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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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Not so "Lucky"
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Forum Posts: 59
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10 December 2019 - 8:07 pm
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Hi,

My name is Pam and my 5 year old black lab “Lucky” was diagnosed last Friday with osteosarcoma.  I am so overwhelmed with everything!  He is scheduled for amputation surgery of his back leg next Thursday, and I cant stop worrying about the surgery and recovery.  In looking through the site, I found some of the post op pictures and they made me feel sick to my stomach.  I am worried that I wont be able to handle it.  I should note that I don’t do well with medical things, I get light headed when I have to go into the hospital to visit someone.  He will stay at the animal hospital the night of the surgery and we will bring him home the next day.  I am so concerned about him being in pain and me not being able to help him.  I am also worried about how my children will react.  They are teenagers, but my daughter is very sensitive.  How many days will it be until he starts to feel somewhat normal?  Will he be able to walk without our support?  What about going to the bathroom?  I would appreciate any words of wisdom from those of you that have been through the amputation surgery.  I look forward to getting to know you all.  Have a good evening! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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10 December 2019 - 9:15 pm
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Hi Pam and Lucky, welcome. The diagnosis stinks, there’s no doubt, but you’ve come to the right place to help you learn how to Be More Dog as we like to say around here.

Your concerns are normal and there’s not a single person here who hasn’t felt the same way. By educating yourself about what to expect, you’re one step ahead of the learning curve. Be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library too. We’ve got lots of answers to your concerns.

To answer your questions:

Lucky needs to have have good pain management so that he doesn’t feel too painful. The right drugs make recovery soooo much easier for all concerned. Talk to your vet team ahead of time and ask what they are giving him for pain. At a minimum he should have at least two or three the medications we talk about in our pain management posts: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like Rimadyl, an opioid like Fentanyl or Nocita (3-day injectible medication), and a nerve pain drug like Gabapentin.

Everyone will follow your lead during recovery, including your children. You will set the tone, so the more pawsitive and optimistic you are, the more everyone else will absorb that energy and project it back. You can do this! If you have raised kids, you can do this, I promise.

Most dogs are back to themselves within about 10-14 days. Keep in mind that all dogs are different though so try not to compare. And they really do learn how to potty very quickly. Your vet won’t let him home until he does.

For now, be sure to have your home ready with no-slip rugs and raised feeders to help Lucky’s transition. 

And also, if you are concerned that you may not be ready for him to come home after one night, ask your vet if they can hang onto him for an extra day. There’s nothing wrong with that, many people request an extra night just for their own peace of mind.

I hope this helps. Thanks for joining and please ask any questions you want OK? We are here for you, Lucky and your family. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 December 2019 - 12:03 pm
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Hi Pam and Lucky

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Eva our Aussie is four weeks post surgery for the same and while it was hard on us and she was tired and sleepy she bounced back after lost of rest so much faster than we thought. We kept her in a small space and kept on top of the meds. The one thing that amazed us and still does is how fast she recovers. Her leg each day looked better and once she got off the heavy meds we could see the spark in her eyes again. It is hard but I will tell you that as I type this in the airport with tears in my eyes it was amazing to see her run pain feee this week. It is so hard but once they are post surgery it is amazing how much heart and spirt they continue to show us. . 

eva had some phantom pains and we had to manage those with Gabapentin but don’t hesitate to call the clinic and get help. They have lots of options to help Lucky. We adjusted Eva’s meds a few times to find what worked for her and she is off all of them now. We kept a diary by her meds and used that to keep up with the vets. I know it is hard but as strange as it sounds lucky and his big heart will get you through this. Keep us posted 

Virginia




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12 December 2019 - 12:08 pm
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Can only ditto everything Jerry wrote.  

As you can see, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  We have all been through it and are here to help uou navigate  through recovery and answer any questions you have.  

Sure, this is major surgery and it’s no picnic  fot rhe first week or two.  Good pain management   will help Lucky recover, as well as having  a strong and confident pace leader to reassure him every step of the way!

Think of the surgery as a pawsitive in that it will help give Lucky rhe best xhance at a quality  pain free life so Lucky can continue to be Lucky!!  There’s no need to look at his incision  when you go to pick him up after surgery.  He must wants to see you looking into his eyes telling him what a good boy he is and he’s going home!!!  You can even ask the Vet to put a tee shirt or some sort of wrapping on him.  Yes, they shave a lot of fur.  I found that more of a “shock” than the incision  itself.

STAY CONNECTED and  keep us updated.

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!

Marcy
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13 December 2019 - 6:51 am
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Take a deep breath, you have got this.  You will be amazed at how resilient your dog will be, follow Lucky’s lead.  Your pet will adjust to this much quicker than we do.  I do think it is good you looked at pictures so you aren’t completely surprised, a T-shirt.  Once we saw Moose and he was wagging his tail that was the only thing that mattered.  As everyone has said, the first two weeks are hard.  Every day we saw an improvement.  As far as being prepared, like everyone else has said, pain management is critical.  Non-slip rugs and we purchased a harness with a handle so we were prepared when once he healed, at his 2 week visit to the vet he wore it.  You have just started a new journey and it isn’t bad it is just different.  When you see your dog with a sparkle in his eye, tail wagging and greeting you at the door you will know you made the right decision.  One other thing is that weight management is critical, to keep the other legs healthy.  Before you know it, you will be the one who can share your experiences with the next person who is beginning this journey. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 December 2019 - 11:12 am
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Marcy said
Take a deep breath, you have got this.  You will be amazed at how resilient your dog will be, follow Lucky’s lead.  Your pet will adjust to this much quicker than we do.  I do think it is good you looked at pictures so you aren’t completely surprised, a T-shirt.  Once we saw Moose and he was wagging his tail that was the only thing that mattered. 

Thank you so very much for your encouragement Marcy! We would love to learn more about you and Moose. Please consider registering as a member so that your future posts won’t need approval.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 December 2019 - 7:30 pm
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Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my concerns.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!  Lucky’s amputation surgery is tomorrow and I feel sad and yet hopeful at the same time.  As I write this, he is laying by the Christmas tree.  He has seemed so much more energetic this week.  I changed his food and added “freshpet” to his dry food and he absolutely loves it!  His coat even seems brighter and softer.  He has not appeared to be in a lot of pain this week.  He is currently on caraprofin twice daily, gabapentin twice daily, and Tramadol every 8 hours.  I have been reading some of the post op recovery posts and they have given me hope that the recovery will be easier than I have been imagining.  I work in the school system and will be off for the next 2 weeks so I will be able to be with him to monitor him and keep him as comfortable as possible.  I am trying to find a place in our home downstairs where he can have time to recover away from our golden “Indy” and our 3 cats, but still be close to us.  The whole thing is honestly overwhelming, and I am trying to just take it 1 step at a time.  I will update you all tomorrow on how is is doing following his surgery.  I would truly appreciate good thoughts and prayers for Lucky!

Thanks so much!

Pam

Virginia




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18 December 2019 - 8:19 pm
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You absolutely  have good thoughts and prayers coming your way.  Take Lucky’s lead and just know that he will handle being on three like a champ!!!  Not saying that recovery  is a picnic at first, but at least it doesn’t  last furever!

And my dogs agree with Lucky, no better food on the face of the planet than Fresh Pet!! Nope, not even oce cream!!

Send extra higs.  Try and get some rest…..well, okay, we know that’s  not gonna happen!

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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19 December 2019 - 7:46 pm
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I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their kindness ! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! Lucky’s surgery went well and he is recovering. We went to the animal hospital to see him and it was so good to see how well he was doing just hours after surgery. He was so happy to see us and his little tail was wagging like crazy. He is currently hooked up to an IV to keep him out of pain. He ate some and we even took him outside. He literally pulled my husband Dave across the parking lot to the grassy area. He didnt have any trouble standing or walking. I guess he has really been walking on 3 legs for awhile now so he was acting like it was no big deal at all. It made me so happy to him see being “Lucky”. He will be able to come home tomorrow and then we will really begin the journey back. I cant wait to see him chasng tennis balls again!!! I will keep everyone updated with how he is doing. I would appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers for Lucky and for all of us.

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19 December 2019 - 7:55 pm
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benny55 said
You absolutely  have good thoughts and prayers coming your way.  Take Lucky’s lead and just know that he will handle being on three like a champ!!!  Not saying that recovery  is a picnic at first, but at least it doesn’t  last furever!

And my dogs agree with Lucky, no better food on the face of the planet than Fresh Pet!! Nope, not even oce cream!!

Send extra higs.  Try and get some rest…..well, okay, we know that’s  not gonna happen!

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

  

Thank you so much Sally! I hardly slept at all last night because I was so anxious. I think I will sleep much better tonight, now that the surgery is over and he is on his road to recovery! He was doing great already just hours after surgery.  I probably would have stayed at the animal hospital with him if they would have let me 🙂  Since that wasnt an option, I am headed to bed to get some well needed sleep! 

Thanks again!

Pam

Virginia




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19 December 2019 - 9:15 pm
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Thanks for the update…..and it’s. a great update!!!😀so glad you got to spend some ti e woth Lucky today.  It know it eased your stress level by leaps and bounds!

Yes, get some good rest tonight.   Lucky is on some good pain meds and enjoying seeing lots of pink elephants.

Let us know how the homecoming  goes, okay?  

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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20 December 2019 - 5:32 am
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benny55 said
Thanks for the update…..and it’s. a great update!!!😀so glad you got to spend some ti e woth Lucky today.  It know it eased your stress level by leaps and bounds!

Yes, get some good rest tonight.   Lucky is on some good pain meds and enjoying seeing lots of pink elephants.

Let us know how the homecoming  goes, okay?  

Hugs

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

  

Thamks Sally!  I slept so well last night!  I spoke with the vet a few minutes ago and he said that Lucky did well through the night and is moving around well and is pulling on the leash to go go go. He will come home this evening.  I am a little nervous about managing his pain at home, but am excited to have my sweet pup at home.  I will let you know how it goes.  Thanks so much for your support!

Have a great day!

Pam

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 December 2019 - 11:17 am
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Wooohooo! Yay for Lucky! What a great way to kick off the weekend.

As long as he comes home with good pain medications, and you stay on top of them by following the schedule to keep ahead of the pain, he should do just fine. Try not to worry too much (I know it’s hard not to though).

Be sure to get a phone number from your vet, for the nearest weekend vet you can call if something comes up. It shouldn’t, but having that contact info will give you peace of mind.

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

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27 December 2019 - 5:32 pm
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Hi.  I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas!  Lucky is 8 days post surgery and he has done better than we ever thought he could.  Today is his 1st day without meds and so far he has done well.  He did yelp a bit earlier but nothing since then.  My biggest issue has been trying to get him to slow down.  His surgical wound is healing beautifully and he is scheduled to get his stitches out on Monday.  The lab report came back from the tumor analysis.  The vet said that his mitoic index was an 8.  He told me that anything 7 and under is considered pretty minimal as far as the aggressiveness of the cancer.  He seemed to think that with the chemo we will have a good chance of preventing the spread of the cancer or at least slowing it down.  That seems to be good news, but of course, I am still worried.  I am nervous of what to expect from the chemo as well.  I know that the vet said chemo will not make him lose his fur or be sick like it does in humans, but I am still worried about my sweet guy.  I will keep everyone updated on his progress.  

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27 December 2019 - 5:54 pm
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Luckysmom,

i want to just say thank you for sharing this story during your sweet boys difficult time! My guy Duke is scheduled for surgery Monday for the same disease, and I will say, reading your journey has helped give my husband and I more hope about us making this tough decision, and confronting this life changing event head-on! I’m so glad he seems to be getting back to his old self, and that is all I wish for when it come to my buddy Duke. 

Prayers to you all, and thanks again for sharing!

– Alissa aka “DukesMom”

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