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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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29 September 2011 - 4:49 pm
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if you guys remember, i have a 12 year old lab that had her back left leg removed two weeks ago. It has been a long hard road. Dakota Dawg was so on the mark about that one. Ups and downs, mostly downs as trying to figure out what is going on with her. Is she in pain, is she reacting from the drugs, on the drugs off the drugs....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!. So here is my delima.

I took her off all meds about a week after her operation because she was shaking all over and not sleeping at night. Brought her back to the vet last saturday and they decided that it was pain she was suffering from and uped her meds, two tramdols in the am and at night and two gabapentin in the am and at night. She has developed stomache problems, but the last two nights she has slept ok. She poops in her sleep ( might be her age more than the operation) during the day she shakes and wines and whimpers until i can get her to nap. She wakes up and whines nad wimpers. Tonight i decided just to give her her food with no meds, she whines and whimpers. Damned if i do and damned if i dont.


Help!!!!!!!!!!! the dr. doesn't know what to do (my opinion) and neither do i!! any past experience would be very helpful at this point.

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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29 September 2011 - 5:01 pm
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laurieferullo said:

She has developed stomache problems...

Is Maggie on any NSAIDs? Rimadyl (Carprofen), Metacam, Derramax, etc? If so consider switching. Jerry exploded inside after a short time on Rimadyl and was fine on Metacam for nearly two years.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

San Diego, CA
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29 October 2010
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29 September 2011 - 5:19 pm
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Abby did OK with Tramadol, but I've heard many others say their dog did a lot of whining while on it.

It's hard to know what to do since you can't just ask the dog if the pain is worse, or if the effects of the meds are worse... but I think erring on the side of alleving the pain is best.

Hopefully others will chime in with some good advice. Hope she starts feeling more like her old self soon!
Jackie, Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

29 September 2011 - 5:21 pm
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well she was on rimadyl because her only back leg was so sore. She has been on rumadyl for the past four years with no problem and we check her liver every other month. Yeah, i know that its not good for stomach but i don't know if that is causing the problem. I think its all the drugs that she is getting at one time. seems like a lot. Does anyone think it is possible for her to get hooked on any of the name drugs that i put in my first post? Just a though as i want to get her off these drugs and get her back to normal. Another thing, her nose is so dry that it is cracking. Anyone else had that problem?

On The Road

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29 September 2011 - 6:04 pm
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Hmmm....I'm not a vet but this does sound like a pain management issue. Maybe the Gabapentin is putting her over the edge. I have heard of some dogs not doing well on it, but it's rare.

I don't think she's hooked, I just think that maybe you might want to slowly reduce the meds to see which one might be causing the reactions. But again, I'm not a medical pro so please ask your vet if this might be a good idea or not. And if they don't know, ask another. Are you able to get a second opinion?

Is she eating, drinking and eliminating OK? If she is those are all good signs of recovery. Two weeks is about the time that they start to show signs of feeling good again but many dogs take longer.

As for her cracking nose...our Wyatt Ray tends to get that issue occasionally. Usually swabbing some aloe or Burt's Bees a few times daily helps.

Poor kid! Hope she feels better soon.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

29 September 2011 - 6:15 pm
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yes, she is eating and drinking ok. A couple days ago she was getting better and today she is crying all day. She is crying right now as i am typing. It is so frustrating. I don't know what to do. As i said earlier i didn't give her any med with dinner, but i just did now.

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29 September 2011 - 6:35 pm
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Gus didn't get along with Tramadol, he was extremely restless, not much appetite, heavy panting. Once off that, he was on Gabapentin and Rimadyl. We started the gabapentin when he started having phantom pain , it helped but he would still cry when it hit him. Since you are out 2 weeks I'm not sure I can offer any other suggestions. I have heard some have withdrawl issues when you take them off some drugs. like you say, can't win either way. Maybe Dr. Pam might see your situation and offer some suggestions, Good luck, sorry to hear your having to deal with this, by now I'm sure you were thinking the worst would be over.

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Las Vegas, Nevada
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29 September 2011 - 6:51 pm
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Poor Maggie.


Am I reading it right that you have eliminated the meds and she is worse with the crying?  

Have you tried putting an ice pack at the surgical area?  Leave it on for 10 minutes.  If it seems to help, then try it every couple of hours for 10 minutes.

Again no medical pro here either but ice should make the surgical area feel better and if she is still crying then it may be something else going on.  It may be also a "learned" behavior to get attention.  I have had dogs cry louder if I walked away to get attention especially after a serious surgery.  Even dental cleanings, I have had them cry and wimper very loud if I wasn't paying attention to them.  I hope that is what is wrong!

Keep us posted!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

29 September 2011 - 6:58 pm
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yes exactly, i was hoping for some better days. not the same as when she was in pain with the cancer.  The whole reason i took her off the meds was to see if it was them or her. She acted the same off so i put her back on in case she was in severe pain. She cried all day today. She was fine yesterday.

Chicago, IL
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5 March 2011
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29 September 2011 - 7:02 pm
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Well this sucks.  Sounds just like our experience with Tate, he didn't like Tramadol at all plus his recovery took longer than the standard 2 weeks (he had a hemipelvectomy).  It's heartbreaking because you want to make it all better but you don't know what to do.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't is exactly right.

First, take a deep breath.  Because one day soon Maggie will be all healed up and you won't need any of this.

In the meantime, I like the idea of experimenting with the dose, that seems like a lot of pills but you didn't say what dose.  Tate had 100 mg Rimadyl and I think the Tram was 100 as well, he's about 65 lbs.  Try a cold pack on the incision to see if that alleviates some of the pain.  Maybe try Prilosec for tummy problems, that' what our vet recommended.

Finally...consider consulting another vet.  I do it when I have to and I never feel bad about it.  They don't own your dog, you do and if their recommendation isn't working well maybe someone else has a better idea. 

Best of luck to you.  It will get better, it just takes time.  Shouldn't be too much longer now...I know, easy for me to say.  I feel so bad for you, you are really in the dregs of it now.

Jan & Tate
August 16, 2006 to November 28, 2011
TATE ~ Forever in our hearts.

Portage Lake, Maine
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8 December 2009
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30 September 2011 - 6:38 am
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I feel so badly for you and Maggie too cry  It's bad enough to go thru with the amputation and then all of this.

I agree with Jan...maybe you could go to another vet?  I know when my Maggie was having issues not eating and fever after her amputation, I went back and forth between her surgeon and a local vet that I'd been using before amputation.  I just never quit going until I got some relief for Maggie. 

My Maggie was on Gabapentin and Tramadol before and after amputation and never had any issues.  Gabapentin was a true lifesaver for her before amputation as she had shaking/shivering pains and couldn't settle due to pain.  My Maggie was also on Deramaxx for an NSAID.

My thoughts are with you and sure as hell hope your Maggie gets relief VERY soon.  I know the agonizing mental pain you are going thru...


Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


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22 August 2008
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30 September 2011 - 7:15 am
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Panting and crying can be due to pain, drugs, or anxiety and it can be hard to figure it out.  I would keep her on the Rimadyl if she is still eating and continue gabapentin at the current dose.  You already tried stopping the meds but maybe reduce the Tramadol to 1 twice daily just in case she is sensitive to it.

Does she stop crying when you are paying attention to her or petting her?  If so then anxiety may be the culprit and you can ask your vet about trying a low dose of alprazolam if needed.


In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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30 September 2011 - 2:21 pm
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I think it is worthwhile to remember that Maggie had an embolism in the past (spinal, I think) and that was why I said the recovery might be hard. If I remember, Laurie, you said that Maggie was occasionally getting her rear legs tangled and would also occasionally drag her rear toes. I know she largely recovered from the embolism and its effects, but if this were my dog with that history and she began losing some bowel control, I think I would take her in and see if spinal myelopathy or something similar related to the embolism might be at play. It is entirely possible that this is unrelated to the recent amputation. I went through years of myelopathy with my dog Belle, and she did eventually lose bowel control. It wasn't pretty, but it was manageable. 

I'm sorry to hear that she is having a tough go of it. My fondest dream is that she will heal quickly, that this is a bump in the road, and she will be her sweet self next week. Please keep us posted.


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

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30 September 2011 - 6:42 pm
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Zippy did not do so well on Tramadol, restless, panting etc. Gabapentin and amatyptilan, spelling is awful on that one sorry, and a combo of all three helped. Took her off the tramadol after 3 weeks but she did have some missing leg pain but the ice packs helped every night and also during the day plus we got a hand held massager and worked on her back and front shoulders that are now having to take a lot of the stress and weight. Please journal so you know when and what was happening and if after certain treatments or activity she seems worse. It could be the dosage is too low. For some reason some vets feel they should give the minimum rather than a good therapeutic dose from the start. Stress can cause dogs to poop when they shouldn't so unless it is a constant thing don't be too upset but do check with your vet especially with her history. Good luck and keep us informed.

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16 January 2011
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1 October 2011 - 8:50 am
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We had Riley on Tramadol when she first broke her leg and while we were waiting for the biopsy results to come back - when we took her to another vet for a second opinion - she suggested we try the Deramaxx instead...It worked so much better in our opinion - the whining and wincing and hiding stopped pretty quickly and in our opinion, the Tramadol did very strange things to her.....We weaned her off the Tramadol (stopping cold turkey has a whole new set issues) and put her on the Deramaxx - its definitely worth talking to your vet about it....

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