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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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What is normal during post op period?!!
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Forum Posts: 11
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23 January 2017 - 3:38 pm
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Hello all.  I’m reaching out again as I don’t know what is normal for this point in Nyla’s recovery.  She is now almost two weeks post op from a rear leg amputation.  Her post op course was complicated by the fact that she did not tolerate the pain medications well (nausea/vomiting).  She refused to eat for almost the first week until I finally found out about canned cat food!  Her appetite is still not what it had been prior to surgery.  She will eat the cat food and a small amount of chicken/rice however she refuses to eat anything else as I talked about in a previous post.  Her surgeon had tried her on anti-nausea med which helped a little however Nyla had to be put on Keflex (an antibiotic) as the top part of her incision wasn’t completely closing several days ago.  It is now looking much better.  She doesn’t tolerate Keflex either as she has had this after another surgery years ago.  I finally just stopped almost all of her medicine with the exception of her Deramaxx (NSAID) as she was on this before surgery and did fine with it.  Again, I know all dogs are different but when does everyone feel that they started to see their dogs again? And by “see” I mean that they’re eating almost normally, they’re excited about things they usually get excited about and generally have their normal look back.  I just wondered if this was normal at this point (nearly two weeks post op).  I don’t know if I have realistic expectations as to what she should be acting like.  She is drinking appropriately and seems to be interested in food however whenever she smells anything else (besides cat food) she turns her nose to it! I have literally tried everything else as I want her to have as much energy as possible.  She is pooping/peeing just fine.  She is walking great on her three legs and continues to amaze me daily as to how quickly she is adapting.

I copied this from my previous post just for her background:

A little background information on Nyla just so everyone knows about her as I’m sure I’ll be posting again:
Nyla is a VERY active 8 year old Bernese Mountain Dog- not your typical couch potato of a big dog! She grew up in Vermont and has spent her life skiing in the mountains with me and hiking in the Adirondacks. She does not realize she is a bigger dog and is as active as they come. She tore her ACL two years ago and ended up having a TPLO which she did great with. We were back skiing and hiking and things had been absolutely great up until two months ago when she started limping in her back leg. I didn’t think much of it as she had been chasing squirrels and thought she overdid it. I eventually went to my local vet who took X-rays and did bloodwork which all looked good. She was put on Deramaxx and this seemed to help quite a bit initially however then it stopped working. My local vet wasn’t sure what it was however I had concerns about cancer given my girls breed. I took her back to the surgeon who did the TPLO. He found a mass near her TPLO which he biopsied and then sent that for further testing. It was confirmed to be histiocytic sarcoma. Chest X-rays and ultrasound of belly do not show any mets- thank goodness. I had a very tough decision regarding the amputation however, after having a second opinion everyone agreed that at this point this appears to be localized to the leg only. I work in human medicine so I know everything is not always as it appears and cancer can be a funny disease process and do what it wants. The point being, with the information I had now, things looked good and since she was an active and otherwise healthy 8 year old I decided to go ahead with the amputation. If nothing else, I just wanted pain relief for my dog as she hasn’t been able to bear weight on this leg prior to her surgery….if it buys her more time with me then that is a bonus that I will be more than happy about. I’m hoping that once she gets the swing of things on 3 legs that she can return to being a therapy dog and going back to nursing homes!

Please let me know what other suggestions you may have for food to entice her besides cat food so that she can get back to her regular food.  Chicken brother, beef, beef liver, tuna,chicken and rice is what I’ve tried so far.  Please also let me know what your dogs were like at the two week post op mark so that I have realistic expectations.  Thanks in advance!

Michelle and Nyla

Sunny California
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23 January 2017 - 6:03 pm
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Hi Michelle and Nyla!   We are roughly 12 days post-amp and, although I do see flashes of clarity and my boy being his “old self”, my dane (Astro) is definitely still in a transition period where he is much more low-key and suppressed than normal (hasn’t picked up his toys – his FAVORITE things in the world). He is eating well and going to the bathroom by himself and there has been steady improvement, but it’s still a progression back toward where I feel like he is fully recovered.  Don’t know if any of that helps, but just wanted to tell you to keep hanging in there!  You guys have been through a lot, so just try and breathe deep and scritch those floofy Bern ears and take it a day at a time. Hugs!

Cheers,

Kat and Astro

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23 January 2017 - 7:50 pm
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Actually, your experience seems fairly normal.  Many dogs start to perk up when the staples come out.  And even then, we were still on Tramadol for at least another week.  Each dog is different, but just hold on – you will start to see little improvements.  And don’t stress too much about the cat food.  If that is what she wants to eat right now, let her.  Maybe mix a little kibble in from time to time.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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23 January 2017 - 8:00 pm
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Thank you for the encouragement.  I have been reading so many other postings and see that these first few weeks can be challenging. It’s tough when you just want them to be as comfortable as possible throughout this whole process….and if that means buying more cat food then so be it!!!  Nyla initially had stitches only in and as I said earlier, the top part of her incision was not healing properly and they put in a few staples.  I’m hoping that once we get these out (on Friday) that this will make her a little more comfortable.  

Virginia




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23 January 2017 - 9:31 pm
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Nyla’s avatar picture is beautiful!!

So, other than ot eating, which I know is worrisome, she’s walking, drinking, eating poopi g, wagging, right? Just not showing much sparkle yet.

It took me about three weeks before I could finally say I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her. Now, in her czse, she NEVER missed ayour meal, she just wasn’t herself. Bjt once her sparkle started coming back, it was fairly quickly.

I went back to yojr earlier posts. It seems that the Cerenia injection helped. Maybe another one would help.

Maybe some bloodwork just to make sure everything is okay and there are no underlying issues. If she’s off all meds basically, then the nausea may stem from something else, an I fecrio , etc.

Have you tried PET FRESH (refrigerated and grain free ). It’s moist and My dogs go nuts for it as a topper or a treat. Also, Merrick Raw Bites, a other topper they go bonkers over.

As far as getting “excited”, a couple of thi gs you can try. Is there a slecial friend or family member she likes? Have them come over…knock wildly the door…And come in all excited with a warm cheeseburger!

There is one dog here who was completely unmotivated…until a neighbor brlught their dog Lilly over! When she saw Lilly she would get up and go out and pee a d act all hhappy! The neighbor had to bring Lilly over three times a day…but it worked!!

Good input from Kat and Christine. We k lw it’s so hard to be patient and you want validation so badly that the amputation was the right thing to do. YOU DID THE RIGHT THING!! You have given Nyla a chance at a pain free life ull of loving and spoiling and tummy rubs and playing in the snow…and bringing smiles to everyone in the Nursing Homes!

Keep us uldated!

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!

Germany
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24 January 2017 - 3:06 am
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That would be us with the motivational issues 🙂 thanks, Sally!

Michelle, I think Sally has given you great things to try out. I guess every dog is different and mine just needed the right kind of motivation for him and I’m sure you’ll find the right one for yours. I believe that the motivation is really about self-confidence to be honest and my dog really had to find his again.

You can find our story in the blog but I think you’re on a very good way! keep us updated!

Tina & Manni

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

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24 January 2017 - 10:09 am
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Just wanted to send a quick update-

I had been giving Nyla Pepcid while she was taking her pain meds etc.  I instead switched her to omeprazole yesterday at the advice of her surgeon.  I’m not sure if it’s my imagination or not, but her desire for food was definitely different today.  She was able to eat a mixture of cat food, rice and her kibble that she was eating prior to her surgery.  She finished it off quickly.  What a relief!  She even wanted some of the eggs we were eating.  I’m not sure if her problem is acid reflux and the omeprazole really helped or we just needed some time for the meds to get out of her system (possibly a combination of the two??).  I’m hoping she keeps this up.

I should also say that Nyla has several “boyfriends” (humans) that have come over and she gets very excited about.  She is able to walk to the door to greet them and tail is wagging so I know the sparkle is there.  I agree with what Tina said about her finding her confidence.  It’s coming…slowly but surely.  

This is an adjustment for all of us.  I know I made the right decision as I helped to take her pain away.  Trying to stay positive for the road ahead!

Also, I think I need to take a new picture for our avatar now that she is a tripawd…still a beauty!

Virginia




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24 January 2017 - 10:23 am
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Oh good!! So glad to hear she’s eating! And her sparkle is DEFINITELY coming back! When a dog feels good enough to get up to go greet her “boyfriends” at the door, that’s a good sign I deed!!

So yeah, sounds like Nyla is progressing as she should at this poi t in recovery, maybe even a little ahead of the game!

YAY for eating!!! 🙂 🙂 Keep it up pretty girl!!

A d her avatar is just fine! It’s such a pretty picture!

Hugs!

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

PS…Thanks Tina!! Hi est to good ess, I remembered your post so clearly abput how you motivated Manni! I had his picture in my head, but just could not get his name out of my old file cabinet in my old brain!! See, yet another way Manni is inspiring others! 🙂

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!

Germany
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24 January 2017 - 10:48 am
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LOL! Sally! I’ll tell my neighbor that Lilly is now an honorary member of the elect tripawds! 😊

Michelle, Manni is actually kind of sensitive w the ‘stomach pills’ too. He actually throws up from some of them which took a while to figure out. I completely forgot about that! Sorry! We switched meds and were fine.  So maybe that was it for you, that would great!!

good going though, glad to hear she greets people!

all the best

tina and Manni 

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

Livermore, CA




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24 January 2017 - 6:08 pm
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Sounds like things are looking up!

My pug Maggie was on the long end of getting her ‘sparkle’ back.  It was 6 weeks post op before she would play with me again- I was sure I had made a mistake choosing the surgery.  She had no complications and was hopping the day of surgery.

In hindsight Maggie was just being true to herself.  She was stubborn and set in her ways and HATED any changes to her routines. Once she decided she was OK with her new normal she got on with her life and hopped happily though life for almost 4 years.

Nyla is a bit behind the recovery curve with the stomach issues and not eating.  It sounds like you are on the right track now with her tummy but she might be a little weak since she didn’t eat well for a week or so. I bet she will feel a lot better when the staples and sutures come out.

Hang in there! I think the worst is behind you now.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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

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27 January 2017 - 9:27 pm
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I just came back from Nyla’s f/u appt with her surgeon today to get her staples removed. I’m reaching out to anyone who has experience with histiocytic sarcoma. I know Donna has had experience with this. We got the histopathology report today and it confirmed histiocytic sarcoma and lymph node was negative. This sounds like a good thing however the surgeon explained that the mitotic index was in the 30s, which is high and indicates that it is very aggressive. So far Nyla has had a thorough work up for mets and it has been negative. She’s had several chest X-rays, lymph node biopsy and ultrasound of her belly which were all negative which is good. The thing that concerns me is the mitotic index given the information I have read on this. At this point it seems to be localized histiocyctic sarcoma. I just wonder what you all have experience with in regards to mitotic index and if any of your babies had them that high and still did relatively ok. I say relatively because I’m very realistic about things and knowing that as much as I read cancer can still be unpredictable. I guess I just want as much information as possible as I will be seeing the oncologist on Monday to see what she has to say about chemo. I have concerns about chemo as Nyla does not do well with ANY medications as noted with my previous posts. She’s doing better now however she refused to eat for a long period of time after her surgery. I have concerns that if they suggest chemo if that would affect her quality of life and whatever time I have left with her. I understand every dog is different so it’s hard to predict but knowing Nyla’s history I have a pretty good sense. Any information from you all would be appreciated.

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28 January 2017 - 9:33 am
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Remember that chemo is your choice.  Many members have opted not to do chemo for a wide variety of reasons – concerns with your dog’s health and quality of life are important considerations.  And some dogs without chemo have lived longer than dogs with chemo.  There are just no guarantees.  And some members start chemo and then stop if their dog reacts poorly.  There are just no hard and fast rules in this area.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Germany
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28 January 2017 - 11:35 am
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Chemo is of course no guarantee for anything. From what I was told and have read the median survival rates are better with it ( at least for osteosarcoma) but who is really average?? We did Chemo and did not have any problems whatsoever. My vet said that they have about 1 dog in 5 years with side effects and they do that quite a lot. 

But again, no guarantees and every dog is different. If it comes to that talk to your vet and tell him your concerns. Maybe they can advise. 

Remaining paws crossed from Manni, hugs from me

tina

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

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