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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Recovery setback almost 3 weeks post amp
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Forum Posts: 4
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2 October 2016 - 5:40 pm
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Hi everyone!

I’ve been lurking through the forums and reading so much and what an incredible community of support and love! I’ve been wanting to post since I found out about this site, but kept hesitating thinking I could just handle this on my own, but now I realize how silly that is. 

***DISCLAIMER – NOVEL LENGTH POST TO FOLLOW***

My baby girl, Peach(5 y/o pit), will be 3 weeks post right rear amp on a Tuesday. She started limping in the beginning of July, seemed to get better on a course of anti-inflammatories, limping returned, vet did x-rays and diagnosed her with a CCL tear. I called the surgeon immediately after her visit with the vet and was able to get in the next day, ready for the TPLO surgery. During my visit I was in complete shock when the surgeon said her knees were perfect, but she noticed a spot on her hip and prescribed her “light duty” for 6 weeks, tramadol, and Novox(Rimadyl) to rule out an injury that may not have had time to heal properly. She also mentioned that there was a chance it could be osteosarcoma. Cue the waterworks. I was not anticipating that at all.

6 weeks went by and there was no improvement, repeat X-rays were taken at her follow-up appointment and the doctor confirmed that it was definitely osteosarcoma and her leg would need to be amputated. This was on Friday, September 9th and I scheduled her surgery as soon as I could on September 13th. Surgery went well, her right hind leg was amputated and she had a partial pelvectomy as well. No lung mets, no elevated liver issues, no extreme loss of blood, all blood work was normal. Despite the cancer, she’s a very healthy girl! 

I was able to bring her home on Thursday, the 14th and she was taking Gabapentin, Rimadyl, and Tramadol. She was definitely groggy and mostly out of it, but there were tail wags and she did very well on her potty walks and had no issues using the bathroom. I felt like that sparkle was coming back. Over the course of the past week though I feel like she’s really regressed. She has been off of her meds and has been incredibly lethargic and has no interest in anything she once did. She is eating with encouragement from me(start by hand feeding and then she will eat on her own) and drinking, but she barely moves. I have to carry her outside so that she will use the bathroom(stool/urine is normal), but for the most part she just seems lifeless and it has been so difficult for me to deal with.  I have been keeping a positive attitude with her since I know animals are intuitive, but she is so disinterested and will not even look in my direction when her name is called.

Her surgeon called this past Thursday, the 29th, with her biopsy results(moderately aggressive osteosarcoma) and when I told her how she had been acting she said that was a little abnormal, and reviewed her bloodwork, X-rays, and basically her entire file to confirm that there were no issues(which there weren’t) and asked me to send pictures of the wound to her as well as her temperature and if she thought anything was wrong she would have her come in on Friday. Her temp was normal and she said the wound looked a little sore and advised me to do warm compresses(which I’ve been doing since then a few times a day). 

There has been no change and it seems like she’s regressing. I’m not really sure what to do. She whimpered a little today when I lifted her so I imagine there must be pain which she is now feeling more intensely because of being off the meds. I know that all dogs are different and the recovery period can vary, but I’m so concerned that maybe there is something else seriously wrong. 

I guess I’m looking for anyone who has maybe had a similar experience to calm my nerves, or some advice on what I should do. My surgeon is out next week for a conference  which is why Peach’s sutures come out the following Monday, October 10th. I hate to see her like this and it’s breaking my heart. I’m thinking I should call her regular vet tomorrow to see if there’s any guidance they can offer, but I wanted to sound off with all my fellow tripawd moms and dads for support and wisdom. Thank you all for lending me your eyes and ears. 

Love from Christen & Peachheart

Livermore, CA




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2 October 2016 - 7:42 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with cancer, I’m very glad you stopped ‘lurking’!

If you are sure the incision is OK then based on how she is acting it may be she needs a little more time on pain meds. Most pups are off meds at the two week mark but some need them a little longer.  How active was she before she went off the meds?  New tripawds burn up a ton of energy and they tend to get sore while learning new balance and using muscles differently.  She also had a more invasive surgery then ‘usual’ rear amps, so that may be a factor in her pain level as well.

Or- is she a sensitive or ‘set in her ways’ type of pup? My pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to mast cell cancer.  She was hopping the day of surgery and had no medical issues during her recovery.  But Mag had always been stubborn and set in her ways and did not tolerate change well at all.  It took 6 weeks before she would play with me again…I was sure for most of those 6 weeks that I had made a terrible mistake.

One other thought- did she slip or fall at all?  Most new Tripawds fall at some point.  Can you pinpoint a sore spot anywhere, maybe on a leg or her back.

Hang in there and keep talking to your vet.

Karen and Spirit Maggie

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




Forum Posts: 19692
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2 October 2016 - 8:31 pm
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And PEACH is a beautiful pea h of a girl! Her avatar shows such aa sweet a dd pretty girl!

Karen has covered all the bases. I know you have your ha ds full, but try and respond when you can.

I will add one more question. Did the “regression” start after she stipped her pain meds? Is she off of everything??

My Happy Hannah needed her pain meds for tnree weeks. Some dogs need them even longer than that. Do you still jave Tramadol, Rimadyl and Gabapentin? After speaking with your regular vet, he may prescribe the proper dose of pain meds. For reassurance, he may ask you to bring her in to just check her over.

Oh,and are you able to take her temperature just to eliminate any fever?

Even though you have to coax her, she is eating and that’s good! Drinking, pooping and peeing okay?

And yeah, check for any “soreness” by massaging up and down her spine, her neck, her shoulders, znd very, very gently around her incision. Does she “flinch” or tense up at any point?

And goodness gracious…DO NOT TRY THIS JOURNEY ALONE!! The ups a d downs of recovery are pretty darn stressful, not to mention the intensity kf getting to this poi t! If you’re like most of us, you probably are mentally and physically exhausted!! Making yourself available for first hand information and support from those who understand like no others can transforms you into a powerful advocate for Peach! 🙂

We’ll be looking for your update AND pictures of cutie Peach!!

Love and 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!

Virginia




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2 October 2016 - 8:33 pm
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Oh..I see you’ve alreq taken her temp.

When she whimpered were you anywhere near her incision site? Try gentle, very gente stretches and massaging before lifting her next time.

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!

Minneapolis, MN
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2 October 2016 - 11:20 pm
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Hello  – and I am sorry you have to be here.  It really does sound as if surgery went quite well and as if she was off to a good start.  To me, and I really only have our own experience to go by, it seems early yet from to be off of all pain meds.  

After two weeks post op we did start tapering off, but that process lasted another two weeks.  Our surgeon and all of our vets were of the firm opinion there was no reason to be conservative on pain meds – that grogginess was fine as they should be taking it easy anyhow and that pain really serves no purpose.  So we were still taking all three of the meds (Tramadol, Gabapentin and Rimadyl) in week three, but starting to cut back on frequency for Tramadol (only 2 x a day) and dosage for the Gabapentin (200 mg 3 x a day instead of 300 mg).  And through week three we backed down to just half the original dosage of Tramadol and stopped the Rimadyl.  By week 4, it was only the Gabapentin, but now 200 mg just twice daily and through the week we stopped Tramadol and went down to 100 mg of Gabapentin 2 x daily and then nothing.  Our surgeon felt it was important to step down the Gabapentin very gradually.

Sending good thoughts your way for Peach.

heart

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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3 October 2016 - 4:28 pm
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30 years old and this is my first time posting in any sort of forum. Posting from my phone too so hopefully this looks on on your end! I wanted to reply to everyone earlier today, but unfortunately do not get cell service in my building and the site is blocked at work. UGH. 

I was able to read through all of your responses though and THANK YOU all for your thoughtful comments and for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with me. You all helped ease my mind so I called my vet this morning and was able to get her in for an appointment this afternoon. Everyone at the office was so kind and loving and she was definitely perky when she got inside, tail wags and plenty of kisses. Her vet examined her and said that there was some swelling and, since not only was her leg removed, but a part of her pelvis too, it was a little more intense than a standard limb amputation. Although, let’s be real, any amputation or procedure our babies need is definitely intense! She was prescribed more Tramadol, anti-inflammatories, and an antibiotic to help prevent any infection. She has this swollen “pooch” area under her incision and the vet said this isn’t uncommon and can take some time to heal. She also got her vaccinations and a laser treatment. Have any of you tried the laser before? I don’t know if this falls into the realm of “pseudo science” but I figured if it helps to relieve some pain, even if only the tiniest bit, then it’s worth a shot.

I can’t thank you all enough for your help and support through this! You really helped solidify my decision to make a call today and I’m glad I got her in. 

I hope I answered some of your questions, although I will admit, I need to get a laptop to make it much easier to view/respond because doing this on my phone is difficult and I don’t want to blow anyone off. I’m basically the least tech savvy 30 year old on the planet. Here’s a pic of Peach 2 Days post-op

love to you all from me and her! I will keep you updated on her progress. heartheart

Virginia




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3 October 2016 - 4:44 pm
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Good, glad you got some reassurance! And isu it funny how dogs seem to “perk up” in front of the Vet??’tpThey can be so silly sometimes!

Hopefully you’ll see her be a bit more comfy now that she’s back on pain meds. Fluid no longer has that “extra” leg to go to, so it’s going anywhere it can until it is eventually reabsorbed. The swelling will go down.

I did not do laser therapy with my Happy Hannah, but I know others here have. It’s supposed to help with the healing bringing about better circulation to the incision site.

And goodness gracious, you are very techie savvy compared to me!!! Plus you type well too! I have a tavlet and it’s hard to type correctly on the keyboard…well…add a whole lot of user error and typing incompetence!

Let us know how Peach is doing!

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!

Minneapolis, MN
Forum Posts: 698
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3 October 2016 - 7:00 pm
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Glad you saw the vet and glad there is more pain relief on board for Peach.  She doesn’t need to be a hero!!!  

I’m sure with a little extra pain management and the antibiotic, she will be feeling much better very soon.

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

Michigan
Forum Posts: 1448
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3 October 2016 - 7:54 pm
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If she’s already 3 weeks post-op, her sutures should probably already be out.  I realize your surgeon is out of town – for us, our surgeon was 1.5 hours away, so our regular vet took Murphy’s staples out for us.  They did a good job of coordinating care between them for us.

We haven’t tried the laser treatments, but it does seem like it’s getting more popular in many ways.  I would say that anything that will help is a good thing!  Also, try some massage – down her back & her other legs.  Murphy’s a front leg amp, but his back & back legs get tight & sore from walking differently and using different muscles from before.

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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3 October 2016 - 7:58 pm
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Hi,

Sorry to hear you’re dealing with osteosarcoma.  Cancer sucks. But glad you found this group. These people were my lifeline for weeks.  

Milo is now almost 10 weeks post amputation. He’s doing great from a 3-legged point of view. Unfortunately, he has an extremely rare, extremely aggressive form of cancer (giant cell rich, multi-nucleated, only documented once in a dog), so we’re in the end game.  But that part isn’t relevant to the amputation. 

Milo was on meds at some level for 32 or 35 days!  Yes — a long time.  In our case, we found Pofi and Lisa were a good match for us, regarding size and meds.  When Milo struggled on weekends, we’d look to what they did for guidance. Even though Milo had his amputation at a world class teaching hospital (Tufts University), I believe there is more cumulative knowledge here than even there! We chose not to fear the meds.  We figured the chances of him becoming an opioid addict were slim, and given he only had three legs, it wasn’t going to be easy for him to thumb a ride to the city for a hit.  Milo rode Tramadol and gabapentin a long ways.

We had two definite set backs that worried me.  You could probably find my posts. The first around Day 10ish, the second around day 20ish.  Hindsight, both were due to tightness and aches and pains. In one case we spooled the drugs way back up, and it didn’t help because he had been sedentary for enough days that he was just tight. A long day at the University and lots of walking actually got him over the hump. The second lull just required a few days of an NSAID and movement and he was good to go.  Since then we’ve tried to get him to do a loop around the house each morning, doing cookie stretches along the way (Found on this site — hold treat at each hip, above, and below to make him stretch) and sit-stands (like squats for people.)  The activity was good as was the mental challenge of training again.

Maybe Peach needs a few days with an NSAID and some special massage and stretching, sort of like when we need ibuprofen and yoga, and her own yoga equivalent with cookie stretches and sit-stands.  

We recently had Milo see a chiropractor.  I know, doggie chiropractor sounds crazy. But it was amazing. First visit helped a bit.  Second visit a week later and he’s had no obvious physical pain or kinks since.  The sound when she realigned his back left pelvis was incredible,  (he’s front left amputee.)  The cost was $72 per visit – more money, but probably some of the best spent given all the money spent so far and the actual benefit! 

I rambled long again.  Sorry.  But, yes, we had setbacks, and the key for Milo was activity that helped him stretch.  Good luck.

Peace,

Jenifer & Milo

Virginia




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3 October 2016 - 8:04 pm
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Great feedback Jennifer! And glad .ilo didn’t have to hitch a ride to get a “fix”way-cool Really glad the Chiro treatments are helpful! Who knows, thst coukd be another “magic” treatment that has yet to be discovered…until now!clap

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!

Durham, NC
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3 October 2016 - 8:26 pm
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Oh my gosh, Peach is ADORABLE!!!!! Looks like you’ve gotten great advice here and I’m so glad to hear you got your girl in to the vet. Keep us posted and MORE PICS! That face!! I can’t take it!!!

Amy & Izzy

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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3 October 2016 - 9:28 pm
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I love that name – Peach, Peach the pit. So cute. I have not had laser therapy for Clyde, but my vet did use it on my kitty cat who had a plugged urethra. Seemed to help quite a bit with his swelling post catheterization, etc. I agree, it seemed like pseudo science to me too, but I think it did help in that instance.

As for the swelling you are seeing – that is normal, unless it gets really large and then sometimes its drained. Clyde had a smallish seroma , vet said leave it and it absorbed by itself.

Kristin & Clyde

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4 October 2016 - 4:50 pm
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benny55 said
Good, glad you got some reassurance! And isu it funny how dogs seem to “perk up” in front of the Vet??’tpThey can be so silly sometimes!

Hopefully you’ll see her be a bit more comfy now that she’s back on pain meds. Fluid no longer has that “extra” leg to go to, so it’s going anywhere it can until it is eventually reabsorbed. The swelling will go down.

I did not do laser therapy with my Happy Hannah, but I know others here have. It’s supposed to help with the healing bringing about better circulation to the incision site.

And goodness gracious, you are very techie savvy compared to me!!! Plus you type well too! I have a tavlet and it’s hard to type correctly on the keyboard…well…add a whole lot of user error and typing incompetence!

Let us know how Peach is doing!

Hugs!

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

I’m finally on a legitimate computer! Couldn’t be more excited to not be looking at my teensy cell phone screen. 

It is pretty hilarious how dogs perk up around the vet. Once it was time to go back in the exam room she definitely wasn’t having it so I carried her. I swear she’s made me seriously strong, especially in the weeks leading up to her surgery when her pain level was sadly at its highest. 

She seems to be doing a bit better since she started back up on her pain meds. I know they typically make them kind of drowsy and out of it, but I feel like she’s been a lot more alert and a *bit* more like herself. You made a good point about the fluid not having anywhere to go since that leg is gone. I had never thought of that. I just knew it was there, but that makes total sense.

I don’t know how beneficial the laser treatment was, especially since she’s back on Tramadol, but I’d like to think that it helped a little. 🙂

And I think you do just fine on your tablet, Sally. big-grin

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4 October 2016 - 5:27 pm
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hester said
Glad you saw the vet and glad there is more pain relief on board for Peach.  She doesn’t need to be a hero!!!  

I’m sure with a little extra pain management and the antibiotic, she will be feeling much better very soon.  

Thank you so much! You are so right, too. She doesn’t need to be a hero and sometimes all you need is a little time and a little extra pain management to get the job done. 

midnighter94 said
If she’s already 3 weeks post-op, her sutures should probably already be out.  I realize your surgeon is out of town – for us, our surgeon was 1.5 hours away, so our regular vet took Murphy’s staples out for us.  They did a good job of coordinating care between them for us.

We haven’t tried the laser treatments, but it does seem like it’s getting more popular in many ways.  I would say that anything that will help is a good thing!  Also, try some massage – down her back & her other legs.  Murphy’s a front leg amp, but his back & back legs get tight & sore from walking differently and using different muscles from before.

Donna  

I was thinking it was a little long, but when I was reading over my discharge paperwork and talked to the surgeon’s office they said the 3 weeks was recommended for her particular procedure. I’m actually glad they didn’t come out sooner because I don’t think the wound was entirely ready. I realize that every case is different though and I’m glad you were able to coordinate the care for your Murphy.

I feel the same about the laser. If it only helped a little, that’s good enough for me! Thanks for the tips on massage too. She seems to enjoy it, and why wouldn’t she? Who doesn’t enjoy a massage?smiley

goodmilo said
Hi,

Sorry to hear you’re dealing with osteosarcoma.  Cancer sucks. But glad you found this group. These people were my lifeline for weeks.  

Milo is now almost 10 weeks post amputation. He’s doing great from a 3-legged point of view. Unfortunately, he has an extremely rare, extremely aggressive form of cancer (giant cell rich, multi-nucleated, only documented once in a dog), so we’re in the end game.  But that part isn’t relevant to the amputation. 

Milo was on meds at some level for 32 or 35 days!  Yes — a long time.  In our case, we found Pofi and Lisa were a good match for us, regarding size and meds.  When Milo struggled on weekends, we’d look to what they did for guidance. Even though Milo had his amputation at a world class teaching hospital (Tufts University), I believe there is more cumulative knowledge here than even there! We chose not to fear the meds.  We figured the chances of him becoming an opioid addict were slim, and given he only had three legs, it wasn’t going to be easy for him to thumb a ride to the city for a hit.  Milo rode Tramadol and gabapentin a long ways.

We had two definite set backs that worried me.  You could probably find my posts. The first around Day 10ish, the second around day 20ish.  Hindsight, both were due to tightness and aches and pains. In one case we spooled the drugs way back up, and it didn’t help because he had been sedentary for enough days that he was just tight. A long day at the University and lots of walking actually got him over the hump. The second lull just required a few days of an NSAID and movement and he was good to go.  Since then we’ve tried to get him to do a loop around the house each morning, doing cookie stretches along the way (Found on this site — hold treat at each hip, above, and below to make him stretch) and sit-stands (like squats for people.)  The activity was good as was the mental challenge of training again.

Maybe Peach needs a few days with an NSAID and some special massage and stretching, sort of like when we need ibuprofen and yoga, and her own yoga equivalent with cookie stretches and sit-stands.  

We recently had Milo see a chiropractor.  I know, doggie chiropractor sounds crazy. But it was amazing. First visit helped a bit.  Second visit a week later and he’s had no obvious physical pain or kinks since.  The sound when she realigned his back left pelvis was incredible,  (he’s front left amputee.)  The cost was $72 per visit – more money, but probably some of the best spent given all the money spent so far and the actual benefit! 

I rambled long again.  Sorry.  But, yes, we had setbacks, and the key for Milo was activity that helped him stretch.  Good luck.

Peace,

Jenifer & Milo  

Jenifer,

I’m glad to hear Milo is doing well on 3 and I’m so sorry to hear about the rarity of his cancer. Cancer truly sucks. There’s no way around it and this site is truly a lifeline. He’s lucky to have such a kind, caring, and involved mom and access to great care. It sounds like he’s living his days full of love and what could be more important?

The image of a dog trying to score his next opiod hit made me LOL. Definitely hard with just those 3 legs. laughing

I love the idea of the cookie stretches! Peach is definitely motivated by food so I’m sure I could manage this. What I’ve been perceiving as pain could very well be the soreness and tightness – still pain, but in a different way. I feel like I was hesitant to push her, but I agree that movement is definitely helpful. Coupled with massage/stretching I think this will be very helpful. We went on a short walk tonight and she did pretty well. She’s not interested in the stairs yet, but I know this will come in time once she’s feeling a little better and more confident at navigating on 3. 

I don’t think a doggie chiropractor sounds crazy at all! Especially if it’s been helpful. I bet that sound is AMAZING. I could listen to people(and I guess dogs now too) be realigned all day long. It just sounds like total relief. Some people probably think we’re crazy for the amount of money we spend on our pets, but they are so worth it. I’ve been calling Peach my Money Pit lately, but she’s worth every Penny.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply and for your advice. It sounds like you found what works best for Milo and I’m sure he’s grateful for it and is able to spend his days happy and without pain. I will be taking your advice and using it with my girl and will report back!

heartChristen & Peach

izzysmomma said
Oh my gosh, Peach is ADORABLE!!!!! Looks like you’ve gotten great advice here and I’m so glad to hear you got your girl in to the vet. Keep us posted and MORE PICS! That face!! I can’t take it!!!

Amy & Izzy  

Thank you!!aw-shucks I’m definitely biased because she’s my girl, but she has little eyebrows and eyelashes and freckles near her nose that kill me every time I look at her! It’s nice to be in a space where people want to see more pics of your dog. 

lawcat said
I love that name – Peach, Peach the pit. So cute. I have not had laser therapy for Clyde, but my vet did use it on my kitty cat who had a plugged urethra. Seemed to help quite a bit with his swelling post catheterization, etc. I agree, it seemed like pseudo science to me too, but I think it did help in that instance.

As for the swelling you are seeing – that is normal, unless it gets really large and then sometimes its drained. Clyde had a smallish seroma , vet said leave it and it absorbed by itself.

Kristin & Clyde  

Thanks! She’s a total peach too so it’s very fitting. Your poor kitty! That plugged urethra sounds quite painful, but I’m glad the laser seemed to help.

Thank you for the reassurance about the swelling too. This is a whole new realm for me and I appreciate all of the supportive words. It’s definitely a huge help when others have their experiences to share. My surgeon was very adamant that this was a great resource and she couldn’t have been more right. smiley

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