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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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Max became a tripod Wednesday and worried about his recovery.
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6 September 2020 - 1:49 pm
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Hello, I am new here. My pug Maximillian (Max) just had his right, rear leg amputated along with a hemipelvectomy, on Wednesday (due to osteosarcoma). He is 10. His recovery seemed to be going well and He came home Friday, but the last two days have not been good.

He developed a fever yesterday (took him back for a checkup and they gave us antibiotics). He still isn’t eating (even though he did eat a bit at the hospital before he come home). He is drinking and peeing but no poops yet. Also his remaining back leg had some swelling (which they said was just fluid draining) but even though he is used to hopping around on it it he seems like he is getting less stable and it gives out once in a while and he falls over. He only seems to want to sleep (which is understandable given he is recovering from surgery). He is taking Percocet (oxycodone) and Gabapentin.

I am just very worried. He seems worse than before surgery and I am scared. I know recovery goes differently for everyone but any advice would be appreciated.

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 September 2020 - 2:07 pm
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Hi Max and family, welcome. I’m in the Tripawds Chat for a little bit, come on over if you want to talk.

Of course you are scared! It’s major surgery and we are not used to seeing our dogs so out of it and wobbly. But everything you are describing is spot-on for a normal recovery. I’m glad you had him checked out by the vet and they’re dealing with the fever. Those antibiotics should knock it right out.

As for the lack of appetite and poop, that is totally normal. Just make sure he’s drinking and staying hydrated. You can tempt him to drink by spiking his water with something like Gatorade, no sodium chicken broth, or even Pedialyte. 

And although I’m not a vet, as for his mobility challenges right now, it sounds to me like those are also normal. First, he’s on major drugs (interesting you mention Percocet, we were just wondering yesterday if dogs were being given that drug after surgery, since now more vets are not using Tramadol because it’s shown to have almost no efficacy for major pain…thanks for confirming that). I digress though. The major drugs and physical exhaustion from going through surgery will take a toll in any dog, so Max’s behavior sounds totally normal. Also, I’m thinking that because he was instinctively hiding his pain before surgery, he was getting around better while trying to tough it out. Now that the real source of the pain is gone, his wobbliness is simply a result of meds and exhaustion.

Try not to worry, which I know feels impossible, but he will get his bearings soon. Give it time, don’t rush the recovery and remember that R&R is part of the medicine too. He’ll be stronger and brighter before you know it.

Be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library for more answers to your questions, and stay tuned for more feedback from the community. Keep us posted!

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




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6 September 2020 - 2:52 pm
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Hi Max and humans, welcome.

My black Pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to mast cell cancer years ago.  Back then we rarely saw OSA in small dogs, I’m sorry about Max’s diagnosis.

Except for the fever everything sounds pretty normal- and fevers do happen sometimes.  I’m glad the put him on antibiotics- be sure you keep an eye on that.

A combination of the pain meds and the fever could certainly make him lose his apatite.  Offer him different foods and see what he will eat (assuming he has no food issues). 

As far as getting around, Maggie could hop on her own the day of surgery but didn’t get very far.  She would take a couple hops then sit down.  When she did stand for even just a few seconds the one back leg would start to shake or wobble and she would sit.  As she got stronger and her balance got better the wobble diminished then stopped altogether.  She didn’t poop until day 6 or 7 post surgery.

Stay positive around him so he knows everything is OK.  That is probably the biggest mistake I made during Maggie’s recovery.  She didn’t bounce right back like the vet’s implied she would and I was sure I had made a big mistake in choosing surgery.  I was grumpy, she was grumpy, this went on for weeks.  In hindsight it made sense because she had always been a stubborn Pug, set in her ways and not at all open to changes in her routine.  Most around here see the sparkle back in 2 or 3 weeks, for us it was 6 weeks before she would play with me again… dang she was stubborn!!!  Mag went on to beat her 6 to 9 month prognosis living almost 4 more years.  And she was her happy, mischievous and (even more) stubborn self.

Another thought- a hemipelvectomy is a more invasive surgery than a ‘normal’ rear amp so it might take him a little longer to recover.

Stay patient and positive and keep track of every little victory on this recovery journey, soon you will see his sparkle!

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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6 September 2020 - 3:03 pm
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Oh goodness, I can only ditto every single word Jerry said!!   And I see that our Pug expert is on here right mnow probably  typing a reassuring  post too.  

Yes, this is  MAJOR surgery and then adding a hemipelvectomy on top of that, PLUS having a fever!!  The fact that he’s mobile at all and eating anything is amazing all things considering!  Drinking and peeing also good.  Poop 💩 will happen.  Justtakes a few days with all the meds.

So glad you got him on antibiotics.   They should have sent him home with some automatically.   And yes, what other pain meds is he on?  The first day or two the strong  hospital meds are still in his system,  but after that it’s  really important  he has a good pain management   program.

Total and comp rest is exactly  what he needs right now.  Short leashed potty breaks and then back inside  for more rest!

Make sure you have non slip scatter  rugs for traction   if you have hardwoods. 

Patience is the name of the game right now.  He’s been through a lot!  STAY CONNECTED!  We’re  here for you!

We would love to see pictures.  Adding images

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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6 September 2020 - 5:22 pm
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Thank you all very much for the supportive and reassuring words. So happy to hear that Maggie lived so much longer than her prognosis. And really good to hear about her extended recovery too and to know that it’s ok if he takes his own pace. Also glad to hear that him wanting to just rest is normal – was wondering what it should be like/
 
Patience is so hard but definitely am trying  to stay positive and not show him how worried I am. ❤️ Just spending lots of time snuggling, giving pets, and just staying close to him.

As for pain meds he is on Percocet and Gabapentin. 

Thank you everyone again – your support and care means so much. Will definitely stay connected and share pics! 💕

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8 September 2020 - 12:31 pm
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So after a hellish weekend (taking him in and calling the hospital only to be told everything was fine), bloody fluid started pouring out of Max’s wound last night. Raced him in and they said he has an abscess. In hospital on iv  antibiotics now.
I’m so worried about  him and so angry that no one seemed to listen and it took so long to come to that diagnosis. my heart just breaks for him and  everything he is going through. So worried that they will miss something again or not do enough. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 September 2020 - 12:34 pm
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Oh poor guy I’m so sorry! At least they are treating it now, he should be bouncing back soon.

You were doing everything right and listening to your gut. I’m sorry this wasn’t caught sooner but you guys aren’t having the easiest recovery but it WILL get better! Usually these types of things are the worst of what we see during recovery, I’m sure Team Max is on the right path now. Hang in there!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 September 2020 - 12:39 pm
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Thank you. I hope you are right and he gets better quickly now. Such a stressful and scary experience… I can’t imagine how he must be feeling 🙁

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 September 2020 - 1:00 pm
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I know, it’s scary and stressful for us because we want to do everything right so our furkid doesn’t have to hurt or feel badly. My guess is that he’s probably already feeling better though, since IV antibiotics will kick in pretty fast. Paws crossed!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Livermore, CA




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8 September 2020 - 1:20 pm
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Dang it!  I’m sorry they seemed to dismiss your concerns.  Hopefully he is on the healing path now.

Those IV antibiotics should kick in pretty quick.

Did they say they would culture the infection?  It might be worth asking about to make sure the antibiotics are the best match for the kind of infection he has.

Sending all positive thoughts for Max and you!

Tripug-black-copy.jpg

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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8 September 2020 - 1:27 pm
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Tripug power all the way!! ❤️
They did do a culture – just awaiting the results now.

Thanks for the love, positive wishes, and keeping everyone’s paws crossed for my little boy.!

Virginia




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8 September 2020 - 4:07 pm
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Joing in on Team Max TrPug Fan Club!

Good for you for advocating  for Max and staying  the course to get him the treatment  that will help clear this up.

Glad they’re doing a culture.  Out of curiosity, ask why Max wasn’t  sent home with an antibiotic  to begin with.  Not saying  that woud have made a difference  at all!  Just that we “normally” see an antibiotic given for about a weeks-ish  from the start of recovery.

All paws are crossed and tons of pawsitive healing energy sent your way!!

Extra 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!

Here and Now


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8 September 2020 - 9:00 pm
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Maximillian said
Tripug power all the way!! ❤️

smiley16 There’s more where that came from…

TriPug Power

Moose and Maggie

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9 September 2020 - 3:24 pm
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Awww thanks for all the TriPug love! 

Max is still in hospital on the iv antibiotics. The abcess filled up again and they cleaned it out this morning. I did get to have a visit with him this afternoon tho and he was so happy to see his mom! He reached out his little paws until he was in my arms ❤️. He ate a couple of his favourite fish treats too and the nurse told me he finally pooped! Was still pretty tired and not feeling the greatest tho. Just waiting to get an evening update from his surgeon.


I thought it was strange that they didn’t send him home with antibiotics. I asked that when he was discharged and the surgeon said that he typically doesn’t find them necessary 🙄 big mistake here! Just hoping now that there isn’t something deeper going on or a bigger infection that’s causing the abscess to keep filling up.

Virginia




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9 September 2020 - 4:08 pm
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So glad you got you see him!  I know it was good for both of you😎  Pooping and eating some of his treats, all good news👍

It may be that once the culture comes back they can make sure they are targeting the infection eith the most potent solution.

We’ll wait for your updates.  Hang in there.  He should be home soon!!

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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