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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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six days after rear leg amp and getting worse--update: VERY HAPPY-GREAT DECISION
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Virginia




Forum Posts: 19490
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25 February 2013 - 7:47 pm
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Thanks for any advice. First thanks to the creator of this site and my heart goes out to each and human soul and animal soul who are forced to make frightening decisions when their dogs are facing bone cancer. Even though I couldn’t figure out how to really use this site – I’m really “computer stupid” -I was able to read blogs/forums. This site has been absolutely invaluable. As a result, I learned of Dr. Dresslor’s book and, because of all the insight and first hand knowledge, I finally made the decision to amputate and proceed with chemo……..but now I’m afraid she’s going to be unable to recover from the surgery!!

123 lb. 8 1/2 yr. old loving,happy,joyful Bull Mastiff—diagnosed in preliminarily diagnosed end of Dec. and operated last Tuesday Feb 19th. —-home on Wed night and in constant pain, constant restless, crying,etc for almost 19 hrs. Straight into Thursday. finally started settling in some, eating drinking etc—-walking fairly okay [wouldn’t let me use sling towel]. Anyway Friday started what looked like a good road to steady recovery. Lots of.fluid pocket hanging down below stitches–no seepage–started clearing up some…fast forward to Sat. Sun. And today…still raeting, not not drinking doesn’t want to get up and has more pain now than Friday. Incision looks far worse than any I’ve seen on site. On antibiodic, tramadol rimadyl. Haveno confidence in referral surgeon didn’t even call after surgery to check and seems like I can’t get past vet tech. Fluid back again. I know must take her back to vet but have no confidence in the “specialty” hosp. anymore. When I asked about phantom pain before surgery she said she’d never heard of it —thisnsite should be required reading for surgeons!,

Was concerned she wouldn’t be able to walk after surgery, now I fear she may not recover from it. Live in rural area two hr. Found trip to this hosp. And have to rely on someone to help me get her in car so hoping to get appt. Tomorrow

Has anyone experienced where it looked like two/three days after surgery things were going fairly well and -boom–just didn’t,t want to get up and completely stopped drinking. But still eating fairly well—pt spoonful of ice cream in small bowl of water and that’s only way she’ll drink. Not wagging much and eyes just aren’t dancing…….Soooooo scared and cannot believe this is happening –should not have done this—at least not at this hospital. temperature is just under 103. Sorry for all mistakes, typos ,etc. Still learning computer….so scared she wasn’t in competent hands I’m the one who put her the

Has anyone had similar situation and what was done to get back on to recovery. I can’t stand to see her let I
Suffer from this. Must pull her through and get her in good shape for successful chemo. Sorry to ramble. I respect and value everyone on this journey and thank you for helping me not feel so excruciatingly alone.

Sally and. My beloved Hannah

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!

In your heart, where I belong.
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25 February 2013 - 8:49 pm
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Hi Sally–

I can’t answer all of your questions but I can try to answer some. This will be long but hopefully it helps.

Many dogs tank a few days after surgery. It’s very common and seems to be a combination of surgical drugs being metabolized out of their systems and feeling well enough to maybe do a bit too much on the first couple of days. When a dog comes home after surgery, they have loads of potent drugs in their bodies. It takes a few days for some of them to work their way out. In the meantime, the dog is high as a kite and feeling little pain. They maybe hop around too much, try to do things they shouldn’t, and then when they finally feel it, they’re knocked back pretty hard.

My dog tanked on about day 4. Like you, I wondered if he was going to be happy and recover. I knew the surgery was necessary, but I wasn’t sure his personality was going to survive it. It was several days before he came back. I said he acted like he was depressed and discouraged. He seemed so doggone sad.

I am concerned about a couple of things you said. I am concerned that Hannah sounds like she has a large seroma , and that should probably be drained if it is a large as you are describing. I am also concerned that she is acting like she is in pain. The difficult thing in this is adjusting pain meds to get the balance right. Too much medication resembles too little. A dog in pain will pant, whine, shift position, sometimes hold its head down looking at the floor, have a rigid body (rigid muscle tone), and often refuse to sit or stand or lay down, depending on what hurts. A dog with too much pain medication will do some of these same things. They whine, pant (a lot), shift position, act kind of like they want to get up and run off. I can’t describe it but it’s like they are uncomfortable and plotting escape.

I am not a vet. I cannot advise you on pain medication. But I can tell you how much my 80 pound Dakota was taking. He took 75 mg of Deramaxx (similar to Rimadyl) twice a day for about a week, and 100 mg of Tramadol 3 or 4 times a day. At about a week, I cut the Tramadol to 3 times a day and began tapering it off so that he was going down to 50 mg 2 or 3 times a day. He also began taking Deramaxx once a day. His last day of meds was day 11 and he was fine at that point. He continued 37 mg of Deramaxx for arthritis.

If Hannah has not been prescribed what sounds like a reasonable amount of Tramadol and Rimadyl, then you need to get pushy about that.

Women are often told as children not to be pushy, not to make trouble, not to make waves. In this case, you need to be pushy and rock the boat. Be polite, but be insistent. “My dog is in distress. It is absolutely urgent that you see us. I will bring her in and wait in the office until the doctor can see her. I will be there in an hour.” Don’t ask permission, don’t ask if it’s ok. Just say you need to do this and so you will. It’s part of what you paid for.

You took her to a specialist but you don’t like him. Who referred you there? Can you take Hannah to her regular vet? If you really think this guy is incompetent, you can call a shelter or a rescue and get names of competent vets. Rescues don’t use idiots. 

The good news is that Hannah’s temp seems normal. Dogs run between 101.5 and 102.5 so she’s ok there.

Remember: Medication can be adjusted. Too much is as bad as too little. Seromas aren’t dangerous but should be looked at. Be politely insistent and pushy. Don’t quit. Don’t panic. Don’t decide until it’s been a month that this was a bad idea. 

Come back tomorrow and update. We care, and we’ll worry till we hear from you. The chat room is full. I popped over here from chat, so come on in. 

Shari

 

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

New Haven, CT
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25 February 2013 - 8:58 pm
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Hey- quickly: come over to chat!  Do you know how? Up at the top of this screen (and bottom) is a link for LIVE CHAT.  Click it.  We’re all there!!!!!  HUGS!

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Virginia




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25 February 2013 - 9:50 pm
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Thank you SO much for your generosity of time AND some wonderful information! I actually recognized “Dakota Dog” from readin g this site for the last 45 days and Hannah and I feel honored to have a response. Clearly Dakota Dog continues to live a life of meaning as he reaches out to other dog souls through you.

Everything you said makes such good sense and I really aapreciate you infusing me with a “shot of courage”. Because the surgeon is working with me on an extended payment plan, I think subconsciously I felt like I couldn’t demand more communication——–weeeelllll that will change tomorrow!! Hopefully my vet can take care of things for Hannah tomorrow. He originally referred me to a specific surgeon at this place, but there would be a delay getting with him so I ended up with someone who had only been with them a year. I will get through to a surgeon tomorrow and I’ve already rehearsed the dialogue you provided.

I am going to adjust Hannah’s tramadol to more frequent doses, lessor amounts as opposed to 150 twice/day I I’ll try 2 more often—will also continue 100 mg Rimadyl twice a day.May eliminate 3rd daily dose of tram.and give gabapentin at bedtime–will check with vet tomorrow

You described the pain symptoms very well and think that’s what’s going on. It makes sense that she is feeling worse now and that is “normal” for some dogs who don’t have that almost flawless recovery that some pups have

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again for plowing through my panic riddled meandering. I’m working on my typing but this. Feels like it’s taking. days just to type this halfway!

Your insight has helped me do a better job on Hannah’s behalf. Your kindness will not be wasted and it will be “played forward”

With gratitude. Sally and Hannah

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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25 February 2013 - 11:43 pm
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Sally, it sounds to me like you’ve had some great folks to talk with in the chat tonight. I’m glad that you’re feeling more confident.

Hang in there. It’s not uncommon for folks to feel like they’ve made a mistake. The surgery wasn’t that long ago and many dogs do take a few weeks to start feeling good again. We’ve noticed that some breeds, especially giant ones, will take longer to recuperate. We’re guessing it’s because they’re so mellow as it is, that the surgery really throws them for a loop and they take a while to get their bearings again. Hannah is probably just really taking her time at adjusting. However there ARE things you can do to make this transition easier:

 

1) Go with your gut instinct. If you suspect something is wrong, find a responsive vet immediately. Like Shari said, you don’t have to go back to your old surgeon just because that’s who did the surgery. If you are more comfortable with your regular vet, start there and let her/him know what’s gong on. Don’t be shy or hesitate, get help now.

 

2) Ask friends for help. Even the smallest little favors, like going to the grocery store or helping you get Hannah into the car, can mean so much right now and help you stay calm because you have one less thing to do.

 

3) Be assertive when getting pain medication for her. Tell your vet what is/is not working and get it adjusted.

 

4) Don’t be a stranger here. We aren’t vets but we sure can help you feel more confident right now!

5) Spruce up Hannah’s water with gatorade or low-sodium chicken broth. This helps many dogs get started drinking faster.

I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on what the vet says and thank you so much for registering! Your future posts won’t require moderation.

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Virginia




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26 February 2013 - 7:55 am
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Jerry Thanks for your valued input. I cannot express how much it means just knowing you guys are here and how I absolutely treasure your input and the fact that you give your time AND patience. I shall mirror the kindness shown to me,pass it on to others and support this site and community any way I can.

Did actually speak to surgeon this a,m [clarified my “expectation” of our ability to communicate directly during this crucial recovery time when I see alarming changes] and she felt this is just part of her recovery process and she may “wax and wain” for another week or so. Feel better [but it’s really because of you guys] but still not real confident in surgeon—-when she makes comment that she’s probably not drinking because she’s getting enough moisture from her chicken—-come on!!!

Still trying to get help “loading” Hannah into front seat of truck.

Her condition is still same this am—just not having a party yet and not wanting to get up,etc. Haven’t taken temp.yet but hopefully visit to vet will make us both feel better

Thanks again to everyone and especially the night chat room –that’s when fears start to run rampart in my head and you help take the panic away.

Jerry, sorry wasn’t able to fully communicate last night—guess my computer crashed and it’s starting to freeze up again so better. Stop

With a grateful heart to all. Sally and Happy [not so much right now] Hannah

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!

New Haven, CT
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26 February 2013 - 8:14 am
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Hey Sally!  I think I left chat too soon last night and missed you.  I’m glad you found it – and us!

I’m glad you got in touch with the surgeon and laid out your expectations.  It sounds like she already spoiled the bed for you, though, so even if she’s more available here on, you may not like what she says.  That’s what your regular vet is for!

When you find someone to help get Hannah into the truck, maybe have them come over about 30min ahead of time.  Having a visitor during Jackson’s recovery was really nice.  It perked him up and gave him someone else to hang with, to be rubbed by, to be loved by, and enjoy.  Can you have one of Hannah’s favorite people come over for a visit and then help get her into the truck?

I remember after Jill came back from the vet once, she was very particular about the temperature of her water.  Have your tried ice cubes for Hannah in her water?  Fresh water?  Really, really cold water?  Or, have her start licking up water off your hands then maybe she’ll get the itch and want to drink on her own?  I like Jerry’s idea of mixing in some chix broth into her water.  That’s tasty!

Jackson absolutely crashed during the same period of time that Hannah seems to be.  Just go with it.  A few days of mopey-ness and exhaustion will pay off!  Promise!

For additional reference, here was Jackson’s pain med program: he’s 58lbs.  50mg tramadol AM and PM, 50mg rimadyl AM and PM.  On about day 10, we gave him tramadol only in the evening (50mg).  Then by day 12, he was totally off tramadol.  I hope that helps!

Keep us posted.  I’ll try to stay in chat for the day, so pop over when you want/can.

~ Katy

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

New York, NY
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26 February 2013 - 8:37 am
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Yes, after one appointment at the vet Jill was very fussy about her water and wanted it ICE COLD – try adding some ice cubes to her water and see if that works?   Glad you are feeling better.  Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  I was very bashful at first about asking “too many questions” or being too pushy and then my mom said to me, “how do you think the vet would be if it were THEIR pet” and that changed my outlook!

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

krun15
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26 February 2013 - 8:53 am
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Hi Sally,

I’m late to this thread- you’ve gotten some great advice.  I wanted to share my experience with my little pug Maggie.  She had her rear amp before our founder Jerry- so we were really alone.  Maggie did not bounce back after surgery- in fact it was almost 6 weeks before she would play with me again.  No medical complications- just one stubborn pug who did not handle change well at all!  I spent at least 3 weeks convinced I had done the wrong thing by choosing amputation, and I had no one to talk to.  All the vets really had to offer was that most dogs do fine on three legs… so I thought right, most dogs just not mine!

End of the story is that Maggie lived almost 4 years after her surgery (mast cell cancer) and was a happy hopping pug for all that time (after recovery).

Once Hannah gets through the tough recovery period you will see your girl come back- don’t get discouraged!!  Each dog heals and deals with their new normal on their own time line.

My local pal Cemil is a 150 pound Anatolian Shepard front amp.  He is going on 4 years past his amp for OSA and is doing great! 

Let us know what the vet says.

 

Karen

Virginia




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26 February 2013 - 9:35 am
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Sooooo glad to hear from each and everyone of you!! I know the positive energy you are passing onto me is empowering to Hannah and I know she feels it. For some reasonmy tablet keyboard is really slowing down and mistyping so I I’ll have to stop. Will try to get in chat room after it rests a few minutes. Thanks for all the advice and I shall emplement any I haven’t already tried. My ref. Vet said “Why would she get up to drink water (she likes hers cold too) when she has someone bring her water with ice cream mixed in?”

This thing is still typing so I’ll try chat room now Best of success to Jackson and Jill and I know Maggie is still alive in your heart and still helping others. Please know how incredible helpful the feedback from EACH of you is……

Sending a ton of gratitude your way!! Sally and Hannah

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!

Fort Wayne, IN
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26 February 2013 - 10:31 am
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Sorry I missed you in the chat room last night.  

I’m glad to read you’re taking the bull by the horns and getting Hannah the attention she deserves.  I too spent time reading through these forums before Libby’s amp.  Thinking you made the biggest mistake after amputation seemed to be a common thread around here, me included.  You’ve received lots of good advice here so I probably can’t add anything more spectacular than you’ve already received.  But just know that Hannah will adapt, just like Libby did.  Someone here told me we inject our emotions into the situation, unlike our dogs do.   

As far as the water.  I hand carried Libby’s bowl of water to her the first few days.  Anything to keep her hydrated was my goal.  Eventually, she got back to her own habit of going for a drink herself.  You can also try some low sodium chicken broth in a bowl or mixed with her water to make it more appetizing.

One thing that helped us get Libby in and out of the truck and to move around the first couple days, was taking a canvas shopping bag, splitting the sides and using it as a sling.  The surgeon thought it was a genius idea (I got the hint from here).

This was Libby’s pain protocol, post amp.  At the time she was 75 lbs.  75mg Rimadyl 2/x’s day.  50mg tramadol 2x’s/day.  Tramadol stopped after 7 days but I picked it up again about day 10…50mg/1x daily.  I kept her on the Tram for just a couple of days more and then she was off.

Good luck to you and Hannah.  I look forward to reading her updates.

 

Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

Bentonville, AR
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26 February 2013 - 12:51 pm
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Hey Sally and Hannah,
Hope you are are doing better. I just came across your post. Bruno, an American Bulldog, was a 90-100 lb boy and ended up flourishing as a tripawd. He too was older, , but did well. Hopefully these are just minor INITIAL setbacks which will be resolved soon. You have definitely come to the right place though for support, evidence, and a widespread collection of individual personal accounts. Jim/Jerry is right when he says to “go with your gut”. That’s my number one advice as well. You head and heart can be off, but your gut usually is on point. Bruno and all other new Tripawds take time to “come back to”. The drugs have to wear off long enough for their sparkle to be able to shine through again.
I would say though that on the issue of hydration, I would either add water to Hannah’s food, give her a 50/50 mixture of (non-flavored) pedialyte within her water, or both. The pedialyte hAs the electrolytes needed to stave off dehydration, which could Lead to other potentially serious issues. We too live in a rural area where his vet visits were 6 hrs+ round trip drive to Oklahoma State University from NW Arkansas.

Hope this helps and that you all are in better spirits. Good luck. Keep us updated.
Maricela and Spirit Bruno

Maricela and Spirit Bruno

http://bruiserb.....pawds.com/

Atlanta, GA
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26 February 2013 - 1:11 pm
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Sally and Hannah,

We are a little late to the party here and I missed you on chat last night, but wanted to let you know we are thinking of you guys.  I have to second what Katy said above about visitors.  Brendol was very mopey when it was just me at the house taking care of her.  But we had friends come visit almost every day and each time she perked up and ate and drank and went outside to potty.  She wouldn’t do near as much for just me.  You don’t want to overwhelm her, but I will bet you will see a bit of difference in her demeanor with some visitors.  And with the drinking, I don’t know if anyone above already suggested it, but adding chicken broth to the water is also supposed to be helpful in getting them interested in drinking.

I hope your vet visit helps today and that Hannah is feeling much better soon.

Karma and Brendol

Adelaide is a young tripawd Husky, from an injury.  Her amp was on 10/1/12.  She has 4 sisters, Aissa (a senior border collie/chow), Maggie May (a puppy Great Pyrenees), Mathilde and Morrigan and 1 baby brother, Bagheera.  We are all watched over by our angel Brendol, who was dx with OSA 1/30/13, amp on 2/6/13, and left us on 8/20/13.

PitaPata - Personal picturePitaPata Dog tickers

 You can read their stories at http://adelaide.tripawds.com and http://brendol.tripawds.com


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26 February 2013 - 3:07 pm
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Sally,

I tried to type a reply last night when I first read your post.  I accidently deleted it and by the time I realized what I did I was so frustrated and said something in the chat room about how paniced you seemed.  I think everyone has given great advice here.  There are a bunch of us that hang in the chat room at night.  Feel free to stop in.  Just sit for a bit then jump in.  Any questions or advice we can answer or give we will. 

 

I know I didn’t have a lot of the set backs that some of the people do on here with their dogs afte surgery guess Sassy seemed like a great patient :)    but there are times she still gets a little down but I think that is normal (even after 3 1/2 months of amputation)  Most of all try to stay calm Hannah feels the frustration you are feeling towards the vet & how you are thinking that this was a mistake.   Our bigger breeds (Sassy is a Rottweiler) just take a little more time to adjust & rebound after a major surgery like this. 

 

Hugs

Michelle & Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Virginia




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26 February 2013 - 4:39 pm
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What a difference you all have made in my demeanor which I know is transferring to Happy Hannah . So much good advice I’ve been implementing. Corresponding with you wonderful souls who are in the trenches has been a gift that has done more to make me feel a little more secure than anyone in the “medical field” possibly could.

Hannah,s attitude perked up some today and she actually showed some of her normal joyful personality. Was not able to get to regular vet today—could not get lifting help in my very rural home. Temp. Still at 102.8 and showed a little more spunk when eating today—-will continue to try all the great tips for drinking. Thanks to each of you for helping me adjust to a “new normal” and that continues to calm my soul. She rested well today but did show bouts of pain that she tries to get up and walk away from or just goes and stands or sits and looks at her rear to try and stare pain away—kinda like Dakota dawg described.

If I’m unable to get on computer tonight or next day or two it’s because computer keyboard takes about 3 or 4 seconds for each letter I type plus l’ll be working a lot more

Just 2 questions if your dog or cat had seroma , how long–hers is better today but still there 7 days now—–how long on antibiodic and kind (she’s on cefpodoxime and over with today and regular vet called in prescription for several more days andse
And surgeon ,when I asked about extending said not necessary—I’m sticking with my reg. Vet’s advice

And—-any advice o why computer keyboard is so slow–now about six seconds per letter

A bucket load of thanks again—–Hannah and I both feel better because of you…Best to Libby Miss Sassy, Brendol and Spirit Bruno (not sure if Bruno is still in earthly form and is watching over everyone from doggie playground for angels). Each of you are Angels as far as I’m concerned

Much love and sending each of you sincere and heartfelt appreciation

Sally and Happy (she is getting there) Hannah. PS. can you believe referral surgeon Sid she wasn’t drinking as much because she’s getting water content from chicken!,!?? Still chuckle over that one

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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