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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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Hannah's having an amputation of her right front leg---terrified
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Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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12 December 2015 - 10:05 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR HANNAH! clapThis REALLU, REALLY is an exceptional recovery!! It is amazing to see how some dogs feel better in spite of major surgery o ce that painful leg is gone! Hannah is a shining example of that!

It took my Happy Hannah FIVE WEEKS before she would lay on her amp side!

As Donna said, don't be surprised if she still has a few more "down" days mixed in with all thse "up" days!!

Can't wait to see pics and video. And her avatar picture is BEAUTIFUL! Yeah, I have a tavlet and I can turn it around to see her!

And you and Hannah already are an inspiration to others starting this journey. Thank you for taking time to chronicle her joirney...a joirney where she can live her life to the fullest WITHOUT pain!

Its so much fun spoiling a tripawd...especially at Christmas!

Lots of hugs to all!

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
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13 December 2015 - 9:47 am
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Hi everybody---So, today seems to be a little different, because Hannah is acting different.  I can't tell if she is having difficulty getting comfortable---I bought her 2 new beds, one was a flat "orthopedic" mattress and the other was a big, squishy bed with a surrounding pillowy thing.  I thought the soft, squishy one would feel better to her, and yesterday, it did.  Today, she was having trouble finding a comfortable spot in the squishy bed and I found her laying on the hard floor by her water bowl.  I put the flat orthopedic bed in the living room and she ran right over to it.

She's just "different" today, and I can't describe it.  I can't tell if she's bored, can't figure out what's happened to herself or what.  She is very restless, too.  She had no problem falling asleep before and today she can't fall asleep.  I offered her a bully stick----which she readily accepted yesterday---and she had no interest in it.  She took her pills this morning in a bit of chicken breast and ate a chicken jerky without a problem.

I feel helpless in that I don't know what's wrong.  What could be wrong?  Could she be experiencing increased pain?  I'm giving her the gabapentin and Rimadyl exactly as prescribed.  There's no signs of infection at the site.  Is this normal?  I just read about the "crash"---I wouldn't say she "crashing", just different.  She's not her usual, happy post-op self.  It's only been 4 days and she moves around well.

Now she's sleeping on the orthopedic bed .  Call me a liar, LOL.



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13 December 2015 - 10:04 am
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I don't think this is unusual. As a couple of previous posts said "don't be surprised if she still has a few more "down" days". It sounds like a down day.

One sign of pain in dogs is panting. You can search this website for more signs if that is still a concern.

My cat is a front leg amputee and she slept on a folded up bath mat on the floor. She also seemed to seek out cooler places to sleep such as tile floor. She'd even sleep on the incision side so I'll help cool it off with a cool damp cloth. Even after 18 months after the amputation she doesn't seem to like anything too "plushy". I think it makes it harder to stand and move forward.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Green Bay, WI


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13 December 2015 - 10:10 am
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Hi....it does seem like this is "normal" for post op behavior. It usually is a roller coaster of ups and downs, so try not to get too worked up ("yeah, right"). For us, it was one step forward, two steps back for the first couple of months. This isn't to say don't keep a close eye on Hannah, just know each day can be a little different than the day before. It does sound like she's adapting well. Good luck, and keep us posted.

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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13 December 2015 - 10:47 am
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Hannah is very alert, isn't panting.  I think she's hungry, lol.  I gave her a few pieces of cold strawberries & she loved them!  Since she has to lose weight, I can't give in & start giving her treats and stuff.  I think I can give her baby carrots, raw string beans & put pumpkin in her food to help fill her up.

She's not quite as mobile as she was yesterday---I think maybe she did a little too much.  It's a lot for an older, chubby beagle's body to deal with.  We started off with a not-athletic, overweight beagle and so much movement is probably like a human taking off out of the gate with a new workout program.  I don't want to overstress the good leg too much.

She's laying down, but not sleeping like she used to.  She's just taking it all in.  Maybe it's me that's not used to this change in her.  She's just hanging out on the orthopedic bed , looking around & checking everything out.  She lived so long in a cone of shame and depressed, I think she's enjoying having the freedom of being able to look around & see what's going on around her.  She is calm, not crying or anything----just checking it all out.  She might even be watching TV with me!!

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9 December 2015
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13 December 2015 - 11:47 am
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Oh God---I feel like an ass posting again so soon after my last post.

My Hannah cried out about 15 minutes ago.  I didn't see exactly what happened, but I think she was sleeping & woke up out of nowhere and yelped.  She got up & went over to the other place she hangs out, then went back to her bed after a few minutes.  She was shaking a little bit and I sat down with her & gave her some love which seemed to help.

I think this could be phantom limb pain.  She was due for her gabapentin in 30 minutes, so I wonder if it was nerve pain.  Called the vet & they told me to give her the gabapentin.

This has never happened before and I feel horrible----just horrible.  She seems okay now.  I hope this doesn't happen too much or I'm the one that's going to have to be medicated.  I forget that dogs don't know what to do with pain like we do, and their response is to yelp & run away.  The fact that it is a fleeting pain is a bit of a comfort to me.  

I am still hoping I did the right thing with her.

Green Bay, WI


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13 December 2015 - 12:28 pm
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never apologize for posting...you're nervous, and that's what we're here for. Have you checked out the live chat? I'm there right now if you want to check it out and chat with me

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

On The Road


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13 December 2015 - 12:38 pm
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hannahon3paws said
I can't tell if she is having difficulty getting comfortable---I bought her 2 new beds, one was a flat "orthopedic" mattress and the other was a big, squishy bed with a surrounding pillowy thing....I put the flat orthopedic bed in the living room and she ran right over to it.

Thank you for this great testimonial! It is exactly what we try to explain on our Recommended Beds pages in the Tripawds Gear blog . Hope you don't mind if we quote you on this...got any pictures?

She's not her usual, happy post-op self.  It's only been 4 days and she moves around well.

It is still very early in Hannah's recovery. The first couple weeks will have ups and downs. Could she have overdone it? All Hannah needs right now is rest and confinement. Restlessness is to be expected, and may be due to side effects from the medication. You'll find various suggestions for keeping recovering dogs entertained in the Gear blog too.

Most importantly, Hannah needs you to remain strong and balanced—to set an example that all will be OK. She will follow your lead, sensing any worry and stress. Some of the best advice a rehab vet gave us was: If you want life to be normal again, you must act as if life is normal. Our best advice: Be More Dog

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

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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13 December 2015 - 5:08 pm
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Oaky...ditto to ll the replies!!!

If you go back and look at oir earliest replies, you'll see where most of us "casually" mentioned that, while her recovery seemed quite extraordinarily good, to expect some "less good" days. And that sounds EXACTLY like what you are experiencing and this is indeed NORMAL RECOVERY!

The hospital meds have worn off by now and it's about balancing her oral pain meds with the right dosing and proper timing. Many of us have Tramadol along with the Gabapentin and the Rimadyl. You may ask your vet about adding that. The most important thing is to not let the pain get ahead start. It's harder to bring back u der co trol once it starts.

And yes, itsq NORMAL to not want to eat much during the first many days. Sometimes the pain meds mess with their tummie. For now, I would suggest giving her pretty much anything she'll eat. She can always diet "tomorrow"winker

Phantom lain hits dogs quickly and it hurts them and scares the. Fortunately it only last several seconds but the dogs are frightened for several minjtes afterwards sometimes. They usually yelp loudly, jump up and try and run away from the pain. The Gabapentin is the best med for that. You'll want to also do GENTLE massage AOUND the incision area.

And yes, a somewhat firmer bed is actually better for a dog recovering from an amputation. They are avle to get up without slipping in the "squishiness" and it's also better support for their newly adjusting muscles and joints. For big dogs The Big Barker Bed is one I cannot recommend enough. She may be too small weight wise for it.

AND POST ALL YOU WANT!!!! We understand the stress and panic this recovery business can invoke!! It took me almost three weeks before I could say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!!!

Stay connected....take some deep breaths...and eat a bad of chocolate all at o ce!!

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
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14 December 2015 - 12:30 pm
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Thanks for the support.

I called the vet yesterday afternoon and told her about what's been going on.  The vet told me to increase the dosing frequency from every 8 hours to every 6 hours for the gabapentin.  It seemed that Hannah would be okay for about 6 hours between doses, and at the 6 hour mark become very restless.  She had a restful night and slept well.

I think that she may have done a bit too much on the day after I brought her home.  She's not the "athletic" type, and she was really awake and alert on Saturday.  On Sunday, she was different.  I know what's most important is to keep her quiet and resting---there's plenty of time for her to bounce around and show me what's she's got.  I think I may have gotten ahead of myself----I have to remember the times I had major surgery, and how I felt each day after the surgery.  Usually, the first 36 hours are the worst for pain, and then it gets gradually better every day.  She hasn't had any yelping since that one time on Sunday.  

She seems to be the best when she gets the gabapentin, so I am going to keep giving it to her as prescribed.

Thanks so much for being here.  I am usually a strong person when it comes to humans, but when my pets are involved, are bets are off.

Schofield, WI
Member Since:
13 August 2015
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14 December 2015 - 3:19 pm
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It's funny it sure does seem like a great day is followed by an off day.  I think part of that is we're watching them so closely to make sure they're ok we read more into each and everything they do.  Hannah sounds like she's doing really well for so early on and everything sounds pretty normal.  You are doing wonderfully with her so give yourself a huge pat on the back for doing a great job for her.  This journey is a series of baby steps and celebrating each success as it happens. Look how far you've already come from your first post of being terrified to handling everything.  Hugs to you and Hannah!

Linda & Max

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15 December 2015 - 11:04 am
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Here a daily update----day 6 post op----Hannah seems to be doing well.  I had increased the frequency of the gabapentin, from every 8 hours to every 6, and she was stoned out of her mind.  I think I am going to back down to every 7 to 8 hours and see how she does.  She was so stoned this morning that she had trouble walking with her back legs.  She recovered from it quickly---it was only a 2-step mis-step, but I noticed it.  The last thing I want is for her to fall down.  She is very calm, and not as excited or happy as she was the day after I brought her home.  I have a feeling that the pain meds from the hospital were still in her system on Saturday morning, and that's why she was so peppy.  She is not yelping anymore----it was only that one time.  Perhaps the yelp was when the meds from the hospital wore off, and now she is used to the NSAID and gabapentin.

I let her out about an hour ago in the backyard----it is warm and sunny in New York today, but it is REALLY windy.  Poor little thing started to tremble----I think she was cold.  Well, she's got half her body shaved, for goodness sake!  She's not used to the wind hitting her skin like that.  She was okay at first, and then after about 5 minutes she started to tremble so I brought her back inside.

Incision looks really good---no swelling, redness or drainage.  I can actually touch very close to the incision line & she is okay.  She has some "stubble" growing back around the incision.

I wish she was more alert, but I guess that's the gabapentin, and I'd rather have her calm & not in pain than awake & alert with pain.  I am not as nervous as I was with her, but I am watching over her like a hawk----not like a crazy mother, but just aware of everything she does.  She is eating and drinking water, she takes her pills (hidden in some good rotisserie chicken breast!) and she gets around very well.  I guess it's just a healing process, and just like people, the meds will get weaned down in time and she'll start her recovery to re-gain strength and lose some blubber!  I am so proud of this little girl----but now I am like a freak.  I noticed a dark spot on her snoot today---like a little birth mark/mole.  It is the size of the head of a pin, and now I am freaking out about that.  I don't want to turn into a neurotic mess.

Schofield, WI
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13 August 2015
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15 December 2015 - 8:10 pm
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Just remember to live like dog.  All Hannah's doing right now is getting her mobility down and probably is just a bit sore from using new muscles in her new gait.  And she's doing all this with drugs in her system!  Pretty remarkable for just being on day 6 isn't it?  You're doing a great job with her!  She's doing really well and the love you have for her is a big part of that. 

Linda & Max

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