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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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Rear amputation recovery sling?
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Forum Posts: 36
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27 November 2021 - 11:26 am
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I forgot to ask what kind of heat packs did you use? I got conflicting information from the discharge papers & the vet's office on heating packs, so I have been doing a little bit of warm compression w/ towels because I feel like the heating pad that you microwave might be too heavy to put on him? Still not sure, but I need to figure out how to add in more heat. Because I'm so worried about keeping the wound dry that I think I'm under icing. 

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28 November 2021 - 12:59 am
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Update:

Mac is in the ER right now. He had a little bit of ozzing this morning, and I took a pic & emailed it to the vet's office, they said it was normal but to keep an eye out on it. By tonight, it was getting so much worse. Poor baby. This is why he was crying. 

They will be doing a drainage & starting him on antibiotics. It's heartbreaking because we were on day #9 & he was doing so well. I know that w/ every surgery there is a risk of infection, but I can't help but blame myself that i wasn't applying heat, maybe the oozing would have come out sooner. Ugh.

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28 November 2021 - 1:00 pm
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Oh my gosh I'm sorry! But please don't blame yourself. You did everything right, you caught it and that's all that matters. He's getting the care he needs and will have this beat in no time.

Keep us posted OK? We are sending you lots of Tripawd Power!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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28 November 2021 - 4:23 pm
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Oh my gosh, so sorry to hear about this complication. I would NOT beat yourself up though. The heat helps dissipate fluid and swelling, but it wouldn’t have stopped any sort of infection in its tracks. Antibiotics are what he needs, and that’s what you got him! Mac is lucky to have you, and it sounds like you were super attentive and caught this infection right at the beginning. If you’re not already, take photos of the incision everyday. Atticus had intense bruising and swelling, so those pictures were my north star when I noticed something that had me worried. 

When you’re ready to do heat packs: I just microwaved a wet washcloth and put it in a gallon ziplock bag. It was light and easy to mold across his incision. I always put it against my stomach for a minute to make sure it wasn’t too hot. I was doing heat from day 3 on (Atticus never tolerated cold), as often as I could (maybe every hour when I was awake?). I stopped probably day 9, when the swelling was greatly reduced.

To answer your other question, rehab has been SO helpful. Although our surgeon declared Atticus fully “healed,” his muscles at the incision site were so angry. Our case might have been particularly bad because they cut away so much muscle, but he had a lot of spasming and adhesions in his musculature. I could tell that it was causing him pain. At rehab he gets a lot of massage, does aqua treadmill, and other exercises. The first month we are going twice a week, then we will probably go once a month. Beyond the work they are doing in calming his incision area down and keeping him fit, I find it really reassuring to have another set of hands and eyes on him. It’s really tough knowing at some point his cancer will spread. It feels good to have really smart veterinary professionals have their hands on him every week. I know when things start to get ugly, they’ll help us keep him comfortable. 

Virginia




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28 November 2021 - 5:54 pm
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Bummer about the drain, but definitely  something we see around here often.

FWIW, but to ease your mind.  Some Surgeons recommend  icing only.  My Happy Hannah's Surteon didn't  even mention heat.  Also, almost all dogs are sent home with a 7 -10 day supply of antibiotics.  That doesn't appear to ge the case for your sweet. And again, FWIW, the infection  was going to rear it's ugly head sooner or later, regardless  of heat or no heat, ice or no ice.  Had the Vet put him on antibiotics,  that may....or may not have prevented  it.

You should be giving yourself a pat on the back for recognizing that it was an issue to begin with today.  To feel guilty about something completely out of your control is a waste of really good energy. Your energy right now needs to be focused on being positive, upbeat, and confident for your sweet boy. And there is no reason not to feel confident and upbeat and positive. He is getting the care that he needs and the tools necessary to get this handled quickly.

We are all here for you and goving  you a standing ovation for recognizing  the incision  was not acting like it should and getting him into the ER.

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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28 November 2021 - 10:28 pm
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That's what I was thinking, is it sometimes the standard procedure to put dogs on antibiotics right away? He is finally feeling comfortable tonight. 

I was so worried about keeping the incision dry that I didn't know how to apply the heat & figured the first week, just to keep it on the safe side & not have "moist heat". I was honestly terrified that I would mess something up. I've called the vet's office about a hundred times & didn't feel like I could have called them to ask & clarify on yet another thing.

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28 November 2021 - 10:52 pm
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We did a weeklong course of preventative antibiotics after surgery. Looking at the invoice from surgery Atticus also got IV antibiotics while he was hospitalized. 

I understand the feeling of calling the vets office a hundred times- I did it too! I'm sure I was a bit annoying, but I figured I had spent thousands of dollars there so far, they could deal with a few panicky phones calls from me a day. This wasn't like I was some random person calling for free vet advice not wanting to pay for an exam. When I felt like things could wait, I put several questions in an email (and pictures) and they'd email or call me back when they had time. Hopefully you feel like you have a good relationship with your vet practice, and they're not discouraging you from calling or emailing with questions.

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29 November 2021 - 12:42 pm
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I wonder why they decided not to do preventative antibiotics, especially considering that Mac's immune system is compromised because of the cancer.

If we have to go to the oncologist, I think I need to find a different clinic. Most of my interactions w/ them have been strained & I don't know why because I have been nothing but nice. I think they might be stressed because of the pandemic.

Virginia




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29 November 2021 - 3:39 pm
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Glad he's resting  comfortably.  Is he home or still at the clinic? 

Agree 100% with Atticus Mom::

I had spent thousands of dollars there so far, they could deal with a few panicky phones calls from me a day. 

You are his voice and there is no better advocate for him  than you!  Sometimes the Surgeon and the staff are not the best at "bedside manner".  

For now, put all the second guessing aside avout the antibiotics,  the lack of proper instruction,  etc.. It serves no purpose  as far as your well being and yoir ability to focus on all the good things that are now happening for Mac  FWIW this is not the only time we've seen a dog sent home with no antibiotics.    And not feeling comfortable  with this clinic makes things all the more stressful.  

Okay, update when you can.  You are one strong doggy momma!  You and Mac overcome any challenge  thrown your way.  Perfect team!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS. A question you can ask from a place of doggy momma strength and to cover all the bases.   Did they send any fluid off for a culture?  The reason for the question. Is it's the vest way to determine  the specific  antibiotic  needed for the infection.  Nothing  to fet over as it sounds like the antibiotic they are using  is working anyway.  

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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30 November 2021 - 7:38 pm
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Yes, they did send it off! But it is working. Not sure if the drainage is supposed to be on for longer than 3 days but there is less & less fluid in there.

Virginia




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30 November 2021 - 7:51 pm
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YAAAAAY!!!    So glad things are getting better!  Have no idea how long a drain stays in.  Guess each scenario  is on an individual  basis.  You can ask the Vet when they plan on taking  it out.  

Thanks for keeping  us in the loop.  We're cheering for your boy, but you already know that!!!

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



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1 December 2021 - 10:02 am
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Yeah, I'd say the drains are on a case by case basis. It's a really good sign the fluid is decreasing! How is he doing today?

Your sense about the oncology clinic is correct but it's not just the one you picked, and it's not their fault. Things are really tough in veterinary medicine right now. Every vet clinic is strained to the max for many reasons like worker shortage, pandemic pets that got adopted and now need care, health care that got delayed. Much the same as in human med, minus the covid patients. Every vet med worker is feeling stressed, I'm sorry that you feel it too. It's hard when it's your own dog or cat who needs care, but try your best to be gentle with them. A plate of cookies delivered goes a long way! 😉

I hope things are better for Mac today!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 December 2021 - 6:51 pm
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Mac's biopsy came back. It's not cancer. It's just "extreme" inflammation. This breaks my heart because did I make the wrong choice? They are doing further tests for a fungal infection, but I've gotta admit I have lost complete faith in his surgeon.

I feel like I made a quick decision but I did that because I wanted to make sure it wouldn't spread had it been cancer. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 December 2021 - 8:13 pm
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Ok don't panic. Has the vet talked to you about it yet? Inflammation can do a ton of damage, and technically cancer and inflammation go hand-in-hand. Also, many times once a pathology report has different sets of eyes looking at it, they come to different conclusions. 

You did the best you could with the information you were given. How is Mac doing today? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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8 December 2021 - 8:20 pm
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Good points  made by Jerry. Would definitely want second or even third opinions.  

I also saw you made a post under Ask A Vet and will loom for her reply.  Fungal I fections are rare, especially  in certain areas of the country.  Was any treatment offered to keep the infection in check, if that's  what it is?

Extra (((((((hugs)))))))

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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