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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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Whitey the greyhound will be a tripawd next week
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Member Since:
7 November 2009
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7 November 2009 - 7:36 am
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Hi everybody,
I run Minnesota Greyhound Rescue, and we have 7 greyhounds of our own. The past year has been very rough, as we have lost 5 of our dogs (3 to osteo, one to pulmonary embolism, one to a brain tumor). We just added Whitey to our pack 3 weeks ago. He's an 11 year old boy who had not had a permanent home in 2 years.... He had been bounced from one temporary placement to another through no fault of his own. We brought him home, thinking we would give him a nice couch to relax on for his last few years, and a 'forever family.'

A week ago, he started to limp. Since we've lost 3 to osteo in the past 8 months, I just knew. Took him to the vet on Tuesday when it hadn't resolved, and xrays confirmed that it was osteo. Our other 3 were not candidates for amputation, but Whitey is even though he is 11. His lung xrays are clear right now, his bloodwork is okay, and it's in his left shoulder.

We've never done this before, and I'm basically terrified for him, especially since he has only known us for 3 weeks.

We are planning to do the surgery next Friday, although we have sent all his xrays, labs, etc to the Ohio State Greyhound Wellness Program for review and will wait for their opinion before we do anything.

Just looking for some reassurance that he will come through this okay, and we are not torturing our dog! Also, any tips for recovery would be very welcome.
Thanks so much!
Jen

p.s. Minnesota Greyhound Rescue already had a blog, so we will be updating Whitey's progress there: http://www.Minn.....dpress.com

Jen, with greyhounds Palu, Chester, Tobey, Brad, Apollo, Whitey, Hank, and missing our beloved Tanner, Crisco, Sly, Annie and Abby the Schnauzer

Member Since:
26 November 2008
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7 November 2009 - 8:37 am
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Jen and Whitney,

We are incredably sorry to not only hear of Whitney's diagnosis, but also of your very tragic year.  I am sure that while your Greyhound Rescue work is very rewarding, it is also filled with very sad stories.  Your perserverence is outstanding.  I would also like to welcome you to a wonderful community filled with caring people who will share their collective experiences and provide very valuable support.  Cherry turned eleven the day before her amputation, and while the chemotherapy was worse than the amputation, we will be celebrating her one year anniversary (we call them ampuversaries) in two weeks.  She is doing as great now as at any time since her diagnosis.

We have a standard series of suggestions that may help you prepare for Whitney’s surgery.  Stealing from a recent Jerry posting, I would suggest:

 What to Expect Part 1:

http://tinyurl......tToExpect1

 What to Expect Part 2:

http://tinyurl......tToExpect2

Also, there are my usual suggestions:

1)  Remain as positive as possible around Whitney.  They will pick up on your feelings and if you are down, it will only make it harder.  I have often left Cherry, left the house, and then totally lost it before regaining composure and returning with a smile.  It will make a difference.

2)  Remember to treat the spirit as well as the body.  Find something that they love and can still do during recovery.  Then exploit that love to give them purpose.  For Cherry, it was/is her trips in the truck/car.  It was the first and for a long time, the only place that she would willingly take food when offered.  To this day, as the time when she thinks that she is going for a ride approaches, you can see the excitement grow.  Jake's mom would probably tell you that for Jake it was the swimming pool.  Once Jake saw the pool and was allowed back in, the improvement appears to have been remarkable.  View the Fun!  Jake is not doing as well now but he still enjoys his life.  Doug and Heidi will tell you that for Molly it continues to be canoe trips.  Watch her celebrate her one year anpuversary!  Help them find a purpose to fight.

3)  Consider keeping a journal.  I kept a journal and posted it on-line.  It allowed me to go back days/weeks/months and make a good comparison.  This really helped to make honest assessments of Cherry's progress during the ups and downs of recovery.  Our oncologist actually used these journal postings to keep up to speed on Cherry's condition.  I have a page of thumbnail photos (with links to larger versions) covering from just after the diagnosis, first days home, chemotherapy treatment, through recent days.  View Cherry’s TriPawd photos.

 Hope that I have not scared you off with the length of this reply.  We wish you the best of recoveries.

Bob & Cherry

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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7 November 2009 - 9:23 am
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Jen, don't know if you saw it on my Indy thread, but you can post any grey-specific questions to me (or private message me) regarding my experience and my research before we decided to go through this with Indy. Also, please check out the Circle of Grey Yahoo Group for senior grey health discussion.

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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7 November 2009 - 10:24 am
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Heh. I see you posted on Circle of Grey yesterday. You're ahead of the game. 🙂

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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7 November 2009 - 11:28 am
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Good luck with Whitney's surgery on Friday.  I don't know if this is true but I heard that greyhounds take a little longer to recuperate from amputation then people pleaser" dogs.  This may not apply to Whitney and greyhound parents may correct me.  I am only mentioning it because if it does take her a little longer don't be discouraged.  Keep us posted.

Debra & Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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7 November 2009 - 12:05 pm
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Hi Jen

My Cemil is a left-front amputee also, and I'm here to tell you that it won't be as difficult as you think. Cemil took an extra week or two to recover, I think because any new situation upsets him and he becomes extra cautious.  It's an Anatolian Shepherd thing.  A lot of dogs run and jump the first week.  Since Whitey's shoulder has been bothering him already, he's most likely used to using only three legs anyway.  The pain meds will have an effect and he'll have to learn to balance differently, but after two weeks he'll be showing you miracles every day (my guess).

Greyhounds and greyhound-rescue-people have a special place in my heart so I'll be watching Whitey's story--Indy's too.  Sending good thoughts for an easy recovery.

Mary

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Member Since:
28 May 2008
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7 November 2009 - 6:32 pm
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Hey Jen...you've had a tough year, I'm so sorry. I love hearing about someone rescuing an older fur kid, and now - you're standing by him as he starts to hop along on this life altering journey. Whitey is so lucky to have you - I believe that you were brought together so that he could have special people in his life who would wallk this path with him.

I know you're terrified - it's the fear of the unknown and nothing any one of us can say will alleviate all the fear, but I hope we can give you...well hope and assurance that life can rock on 3 legs.

Zeus was a 10 golden retriever when we amputated and I know that greyhounds are very special breeds in themselves, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that Zeus was also in his senior years when we were faced with this decision. To put it in a nut shell, we amputated, our recovery was textbook pretty much, we did chemo and pamidrinite treatments and we remained cancer free until the end. We had 17 more wonderful, amazing and priceless months together than if we would not have taken the chance on the fight. I lost my baby over labor day just a few months ago, but not from cancer.

We didn't have a lot of obstacles, the cancer never came back...Zeus was my hero and still is...my rockstar and my inspawration. I cannot put into words the blessings and gifts that came into my life as a result of the cancer journey we walked and hopped together. I have NO REGRETS.

You mentioned that you're worried about how he is going to react with only being part of your family for 3 weeks...I know I've said this already, but i believe you guys were brought together for this reason. He knows he is part of your family and he is safe and he is loved. As long as he has that, and maybe a few extra prayers from Zeus and the pack above, he will do fine. Don't be afraid for him...he will sense that...be positive and be happy that it is YOU who is responsible for his care now - not someone else who would not even consider putting the time, energy or money into this fight. 

You are in our thoughts and prayers - please keep everyone posted.

Love Heather and Spirit Zeus

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

Member Since:
3 November 2009
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7 November 2009 - 7:21 pm
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I just had my dogs leg amputated…4 days ago. It was very scary….and sometimes still feels a bit overwhelming. But Cooper is doing great. The first day picking him up was wonderful…..he jumped right up and was so glad to see us. His brown eyes where just sparkling. Things are a bit rougher right now…we have bruising and fluid. It is hard to see him look at me with uncertainty in his eyes….BUT he has a great appetite just bounces around at meal time, LOVES having company sit with him and pet him….he really enjoys our cuddles. What I am trying to say is there will be moments when you might be tempted to doubt your decision…but don't. The good times will far out way the rough times…..Dogs are amazing at accepting the here and now……as long as they have love then can get through anything…and come out the other side wagging their tail. I hope things go great for you and Whitey.

Grand Rapids, MI
Member Since:
21 September 2009
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8 November 2009 - 10:08 pm
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Goodness, so many greyhounds on the forums lately! 

I don't have any "tips" for you, but if you have any questions, I also have a new greyhound tripawd.  We are about 2 months post-op.  The first month was hard (lots of post-op bleeding issues) but a little patience and a lot of love and our sweet little grey, Boo, is running around like a rock-star now!  I know it's scary, but you are making the right decision.   

Boo became a Tripawd Warrior Princess on Sept 8, 2009. She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge 2.7 years later on April 29, 2012. Run free Angel Boo!

Member Since:
3 November 2009
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12 November 2009 - 9:05 pm
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I'll admit I really had my doubts about an amputation for an eleven year old super-active dog, and my hubby was really skeptical, but I'm so glad now that we went ahead because she is so resilient and has shown us both a thing or two. She's even less aloof than she was before - (she was always her own dog) and is sitting here with me as I type this.

Brandy went to the vet today to have stitches out and for her check up. My vet says she is doing remarkably well and can start swimming anytime now.. She gets in and out of the car by herself, up and down stairs, on and off the bed and loves her winter raincoat so she can play outside without getting cold.

After the vet we went to McDonald's to get her a cheeseburger (okay -I know it's not healthy but it was just a treat) then over to the park to watch the kids play lacrosse.

I think she's going to need a new raison-de-etre and I found out that they are short of therapy dogs in our area so have a phone number to contact.

I'm still new to all this, but for anybody even newer, the first week does pass and it can be scary and make you wonder if you did the right thing, but the best is yet to come......

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 November 2009 - 9:29 pm
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Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful reminder! Glad to hear Brandy is doing so well ... mmmmmmmmmmm, cheeseburgers! 🙂

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

Member Since:
7 November 2009
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12 November 2009 - 9:37 pm
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Thanks for all the replies everybody! Whitey goes in for surgery at 9AM tomorrow (Friday). I am completely terrified, and hoping that he does okay. I will let everyone know when he is through surgery.

Jen

Jen, with greyhounds Palu, Chester, Tobey, Brad, Apollo, Whitey, Hank, and missing our beloved Tanner, Crisco, Sly, Annie and Abby the Schnauzer

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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12 November 2009 - 10:00 pm
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Good luck! I hope Whitey's surgery goes as well as Indy's. Greys are tough little cookies!

Kirkland, WA
Member Since:
2 June 2009
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12 November 2009 - 10:25 pm
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Good Luck Whitey!!!!!  We're rootin for ya out here in WA state!  The good thing is that no matter what happens, someone on here has probably experienced it!  Let us know how it goes tomorrow and Jack would like to send a nuzzle and a kiss 🙂

<3 Laura and Jackers

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 November 2009 - 10:28 pm
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Best wishes... Whitey will do greyt, I'm sure!

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

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