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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Phantom pains again...
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Forum Posts: 303
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13 June 2011
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5 July 2011 - 5:31 am
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Bo is 5 weeks post-op today and during the past few days the phantom pains have started again. He had them pretty intensely for 5 days post-op and then nothing. The current phantom pains are MUCH milder than the previous ones. It's a small quick yelp or snort and he recovers from them quickly. Before, he would shake and recovery took about 10 minutes. When he had the phantom pains before, he had maybe 3 or 4 big ones a day. Now, he has at least a dozen, but again, they are much milder.

We have been using Tramadol “as needed” for about a week and have only had to use it 2 or 3 times…usually after a lot (well, a lot for Bo) activity. Have any other pups experienced phantom pains this far out after surgery?

We did use Gabapentin and weened him off after surgery. We attributed Gabapentin with Bo's mopey mood, but in actuality it was probably a combo of all of the meds. It just seemed like once off the Gabapentin, he bounced back to perky Bo, even while on a low dose of Tramadol.

He's appetite has been a little off in addition to the phantom pains. He is still eating, but we are spoon feeding him to encourage it. He's still going potty, gets excited to see us, goes outside, and all of the fun stuff. We just want to make sure our boy's not in pain.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 July 2011 - 9:59 am
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Glad to hear he's otherwise doing well and back to his old self.

It's definitely not unusual for a dog to experience phantom pain so far out, we've had others here go through the same thing. It sounds like the pains are working themselves out of his system, which is great (though he probably doesn't think so when it happens!). Could be that because he's getting around so well again, the nerve endings are getting used to his activity.

Not sure if anyone's shown this to you but did you this paper about Phantom Pain? Here's a link to it. There are things you can do to help minimize the severity, such as gentle massage.

Yes, Gabapentin can create mopiness. You may want to ask your vet about giving it to him this far out. I'm not sure I would, but that's me.

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Forum Posts: 303
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5 July 2011 - 4:23 pm
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Thank you for the article link. The simple explanation makes perfects sense and I understand why he's having them. What a relief! Great ideas about getting the circulation going as well. Do you know if it is alright for doggie cancer patients to use heating pads? I thought I remembered the vet saying that they couldn't go over the incision with a laser because the heat is not good for cancer patients. I know the intensity levels are completely different between a laser and a heating pad, but I just want to make sure before I do it. Not that anything can touch the weather we're having down here in FL right now! 😉

Thanks again!

Here and Now


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5 July 2011 - 5:57 pm
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meghanhowell17 said:

I remembered the vet saying that they couldn't go over the incision with a laser because the heat is not good for cancer patients.

First time we've heard that, you'll definitely want to consult with your vet. The technology used for incision healing is “cold laser” so we wonder if temperature is actually the issue. Maybe someone else can provide better feedback, let us know what you find out.

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