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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Hello all. What a great resource this has been. My 8 yo Bernese Mtn Dog was recently diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma of her right rear leg. After much thought, she had her leg amputated 3 days ago. I’ve been reading several posts so I was well aware of what to expect. Currently she’s on Gabapentin, Tramadol and Deramaxx for pain. She was on a Fentanyl patch for pain while at the vets but is no longer using this for pain control. She seems comfortable which I am most happy about. I realize that some of these medications can cause dogs to not want to eat or cause nausea/vomiting. I have given her Zofran (for nausea) and even Pepcid as I know she does not tolerate pain meds well (due to experience with a previous surgery). She has had zero appetite which initially I understand however feel like she should have something in her system while she is taking her meds as she might tolerate them better. I have tried rice, chicken and even soft food. She has no desire for anything. What have you all done to help with their appetite? When did their appetite come back? Please let me know. Thanks again for such a wonderful community during this difficult time.
25 April 2007
Hi and welcome! I’m glad you found us and have received lots of info here. We’ll try to help now as well. What’s your doggie’s name?
It sounds like you’re doing everything that should be done for recuperation. With all those pain meds (which are great, your vet is following standard protocols), you’re right, the meds DO decrease appetite. Every dog is different in what helps them get motivated to eat again, but here’s a couple of blog posts that may give you some ideas.
I hope this helps. Let us know what works for your girl OK?
15 December 2015
Hi there and welcome! Is she drinking okay? What about peeing and pooping? This is very early days and loss of appetite is not at all uncommon. Can I just check you’re not mixing the tramadol in with her food (as I did…). Tramadol is extremely bitter and that would certainly put her off eating. (For giving meds, I used liver paté. Stick the pill in a blob of pate and down it goes). My Meg did not lose her appetite, so I’m really just sharing what I’ve heard from others, who I’m sure will chime in with their own experience soon. Sometimes people mix chicken broth in with the drinking water, or Sally favours a swirl of ice cream. Some people have tried baby food, burgers, scrambled eggs, ice cream. Literally whatever she will eat. Stay tuned. As i say, this is a very common issue and I’m sure others will have further suggestions.
Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx
Meg, Mutt, aged around 12, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie My life as a MEG-A-STAR
23 February 2010
Hi and Welcome!
My kid (great dane) just had his amp 2 days ago. He is on fentanyl and gabapentin. I discovered that he will only show any real interest (in bacon sandwiches from starbucks) about an hour after I give him the gaba, so that is what he is currently getting just to make sure he has something in his stomach. He only eats a bite or two and then is done for the day, but at least it’s something. His past surgeries, he wouldn’t eat for the longest time until we tried him on an appetite stimulant (famotidine), which got him to eating a little peanut butter here and there. Then he graduated to small pieces of rotisserie chicken. It really is a case of ‘anything you can get her to eat’. I’d chat with your vet about it, but as long as your pup is drinking water, you’re still in the nebulous area of ‘how long is too long to go without eating’. Astro managed 5-6 days, which is when we put him on the famotidine. Keep trying different things, she may surprise you! Keep us posted!
Kat and Astro
18 October 2009
Hello and welcome.
Is she nauseous or are you assuming since she isn’t eating? You might try some more stinky offerings if her tummy can tolerate it. My dogs love anything with tuna water added, you might also try the tuna. Tuna water is also good if she doesn’t want to drink plain water. As Kerren suggested canned cat food is a treat for most dogs. Maybe something with bacon added for scent and flavor.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
2 April 2013
Murphy gave us a hard time eating, too. I cooked rice then poured some chicken broth over it…after a few days I added some chunks of chicken to it. He took that pretty well. We slowly added his food back in.
The 1st 2 weeks after surgery are the hardest, and since she’s a big girl, it might take a little longer for her. And it’s definitely a roller coaster – just when things are looking better, down you go again! But it does get better.
Murphy also had histiocytic sarcoma – it was in his right front leg, just above his elbow. The lymph node they removed was also positive. It was CD18+, which is a marker they use, so he received 6 doses of CCNU, which is an oral chemo. He had to be on denamarin daily to protect his liver during his treatment. He tolerated all of it very well. Next month will be 4 years since he was first diagnosed, and April will be 4 years since his surgery. He has some days where he’s achy and slower, but for the most part he’s doing fabulous!!!! He chases squirrels (which is why he gets his achy days! lol) and eats every day, rolls around, plays, enjoys the outside weather and is just his normal goofy self.
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
25 April 2007
Here are a couple more links that may help…
Use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’ll find more helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here .
To all of you that have responded- Nyla (my Bernese Mountain Dog) and I am sending a big THANK YOU to everyone. What a wealth of information. I can’t get over how helpful this has been. Nyla was taking her sweet old time to start eating again and then started to vomit bile 5 days after her rear amputation. I knew it was those darn pain meds but it’s a fine line between making her comfortable with her pain and her eating! Her surgeon wanted to see her just to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious so off to the vet we went. She got an injection of Cerenia which has helped wonders. For whatever reason, the Zofran + Pepcid combo wasn’t doing the trick prior to this. After trying chicken stock, soft dog food, bacon, eggs, homemade treats, rice, chicken etc…. the last suggestion the vet had was what another user had posted. To my surprise she suggested soft, stinky cat food and she gave it to Nyla at the vet office. She gobbled that up as fast as she could and we were all laughing and I was nearly crying of relief! I have really tried to cut out the Tramadol as I know this doesn’t agree with her so now she is just on Gabapentin and Deramaxx. She seems to be quite comfortable with this combination. She was drinking plenty of water during this post op period so I haven’t had to worry about that. She had a huge turnaround and today (post op day #6) without any assistance from me she walked in the backyard and pooped. Again, another happy dance! I know every dog is different but how long did most of your dogs need to stay on pain medication?
A little background information on Nyla just so everyone knows about her as I’m sure I’ll be posting again:
Nyla is a VERY active 8 year old Bernese Mountain Dog- not your typical couch potato of a big dog! She grew up in Vermont and has spent her life skiing in the mountains with me and hiking in the Adirondacks. She does not realize she is a bigger dog and is as active as they come. She tore her ACL two years ago and ended up having a TPLO which she did great with. We were back skiing and hiking and things had been absolutely great up until two months ago when she started limping in her back leg. I didn’t think much of it as she had been chasing squirrels and thought she overdid it. I eventually went to my local vet who took X-rays and did bloodwork which all looked good. She was put on Deramaxx and this seemed to help quite a bit initially however then it stopped working. My local vet wasn’t sure what it was however I had concerns about cancer given my girls breed. I took her back to the surgeon who did the TPLO. He found a mass near her TPLO which he biopsied and then sent that for further testing. It was confirmed to be histiocytic sarcoma. Chest X-rays and ultrasound of belly do not show any mets- thank goodness. I had a very tough decision regarding the amputation however, after having a second opinion everyone agreed that at this point this appears to be localized to the leg only. I work in human medicine so I know everything is not always as it appears and cancer can be a funny disease process and do what it wants. The point being, with the information I had now, things looked good and since she was an active and otherwise healthy 8 year old I decided to go ahead with the amputation. If nothing else, I just wanted pain relief for my dog as she hasn’t been able to bear weight on this leg prior to her surgery….if it buys her more time with me then that is a bonus that I will be more than happy about. I’m hoping that once she gets the swing of things on 3 legs that she can return to being a therapy dog and going back to nursing homes! We’ll be meeting with the oncologist in two weeks to see what their thoughts are on chemo. I’ll keep you all posted. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you ……
Michelle and Nyla
21 May 2016
Hi Michelle and Nyla 🌹🐶
Eurydice is also a big girl and had her surgery 8 1/2 months ago.
Nyla has the temperament to go through this with flying colours and you have a wonderfully pawsitive atitude 😊
I am so glad to hear she is eating again and has pooped 💩 good progress 👍🏼
Soon she should be going back to her teraphy dawg duties ☺️ she will pass a stronger than ever message, showing everybody how life can be great on 3!
Sending you a big hug and cuddles to your sweetie 😘😘😘😘💞🐶
Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-)
9 January 2017
Hi Michelle and Nyla!
Sounds like Nyla is doing great and you’re both getting it all figured out! Regarding your question about pain meds, our pup Aspen is now 17 days post amp, so we’re going through this now. The tramadol was making him anxious and really pant-y – he seemed uncomfortable on it. I had been dosing him 3x day, but on day 8 post-op, I cut him back to 2x a day, and day 9 or 10, I talked to the vet and she told me to cut the Tramadol all together if it’s not helping, so I did. And he did great! He was getting 2 gabapentin 2x a day and 1 Rimadyl 2x day (same as Dermaxx I think – anti-inflammatory). He’s now 17 days post amp and they told me I can start tapering down the Gabapentin to 1 pill 2x day for a week, and then 1 pill 1x day for the next week. Rimadyl as needed.
It’s nice to get them off the heavy meds and see their sparkle come back!
-Lauren & Aspen