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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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One month post Amp! She seems depressed.
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Forum Posts: 6
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3 February 2016 - 9:45 am
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In mid December, a couple of weeks before Zoey’s 10th birthday we got the dreaded Osteosarcoma diagnosis on her rear leg and at that point her lungs were clear.  She’s a 70’ish pound lab who was always full of energy, smiles, wiggles and chatter.  It took me a few weeks to process and after many many tears, research and speaking with our vet we decided to amputate.  The first two weeks of recovery were a little rough but easier than it was when she had two TPLO surgeries.  Once she was off her meds (she decided one day she was done), her sparkle was coming back, she wanted to start playing and we moved back upstairs to try and get back to our normal routine.  We have decided to not do chemotherapy instead enjoying the time she has left.  I sometimes feel guilty about that but I do know it’s selfish to keep her around for us.  We do not have children, we have three fur children who are well taken care of and spoiled.

The last few days she’s been mopey, doesn’t want to eat much, drinking a ton of water and is having slightly more problems with her balance of going potty (she falls mid pee).  I took her to the vet yesterday to make sure she was ok.  Her temp was fine, weight is good and of course she ate the biscuits he gave her just fine.

Can she be depressed?  She’s a sensitive girl and I wonder if she is having a hard time adjusting to three legs and not being able to do what she used to.  

Thank you for listening!

Here and Now


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3 February 2016 - 10:15 am
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brigkeller said
I sometimes feel guilty…The last few days she’s been mopey…
Can she be depressed? 

Never underestimate how dogs will follow our lead! What Zoey needs most is for you to remain strong and balanced. One rehab vet told us these wise words: “If you want life to be normal again, you must go on as though life is normal.

That being said, it is important to rule out any physical cause for the symptoms you notice. What many view as depression is often side effects from pain meds (not in Zoey’s case), pain and/or exhaustion, or reflection of our own moods.

If you feel Zoey may me in pain, do not miss the Tripawds News blog post about How to Identify and Treat Pain.

You might also evaluate the amount and type of exercise Zoey is getting. She may just be overdoing it! Read Loving Life On Three Legs for lots of profession tips. Or, better yet, consult with a certified rehab vet/tech for a professional opinion. The Tripawds Foundation will even reimburse you for your first visit through the Maggie Moo Fund!

And…search these forums for depressed or depression and you will find many topics with lots of feedback from others who have experienced your same concerns. Or, search all blogs here too. Three Legs And A Spare also includes more information about the subject. Both Tripawds e-books can be found in the Downloads blog .

Please keep us posted! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Virginia




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3 February 2016 - 11:51 am
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Wow! Looks like our Admin Guy covered it all!

I’ll just add a “ditto” to the overdoing it part. It sounds like she was starting ro do stairs at about the two week mark, and perhaps picked up playi g again around that time ?? Being a “mature” gal and somewhat of a big girl, that may have been waaay to soon for her to have started those activities.

If you press up a d down her spine, her neck area, all over her hocks and legs, does she show any “tension” at anytime?

Did the vet give her any anti-inflammatory (Rimadyl) or any pain meds? Sounds like these, along with rest, would be helpful. Of course, I’m not a Vet. It just seems like a little Rehab, some of those meds to help him feel better, will do wonders.

As far as the chemo, please know there are NO guarantees with, or without!! You know your girl best. Letti g her get on with lovi g and spoiling without vet trips with poki g and prodding is a decision out of love, and that is always a right decision!! To waste energy second guessing yourself takes away from being in the present with Zoey!

Adjusting to three legs is exhausting, especially if she’s jad two TPLO surgeries on the remaining legs.

One little “trick” that seems to “cheer” dogs up during this early phase (a d yes, it’s still early), is to jave someone come over she likes and bring her treats, or a cheeseburger, or even a cupcake!

We all understand the frustration of the seemingly never ending recovery period. It is such an emotional up and down roller coaster. I know PUG MAGGIE took abput six weeks to get her sparkle back. She was very stubborn a d did not like change at all!

Please keep us posted and give that sweet girl a smooch for us!

Would love to see photos!

Hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Fra

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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3 February 2016 - 2:13 pm
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Thank you both for your responses!  It sounds like she needs to rest a little more and we’ll see how she handles that.  I forget it’s only been a month since she still wants to play.  I will see if she has any tension in the areas you mentioned Benny55.  She has Rimadyl, Gabapentin and Tramadol but we stopped when she had her amputation.  We gave her two Tramadol the other night which helped her get more comfortable.  She’s become such a stinker at taking any medication and we’ve tried it all!  Peanut butter, bread, pizza, cheese, mashed potatoes, hamburger, french fries, steak, chicken….it’s a battle! sad

This website has been very helpful with my decisions and the emotions that I’ve had and feeling “normal” about them.  Hopefully in a few days, I’ll have good news to report!

Virginia




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3 February 2016 - 3:00 pm
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Just a tip on tne Tramadol. It apparently is one of the most bitter pills on the planet! Once a dog tastes it, it’s really hard ro sneak it by them if they smell it coming their way.

Here’s what worked with Happy Hannah. First, I used tweezers to pick up the pill so I would never have any of the scent on my hands. Then I nestled it deep into a ball of stinky liverwurst, covered it up. I threw a couple of liverwurst balls to her….gulp….gulp….The third one had the pill in it and she never knew it…GULP!!

Did I read this right, you stopped her pain meds and Rimadyl after amputation? How soon after amputation? Most dogs are on those for approximately two weeks, with some tapering towards the end of the second week. My Happy Hannah actually stayed on the pain meds for about three weeks. Every dog is different though.

We understand the emotional stress and how very exhausting this journey can be. Feel free to lean on us. That’s what we’re here for. It does get better!!!

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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3 February 2016 - 3:11 pm
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Oops!  I meant we stopped the Rimadyl & Gabapentin after amputation.  She was on Tramadol, Ace & antibiotics for two weeks after amputation.  I was very afraid of overmedicating her since I could only be with her all day the first four days.  I asked my vet yesterday about the Rimadyl & Gabapentin, he said to use it if I thought she needed it.  Since she isn’t a complainer, it’s hard to tell when it’s needed.

I will have to try the liverwurst trick.  She stopped taking food from us since she assumed everything had a pill in it.  Luckily, a few times we’ve have someone new in the house to “trick her”  😉

Thank you again!

Michigan
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3 February 2016 - 4:51 pm
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One of the things I noticed with Murphy, is that once in awhile he would act not quite himself.  Maybe he just over-did it a little, sometimes he still does.  So when he does, we give him a pain pill.  I figure it won’t hurt anything.  Usually he’s better the next day.  He had Rimadyl, but now he has Carpofen, which I think is about the same.  He still has some left-over Tramadol, too, if needed, but those are getting old now.  Since they’re using different muscles walking, or in Murphy’s case hopping, it’s not uncommon for their back to hurt or just to get sore muscles.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

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  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

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3 February 2016 - 7:36 pm
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I think it’s easy to under-estimate how the different action of hopping on three legs impacts the rest of the body. Looking back now I can see that it took several months for my boy to build up strength, and whilst adjusting to a new way of moving and balancing I can well imagine there are some very sore muscles involved. I would take it as a great sign that your boy wants to play, but don’t be surprised if he has some days where he is feeling sore and in need of more rest. I found it really hard to know what to expect in terms of activity level after the amputation. My boy has become more agile than I ever thought possible (he was coming up 11 and a larger dog when he had the amputation), and can do more than I imagined, but he took time to build up strength. I too decided not to opt for chemo, and we are now at 20 months. We were expecting 4 – 6 months so you just never know.

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4 February 2016 - 9:00 pm
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We went back to the vet today, I was very concerned Zoey was not herself (still not eating much). Blood work showed anemia. Xrays showed Mets in her lungs and a mass on her liver. Since we are not doing chemo, all we can do is keep her comfortable until she stops eating all together and the hardest decision will need to be made. 

I was hoping after reading all the stories on this great website that she would beat the odds and live longer than estimated. 

I am heartbroken. :'(

Virginia




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4 February 2016 - 9:37 pm
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Okay, not the news any one wants. ALSO….and this is veey important…this is not an immediate death sentence in any way, shape or form! Just ask Jerry and Sassy, both had great extended quality time after mets were found.

Zeus is not a statistic! She is Zeus and is not going anywhere anytime soon! Time after rime dogs beat “statistics” arou x here!

Zoey still could have been overdoing it even without these new challenges. The imbalance could be the result.

The anemia is probably making her feel a little off more so than anything else.

Did the Vet suggest iron supplements? Did the Vet prescribe Prednisone ? That coukd help if she is showing any change in breathing patterns, as well as DEFINITELY increase her appetite! If the Vet didn’t prescribe these, ask him about it.

Also, you may want to check into metronomics .

Just to give you a reference, when my beloved Happy Hannah developed a met, the vet said it was the size of a baseball! Her quality was maintained for some great extended time full of loving and spoiling and filling her bucket lost everyday! And her bucket list was mostly about ice cream, steak, cupcakes, pizza, M&Ms, rummy rubs and deer poop!

ZOEY doesn’t give a rip about xrays! NOTHING has changed I. Zoey’s world and she isn’t worried about a thing!

As hard as it is, and itsq hard, stay in the moment with Zoey, in the present, in the now. Let NOTHING rob you of your time together…not fear, not regret, ot seco d guessing, not anger, not premature grief (there will be plenty of time for that later)!
No, don’t let that piece of crap disease try to take you away from enjoying Zoey in the here and now!

Many of us jave been where yoj are. We understand the kick in the gut and the initial devastation. Seeing Zeus wag her tail will help snap you out of it. Now go make her do somq that gets her tail wagging and you will both feel better.

We are here by your side. Ask us anything. Let us know what you need from js. In the meantime, take lots of pictures! We would love ro see more of her pretty face!

Sending you love and 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!

Here and Now


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4 February 2016 - 10:21 pm
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Just remember, Zoey doesn’t know she has cancer! Enjoy every moment, remain strong around her, and pop in to the chat room or feel free to call the Tripawds Helpline any time if you want to talk.

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7 February 2016 - 10:33 am
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brigkeller said
We went back to the vet today, I was very concerned Zoey was not herself (still not eating much). Blood work showed anemia. Xrays showed Mets in her lungs and a mass on her liver. Since we are not doing chemo, all we can do is keep her comfortable until she stops eating all together and the hardest decision will need to be made. 

I was hoping after reading all the stories on this great website that she would beat the odds and live longer than estimated. 

I am heartbroken. :'(

I’m sorry for the news, BUT, it does show your inuition about not doing Chemo was spot on! COmfort and love is what it’s all about!!! Enjoy each moment you have with her and every important living soul in your life! Sending love.

Schofield, WI
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7 February 2016 - 2:11 pm
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I’m so very sorry to hear this.  We all hope for quality extended months and years for our babies. As the others have said Zoey’s world has not changed.  She’s still living day by day as she’s always done.  Take each today you have with that beautiful girl and spoil her to the moon and back.  Give her enough love and extra treats (as Sally says steak and ice cream) to last forever.  Live each today and put tomorrow out of your mind.  Tomorrow will come but not today.  Much love and hugs.

Linda & Spirit Mighty Max

Maryland
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7 February 2016 - 2:27 pm
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I’m so sorry. But as others have said, treasure the time you have and try not to let the future cloud your present. Let Zoey be your guide, she’ll let you know when she’s ready.

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

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11 February 2016 - 1:08 pm
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After the diagnosis of the advancement of mets on her lungs & mass on her liver on the 4th, Zoey went downhill over the weekend.  We made the difficult decision to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge on Tues the 9th.  She gave it her best shot and I’m glad that she had a little bit of time without pain.  She was a great dog that was sensitive, wiggly, so smiley and oh so talkative.  We will miss her greatly!

Thank you to this community for your advice & support.

Brigette & Zoey

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