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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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Post Amputation roller coaster
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Member Since:
20 March 2022
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5 September 2022 - 3:31 pm
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Hi Community.

To make this post short, I have a 6 yo lab, Joaquina that had to have her back right leg amputated. We are one week post op and I don’t know if this has happened to you pet parents but I am feeling like I am regreting the amputation.

Joaquina was ok the first 3 days post op, seemed very playful and happy and even better without her injured leg so I thought “Ok then amputation wasn’t so bad” after those first three days, Joaquina just wants to sleep. She is eating and drinking normally, no vomit, no diarreah, just sleepy as heck. She would walk a bit then just sit down, then just like sit down and lay down again. I would say she would pretty much just stand up for eating, drinking, potty and change places if I am being to annoying to her. She would just have some flashes of being her old self and then back to sleep.

I just called her vet and she says that is normal of her recovery but I am not entirely convinced. How have you guys experience the post op with your doggos?

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 September 2022 - 6:17 pm
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Yes, agree with your Vet, what you have described  is “normal” this early in recovery .

Those first couple of days she still had lots of “extra good” hospital meds in her system.  When they wear off, dogs often have a bit of a “crasjh”.  

This is when tweaking the pain meds helps get her through this part of the recovery. 

Usually  dogs are on Gabapentin, an antiinflmmatory  like Rimady and an antibiotic.  So what dose and frequency  is. Joaquina on now?  How much does she weigh?

Huge plus that she is eating, drinking,  pottying, etc.  and she is mobile so celebrate  those victories!

Right now she needs rest, short potty breaks and more rest.  She just had MAJOR surgery and is adapting  to life on three.  Hoomans would probably  still be in the hospital  on a morphine  drip!

Slow and easy is what you want right now.  Joaquina is doing a very good job of monitoring  her own pace and she knows rest is exactly  what she needs right now. 

Sounds like  she is on track for a good recovery,  just needs to continue to take it slow.  It takes a lot of effort to move on three at first, so taking a few steps then resting  is perfectly  normal. 

We are having some “connection issues” on the site.  So if something  happens and you can’t  get thru, don’t  hesitate  to call the Tripawds Helpline .

Hang in there!  Recovery  doesn’t  last furever, it just feels like it!!

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!

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
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5 September 2022 - 6:54 pm
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She is doing great for one week post op!  Moving on her own, eating and eliminating are all very good signs. I know it’s hard to watch when our pups are not 100% but as Sally said she just had MAJOR surgery.  Very normal around here for a pup to seem to have a set back a few days into recovery.  Learning the new Tripawd gait is exhausting- combine that with the  pain meds and no wonder she is sleeping.  Actually that is the best thing for her now- rest, rest, rest.

And as far as only hopping a couple steps then sitting down- that goes back to her new gait too.  That one back leg is now doing the work of two legs and it will take time for her to build up strength and stamina.  Our surgeon said that Maggie (also a rear amp) was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for the first two weeks post op.

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

Member Since:
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6 September 2022 - 11:52 pm
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Thanks for sharing your concerns and the responses.  My guys had his amp surgery last Monday so we are just finishing his 9th day post op.  We had the same experience where the first 72 hours while still under the vet meds during op and immediate post op.  He was more active and wanted to move.  He is now in that lethargic mode, isn’t eating quite as much (Still eating though) and hasn’t defecated for about 48 hours. I’m hoping he turns the corner in the next few days and the rest pays off.  He will be starting chemo on Thursday, September 15th.

The Rainbow Bridge


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25 April 2007
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7 September 2022 - 11:24 am
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Hi Bruce! I think you just posted about your Shepherd in another topic as a guest? Glad to see you are a registered member.

Sounds like he is on that recovery roller coaster right now. It’s such a fine line between allowing them to start moving around and preventing them from doing too much. What pain control is he on right now? How much, and how often? Yes, R&R makes a big difference.

Not pooping is normal as you know. Making sure he’s hydrated helps, and you can also add some canned pumpkin pulp, metamucil, or olive oil to his food to get things moving.

Member Since:
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7 September 2022 - 1:46 pm
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Hi guys a quick update.

Joaquina is doing sooooo much better, now she is starting to look like her old slef. Thank you Benny and Krun, reading you guys made my mind calm and just allowed me to breathe better for sure.

Bruce I would said definitley be patient with your doggo. It sucks, I know! (tell me about it!) but is just patience patience patience.

Joaquina is on tramadol and pregabalin every 12 hours and has an antibiotic too but no idea the name in English sorry! 

What I’ve noticed is Joaquina’s stump twitches a bit sometimes, I read somewhere in the website that that is normal since muscles are recovering but they do look some what concerning. She is having an appointment to hopefully remover her stitches this Saturday but we are still having a bit of drainage so we’ll see. Her fur is growing again so keeping that wound visible is a bit challenging. She doesn’t seem to mind the manipulation so that’s good.

Bruce I feel you so much, as Benny mentioned it just feels like forever but just patience and you’ll see your doggo pass the corner very very soon. Is just so nerve racking at times to see them all sleepy and uninterested in everything but just remain slow and easy. Hang in there.

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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7 September 2022 - 5:58 pm
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Thanks for the update. So glad you are seeing  Joaquina start to move further away from recovery  and reclaiming  some of  her normalcy…..and it gets better and better!!

Yeah, some “twitching ” is “normal”.  You can trymsome gentle  massaging  around the incision.   I think some people  found warm compresses helped too.  Double check  with the Vet though.  And as long as the drainage  is clear and. not bloody and not smelly.  Your Vet will double check that though.

I know  Joaquina will thoroughly  enjoy having those stitches  out.  And honest to goodness, once than fur grows back you will almost forget she is a tripawd!!

And thanks for chiming in to help give Bruce some reassurance this early on.👍

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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7 September 2022 - 7:04 pm
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YAY Joaquina! I’m so happy stitches are almost out. The drainage should slow down soon. I recall our Jerry’s incision drained at about day 7 of recovery, and didn’t go away for a few more days. 

Yes as Sally mentioned, twitching is normal. As long as it’s not accompanied by pain signals it should not cause her discomfort. Here’s a video of our Wyatt’s stump, which twitched many years past his surgery. He was chasing rabbits in his dream, but you can see the stump moving independently of his other back leg:

Member Since:
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12 October 2022 - 4:37 pm
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Hi community a quick update.

it’s been 1 month and a half since Joaquina Became a three legged doggo. She is better and even got measured to get a wheel chair (?) she was not a candidate for a prosthetic limb because of the way she has her amputation and we were recommended the wheel chair to help prevent dysplasia and for her to better adapt.

Now to the freaking out part. Even though she is way better she still doesn’t go out for long periods 10-15 minutes max. Except for the part when she usually chases a cat  (no harm done to the cat) she is some what kind of resting during the day. She would occasionally bring me her toys to chase her around but then sleep and lay down. She is in no pain meds just supplements (chondroprotectors) but I don’t know if something is going on or if this normal? She is eating perfectly fine going potty fine so I don’t know.

another freaking out: on the side where she had her leg amputated (rear right leg) one of her inguinal nodes is huuuuge. I noticed it when I last took her to the vet and mentioned it (at the time it wasn’t that big) and her vet said to keep an eye, now is big. I went to dr Google (I know I know ) and freaked myself out about the possibility of lymphoma. She has a follow up visit this Saturday, her vet what’s to see how she is doing and if it’s time to go back to physical therapy, probably get a shot of hyaluronic acid and just overall see how she is. I have to tell you that when she got her leg removed the vet also went and removed the lymph nodes on her butt on the right side because they were inflamed and kind of calcified. A previous study showed there was no malignancy going on just inflammation due to the reaction of her bone that started creating more bone and we ended up having to take the leg out.

keep you posted and I’ll try not to freak out.

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
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13 October 2022 - 11:59 am
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Hey it’s good to hear from you! 

When you say she doesn’t go out for long periods, do you mean go out walking? using her wheels? Or that she doesn’t want to go out at all?

OK I have no idea about the lump but that could be anything and hopefully nothing. Is it hard? Squishy? Fluid-like? 

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14 October 2022 - 3:21 pm
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Hi Jerry,

joaquina is getting her wheels today! I feel so silly because I come in here to tell you my panicking and then a day after she is all well. I’ve noticed some days she is more active than others I wonder if this is because she is still getting used to things? 
on the lump, is huge and hard and movable and freaking me out tomorrow she has the vet appointment she doesn’t seem to mind when we press it or touch it and otherwise she is fine eating and doing all her Joaquina stuff

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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14 October 2022 - 9:12 pm
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Yeah, feeling all perky one day and not quite as much the next isnt at  all that unusual.  Adjusting  to three even a month out, can still be tiring,  Odly enough, a tripawd learns very quickly all the “benefits” that come along…..more spoiling…. more tummy rubs….non stop attention.   So the need to go out on long walks isn’t  quite as important  on some days when  instead they can be by their hoomans side just chillin’ and getting petted.

TRY not to worry about that big ole’ lump.  Joaquina’s eating and feeling good and continues to get better and better.. 

Hugs 

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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15 October 2022 - 1:25 pm
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I agree, we all have our up days and down days so try not to panic. I hope her wheels introduction went well! Keep us posted.

Oh and as for the lump, that could be anything and hopefully nothing. There’s not a lot you can tell by feeling it, I was just curious. Try not to let it freak you out, usually we imagine way worse than reality.

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24 October 2022 - 10:11 am
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Hi tripawd family.

joaquina had an echo and to the surprise of the vet it appears is a mineral based mass. The vet punctured it to send it to pathology but the results will take a bit for what we were told. I mean I think (obviously I am not a vet) it will have to come out but they just want to check. The odd thing is that is on the side of her leg that started with the bone crazy growth so who knows just waiting and the wait is killing me!!! 
On other news Joaquina doesn’t seem to like her wheels that much I think she kind of got used to the hoping and finds the wheels weird. I figured we have to keep training on the wheels and maybe she’ll adapt? 
keep you guys posted

The Rainbow Bridge


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24 October 2022 - 10:47 pm
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Joaquina loves keeping you on your toes! So by mineral based it’s some kind of bone tumor? I hope it’s easier than that to deal with!

Wheels can take time for some dogs, they really do get used to hopping. It’s your job to convince her she will be happier with wheels but that’ll take time and tons of love and treats. You should only be using it for a few minutes at a time each day, say 5 if she’s reluctant. What does her training look like?

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