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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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Jak’s Surgery
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Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 7
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11 July 2019 - 6:03 am
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Age: senior

Breed: husky

Reason for amputation: spindle cell tumor on front leg

Other issues: arthritis

Medications prescribed: Hydrocodone , Dermamaxx, Cephalexin 500, Cephalexin 250

5AM here first night post-op. It has been a tough night and we are all taking turns looking in on him. We had to carry him out of the vet on a towel. The vet said he defecated and urinated already and to go slow with the food to prevent vomiting. He hasn’t been up on his feet yet, but it’s only been 10 hours. The hardest thing is the whining and wincing. He will sleep calmly then wake up panting and making a high-pitched whine and the only thing that seems to work is to pet his head until he goes back to sleep.  He refuses water but we managed to get his first pill in him with some pepperoni. I’m a bit concerned about how the bathroom situation will work if he is still too out of it to stand…

Any suggestions or things I should look out for? The vet wanted to hold off on using Gab, not sure if I should ask for it or if we should wait and see. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 July 2019 - 7:25 am
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I’m so glad he made it through surgery! YEAY for that! smiley_clapWhere did you end up getting the amputation done? I may have missed that elsewhere.

Yes, it’s early on and he will get his bearings. And I promise he will poopicon eventually. Some dogs take a day or two or three.

Do what you can to get him to drink water. Spike it with gatorade or a no or low sodium broth. Hydrate hydrate. 

Did he happen to get a three-day pain medication injection? Maybe with a drug called Nocita? Or is he wearing a pain patch? If so, the whining and wincing can be related to him feeling out of it from the drugs. 

However if he didn’t get a patch or an injectable, then in my non-vet opinion the pain medications he was prescribed are not nearly enough to manage post-op recovery pain. I’m basing this on what we’ve seen here among members, our interviews with pain management experts and the American Animal Hospital Association Pain Management Guidelines. So….Again, I’m not a vet. But the vast majority are now prescribing Gabapentin immediately after surgery, and a stronger medication than hydrocodone. Please talk to your vet about these symptoms and see what they think.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Los Angeles, CA
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11 July 2019 - 9:33 am
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Jerry, I went with my usual vet in Manhattan Beach. I’ll post up the details in the pricing thread after I get some sleep haha.

Thanks for the info. The whining is so intense! Before we were able to get him to sleep for a few hours at least and stop the whines with a head rub.  Now he is either staring off or making that screechy husky whine (from about 4am to now at 8:30am) with no rest.  I’m waiting on a call back from the vet. There was no pain patch. Not sure about any other meds given before he was released. He hasn’t been able to get up and at the moment he is so loud I’m nervous about slinging him up to try and get him to pee outside. He ate his breakfast at least, so his appetite is intact. 

As much as I tried to research and prepare myself…this has been tough. They didn’t have an overnight attendant so I’m glad we were able to take him home but the constant whining is really hard to deal with. 

Virginia




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11 July 2019 - 10:38 am
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Deeeeep breath…..b r e a t h e.  You are in the hardest part of recovery  right now.  And on tope of that, bringing him home the first night of surgery adds an extra layer to the “hardest part”,  You are doing a great job!  Jak is shaking off the effects of anesthesia  for the first night or so, and that’s  rough to watch, and rough and confusing  for him too.

Even though my Happy Hannah did spend the first night st a staffed clinic, she whined and cried and was soooo restless the second and third night at home.  Sleep was non existent  for both of us!

It took me a couple of weeks before I could finally say I did this FOR my Hapoy Hannah and not TO her!!

Going into day two or three, the hospital  pain meds are out of his system so, as Jerry said,  pain management   is crucial.   

Try not to worry about mobility  at this point. It takes several days sometimes  for a dog to sit or stand, much less take a few hops… especially  for senior pups!  My Happy Hannah would just freeze if I tried to use a towel sling or help her in anyway.  

For now, peeing and drinking  are important.  Don’t  worry too much about eating or pooping for now.  And actually, he did just eat and he pooped at the Vet…so YAAAAAAAY!!! Two milestones  to be celebrated!!!  Oh, and another tip for drinking….shhhh…..it’s  not exactly  “nutritional…swirl in a little spoon of ice cream!  Let him take a taste first as you dip it I to his water bowl and swirl around.

It may be that you need to get some waterproof pee pads for his bed until he gets more mobile.

I know it’s  hard to believe at this point, but recovery  doesn last furever!!  Jak is a tough and strong willed Husky.  I was owned by one!  He’ll get past this…and so will you!!!  It is MAJOR surgery and humans would still be in the hospital  on a morphine drip! 

TRY and get little naps here and there.  Getting  to this point is soooo exhausting, sooo stressful.  And take a little bit of that ice cream for yourself!  It helps to lower the stress level!!😉

STAY CONNECTED and let us know how things are going, okay?  And do ask the Vet about Gabapentin  and Tramadol too.  They may be better meds for him than the hydrocodone…or not.

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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11 July 2019 - 10:43 am
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Hey I see you were in the Tripawds Chat . I’m here now if you want to talk.

Yes the first night is SO hard, especially when they come home the same day. And Huskies are so vocal as it is, so it makes the recovery process a bit more stressful for sure. You don’t have it easy, but I promise it won’t last forever.

Let us know what the vet says.

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11 July 2019 - 12:05 pm
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Welcome home handsome boy! As jerry and sally said unfortunately the first few days can be stressful. Roane whined all night too until the surgery meds worked there way out of her system. Breaks your heart to see them like that but it will get easier ❤.

As far as eating and drinking, we put some chicken and rice in the food processor and mixed it with chicken broth. Sort of a chicken slurpee so we could get roane to take her pills and hydrate. As sally said at this point anything is good even if its not “nutritional.”

Getting up and moving may take a minute depending on meds and how much he will let you help. I hope your vet has some insight on pain meds. It never hurts to ask or to get another opinion if you feel your not getting the right answers. 

Keep us posted, and try to get some rest.

Hugs,

Bev & Roane ❤

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

Los Angeles, CA
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11 July 2019 - 6:33 pm
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benny55 , roane226 : Thank you for sharing all those tips, it has really been a marathon. Browsing this site has been one source of sanity in all of it. The information you all share is invaluable. From pee pads to chicken soup, you guys know your stuff smiley_clap

Here’s an update on what happened today:

After talking to Jerry in the chat I was determined to revise the pain program, because it simply wasn’t working with him screeching for hours on end and not getting any sleep. I called the vet as soon as they opened at 7:30AM and ended up playing phone tag until about 1PM when I finally got to speak with the doctor. I explained my concerns, which medications I’d like to be considered, but generally just that he seems to be in a lot of pain and something needs to be done asap. He reluctantly agreed to prescribe Gabapentin but said that Tramadol isn’t useful. I insisted that it was something I wanted and he still refused saying that he would need to see Jak in-person to evaluate if it is a psychological or physical pain before prescribing anything else. Then he said that it was my choice to take him home, which I thought was particularly in bad taste. Because their staff leaves at 6PM I took him home so at least I could monitor him overnight, I can’t imagine how he would have done with his level of pain stuck in a crate with no one to check on him for 12 hours. I stand by making that choice. So I decided to be referred out to a VCA Emergency Clinic.

As soon as I called, they prepared a gurney, they took him in immediately and they listened to all of my concerns. The doctor was so much more attentive, she even made copies of not only the invoice and the original doctor’s notes but also my personal notes. She confirmed what I feared about being under-medicated and and decided to keep him for 36 hours, with fluids, intravenous meds, a pain patch, etc. We were invited back into the kennels and he was already so much more comfortable and alert and he was finally upright, in a “down” position balancing on his three legs. They had apparently already taken him outside to assess how well he could walk with support.  It was night and day. The staff was attentive, the place was modern, super transparent and upfront with prices, and just generally a lot of good vibes and you can visit as you please. I’m very hopeful about the next 36 hours. Seeing him support himself and sitting comfortably was…amazing. 

New Plan: Re-do bandage (VCA doc believed it was too tight) + Fentanyl Patch + Fluid IV + CRI Pain maint. (they want his meds to be through IV for now, their main goal is to make sure he can rest) 

Wow, that was an essay. Unfortunately, it seems you really have to fight to advocate for your pet. I didn’t imagine that simply having an adequate pain management plan would have been such a struggle…

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11 July 2019 - 7:37 pm
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Yah!!!!  Im so glad to hear that you were successful in getting the help that you needed! The community here is absolutly wonderful when it comes to going the extra mile with tips and support. There are also some truly wonderful vets out there and you seem to have found one! Im over joyed that hes in less pain now and you can both rest comfortably for the night ❤🐾 Its very said that the bedside manner at some places isnt what it should be. Bravo to you for pushing to get your boy what he needed! Perhaps the ER has a suggestion on a vet that they trust for follow up? 

Looking forward to hearing how hes doing tomorrow and hoping you see a big difference on the 2nd trip home. Roane was proscribed gabapentin with carprofen to take home, its good stuff and should help him stay comfortable.

Get some rest tonight. Lots of love to you both❤🐾

Bev & Roane

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

Virginia




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11 July 2019 - 8:50 pm
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First of all, STANDING  OBATION FROM YOUR ENTIRE TRIPAWD FAMILY for being such a POWERFUL ADVOCATE for your Jak!! 😎

I’m truly appalled by the way you were dismissed by the first Vet as far as pain meds and then, that comment about YOUR choice to take him home…OMD! So out of line!!!!   👿😈 You did EXACTLY  the right thing by bringing  him home so you could monitor him.  Unfortunately,  we have seen ocassions  qhere sogs fo, indeed, have a crisis  situation the first night after surgery.   So being home is the safest place to be if not in a 24/7 staffed clinic.

Sooooo glad you got him to the ER clinic where he can get the proper pajn management  AND be tended to round the clock!   They definitely have the pain regimen in place to keep him pain frre!  Now, the patch can make him a bit whacky, but at least he wont be in pain!  The IV, the pain plan, everything is a well tjough oit plan to get Jak on the road to recovery.   

Now, you two get some good sleep tonight!  Jak is feeling no pain and probably  seeing a few pink elephants!😂🤣

Again, BRAVO TO YOU FOR ADVOCATING  SO POWERFULLY  FOR JAK!!!😎

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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11 July 2019 - 9:35 pm
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Oh my dog good for you!!! I will write more in the morning but for now I just want to say how happy and proud of you I am. You did the right thing, and now your boy is on a real road to recovery. Yeah!!!!! 

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Los Angeles, CA
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14 July 2019 - 2:20 am
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Thank you all! I really appreciate it. I really wish I could continue seeing the docs from the emergency clinic, but they said we need to follow up with our usual vet.

Just wanted to give another update on Jak 3 1/2 days post-op:

Current meds: Fentanyl Patch (comes off in 2 days), Dermamaxx , Gabapentin,  Cephalexin , Trazadone (anti-anxiety)

Since we got the new medications from the emergency clinic, things have been peaceful. Jak is mostly sleeping and when he isn’t he seems a bit spacey, but comfortable and relaxed. His appetite isn’t as great as it was before so I had to start breaking out the pepperoni and peanut butter to get him to eat the meds. Tonight he even put one pill in his cheek and then spit it out later as if I wouldn’t notice… He’s drinking regularly whenever water is offered, which is reassuring. He peed today by himself outside while being supported in his harness. Didn’t defecate yet. With a lot of assistance (someone has to hold the harness in the front) he can sometimes walk enough to get him down the 4 steps into the yard to his bathroom area. Other times, he seems to be in noodle mode and forget he has legs and I have to support almost his whole weight.

As for me, I’m glad he’s resting and able to sleep (as well as everyone else in the house). But I’m definitely getting antsy about wanting to see him get back up on his feet. 

 
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14 July 2019 - 4:33 am
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I too have a large senior (12 years) who is now a tripawd. The first week was very tough. He’s 6 weeks in, and doing very well. I’m glad you switched vets.Image Enlarger

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14 July 2019 - 6:51 am
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What a handsome boy! He looks like hes resting well now that he has an adequate pain regimen. Once the patch comes off he should be a little less noodlish and more alert. Drinking, Peeing and eating (even if its just a little) are all great signs! Dont worry about the pooping, it will happen. Roane took 4 or 5 days before she went. 

Our biggest hurtle on moving around was me! I had a fit of panic everytime roane went to get up or go down the 2 outside stairs. My husband finally politely told me i was giving both him and roane anxiety and to go back inside😉 dont tell him but he was right! 

Looking forward to Jak’s next update. 

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

❤ Bev, Roane & nurse Moe

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14 July 2019 - 11:41 am
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So glad he is comfortable.  You know, tissue repairs during sleep.  He’s sleeping a lot because he is repairing that amputation site.  This is what you want.  You want him to sleep – a lot.

3 1/2 days is very soon.  I have to commend you for taking the steps to make sure he is comfortable.  Pain induces stress hormones that interfere with healing and sleep.  (See above 😉 )

You are doing a marvelous job.  Now just relax and know that you took a tough situation and made it right for your dog.  Trust in the healing process at this point.  It will take time.  My dog is 4 1/2 weeks post op and is his own happy self.  In the early days, it feels like this will not happen and I second guessed myself many many times.

This too will pass, and you will have your companion back.   Bless you and bless him.

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 July 2019 - 2:14 pm
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Ohhhh I just want to smooch him, he is such a sweetheart! I’m over the moon things are so much better and he is resting. Now, it’s your turn (I see what time you posted!).

As for your old vet…well, sure, you can get the stitches out there if you’d like (and that visit is typically included with the surgery cost). But honestly, I would start looking around for a family vet who is more up to date on pain management . Switching is up to you of course, but as Jak goes about living life on three legs, a vet who has a better understanding in this area will benefit him greatly. If you’d like help finding one I am happy to search your area, but you can always start by looking at AAHA-accredited clinics, which are guaranteed to practice the latest protocols in all areas of veterinary medicine. 

Otherwise though, great job on being his advocate! He is on the mend!

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