn’t a skinny dog, so there are some fat reserves. Maybe that’s one reason the vet didn’t seemed terribly worried. But we’re pushing the envelope it seems to me.
Thanks in advance to all of you caring fellow dog owners!
Hi Gene and pup, welcome! We are glad you found us too. What’s your Akita’s name?
Many dogs have a weak appetite because of the pain medications, that’s not unusual at all, so that’s probably why your vet didn’t seem concerned. Plus four days is not a long time at all. Of course he needs the pain meds, so it’s a catch, because he should have something in his stomach to keep them down.
Let me ask you this, are you trying to hide pills in his regular food? If so, don’t do it. Have you tried these appetite boosting tips? Here’s an article with some great tips we learned from a vet nutritionist who helps dogs with cancer:
The old cheese trick might help too! Our member krun15 says:
I have found melted cheese a good way to get pills down. I put several small pieces of cheddar cheese (just enough to cover the pill) on a plate and microwave for a few seconds- just long enough for the cheese to get melty. Then I wrap the pill in one piece of cheese and keep it as small as possible so the dogs will more likely swallow without chewing. Melting the cheese makes the pill balls a little oily and help them slide down. I get the pup going with a ‘blank’ cheese ball or two- I find when they see I have several treats to give them they swallow pretty easily. Also, with two dogs I find that if I give them cheese balls side by side they also tend to swallow pretty quickly.
She even made this video:
Stay tuned for feedback from others. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.
18 October 2009
Hi and welcome.
First- it’s great how involved your vet is!
It’s not uncommon for dogs to loose their appetite post surgery. Is the chicken or beef meal you are offering just meat or mixed with other stuff (like canned food)? You might try plain meat, scrambled eggs, or tuna. Warming the food may help. Also try some beef or chicken broth just make sure it’s low sodium. Not a lot of nutrients in broth but if he drinks some it may stimulate his appetite.
Be sure you are positive and happy when you feed him, don’t show your stress. I learned that the hard way when I was trying to get my Pug Maggie to eat!
Keep us posted.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
22 February 2013
As you’ve already read, loss of appetite is not unusual. Drinking is important so that’s good he’s drinking.
In addition to the above suggestions, maybe try some baby food too. Also, try adding thinly shredded and diced chicken to his water. And anything stinky too, like liverwurst.
Generally, not always, but generally we see a combination of Gabapentin and Tramadol working well together. An antibiotic is also included. Tlak talk to your Vet about Rimadyl instead of Tylenol. I think there has to be a washout period between the two anti inflammatories…but clear all this with your Vet first!!
How much does Thor weigh? Does and frequency?? Not eating amd whining can also be a sign of pain. The meds may need to be tweaked a bit.
The recovery part is no picnic for a couple of weeks. Vets do the surgery and send them home! They do see the ups and downs of recovery like we do. This is what this community is so great! Our experiences with recov are pretty well covered here amd chock full of invaluable information!!
STAY CONNECTED!! We are with you the whole way!!
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!
Hello Jerry… And thanks for the info. My dog’s name is Thor and since my earlier post I have been able to get him to eat just a tiny amount.
However, he has to be one of the easiest dogs I’ve ever had to give medication to. He’s got a huge mouth and just lets me open it up and shove them down the hatch without complaint. So that much has definitely made that part easier. My biggest concern has been and remains the food. I have tried a variety of enticing foods and will continue. I’m glad to hear that someone else besides my vet isn’t overly worried about him eating too much right now.
So thanks again for the follow-up. I’m just so glad I ran across this community when I did!
Hi Karen and Sally,
Thank you for contributing. Thor is approx a 75 pound Akita. His meds include 300 mg of gabapentin along with Tylenol 3 twice daily. I am allowed to give him more according to his apparent needs, up to 3 times daily and as many as 2 Tylenol at a time. But the whining seems to be more out of frustration than pain. I can’t be sure of that, obviously. But, from what I have read so far and his behavior when he does whine, it really seems like an issue of less pain than confusion or something akin to it.
I will talk to the vet about a possible alternative to Tylenol since I haven’t seen it referenced nearly as often as other more commonly used pain meds.
Luckily, I have gotten him to eat just the tiniest amount of ground venison. So I will continue to experiment with savory alternatives. Thanks again for your care and consideration for my boy.
15 May 2020
My pup Kinzi is 3 days post op and eating fine only when I wet her regular food with water or broth. It was a trick I learned the last time she had major surgery. It makes it more aromatic but still familiar and easier for them to digest.
There are lots of great suggestions on here, but I’m sure you’re worried and would appreciate options to try. Best of luck! I’m with you. This journey is no picnic.
Hi Ashley… And thanks for posting. I wasn’t expecting to find a companion “so to speak” for Thor on this journey. But, since your pup is only a single day behind mine on this road to recovery perhaps we can share notes in a sense. I hadn’t thought of trying to doctor up his regular kibble with anything. The vet told me to spoil him and give him anything he would eat. So, maybe I’ll go back to the basics for a day. I think giving him something he is already familiar with is a great idea. So thanks for sharing. And best of luck to you and your baby going down this road. =)
24 March 2020
Hi Gene! Welcome to the Tripawds community where you will find answers, advice, and a ton of support! Griffin’s right forelimb amputation occurred on April 2, 2020. He was spoiled his first 2 nights home with a cheeseburger and fried chicken. After that, he pretty much went back to his regular food routine. Some Tripawds folks have posted about creating chicken broth/stock which provides nutrients to pups who might be taking their time getting back on a solid food routine. I’ve starting cooking for Griffin to replace about half his kibble each day and one surprising thing I learned is how much he adores cottage cheese – who knew? I’m sure you will figure it out and Thor will eat when he is ready. The fact that he is drinking and taking his meds are great first steps. Good luck and stay connected! ~ Stacy (Griffin’s Journey)
I read Griffin’s journey. Wonderful stuff! I truly hope my boy will do as well as Griffin has. I’ve heard the broth idea but haven’t tried it since his first day home. So I’ll definitely give that another shot. You are doing such good for Griffin and he seems so happy. Congratulations on your journey together so far. And thank you for posting another great idea.
I’m so glad I’m here. It really does help to know you’re not alone in this battle.