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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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Have to choose between two types of amputation for dog, advice needed.
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Member Since:
14 February 2016
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18 December 2016 - 4:18 pm
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It might make sense to move her to a smaller space, especially if you think she is getting anxious about the house guests. 

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
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18 December 2016 - 4:53 pm
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Oh definitely that makes sense… someone here told me that dogs like to den when they are injured or recovering (thus Shelby taking over my tiny bathroom) so perhaps she needs a private and quiet smaller space. 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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19 December 2016 - 7:22 am
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She probably needs somewhere quiet but she’s restless and won’t stay in one spot for too long.

Is it normal for them to pant the entire time when standing / hopping? I know she’s tired from surgey , drugs and it’s probably hard to get used to one leg… but it’s constant. 

Los Angeles, CA
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19 December 2016 - 9:43 am
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Sadly … yes… the meds can cause standing and panting. Shelby was manic and we ended up getting her some doggy xanax ( I forget what it is called) but it still calm her down. They are basically ‘high’ and it isn’t normal OR fun for them. I am so sorry you are having a rough recovery! 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Michigan
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19 December 2016 - 9:54 am
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Saba is such a doll!  The first couple of weeks are such a roller coaster of emotions and we’ve all been there!  Most of us wondered at least once if we had done the right thing or not.  You will get through this! 

It’s always hard when different doctors give you different dosages for the medications.  Medication is based on her weight, but there is a range, too, so actually both doctors are probably right.  You can always give the lower dose then add to it.  Try to have a couple of hours in between the Gabapentin & the Tramadol, that way you have good coverage.  The ice pack also helps.

Bigger dogs often have a harder time figuring things out, getting their balance, etc.  Have you tried the cloth grocery bag to help lift her?  You just cut the sides out of it so that you have a long strip with handles, then use that as a sling.  And as far as food goes, most of us give them whatever they will eat during recovery!  lol  They tend to become a bit spoiled.

It’s great that you have family there to help you with Saba.  We also had our adult son living at home, so that helped with giving Murphy his medications around the clock.  I wrote out a sheet of paper with his medication times, then whenever one of us gave him something, we just crossed it off.  That way everyone knew what was due and when it was due.

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

Member Since:
5 December 2016
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20 December 2016 - 12:07 am
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Day 5: Saba is more “calmer” today. I was told she slept for the majority of the day, with a bit of random standing around. She still pants when standing. 

She is resisting food and it’s now harder to give her the pills as she won’t eat it easily even if it’s covered in chicken, turkey, or sausage. She doesn’t want her snacks. Yesterday she vomited but I was given Naseau pills by the oncologist last week. She drinks a bit and did go outside to pee today without needing to be persuaded. 

Iv noticed that when hopping around a bit she now has an arch. She is putting her head lower and has her tail between her legs. I am not sure of whether to interpret this as pain and up her doseage of Gabapentin (we are giving her 2, 300mg pills as recommended by the surgeon and not 3-4 as told by the Oncologist)… or if this is just her anxiety due to the drugs. She did take a series of tumbles today (which I caught her midway, after two falls) when my grandma put a light blanket on her because it’s cold and she got caught in it when getting up. Nothing seems to have happened to her.

It is is frustrating because the Animal Hospital that she had the surgery at (the surgeon, who was recomended to me and I really liked after meeting, is a traveling surgeon and not a vet on staff at the hospital) has not been helpful at all. The first time I called asking about the doseage,  I got attitude from the tech on the phone and was told to follow the oncologist’s advice because the surgeon is on vacation and can’t be contacted (she warned me about this prior to surgery, but I still thought she would reply to emails…). The second time a different tech was much nicer and promised to ask the doctors on staff for advice, but it’s now been 30 hours and I have not been contacted. I don’t even know when the schedule the suture removal. Everyone I met at the hospital praised them (though it had iffy Yelp reviews for customer service) and I’m tempted to complain to the owner for his difficult they’ve been… 

My main concern is the arch in her walk, the tail holding between legs and lack of appetite. During the day, while I was at work, my family said she wagged her tail and hopped around to say hello to everyone. But the aforementioned behavior is making me question whether this is a normal reaction to the surgery and drugs or if I should increase her pain killer intake. Any advice?

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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20 December 2016 - 1:27 am
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I noticed that Otis’ back arched when he got tired.  It was noticeable.  Day 5 still is about rest and short leashed potty breaks, so make sure that she isn’t overdoing it.  She is using a lot of new muscles in different ways, plus there is still pain from the surgery. Maybe keep an eye on her stance and see if you notice any correlation to activity level?  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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20 December 2016 - 10:17 am
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I would also like to add that she might be reading some energy off of you. It is SO hard to balance being positive for them and being cautious (also for them). Shelby and I were so closely connected that if I cried or was upset … she would react the same. 

You are still incredibly early in your recovery process. I wouldn’t think the stitches would come out for 2 weeks – at least. But I am not a vet.

I am so sorry you are having such a rough go and getting the runaround from the vet. 

The pain meds might also being giving her an upset belly … maybe some rice and something mild to eat? 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

Member Since:
5 December 2016
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21 December 2016 - 7:18 am
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We have been trying to be positive.

Saba had another suspected phantom pain ; she was yelped suddenly for like 20-40 seconds.

I also noticed her remaining good front leg appears to be inflamed. Here are some photos I just took 

Saba foot

 . 

I am going to try to call the oncologist as the veterinary clinic Saba had her amputation at has been rude and her surgeon is stil on Vacation.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 December 2016 - 9:42 am
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Awww sweet Saba!! This just stinks!!

A d it IS hard to be positive when you are dealing with a recovery that has extra “challenges”! I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. We understand!!

It piffes npme off the “attitude” you are getting!! Many of us can relate!! You are paying BIG bucks and to be dismissed or jave to deal with an attitude from a Tech..well…it just piffes me off!!
You are Saba’s advocate and you, and she, deserve to be heard!!! I would keep calling anyone a dd everyone until ner needs are PROPERLY addressed!

Do you have your regular Vet who could take a look at her???

If her front leg is swollen, that probably hurts to try and hop on! Ugh!!

The arched back would seem to indicate some sort of pain I would think. What happens when you massage up and down her back…her neck…her shoulders? Does she tense up at any point?? Does she feel tense when you massage??

Keep js in the loop, okay? We are behind you 100% and definitely cheering for Saba!!! She just needs to get the RIGHT person to listen to her issues, check her out and adjust the PROPER pain meds accordingly!!

Lots of 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!

Member Since:
27 September 2016
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21 December 2016 - 11:25 am
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Poor Saba and poor you! This is the worst period post op. They have a bit of a crash when the meds from surgery wear off AND everyone is trying to adjust to Saba’s new normal. I will say that we had NO contact with the surgical service other than them calling with the biopsy results. Fionn had his surgery done by students at a vet hospital and post op care is turned over to the oncology dept for cancer cases. As in human medicine (I am an MRI tech at a teaching hospital) they are the experts in managing care post operatively in cancer patients along with general doctors (and vets). Surgeons operate, they don’t medically manage patients if that makes sense? They are still being awful and not compassionate at all. A bad YELP review may help you vent your frustrations!.

So, I would be having the oncologist advise you on the meds. They will likely be more aggressive with pain management since they deal with cancer. You regular vet can also help if your oncologist is far away, but mine deferred to the oncologist for pain management which was handled by phone. My regular vet was happy to fill any prescriptions they ordered if I needed it and I would have taken him there if I needed him looked at quickly. 

You can alternate heat and ice on his incision and any sore spots in his spine/hips. Is his foot swollen? Ice on it can’t hurt I wouldn’t think until you can get it evaluated. 

You WILL get through this! Time will take care of it eventually, it just that time slows down when we are stressed. Please keep us informed of his progress!

Healing thoughts being sent Saba’s way from Fionn and Nancyheart

Nancy- mom to the FABULOUS Fionn. He rescued me in 2015 when he was 6. 

Right front leg amputation at age 7 for osteosarcoma 10/6/16. Taken too soon 6/12/17. Read about our journey here:

http://fionnsjo.....pawds.com/

Member Since:
5 December 2016
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22 December 2016 - 6:51 pm
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Day #8:

1) Saba’s “good” left foreleg is still a bit swollen, though not as drastically as yesterday. I am icing it for short, regular intervals. She is on Mobic, not Rymadil for the inflammation (Oncologist says she doesn’t prescribe Rymadil). I already texted the oncologist for advice and will bring the swelling up during her suture removal. The swelling is concerning since Saba has very mild arthritis in that leg (thought I was told it shouldn’t be a worry).

However, has anyone else had any issues with swelling of the good leg? 

2) She is having the yelping moments more often. I struggle to say it’s phantom pain because for the last two days it’s occurred after she wakes up and tries to get up and walk on the good remaining (swollen) leg. Again, they’re sudden and intense yelping noises for 10-20 seconds and then stop once we get to her and pet her. My dad massaged her good leg today to get it to stop, so I am wondering if this is actually pain in her “good” remaining leg and not phantom pain

It is a difficult period, I am hoping the swollen leg subsides and does not hinder her recovery. 



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21 May 2016
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22 December 2016 - 7:05 pm
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Oh … poor Saba … and poor you …

This has proven to be a challenging recovery so far …

It is always potentially more difficult for big dogs but one thing is for sure, recovery doesn’t last forever so hang in there and eventually all will be behind you …

Eurydice had quite a few of those phantom pain moments but I hadn’t joined tripawds then so I just did what I could and called the hospital every so often … luckily they were always kind to me and that helped to calm me down. 

Sending you all the pawsitive energy I can master and a big cuddle to your sweetie heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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22 December 2016 - 7:15 pm
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Can you descorbe what the phantom pains would be like for Eurydice? I just want to compare your experience with me to see if these are really phantom pains.

Saba just stood up to walk to another spot and had a more minor episode. This one was more shrieking and it was quieter. I am concerned about it being pain in the good leg, I will consider going to the animal clinic where she had her surgery tomorrow… if the owner/vet ever gives me a call back. 



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21 May 2016
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22 December 2016 - 7:47 pm
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Eurydice would suddenly jump up and shriek and then she would stand there completely still and pant with crazy disoriented looking eyes for a while …

She would then resume breathing normally and lie down again ..,

The other thing she did when lying down was licking thoroughly the area where her leg used to be (i.e. licked the mattress) 

As Eurydice’s hospital was about 1h drive away I filmed one of these episodes and emailed it to them whilst we were on the phone so they could access it correctly.

Could you maybe try that with your clinic? 

Stay strong girl, you are doing good !

Big hug going your way 💗💗💗 and cuddles to your brace girl 🐾💕

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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