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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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New amputee struggling to get up
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Member Since:
13 August 2021
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28 August 2021 - 5:03 am
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Hi everyone,

my 11 year old dog Baxter just had a front leg amputation 4 days ago for suspected osteosarcoma. He’s a large dog weighing over 100 lbs and seems to be having difficulty get up. We got him a help em up harness at the recommendation of the team during his recovery but he still seems to struggle. Is there anything I can do to help him more? I just keep being told he’ll adapt and dogs do well, which I’m really hoping, but I’m scared I’m not doing enough to help him build strength and confidence.

thank you in advance,

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
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28 August 2021 - 9:25 am
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.  I hope you don’t mind that I moved your post here to the Recovery Forum.

We often see here that large or giant breeds will take a little longer to find their ‘sea legs’, that goes for the more ‘mature’ pups as well.  Is he eating, drinking and eliminating OK?  Does the incision look good?

Does he have good traction where he is trying to get up?  Traction is really important for Tripawds, especially new Tripawds. 

What meds is he on? Sometimes if a pup is too lethargic after surgery a little tweak in the pain meds helps.  That being said all Baxter should be doing right now is resting.  Our surgeon said the only real activity should be short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post surgery. Some hops around the house to get to food and water were fine of course, but otherwise rest, rest, rest.

Don’t worry yet about building strength- you can start working on that when Baxter is fully healed.  For most pups that is two to three weeks.

I just keep being told he’ll adapt and dogs do well, which I’m really hoping

I get this!  My Pug Maggie was little, only 7.5 years old and a rear amp.  All her vets said all dogs adapt and do just fine.  Well, Maggie was an absolute slug for 6 weeks- I was sure I had made a terrible mistake.  In hindsight her recovery perfectly matched her personality!  Once she got used to her new normal she hopped happily along for almost 4 more years (mast cell cancer). 

If you get really concerned don’t be afraid to call your vet.  This is the biggest recovery most of us have had to deal with – you being confident everything is OK will help Baxter.

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

Member Since:
13 August 2021
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28 August 2021 - 9:50 am
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Thank you so much for replying. He’s eating and drinking now that he’s home. He’s only on gabapentin and rimadyl at the same doses he was on pre-op (he had a fracture as well as the cancer lesion) so I don’t think it’s the meds. We have rugs and yoga mats all over the house for him as well as a ramp my husband built to help him with the back stairs. We’ve sectioned him off in a room to recover thats close to the family but quiet enough that he can rest as he needs.

We didn’t get any real suggestions for modifying life to help him with his recovery from our surgeon but found a few suggestions here before making the decision to amputate. I think we’ve covered almost everything mentioned on this site but didn’t know if I should be doin go anything specific for a forelimb. 

I guess I’m just too anxious to have him feeling like himself and need to just give him time and trust in his abilities. All of this is completely new and unexpected and there are moments I feel like I broke my perfect baby. 
 
thanks again you’ve put my mind at ease, 
Brigitte 

 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 August 2021 - 10:25 am
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  We are all eight by your side, okay?

As you can see from Karen’s information  response, you have come to themeightmplace for support and  insight from those who understand  what you are gping through right now.

Try and rem that your sweet pup is trying to tprexpver and heal from MAJOR surgery.  A hooman wo still be in the hospital on a morphine drip!  Add to that trying to adapt  to three legs!

We know it’s jard to be patient this early on.  I had not found this community  until day six after Happy Hannah’s  amputation (a fluffy 125 lb gal).  My thread title  was some like “Help!  Six days after amp.   think I’ve  made a horrible decision!”

This wonderful  community threw me a life line, calmed my nerves  and let me know what is “normal” during recovery.   

Eight now you are at the “What have I done TO my dog?”   Soon you will be saying “I’m so glad I did this FOR  my dog!”

You’ve  done a good job of maki your home tripawd safe, so give yourself  credit, okay?

It sounds like a “normal” recovery  thos early on.  In fact he may be a little ahead of the curve as some don’t  eat or drink very much early on.  Pooping  may take a few days.

Keep and strong and confident  energy around your boy.  He will feed off that and gain confidence as the days go on.

Curious what his Gaba doses/frequency  are.  Did he also get an antibiotic?

Give him lots of massages to help relax the right muscles, especially  before he tries to get up.  BTW, I tried to use a towel sling to help my Happy Hann get up and walk….she just froze!  Did not like that at all.

Hang in there!  Recovery  doesn’t  last furever!

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!

Member Since:
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28 August 2021 - 10:29 am
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Hi, Brownie was almost 12 at time of front leg amp. He was at the vet for two nights. He was getting up on his own but only because he wanted to follow me. I can tell you that when  Brownie was feeling bad and he was on gabatetin it made his back legs line jello. He could barley walk.

Just be patient. I know that is hard to accept because I was told the same thing. But they were right!

Sending positive thoughts❤️

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Member Since:
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28 August 2021 - 10:46 am
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Thank you guys so much, never in my wildest dreams could I imagine being so supported by complete strangers. Baxter is so lucky to have you guys on his team. 

his gabapentin is 400mg q8h and year he’s on an antibiotic twice a day. They gave the option for trazadone as well if he needs but he seems pretty calm so I haven’t used it as of yet. 

He has gone outside to pee a few times and either does it lying down or tries to put his amp side on the grass to lean on it. He refuses to pee if we’re near him so we try to give him space but obviously don’t want to risk infection or any sort of injury. Are there any tips to help him get into a safer and more comfortable position? He has yet to have a poop so I’m trying to prepare so I can support him as much as he may need. 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 August 2021 - 11:04 am
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Dogs do like to do their potty in private and in their on way.  Silly pups.

He’ll figure out the best stance that works for him. He’ll figure out how to center  his front leg, kind of arch his back with his butt up jn the air….at least that’s the position  my Front legger Frankie takes. Some learn to lean against the fence or tree to stay in anupeight position.  Try and just let him figure things out for now.

And he’ll figure out the pooping too.  IF he let’s you use a sling, that’s  great, but many dogs just freeze up when uou try and help him.  Again, he’ll figure it out……even if it’s a bit….er….messy at first.

The pain meds sound like they are doing the job, so that’s  good.  And yeah, just my personal  opinion, of you can stay away from the sedative,  that’s  a good thing.  Obviously  some dogs may need it, but it doesn’t  sound like your Baxter does.

As he recovers uou can check jnto having a consult with a Rehabilitation Specialist.   They are  a great help in showing how to build core strength, master balance, etc.  The TROPAWDS FOUNDATION  will pay for the first visit!

Let us know when he.  poopiconpoopicon      We love to celebrate. poopicon Around here!

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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28 August 2021 - 12:10 pm
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As far as the peeing, the first time Brownie tried hiking his leg and fell flat on his face. After that he would squat like a girl, but it worked for him.

As Sally said Baxter will figure it out. He will do what is best for him. You will find he will do everything he use to do but in his own way.

Brownie also a front leg amp, I used a harness with a handle just for when he needed a little extra help. Brownie was also a large dog and I live alone so it was a life saver. I used the flagline, I think that is what it’s called. You can find it here in the gear forum .

What breed is Baxter. Would love to see pics!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

On The Road


Member Since:
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28 August 2021 - 12:19 pm
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Hi Brigitte and Baxter! You’ve gotten some spot-on, fabulous support from folks and I just want to x2 everything they said. Older, larger dogs do take a little more time to recuperate, and we as people tend to be impatient, it’s so hard to see them off their game and not themselves. But things DO get better, they really do. Take things one day at a time, celebrate the little milestones (being able to go outside on his own and pee is WONDERFUL!).

Dogs do figure out the potty business, and as long as you just be there for him just in case, he should do fine. You’ve done a great job Tripawd-proofing your home and researching. We are so glad you found us! 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

On The Road


Member Since:
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28 August 2021 - 12:20 pm
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P.S. I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to stop by.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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