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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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Surgery last week...need advice
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Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
25 October 2008
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26 October 2008 - 11:48 am
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Hi!  My baby girl Lacy (age 5) just had her front left leg amputated on Tuesday (biopsy pending, but probably osteo).  She did pretty well the first day or two but now we are having a couple of issues and could use some advice.

 First is her incision.  She was great for a couple of days but now it is starting to itch.  The T-shirt did not work as she somehow manages to get her other front leg stuck in the sleeve and can’t get up.  Any ideas on how to cover this up or help the itching without blowing the bank?

The second is fluid build up.  She did not get a drain and we were warned about this, but man, there seems to be a lot!  It does not seem to be bothering her too much but I’d love to hear other pawrents experiences.

Lastly is me and my husband.  How do you deal with this?  I know we are doing the right thing, but we feel horrible about putting her through this and we are having a really hard time dealing with the fact that our 10 year old Weim is probably going to outlive her no matter what we do.  We also have a baby on the way and are trying to figure out where to draw the line financially so we can still raise our child.

It’s been a big shock and any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Lacy (and Mom Suzann and Dad Allen)

Forum Posts: 345
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26 October 2008 - 12:17 pm
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 Hi,

  The fluid build up is a seroma , you need to call the vet.  My Buster didn’t get one… How about a smaller shirt? or cut the sleeves off of one. There is a spray or pill for the itching. Until you know what your dealing with don’t beat yourself up. Initially, I felt guilty and selfish but hind site is 20/20 it was the best choice since my dog was in pain. It’s been 6 months and I have no regrets.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 October 2008 - 12:41 pm
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  1. Try cutting the sleeve off the shirt so her leg won’t get stuck.
  2. The fluid is normal and will eventually absorb back into the body. My seroma got pretty big and the vet drained it once, quickly and easily.
  3. Remind yourselves that amputation was the only way to free Lacy of pain and extend her life, even if only for a short while. What matters most is her quality of life, and you’ve done the best thing to improve that.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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West Chester PA
Forum Posts: 104
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26 October 2008 - 1:55 pm
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Welcome to the group Lacy.  You are in great hands here.  We all know where you are coming from and can really appreciate how you feel.  My Bonnie is almost two months post amp and getting her fourth chemo tomorrow.  She still has low days but she is not in pain and I know I did the right thing with the amputation.  As far as chemo and costs, everyone has to make their own decisions and, no matter what you decide, Lacy knows that you love her and have done the best you could for her. 

I have used t-shirts on all my dogs at some time or another.  What I did with the extra sleeve on Bonnie and to tighten it up a little was knotted the bottom to take up slack and used duct tape on the t-shirt itself to tighten it up.  I just wrapped it around a couple of times on itself and used it as a seam to take up slack. 

It all is really a grear shock, but you have chosen the right group to come to for answers. I am relatively new and could not have made it without all these folks.   Best of luck and our prayers are with you. 

chris-bonnie

Michigan
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26 October 2008 - 6:29 pm
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Welcome Lacy and family. 

You will be so surprised at how quickly Lacy will bounce back. When you see her personality shining through after the recovery you will feel so much better about your decisions.  You gave her a chance to be pain free and that’s a great gift. 

for the shirt – what we did was take the empty arm and the tail end of the shirt and tie them in a knot at the top of Radar’s back.  It kept the shirt relatively snug and the arm wasn’t flapping around getting in the way.  Your Vet may also be able to give you something to put on the incision to help with itching and keep Lacy from messing with it.

Hang in there – it’s tough to see our babies in pain but always remember you didn’t fall in love with the leg, you fell in love with the dog, and that dog is still with you.

Hugs

Connie & Radar

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26 October 2008 - 8:27 pm
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Welcome to our family, we are so glad that you found Jerry’s site.

I brought Zeus home on a Thursday evening after surgery the day before and we had an extremely difficult night. Neither one of us got any sleep. When morning broke, it was a beautiful April morning and I was exhausted and sick to my stomach as I looked in my baby’s eyes and the saw the missing leg and wondered what the hell I did to him. I went to the bathroom and threw up. Thank God my best friend is a Vet and lived fairly near by. I called her sobbing and she came and watched him so I could get a few hours of sleep and then showed me how to help him during the next few days and weeks until he got a hang of things. I am forever indebted to her for those 6 hours of her time that she gave me. Later that day, Zeus and I were out in the backyard laying on a blanket with the sun on us and he was snoring…I of course couldn’t keep my eyes off him and this time the tears were those of joy that he was still with me, acceptance of our new circumstances, peace that I made the right decision and a determination to live each day as best as we could…together.

You made the right decision because you made it with your heart and in the best interest of Lacy. Only you know the right financial decision for yourselves…no one else can answer that for you and only God knows (or the universe or your higher power or whatever you believe in) when it’s time to come home and there is no crystal ball for that.

You are in our thoughts and our prayers. Give Lacy a big hug and smooch from us. She’s lucky to have you.

Love,

Heather and Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Metro Kansas City
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26 October 2008 - 11:46 pm
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Hi Suzann!

Calamity & I are just 3 days behind you & Lacy, amputation wise. I’m sure we’ll share a lot of the same issues at the same time.

Calamity’s bandages came off today & right away she tried to scratch with her back foot!!! I fashioned an old t-shirt buy cutting off the sleeves and sewing up the hole left by the right side. Then, I cut a straight slit up the middle of the back which I used to tie a knot on the top of her back to keep it stable on her body.

As for her seroma , she actually has 2 of them. The one on her chest is pretty large, probably holds 1/3 cup of liquid and hangs down when she is up. The other is a small bubble deep on her neck. I called both the speciality clinic where she had her surgery & my best friend who is also a vet, both told me the same thing, the body will absorb it.

My husband & I are dealing with this the best we can as we have for the past year with her injury. We just take one step at a time, one surgery at a time.

What breed of dog is she? I know sometimes there are clinical trilas that will help off-set the cost of the treatments if you choose to do that.

Whatever you choose, you have removed the pain from her body and that was a brave gift you gave her.

Janie & Calamity http://www.trix.....gspot.com/

West Chester PA
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27 October 2008 - 10:45 am
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Hi there again.  Bonnie and I send hugs and kisses to Lacy and hope she is doing better.  One of the other things that helped Bonnie keep away from her surgery site was a cold pak that I got on this site from BellasPainRelief.com.  It is a hot/cold pack in a pouch that has elastic straps to keep it in place.  I used it constantly on Bonnie as a cold pak.  It also worked somewhat as a bandage because it stayed strapped in place.   That, along with the cold, really kept her comfortable and somewhat protected the site.  Just a suggestion, but it really helped me.  Bonnie had no swelling and I really attribute a lot of that to keeping that pack on her constantly. 

Either way, we hope Lacy is feeling better.  One day at a time… every day is a gift.

chris-bonnie

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27 October 2008 - 4:58 pm
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Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

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28 October 2008 - 9:45 pm
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Hi everyone,

 Thanks for all your suggestions.  I was able to get a hold of a kids T-shirt and it fit pretty well.  During the day she stayed away from the incision but I got up in the middle of the night and noticed she licked the shirt soaking wet.  So at this point we are just supervising her but she’s doing it less today.

 Speaking of today, she is MUCH better.  Most of the seroma and all of the bruising is gone.  She is VERY perky, to the point where she’s driving us nuts trying to keep her down.  She has figured out how to walk on the laminate kitchen floor and her appetite is back to normal.  She’d like us to let her go downstairs and outside alone but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

So, now we are just waiting for the biopsy results.  We were hoping for them today but they didn’t come.  In a way it was good because we found out we are going to have a little boy and we can just enjoy the good news for awhile.

 Thanks again,

Suzann, Allen and Lacy 

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28 October 2008 - 10:35 pm
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So glad to hear that Lacy is feeling perky!  It’s a good day!  Smile  Congratulations on the news about your baby boy!  How wonderful! 

Luv Spirit Jake, Smooch, Baby Gus & Mom (Sherri)

maria
12
29 October 2008 - 9:38 am
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So glad everyone is doing better.  I can only hope our story will go as well.  Last night was the first night at home with Buddy — day after front leg amputation.  I slept on the floor by him, and I think we may have gotten 3 hours.  I can’t figure out how to get him outside to potty.  How are you managing that?  He is a big golden, 88 pounds.   He was nearly 100 pounds last year, and I can see he’ll need to drop about 10 more pounds for this whole thing. 

Any suggestions on helping him move?  Towels aren’t working.  His balance is terrible.  Confidence is really low I think.

Thanks for sharing your expertise now…wish it could be for another reason.

Hope you are celebrating!

Maria and Buddy

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29 October 2008 - 3:37 pm
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Hi Buddy,

We just stuck her on a leash or grabbed her collar, but she’s got pretty good balance.  Lacy also had her front leg amputated, but she’s a Weim and only weighs about 60 lbs. so it wasn’t too hard for one of us to act as her fourth leg.

Is he on tranquilizers?  I gave Lacy a half of one and she was so wobbly she couldn’t even stand up.  I gave her Benadryl instead.  Made her sleepy but she was able to keep her balance.

Give him another day or so and he should start to turn around.  Depending on how much he’s eating and drinking, he may not need to go out much for a couple of days anyway.

Good and bad news today…Lacy’s doing so well the vet has lifted her restrictions (although I still won’t let her go down stairs by herself since she wants to jump all four of them!) but she officially has chondroblastic osteosarcoma.  We meet with the oncologist next week.  Hopefully this subclass is not quite so nasty and we caught it early so she has a little longer with us.

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 October 2008 - 6:41 pm
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maria said:

I can’t figure out how to get him outside to potty.  How are you managing that?  

Any suggestions on helping him move?  Towels aren’t working.  His balance is terrible.  Confidence is really low I think.


Hi Maria and Buddy,

I’d have to agree with LacyLu, it may be the medication that’s making him wobbly and too tired. What is happening when you are using the towels?

When I didn’t what to get up to go outside, my pawrents would lean over me, gently run their hands under my belly, and in an excited voice go "Let’s go outside!!!!!" while at the same time, lifting me up gently. They were so hyper and excited about it that I usually got up right away. 

It’ll get better, hang in there, it hasn’t been that long. Good luck!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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