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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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Homecoming Prep- what do I need to have?
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Forum Posts: 106
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23 October 2016 - 10:38 am
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I am so grateful to be part of this amazing group of kind and caring folks.  I could really use your help today if you have time and the inclination to do so.  Thanks in advance.  

Ok- so I’ve spent 2 days pouring over the material in the site and can’t find what I need to have when she comes home and what I need for later. Did I miss something?  

1) harness- can I use it right away?  If so, can it be here by Thursday if I order today?  Can i modify my help ‘me up harness to use?  How?

2) if I have to wait to use a harness how do I move her to take her potty and get up and around the first few days?

3) she’s a big girl. 70 pounds. I can’t lift her and given the surgery-I am worried I will hurt her and with a towel sling-how can I move her?

4) how long until she gets her balance?

5) ramp- do we need one right away?

7) what’s the right height for feeding bowls?  Chest height?

8) are yoga mats the best for wood floors?

9) are paw socks helpful?  If so, what brand?

10) I know all dogs are different-and Rosie is spunky, can I really expect to go back to work in 2 weeks?

11) any other essentials?

12) what size t-shirt does a 70 pound tripawd wear to cover her wound?

13) can she use her dog door to get in and out?  If so, how soon?

its kind of crazy, less than a week from diagnosis to coming home with a tripawd super dog!  🐕

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23 October 2016 - 11:29 am
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First, relax.  If you have already been through TPLO, many of the essentials are the same.. 

Traction is key – yoga mats work great, or you can by industrial floor mats at Home Depot or a similar store.  And don’t forget your kitchen too, presuming it is tiled.  Block off any upstairs with a baby gate .  Many of us slept on a mattress on the first floor to be with our new Tripawd.  If there are a couple of stairs going outside, she will probably be ok doing them herself.  If she isn’t used to using a ramp, I probably wouldn’t bother.  Many dogs refuse them.  Have lots of treats on hand to tempt her to get up and go outside, and whatever you need to give pills (there are a lot of them).  Also recommend you keep a log book for the med schedule, as well as to time pee and poop so you know when you really have to get her outside and when you can just let her sleep.

Good chance she will hop out of the vet on her own accord.  Otis got himself up into the car too, but if there is someone who can assist, that would be great.  We loved the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness, which you can find in the gear blog, but did not use it until the staples came out.  I would try to time delivery for about day 10.  But if you have an existing harness try it first.

A feeding station for large dogs would work. 

100 pound Otis wore a women’s large Tshirt, gathered around his waist with a hair tie.  Accidents happen, so you need at least 2.  I wouldn’t rush into paw socks.  Otis didn’t need them.  Some members use them in vet offices and places with slippery floors.

Block off favorite furniture (the sofa) too.  She will sleep a lot during the first two weeks.  An orthopedic dog bed works best.  And it might help to have two or three in the general area.  Night lights are also good – my Otis definitely wanted lights on when we went outside after dark.

Yes, you can go back to work in two weeks. Recovery is intense, but much faster than TPLO.  Once the staples come out, about day 10, most dogs perk up considerably.  Probably no dog door until then, and I would let her set the pace.  Open it up, and see if she uses it.  It took my Otis several days after I opened up the stairs before he tried using them.

Reach out on the forums with any questions.  There is almost always someone online thanks to our members abroad.

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.



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23 October 2016 - 5:58 pm
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Hi Rosie and Mom 🐶💗

Christine has already given you great advice, it’s all covered ! 

Be patient and give Rosie time to recover at her own pace and you will both be ok👍🏼

We are all here for you ❤️🐶

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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23 October 2016 - 6:55 pm
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Hi there,

We used yoga mats. I think you have another dog? What I did to make sure there weren’t any accidental bumps between them when unsupervised, I set up an x-pen in my living room. Clyde came home wearing a cone, and although crate trained, he didn’t fit in it with his cone. The x pen worked great for us – the whole pack could hang out in the living room, and he had his safe space while being part of the group. He also had a sturdy bed in the pen with his elevated bowls – I got one that is about chest height.

For t-shirts – Clyde was 68 pounds before surgery, and I got him a boys large t-shirt. I had to cut the collar a bit to make it comfortable around his neck.

For assistance pottying at first – I used the cut cloth shopping bag at first. Just get a cloth shopping bag, cut down the sides and voila – instant sling. He didn’t like it much, so after the first couple of days I didn’t use it.

With the help of several vet techs, we were able to get Clyde into the car. He was just really druggy. I didn’t think things through and didn’t have help when I got home. We managed, but I would not recommend it!

You should be fine going back after two weeks. Every dog is different, but most seem to do well once the stitches are removed. I did keep him in his x-pen for his first few days alone, just because of the chance of a bump by one of his dog siblings while playing.

Good luck!

Minneapolis, MN
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25 October 2016 - 9:29 pm
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You sound so well prepared!  

My best advice is to have had a good talk about pain management strategies with your surgeon.  Know what meds you are bringing home and what options there are to tweak if pain does not seem well controlled (change frequency or dosage or staggering the timing).  Many dogs come home with a combination of meds.  Gabapentin, Tramadol and Rimadyl are a common combo.

Best thoughts for a smooth surgery.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Forum Posts: 106
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25 October 2016 - 10:22 pm
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 Thank you everybody for your replies and support! I really appreciate it, so does Rosie. I have an appointment with the surgery nurse tomorrow morning at 8:30 Pacific time, and I’m a nervous wreck. I think Mostly worried that something may go wrong during surgery or they’re going to find out that it spread or that I’m just not gonna be able to handle things. I’m giving myself tonight and tomorrow to freak out and know that I’ll have my act together by the time I pick her up on Thursday or Friday.

 Tonight I took Rosie to the park, which was her first time since her TPLO surgery and she overdid it. She’s in pain tonight, and I had to hand feed her. I know I’m doing the right thing, and will feel so much better when she’s home.  

i’m sure that I’m going to be quite needy the first few days and will be utilizing chat and the support phone number. Again I appreciate everybody’s responses and support and sharing. I’m sure you all know exactly how much that means. Thanks again!

Kellye and Rosie!!  🐕❤️🐕

Livermore, CA




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25 October 2016 - 10:33 pm
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Hi Kellye,

You have great input from others already.  And I agree with Christine- since you have been through TPLO recovery you have some idea on what to expect.  My quad pug Obie has had two knee surgeries (tightrope and patella correction) and his recoveries were way longer than when Tripug Maggie was recovering from her rear amputation. 

That doesn’t mean it will be easy- I was sure I had made the wrong decision choosing amputation for Maggie when she didn’t seem to bounce right back after surgery.  She really took her time- no medical complications but she was a slug for 6 weeks.  Mag was stubborn and hated change so in hindsight it made sense that she took her time. 

Stay positive, celebrate every little victory and soon you will be through the worst of things.  And stay connected here- lots of information and support to share!

BTW- where in the pacific time zone are you?  We have a pretty active group in Northern California.

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

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26 October 2016 - 12:47 am
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Hi Karen!  Thanks for the response and support.  I live in the Seattle area.  Trying to sleep but can’t.  Keep reading and reading.  Guess I better get some rest.  Thanks again!  

Kellye and Rosie 🐕❤️🐕

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26 October 2016 - 12:03 pm
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Hi Kellye and Rosie!

I have an 85# golden retriever who used his dog door while I was asleep on day 8 post op! I thought for sure it would take him awhile. He kept trying to use it before that and I was worried so I kept it locked. He probably could have used it just fine. I learned that he self regulates himself well. He won’t do anything he’s not sure of. The one day I left it open, he used it. Go figure. He’s a front amp. I used a ramp for a few days, but he hated it and learned to go down the stairs quickly. You can go to my blog for a 2 week , day-by-day run down on how his recovery went. The good and the bad. The “post chemo thoughts and highlights” lists what I considered necessary preparations.

http://fionnsjo…..pawds.com/

My Fionn is 3 weeks post op tomorrow and doing great! Still working on building stamina, but that will come.

Best wishes for you and your furbaby as you join all of us on this journeyheart 

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/

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26 October 2016 - 11:22 pm
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rmmom said
Hi Kellye and Rosie!

I have an 85# golden retriever who used his dog door while I was asleep on day 8 post op! I thought for sure it would take him awhile. He kept trying to use it before that and I was worried so I kept it locked. He probably could have used it just fine. I learned that he self regulates himself well. He won’t do anything he’s not sure of. The one day I left it open, he used it. Go figure. He’s a front amp. I used a ramp for a few days, but he hated it and learned to go down the stairs quickly. You can go to my blog for a 2 week , day-by-day run down on how his recovery went. The good and the bad. The “post chemo thoughts and highlights” lists what I considered necessary preparations.

http://fionnsjo…..pawds.com/

My Fionn is 3 weeks post op tomorrow and doing great! Still working on building stamina, but that will come.

Best wishes for you and your furbaby as you join all of us on this journeyheart   

I read all your blog posts!  I am so grateful and thankful that you took the time to do it.  Rosie made it through surgery and her TPLO X-rays showed that ‘took’. I just called the hospital.  She’s been out of surgery about 7!hours.  Hasn’t gotten up yet and hasn’t eaten.  They said they will try and feed her and get her up around midnight.  Said to rest well-she’s doing fine!  The journey begins….

Virginia




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27 October 2016 - 9:04 am
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YAAAAAAAAAY!! ROSIE IS OUT OF SURGERY!!! She’s also high as a kite and seeing pink elephants! This is the time YOU must get some rest! If you’re like the rest of us, getting to this poi t is physically and emotionally exhausting!

You ARE prepared for her homecoming! Your intincts will kick in a d you will get I to the flow of recovery. Not sayie it’s easy or fun, but you WILL handle it with a strength that grows from your love for Rosie.

Mobility varies from dogs to dogs. Some need a few days to hop a few steps, some hop out of the hospital with help. So no worries, okay?

Drinking and peeing are important. Eating and pooping made be off for a few days. poopicon_png When Rosie does poop, let us know. We do a happy poop dance to celebrate!poopicon_png

Just to remind you: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!way-cool

Lots of love,

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!

London, UK


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27 October 2016 - 12:08 pm
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GREAT NEWS!!!! Well done, Rosie! Well done, you! Surgery is over and she is now on the road to recovery. Ditto Sally re some dogs taking their time to get hopping. Meg took more than 48 hours, and you’ve seen how hoppy and agile she is now, in fact once she decided to start moving around, she was fine. Just took time to get going.

And ditto you are not alone! We are here for you every step of the way. We even do shifts seeing as how we’re located in so many different time zones lol, there’s pretty much always someone around any time of day or night. So stay connected and share any worries, concerns, triumphs, poop…

Sending love,

Meg and Clare (and Elsie Pie) xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 12, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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27 October 2016 - 9:53 pm
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Thank you so much.  They took her continuous IV meds off around 11 this morning. She had caprofen, tramadol and neurontin at 3. She also has a soaker catheter that we inject bupbivacaine every 8 hours. That goes through Monday.  The hospital staff said she was talking to them all day-telling them when she needed to pee or get some cuddles.  One of the techs slept with her after lunch for an Hour in her kennel. 

They gave us a great sling to use around her abdomen.  She was hopping and wagging when we picked her up at 5. Traffic was bad and it was dark when we got home, but she peed in 3 of her special favorite spots and wanted to hang out in the yard. But after about 5 minutes we went in and she not so gracefully plopped down by her food bowl.  

I cant believe how fast she hops!  I am going to get a lot of exercise over the next few weeks.  She seems more agile than I am in squatting and walking. 

Her wound is red at the bottom and an it oozy.  They said it’s fine.  Fingers crossed. 

She ate a full meal, got her T-shirt on and is resting soundly.  Med time in 2 hours. Dr said poops will be delayed a few days but I am hopeful the pumpkin in her dinner will bring on the 💩 Thanks for the support-hopefully we all get some sleep and the next update will be in the morning. 

Much Love – Mom Kellye and Rosie the wonder dog!  So proud. 

Livermore, CA




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27 October 2016 - 10:15 pm
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Out of surgery and home- yay!

I cant believe how fast she hops!  I am going to get a lot of exercise over the next few weeks.

More than the next few weeks- Tripawds like to go fast!  I have trouble keeping up with my little pug mix Elly.

But for now its all about rest and recovery and waiting for the happy poop dance.

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

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28 October 2016 - 8:29 am
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krun15 said
Out of surgery and home- yay!

I cant believe how fast she hops!  I am going to get a lot of exercise over the next few weeks.

More than the next few weeks- Tripawds like to go fast!  I have trouble keeping up with my little pug mix Elly 

OMG!  You are so right.  Running around my yard half dressed in the pouring rain at 3:00am this morning.  

She slept good through the night with very little movement.  Her farts smelled really bad and woke me up several times throughout the night. 

So after her breakfast and morning meds we went hopping and running around the yard until she peed for about 2 minutes and then to her favorite spot , next to the fence, behind the huge dripping wet rhododendron we went and she pooped.  Not huge, but definitely a healthy poop💩💩!

Time to dance and then sleep.  Will update everyone later today.  So far so good!  😆

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