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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 to expect after amputation
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BABY DAISY
1
5 February 2008 - 12:06 am
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What can my mommy expect to see when she comes to get me tommorow and expect the next couple of days? 

This is my story…….Hi, My name is Daisy. I am a 8yr old black lab. Cute as a button and sweet as sugar. I started to limp about a yr ago, and my mommy and daddy thought that maybe I just hurt my leg playing ball (my fav), and when I went to the vet, the vet just thought I needed to relax and rest for a little bit, and I would be back to normal, with some rest and TLC. Well that worked for a while, then on and off again I would limp sometimes, but then about 2 weeks ago, I started limping really bad, the worse ever and I was in major pain. Mommy took me back to the vet and wanted xrays done to find out what in the heck was going on. Well then mommy got the call, I have bone cancer in my left leg. ๐Ÿ™

Mommy and Daddy came and saw me and had a talk with my doctor, Mommy and Daddy was crying so bad, and I didnt really know what was going on, I just wanted to go home. I was still really sleppy cause my doctor said I had to go to sleep for them to take some pictures of my leg, so I was still waking up some when mommy and daddy was standing over me crying their eyes out, looking at me soo sad. I just wanted to go home, but mommy and daddy had to leave me at the doctor, cause the vet told them we needed to get this nasty cancer out of my body before it had spread, luckily my lung xrays looked good so far, so no signs yet of cancer hitting my lungs, which is a good thing. So mommy and daddy left me to stay the night, then the next morning, mommy was there bright and early, just a crying again. I heard mommy tell the vet, she just cant do it, she just cant and she needed to take me home. Heck I was so excited, I was going home. But then when I got home, mommy and I relized how much pain I was in.

So I left the vet on a Thursday and mommy stayed with me on Friday. But mommy was still sad, she went a talked to my vet again and again and again, mommy still dont understand how or why this would happen to her sweet baby, (which is me)!!!! Again the vet told mommy that two things can happen. 1- take my front left leg off, so I can be out of pain, and have a fighting chance to live. or 2- stay in pain and wait till the cancer spreads, which is quick, and I might have a few weeks maybe 2 months top to live. So again mommy and daddy cried all weekend, called the vet on Saturday and I heard them tell him to schedule a surgery first thing on Monday morning.

All weekend mommy and daddy cried and loved on me, but I just didnt understand what was going on. Here comes Monday (which is today) and my mommy calls me up to get in the car for a ride, OMG I was so excited, then I notice where she was going, I started to whine and cry, and painting, I didnt understand what was going on. My mommy was taking me back to the doctor, and then she told me she loved me and left. My mommy decided to have the doctor take my leg off so I wouldnt hurt any more and have a chance to prove to her and others, I can do this!!!!!

I am still at the vet right now, staying the night, my doctor called my mom and told her that my surgery was long and hard, but that so far everything is going good, when I woke up ( I dont remember any of this), I was crying and yelling really bad, I wanted mommy and I didnt know what was going on, and why I felt different, but my doctor told my mommy, everything is looking good, and he thinks I will do just great! My mommy is picking me up tommorow on Tuesday evening (2/5/08). and so my journey will begin!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 February 2008 - 12:45 am
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Daisy,

My Mom and Dad know exactly what your parents are going through. They cried a lot when they found out about my cancer too, and they thought about not having the amputation done. But they were glad they did, when they saw how I didn’t care one bit about losing my spare leg. Heck, I hopped out of the hospital the next day!

So what to expect? Well, they’ll probably be a little startled when they see your battle scar. Honestly, it ain’t pretty. But it heals, and your fur will grow back. If you live in a cold place, a doggie sweater can keep you warm.

You’ll have a brand new, cool walk, more like a hop! And they’ll be so surprised at how fast you move. It’s always easier to hop along quickly, than walk slowly.

My parents say that it’s important to think more like us dogs; live each moment, and just focus on the "now." Don’t worry about the prognosis and stuff like that, just enjoy every moment. Parent’s shouldn’t be sad or feel sorry; it just messes up our ability to focus on healing.

Some of us dogs do really great after surgery, and others have a hard time. Some of us live years afteward, others just months. But what’s important to remember is that after amputation, that horrible pain is gone! Sure, we might have post-surgery pain, but that will eventually go away. Just listen to the vet, and remember, be patient. Not all of us recover so quicky. Some of us take months to feel completely better. No rush, right? It’s great to be spoiled rotten and get all that extra love when we are healing!

Tell your Mom to ask the vet about "seromas" and how to spot them. They can be messy, but they are harmless. It happened to me. No biggie.

You probably won’t want to eat a whole lot at first, or poop. Those painkillers really mess us up, just like in humans. 

There is so much to tell you about, I could go on and on, but I know that other people will have some good advice too. 

My main advice is just to take it slow, and tell your parents not to try to make too many changes at once. The resources page on my blog has some good tips too, so be sure to look there.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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BABY DAISY
3
5 February 2008 - 8:47 pm
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Okay, I am home. But I am not my self. I am just whinning and sad, I dont want to move, or eat. Will I get better soon, my mommy and daddy are sad watching me. When will I get out of this rut???????

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 February 2008 - 9:07 pm
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BABY DAISY said:

When will I get out of this rut???????

 


Just be patient and give it some time. The first order of business is few days of rest.

 

The best thing your mommy and daddy can do is to pretend life is normal and not be sad. My people know this is very hard, but as a pack animal you know that you will pick up on their vibe … if they mope, you too will be unhappy.

Follow your vet’s recommendations for medication and get your rest. Make sure your bed is firm and on the ground. Stay off their bed or the couch until you get the hang of life on three legs, it shouldn’t take too long. But yes, the days will seem long. Welcome home! And thanks for the update.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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Kivasmom
5
6 February 2008 - 12:17 pm
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Hi Baby Daisy- Hang in there! Life will be back to "normal" before you know it. When my little girl, Kiva, came home from surgery I was a big mess! I second guessed my decision over and over again. However, she came through with flying colors. Everyone kept telling me she would be fine and would eventually adjust, but I didn’t believe it…until it happened. One of my proudest moments was when she went to the bathroom all by herself!! Stay strong!

BABY DAISY
6
6 February 2008 - 1:07 pm
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Thank you so much for all your input!! Because right now, I really am second guessing my decision with her. The vets and the techs were all saying how wonderful she was doing, then I get her home, and that is not what I consider wonderful. I know she is probably playing it up some on me, but she is really having a hard time. Last night was her first night home, all I heard from her was moaning, whinning, screaming, I tried everything I could to help her, but nothing was working. Not on top of it all, she was bleeding and draining out her drain tube alot, which was freaking us out bad. I took her to the vet asap this morning, again the vet said she looks great, he didnt think we should take the bandage wrapp off her till monday, he said she is supposed to drain that much out of the drain tube too, and that is a good thing. He gave her a shot of morphine, and sent us home with a different pain med to give on top of rimidyl. We just woke up from a nap, and there she is back to whinning again. I am trying to be strong for her, and let her know that she is going to be okay, but I am not to sure right now, it doesnt seem that way. The vet said yesterday she was doing great, but then when I got there, she started to play a little bit more than what she was when I wasnt there. She tends to do that alot around me, lol .:) Is it really going to get better? And how much longer? My husband and kids are so upset just watching her right now and I am to, but I am trying to be strong for Daisy and my family. What to do?????????????????????????????????? ๐Ÿ™

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 February 2008 - 6:00 pm
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BABY DAISY said:

Is it really going to get better? And how much longer?



Yes. It will get better. In fact it probably already is better than you think. It’s only been a couple days!

Remember, if you are upset around her she will be upset. Don’t forget what Cesar Milan always says … remain calm and balanced. Be a good pack leader. Baby her if she whines and she will whine more.

Don’t worry about the drainage. I didn’t have a tube, but my stitched up skin did get really full of fluid and need to be drained by the doctor. It was gross. But not painful. Hang in there.

All dogs have different post amputation stories. Perhaps I was just fortunate with my relatively trouble-free recovery. But we have also heard much worse horror stories. Take it one day a time and try to stay strong.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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The Rainbow Bridge



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7 February 2008 - 6:01 pm
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Oh Baby Daisy, it really does sound like you are going through all of the usual things after surgery. I had a seroma too, it was so gross! But it was nothing, and after that I was on the road to recovery.

Please tell your Momma and family to keep being strong. Give it time and be patient, you’ll see, it will be fine.Just look at all of the tripawds here and see how well they are doing.

How are you feeling today?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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BABY DAISY
9
7 February 2008 - 6:15 pm
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Today I am doing much better. Getting around a littel bit more, not much more but a little. I take a few steps. lay down, then get back up and walk a little but more again. I get tired really quick and out of breath, is that okay? I started to eat some too, and drink alot. I am being very picky about my food though, lol . I am not whining like I was though, but just hanging tight and chillin. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been sleeping alot though, but I have been wagging my tail again today, which I havent in a few days!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 February 2008 - 6:22 pm
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It does sound like you are on the road to recovery. Yeay! All of that sounds normal. Rest a lot, you need your strength, but when you’re feeling better, look out everyone! Lots of other dogs have been picky about their food after surgery. Some say it’s the painkillers. Tell your Mom to try throwing some tasty wet food in your chow. Not too much though!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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BABY DAISY
11
7 February 2008 - 10:45 pm
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Oh ya, I got a question. I have a large seroma on my belly below my bandage, and then one again down my lower tummy, that has bruised there. It looks really bad, is that normal also? Should I be concerned and take another run to the vet?

NaeNae
12
9 February 2008 - 1:37 pm
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Baby Daisy, I’m not sure about that. Since we aren’t vets, we can’t say for sure how serious that is. Usually they aren’t, but you may want to at least call your vet first to find out what to do. Let us know what they say. Good luck.

BABY DAISY
13
11 February 2008 - 10:49 pm
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OKAY, THIS IS AN UPDATE ON DAISY FROM MOMMY:

SHE CAME HOME ON TUES EVENING OF LAST WEEK, WE TOOK HER BACK TO THE VET ON WEDS AM CAUSE SHE WAS IN ALOT OF PAIN THE NIGHT BEFORE AND DRAINING ALOT OF FLUID. DR GAVE A SHOT FOR PAIN AND A HEAVIER PAIN MED, BUT SAID FLUID DRAINAGE WAS GOOD AND SHE LOOKED GREAT (NOT OUR NORMAL VET THAT TAKES CARE OF HER, HE WAS OUT OF TOWN), TOOK HER HOME AGAIN, AND THEN BY FRIDAY SHE WAS REALLY SWOLLEN, LIKE BAD. STOMACH WAS DROPPING DOWN AND SHE WAS REALLY BLOATED. TOOK HER BACK TO VET ON FRIDAY AM, DOCTOR SAID IT WAS NORMAL, AND THE FLUID WOULD EVENTUALLY DRAIN OUT, BUT HE DID CHANGE THAT NASTY STINKY BANDAGE, AND SAID IF WE WANTED TO CHANGE THE BANDAGE OURSELFS EVERY DAY TO KEEP HER CLEAN AND DRY AND NOT SO SMELLY FROM THE DRAINAGE, WE COULD. SO BUT SUNDAY, WELL ACTUALLY SATURDAY NIGHT, I NOTICE AROUND HER LOWER BELLY, ABOUT HALF WAY DOWN HER CHEST, SHE DEVELOPED SOME SKIN TEARS, A COUPLE OF HOLES HAD FORMED ON HER, AND IT LOOKED LIKE IN ONE AREA, HER SKIN WAS LIKE BARELY STAYING ON HER, IT WAS SHREDDING ALMOST. TOOK HER TO THE VET ASAP MONDAY AM, WHEN THEY OPENED(HER VET WAS BACK), HE ASKED FOR US TO LEAVE HER FOR AWHILE SO HE CAN TAKE A REAL GOOD LOOK AT HER AND FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON. LATER IN THE AFTERNOON HE CALLED AND SAID ON THE PART OF SKIN THAT LOOKED REALLY BAD, WHICH IS ABOUT HALF WAY DOWN FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE SURGERY SUTURES, HER SKIN HAD DIED. THE TISSUES AND BLOOD VESSELS DIDNT GET ENOUGH OXYGEN OR BLOOD APARENTLY AND THE SKIN TISSUE IS DEAD, BUT LUCKILY HE HAD LEFT ENOUGH SKIN ON HER WHEN HE DID THE SURGERY SO SHE HAD EXTRA, HE COULD JUST PULL THAT OVER, AND FIX IT EASILY. SO HE TOLD ME AFTER HE DID HER SURGURY IN THE LATE AFTERNOON HE WOULD CALLS US TO LET US KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND SHE COULD PROBABLY GO HOME TOMMOROW. SO I GOT THE CALL THIS EVENING, AND HE FIX THE AREA OF DEAD TISSUE, BUT WHAT HE DID NOTICE WHEN HE GOT IN THERE IN SURGURY IS THAT SOME OF HER MUSCLE TISSUE (???????) OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT WAS DAMAGED, SO HE HAD TO GO IN THERE AND FIX THAT AND SOME BLOOD VESSELS AND NERVE AREAS, AND BASICALLY RE ROUTED SOME THINGS AND CLEANED HER UP AGAIN, BUT PUT ANOTHER DRAIN TUBE IN A DIFFERENT SPOT ON HER, FOR BETTER DRAINAGE. HE SAID HE THINKS WE SHOULD LEAVE THE BANDAGE OFF SO SHE CAN DRAIN BETTER AND EASIER, BUT HE THINKS SHE IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE DESPITE ALL THIS. SO HE IS GOING TO WATCH HER TOMMOROW AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS OKAY, BUT HOPEFULLY SHE CAN COME HOME TOMMOROW EVENING. HE SAID WITH HIM REPAIRING THAT DAMAGED MUSCLE AND SCAR TISSUE, SHE SHOULD DO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT SHE WOULD HAVE DONE IF THAT WOULD OF HEALED WITH OUT HIM FIXING ALL THAT STUFF. IT IS WEIRD HOW THAT HAPPENED TO HER AND THE SKIN AND THEN HE FOUND THAT STUFF THAT WENT WRONG IN HER ALSO, SO HE WAS ALBE TO FIX IT NOW. SO OVERALL SHE IS DOING GOOD DESPITE ALL THIS CRUD!!!! SHE IS STILL A LITTLE DEPRESSED BUT SHE IS EATING AND GETTING AROUND A LITTLE BETTER BEFORE WE TOOK HER IN THE AM. SHE IS WAGGING HER TAIL AGAIN TOO, WHICH IS GREAT!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ THE VET AND I BOTH AGREE, SHE IS GOING THROUGH A ROUGH SPOUT RIGHT NOW, BUT ONCE THIS DRAIN TUBE AND STAPLES COME OUT, SHE IS GOING TO BE GOOD TO GO, AND HE REALLY THINKS WE CAUGHT THE CANCER EARLY ENOUGH BEFORE IT SPREAD, AND HE GOT IT ALL. BUT OF COURSE ONLY TIME WILL TELL, BUT I TELL YOU WHAT , WE WONT GO DOWN WITH OUT A FIGHT!!! I AM DOING THE HOLISTIC THINGS, AND THE BARTWIG DIET WITH THE COTTAGE CHEESE AND FLAXSEED OILS, AND ALL THE EXTRA IMMUNE SUSTEM BUILDERS, SO HOPEFULLY IF SHE DOES HAVE SOME CANCER CELLS FLOATING AROUND IN THERE, HER IMMUNE SYSTEM WILL FIGHT IT OFF. I THINK SHE IS GOING TO BE BACK TO NORMAL BUT BETTER SINCE SHE IS NOT IN PAIN ANY MORE FROM THE CANCER LEG, ONCE ALL THE HEALING IS OVER AND DONE WITH!!!!!!! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 February 2008 - 4:41 pm
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Hi Baby Daisy,

Wow it really sounds like you’ve had it rough! I’m so sorry. But it does sound like you are on the road to recovery, thank you for the update.

Hang in there, it won’t be long now. Keep on eating healthy and takin’ it easy. You’ll feel better soon, promise!

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.โ„ข
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15 February 2008 - 7:15 pm
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The last 10 days have been a whirlwind.  Like many of you out there, we went to the vet thinking Barney’s limp was due to a sports injury of some sort.  After an MRI revealed a tumor mass in his right shoulder, we anxiously awaited the biopsy results which confirmed that cancer was present (soft tissue sarcoma – either neuro fiber or synovial cell).  We agonized over the decision, and finally agreed amputation was the only choice we really had to ensure that our beloved 5-year old Barney had a fighting chance.  The amputation surgery took place yesterday and this afternoon we have him back at home with us.  We must wait another agonizing week to get other biopsy results back to determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.  He is wearing a Fentanyl pain patch which delivers the meds transdermally and we also have oral pain meds, Tramadol.  We’ve already had to administer one of those since the effort of getting home and into the house has proven to be pretty extreme.  One of the things that our yellow Lab loves to do most is eat, and right now he has absolutely no interest in that, but I suppose that’s normal at this stage.  I do have a questions for anyone who has more than one pet in the household – how have your other pets responded to your amputee dog?  Our Floyd, a Border Collie mix, seems to be frightened of Barney – and prior to his going to the hospital, they were the best of friends.  Is this normal?

I appreciate the opportunity to just post this message and know that there are many of us who are going through the same things and we can share our stories of love, as well as fears.

Bless you all,

Barney’s mom 

 

 

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