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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My yellow lab Gunner (just turned 9) had his right front leg amputated on Thurs. 7/24/08. Since we brought him home he seems depressed and when he goes outside he favors (or limps) on his right rear leg. The vet checked it out a couple of days ago and couldn’t feel any tumors, but didn’t take X-rays. Gunner will turn his head around and look back at his right rear leg. Sometimes he just stands there and lays down and other times he gets around fairly good to do his business. He is eating well. Still on pain meds for a couple of more days. The bandage is still on because his wound is still leaking. Hopefully it comes off tomorrow. We have a tee shirt on him to keep him from licking at the the stitches he could reach under the bandage. I’m hoping he will start feeling better when when the bandage & shirt come off along with getting off the meds. He spends most of the day resting and not going up the staris yet so he really hasn’t done anything to strain the back leg. We tried the stairs with the help of a sling but when we fist brought him home, but didn’t want to complicate things while he is healing.
Could he be limping because he is redistributing the weight on his legs? Anyone else have this same problem? My husband is losing faith that he will get better.
Sounds like you are on top of everything as far as Gunner post-op care is concerned, and that Gunner is doing generally well given that it has been only less than a week since the surgery.
There are a lot of possibilities that contribute to his favoring his hind leg.
He could still be groggy, a bit weak in general, and simply not his oldself yet under the influence of meds.
He could also well be what you have described, trying to adapt to the new way of balancing himself. It took my Genie about 2 weeks to perfect the coordination. At first, she literally took "one step at a time", lifted one leg then planted that, then the other leg, so on so forth. Very robotic.
Keep an eye of his hind leg, and all the subtle signals. If it is still a problem after a few more days, I’d would ask the vet to check on his spine, and leg bones. If I may ask, was Gunner’s surgery the result of an OS diag?
Thanks for joining our Tripawds community. I hope we can help in some way.
Was there any problem with his right rear leg before the amp? If not, then we agree with Jessie, that there are a few non-urgent factors that could contribute to the limping. Weight re-distribution, getting used to the new walk, and just plain old getting pooped after taking a few steps. Amputation is a major surgery, and one week is not enough time for us to get back to our old selves, or even our old walking patterns.
Keep an eye on the leg and if it gets worse over the next few days then call your vet. But meantime, try not to fret about it so much. I know it’s hard. But Gunner needs time to heal, and he needs lots of pawsitive energy surrounding him in order to do so. If he is around people that worry about him all the time, or don’t have faith that he will recover, then that kind of negative energy will surely slow down his recovery.
Also, please try to remember that, like my pal Cesar Milan says, we dogs don’t get depressed. Depression is a human thing. We dogs live in the moment, that’s all that matters to us. Losing a leg is no big deal. Learning how to walk again on a modified body, that’s a bigger deal but it’s nothing we can’t overcome. You just have to have faith that Gunner will.
You are doing the right thing by limiting his exercise, and movement up and down stairs. Give it time. I wasn’t myself for many weeks, but eventually, it all came back to me. It will for Gunner too.
Please keep us posted on how things are going. We are rooting for you guys! Good luck.
28 May 2008
Hi Gunner…get some good rest pal – you just had MAJOR surgery and it takes time to get all the meds out of your system and the anethesia (sp) too. I was a mess the first few days and not myself physically until after I got my bandage and stitches out…then WOW did I feel better!!! It takes time, be patient.
For your pawrents – just a couple things to reiterate from above…remember that even though you have doctors and specialist, no one knows your furry family member better than you do. If you have a gut feeling or concern, push for some tests on that rear leg for your own peace of mind. I wouldn’t let it go more than a day or two, but yes, it may simple be an adjustment period. Our guys each have their own way of adjusting and dealing with this big change in their lives.
…secondly, stay as positive and upbeat as you can around your furry friend…they pick up all our moods and it’s almost as if they can read our minds and hearts. They will follow your lead and it will affect their recovery. There were several times during the first few weeks where I broke down, but I always tried to do that away from Zeus so he wouldn’t pick it up. I believe in my heart that it helped his recovery….the power of faith is very strong.
We are thinking of you – please keep us posted.
Love Zeus and Mom.
Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together