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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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Marley - 12 yrd old choc lab scheduled feb 2nd - help!
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Metro Kansas City
Forum Posts: 248
Member Since:
22 October 2008
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28 January 2009 - 10:44 pm
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Just for the sake of information, Calamity took tramadol for almost a year with no ill effects.

The only time I noticed any weird behavior was the next day after her initial break when she was on morphene injections & the fentenal patch and was not herself. That was almost a year before her amputation. When she had her amputation, that combination is what kept her from pain & worked well. I imagine she developed some ability to tolerate the opiates during the year of issues she had.

Janie & Calamity

Janie & Calamity

West Chester PA
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10 August 2008
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29 January 2009 - 11:59 am
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Bonnie is a 10 year old chocolate lab who is 5 months post amp of her right front leg.   She is also a diabetic, so we have additional issues.   She is doing fantastic right now and it is one day at a time.

Thankfully for us, the week following her amputation was Labor Day weekend, so we all were home.  I slept on the floor with her for over 2 weeks.  We took an old twin bed mattress that we had and put it on the floor at night.  The bed was soft, but getting up was miserable.  Bonnie was alert when we brought her home the next day but had a really rough night and panted a lot.  I thought that it was pain, but we took her back in the next day and they gave her a type of “antidote” for the fentanyl patch that she had for pain.  When that was given, she calmed down and was normal, so we removed the patch the third day.   She was on Metacam, which I really prefer to Rimadyl, and tramadol for 7 days.  After that we kept her on the tramadol for a few more days, mainly for her to sleep well at night.  We were probably one of the lucky ones because she had no swelling, drainage or infection.  She did not move around a lot though and I think that helped.   We kept one of those Bella ice packs on her on and off and that, not only kept her comfortable, but also protected the incision.  She amazed us with her pain tolerance and needed a lot less than I ever would have thought. 

Our biggest issue was her appetite.  If you have a picky eater, it will get worse after the surgery.   I have hand fed Bonnie since her surgery.  A lot of that has to do with the chemo which started three weeks after surgery.  She got her last chemo on 12/12 and is just now getting her appetite back.  FYI, they have an appetite stimulant called Mirtazapine that helps.  

The main thing you can do is be optimistic.  Show Marley that you love her.   Bonnie now does steps and gets in bed with us.  Sleeping with her head on my leg tells me that it was all worth it.  We may have one day, month or year, but it's worth every minute.  Take it one step at a time.  She will too, right alongside you.  Good luck and our prayers are with you.  Chocolate tripawd are great!


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24 January 2009
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29 January 2009 - 12:22 pm
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Hi Chris, 

Thank you so much! I do hear a lot about the panting and the reaction to the fentanyl patch. Great to have a heads up on that. Why do you prefer Metacam to the Rimadyl? I just talked to my vet about issues with Rimadyl (it has caused her liver levels – ALT to be elevated so we're taking her off for now) – he said some dogs to great on it and others have horrible side effects – he mentioned nausea. I imagine Marley will not move around a lot either – since she doesn't now! she sleeps most of the day… of course she is 12!  

She has been a picky eater over the years… my husband is now spoiling her with home cooked meals – beef stew, chicken soup – mostly protein since her diagnosis 2 weeks ago… I get her meds down with roast beef! 

We love having Marley snuggle in bed with us as well – that is my goal to have her relaxed, happy, pain free and back with her head on my leg as well! someday.. 

thanks for your support, 


West Chester PA
Forum Posts: 104
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29 January 2009 - 6:07 pm
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I like the Metacam mainly for the fact that it is not as hard on the liver.  Bonnie's brother has been taking it for 3 years now for his arthritis and has had no bad effects.  Also the Metacam is a liquid that you just shoot into their mouth with the syringe.  It is really easy. 

Best of luck.  Our prayers are with you both.


Richmond, VA
Forum Posts: 21
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12 January 2009
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29 January 2009 - 11:06 pm
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Just thought i would chime in too having just finished the two weeks.  I was prepared for worse than what occurred and i would prefer it that way, i guess.  carter's first couple of nights were restless but we found a cold compress on the amp area helped calm him down (just a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a pillow case).  Just laying with him there petting him while the compress was on was nice for both of us.  we have wood floors and did not like the runner option so we were lucky to find the spongy interlocking squares – like they use in a pre-school – on clearance at Lowes.  we converted the dining room into his room with these squares and blocked him into there and the den (full size rug there) during the day and just the dining room overnight.  one of us slept in the adjoining den for the first few nights to be close just in case.  carter had adverse reactions to the rimadyl so the vet pulled that and prescribed pepcid ac to calm the stomach.  He did great on the tramadol and the fentanyl patch.  the only other med was an antibiotic for potential infection.  He did try to get at the sutures and the e-collar didnt work so we got a soft collar from a family member.  Carter didnt cry out and rarely whimpered (he never did when his tumor was intact either even though we know he was in pain).  Once he was back home we tried to keep everything as routine as possible with his eating schedule and potty times.  As someone else suggested a spreadsheet listing the meds and when they were due was very helpful (especially when there are two of us caretakers).   The sling that they sold us at the vet was not a help at all as it was too long.  A bath towel was all that we needed to help him up and down the two steps to go outside.  Best of luck heading into these next few weeks.  stay positive and comforting.  we did all we could to keep all positive energy in the house not allowing ourselves to argue or anything.  we even kept some calming new age music playing for him at most all times (that in fact may have helped me more that it actually helped him…smile).  sure – it may be tough but each dog is different (as all here have said before) and when the two weeks are done it will just be a wink in time.

Zaks mom
30 January 2009 - 12:56 am
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This post was a godsend to me! THANK YOU..

All the information will be so helpful to me tomorrow. My pup comes home tomorrow or the next day & I'm trying to gear up.

Everything that Marley's mom is going through is just how I'm feeling now. Overwhelmed & anxious for sure. Doubts, all of it really.

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