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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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Hannah's having an amputation of her right front leg---terrified
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Member Since:
9 December 2015
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9 December 2015 - 10:40 am
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Hi everybody---I joined this site because my dear, sweet little Hannah, a rescued lemon beagle, will be having her right front leg amputated due to a squamous cell cancer that has gotten infected and spread to her paw bones.  It is isolated, she has no masses anywhere else, and this is the best thing for her.  She is now in so much pain, and the alternative is that I would lose her to put her out of her pain.  I have been up for 2 days doing research on the internet, reading stuff on this site, and I decided to post.  Hopefully I can get some support and advice on how the post operative recovery will be.  I don't know how old Hannah really is----she is a rescue, and while we always thought she was older, the vet doesn't think she's as old as I think she is.  I think she's over 10, but the vet doesn't think she is---the vet thinks she's around 8.  So, she potentially has several "good" years left.  And other than this paw, she is in perfect health.   They did xrays of her foot, chest and abdomen, and the chest and abdomen are totally clear, and her blood work is perfect.  She is overweight because she hasn't been moving around, and because my 87 year old mother thinks love is food so she overfeeds her (my mother lives with me).  I will be taking over the feeding routine as to get Hannah on a reducing diet.  She's not the strongest dog in the world as she has taken to laying down due to the pain.  I have gone through so many emotions, and have actually just made the decision to go forward with the amputation.  The pain inhibited her mobility so much, and I hope that removing the limb that is affected will give me the beagle back that I know and love.  I would love to see her doing her daily backyard, perimeter sniffing for invading critters again, and sunbathing on the back deck.  (It's supposed to be in the 60's here in New York this weekend!!)  The surgeon said that she will be in the hospital for about 2 days----she'll come home on Friday, just in time for a bit on sunbathing.

I am very concerned with phantom limb pain.  And I am concerned that because she's not an athletic sled dog or crazy lab, her recovery will be very difficult for her.

I'd appreciate any advice or input on what to expect.  I am in emotional turmoil and I have a headache like I have never had in my life.  I haven't slept for the past 2 nights trying to figure out what to do.  I think this is the best route to take since the cancer is not systemic & is isolated to the one paw.  I want her to be out of pain, not in an E-collar 24/7 for the rest of her life and back to a somewhat normal life.  I keep reading that I have to start "thinking like a dog" and not a human.  I messaged a couple of people that made the difficult decision to do an amputation on their dog and they say that they'd make the same decision if they had to again----they got their dogs back and it didn't affect them hardly at all.  The dogs bounced back in no time & are happily hopping around.  

I guess her new nickname will be "Hopalong Hannah".

On The Road


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9 December 2015 - 11:17 am
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Hi Hannah and mom, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.

You bet you will get support here, so take a deep breath and know that you are not alone, you can lean on us OK?

I'm glad that you already know Hannah is overweight. Yes, it will be more challenging for her as a front leg Tripawd, at first. You may have doubts, most of us did at some point. But remember, so much of what you project she will reflect back, which is why we say "Be More Dog " (glad to see you've done your reading, bravo! Did you see Jerry's Required Reading List ?). Work closely with your vet to get those pounds off, check out our Tripawds Nutrition blog and you will see a big difference in a few weeks.

Your worries are normal, but don't let them overtake you. Remember, you set the pace for her recovery. Be happy you're dealing with a very treatable type of cancer, that's so awesome!

If you want to talk, the Tripawds Helpline and Chat Room is always there for you too OK?

Whatever we can do to help just holler.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Maryland
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9 December 2015 - 1:38 pm
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Hi Hannah's Mom,

Hannah has so much going for her. She's little, she has a "good" cancer and she's going to get relief from her pain! I know it is hard not to worry, but she's going to depend on you being strong, so try to feel at peace with your decision, get some rest, and be ready for when Hannah comes home. She'll probably be so relieved by having the pain gone that she'll surprise you.

Now, not every dog bounces back. The bigger guys and gals tend to take longer, but that doesn't mean Hannah won't take her own sweet time. It is major surgery and even if the pain of the tumor is gone, there is the immediate pain of surgery to deal with. Don't get discouraged! Post-amp is a rollercoaster with good days and bad for each and every dog and sometimes we pawrents have just be patient. Hopefully you're working w/ a vet who won't be afraid to prescribe the pain meds she'll need. Most pups seem to come home w/ a fentanyl patch (morphine), tramadol and gabapentin. It is the gabapentin that is used for the nerve pain. 

You say she's not been mobile and that does mean she's staring probably from some muscle weakness overall. So, yes, that may also slow her down a bit. But even the most athletic dog uses a whole new set of muscles to move as a tripawd so in that sense Hannah is not as bad off as you might think. 

I'd add my voice to those who say they don't regret amputation. It isn't a picnic and nobody would choose it if they didnt' have to, but amputation at least gives our pups a chance to be pain free. I think that is why most people feel it is worth it in the end.

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9 December 2015 - 1:47 pm
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Well hellooo "Hop A Long Hannah on Three Paws!! Right off the bat, my beloved Happy Hannah, a "chunky, somewhat of a senior, who is now at the Bridge), did spectacular on three legs!! And I think because her name is Hannah too, it's all a good sign!

And we all understand the sheer fear, the uncertainty, the second guess, the research until you can't research any more, but you keep on googling anyway! As Jerry said, YOU ARE. NOT ALONE! We are all right here by your side the whole way, okay?

Now take some deep breaths and knlw that you ARE doing what is best for Hannah and that is ro give her a quality pain free life! NOTHING is more important! Quality time for more snuggling, more tummy rubs, more sunbathing, more spoiling, more loving and more treats! Yes Grandma, you can still feed her treats, they just have ro be low cal and nutritional!

Some dogs have easier recovery than others. My Happy was not one of those! I share that with you not to scare you, but to offer some assurance that recovery is no picnic...and that is "normal". The fact that she is somewhat used to not using her leg can be a plus in her adjusting to three legs a bit faster. Spending two nights at the vet is not u common either. Rember she will be highly drugged and not too concerned about where she is. She'll just enjoy watching the pink elephants fly by! You, of course, will be anervous wreck because we are human!

My Happy Hannah did a lot of whining and was very, very restless for several days. Some dogs are more zonked out...and that is good. Hannah needs total rest and to just go out for potty breaks. My Happy Hannah never missed a meal, but some dogs don't want to eat. She may not poop for a few days due to the pain meds. Drinking and peeing are more important.

Most vets send dogs home with Tramadol, Gabapentin, Rimadyl and an antibiotic. You'll want to keep the pain meds consistent so the pain doesn't jave a chance to get a head start. No qorries about Phantom limb pain, it does happen sometimes and it's fairly easily managed with the Gabapentin, massage, etc.

Yes, its major surgery and all surgeries have risk. Your vet thinks Hannah is an excellent candidate, her tests are all great and she will be rid of that horribly lainful leg! And yes, her sparkle will co e back, bigger and brighter than before! Stay strong! Stay confident and all that great positive energy will help Hannah heal.

Eat lots and lots of CHOCOLATE!! Share some with Grandma too! Deep breaths...deep, deep breaths....b r e a t h e...and knlw that all is well in Hannah's world!!

Stay connected!!

Sending love and 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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9 December 2015 - 2:11 pm
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Hey Hannah's mom,

we ALL know that initial terror here.  I had it too and trust me.......it's not fun.  My girl Patches had left front leg amputated in August.  I didn't sleep for a couple of days either.  BUT.....with attention and love your Hannah will be ok because she has you.  The people who have already posted are THE BEST in terms of support, information and understanding.  You're in the best community you could be and we are ALL here to help you out any way we can.  Please keep us posted and trust that you've made the best decision for your Hannah. I know I was doubtful and fearful but it was such a good decision as my girl is so happy and joyful again.  Trust your gut and know that you're doing what's best for Hannah.  Please keep us posted and we will keep you in our prayers!

xoxo

Debbie and Patches

Livermore, CA




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9 December 2015 - 7:47 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds.

You have gotten great advice so far.  My first Tripawd was a little pug named Maggie, she lost a rear leg to a mast cell tumor.  She was active for a pug, but not what I would call athletic.  She was also very stubborn and hated any change to her routine.  It took her about 6 weeks to be OK with the amputation.  No medical complications, in fact she was hopping the day of surgery.  She just took her time getting used to things, I thought I had made a terrible mistake.  Most pups bounce back faster but some take a little longer.

The recovery period can be full of ups and downs so don't get discouraged if Hannah has some down time when she comes home.  She will be on pain meds and working on her new normal.  Stay positive and she will be amazing you in no time!

btw- I just adopted my second Tripawd, a rear amp pug/beagle mix who is almost 1 year old.  She got away from her owners and got hit by a car.  Man- she spends a lot of time sniffing!

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

Michigan
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2 April 2013
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9 December 2015 - 9:31 pm
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I also do not regret having Murphy go through surgery!  So far, we have gotten over 2 1/2 extra years with our sweet boy smiley  We wouldn't trade that for anything in the world!  Murphy's biggest issue with recovery was eating...he just didn't want to, and he can be such a stubborn boy!  lol He still is.  Murphy had been in pain for over 5 months by the time he had his surgery - he had initially been misdiagnosed, which is not uncommon around here.  He came home on Tramadol, Rimadyl & Gabapentin for pain.  I wrote out a medication sheet to make sure that we kept track of all his medications.  There were 3 adults in our house, so we each would cross off whichever medication we had given so everyone could keep track.

Donna

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

Donna.png

Norene, TN
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11 December 2015 - 8:17 am
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Howdy and welcome!

Can't wait to see some pictures of your sweet Hannah!

pam

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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11 December 2015 - 3:44 pm
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hannahon3paws said
Hi everybody---I joined this site because my dear, sweet little Hannah, a rescued lemon beagle, will be having her right front leg amputated due to a squamous cell cancer that has gotten infected and spread to her paw bones.  It is isolated, she has no masses anywhere else, and this is the best thing for her.  She is now in so much pain, and the alternative is that I would lose her to put her out of her pain.  I have been up for 2 days doing research on the internet, reading stuff on this site, and I decided to post.  Hopefully I can get some support and advice on how the post operative recovery will be.  I don't know how old Hannah really is----she is a rescue, and while we always thought she was older, the vet doesn't think she's as old as I think she is.  I think she's over 10, but the vet doesn't think she is---the vet thinks she's around 8.  So, she potentially has several "good" years left.  And other than this paw, she is in perfect health.   They did xrays of her foot, chest and abdomen, and the chest and abdomen are totally clear, and her blood work is perfect.  She is overweight because she hasn't been moving around, and because my 87 year old mother thinks love is food so she overfeeds her (my mother lives with me).  I will be taking over the feeding routine as to get Hannah on a reducing diet.  She's not the strongest dog in the world as she has taken to laying down due to the pain.  I have gone through so many emotions, and have actually just made the decision to go forward with the amputation.  The pain inhibited her mobility so much, and I hope that removing the limb that is affected will give me the beagle back that I know and love.  I would love to see her doing her daily backyard, perimeter sniffing for invading critters again, and sunbathing on the back deck.  (It's supposed to be in the 60's here in New York this weekend!!)  The surgeon said that she will be in the hospital for about 2 days----she'll come home on Friday, just in time for a bit on sunbathing.

I am very concerned with phantom limb pain.  And I am concerned that because she's not an athletic sled dog or crazy lab, her recovery will be very difficult for her.

I'd appreciate any advice or input on what to expect.  I am in emotional turmoil and I have a headache like I have never had in my life.  I haven't slept for the past 2 nights trying to figure out what to do.  I think this is the best route to take since the cancer is not systemic & is isolated to the one paw.  I want her to be out of pain, not in an E-collar 24/7 for the rest of her life and back to a somewhat normal life.  I keep reading that I have to start "thinking like a dog" and not a human.  I messaged a couple of people that made the difficult decision to do an amputation on their dog and they say that they'd make the same decision if they had to again----they got their dogs back and it didn't affect them hardly at all.  The dogs bounced back in no time & are happily hopping around.  

I guess her new nickname will be "Hopalong Hannah".

Hi Hannah's parent,

How is Hannah doing?  My 11 year 7 month Golden Retriever had his left front leg amputated Friday December 4, 2015.  I do not know how to send you the link but if you type this: recovery: surgery through day 5 into the search field you can read Bacon's recovery through today. It is filed under the older dog section.  

We, too, were very scared.  If you can find my post in the forum you will see I commented that today I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Bacon is far from healed or stable as far as walking goes but I can tell he is out of the pain he was in. I was afraid to see him but once I did I was relieved to see him looking just like himself.  I do not regret the decision to have surgery.  Everyday he has engaged in more and more activity like he used to.  Hannah is still your same furkid only a little cooler now.

The tripawds community is so helpful.  You can chat when you are feeling really nervous.  They also have a hotline to call. We also looked at videos on youtube to see the miraculous recovery these magnificent animals make when adjusting to life on three legs - you will laugh and cry at each of their unique stories.  You have "friends" in the tripawd community.  I am a newbie but have been embraced with open arms.  

If there is anything I can tell you about Bacon's recovery that might help, please do not hesitate to ask.

Warmly,

Rebecca 

http://tripawds.....e-furkids/  

I was able to figure this link out.  I will try to get the other one.  

  

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5 December 2015
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11 December 2015 - 3:55 pm
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baconsmom said

hannahon3paws said
Hi everybody---I joined this site because my dear, sweet little Hannah, a rescued lemon beagle, will be having her right front leg amputated due to a squamous cell cancer that has gotten infected and spread to her paw bones.  It is isolated, she has no masses anywhere else, and this is the best thing for her.  She is now in so much pain, and the alternative is that I would lose her to put her out of her pain.  I have been up for 2 days doing research on the internet, reading stuff on this site, and I decided to post.  Hopefully I can get some support and advice on how the post operative recovery will be.  I don't know how old Hannah really is----she is a rescue, and while we always thought she was older, the vet doesn't think she's as old as I think she is.  I think she's over 10, but the vet doesn't think she is---the vet thinks she's around 8.  So, she potentially has several "good" years left.  And other than this paw, she is in perfect health.   They did xrays of her foot, chest and abdomen, and the chest and abdomen are totally clear, and her blood work is perfect.  She is overweight because she hasn't been moving around, and because my 87 year old mother thinks love is food so she overfeeds her (my mother lives with me).  I will be taking over the feeding routine as to get Hannah on a reducing diet.  She's not the strongest dog in the world as she has taken to laying down due to the pain.  I have gone through so many emotions, and have actually just made the decision to go forward with the amputation.  The pain inhibited her mobility so much, and I hope that removing the limb that is affected will give me the beagle back that I know and love.  I would love to see her doing her daily backyard, perimeter sniffing for invading critters again, and sunbathing on the back deck.  (It's supposed to be in the 60's here in New York this weekend!!)  The surgeon said that she will be in the hospital for about 2 days----she'll come home on Friday, just in time for a bit on sunbathing.

I am very concerned with phantom limb pain.  And I am concerned that because she's not an athletic sled dog or crazy lab, her recovery will be very difficult for her.

I'd appreciate any advice or input on what to expect.  I am in emotional turmoil and I have a headache like I have never had in my life.  I haven't slept for the past 2 nights trying to figure out what to do.  I think this is the best route to take since the cancer is not systemic & is isolated to the one paw.  I want her to be out of pain, not in an E-collar 24/7 for the rest of her life and back to a somewhat normal life.  I keep reading that I have to start "thinking like a dog" and not a human.  I messaged a couple of people that made the difficult decision to do an amputation on their dog and they say that they'd make the same decision if they had to again----they got their dogs back and it didn't affect them hardly at all.  The dogs bounced back in no time & are happily hopping around.  

I guess her new nickname will be "Hopalong Hannah".

Hi Hannah's parent,

How is Hannah doing?  My 11 year 7 month Golden Retriever had his left front leg amputated Friday December 4, 2015.  I do not know how to send you the link but if you type this: recovery: surgery through day 5 into the search field you can read Bacon's recovery through today. It is filed under the older dog section.  

We, too, were very scared.  If you can find my post in the forum you will see I commented that today I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Bacon is far from healed or stable as far as walking goes but I can tell he is out of the pain he was in. I was afraid to see him but once I did I was relieved to see him looking just like himself.  I do not regret the decision to have surgery.  Everyday he has engaged in more and more activity like he used to.  Hannah is still your same furkid only a little cooler now.

The tripawds community is so helpful.  You can chat when you are feeling really nervous.  They also have a hotline to call. We also looked at videos on youtube to see the miraculous recovery these magnificent animals make when adjusting to life on three legs - you will laugh and cry at each of their unique stories.  You have "friends" in the tripawd community.  I am a newbie but have been embraced with open arms.  

If there is anything I can tell you about Bacon's recovery that might help, please do not hesitate to ask.

Warmly,

Rebecca 

http://tripawds.....e-furkids/  

I was able to figure this link out.  I will try to get the other one.  

  

Here is this link also to his recovery thus far: http://tripawds.....ilestones/

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9 December 2015
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12 December 2015 - 2:28 pm
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I typed out a whole reply, only to have it deleted because I had been idle for too long.............grrrrrrrr.........

Since my reply was so long and I can't reproduce it, let me just thank each and every one of you for your support, kindness, understanding and inspiration.  You all made one of the most difficult decisions of my life a little easier.

Long story short----Hannah is doing great!!  She had her amputation of the right front leg on Wednesday, December 9th and I brought her home on Friday, December 11th in the afternoon.  She trotted right into the house, walked into the living room & checked out her new bed, then trotted down to my bedroom to see if her bed was still there---satisfied, she walked into another bedroom, squatted and peed on the floor (it looked like she hadn't been out to pee in 3 days, for goodness sake), then came into the living room DEMANDING some lovin'!  She was all tuckered out & went to take a long nap on her new orthopedic bed (and proceeded to snore like a bear).

Last night, when it was time for her 10pm pill and the last pee of the day, it was my most anxiety-ridden time of all:  How was she going to get down and back up the 3 cement steps from the back of the house to the yard and back again?  I had the sling in hand, ready to help her down the steps, I opened the door and..........................Hannah trotted through the door, went down the 3 steps, squatted to pee, then back up the 3 steps like she doesn't even realize that the painful extremity is missing!!  I stood there with my jaw on the floor.  I couldn't believe it.  She came inside and trotted down the hall to my bedroom and onto her (other) orthopedic bed .

She's has had no balance issues at all.  Sometimes, she seems unsure when she's trying to get comfortable on her bed but she manages to get comfortable.  

Today, I gave her a bully stick with much anxiety----I didn't want to get my heart ripped out watching her get frustrated when she couldn't hold the bone with both paws.  She had trouble for about 30 seconds---she figured out how to hold the stick with the one paw and slant it just right on the carpet to chew on it.  And when it got too small to hold with one paw, she picked it up in her mouth and chewed on it!!  

Sometimes, when she is laying down, she appears as if she's looking for the painful appendage----maybe wondering where the heck all that pain has gone.  She is much more alert, awake, attentive, and I know that once she gets stronger she will be more active.  She's already more active than she has been in the past few weeks.  Today, after her morning pills, I sat down to give her a little lovin', as she was DEMANDING it from me--------she lifted her head and did a "beagle special":  she stuck her nose on my lips, on my eyelids, on my nose and in my ears, sniffing away!!  It almost made me cry---she hasn't done that in such a long, long time.  The "sniffster" is back---I can't wait until I can let her go in the backyard & let her sniff the perimeter of the yard to make sure no critters are invading the property, LOL!  Today is was almost 65 degrees in New York---I'm so glad it is warm because half of her coat was shaved off and she'd be kind of chilly if it were normal temperatures.

I am stunned by the resilience I see in her----the vet said that many dogs feel free when they have the amputation because they are not encumbered by the painful limb anymore.  That certainly seems to be the case with Hannah.  It's time to only look forward and not look back.

Again, I can't thank all of you enough for your unwavering support.  I have video of Hannah when I brought her home, pictures of her incision (which is quite impressive, holy crap), and video of her trotting down the cement steps into the backyard.  I would like to post them, but they're on my cell phone so I have to figure out how to get them on here.  I would like to become a beacon of support, inspiration and hope for others like you have all been for me.  If I can help another person make the incredibly difficult decision that I was faced with by showing how resilient an overweight, non-athletic dog like Hannah adapted so quickly post operatively, it would make it all worth it.

I will keep you all updated, and you will be the first people I come back to with my questions!!  You're all so great!!

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12 December 2015 - 2:40 pm
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I posted a picture of Hannah that I just took---she's laying on her operative site, amazingly enough (my vet said many dogs do that).  I can't figure out how to get it straight---it's sideways now.

On The Road


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12 December 2015 - 2:59 pm
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hannahon3paws said
I posted a picture of Hannah...I can't figure out how to get it straight...

You'll need to edit photos before uploading them as your avatar.

Here are detailed steps for adding photos to forum posts . If you don't already share photos online somewhere, you can start a free Tripawds blog anytime and upload them to your Media Library.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Maryland
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12 December 2015 - 5:15 pm
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I'm so happy for you and Hannah! She sounds like a real trooper.

Just be a little cautious w/ how much you let her do right now. A lot of dogs will have a post-surgical crash a few days post-amp. So I don't want you to worry too much if that happens. Hannah has proven to you she can do it (and so have you)!

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

Green Bay, WI


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12 December 2015 - 7:26 pm
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So happy for you and Hannah! It sounds like you've got a good handle on things so far, sounds like she's doing fabulous for so early on in recovery. Not everyone is so lucky, enjoy every minute! I'm thrilled for you guys, keep up the good work. 

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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