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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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Four days post-op - front paw swelling
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Forum Posts: 9
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7 October 2019
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7 October 2019 - 7:56 pm
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Hi community,

I wish I didn’t have to find myself posting on a forum like this, but one of our dogs had to have his front leg amputated last week due to a challenging soft tissue sarcoma that both our vet and our specialist felt was better to treat via amputation rather than removing the lump and radiation.

Our boy is an 8-year old Vizsla, in good health, and he has been recovering remarkably well. His incision looks great, he has been hopping around, etc. This morning we got him out of his crate and he seemed to be in pain, he was whining and crying a bit. His remaining front paw and forelimb was very swollen—we checked the usual culprits. It wasn’t hot, there was no sign of damage, and his overall system seems fine (he’s eating/drinking/urinating/defecating like normal). Our vet said it didn’t sound like something that warranted an emergency visit.

The reasonable and logical part of me thinks that he has some swelling due to all the pressure he suddenly has to put on the remaining front leg, along with probably sleeping strangely at night. He has a post-surgery shirt on, so that could also be putting strange pressure on the elbow joint if he moves around when sleeping.

Has anybody else experienced post-surgical swelling in the front remaining leg while the dog adjusts to life on three limbs? Any comforting words or shared experiences would be appreciated.

Livermore, CA




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7 October 2019 - 8:51 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with cancer and amputation- what is your boy’s name?

First- what meds is he on post amp?  Be sure you are talking to your vet if you think he is in pain.  Many pups here come home with tramadol, gabapentin and maybe an anti-inflammatory.  Some have a pain patch, and some vets are using a longer acting pain injection.  Sometimes tweaks in dose or dosing schedule make a big difference.

On the swelling- you did the right thing calling the vet to check.  We have seen many front amp dogs have swelling in their remaining front leg.  A major surgery like amputation can produce a lot of fluid and it has to go somewhere.  What is his activity level like?  Our surgeon said only short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post op. 

And just in case you need some inspiration- check out the blog of Bart the Extraordinary Vizsla. Bart earned a hunting title after his amp!

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

Virginia




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7 October 2019 - 9:42 pm
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Your bou’s avatar  picture is so handsome. 

Yeah, bummer you have to be here, but as you can see from Karen’s post, thos is a great place to find answers and get reassurance.  And yes, swelling is often found in the remaining  limb, whether front or back, for exactly the reasons Karen mentioned.  You can try some gentle massage to help bring the swelling down.

It’s  great news that he’s eating, drinking and potting.  Good signs! Slow and easy, lots of rest and just very short potty breaks.  Still early in recovery  from MAJOR surgery.

Here’s  a link for adding images .  We would love to see more pics of Mr. Handsome!

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!

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8 October 2019 - 5:44 am
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krun15 said
Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with cancer and amputation- what is your boy’s name?

First- what meds is he on post amp?  Be sure you are talking to your vet if you think he is in pain.  Many pups here come home with tramadol, gabapentin and maybe an anti-inflammatory.  Some have a pain patch, and some vets are using a longer acting pain injection.  Sometimes tweaks in dose or dosing schedule make a big difference.

On the swelling- you did the right thing calling the vet to check.  We have seen many front amp dogs have swelling in their remaining front leg.  A major surgery like amputation can produce a lot of fluid and it has to go somewhere.  What is his activity level like?  Our surgeon said only short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post op. 

And just in case you need some inspiration- check out the blog of Bart the Extraordinary Vizsla. Bart earned a hunting title after his amp!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

  

Hi Karen,

Thank you for the warm welcome. Our boy’s name is Gamma. He’s one of three dogs in our pack—we also have Hailey (a rescue Doberman who is between 10-13 years old, on borrowed time with mast cell cancer), and Twyla, a 2-year old Boston Terrier.

Gamma just got done with his Fentanyl patch yesterday, and he is on Carprofen and Gabapentin for pain management . We don’t think he’s in tremendous pain but definitely is not his usual self—a few whimpers and helps when he moves too quickly or is surprised.

His activity level has been slightly higher than our vet’s recommendation. We have been letting him walk unleashed under our supervision in the house so he can follow the sunny spots. I’m guessing the swelling is a result of the fluid going somewhere, and am just so glad to hear that this is a common issue post-amputation.

This is a fantastic community. I appreciate the insight and will post pictures of our boy!

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8 October 2019 - 5:46 am
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benny55 said
Your bou’s avatar  picture is so handsome. 

Yeah, bummer you have to be here, but as you can see from Karen’s post, thos is a great place to find answers and get reassurance.  And yes, swelling is often found in the remaining  limb, whether front or back, for exactly the reasons Karen mentioned.  You can try some gentle massage to help bring the swelling down.

It’s  great news that he’s eating, drinking and potting.  Good signs! Slow and easy, lots of rest and just very short potty breaks.  Still early in recovery  from MAJOR surgery.

Here’s  a link for adding images .  We would love to see more pics of Mr. Handsome!

Hugs

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

  

Thank you Sally for the reminder that it was MAJOR surgery. It’s easy to believe from our boy’s smiling face that he’s just his normal, happy self, but they don’t know what they went through and rely on us to keep them calm and recovering. I know I wouldn’t be as quick to recover from having a limb removed!

I’ll post some pictures of our boy. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 October 2019 - 10:52 am
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Hey just wanted to say “Welcome!” I have a feeling that Gamma is going to amaze you when recovery is over (although I’m sure he already has in a lot of ways).

Did the vet give you any suggestions for dealing with the swelling, like gentle massage or a warm compress? Just curious. As Karen said, we’ve seen this before and most time it resolves itself. I would watch his incision area just in case that fluid buildup in his leg turns into a draining seroma . Don’t panic if it does, those are usually harmless.

Let us know how today goes, we’ll be cheering you on!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 9
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8 October 2019 - 7:27 pm
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jerry said
Hey just wanted to say “Welcome!” I have a feeling that Gamma is going to amaze you when recovery is over (although I’m sure he already has in a lot of ways).

Did the vet give you any suggestions for dealing with the swelling, like gentle massage or a warm compress? Just curious. As Karen said, we’ve seen this before and most time it resolves itself. I would watch his incision area just in case that fluid buildup in his leg turns into a draining seroma . Don’t panic if it does, those are usually harmless.

Let us know how today goes, we’ll be cheering you on!

  

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for the comforting words and also the sanity check. Gamma’s doing really well today. His foot that was swollen yesterday looks normal again, he let us take his surgical shirt off to wash and let his incision air out, and he’s cruising around. The swelling in the other leg was never brought up, but we were told to ice Gamma’s incision (which he won’t let us do!), and of course my basic knowledge of how bodies react after surgery tells me that swelling is going to happen and it’s got to go somewhere.

We will keep our fingers crossed for more progress each and every day. I’m hoping more “normal” looking walking happens eventually, but I’m guessing that’s one of the more subtle things that takes time (and new muscle strength) to happen.

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 October 2019 - 7:45 pm
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Aww paw shucks, I’m just glad he’s doing so much better. That’s terrific!

Yep, swelling and bruising is pretty standard stuff around here. As we say, as long as there isn’t any smelly or gross discharge things are on track.

Yes he will get that mojo back. All Tripawds have a “special” hop walk and that, combined with his old sparkle, will be just the most adorable thing ever.

Stay strong and patient, you’ll both see that new normal around the corner real soon.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!



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8 October 2019 - 8:13 pm
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Since Gamma isn’t keen having his incision iced you could try a cold damp facecloth. My cat loved having them draped over her incision site. It’s also a good opportunity to gently clean any guck.

Hope Gamma’s recovery goes well.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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8 October 2019 - 10:12 pm
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jerry said
Aww paw shucks, I’m just glad he’s doing so much better. That’s terrific!

Yep, swelling and bruising is pretty standard stuff around here. As we say, as long as there isn’t any smelly or gross discharge things are on track.

Yes he will get that mojo back. All Tripawds have a “special” hop walk and that, combined with his old sparkle, will be just the most adorable thing ever.

Stay strong and patient, you’ll both see that new normal around the corner real soon.

  

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8 October 2019 - 10:13 pm
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kazann said
Since Gamma isn’t keen having his incision iced you could try a cold damp facecloth. My cat loved having them draped over her incision site. It’s also a good opportunity to gently clean any guck.

Hope Gamma’s recovery goes well.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

  

We might try a damp cold cloth on him tomorrow. He’s not a fan of the ice pack, and our small Boston Terrier is infatuated with things from the freezer, so we need to keep her away from Gamma!

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