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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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Newly amputated yellow labrador just brought home.
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Forum Posts: 7
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22 October 2021 - 3:12 pm
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My Lab Sky has come home today from Angell Medical Hospital in Boston today.  She got through the surgery well and was only there overnight for one night.  When we picked her up she peed on the floor at the hospital when we first saw her... and they advised that we help her walk around with a towel "strapped" around her belly to support her back leg.

She is finally asleep but it was a bit rough at first getting used to what I need to do and getting her comfortable.  The painkillers and meds are a double-edged sword because she gets very drowsy (almost seems drunk/stoned) pretty easily from just a little bit and it really hampers her coordination and getting around.  I found that trying to "lead" her with a small lead while I support her works OK and helps me steer her in the right direction.  I took her out after she had a little food and she peed for me while supporting her so that is really good.  She is passed out cold now after the food and mini-walk.

I am worried about how to deal with her if she has to #2 and but I hope it goes as smooth as the peeing did.  Any tips about how to help teach her how to balance and hop on one leg / go to the bathroom or other early days pointers would be much appreciated and thank you so much for this forum!

The Rainbow Bridge



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22 October 2021 - 7:09 pm
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Welcome home Sky! I hope you have lots of snuggle time with your people.

Yes, the first couple of days can be really up and down. And it can take that amount of time to get the pain management dialed in. It sounds like you are managing her mobility pretty well for where she is at in recovery. If she is still super wonky by, say mid-day Sunday, see if you can get in touch with someone at Angell to find out how to fine tune her meds. She may be extra sensitive to one or all of them, but don't do anything different until you talk to them.

It's AWESOME that she ate and peed! YES!! That's a wonderful sign.

Don't worry about pottying. By the time she's ready to go, she will have her sea legs back, promise! Some dogs take a few days before their first movement, don't panic if she takes a while.

Have you seen our What to Expect articles ? Check 'em out for coming home tips. And this one will put your mind at ease too:

How to Help a New Tripawd Urinate After Amputation

Let us know how it goes over the weekend! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 October 2021 - 7:12 pm
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jerry thank you so much... I hope you know how helpful you are and I sure appreciate it.  I will keep this thread updated with our progress, and also thanks for recommending Angell in Boston it was a wonderful experience.

Virginia




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22 October 2021 - 9:28 pm
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Yeah, this early part of recovery  is no picnic  at first, that's for sure!

Ahe's still getting all the strong hospital meds out of her system,  and add more pain meds k to her sys.  You may find that she will be less whacked once the hospital  meds are out.  As Jerry said though, if she continues  to be too out of it, you can check and see about reducing the dose or the frequency,  etc.

So what meds is she taking now, the dose, the frequency.? How much does she weigh?

YAY FOR PEE AND YAY FIR EATING!  Just make sure she stays hydrated.   Pooping will take a few days most likely because  of the meds, etc.  What you'll probably find, not always, is that they are able to stand/squat on their own by the time they are ready to poop. You may use the sling at first, walk her to a spot she generally poops, take off the towel sling and walk away.  My Happy  Hannah  pretty much would freeze up if I tried to help her with a sling.

No worries, she'll figure it out.  We do like to celebrate  the first. poopicon  around here.  So please let us know when. poopicon  happens!

It's good that she is sleeping and apparently  resting comfortably.   It's better to have that pain managed early on even if it makes them a bit sleepy.

Now you and try and get some rest too!!  It's exhausting  emotionally and physically getting to this point.  Sleep deprivation  for the hoomans is way too common!

Stay  connected and update when you can.

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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22 October 2021 - 10:40 pm
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benny55 said
Yeah, this early part of recovery  is no picnic  at first, that's for sure!

Ahe's still getting all the strong hospital meds out of her system,  and add more pain meds k to her sys.  You may find that she will be less whacked once the hospital  meds are out.  As Jerry said though, if she continues  to be too out of it, you can check and see about reducing the dose or the frequency,  etc.

So what meds is she taking now, the dose, the frequency.? How much does she weigh?

YAY FOR PEE AND YAY FIR EATING!  Just make sure she stays hydrated.   Pooping will take a few days most likely because  of the meds, etc.  What you'll probably find, not always, is that they are able to stand/squat on their own by the time they are ready to poop. You may use the sling at first, walk her to a spot she generally poops, take off the towel sling and walk away.  My Happy  Hannah  pretty much would freeze up if I tried to help her with a sling.

No worries, she'll figure it out.  We do like to celebrate  the first. poopicon  around here.  So please let us know when. poopicon  happens!

It's good that she is sleeping and apparently  resting comfortably.   It's better to have that pain managed early on even if it makes them a bit sleepy.

Now you and try and get some rest too!!  It's exhausting  emotionally and physically getting to this point.  Sleep deprivation  for the hoomans is way too common!

Stay  connected and update when you can.

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  

Benny... thanks for the kind words and advice!  Right now, she is taking these meds:

carprofen: 1/2 100mg tablet every 12 hours

cefpodoxime: 1.4 100mg tabs every 24 hours -- antibiotic, I assume

gabapentin: 1 100mg tablet every 8 - 12 hours

I learned a bit about her reaction to pain meds before she had the amputation because of the mass causing the initial problem.  She has already been prescribed carprofen and had tramadol as well.  Carprofen is very strong, causing lots of drowsiness and balance issues, but considering what she just went through, I am sure it is necessary to cut down on her pain.  I have stopped the tramadol now because she was not sent home with that and got gabapentin instead.  She did well with 1/4 tramadol, which seemed to help her pain but did not make her really "wonky."  In general, she seems very sensitive to pain meds and has a very stoned look and drunken gate when on them (always has).  Like said before, getting the dosage that works well is key, but I am starting with the doctor's instructions, of course.  They also recommended the "cone" stay on, but she has not offered to lick the incision, so I have left it off when I can keep an eye on her.

She was up for a few hours after getting home but has been mostly sleeping since.  I am sure she needs lots of rest so her body can recover from the shock and heal.  I have been waiting to go to bed in case she wakes up and needs a drink or pee... but I am going to hope she wakes me up with a bark if she needs me because it is late now, and I need to go to bed.

Again many thanks to everyone here on the forum; it has been a blessing.  Please wish Sky luck with day 2! icon_lol

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23 October 2021 - 11:16 am
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This morning she took her first poopicon and has been pretty regularly peeing and sleeping mostly.  I think she is comfortable as possible with the pain meds for now.  I was wondering how much I should work on her with standing and balancing / hopping or if I should just do what is bare minimum until she has healed up for a few more days.  Right now I am using a towel under her belly slung around and holding her up / balancing her with that.  Any other tips or ideas are welcome... thanks all!

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 October 2021 - 3:38 pm
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Thank you for the kind words, we are really glad you found us and so honored to be part of the journey with you and Sky!

She is super sensitive to pain meds! Yes, cefpodoxime is an anti-biotic. The Gabapentin dosage is really really low for a mid to large sized dog, but if she's already proven to be so sensitive, it sounds like your vet took that into consideration when prescribing the low dosage. As for the Tramadol, it's been shown to be ineffective for severe or chronic pain, so it's good she's not on it. 

  I was wondering how much I should work on her with standing and balancing / hopping or if I should just do what is bare minimum until she has healed up for a few more days.  

Bare minimum for sure. She shouldn't be doing anything but leashed, short potty walks at least until stitches come out. Keep in melllllllow 🙂

Sounds like the belly sling is working. What a good girl! Many dogs won't let their humans assist with it. 

Other tips? Hmmm.... what are your floors like? Do you have traction down for her? I can't recall if I asked you that before. But it's suuuuper important for a new Tripawd to be able to walk confidently without feeling like they're going to slip.

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




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23 October 2021 - 9:53 pm
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Hmmm....thought I made a post earlier, but apparently  the cyberspace gremlins ate it.

So let me say again,  YAAAAAY. FOR. poopicon  HOPPY.poopicon  DANCE FOR SKY!!

And ditto all of Jerry'points. 👌  

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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24 October 2021 - 10:38 am
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Yes, I put some carpet down on the floor that she walks on the most; traction is key!  More positive updates... last night, I had her sleeping in one room with her cone on, thinking she was down for the night and went into a different room watching tv before bed...  about 10 minutes later, I looked up, and she had gotten up from her dog bed, and hopped out to see what was going on!  I was very surprised.  She has been home for only two days, and she is already trying to get around independently. 

She needs less and less help with the sling, is starting to hop all around outside when I take her out and seems to want me to take her on her normal walking path.  I am taking things super slow because I want to keep the wins coming, but things are going very well considering her age and major surgery.  Thanks for the help and kind words, and for a place like this to help Sky through!

smiley_clap

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 October 2021 - 1:54 pm
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WHEEEE!!! Sky is sparkling again, this is such great news! smiley10 Thanks for letting us know. It warms our heart to know that you are feeling so pawsitive!

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