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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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Need advice on preparing for a new way of life for my pup
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Forum Posts: 18
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1 January 2019
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3 January 2019 - 6:44 pm
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New here & still learnjng my way around. Our almost 11 year old lab/shepherd mix Thunder was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last week, after our vet thought he had torn his ACL.  He his having his right hind leg amputated tomorrow.  We are scared & nervous. I bought a sling based on what i read here but what else do i need to prepare when he comes home?  I need positive thoughts. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 January 2019 - 8:28 pm
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Hi Kassie & Thunder, welcome. We are so sorry about the diagnosis, it’s such an awful shock. Good for you for moving so quickly on the surgery, it’s not an easy thing to do. But you are in the right place and we are here to help!

Have you seen Jerry’s Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books library yet? We also have lots of tips in our What to Expect series. This is also a good article; 

The Tripawds Recovery Shopping List

How is your house set up? Do you have stairs? Slippery floors? Other dogs? Traction is key to a good recovery, and so is helping Thunder stay quiet so he can recover. Tell us more about your home environment so we can give you specific tips. 

pain management is a huge issue too. Pain medicine is so important and you want to make sure Thunder has good pain control, or things get ruff. Have you talked to your vet about that? Be sure to do so before leaving the clinic. At a minimum he should come home with an anti-inflammatory, a narcotic like Fentanyl (or a post-surgery injection called Nocita), a more mild one like Tramadol and also a nerve pain reliever like Gabapentin.  In other words, the more pain meds the better. 

Is Thunder staying overnight after surgery? If so you want to make sure the clinic has 24/hour care. If they don’t, he’s better off at a 24-hour emergency clinic or even at home with you. 

I don’t want to overwhelm you so stay tuned for more feedback from others. Also, remember the Tripawds Helpline is here to help, and I am usually in the Tripawds Chat room in the mornings, Pacific time.

Keep us posted!

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




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3 January 2019 - 9:27 pm
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As you can see from Jerry’s thorough  replay, you are definitely  in the right place for support, information  and understanding all the emotions  that run through your head when you hear the diagnosis.   We also understand  how amazed you will be when you see how well he does on three!!

Now, recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks.  Some dogs take a few days to get mobile, especially  the more “mature” ones.  Then again, many dogs are walking short steps within the first 24 hrs.  Some dogs are very lethargic the first several days, some are whiny and restless and can’t  get comfortable. 

Drinking  and peeing are important.   Not eating much and not pooping for several days happen with some dogs.

It is MAJOR surgery and dogs need time to recover from the surgery,  as well as adjust to three legs!  If you remain calm and confident,  upbeat and positive, it will help Thunder heal.  Just short leashed potty breaks and then rest, rest, rest.

And you make sure you get some rest too!!  As I said, recovery  is no picnic, but it doesn’t  last furever!!!   When you start to see Thunder’s sparkle come back, you will, at that point, realize you did this FOR Thunder and not TO him!!

We are right here by your side the whole way!  STAY CONNECTED and let us know how we can help.  You are not alone on this journey!

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!

Latham, NY
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4 January 2019 - 5:14 am
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I second the recommendation for the Tripawds e-books .  They’re really inexpensive, but full of information that helped us support Fallon both before and after the amputation.  There are links throughout that lead you back to Tripawds, so you and round out your knowledge further.

We also used the Dog Cancer Survival Guide pretty steadily through the process.  There is outstanding information there about the disease and treatments, nutrition and supplements, but also other practical information, like hints on how to take care of yourself throughout this really stressful time.  You can get it on Amazon in e-reader format for $9.99.

You and Thunder will be in our thoughts today–keep us posted when you get a chance.

heartheartheart

Fallon  8/28/06--9/6/18.  My Heart.

Fallon's left front leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma on 10/11/17.

Nothing But Love in Her Heart - dawn3g.tripawds.com

Green Bay, WI


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4 January 2019 - 9:46 am
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Welcome…my best piece of advice is invest in a harness. The Ruffwear Harness by Webmaster – can be found in the gear store here – was invaluable to us for our Dobe, both right after surgery, and 3+ years later when he was a very senior dog and slowing down. This journey can be a lot to wrap your head (and heart) around but (I found) can be a very rewarding one too. Once Thunder has recovered from the surgery, you’ll be amazed at how resilient dogs are, and how well they can do on 3 legs.

Good luck, and do check out the chat room or help line if you need anything…we’re here for you.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 January 2019 - 11:42 am
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I love this community! Thanks for sharing your wisdom Dawn and Paula!

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

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4 January 2019 - 12:02 pm
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Yoga Mats!!!  They really helped Maddie post amputation (and still today).  They’re inexpensive, can be hosed off when they get dirty and are great if you don’t have carpeting.  We basically have yoga mat paths all through the house so that she is never on tile or hardwood.  The other thing is a good quality bed.  I found that when Maddie laid on the “regular beds”, she had a much harder time getting comfortable and also getting up from laying down.  There are links on this site for good beds.  

Bobbi & Maddie a/k/a ManiacMads

Front leg amputation 10/17/17 due to Osteosarcoma

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

Forum Posts: 18
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4 January 2019 - 5:02 pm
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Thank y’all – so much! Thunder is out of surgery, did well and is resting. Hope to have him home tomorrow. They have 24 hour care which is so important to us. We plan to keep him in the carpeted den with his choice of beds (he has 3). We do have stairs but one thing at a time. There is just a small step into the house & we will support him then. We bought runners to walk on from den to door and that has helped over the last few days. Vet recommended a leash even in the house for the next few days. Luckily between us we can be home with him for over a week. Unfortunately he cannot tolerate NSAIDS due to colitis but we did talk about pain management so we are all set. He’ll continue Gabapentin & Tramadol. She’s also going to have us give him trazadone to keep him low key for a bit.  I will look into the reading material you have recommended. Thank you so very much for the support and information!  

Kassie aka Thunders mom 

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 January 2019 - 6:34 pm
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That’s great news! So happy to hear he’s on the road to recovery. Let us know how the weekend goes!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Livermore, CA




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4 January 2019 - 8:00 pm
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Hello and a late welcome.  I’m glad to hear that Thunder’s surgery is done and he is on the road to his new normal!

You have lots of good advice already- I don’t really have anything to add.

Be patient and positive with Thunder when he gets home.  Sometimes the older pups take a bit longer to get their sea legs. 

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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4 January 2019 - 8:17 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAY SURGERY IS DONE!!!!😀     Thunder is seeing pink elephants and having no pain!   He’s  in good hands,  so you get some good rest.

You’ve  done an excellent  job of preparation  and it sounds like you have a good pain management plan.

When you go to pick him up, don’t  even bother looking at the incision.  Just look into his druggy eyes and tell him what a good boy he is! 

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 January 2019 - 5:17 pm
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Hi everyone – 

Today is Sunday. Thunder had surgery Friday afternoon & came home Saturday afternoon. He has done ok. This morning however, he got up & went to the door to go out. He rushed out, did his business then could barely make it back inside.  He has gone out once since that time when we basically carried him. He has been super sleepy & out of it all day. Has refused to eat dinner but did drink. Took his pain meds last at 4 (3 hours ago), last took trazadone at 7 this morning. When do I worry about his lethargy? 

Virginia




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6 January 2019 - 5:41 pm
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Now is when the hospital meds start getting out of his system.  At this point, most dogs start having a bit of a crash as they are adjusting  to pain meds for dosing.  So this isn’t  unusual  at all.

The only thing  that stood out to me, however,  was him “rushing  out” to pee, and could barely make it back in.  Was it “free roam” as he headed out and possibly went too foo fast and tweaked something?  Right now it’s  all about leashed potty breaks and then right back in to rest.

You can check with your Vet about when to stop, or reduce, the Trazodone.  That, combined  with the Gaba can certainly  have a sedative  effect.

Try any and all yummy foods he will eat….cheese pizza, eggs, bacon…whatever it takes.

As long as the incision  looks good,  drinking, peeing okay, he is just having a “normal recovery” this very, very, very early on after MAJOR surgery!

Certainly, if you have any concerns,  contact your Vet.

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 January 2019 - 5:54 pm
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He was on a leash and completely took me by surprise how fast he moved.  He was on these same meds prior to surgery – only the trazadone with the pain meds was the difference this morning. I will make sure to stagger them if he needs the trazadone again. I’ll watch him tonight & see how he is tomorrow. It’s just so hard that he can’t communicate. 

Thanks for your help. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 January 2019 - 9:25 pm
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I think that’s a pretty typical scene for a brand new Tripawd. Guess the Trazadone isn’t doing much to keep him mellow?

Good job keeping him on leash! That’s so important during the first couple of weeks. It’s a lot of work getting around, his body needs time to get used to the effort, but he’ll get there!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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