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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Puppy With MST and amputation
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Member Since:
16 June 2016
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19 June 2016 - 8:32 am
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Hi everyone, we just joined! Our 1 year old puppy was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor in his left hind leg on Tuesday, had a consult on Thursday when we found out he had to lose his leg, and had surgery Friday. Needless to say, this has been a whirlwind. Just wondering if anyone had tips for icing? He dealt with the ice okay after the hospital, but we tried to ice him this morning and he screamed and jumped up. Never been so anxious or scared that he was gonna hurt himself.

Livermore, CA




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18 October 2009
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19 June 2016 - 11:38 am
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for moderation.

I'm sorry your pup is dealing with cancer, and so young!  In my experience mast cell usually shows up in older pups.

Is his name Ollie? What kind of pup?

My Tri-pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to a MCT, you can read her story and about her amp and chemo treatments if you are interested, the links are in my signature below.

On icing- what are you using?  Do you think he is reacting to the cold or the pressure on his incision? You want to be sure you have a towel or something between the skin and the ice. When I was icing my quad pug Obie's knees after surgery I used those gel type ice packs (I'm an old jock with lots of aches and pains so have several on hand!).  I would start with the ice back barely touching his leg and then move it in if he seemed comfortable.  Also treats were liberally dispensed!

How is his pain otherwise?  What meds is he on?

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:
14 February 2016
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19 June 2016 - 3:03 pm
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My Otis seemed uncomfortable with ice packs (we used frozen peas wrapped in a towel), so I just stopped.  Tess was the same after her knee surgery.  I ended up letting them each be the guide.  Of course, I am not a vet - but not icing did not seem to hinder Otis' progress.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.



Member Since:
27 July 2014
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19 June 2016 - 4:11 pm
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Sorry to hear your dog had to deal with this so early in life.

Icing is generally used for inflammation. I used a cold damp facecloth on my cat's incision after her amputation. She loved it and I could even feel her pressing into me. She even started sleeping on a tile floor on her incision side, probably because it was cool. I agree with others, let your puppy be your guide.

I suspect it was a reaction to pain since you've already used ice. If it happens again you might want to phone the vet and review the pain meds. 

Let us know how it goes because others might have some ideas.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Minneapolis, MN
Member Since:
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19 June 2016 - 4:24 pm
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What a shock for you with your very young pup!  So sorry you and Ollie are facing this!

I did do some icing for the first few days - I had an ice gel pack from a meal delivery service that I kept in the fridge and then wrapped in a super thin microfiber towel to put on Pofi's incision.  It was not frozen, but very cold.  Softer than ice since it has a gel filling.  

Ollie might have been startled by the cold if it wasn't wrapped or it could be pressure/pain.

Big fan here of making sure pain is well managed - we were on three pain meds before and after surgery because Pofi's was a nerve sheath tumor and very painful.  He was on Tramadol 3  x daily, Rimadyl 2 x daily, and Gabapentin 3 x daily (plus an antibiotic).  I know this was a whirlwind for your, but do talk to your vet tomorrow if there is more indication of pain.  Arm yourself with the different pain relief options - those three meds operate differently.  Tramadol on the brain, Rimadyl on the inflammation and Gabapentin on the nerves.  

Best thoughts for Ollie - let us know how he gets on!

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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19 June 2016 - 8:23 pm
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Thank you all so much!! Right after I wrote this post, I decided to send our vet a photo, and one of the surgeons who worked on Oliver asked us to come in because she didn't like the look of his swelling. Turns out, everything is fine. His incision is healing nicely, but gravity is doing the job and there is some swelling around his pelvic area. He's going #1 just fine (still hasn't gone #2, surgery was Friday afternoon, but I'm told this is normal). Oliver is a pointer/greyhound mix, by the way, so very athletic and active. It'll be interesting to see how he adapts.

Just as you all mentioned, our vet told us the icing isn't critical, so if he's uncomfortable, just stop.  We had been using a bag of frozen blueberries with a dishtowel over it. He is on Tramadol every 6-8 hours, Rimadyl once every 12 hours, Gabapentin once every 8-12 hours, an antibiotic, pepcid, prilosec, and benadryl.  He's just a bit anxious, if you go anywhere near it, try to pick him up, etc. It's very heart wrenching for us... especially since we were foster fails. He's our first pup, we got him at 3 months old, and he's like our baby. It's very comforting to see that others have gone through it, but I also get sad for Oliver that he didn't get more time just be a kid. 

Thank you all for the help and the support!!

Member Since:
27 May 2016
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20 June 2016 - 7:18 am
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Sadie took about four days to do #2. I did give her a couple spoonfuls of plain canned pumpkin with her food, which is high in water and fiber, so can help move things along. (Check the ingredients on the can and make sure it's just pumpkin. You don't want to give them the kind with spices). 

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20 June 2016 - 11:41 am
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Thanks for the tip, Terrie. I'm happy to report that Oliver finally went #2 this afternoon, on day 3, and I've never been more happy to pick up after him 😀

Otherwise, he seems to be doing well during the day, but has trouble sleeping at night more than 2 hours, before he tries to get up and starts screaming. So, we usually take him out for a walk around the block, and he has peed every time, and he comes back and falls back asleep every time. It's so crazy that he stays asleep during the day though. way-confusedHave any of you had this problem?

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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20 June 2016 - 1:15 pm
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Hoppy Poopy Dance for Oliver!  poopicon_pngSounds like you are on a good combination of meds, but perhaps talk to the vet about the screaming.   It may be that you need to adjust the dosage.   It also could be that a staple is poking him.   And, many members see a bit of a crash at days 3 - 5 once the hospital meds wear off.   I was famous for posting between 2:00 a.m. - 3:30 a.m. during Otis' recovery, because we were almost always up then.  (And in fact, a portion of my family now seems to expect breakfast at 3:00 a.m. - Otis is now the only one who stays in bed then!).

At times, Otis would yip when Tess walked by him, even though she did not touch him.   I think he might have been flinching and feeling pain. Most dogs really perk up when the staples come out (about day 10), and you are still very early in the recovery process.   Make sure that he is not doing too much activity - we did not start walking, other than short leashed potty breaks, until close to 1 month post-amp (although Oliver is much younger than Otis).   Have you got a harness?   I love the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness (see the gear blog for photos) - I think a rear legger can use it right away.   I know that some members have left the harness on both to help them assist the dog gently and to make the dog feel more secure.   Just an idea.   Obviously, would depend upon whether Oliver likes the harness.  

Some of the reaction you are seeing might also be the meds - Otis never had a problem, but some members have seen anxiety and other weird symptoms with tramadol.   Again, might want to touch base with the vet.  You will get to the end of this tunnel - just hang in there.   And you will be amazed at how well he does once the staples come out, and you are able to taper off the meds (but taper only with your vet's instruction!). 

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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16 June 2016
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20 June 2016 - 1:53 pm
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Otisandtess-

Your post brought me to tears. I am so looking forward to July 6 when his staples come off. Dumb July 4 weekend delays us a little bit there (I'm sure I'll like next year's July 4 weekend much better). We have been eyeing up that harness actually, and I think we may purchase it. Right now, he walks on a front lead harness, but it also has a hook on the top, which has come on handy. We've been leaving it on most of the time, because when he jumps up screaming, it helps to have something to hold onto.

I'm just really glad to hear this isn't completely abnormal. The vet looked at his incision yesterday, so I don't think it's a staple poking him. She did tell us that he got really anxious though. And he even gets super anxious when you're *about* to cut his nails. It takes 3 vet techs to do it. So, I think it's mostly the anticipation.

We also talked to our vet about the dosage. She said we need to find the "sweet" spot for Oliver and that giving him a half of Tramadol may help with the whining he was experiencing the first night post-amp. We have been told that we have leeway with the pain killers. Every 6-8 hours for the Tram and every 8-12 for the gabapentin. We've been giving half doses when necessary and writing everything down and monitoring it closely. It's just so odd that he jumps up screaming, but as soon as he does that, we put the leash on and take him outside for a potty break and he goes.

Thank you again for the kind words and the ideas. I'm so grateful for this site!

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20 June 2016 - 2:05 pm
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I was also given a lot of leeway with the tramadol - for a while, I was splitting his three pill dosage into 1 + 2 an hour later to prevent a "crash" every 8 hours when the 3 pills given together wore off.   Keeping a log book is a great idea.   We did the same, and it is really helpful when you are sleep deprived, and especially if there are two of you giving meds.  While I am sure that the screaming is hard to handle, my guess is that it will wear off fairly soon.   (And staples can poke even though there is nothing visually wrong with them - he may just be tensing up his muscles under/near the incision).   And I gave up on trying to cut Otis' nails years ago - that is something that happens in the back of the vet office when we go in for our check-ups.   (And the oncologlist has even been kind enough to help with that too).   Just out of curiosity - what time does he eat dinner and do his bedtime pee?   You might also want to try to move dinner and pee back, so that he has a fuller tummy at bedtime.   Perhaps he will sleep more deeply?  Or give him a small snack before bedtime?  If you log it, you can experiment a bit with what works.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Livermore, CA




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20 June 2016 - 2:26 pm
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You are being a great advocate for Oliver!  Balancing the pain meds is one of the hardest things to do post op.  His sleeping is a good thing, it's letting his body heal. The pain meds can make him sleepy as well.  Tram is a tricky one, I've had 3 dogs take it with no side effects, but when Tripug Maggie took it later in life she got very agitated and wouldn't sleep.

I adopted my current tripawd Elly when she was 10 months old.  She is a small pug mix who was hit by a car at 7 months old, her right femur could not be repaired.  She is nearly 11 months post amputation now (and 18 months old) so has been a tripawd most of her young life, it is really the only life she knows.  She is a normal, active, sometimes mischievous puppy who has lots of energy to burn.  I am thankful that she has some pug in her otherwise I don't think I could keep up with her!  I work with Elly every day on her core strength though food puzzles, games and obedience practice.  We have done three classes so far, I have her signed up for another one next month.  I have a blog started for her if you want to check out some of our activities.

When will you get the path report back on the tumor?

Your bond will just grow stronger with Ollie as he heals and gets on with his life and shows you that being on three is no big deal!

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

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20 June 2016 - 6:27 pm
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You all are so kind, and although I keep crying when I read your posts, you are truly making me feel better and less helpless, so thank you so much. 

Hes been eating pretty early, because I haven't wanted to wake him up to eat later, so I will experiment tonight with giving him some scrambled eggs when he gets his 10PM dosage of meds. Thanks for letting me know about the staples. He let out the WORST cry tonight. My 8 year old nephew is staying with us for 2 weeks for a summer camp in DC, and unfortunately it coincides with this. When Jack got home from camp today, Ollie hopped up and then screamed loudly and for nearly 15 seconds. We took him out for a walk after, and he was perfectly normal. I really hope the screaming goes away soon!

Krun, thank you for the blog link. I will definitely look into it, as Oliver is an extremely active breed and I know we plan to do plenty of core activities with him. I must admit that when I read about how Elly loves a normal, active life, I really started to cry. It makes me so happy to know that Oliver will too.

At the earliest, we will get the path results back on Friday, but it can take anywhere from 5-10 business days. Fingers and paws crossed that it's low grade and this was the biggest hurdle he had to jump.

Michigan
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2 April 2013
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20 June 2016 - 8:14 pm
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You've gotten tons of great advice already!  It sounds like you're doing everything right smiley Breathe, it will get better!  Remember that you did this FOR Oliver, not TO him.  With Murphy, we also use the Ruffwear harness and love it!   He had his front leg removed due to a different type of bone cancer, so the handle on the top makes it easier to get him in & out of the car easier.  Since Oliver is a rear amp, you should be able to use it right away, as long as it doesn't hit the incision site.  I've cooked up eggs a few times for Murphy lol.  He didn't want to eat much the first couple of weeks after his surgery, so I cooked some rice and poured chicken broth over it, then added some chunks of chicken.  This first couple of weeks or so are the hardest, but you're getting there.

We'll be here for you if you need anything at all!

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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20 June 2016 - 9:15 pm
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Thanks, Donna! We just ordered the harness tonight. That rice and chicken diet sounds like something he would love. He has an appetite for the good stuff, but not for his dog food. He also loves fighting us on lying down, that's our new battle... Guiding him to sleep properly. It's only day 3 and we are running on fumes from hardly sleeping, but we are SO looking forward to a few weeks from now.

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