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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Meg is now a tripawd
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London, UK


Forum Posts: 1629
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12 March 2016 - 11:22 am
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Hi Everyone,

I posted in December about my gorgeous girl Meg, who's had endless problems with her front right leg (an explosive elbow fracture leading to end stage arthritis, leading to a total elbow replacement, leading to enormous problems with healing, skin grafts and skin flap surgery, leading to a chronic infection and so on and so on). The last year has been horrendous but the most important thing is that all that is now behind us. Meg had surgery on Wednesday to remove her right foreleg and I brought her home this morning (Saturday). I was scared, I'll admit. I know it sounds crazy but I was worried on some level that she wouldn't be my Meggie any more. The instant the vet brought her into the room I knew that my fears were groundless. There she was, all happy and eager to see me and we sat on the floor and cuddled.

She seems on great form and is amazingly mobile (she's been pretty one sided for a long time now anyway, so I guess it's an easier adjustment for her physically than it would be for many dogs). It was a bit of a shock seeing the space where her leg used to be and I can't pretend it wasn't, but I'd done my best to prepare myself, looking at the post surgery pictures on this site and just trying to get myself ready, and I think that helped enormously. The biggest 'gulp' moment was when the vet said that he'd reduced her Metacam dose slightly because she weighs less now, which of course she does.

This afternoon she's been pottering round the garden with me, revisiting her various dens and she's now curled up sleeping beside me. It's only day three and I know it's not all going to be plain sailing but so far I'm amazed how unproblematic things have been and how happy, relaxed and pain-free Meg seems to be. It feels like at last we can finally start looking forwards.

Throughout the whole process of making the decision (not entirely straightforward as Meg has dysplasia and arthritis in her left elbow as well), coming to terms with it and preparing for surgery, this site has been the most tremendous help and support. So I just wanted to say thanks to everyone, and here's to life on three paws.

With warmest wishes,

Clare

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Virginia




Forum Posts: 21150
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12 March 2016 - 11:51 am
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR MEG! Surgery is over and she's on the wa to a quality life pain free!! 🙂

Sooooo good to hear from you!!! I know you jave your hands full, but thank you for taking the time to let us hear from you!

Precious Meg is finally rid of that bum leg! And although this is major surgery and recovery is full of ups and downs for a couple of weeks, it sounds like she is doing really well!

She needs to take it easy, just potty breaks and maybe a little sunbathing for now. The hospital pain meds are usually out of their system around day three, so you may have to watch for signs of pain and adjust pain meds accordingly (with the Vet's advice of course).

Stay connected! We understand this journey like no others can. I reallu, really think eg will be feeling better than you could jave ever imagined once recovery is done and all her sparkle comes back!

Cheering for you Meg! Clare, you are an incredibly devotion companion for your sweet Meg. Hugs to both of you!

Lpve!

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!

Maryland
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12 March 2016 - 11:58 am
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Hi Clare and Meg,

I definitely remember your story because I remember thinking how you were doing everything you could for your Meggie. I'm glad you found a solution, even if that solution meant you had to amputate her leg. She has been through so much that it might still feel like a relief (for both you and her) to have that bad leg gone. So I bet that Maggie will be even more herself as she continues to recover.

Of course there will be some ups and downs over the next couple of weeks but I'm sure you're going to do your best to help her recover. And best of all, she'll be there to soak up all that love you're showing her!

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

London, UK


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13 March 2016 - 12:02 am
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Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Meg had a good night, sleeping on the mattress beside me. Yesterday evening, she started panting, which I took to be a sign of pain, so I gave her some tramadol, which settled her down. The hospital discharged her just with Metacam, and even that only for a week, but she's been on a combination of Metacam and tramadol (when needed) for months, so I gave her some anyway. I'll speak to my vet on Monday, but I know they'll agree. They've been incredibly supportive. 

The only other thing I've noticed is that she twitches sometimes around the surgery site. I'm guessing this is the nerves settling down? It doesn't seem to bother her much. It's just an occasional twitch. The wound itself looks pretty good, clean and dry with no seepage. She doesn't have any stitches or staples, not on the surface anyway, so there's nothing to remove.

I'll keep posting updates if that's okay. It's just so great to be able to connect with all the experience and support on this site. And maybe in the future someone will read about Meg and find it helpful too.

Thanks again.

All best,

Clare

Ps This is Meg at her last laser treatment. She's been having it four times a week for two months in an attempt to get rid of her infection. She loved going for laser because the table was electronic and she loved to jump on and ride it up and down. She's been having acupuncture too and we will continue with this as she responds to it really well. The rehab vet has also worked out a program of exercises/hydro etc. to build her core strength.

FUBUCKET-1-of-1-3.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


London, UK


Forum Posts: 1629
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13 March 2016 - 8:32 am
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And this is Meg just now...

FUBUCKET-1-of-5.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


Maryland
Forum Posts: 384
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13 March 2016 - 9:11 am
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She looks very sedate and trusting in that second picture. And I love your story that she likes to ride the table up and down. She sounds like she's got a lot of character!

About the twitching, I do think it is probably just muscles adjusting to their new arrangement. Our Ellie definitely had stump twitchies but they also never seemed to bother her. You haven't mentioned Gabapentin. Some dogs develop phantom pain , others don't but typically Gaba is prescribed over here for that. But usually phantom pain is much more dramatic than just twitches (jumping up in surprise, yelping etc). 

I also think your plans for rehab sound great and help her a lot. She sure is lucky to have you. 

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 March 2016 - 10:32 am
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Clare, welcome back. I'm SO hoppy everything is going well. Meg is having a classic, perfect recovery and dog knows you two deserve that after traveling such a long road to get here. Your attitude is FABULOUS and hey, all of us were scared when we went through recovery but as you can see, things do get better. In a week or two you'll wonder why you were so scared, Meg is just going to have some many beautiful surprises for you!

Wise move to give here the Tramadol. I'm always amazed when a vet hospital releases a dog with just a non-steroidal like Metacam. That's like taking an iburprophen when you get your leg chopped off. It's not nearly enough. I'm sure your regular vet will agree to continue the metacam and tramadol combo. Most dogs are on it for about 10 days, some more some less.

Do you have help or is it just you and Meg? Just curious. If there's anything we can do to make this easier, just holler from across the pond OK? We'll hear you 😉

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




Forum Posts: 21150
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13 March 2016 - 8:20 pm
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CUTENESS ALERT!!! You forgot the CUTENESS ALERT!! OMD!! Meg is adorable!! Okay, let's do an ADORABLENESS ALERT too!!

Yeah, DEFINITELY ditto Jerry about the pain meds! They need ro be given consistently so the pain doesn't get a head start. Of course, I'm not a vet and discuss with your vet. .HOWEVER, I would hate to see how the vet would react if he had MAJOR surgery and was just given an aspirin!

As Donna said, the twitching is normal.

.eg still jas so e hospital meds in ner. They usually last about two or three days before they are out of her system. That's when we see a little "crash" sometimes and the pain meds will help her get through that period.

Once recovery is over, I think you will be amazed at how well this cutie pie does.

Stay connected and let us know if you have any concerns. Goodness knkws, there's nothing like tripawd pawrents a d the wealth of first hand knowledge they have to offer.

CLARE! You are doing a GREAT job! Such a devoted a d strong advocate!

Looking forward to more great updates AND photos!!

Hugs and love!

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!

London, UK


Forum Posts: 1629
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14 March 2016 - 5:45 am
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Thanks so much! It makes all the difference in the world to have your support.

Meg is now on Day 5 post op and is still doing really well. Last night she was a bit more restless than the previous night and kept getting up and turning around etc., so I gave her another dose of tramadol at 2am (8 hours after the previous dose) and that seemed to settle her. One of the tricky things with Meg is that she is supremely stoical. I have never once heard her whimper or whine or in any way vocalise discomfort. She screamed when she broke her elbow (a sound I will never in my life forget), but that is literally the only time she has told me she was in pain. Even when she had end stage arthritis and must have been in a great deal of pain, she was not only always up for walks but always trying to find ways to extend them. She's a chaser – hares, squirrels, deer, you name it, she's off after them across the fields and nothing (end stage arthritis included) nothing holds her back. This is why I didn't even realise she had arthritis for some time. It was only once I put her on Metacam and she was literally dancing all over the house, going to her toy box and throwing her toys around the room she was so overjoyed, that I realised how much pain she must have been in.

So now I'm not taking any chances. I'm on the lookout for any sign, panting, restlessness etc. and medicating as required. I'm not having Meg suffering just because she's not one to make to make a fuss (unlike my other dog, Elsie - the slightest twinge and she'll bring it to show you immediately...).

In answer to your question, Jerry, it is just me so far as humans go, but Meg and I share our lives with Elsie, an eight year old Staffordshire bull terrier. I was actually walking Elsie just over six years ago, when a stranger came up to us in the park with a very downbeat looking dog on a lead (she was seriously underweight and her tail had been hacked off). 'I'll give you a hundred pounds,' he said, 'if you'll take this bloody animal and keep her.' So that's how we met Meg and we took her home then and there. It may be that her bone problems stem from her early abusive treatment, but that's something I guess I don't want to dwell on as there's nothing I can do and it just makes me angry. Once she learned how to trust, she became an exceptionally happy and loving dog and she is hugely loved in return. 

Sorry for the long post – once I start typing, I find it difficult stop... Here's a pic of the girls together waiting for me to fix their breakfast. You can just see the thought bubble 'What's taking you so long!'

Clare

FUBUCKET-1-of-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


The Rainbow Bridge



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14 March 2016 - 10:20 am
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Oh my gosh Clare so that's how Meg found you and Elsie? Wow. She is SUCH a lucky girl to have you now. For every tragic animal abuse story I know there are at least a dozen awesome people out there like you and that makes me happy, thank you. That photo is adorable, like "FEEEEEEEEEED MEEEEEEE!"

OK here's the thing about pain: do your best to stay on a schedule, don't wait for the vocalizations because by the time it gets there the pain is usually bad. It's a lot harder to eradicate pain once it's began. So if she's showing restlessness by hour eight, try moving up the dose to hour 6. Get an OK from your vet of course, but keep that as the goal, stay ahead of the pain.

Hope your week ahead goes well. Let us know and give those doggies extra smooches from us. OH and never feel badly about the length of your post, really, we adore getting to know  members.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 March 2016 - 1:37 pm
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Hi Clare

Oooooo Meg is just gorgeous! (and Elsie too!) and what a sad but heartwarming story about the way you met and rescued Meg. She is one lucky girl to have you be in that park that day. Sounds like it was meant to be, the bond you must share must be something special.

I'm also from the UK, where abouts do you live?

It really sounds like Meg is doing incredible and you are doing a fantastic job taking care of her. It sounds like any pain she is in now is a breeze in comparison to the rough time she has had with the leg before you made the brave decision to amputate. I bet she (and you!) feel a strange sense of relief.

Thinking of you and hoping Meg continues making a wonderful recovery.

Hannah, Beau and Family

London, UK


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14 March 2016 - 3:31 pm
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Hi Hannah,

Thanks for posting. I've just been reading through your posts about the handsome Mr Beau. What a beautiful boy! It sounds as if you are doing so incredibly well with him and he's lucky to have such a loving and devoted family.

Meg was at Fitzpatricks too for a lot of her treatment (the elbow replacement and multiple surgeries) though not for the amputation. We live in London, though are also renting a cottage in Norfolk at the moment, so I'm there quite a bit as well. I saw you were asking about rehab/physio. We've been seeing a fantastic specialist rehab vet in Buckinghamshire (near Aylesbury). She does hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) and also acupuncture, physio, laser and so on. If you are anywhere within reach then I would certainly recommend her. She has lots of experience with tripawds. The place is called Active Pet, if you want to look it up.

Good luck with everything and I will keep an eye out for further posts. Please give Beau a big hug from me.

With love to you and yours from me and mine...

Clare

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


London, UK


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15 March 2016 - 2:08 am
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Day 6 post op and Meg had a very peaceful night. She seems happy and relaxed and I can't help feeling we are having a remarkably easy time of it. We're not out of the woods yet, of course, but so far we just seem to have been exceptionally lucky.

She did freak me out this morning by crawling underneath the double bed, right to the back and lying there. She's a proper den dog and loves to find places to hide herself away and she's always loved lying under beds but... not on three legs, not so soon post op! I was starting to panic that she'd get stuck, be unable to get herself out again, injure herself etc. etc. The top of the bed fits into an alcove and it's a very tight fit so not at all easy just to move the bed out and get her. Anyway, I know my Meg and I knew if she realised I was stressing and wanted her out she'd just stay under longer (that's the Meg sense of humour), so I tried to appear completely indifferent and went off into another room, and sure enough after maybe ten minutes, I heard a movement and turned round to find her standing looking at me, laughing (I swear she was laughing) and wagging her tail.

Here's a pic of the monstrous creature yesterday. She's not going for walks of course but I am allowing her some supervised lying in the sun time, when we get some (this is England, after all...)

Clare

FullSizeRender-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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15 March 2016 - 4:39 am
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Isn't the time in the sun the best!  I'm in Chicago, so my family has to get it through a window still, but I knew it was all worth it the day Otis and Tess curled up together in the sun and slept for hours.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Maryland
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15 March 2016 - 5:28 am
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Our Ellie was part Pyr, and she loved nothing better than to lay in the yard and keep an eye on her kingdom. We were lucky that her amp was in September, so we had nice Fall weather during her recovery. We'd take her out and just let her lie there and doze. She was very self-regulating as far as activity. Ellie wasn't a big treat-hound but she did love laying outside.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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