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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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Holly's about to become a tripawd... Tomorrow
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Forum Posts: 59
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10 April 2020 - 6:16 pm
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Hey guys 

This forum is an absolute god send. So my 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier Holly has been on chemo for 4 months with no major shrinkage of her tumor. She’s been our family dog and we’ve grown up together, but sadly my family has been tragically affected by cancer and after two crushing bereavements in a relatively short space of time it’s now just me and Holly, so I’m juggling studying genetics at college and caring for Holly, it’s tough financially but mainly emotionally. 

The tumor is a nasty mast cell that’s just grown and grown. We’ve ran out of options and it’s either amputation or euthanasia, and while Holly is an old gal she’s full of beans and otherwise super healthy. So I chose amputation. 

I suppose this is just a little introduction, and to say thank you for existing cause your site has given us so much valuable info and advice already, I feel like I have a plan and I know what to expect now. 

I guess having said that I still feel so guilty and I’m questioning if I’m doing the right thing constantly, I do wish my family were still here and it’s so hard. 

Any advice or words of wisdom? Can Holly cope do you think, I’ll do ANYTHING to help her adjust to being a tripawd and just want the best for my best friend. 

Holly is currently sleeping with a full belly and lots of cuddles. sp_hearticon2

Thanks. 

Kindest wishes from me and Holly Xoxo

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 April 2020 - 10:33 am
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Holly and family, welcome. I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis, especially after coping with such great loss in your family. That has got to be so tough. We are so glad you found comfort here, and we will be with you every step of the way.

As you know, age is just a number to Holly. It’s such a great way to live our own lives too isn’t it? Smaller dogs can live much longer than other breeds, and we’ve seen some members live out their lives all the way through seventeen years young!

How are you doing as far as preparing her environment? Do you have traction down on your floors? Elevated feeding stations? I’m assuming you will be home during her recovery? If you have any questions, just ask away.

My apologies for taking so long to approve your post. Now, your others won’t need approval.

Best wishes on surgery day! Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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11 April 2020 - 4:13 pm
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You Are Not Alone! I

‘m really glad you and Holly have each other. And I hope you and Holly now know that you have a family here to help you, support you, and love you through this recovery and onto the celebration of numerous victories!

Is Jerry said, age is just a number. Clearly Holly is full of spunk and has no intention of letting a “number” define how she feels.

You are making a decision out of love and that is always the right decision. Additionally, you are removing Holly pain and giving her a chance at a quality life full of more loving and spoiling.

And make no mistake about it, your heavenly family up in the stars are watching over you and guiding you. They are very proud of your courage to move forward with what is best for Holly. 

Even though you may have doubts about getting to this point, they have no doubt is that you would do this because of your love for Holly

Please know that we are with you every step of the way and by your side to help guide you. Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks and sometimes it can hit older dogs a little harder than others. Sometimes. Then again, smaller dogs sometimes bounce back a little faster than others. It’s their own story at their own pace. Just take Holly’s lead.  

Just short potty breaks and then back to bed for rest. Peeing and drinking are important but don’t worry too much if she doesn’t eat very well at first or she takes a couple of days to poop

Will she be staying at an overnight Clinic that is staffed?  She’ll be on some good pain meds and we’ll be seeing pink elephants flying across the room. So try and get some rest that first night.

Stay connected and let us know any questions that you may have. We understand the ups and downs of recovery and, have pretty much seen everything here. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us for reassurance or if you have need for support in any way.

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!

Livermore, CA




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12 April 2020 - 12:02 am
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Hi and welcome,

My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to mast cell cancer, if you are interested you can read her story and about her amp and treatment, the links are in my signature below.

Based on the title of this post surgery was today- I hope all went well. 

I’m sorry you have dealt with so much cancer in your family, I know it is overwhelming sometimes.

I hope you get a chance to update soon.

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

Forum Posts: 59
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12 April 2020 - 4:46 am
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Hi all

Thanks so much for the responses! This is an amazing bunch of people!

Jerry, yes I have wooden floors so I’ve put rugs everywhere so she won’t slip, there’s non slip rugs throughout the whole apartment (we’re on 1 level which helps, bar one small step of about 2 inches which now has a ramp), we have elevated feeding and water stations ready and I’ll be home for the next few months for her (even considering taking a year out to look after her if she needs it?.)

Benny55 that’s made me feel so much better, any decision I’ve ever made for Holly has been with love and the best intentions. My vet took her home with her the night after surgery (last night, and watched her throughout the night).

Krun15, that would be grat. I’m definitely going to give Maggie story a read. Thank you

UPDATE 

So Holly was meant to come home today but she needs an extra night with my vet. Apparently she can sit up now but can’t seem to stand and is incredibly groggy and confused. It’s a blow, I was expecting her home today and of course if it helps her then I’m all for it but I must admit I’m worried now in case she can’t stand? My mind is racing thinking will she ever stand? Have I done the right thing? Am I going to lose her. Very anxious now. 

Thank you everyone for such kind words and advice. I hope you and your furry families are well. Sending love 

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 7:06 am
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You are on target for a good recovery at home, good job!

It’s not unusual for a new Tripawd to stay one more night at the vet, or even two. It’s great that your vet is being cautious. Some dogs just need a little more time to get their sea legs because they’re more sensitive to the meds and anesthesia, but she will get there!

Meanwhile don’t fall down that rabbit hole of worry, Holly needs you to be in a good mental place when she comes home. You can do it!

Let us know if you hear any more updates. ((((hugs))))

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 59
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12 April 2020 - 7:17 am
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Jerry

Thank you! Trying my best to make recovery smooth for Holly.

Yes it’s almost good that she’s in the vets so I can get the worry out my system before she’s home! Also this forum is helping me calm down before I see her, I’ll be all set by the time she’s home. 

My vet just said when they reduced meds a little she could sit up unsupported, so I’m assuming it’s the meds and after effects of the GA making her unable to find her sea legs as you so wonderfully put it. She’s not keen to drink but will accept a syringe of water so it’s better than nothing I guess!

Will keep you all posted. 

In the meantime I’m keeping busy and trying to be positive, and look forward to getting Hol home smiley4

Virginia




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12 April 2020 - 9:20 am
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jerry said

Meanwhile don’t fall down that rabbit hole

  

Haha…that Jerry must  have the Easter Bunny on her mind🐇

I loooove your Vet!  To take sweet Holly home is such a caring (and wise) thing to do!.

YAY for sitting up!  Good sign!  And no worries at all about not finding her sear legs yet.  Some dogs stay at an overnight clinic for two or three days because they need time to get mobile and shake off the anesthesia.  Obviously  your  Bet isn’t staffed 24/7 so for him to take her home care for her is just wonderful.❤   And yes, a syringe of water is good!  

Of course it’s hard not to worry, but, again, this is NOT unusual  at all!!  And the Bet is clearly  managing  her pain, so that’s  good.

Update when you can.  Sending  pawsitive energy your way!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 2:22 pm
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You have such a good attitude, I have all the confidence in the world that you will be in a good place when she comes home. And yes sitting up is GREAT! She’s on her way, she’ll be home before you know it.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 April 2020 - 4:27 pm
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Haha yes Easter Bunny is on everyone’s minds! I’ve almost forgotten all about Easter with being so preoccupied with Holly’s op! Happy Easter all smiley4 

Our vet is AMAZING 

Thank you both for the kind words of encouragement. It means so much. Love to you both

UPDATE our vet called before – she said that she’s happy with how Holly is doing, gradually reducing meds and no signs of unmanaged pain. She’s not interested in food but Hol is a fussy one anyway, and tends to not eat if I’m not around. She’s on fluids and will accept water but not loads. Doesnt seem bothered by the lack of leg and is more alert than earlier. Fingers crossed she’s upto coming home tomorrow! She’ll be on gabapentin when she’s home apparently. 

Again, thanks everyone. 

Any advice for where Holly should sleep, she sleeps in my room in her orthopaedic bed usually, should I change anything like stay super close or observe over night? I have puppy pee pads for the first week or so also if she can’t get outside 

Love to all icon_lol

Virginia




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12 April 2020 - 5:49 pm
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Thanks for the update…and it’s a good one!!  Ya’ ‘ see, during recovery, every “little” improvement is a HUGE improvement!!   More alert, pain managed….all good!!

Ahe’s getting fluids (good) so probably  doesn’t  feel “thirsty”.  Low appetite,  or no appetite, is not unexpected at this point…especially for a picky eater. 

If she’s  used to sleeping in her bed by you, and assuming she doesn’t have to climb stairs stairs,I would continue with that routine.  But yes, keep her “under your watch” at first while she sleeps.  I doubt you’ll  sleep much anyway, even of she’s  sleeping  like a log!!  Maybe you could put your mattress on the floor and sleep next to her.

She’ll eat better when she gets home.  Keep lots of yummy food, chicken,  cheesevurgers,  etc.  Cream cheeses is a good way to hide pill

Thanks for the update!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2020 - 6:15 pm
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Hey that is great news! Go Holly! You are a rock star! smiley10

Any advice for where Holly should sleep, she sleeps in my room in her orthopaedic bed usually, should I change anything like stay super close or observe over night? I have puppy pee pads for the first week or so also if she can’t get outside 

We believe it’s best to keep her sleeping routine as normal as possible. As long as she’s not on your bed (running the risk of jumping off at night), then whatever she slept in before should be fine now. You basically just want to make sure she is in a small cordoned-off area in your home so that she can’t run around too much. Odds are good that she will be able to go potty outside without any issues, but you’ll need to take her out on leash so she doesn’t over do it.

Keeping our paws crossed that she can come home tomorrow!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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13 April 2020 - 7:45 am
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Hi all

Holly’s home!!!!!!

She’s on gabapentin and paracetamol and seems unbothered by the leg, she even slept on her incision last night apparently (hope she didn’t damage it?!) 

She seems sleepy and uninterested in food. She did take a drink off me though. She cried on the drive home but she seems confused and not understanding what’s going on. I got a wag and a lick though before.

She seems unable or unwilling to support herself on her front leg and back legs. This is a bit worrying but we’ve ordered a support sling harness for her and I’ve made a makeshift one for now. 

I don’t think she’ll eat unless she can sit up at least… 

I’m being positive and encouraging her all the time but for now she just wants to sleep

Are there any instances where a dog just can’t support itself on 3 legs, or do you think I’m just jumping ahead too much. 

I’ll keep her sleep routine as normal then, she has her bed right next to mine anyway and I’ll probably just stare at her while she sleeps. 

So happy she’s home 

😊

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 April 2020 - 10:43 am
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Welcome home Holly! Yay!

If she slept on her incision that is a good sign! Some dogs take weeks to do that. She’s on her way!

Don’t jump ahead and think the worst, her recovery sounds like it is on target. Yes she will stand again! Try to put yourself in her paws: if you just had a leg amputated you would want to sleep all day too right? Let her snooze, just make sure she’s taking water and eliminating at least a couple times a day (on leash).

If she will take tasty treats from your hand right now that’s fine, whatever it takes and even if she’s just laying on her bed. Hot dogs, cheese, anything at all. Pain medication will dull her taste buds so don’t worry too much if she doesn’t eat today, she should get her appetite back in a day or two. The Gabapentin is probably making her very sleepy so if she still seems this way in a day or so, call your vet to see about adjusting the dosage.

Go ahead and nap with her, you’re both officially in recovery phase! smiley_clap

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

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Virginia




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13 April 2020 - 11:10 am
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WELCOME HOME HOLLY!!!!   YAAAAY!!!😀😀😀    And YAY for the kiss! 😀  And YAY for the tail wag!!😀

holsmum05 said

………, or do you think I’m just jumping ahead too much?

  

Yes, just to confirm that you are jumping  ahead too much!!!   We all do!!  That’s why it’s so easy to recognize in others😉

Think in human terms.  An “elderly”  person, or a person of any age for that matter, is just a couple  of days after MAJOR  SURGERY!  AND, that human just had a leg amputated!!   And, is on good pain meds (hopefully)!    A person is not going to have an appetite and isn’t  going to feel,like getting out of bed.   And a human does have the help of a walker, a wheelchair , or whatever when first recovering.   

Holly is still shaking off the strong hospital meds and, no doubt, is acting “confused”, or a bit woozy.

And yes, sometimes it can take several days just for a dog to want to sit up, much less walk, especially  for a “senior”.   And unless there was some underlying  issue that no one could detect, she WILL get mobile…at her own pace.  We always tell everyone  not to compare the recovery of your dog to others.

Keep trying the yummiest foods you can find.  Warm chicken  with warm cheese….get creative. Shred itnjnto tiny pieces…whatever the “it” is.  Try some baby food too.   Try some chicken broth in her water to encourage  her to drink.  I actually put a scoop  ice cream in my Happy Hannah’s water and swirled it around.  i would let her lick the spoon first and kind of let her follow the spoon  into the water and she would drink her “yummy water”.  

As far as laying on her side, in a way that’s a good indication  that her incision  isn’t  too painful.  AMD the “compression” may feel good.  So no worries there.  

So is she on an antibiotic  as well as an anti-inflammatory  (like Rimadyl)?  

How much does she weigh and what is the dose and the frequency of the Gaba?

Sometimes  the Gaba can make them sleepy.  It’s such a fine line between being too drugged and not drugged enough.  Even if she is a little too sleepy (and rest is good for her right now), it’s better than being  in pain.

Give her lots of gentle massaging  up and down her spine, all around her neck and shoulders, gently rubbing her legs.

So rest is good.  She’ll get her sea legs.  It just takes time and, again, at her own pace.

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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