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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 -- yelping in pain
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25 November 2017 - 11:24 pm
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Hi all,

Our Moka (60 lb pit-kelpie-otherstuff mix) is a new amputee due to a bone tumor in her front right wrist found two weeks ago. The pathology isn’t back yet (needle aspirated was inconclusive), but we had two pathologists, two vets and one radiologist say it’s 95%+ chance it’s osteosarcoma. She’s only 3 1/2. Luckily she’s a spunky little monkey with loads of enthusiasm for life and a (usually frustrating) stubborn streak.

Anyway, she had surgery Wednesday, so I guess that makes today Day 3 of recovery. We just picked her up from the vet today, and she had quite a long car ride home.

When my husband picked her up, she got really animated and ended up howling in pain and even pooped herself. The vet tech said she had likely just moved a muscle in a weird way, and that she hadn’t done that at all before. They also said the incontinance was a side effect of the meds she was on while there, and should subside.

She had a pretty good ride home, but has had two more yelping episodes (one with unintentional pooping) in the few hours she’s been home. Both times you could see her muscles around her former shoulder spasming before/during the yelping. She was also toward the end of her meds dosage — she’s on Trazadone and Rimadyl and Codeine. Now she’s had more and is passed out and even running in her dreams without waking!

We were expecting her to be in pain but these outbursts are frightening and heartbreaking. Is this normal? 

We traveled for the surgery but will be having our local vet do follow up. We’ll call the surgeon (and the local, if needed) in the morning if this continues, to talk about pain management . On a good note, she seems relatively stable on her feet and can even pee! 

Thanks all. ❤🐒💪

Livermore, CA




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25 November 2017 - 11:46 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you and Moka are facing cancer.

Is she a nervous dog? I’m wondering about the trazadone, in my experience that type of med could certainly put her into a place where she could poop unintentionally.  Trazadone won’t do much for pain either.  Most pups here come home on tramadol and an anti-inflam like rimadyl, and many also have gabapentin.  Sometimes they have a fentanyl patch. 

Getting the pain meds dialed in often takes some tweaking.  Many here alternate meds so there is always something in the pups system.  Always discuss any med changes with your vet.  Her outbursts sound a little like phantom limb pain- gabapentin is often prescribed to control that.

Based on what you are seeing I think a call to the vet is in order.  You can discuss what you are seeing and find what works best to keep your girl comfortable.

You can look through the Reading List for lots of info on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

Stable on her feet and being able to pee are great signs!  The first couple weeks of recovery can be bumpy- so hang in there and don’t get discouraged.  We have been through this too and can help!

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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26 November 2017 - 9:23 am
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Murphy came home on Rimadyl (which is an anti-inflammatory like Motrin), Tramadol (which is a narcotic) and Gabapentin, which helps with nerve pain.  From what I’ve read, the Trazadone can make them a bit loopy and not themselves at all.  I don’t think I’ve read anything good about it, but I have no personal experience with it.  Really, though, the best pain medication seems to be the Gabapentin – the yelping out in pain often indicates nerve pain, or phantom pain , and the Gaba treats that well. 

You can apply an ice pack, wrapped in a cloth, to the incision a couple of times a day for 10-15 minutes.  That will help with inflammation and pain, too.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

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26 November 2017 - 12:32 pm
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Thanks, all! I’ll call the surgeon today and see what they say about meds. Yes, the trazadone is to sedate her. She can get nervous, especially when she’s in pain or wants to move around a lot but can’t. She’s also typically pretty high energy. I think it’s been really helpful to help her rest.

I think the pooping is also because she can’t yet squat to poop, so it’s just coming out when/how it can. And of course that’s making her nervous too. At least she’s still eating normally! 

Any tips for getting her to accept a cold compress? We’re just using a bag of peas in a tshirt, so it’s not too cold or harsh. The vet told us to do it 2-4 times a day, but she just wants to move away when we try it.

Livermore, CA




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26 November 2017 - 1:28 pm
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Does she object in general to things on her chest & back?  I know my first pug absolutely would not accept a cold compress on her side when she had her first tumor removed.  Maggie hated anything around her chest- she would not wear shirts or a float coat so it wasn’t too surprising that she wouldn’t let me put a cold compress on her.

If that is not an issue you might try just a cool tee-shirt at first- with lots of treats for being a good girl.  If that works then add the peas. Also just try for a couple of minutes at first- again with lots of treats, then increase the time.

When I was doing cold packs on my pug boy after knee surgery I started with a folded towel between the pack and his knee, then after a few minutes unfolded the towel so it was a single layer between the pack and his knee.

A ‘spunky monkey’ with a stubborn streak… I can see how you might have your hands full during recovery big-grin

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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26 November 2017 - 8:23 pm
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Update on Moka and what the surgeon said:

Changing the timing of her Codeine from every 8 hours to every 6 hours. She’s only had one shortened dose cycle so far but it seems be to helping. I think she’s been resting/sleeping now in one spot for 4+ hours! I asked about gabapentin (sp?) and they say they do prescribe that occasionally for really deep nerve issues. They said that beyond changing frequency, she’d need to be seen for any other med changes.

She still doesn’t seem able to crouch and poop. She’s hardly trying. Peeing is no problem. Her only poops so far have been when sitting, and even then they’re minimal. We’re going through a lot of baby wipes and carpet cleaner here! Fortunately all the rugs are cheap runners we got just for her recovery.

She’s had a couple bouts of pacing and panting today. I think it is partly from pain, partly from feeling loopy, and partly from really needing to poop! We’ve given her ample opportunity outside, but poor girl just can’t make it happen. She’s also been pretty shaky/trembly a few times. Pain?

I did manage to get a bag of frozen peas on her wound for 15 minutes tonight! Just leaned it against her as she was already laying down. And feeding her loads of treats certainly helped! Good tip. 

Please keep her in your thoughts these next few days. Not out of the woods yet. 

Livermore, CA




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26 November 2017 - 8:36 pm
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The pooping issue is odd to me- most pups on pain meds will be constipated and you end up waiting several days for results… but then every dog is different. Maybe the little sitting poops are her version of constipation?

What you describe sounds like pain to me.  Here is a good blog article about recognizing the signs of pain. It seems like you are on the right track by changing the dosing schedule, it’s not unusual for a dog to need more than one pain med right after surgery.  Keep an eye on her and keep talking with your vet.

You are doing a great job advocating for Moka, keep it up!  The recovery period can be tough so hang in there- it will get better!

And she accepted the peas! 

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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26 November 2017 - 8:59 pm
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Lpve Moka’s avatar picture!   Can’t wait to see more!

The hospital meds are probavly out of her system now and the pain is really kicking iin.  It’s MAJOR surgery and it does hurt!   It does sou d like she’s showing pain signs.  I do hope increasing the frequency of the Codeine.

Although we do see some dogs come home with Codeine, as already mentioned, most here come home on Tramadol, Rimadyl, Gabapentin and an antibiotic.  The pain meds all seem to work well with each other.

If she’s still in the Trazedone, that can definitely mess with her ability to even recognize she needs to needs to poop!!  Is he still in it?  If so, can you reduce the dose (with Vet approval).  The silver lininq is most dogs don’t poop for days because of meds and surgery, so Moka is ahead of the game!  We have a ritual around here for first poopicon_png!  It’s the HOPPYpoopicon_pngpoopicon_png.  DANCE!

Eating, drinking okay?

These first days and loooong nights are the hardest part of the journey.  You are exhausted and somis Moka!  STAY CONNECTED!   We’ve all been where you are.  And if yiu are like a @ot of us, yiu are probably second guessing your decision!  It took me three weeks before I could say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!  Once her sparkle started comkng back though, I KNEW it was a great decision! 🙂

Keep notes on when she starts showing signs of pain.  Is it right before the next dose?  Is it going on fairly frequently even with the Codeine’   You are Moka’s advocate.  If you feel the meds she’s on now aren’t doing their job, then INSIST on switching to Tramadol, Gabapentin and Rimadyl.

Oj, and others can chime in, but maybe do the “cold pack” for less time.  I could be completely wrong (that happens a lot :-)), but I think the “ice pack” shouldn’t be on more than about five minutes at a time.

Hope you get some rest tonight.   Hang in there!  She’ll get through this recovery phase soo !

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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26 November 2017 - 11:22 pm
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Thanks, all. Your support and questions and encouragement are so very much appreciated!

Big news here: she pooped! On her own, outside! We are so excited! 

She did a little help at the end of the poop. Wondering if those using muscles is just tough. 

Increasing the frequency of Codeine seems to help. Tonight I was giving her another dose of Trazadone and she wouldn’t take the pill pocket (despite having wolfed down other treats just a minute before). So I got out the jar of bacon grease, and used my “OMG WHATS THIS!?” voice, like we do with her Trifexis. She didn’t show any physical excitement, but was clearly interested. When I went to give it to her, right as she was going for it, she started yelping and howling again for about 10 seconds. It’s like when she gets excited she hurts herself.

She then panted and paced for a good five minutes until I bribed her into laying down. She’s now passed out, hopefully for the night. Hoping for more progress (and poops!) tomorrow.

PS I’ve dealt with some health issues of my own and am a seasoned advocate. I appreciate the encouragements to fight for Moka’s wellbeing, too! 💪

Virginia




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27 November 2017 - 8:24 am
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR.poopicon_png   OUTSIDE!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Phantom limb pain generally strikes quickly with loud yelps and the dog or cat trying to move away from the pain.  The nerve endings are firingg off signals to a leg that’s no lo ger there.   Thankfully, the intensity of pain lasts just for seco ds….looooong seconds though.   Dogs will still pace arpund a lot, or sometimes just freeze for a few minutes afterwards because they are afraid the pain will come back.

Just offer comfort and reassurance.  Sometimes cupping your hands over the incision site seems to help.  Do some GENTLE massage around  the site.

Research phantom pain here and you’ll see that Gabapentin is the best way to treat it until it stopes acting up.  Some Vets still are oblivious to phantom pain , so go armed with yiur research and ask for the Gaba IF you feel like this is what is happening.

Of course talk with yiur Vet, but the Gaba can sometimes cause a sedation effect sonit probably shoukd NOT be used with the Graz.

Glad the Codeine every six hiurs seems tobe helping.

Extra treats for sweet Moka! 🙂

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 November 2017 - 10:56 am
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I’m just now catching up on Moka’s story. Glad to hear she pooped! poopicon_png

It does sound to me like she is having some kind of pain issue. Since you already know how to be a good advocate for health needs (good job!), you’ll do well trying to pinpoint this. My suggestion is that if your vet seems unconcerned or is reluctant to give Gabapentin then I would ask for a referral to a canine rehab therapy team with an on-site veterinarian who can assess her for pain issues and prescribe it, as well as offer modalities like acupuncture and massage. Many general practice vets are still unaware of post-amputation pain management needs for Tripawds. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first rehab visit . It’s definitely worth investigating to find a clinic near you (click on the link for help finding one or PM me and I can do that for you).

Keep us posted on how things are going.

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28 November 2017 - 2:37 pm
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If the pain continues, I would push for gabapentin or pregabalin (a little more expensive than gabapentin). 

Our English Bulldog experienced horrible post amputation pain that required a medical coma to reset the pain pathways. 

Afterwards pregabalin did the trick and kept the pain under control. 

Stay strong and stay positive.

Keep us updated on her progress. 

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29 November 2017 - 12:17 pm
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Hi everyone,

A little update on Moka, now one week out of surgery:

Shoulder spasms have stopped. She’s now pooping outside twice a day (yay!) though I do find little hard poops left behind when she’s been laying somewhere for a while. Vet says it’s a side effect of the opioids. 

She had some bruising that’s now gone. Still haven’t been able to do more cold or warm compresses. Oh well. 

I talked to our local vet this morning, he was out of town until today. He wants to take her off Codeine and give her gabapentin and another one — buprenorphine I think? We’ll also take her off of the Trazadone unless she gets too rowdy, but she’s doing fine since I’ve decreased her doses, and the new drugs will make her sleepy anyway. He said we’ll do the bupren med for another week, tops, and the gabapentin for longer if needed. She hasn’t had a yelping outburst since Monday though, so I think she’s starting to get out of the woods. 

She’s mostly eating okay but has been hesitant a few times. Got some wet food to mix in with her kibble, now she’s chowing down!

She’s now grooming herself and wagging her tail in a non-nervous way. Starting to see hints of her personality again! AND the little stinker ignored doctors orders and climbed up on the couch while I stepped away to put in my contacts! Not sure how I’m going to get her down, but she seems very pleased with herself and comfy, lounging around. I can’t seem to post a photo from my iPad or I’d share.

Will post more updates!

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29 November 2017 - 5:55 pm
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that’s so awesome!  One week post surgery and she is up on the couch – you go Moka!  It sounds like she is coming along really well.  For what it’s worth – the gabapentin has been a LIFE SAVER for Maddie.  She’s 6 weeks post surgery and I think she still occasionally will have a phantom limb pain – she’ll just randomly yelp and look at where her leg used to be, then go on with whatever she was doing.  That never happened when on gabapentin.  It’s great to hear she’s doing so well!

Bobbi & Maddie a/k/a ManiacMads

Front leg amputation 10/17/17 due to Osteosarcoma

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

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