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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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How long post-op before your tripawd began returning to "normal" activity level?
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Columbus OH
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
2 January 2020
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2 January 2020 - 6:07 pm
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New here and looking to get a sense of what to expect in terms of return to “normal” activity levels post-op. My pup Bosko is a 9 y.o. pit/lab mix who had his right hind leg removed 1 week ago. He’s about 75 lbs and has chronic orthopedic disease- had a cruciate tear and TPLO many years ago on the amputated leg, and his remaining left hind limb has a chronic partial cruciate tear. He also has an angular limb deformity on his front left paw. Poor guy, limbs have never been his strong suit. All that said, he got around just fine before and was moderately active — running, chasing squirrels, wrestling with our other dog, etc.– and then out of the blue he began limping on his 9th bday, and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. That was 2 weeks ago.

Although I realize it’s only been a week post-op, the guy is not showing much interest in anything, least of which is getting up and moving around. He does get up for food (his eating, drinking, and eliminating are all going well) and to bark at postal workers (normal for him). He also wanted to walk to the park yesterday w/our other dog, which we did very briefly, and we’ve done a few very short other walks here and there over the past week. However, he is mostly just lying around, and sometimes he’ll get up and just sort of stand there awkwardly looking sad, despondent, and uncomfortable. It hurts to look at him. One possible concern is my entire lower flower is wood floors, but we immediately covered it in rugs after the diagnosis. Another possibility is he’s drugged/groggy- he’s on gaba, carprofen and trazadone. A possibility I am scared of is that one of his other limbs is /will get compromised and that a 3-legged existence will be too hard on him.

When did your pup start returning to normal activity levels post-op?

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 January 2020 - 6:12 pm
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Hi Bosko and family, welcome! Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now, for a few minutes, so stop by and say Hi. I’ll be back here in a sec with some feedback:

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28303
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2 January 2020 - 6:19 pm
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Geez I’m so sorry you guys are dealing with this. Poor Bosko has been through a lot! That’s a good sign though, that he can kick cancer’s butt!

It’s GREAT that all his other indicators (eating and eliminating) are good. YAY!

We aren’t vets so take this for what it’s worth. But based on what you’re describing:

He also wanted to walk to the park yesterday w/our other dog, which we did very briefly, and we’ve done a few very short other walks here and there over the past week. 

It seems like he might be getting too much activity too soon after surgery. At this point he should only be going outside on leash to potty and that’s it.

pain signals can manifest in a number of ways, and your description of his behavior sounds like that might be the main issue. Also, the Trazadone will definitely sedate most dogs. Was he anxious before taking the Traz? He may not need it at this point. Ask your vet about stopping that med for now.

What is the dosage for Gabapentin? It may be too low or too high. We aren’t vets but our own 75lb Wyatt Ray is on 400 mg Gaba 3x a day just for maintenance. A post-op dose for a dog his size could be even higher according to pain management vets we’ve talked to. Ask your vet to see if there’s wiggle room in the dosage.

For now, Bosko should only be laying around couch surfing, at least until stitches come out. Slow down and know that things DO get better, it just takes some time of couch cuddling and restraint on your part. I know it’s hard to see our pups recovering, but the result is worth it. Most dogs get their sparkle back in about 2 weeks, but some may take longer. Every dog is different so try not to compare.

Also, please consider taking advantage of the Tripawds Foundation Rehabilitation Reimbursement Program. Rehab therapy is sooo important for Tripawds and especially for ones like Bosko who have had many orthopedic issues . We feel it makes such a difference that the Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit ! Check it out OK?

We are so glad you joined us. Thanks for giving your boy a shot at a great quality of life. He WILL get there!

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




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2 January 2020 - 6:49 pm
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Can only ditto everything  Jerry jist posted.

Bosko actually sounds like he’s doing quite well this early in recovery!  Your Bosko jist jad MAJOR surgery, while adjusting to three legs, while on pain meds and a sedative! 

As Jerry said, Bosko needs his rest and should only be doing short leashed potty breaks and back in  for rest.  

YAAAAY for Bosko eating,  drinking, pottying! Sometimes  it takes a bit longer for dogs to get back into those routines.  Also, based on what you said, and with his other leg”history”, he’s doing very well.  Hoomans would probably  still be in the hospital on a morphine drip and wouldn’t  have much of an appetite at all.

Yeah, theTrazedone is a sedative and can definitely    make dogs quite woozy and lethargic.   So, unless it is a necessity  for extreme anxiety,  aybe thst xould ve eliminated  IF your Vet agrees.  We are not Vets and not giving  Vet advice.

Glad you have non-slip scatter rugs for traction .   Very important. 

 Being engaged and barking at the Post man, getting up for food, breat victories!   We  have to remember  what seems like a little improvement during recovery  is really a HUGE IMPROVEMENT!!!

STAY CONNECTED and keep us updated.  We’ve  all been where you are worry and wondering if things will get better….and we can all assure you they will!!!   Bosko is recovering  at his own pace and is doing very well.  Sloooow snd easy…no overdoing ot.  Oh, and you might try massa hom UO snd fown hos spine, all around his shoulders and neck.  Muscles get very tense when first adjusting to three legs.

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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2 January 2020 - 7:30 pm
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Hello and welcome.

Bosko is quite a trooper! 

When my Pug Maggie lost her rear leg to a mast cell tumor our surgeon said she was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post surgery.  Mag was a 7.5 year old lazy Pug at the time of surgery so keeping her quiet wasn’t an issue, in fact it was all I could do to get her out of her bed!

After the two week mark the surgeon said she could do whatever she wanted.  Thanks again to her laziness she didn’t overdo anything.  When you think about it after two weeks of restricted activity you should really ramp up slowly. I didn’t know anything about dog rehab or strength and balance work (it was before Tripawds).  As I recall it took Mag about 6 months to work up to about half the walking distance she routinely did before her surgery.

I adopted my current Tripawd Elly when she was 10 months old and about 2.5 months after she lost her back leg to a car accident.  Although healed from the accident and surgery she was not at all strong.  Knowing better this time I worked her up to more activity slowly.  We do lots of food puzzles and games which help her strength and balance as well as challenging her mind.  I think those would be great for Bosko!

At this point he is eating, drinking and eliminating- those are great milestones!  My dogs do not do well with sedatives like trazadone so I don’t use them unless absolutely necessary. I would talk with your vet about adjusting pain meds and maybe eliminating the traz if you can keep him quiet without them.

And rehab for Bosko sounds like a great idea especially considering his other challenges.

Hang in there, 1 week in is early in recovery.  He will get there!

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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4 January 2020 - 5:50 am
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Hi Bosko and family,

I know what you mean by returning to normal. After two weeks my lab Brownie was recovering with no complications, but he wasn’t being himself. That is when I joined tripawds. I was told to be patient. But they were saying that to the most inpatient person in the world. But they were right! After three weeks Brownie was back to his old stubbrand self and very vocal I might add. I have read it takes larger dogs a little longer.

So I will give you the same advise I got. Hang in there and be patient. Your dog will get his mojo back!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Columbus OH
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4 January 2020 - 7:37 am
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Thanks for your replies everyone. We cut out the occasional walk and the traz during the day (at night he’s still getting 1 b/c he’s been pretty restless). Bosko has perked up a bit over the past couple of days! 🙂

I will mention that the vet told us short walks (5 mins max) were ok and said “this is your friend” in reference to traz to keep Bosko calm. We go to the Ohio State University veterinary medical center and have been pretty pleased with Bosko’s care team so far, which has included the integrated oncology, surgical oncology, and orthopedic surgery services. I plan to inquire about rehab next week as the hospital also has a canine rehab service.

Virginia




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4 January 2020 - 8:56 am
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Glad Bosko is is continuing  to perk up.smiley_clapsmiley_clap  Slowly. ut surely, he’ll get his sparkle back.

Sounds like you have a good team watching over Bosko…including  YOU! Good job!!   Thanks for the pupdate!

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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4 January 2020 - 2:50 pm
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OSU is a pawesome place to get care! Lucky Bosko 🙂

Glad to know that you are following your vet’s instructions, which sound totally reasonable. I’m glad things are working out and he is better. Keep us posted (and yes, do look into rehab, it’s wonderful).

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