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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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It's all happening so fast- so many emotions
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Member Since:
14 May 2022
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16 May 2022 - 5:06 am
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Good morning!

My almost 12 year old Labrador Bailey was just diagnosed this past Thursday with Osteosarcoma of her left front humerus. Devastated to say the least. Spent the last few days reading everything on Tripawd and preparing the house. She is having her amputation this morning. I love, love my vet, unfortunately they don't have 24 hour care, so she will come home to me this afternoon. As an Oncology nurse, I know this battle is going to be tough. We will have our consult with the Oncologist at the University of Minnesota soon. She was perfectly healthy before a sudden limp starting about 2 and a half weeks ago. I'm just a wreck to say the least, but have been and will continue to be strong for her. I lost my 14 year old lab Bruno in January unexpectedly to cancer. His 14 year old sister Brownie is really starting to slow down and is showing her age. Bailey's sister Bela just developed myclonic seizures out of the blue, so she is also worrying me while we get that diagnosed and figured out. Lots going on. I'll post an update on Bailey's surgery as soon as I can. Thank you for letting me join the Family!

Shannon

Bailey, Bela, Brownie and angel Bruno

The Rainbow Bridge


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16 May 2022 - 12:43 pm
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Hi Shannon, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

Have you heard back from the surgeon yet? We are keeping our paws crossed for a good report and smooth recovery. I'm so sorry Bailey was diagnosed! One would think that if a dog makes it to 12 years they're not going to get cancer. Ugh! And I'm really sorry for your Bruno. Two times dealing with cancer in one year is just so much to deal with! And then you have Brownie and Bela/s issues, wow, you've got your hands full for sure.

With your career background though, she has everything on her side to cope with recovery. You're right, coming home the same day of surgery is not the easiest thing, you can do this! And you caught the cancer early too, which is fantastic. So as much as this situation sucks, there's a lot that Bailey has going for her to make it as easy as possible. 

Please let us know if we can help you at all, we are here for you. I'm in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. You'll usually find me there during weekdays. Hope to hear a pupdate soon!

Livermore, CA




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16 May 2022 - 1:30 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I'm sorry you are dealing with so much at once!  When I had my first two Pugs they would go through periods of trying to out-do each other with how big a vet bill they could accumulate and how many years they could take off my life! I could call the vet and they knew my voice, I didn't even have to give my name.

It sounds like you are ready to bring your girl home, I hope her surgery went well.

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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16 May 2022 - 2:51 pm
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Good afternoon,

Thanks so much for the replies! Bailey's surgery went well, and I will be heading to the vet office in about half an hour to retrieve her. The doctor said her leg came off very nicely and she has a very cosmetic incision. I'm not too nervous about her incision as I've seen my fair share, but I think I'm feeling emotional because I know she is going to be so spaced out and confused. Thanks to all the great information here, I was able to advocate for plenty of good pain meds, meds for anxiety and med for phantom limb pain. Carprofen, amytriptaline, gabapentin, trazadone and they were going to check into the newer form of Tramadol, Tapentadol although my vet office does not use it and was not familiar. Either way, as a nurse, my number one concern these first few days is pain control, comfort and rest. They gave her the long lasting injectable medication Nocita as well. I have the number of the recommended animal ER just in case anything goes awry during the night. Throw rugs are down on slippery floors, raised water and food dishes, Flagline harness ordered, homemade dog food made and lots of love and care ready to give. 

I know the next few days and weeks will be hard and a learning curve for us all, but the first big hurdle is behind us. I'll let everyone know how she is doing either later tonight or tomorrow. If someone could give me directions for posting her picture, I'd love to do so.

Shannon 

Virginia




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16 May 2022 - 7:57 pm
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To say you've had a lot of yiurnplate these past several months  is an understatement.   Jist keep things chunked  down and eal with whatever  comes your way at the time.  Right now focusing  on Bailey's recovery  if the most immediate "challenge" facing you. 

Sounds like you are extremely  well prepared  pain med wise,  The injection should keep her fairly comfortable  for another day or so, then tweaking the pain meds may cone into play. You've prepared  your home well for Bailey Good job.

Bruno is a Guardian Angel for you now.  He'll protect you, Bela, Bailey and Brownie too♥️

Update when you get a chance to catch uour breath.

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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16 May 2022 - 11:23 pm
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Well, it's been a rough first 7 hours home. We've had lots of positives: peeing, drinking and slowly eating some canned food. Even tried to take a few steps while out to potty. The negatives: lots of post surgery after affects that are scary like intermittent heavy breathing, extreme lethargy the last few hours, feeling warm (fever)? Took her out to potty a little bit ago and she literally just crumpled to the ground with lethargy. I understand all the medications may just have caught up with her, but it's so hard not to freak out. We're in the living room in side by side dog beds, I'm exhausted but too nervous to sleep. It's midnight now. I definitely wish an overnight stay would have been an option. I honestly thought being a nurse would prepare me for anything over the next few days. Instead I feel as scared, confused, and anxious as many others who have traveled this same path. 8:00 am can't come soon enough. Then at least I can bring her back if she doesn't seem right. I don't want to rush to the ER vet, because I know many of these things are most likely completely normal for only being 12 hours post-OP. Anyhow, I know I'm rambling now. Thanks for anyone who gets through all these words.

One thing that Bailey is doing when we try to help her walk, is getting anxious/scared and only going backwards. Did anyone else's pet do this?

Hopefully things will look better/brighter in the morning. I love this Tripawd family so much already and I'm so grateful to be here.

View post on imgur.com

0M1mZyQ.jpegImage Enlarger

Shannon

Virginia




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17 May 2022 - 8:21 am
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Heaven Bailey home so quickly after surgery it is indeed, very hard! I think you were prepared mentally, emotionally though, when it's your dog, maybe not so much! You definitely have lots of positives. The fact that Bailey peed and drank and ate and can even semi hop estepa to, all that is really good news! And you are spot-on about the meds causing all of the reaction that you were seeing. I guess she's not on the trazodone yet, but if he is, that can definitely add another layer of confusion and inability to walk, Etc

Bailey will start to get a little more balanced and fluid with her gait in the upcoming week or two. But right now while she's trying to get her sea legs this early on you'll see a lot of crazy wobble, confusion and walking, Etc.

Hang in there and try, emphasis on try and get some rest. If she relaxes enough to take a little bit of a nap, then you try and grab a little bit of shut-eye too

We always joke about the surgeons please with doing an excellent job and sending the dogs home and telling the owners everything will be fine. And all of that's true, everything will be fun, but the surgeon doesn't go home and see what's going on for those first several long nights and days. This is going to even make you a more superb nurse for your patients now that you've experienced this first hand.

Hang in there and update us when you can. Everything you have described seems to be in the normal range for this early on few hours.

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!

Virginia




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17 May 2022 - 8:22 am
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PS

Love the pictures! She's a beautiful girl!

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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17 May 2022 - 10:32 am
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Oh Bailey! You melt my sp_hearticon2with those pretty eyes sf-kiss

I'm sorry I missed your post last night, and very happy you figured out how to add images to the Forums. Good job! If you ever need tech support you can post here or message me anytime.

Yes the first night at home after surgery IS hard. And if it's hard for a nurse like you, that's saying a lot. Over the years we've discovered that health care professionals for humans or pets tend to have more emotional challenges during this experience than laypeople like myself. I think you guys just know too much! But, you do have the skills and aptitude to handle anything that comes up. Amputation recovery for dogs and cats is so similar in nature to how it is for humans (I write for a human amputee magazine so I interview a lot of folks about their experiences). So try to view the logistics of Bailey's recovery just as you would a patient recovering from cancer surgery. She's going to be wonky, tired, and unlike any way that you've seen her before. But it IS temporary! And I can tell by that look in her eyes that she is one determined girl. She will be through this and better in no time at all.

I hope today is good, so keep us posted. Oh and way to go advocating for the medication! Your clinic team sounds great. Glad they didn't dismiss your advocacy for her. Who are you working with? I'm nosy!

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17 May 2022 - 1:35 pm
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Wow! What a difference a few hours can make! After hardly sleeping and worrying all night, 5:00 am arrived, which is my normal get up and feed dogs time. Much to my amazement, Bailey insisted on leaving her recovery area in the living room, to eat at her normal spot in the dining room. After struggling by myself to help her out to go potty, I was able to get her settled back into her resting spot. I could already tell that she was way more alert and way less lethargic than at midnight. We had a quiet morning, then she decided out of the blue to get up herself, walk about 10 feet to a different dog bed and settle herself down in a comfy position. I was SO incredibly proud of her. Not long after, she got a bit restless and when I asked if she needed to potty, she got herself up, walked to the door and proceeded down the two steps with very little assistance. Lots of peeing, eating normally, drinking and watching the goings on in the house. No poop yet, but I know that's completely normal. She is definitely getting her tripawd stance figured out. One frustrating thing, she seems to go out of her way to avoid all the rugs I have on the slippery floor! Here, I've laid everything out so carefully for safety, and she's like "no thanks mom"! But she does start slipping and then gets a little panicky, so hopefully she figures out rugs are a good thing soon.

One bit of advice I would give others starting this journey, is to try and get your harness ordered ahead of time. We got diagnosed last Wednesday,  scheduled surgery for yesterday, and I found this site and ordered the harness late Friday or early Saturday. It could be quite awhile before it gets here, and honestly, my back is killing me trying to lift her, support her and guide her. I've tried various things for a sling, a towel, a soft blanket, and a canvess shopping bag with handles, but open. She refuses to move forward with any of these methods, instead doing that weird backing up, falling over. I think it will be such a great help to both of us when that harness arrives.

I was unable to get the Tapentadol that I wanted, as my vet called around and just couldn't find anywhere with dog dosing available. I guess it's just not popular in my area. But with all the other meds, she seems pretty comfortable. I tried some soft ice packs to help with swelling and bruising,  but she's not a fan and gets restless, so no ice for now. She definitely likes to be surrounded by pillows and seems to find lots of comfy positions with the pillows. I know the next few weeks will be one step forward and one or two back, but I'm so relieved last night is done and gone and we can continue moving forward.

We were initially going to see Oncology at the University of Minnesota, but after lots of discussions, there is a smaller place with the same technologies and equipment that patients seem to like much better. More personable, less rushed and easier to get ahold of than at the University, so waiting for a call from AERC for an Oncology consult.

Jerry, my vets office is South Shore Veterinary Hospital in Forest Lake, MN. We've been going there for 20 years and they're so great! Only downside is no 24 hour care.But I couldn't imagine bringing Bailey to a strange place at a time like this, so I made it work! Thanks again for all the support and encouragement! I'm going to rest on the couch a bit while she's sleeping,  and prepare for another busy, although I hoe calmer and more restful night tonight. I'll post another update soon!

Shannon ❤

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17 May 2022 - 3:43 pm
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We had our first 💩

Moving around a bit in the house and a little outside. I'm so amazed by my beautiful, brave girl!

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Shannon 

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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17 May 2022 - 5:46 pm
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YAAAAY FOR BAILEY👏👏👏 

Soooo manh things to celebrate.....and our favorite thing to celebrate is first poopiconpoopiconpoopiconWe love celebrating poopicon!!

She's already n starting to reclaim some of her normal routines.  Love that she hopped over to try out a different dog bed and that she handled  those steps like a Champ.

My Happy  Hannah refused any sling help also. She would just freeze and not move. Not sure how to keep Bailey  on the rugs.  Maybe a trail of treats? 

So glad to read this update.  That Bailey is already a Tripawd RockStar👍   And an adorable photogenic one at that!

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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18 May 2022 - 8:03 am
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Good morning all

Last night was a little better than the previous night. Had to give a small dose of Trazadone at midnight for a bit of anxiety and restlessness. She had a little trouble getting comfortable and desperately wanted to lay on her left side (the surgery side) as that has always been her favorite sleeping side. She tried several times to circle in the dog bed and lay on the left, only to immediately jump up. All her sutures are dissolvable so no poking parts or staples to contend with. After several attempts in one dog bed, she tried a different bed with the same results, and then ultimately settled for laying upright on the hard floor. Watching her broke my heart. This morning she's more lethargic than yesterday, a bit more unsteady too. I suppose it's a combination of the Trazadone and exhaustion, plus I would imagine that just like people, the 2nd day after surgery can be a little tougher than the 1st. She is still getting her gabapentin and Carprofen plus antibiotics and I did add in a small dose of Tramadol this morning.The Nocita she recieved during surgery should still be working. She did eat a good breakfast, drink water and pee/poop. She's just not nearly as full of spunk as she was yesterday.

As for me, I'm having a tough day too. I think I've gotten a grand total of 6-7 hours of sleep in the last two days. All the worries and care taking for Bailey, plus the stuff going on with my other fur babies is leaving me little time for rest. As a result, I'm pretty emotional and overwhelmed today, wishing we were over the hump of recovery, but also trying to be realistic and rational. I'm telling you, people nursing is SO much easier for me than pet nursing. I left a message with Oncology today and am waiting for a call back. I think they also have rehabilitation, so I want to schedule that as well.

Bailey did have a fall this morning. As she tried to lay down from a standing position, she just kind of lost balance and fell right onto her surgical side. She didn't cry or yelp, but layed there kind of in shock or confusion. Scared me half to death. I got her situated and propped up with pillows and she sleeping now, but hopefully the fall didn't damage anything. All this stuff is so damn stressful. 

Have a great day. Thanks for everyone who has supported and responded. I'll update soon.

Shannon 

The Rainbow Bridge


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18 May 2022 - 12:07 pm
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Oh Bailey! You sweet, strong girl!

I would imagine that just like people, the 2nd day after surgery can be a little tougher than the 1st. 

YES! And we also see that for dogs who do have spunk and energy during the first week, there's often a 'crash' that follows about a week later, when their brain catches up to their body and they realize they need rest. In the meantime we are on pins and needles as their caregiver. Sleep is such a luxury right now. 

I'm sorry she fell! I think I had two dozen heart attacks when our Jerry stumbled. It will happen again for a while, so try not to panic. That's really normal. As you see, she wasn't hurt and she didn't panic. We always take it worse than they do!

As worrisome as her behavior seems right now, she's showing all the indicators of a normal recovery. Many, many, dogs are sensitive to the incision side and don't lay on it for a while. She'll get there, just like she'll also realize that the new rugs are her friend. If she doesn't, consider putting Toe Grips on her if she's OK with you messing with her feet. 

I think you sound really good overall, considering. Remember you've been through more than a pet parent who brought their dog home 24 hours after surgery, so give yourself the props and grace you deserve. It's truly exhausting!

Oh, your vet clinic (South Shore) looks fantastic! I love that they are Fear Free Certified! And they even searched around for the Tapentadol, which is super cool. Sorry it wasn't available anywhere. SO many clinics still defer to Tramadol that I don't think the demand is there. But as more folks like you bring it up with their vet team, hopefully that'll change.

I looked at the AERC website and it doesn't look like they have rehab. But there are quite a few CCRP therapists in Minnesota so I'm betting you'll find one nearby. Let me know if you'd like help searching.

Stay strong and try to get some snoozing with Bailey. Little by little she really is getting there!

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18 May 2022 - 12:30 pm
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Hi Jerry, 

Thanks for the wonderful response! You and everyone else are such amazing people and I feel so incredibly blessed to have everyone behind me!

This afternoon has been really good. More energy again, following me around the house a bit, asked for a little belly rub and begged for a french fry! I know she worn out though, so I'm just encouraging her to lay and rest. I spoke to AERC and our Oncology appointment is next Thursday. I found out they do have a fantastic rehabilitation therapist, he just moved out of the clinicl and into a private practice. They will help me get set up with him when we have our appt next week. I'll post more info when I get it. So, hour by hour we move forward and we'll get there. We're using the rug pathways about 80% of the time now, so whoo hoo! I'm off to try and rest while she's napping!

Shannon

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