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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Swollen (?) front leg/paw + shivering
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Member Since:
3 August 2021
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4 August 2021 - 7:52 am
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From lurker to poster here ... Sante, my 10yo athletic super-sweet goofy Labra-horse (long, tall, and 75lbs pre-amp) had a tiny limp 3 weeks ago. 10 days ago I made the agonizing decision to amputate. She has had some gumption at times since, but the last couple of days just so lethargic and possibly depressed.

Last night I noticed her remaining front limb seems swollen, tho it's not painful when I gently squeeze it. I anticipated some "beef up" over time as she gains muscle on her remaining limbs but this seems to have come up suddenly. And not overly surprising if it is swelling, given she was used to putting most of her weight on her front legs having had TPLO surgery in November (full and amazing recovery).

Then this morning, she was shivering when I got up ... this has happened before so not unheard of, and the house is coolest in the morning after the AC is cranked all night to cool the upstairs ... but, together, do these two things warrant major concern? She seems to have stopped shivering since eating her breakfast.

I did have her into the vet on the weekend because I wanted to extend her pain med prescription and they wouldn't do that without an exam because "she shouldn't be feeling pain" ... she had a terror attack on day 3 (I think a nightmare as she abruptly went from screaming and trying to bite, to wagging fiercely in my arms once I had her wrapped up in them), some whimpering, and then an un-provoked yelp on the weekend, so I wasn't ready for her to go off the codeine and metacam. She is off the codeine now but still on Gabapentin and Metacam (which I elected to not stop because of her seemingly swollen leg). The emerg vet team said she checks out fine.

Any advice is welcome ... I feel so ill-equipped to nurse her back to sparkling and joyful. I'd happily hire a vet to stay with me ... that should be a service industry. ūüôā

On The Road


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4 August 2021 - 2:14 pm
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Hi Sante and mom, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away. I apologize for making this short but I'm on my phone and traveling today, and wanted to get your post approved so others can chime in. I'll share more when I'm back at my desk. For now ...

Good for you for advocating for more pain management ! Ten days is not that long and whoever said she shouldn't be feeling pain should try going through what she is...grrr...

Did they have any kind of feedback about the leg swelling? Is there any fluid leakage and if so did they take a culture to check for infection?

What is her Gabapentin dosage and frequency? Many dogs are underdosed on it and it doesn't help their phantom pain at all. There may be room to dial it up with your vets approval.

Ok more later! 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
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4 August 2021 - 9:40 pm
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Can only ditto Jerry. 

You are doing a great job!  This reco process is no picnic. To get to this point is exhausting  mentally and phy.  It does get better, promise!!!

Certainly  sounds like your sweet pup had a couple of,phantom limb pain based on what uou description.  The brain is still sending signals to the nerves on a leg that is jo longer there.  And ot causes  sudden and sharp pain.  It can certainly make a dog cry out in pain and bite too.  Thankfully  it only lasts less than a minute generally, but it sure can scare them.

The Gabapentin is the best for that, as well as remaining pain from the surgery.  For a Vet to say "he shouldn't  be in pain"  makes us so upset!  If a hooman just had MAJOR surgery,  had a limb sawed off and had to adjust to walking with one less limb, they would be heav medicated for pain and probably  still in the hospital!!!

Sometimes fluid does settle around the remaining limb as it has nowhere else to go.  Just double  check with the Vet, but you can maybe try GENTLE  massaging and maybe some cold compresses....but check with the Vet.

How is she dojng otherwise? Eating, drinking,  peeing, pooping??  What's  her activity level like?    For the first two weeks it should be ahort leashed potty breaks and then back in for rest, rest, rest.  She needs to use her energy  to recover.  

You mentioned  she has times of "gumption".  How wild and crazy did she get?  Just the least bit of overdoing it early on in recovery can cause a tweak, a aor muscle, etc and can make them appear lethargic of "depressed".  It sounds like signs of pain that, hopefully  putting her on Gabapentin  on a consistent basis can make her feel better. 

Hang in there!  We are here with you and for uou, okay?

Hugs

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

PS.  What's  your pup's name?

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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5 August 2021 - 8:59 am
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Oh wow. I'm not familiar with forums I guess ... have to figure out how to get a notification of replies. Thank you so much for responding. Here is Sante's med picture: 30mg Codeine 3x/day for 7 days (we stopped Tuesday) | 1 Metacam dose / day for 7 days (I gave it for 8, stopped today) | 400mg Gabapentin 3x/day for 10 days then down to 2x/day (we are on Day 9). 

She has been eating well ... once in a while she stalls and thinks about it but then keeps eating (she's a Lab!) ... peeing and pooping well but not as frequently as usual. I got smarter yesterday and have been getting more water into her by feeding more frequently with lots of water (she'll drain the water to get at a few kibble). 

I may have let her overdo things too soon. She wanted to walk the first few days. We'd only do 100 meters or so ... and I took her out for long stroller walks on Days 5 and 6 (she seemed to love that). Days 7 and 8 she slept and slept and slept and some whimpers now and then. Last night and this morning she had a bit more sparkle in her with some tail wags and purring with her Dino in her mouth for a friend who visited. 

Re: her puffy front leg, I was told if she's eating/drinking/peeing/pooping not to worry about it. I have been massaging it a bit. Interesting to read about the fluid ... that makes a lot of sense. 

I'm so glad to have found this site and group of people who understand and have had this experience. I'm a sole-caregiver so it's been a heavy load. I have a friend coming by tomorrow to give me an hour or two to get out for a bike ride. Other friends doing the same on the weekend. That will help a lot. 

I still haven't heard the test results from her limb. Oncologist has been on vacation so they booked me for August 25 since she needs to heal from amputation. I had originally tried to wait for the oncologist assessment before deciding on amputation but she got worse fast and the x-rays showed her lungs were clear so I made the call. I was not at all prepared by the surgical team for the post surgery care. 

Thank you again! I will keep a closer watch on the site for replies. 

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5 August 2021 - 9:05 am
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Oh PS ... I put her in her fleece jacket last night as PJs and no shivering this morning. 

Virginia




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5 August 2021 - 10:41 am
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YAY FOR TAIL WAGS AND CARRYING HER DINO AROUND!!!    Her sparkle IS returning so be sure and celebrate  these moments!!

You are top of things really well!  Give yourself credit.  Going solo is extra hard as the only caregiver during recovery.

Based on everything  you've described, it sounds like a "normal" recovery at this point.  And knowing she's on a good application of the Gabapentin of 3 x day and then down to 2 x seems to be adequate.  So seems like her meds are in order, regardless of the "shouldn't  be in pain" remark.

Sounds like there was a vit of overdoing  it at first and that can certainly  jave an impact on healing for awhile.  Muscles are strained and tense as adjusting to a new gait changes the muscular  dynamics.  They are hyped up on good hos meds for a couple of days and then there's  a crash as those meds wear out.

Good for getting her to drink more.  That's  important  during recovery.  Pottying may be off a little because  of meds, etc. Juzt continue to make sure she gets adequate fluids and pees okay.

Oh, there is a SUBSCRIBE "button" below this post.  Three vuttons... "subscribe" ..... add topic.  ..... Add reply

Tap the subscribe button and you'll get notified when a post is made.  

Looking forward to more "sparkle" updates!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too 

PS.  You did the right thing to amputate  that bum leg.  Xrays are almost always clear and conclusive when it comes to identifying  osteo.

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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5 August 2021 - 10:54 am
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Got the subscribe working. Thanks again. We are off to see Erin, the physio therapist tonight for some TLC. 

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5 August 2021 - 1:04 pm
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So the surgeon called with test results from her leg … surprising apparently that her lymph-node had a mast cell tumor. The sarcoma is confirmed but this second cancer surprises her (surgeon) … I see surgeon again Tuesday to remove staples and have a consult to talk about other tests we should do since oncologist appointment isn’t til 25th. I’m not sure what to make of this info but can’t be good news??

On The Road


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5 August 2021 - 3:20 pm
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Hey there just catching up. I'm glad you got the email notifications figured out. Anytime you have questions about the site you can post in Technical Support.

I hope physio went well! Let us know what you learned.

Sante's medications and dosages sound reasonable. Yeah, sometimes we do overdo it with our dogs, and that may be what happen. Shivering is one type of pain signal. Hopefully that's it for now. 

I'm not sure what to make of the pathology report either, but all I can say is to not jump to conclusions or consult Dr. Google until you talk to the experts. You will make yourself sick with worry and right now Sante needs you to be a strong leader who is pawsitive, calm, and looking forward to a bright, happy, healthy future together. You can do it!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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7 August 2021 - 5:25 pm
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Physio was great. Sante loves her friends there and they showered her with love. She got some relief from her pelvis being a bit out of alignment and I learned some stretches to help her with. She got laser treatment too. 

Last night and today there‚Äôs a lot more Sante spirit in the house than the last days ‚Ķ bright and up for food and friends. We went for a long walk with the doggie stroller and she even ‚Äújumped‚ÄĚ out when we approached a friend and there was much wagging and hello‚Äôing.¬†

I’m well into Be More Dog today … so reassuring hearing the journey of Jerry’s diagnosis and recovery from amputation. Thank you for creating these wonderful resources. 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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7 August 2021 - 8:33 pm
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So happy to jear Samte's sparkle is starting to sparkle again.  Sounds like the physio really helped, as well as soaking up all that attention. 

And you ARE doing a gear job of Being More DogūüĎŹ¬† And to not let worry about the tomorrows interfere¬† with the joys of today is the lesson the dogs teach us on this journey.¬† ¬†Sante is effortlessly moving through kne Happy moment to the next.¬† She's such a good girlūüėė

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!

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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8 August 2021 - 8:33 am
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3-cheers for Sante Spirit! YAY! smiley_clapsmiley_clapsmiley_clap 

I'm so happy she is doing better, what great news. How awesome that you were able to get her to therapy and learned some new things. Don't forget you can apply for the Tripawds Foundation rehab reimbursement grant to get your first visit paid for OK? Whatever we can do to take some of the financial burden off of you so you can focus on helping Sante heal and get on with the business of Being More Dog.

And speaking of, it makes our hearts happy you are enjoying the book! Thank you for the kind words. ūüôā

Keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
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8 August 2021 - 8:32 pm
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That's fantastic about the foundation grant option. I am fortunate to not need the support so I'll leave it for others to benefit from. 

So tomorrow is two weeks since amputation. It seems like longer and shorter all at once. I keep worrying she's not on pace for recovery ... today was a less sparkly day. There are pawsitives each day but I'm still struggling to make decisions about her meds. I tried to give her meds only twice yesterday and at 4am this morning I noticed she was crying/whimpering a bit. at 4:30 I decided she needed a dose and I got up to get her some kibble and a pill. She popped up out of bed at the sound of kibble hitting her bowl. A good sign, as she often lets me bring it to her the last two weeks. So that meant she got a dose about 10 hours after her last one (not 12) ... and this afternoon again she was letting me know she was hurting. So I guess I'm on a 10 hour schedule for now despite being directed to switch her to 12 after 10 days. 

She flinched again this afternoon when I touched her neck on the amputation side. This is the same spot a few random squeals have come from even before the surgery ... 

On The Road


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8 August 2021 - 8:42 pm
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The pain meds game is tricky! But the key is staying ahead of the pain so yeah stay on schedule and give it time, this won't last furever.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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8 August 2021 - 9:01 pm
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excellent  job of mo when her break thru pain started!  She is recovering at her own pace (which actually is quite normal at this point) and her need for pain meds are individual  to her too.

Once the pain gets a head start it's hard to keep it under control. So giving  the meds consistently  now may be exact the schedule  he needs.  And just for some reassurance,  some dogs take Gabapentin  every eight hours.  It really, really does just depend  on the dog's level of pain and the way pain meds work through  his system.   My Hapoy Hannah was on her pain meds for approximately  three weeks and then with a taper.

AND YAY FOR HER GOING TO GET HER OWN DINNE (guess it was more like an early breakfast).  HUGH VICTORY!  Now may be a good time to feed her st her normal spot, walk away and see of she gets up on jer own to go eat. Maybe even put a special treat in it to motivate  her.

When she gets her stitches  out she may not be as reactive around that area.  The tenderness  will subside.  The stitches  can be uncomfortable. 

Let us know how how she does as far as not having you bring her her food.  I know that seems like a little thing, but in recovery it's a HUGE VICTORY!!

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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