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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Please Help. Large dog will not get up
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Forum Posts: 40
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13 June 2019 - 7:32 pm
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My 9 year old mastiff mix had is left front leg amputated yesterday.  Osteosarcoma.  The vet had me take him home today.  He weighs close to 100 lbs and the techs carried him into my car.  He will not get up.  I lift up his front end using a modified sling and he refuses to stand on his hind legs.  He stares at me and cries because he needs to urinate.  Eventually he just pees on himself.

I am devastated.  He has a fentanyl patch on and I have gabapentin and Novox.  I dont think he is in pain.  He just doesnt seem to understand whats happening to him.

How can I help him?  How can I get him to stand? 

Livermore, CA




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13 June 2019 - 8:55 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will have to wait for approval.

What is your boy’s name?

OK- my guess at this point is that the surgery meds are still in his system and he is feeling pretty wonky- the fentanly can also make pups really out of it.  It is not unusual here for the giant breed pups to take a little longer to get their sea legs. Sometimes they stay at the vet a couple extra days… but he is home now so lets deal with that.

First off- be sure you keep the vet informed on how your boy is doing.

He may not be able to stand until those surgery meds clear his system.  Keep him as clean as possible.  Get some of those pee pads to put under him, or some old sheets and towels.  The pads made for people are bigger and might work for him. 

Is there someone there to help you when you try and lift him?  Maybe let him rest for the night and try again in the morning.

Again, the bigger pups here seem to take a day or two extra to be able to get up so don’t get discouraged.  We’ve had lots of pups here who are bigger than yours and they have done fine. 

Stay patient, stay positive, keep talking with your vet.  I know it’s hard to see him like this but things will get better.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia




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13 June 2019 - 9:20 pm
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Love your pip’s avatar pic.  Uoi can definitely  see the Mastiff in him.

O,kay….deep breath…B R E A T H E……What you’ve described is NORMAL!!!  And ditto everything  Karen said.

Your pup  is completely  zonked from the hospital meds and from the patch.  And not being able to stand yet and peeing in the bed age not unusual  at all!   Ao YAyY for peeing, even if it’s  not outside!! As Karen said, often times bigger dogs do stay at the clinic a couple of nights j til rhey can get their sea legs.  Of course, it’s  always good to get the dogs home as soon as you can.

Itnis important to keep the pain managed, even if it makes them a bit loopy and rather vocal.  .  Usually  the patch is on for anywher from two to three days, or a bit longer. How long does the Bet want the patch to stay on?

I know it sounds crazy to say not to worry about mobility at this point.  But patience  is a virtue  right now!  The hospital  meds will be out of his system  in another day if so.  You may see more alertness  then.  And once the patch is off, you’ll see a difference. If you feel like the patch is causing  too much whacky behavior…staring off  into  space…..weird vocalizations …you can ask the Bet about taking  it off a little sooner.  You just want to make sure you have the Gabapentin in his system  on a consistent  basis.  IT IS MAJOR SURGERY  and humans would be in the hospital  for days on a morphine drip !

My Happy Hannah  whined and cried and was restless  for three nights straight,  and she didn’t  have the patch!!  Sleep was not anything  that happened  for either of is!!  I had not found this site yet and had no clue what to expect.  The clinic sure didn’t  prepare  me for recovery!

STAY CONNECTED!!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  We have been through this and are here to help you navigate  through the rough part!  And right now you are in the rough part!  

Extra higs

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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13 June 2019 - 9:29 pm
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Thank you so much for responding.  My dog’s name is Max.  I rescued him when he was only 6 weeks old.  He was the runt of a litter of 14 and needed a lot of care and attention to gain confidence and not be so afraid.

He’s been my baby his entire life.  I am a hospice nurse and when I heard he had osteosarcoma, I knew it had probably metastasized.  I also know that bone pain is very difficult to manage.  I watched videos of dogs with 3 legs enjoying their lives and I wanted to give him the best chance I could.  

Your responses mean so much to me.  Thank you for the encouragement.  

Virginia




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13 June 2019 - 9:34 pm
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Also check out Three Legs and a Spare and  also Loving Life On Three Legs .  

If you have hardwood floors, make sure you put down nonslip  scatter sogs for traction .  Of his bed is “squishy and soft”, you’ll want to get a firmer bed like The Big Barker Bed .  It makes it easier to stand without  slipping.

And front leggers sometimes  take a bit longer to get mobile and have a few face plants along the way.

Hang in there!

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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14 June 2019 - 2:31 am
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Hi Max’s mum, we are 7 days today after forelimb amputation on my Bernese mountain dog. This site is amazing – everybody has been great and has kept me sane and logical at times when I’ve questioned myself and actions.

Anyway, we had the same experience with incontinence the first few days at home. Don’t worry – it will pass – may take him a bit longer or sooner, but he will be OK. This and and the crying may well be the after affects of the anaesthetic. My boy doesn’t do anaesthetics well and is like this for about 4 days until its out of his system. Often makes them spaced out.

He is probably exhausted as well, so lots of rest is good and quiet.

We are still in early days and everyday is a challenge – we are trying to focus on the little wins as everyone says on here, and not worry too much whilst keeping in perspective its only been 7 days.

Eating is a big challenge for us – so we are trying to improve this – but again, there is lots of advice on here about the fact that many don’t eat for some time.

I feel sometimes my boy has lost a lot of confidence, but I guess that is to be expected as well this soon on, so I am thinking Max is possibly the same?

It’s very early days and just try to stay calm and give him time. Thinking of you. It’s hard, exhausting and emotionally draining, but hopefully improvement and their old characters will start to come back.

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14 June 2019 - 7:54 am
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Good morning all.  Max cried last night off and on.  I am working today.  My husband will be with Max.  My husband is a disabled vet, but he will be able to provide companionship and water, etc. and Max will not be alone.

He seems alert, but frightened and confused.  He tried to get up a couple of times this morning, but his muscle activity seems to be focused on the missing limb.  I can see him contracting the muscle(s) as he tries to leverage up.  It seems he cannot figure out what to do or how to do it.

I am feeling like this was a big mistake. I feel like this is too much to put my big dumb sweet wonderful dog through.  I hope to see some progress.  Even a little at this point would give me some hope that I didn’t put my dog through hell for little return for him.  I wanted him pain free, which is why the painful part was amputated.

There are other kinds of pain tho, and the way he looks outside, where he can’t go, is breaking my heart.

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 June 2019 - 8:26 am
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I am in the Tripawds Chat room for a little while if you want to talk. Back in a sec with some feedback.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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14 June 2019 - 8:36 am
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Hey there, just catching up on Max’s story. I’m sorry you are in the toughest part of the journey right now. It’s not easy but I can tell you confidently that this is not at all unusual, and I’m betting that Max will soon turn a corner and get his sparkle back!

We seen recoveries happen alllll the time. It’s easy to get focused on the happy videos of dogs up and about soon after surgery but it’s also important to keep in mind that few people document the hardest parts like this. And that all dogs are different and on their own timeline.

And you know what? I want to show you Sally’s first post she made here, because it’s so much like how you are feeling that if you read through it, especially the later pages of her posts, you will see that she totally felt differently in just a few weeks. See:

six days after rear leg amp and getting worse–update: VERY HAPPY-GREAT DECISION

You have the medical aspect down, you’re a nurse, the hardest kind of nurse. Now, it’s time to get into the right frame of mind to help him bounce back. Know that this isn’t easy for at least another week but he WILL get there. Your attitude is what will make or brake this next week. Make it pawsitive and as optimistic as you can, because it is what Max is going to reflect back to you and will make all the difference in the world. Max will get to go outside again, he will be himself. Yes, you’ll have a “new normal” but baby step by baby step, you will all get to that happier place!

Hang in there and let us know how today goes!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 June 2019 - 7:37 am
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I was too exhausted yesterday after work to write.  I had very little sleep the night before because of my crying dog, and a long and exhausting day.

This morning, as is routine, I opened the doggy door and our other dog went out to pee.   Max started crying.  He continues to lie on the floor, look at me beseechingly, and cry.  I believe he cries because he needs to pee/poop and cannot bring himself to do it in the house.  I tell him to just go, but of course he cannot understand me.  He hasn’t peed for about 18  hours and his bursting bladder has got to be uncomfortable.  

I lift up his front end, prepared to support him if he would just stand.  He folds his back legs and refuses to stand.  Its like he freezes.  

He is eating a little and drinking a standard amount.  I know his pain is controlled.

I see no change in his condition since I brought him home.  It is day 3.  Everyday I think I should just mercifully put him to sleep.  I am crying as I write this.  My exhaustion is not helping.  I am regretting my decision more and more.

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15 June 2019 - 8:40 am
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Oh goodness, please breathe… so sorry this is so difficult right now but it is not forever. I cannot find them here right now but you can manually express his bladder and see if this gets things going. 

Have you tried to use a sling to get him up and on all three? 

There’s one for expressing the bladder, here’s one for a sling 

Day 3,4,5 can be the hardest.. but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. If you have not already, pee pads are a blessing for keeping your work load lighter than washing towels and blankets. 

He is eating, drinking, getting meds on a regular basis and pain management is in check. You are doing a great job. Please hang in there.

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Virginia




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15 June 2019 - 9:22 am
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Yes, ditto Jackie.  And so glad she posted the video form bladder expression.  If you are uncomfortable  doing it, maybe your Vet would send a Vet Tevh over to your house???  

Please know thst many of us… and I was one…regretted our decision  this early on.  We were sure we had made a horrible mistake!!  I say again and again, this is MAJOR SURGERY.  As hard as it is to understand  this at this point,  what you are experiencing  is something  we DO see with recoveries  sometimes!!   I know you are tired of us saying  this, but the surgery,  the adjustment  to figuring  out the new normal on three AND the meds, the meds, the meds, all contribute  to what you are experiencing. 

We absolutely  understand  your fear, your EXHAUSTION, mentally,  physically, emotionally!   And that exhaustion is clouding your thinking.   Max is eating and drinking and many dogs aren’t  even doing  that this early on.  

Can you tell us more about the meds, the dose amounts, the frequency, Max’s weight??  Have you spoken to the Bet about how long he wants to leave the morphine  patch on??   Those patches, while address pain, can really, really mess with a dog’s perception of things!  Right now Max may not even realize he isn’t  standing! In his foggy mind he may think he is!!

When you can, let us know avout jis meds AND what the Bet says about removing  the patch  earlier.  

You, and Max will get through this!!!!    It’s  hard to “trust” us on this right now, but we have tons of collective first hand experience  and have seen almost everything  thing here during recovery  and Max WILL recover!!

One more thing.  Do call your Bet about the pre.  If unable to express bladder  comfortably  and with confidence,  then you do need to take him in!  And,  of it’s  a 24 hr staffed cljnic, talk to the Vet about leaving  Max there overnight for two purposes.   Yoj NEED some sleep!  And the techs can work with Max to help him stand. Once he sees he CAN stand, he WILL start to figure things out…..sloooowly but surely!!!   And as an aside, often Bets keep dogs three or four days anyway until they can stand.

Keep us in the loop.  We look forward to hearing  back from you when you can for an update on all the above!

And again, good news Max is eating (some)  and drinking!!!  Good signs!! Really!!😀

Extra 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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15 June 2019 - 10:16 am
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I palpated his bladder, but it was not distended.  I appreciate the video very much.  I have no issue doing it.  I am a nurse, but we do not manually express human bladders and the anatomy is different.

I gave Max one of his favorite chew treats.  He stopped whining and is going to town on it.  That is all I needed for a positive improvement.  I am crying because he is happy right now at this moment.

I was appalled at his condition.  I did not think that a vet would discharge a patient as incapacitated as Max was.  I was totally shocked at the pet that I brought home.

At 100 lbs, I can lift his front end.  I am very strong.  I prefer to use my hands because then I know, unlike when the techs put him in my car, that I am not putting pressure on the incision or the swollen tissues around it.

The fentanyl patch is to be on for 72 hours.  I am reluctant to remove it early.  It is very effective for pain control, and I don’t see major cognitive changes from it.  I am augmenting the patch with gabapentin and Novox.

Max freezes because that is what he does.  He is a fearful and timid dog and my trying to help him stand is overwhelming for him.  I will be patient.

After he worked on his chew toy, he went to sleep.

Thank you all for your advice.  There is no point in second guessing our decision.  This is where we are now and the only way out is through.  I was just totally unprepared for this.  

Virginia




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15 June 2019 - 10:56 am
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YAAAAAY!!! So happy to hear this about the chew toy!!!!  HUGE VICTORY!!!!  CELEBRATE  IT!!!   This is the kind of sign that is showing  you with absolute  certainty  Max IS going to get his sparkle back!!!!  

And yes, I’ll just say this.  It certainly  would have been far more helpful  for Max (and you) to keep  him at the clinic until he xould at least stand, even with assistance.   What you are seeing with Max is exactly  why Bets keep dogs seceral nights, especially  the larger one who DO need extra time to adjust, especially  as a front  legger!

AND, reading  how timid and fearful he is really is a HUGE clue as to why he is reluctant to stand, especially  with yoj assisting  him.  Individual personality has to be taken jinto account.  Reminds me of KAREN’S sweet STUBBORN PUG MAGGIE!   Maggie hated change and basically  took six weeks to finally  get all jer Pug sparkle back!  

Patience and strong confident  attitude  are the best energies  you can give Max right now.  That and the joy of over the top celebrating with him for every victory!!!

So glad you posted this!  Made our day!  😀

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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15 June 2019 - 11:18 am
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I understand that so well.  I was a vet tech for quite a few years and I have recovered more animals than I can count.  Animals,  like people,  respond in different ways to pain meds and anesthetics and sometimes their response is so hard to deal with.  You just never know what you’re going to get.  I had a chihuahua that was the most docile lovable boy you could ever meet, but when I put him under to clean his teeth he became a total monster to wake and recover.  I had a cat that didn’t know who he was for three days!! He actually got his front feet over the wrungs of the dining room chair and then couldn’t figure out how to get the rest of his legs over 🤯🤯🤯

Many dogs,  especially the larger ones don’t come home for a couple of days and if they have 24 hour staff I think that’s a lot easier on the pawrents.  I wish they had been able to do that for you,  but we’re here now and moving forward.  

I’m glad you are a nurse. Expressing the bladder in animals is not difficult once you’ve done it a couple of times and now that you’ve done it you can keep an eye on if it needs to be done again.  It does bring up a thought for me though.  You might want to try to increase his fluid intake if you can to make sure he does not become dehydrated.  Chicken broth,  ice cubes,  canned dog food,  whatever you can tempt him with.  Even a popsicle might tempt him.  If you pinch the skin at the top of his scruff it should bounce back pretty quickly.  If it stays tented and takes a few seconds to bounce back please get in touch with your doc and let them know. 

Oh boy,  I feel like I’ve written a novel here but if even a little of it helps then I’m glad to do it. 

Hugs 

Jackie and Huckleberry ❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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