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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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Gussie's amputation was 3 days ago, advice please
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Forum Posts: 5
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9 May 2014 - 4:13 pm
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Hi, I'm a new member. My beloved dog had her amputation on Tuesday 6th - 3 days ago. The wound was checked by the vet today and he says it's looking good. But Gussie's anxiety level is so high. She is healthy in every way and had her leg amputated to due to an injury sustained last July, so it's fair to say that she's had 10 months of operations and medications and limping and pain too. She has lost a lot of confidence since the injury but I've never seen her as anxious and trembling as she sometimes is at the moment. Not all the time, if she's resting on the couch, which she does most of the time, she's fine especially if I or my husband sit with her but when she goes out to go the loo in the garden she gets anxious and trembles even if we go with her, she wants to be right next to us and usually leans her body on one of us. She always has been a bit of a leaner but not as much as now. She was 3 in December, during the last 10 months she has spent a lot of time walking on only 3 legs, so her balance is pretty good. I can understand her feeling anxious about what she's been through, but people kept saying "She'll be so happy once her poorly leg is gone, they'll be no stopping her!" Or "In a couple of weeks she'll be running around the park!" Looking at my poor baby now, I cannot see that happening. The vet has said that there is very little pain associated with amputation, and she's on tramadol and gabapentin, but she looks so unhappy now, and suppose I want to know if this sometimes happens, and will she be alright given time. Thanks for your help.

Virginia
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9 May 2014 - 9:17 pm
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Hi, and welcome! Sorry you have to be here but sounds like you're not dealing with cancer, so that's good! This is incredibly supportive, knowledgeable and welcoming group, so you're in the right place.

The first few days post amp -- actually the first couple weeks -- can be very rough. A lot of people think, What have I done?" good news is that the dogs do recover and really do enjoy life on 3 legs. You're just in the tough part now but it gets better from here. A lot of dogs do seem to have anxiety or agitation with Tramadol, btw. One of the best things you can do is use the advanced search function in the forums. There is a ton of good advice from so many people who have been where you are, and you can find answers and reassurance on a lot of things that way.

One thing that worked for us: Lexie was really perked up by having visitors over, seeing other dogs, and getting outside and going for short walks as soon as she was allowed to. Maybe som of that could help your girl too.

Tell us more about Gussie -- what breed or mix, what she's like, etc. And pictures are always great!

Best of luck, and please keep us posted. It does get better!

Deb and Angel Lexie* Diagnosed at age 13. Tried radiation first; wish we had amputated upon diagnosis (even with lung mets). Joined Club Tripawd April 2014 & Lexie loved life on 3 legs! Advice: Start physical therapy as soon as your vet clears it, especially hydrotherapy if available :-) See Lexie pics here.  

Livermore, CA




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9 May 2014 - 9:38 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds.
Yea, the only advice I got from the vet was "most dogs do great on three legs". When my pug Maggie seemed really unhappy after her rear amp I was sure I had done the wrong thing. But Maggie was stubborn and not at all open to change, she took her time but did get there.

And the pain meds can really do a number on them, Mag would get really agitated on Tramadol. Pain meds are a necessary evil after a big surgery. What leg did Gussie loose? I'm a little surprised your vet said that there is not much pain with amputation. There have been a few pups here who seem not to need meds for too long, but most are on something for two weeks are so. In addition to Tramadol Mag had a fentanyl patch when she came home- pretty strong stuff. Unfortunately signs of pain and the side effects of pain meds can be very similar. I don't know Gussie, but it sounds a little like she is having some pain, then again it could be the tram.

With her other surgeries what meds was she on? Can you compare her reactions then and now to help you determine if she is in pain or is having side effects?

Hang in there, three days in is very early. Gussie will get better, she will be amazing you soon!

Karen and Spirit Maggie

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

Oaktown
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9 May 2014 - 9:49 pm
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You are in the rough part of the ride and things should get better. There is a possibility that some adjustment to the pain meds is needed and you could talk with your vet and see if they have any thoughts. Every dog is a bit different in how they handle the pain and medications, and sometimes some adjustment to dosages can improve things. Many others have gone through the same thing and after the two weeks improvement is common. Good thoughts for both of you.

Ralph

Virginia




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9 May 2014 - 10:04 pm
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Yeah, good advice fro Karen and Dev!

I'm SHOCKED that your vet would saythere's not mich pain with amputatiom.....itms MAJOR surgery! Humans woukd be in the hospital for weeks!

This is very, very early in recovery ad she still' probably jas some hospital meds in her system, as well as trying to adjist to the right doseage of Tramadol and Gaba.

Right now se needs reat amd to just go out to do her "bidness". I assume she's not jumping up and down off the sofa...jumping's not good right now. Doyou have scatter rugs over hardwood floors? If you have hardwoods she could feel uncertain and afraid os slipping.

Have you tried a sling to help give her confidence in walking? May help.

But really, this is not unusual at all this earlyon! AIt was close to three weeks before I finally realized I did the amputation FOR my Hapy Hannah and ot TO her!! Oce her sparkle came back comsistenty....BEAUTIFUL!! BEST DECISION EVER!!

How old is Gussie and how much does she weigh? Is she eating, drinking, peeing, pooping okay?

Would love to see some pictures of her!

Try and take some DEEP BREATHS and jnow she WILL get etter! Maybe eat a little chocolate too! Stay connected tous...you are not alone, okay?

Hugs!!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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9 May 2014 - 10:41 pm
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Hi Gussie and family, welcome. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this, it's not easy and trust me, you're not the first one to question your decision to proceed with amputation. It is scary at times! But as everyone said, things DO get better! Stay in close contact with your vet and let him/her know these symptoms so you can work together to manage the pain. Chances are Gussie just needs some adjustment to his pain relief meds. It sounds like your vet is up on pain management protocols so that shouldn't be hard at all.

Give it time. One week isn't a long time, and chances are soon you'll see lots of improvement. Hang in there!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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10 May 2014 - 5:26 am
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I agree with everyone, the pain meds can make them really anxious and loopy (same thing happens to people). They feel "weird" and so that may be why she's trying to stay so close to you. Three days is really early into recovery. My pup Tanner lost his rear leg due to injury 9 months ago (he was hit by a car as a stray) and according to the stack of medical records the shelter gave me it took him quite awhile to recover. Now, every time he goes to the dog park the other parents there always comment on how fast and agile he is. I swear you'd never know he ever had a 4th leg. My angel pup Jake had an amp due to cancer and it took at least a couple weeks, so every dog has their own pace. Hang in there!

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

Orrtanna Pa.
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10 May 2014 - 8:51 am
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Oh my, the pain meds do a number on them! My vet called it seeing the pink elephants. You will see a huge difference in a few weeks when she is off of them. Don't stop them too soon though. I can't imagine there is not pain with an amp. What my vet did tell me was the pain from the amp was probably less than from the leg. (Ty had Histeosarcoma) maybe that is what he is referring to when he says that. The pain from a bone tumor is supposedly really bad. I also found that Ty liked to walk directly beside me when he went outside. It was like he wanted me there for balance. He also had been on 3 legs for awhile prior to amp. He would keep looking to make sure I was right there.  I just indulged him in this. I joked that he thought I was his 4th leg. You are so early in the process. It WILL get better! I think it is a very common thing in the early days to wonder if we made the right decision. Once Gussie gets her healing in, there will be no stopping her. We would LOVE to see some pictures of your precious girl! love from, Lori and TY

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

Montana
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10 May 2014 - 8:56 am
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Welcome Gussie and family-

Everyone has covered all the good points. I can't imagine why your vet would say there isn't much pain involved - Shooter was pretty tough, but definitely had times when pain was obvious. Plus there is the chance for phantom limb pain. I found that massages really made a difference in calming and relaxing as it really helps with muscle spasms. I also had great results with a Back On Track blanket - it would usually put him to sleep.

Hang in there - 2 or 3 weeks is the norm for the worst of the battle.

There is always someone around here to help out. Take care and keep us updated.

Luanne and Spirit Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

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10 May 2014 - 7:45 pm
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Welcome! You are in good company:) and as everyone has said the first few days are the most difficult. Our dog Zach is now on day 16 and I can truly say that he is happier now than he was before the amputation. The pain meds can be tricky and the first few days are just difficult period. I have been worried about how it would all turn out and it will not be over, but our Zach is hopping around fine and handling a couple of steps to get outside and inside just fine.

We used the sling they gave us and that made it much easier. Zach didn't start to get on a regular schedule until at least a week and I think he was a fast healer. Please feel free to ask questions of us and of your vet. The vets see this all the time so I think sometimes they forget how difficult it is to process for the humans. You will get through this and it will be better for everyone.

Cheryl and Zach

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13 May 2014 - 5:21 am
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Hi, Thank you so much for your replies, they have been so helpful I can't tell you! We were so worried about our girl but between you you have given us much reassurance. I'm sorry for the long time in responding, but this is the third time I've written as for one reason or another, I keep loosing my post. I have tried to put a picture up, but haven't managed it so far (I'm not at all technical) but I have put the link up of a short video I took of Gussie the day after surgery. She looks pretty good on it, but inbetween the few minutes of moving about, she's pretty quiet -even withdrawn. She's very clingy and wants loads of cuddles but that's Ok, I don't blame her. She had her last Tramadol yesterday morning but still has another 5 days of Gabapentin. She's a retriever x poodle and was 3 in December. She injured her palmer ligament in July last year whilst running in the woods with her brother (maybe she put her foot down a rabbit hole- we aren't sure) which left her with hyperextention in her left front leg. Despite lots of treatments nothing helped, in fact she was left with a limp and dragged her toes/ claws on the ground when she walked so she had to wear a boot. She was on painkillers (Rimadyl) and antibiotics for 7 months. She had a metal plate put in her leg to fuse the carpal joint but it caused massive infection so we knew it had to come out as soon as the bone was sufficiently fused. After 5 months, it was removed but 4 days later, the joint fractured. She was in terrible pain and had to be hospitalised for 5 days. It was then that we were advised to consider amputation. There was one other treatment they could try which was to have metal rods (like a cage) fixed on the outside of her whole leg for 6 weeks, to hold metal pins going through the bone in place. They said this treatment MIGHT be successful and in 6 months she MIGHT be back to normal but that she would always limp and most likely always drag her toes. After 10 months of interventions, and pain and months of 10 minute lead walks only, we felt Gussie had had enough. She's lost so much confidence and was becoming a nervous wreck whenever we had to go to the vet. So after much soul searching and many tears we chose amputation for her.

The trembling has mostly eased off now, thankfully. She  remains quiet, as I said before, but thanks to you guys we're a bit more confident that she'll be well again. It's been a week today since the op I will keep you posted, if I may. x     

Virginia




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13 May 2014 - 8:58 am
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Sooooooo glad to hear from you and to kow that Gussies is slowly...but surely...on the road to recovery!!

GUSSIES IS ADORABLE!!! Sooooooo cute! Amd I love how her brother (?) deanded he be put in the video too! Very, sweet ups! And I saw Gussie's tail wag!! UAAAAAY! Isn't it amazing how well they can do on three legs?

You and Gussie have been through so mich. This REALLY is the BEST solutiin and now she can finally get on with a pain free life and no more surgeries!!!

Back to the pain meds.....just one week post amp, she's probably still feeling pretty bummed. Many vets here continue the Tramadol with Gaba. a little longer than just the first week. So if you see any signs of pain....whining, panting, tense body, shaking, whimpering, restlessness...you may ask the vet about adding the Tramadol back in.

I'm sure she is "clingy" after all she's been through! She knows she needs to rest so that's really good she's taking it easy right now. Once she recovers and her sparkle comes back AND she's pain free, she'll be her confident self!!

Oh, and I'll post a reply and hit send and it'll say "webpage unavailable"...never to be seen again. Or I'll finish a response, and the submit reply won't work. Fristrating indeed! I have zero techie skills too.....you're way ahead of me.....took me months to figure out youtube and months to get the avatar pic up. That only happened because Jerry did it for me!!

Thanks for sharing such a great update! Hugs tonyou and all your pack!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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13 May 2014 - 10:15 am
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Wow Gussie looks terrific! I'm so glad you updated us, thanks. Sounds like things are going really well. I'm going to bet that her behavior is just a result of pain meds and being a little worn out from using how to use her body in a different way. She'll get there! Be sure to check out the Tripawds e-books library for lots of tips on how to get her strong and fit. She's traveled a long road, what a lucky girl to have such loving, conscientious pawrents.

More videos! Oh and here are instructions for adding photos. If you still have challenges just PM me,I'm happy to help.

Yay Gussie!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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13 May 2014 - 1:00 pm
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Gussie looks great!

Montana
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13 May 2014 - 9:37 pm
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Thank you for sharing Gussie with us. I'msure with time her confidence will return once she finds out how much better she really feels. We always look forward to updates and pictures and sending pawsitive thoughts your way.

Luanne and Spirit Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

http://shooter......ipawds.com

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