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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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King Louie's Comeback - A 13yr staffie
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Forum Posts: 6
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2 September 2020 - 4:14 pm
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Hi folks,

First off, I can’t thank you all enough for getting me here. Your stories, questions & answers, ideas, and positivity are absolutely the reason I am here with my sanity intact. I smile cried through the post-op fetch videos of Griffin, Jake and a pretty rottie girl who’s name escapes me. I had never thought about a doggie life vest before, but I saw Jake in one and now I’ve got one ready for when my little man is cleared to swim again.

My ~13 year old staffie mix Louie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on Monday August 17th. He’d been limping on an off for years due to arthritis in both front legs, and a “bad back”, and it’d been kinda worse, but still within reason until suddenly, with no acute injury or reason, he didn’t want to put any weight on his front right leg (historically the worst one). I thought he pulled something and took him to the vet for acupuncture. Not knowing ANYTHING about osteosarcoma, when the vet came outside with the diagnosis and mentioned chemo and (WORSE!) amputation, I thought there was NO way I could put Louie through that at 13. I came home and cried for a couple hours, and then read up and discovered that really there was NO way I could put Louie through osteosarcoma. After chest x-rays, consults and consults, and lots and lots of tripawd forum reading, Louie became a tripawd last Thurs August 27th.

He hopped out of the vet on Friday, drugged and dazed but waggy-tailed and happy to see me, his nose going straight for my pocket where I had some turkey brought with the goal of buying back his love. Anesthesia apparently can cause dogs to be constipated, or have diarrhea, and Louie went with the latter, leaving little nuggets of poop, and what the vet sweetly called “butt kisses” everywhere until yesterday (day 5). Lots of laundry and localized “sponge baths”. That was a surprise. The fly population in our house has noticeably increased.

Another very not awesome surprise came yesterday when he came in, laid down and became very unresponsive. Treats in front of his nose went smelled but un-eaten. I freaked, called the vet and was told he was likely over-sedated and to stop the trazodone and watch him for an hour or so, bringing him in if he doesn’t improve. He perked up a little eventually and is no longer being sedated. Which is another problem in itself. But it’s mostly my problem. I just need to ignore his sad doggie eyes begging to go outside.

Has anyone else had to stop the trazodone because their dog became unresponsive?

They also told me to decrease the gabapentin, and that only lasted 8 hours. He seemed uncomfortable this morning so he’s back to 200 mg.

Any advice on removing the sticky part of the bandage? The stiches are uncovered and looking great (I cut away most of it), but the sticky part below is still very stuck, and everytime I touch it he freaks. I’m getting it mm by mm, but we both hate it and it was supposed to be gone yesterday. Bad mom.

As for the arthritis and back issues, the osteo consult cleared him, and we’ll be doing our best, but it’s a big unknown. I read the blog post on tripawd arthritis today. It’s tough. Louie LOVES to play fetch and does everything at 150%. Swimming for the ball is absolutely great, but I live in a place that snows, early, so he’s got like a month of swimming left. I’m super worried about keeping my historically super fit and active little dude happy and healthy on one potentially bum front leg.

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2 September 2020 - 4:55 pm
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The Rainbow Bridge



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2 September 2020 - 6:02 pm
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Awwwww that face! Sweet old Louie is so lucky to have such a great mama. Your love for him shines through smiley10Thanks for helping your senior boy feel better and enjoy more time with you! Right now I know it might seem like the good times are a long way off, but I’ll bet in another week you will see huge improvements in his recovery.

You might want to wait on removing the sticky adhesive around his incision. Since it’s been less than a week, I would give it more time if possible, just so that he’s more comfortable with you touching the area. I can’t blame him for being sensitive about it. Ouch.

Many dogs are overly sedate with Trazadone, that’s not unusual. Good idea to keep up with the Gabapentin though, it’s a huge help during recovery.

As for his activities after recovery: how about booking an appointment with a rehab therapist? That way you’ll know just what exactly Louie is capable of doing now, and into the future? The Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so don’t delay, now’s the time to schedule a consult. It’s so educational for us, and helpful for our Tripawd, to have a relationship with one of these experts.

You have a great attitude that will go a long way for Louie (it already has!), so keep it up and let us know how we can help you guys OK? 

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




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2 September 2020 - 10:40 pm
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What a handsome boy!

I’m not a big fan of trazadone or ace or any of those sedatives.  I know occasionally a dog needs to be sedated to help recovery but in my experience the pain meds provide enough sedation.  Besides, those heavy sedatives don’t do anything for pain it just makes them sluggish and not wanting to move around.  But that’s just my personal, non-vet opinion.  I’ve also had dogs that are super sensitive to any kind of sedative- my quad-Pug boy Obie is whacked out for 12 hours when the dose they give him should wear off in 6 hours.

And good job keeping his pain in check.  Most pups here are on pain meds for two weeks so it seems a bit early to start cutting back.  My Maggie was on pain meds for 14 days but we tapered the last couple days.

This first part of recovery can be hard but you are doing a good job ignoring the ‘sad doggie eyes’! Rest is what he needs now, soon the sparkle will be back. 

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

Virginia




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3 September 2020 - 10:20 am
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“Butt kises”???  Love that term!   

I think we can use our emojis for that💩😘🥰

Love, love, love Louie’s picture!  Can’t  wait to see more.  Here’s a link for adding images .

Ditto everything  Jerry and Karen posted, especially about dropping the sedative, but keeping the pain meds longer.  This is MAJOR surgery,  all while adjusting  to three, using muscles in a different  way, etc.

For the first two weeks it’s about rest and potty breaks (or butt kisses breaks😂).   Louie will be able to swim and he will be able to play a modified  form of fetch.  You just want to avoid situations where he has to jump up to catch the target or where he has to make sharp turns and stops.

Wjat really matters to Louie is that he is pain free and by your side!  Getting tummy rubs, cuddles, treats, spoiling….that  makes Tripawds happy!

We look forward  to following  Louie as he continues to get his sparkle back and as he becomes a RockStar “Seasoned” Tripawd!🍨

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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3 September 2020 - 1:13 pm
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I meant to say that I love that Butt Kisses term too! Never heard it before. That’s a good way to make light of what can be a very tough situation.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

new hampshire
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3 September 2020 - 8:29 pm
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Welcome Louie and Louie’s mom, so sorry that your going through this but very glad that we can offer our support. Louie is such a distinguished fella ❤ seniors are a special bunch and louie is so lucky to have you taking extra special care of him.

Hows he doing now that he’s back on the gabapentine? Was he on anything for his arthritis previously? Some arthritis meds compliment gaba nicely so that maybe an option to discuse with your vet if he needs a maintenance dose to keep him comfortable in the future. 

For now slow and steady wins the race but im sure in the future he will suprise you. Our girl was a race rocket even on 3 legs. Zoomies will take a little practice and modification on fetch games. as sally said no jumping, but he will get there after the muscles and gate adjust to life on 3.

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

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8 September 2020 - 3:22 pm
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You guys are so great.

Louie remains un-sedated (and his butt stopped leaking and kissing things when his sedation stopped – related perhaps) and on half the gaba he started on and is basically acting like a normal Louie, trying to get me to play with him and his toys. He’s even starting to do almost full body shakes again. He had one night where he kept getting up and finding new places to try to sleep, like that first night right before he was diagnosed – pain behavior. That was scary, but it was only one night and it was after the most amount of hopping he’s done since becoming a tripawd. He slept in quite a while today and seems really comfortable.

Did someone say belly rubs?

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(Doc may not be happy with how pink he is, he’s quite the sun bather. But all that sun had to have disinfecting benefits right?). Yes, PT is on my to-do list. Super important, I know.

Scary question: his snoring sounds more like he’s breathing through water (little man used to snore me to sleep – meanwhile human snoring was likely to get an elbow, funny how that works). Doc said that they can breath funny as they adjust to new sleeping positions and different pressures on their lungs because of big structural changes in their bodies. Have any of you experienced this? I know his lungs looked clean two weeks ago, but is there something I should listen for to know if cancer is progressing in his lungs?

And a shout out to Jerry. I incorrectly said that it was Jake I saw swimming in a doggie life vest. (Jake was swimming without one actually!) Jerry! The angel who brought us all together! I CAN NOT WAIT to take Louie swimming in his. There will certainly be pictures.

Also, you guys are on instagram! So great to see so many pictures of tripawds!

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8 September 2020 - 3:26 pm
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Oh, no, not on anything for arthritis before (except cbd which did seem to help! I’ll start that up again when he’s off gaba). I’ll ask about that drug that was highlighted in the arthritis tripawd blog (started with ‘a’). Seemed like something I should do for him. Who knew that glucosamine didn’t have any solid science behind it…

also, out of guilt I want to mention that I used to be really good about putting sunscreen on him. I had a little white stick for dogs with no chemicals (physical block, he didn’t mind the white tint it caused). I guess even though I’m not really worried about skin cancer at this point, a sun burn is not super comfortable.

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8 September 2020 - 4:03 pm
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oooh oooh, another question: When to let him try the doggie door again?

Any advice?

No rush, it’s currently snowing outside and he wants none of it.

Virginia




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8 September 2020 - 4:20 pm
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Smooching that belly through the computer!  😘😘

My “guess” on using the doggy door is, of he can handle it let him to it!  That said don’t  have one, so others who do have one,  may have a different answer.

Snowing?????   Yikes!    Where do you live??

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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8 September 2020 - 4:23 pm
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Oh..and.  amantadine is what I think you were referencing. 

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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8 September 2020 - 7:38 pm
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I would wait until the sutures or staples are out (if he has them) so he doesn’t catch or scrape anything on the edges of the dog door.

I’ve had two small rear amp Tripawds and they both go through the dog door just fine although with my first Maggie I did have to lower it so she could step through instead of jump through.

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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