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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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Zak's home -- First night
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Zaks mom
1
31 January 2009 - 1:33 pm
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Zak is home. He came home one day after surgery. The said he was so freaked out at the vets that they thought it would be better for him at home. (I agree.. He doesn't do well in those places. When I dropped him off he was shaking uncontrollably, it was hard to see him like that. That was when I had my meltdown. Crying telling the nurse I couldn't do it. It was a panic attack. Too much stress this week. I pulled it together & said to go ahead with the procedure.

He wouldn't pee for them because he was under stress but as soon as I took him outside he let it go.. for about 3 minutes. It was a relief. Peed all over the T-shirt they'd put on him & the sling too. We've since worked out that kink. Cut up the T-shirt in a Jennifer Beals Flashdance look that is snugger on his body.

I was mentally prepared for the worst so last night wasn't as bad as I thought. He did pretty well in my opinion.. Kept him medicated & showered with love. Note: He's not on the Fentynal patch. The surgeon said that research has shown that the Fent patch delivers the drug to the dog in a method that is too hard to control based on how close it is to their skin. It causes haulicinating effects which add more trauma to bad the situation. He instead gave me Tylenol 4's (not T-3's). Once every 8 hrs but I can give up to 4 depending on pain.

He's also on Gabapentine which has helped. its very expensive though. He gets a pill 2, up to 3 times a day. I requested it after reading the posts on the board & am glad I did. I really believe its been a help. Also on an anti-biotic & a tranquilizer as needed.

Very good news is that  he did not cry last night.. a couple whines here and there so I'm relieved. Not a significant amount of panting either where as with the tramadol he panted a lot. (Although he might have been panting from the pain of his leg too) That said this morning he's panting more?

We'll see how it goes today. Hopefully I can keep him comfy as possible. My guess is he should mostly be sleeping this first week so I'm trying to keep him on the road to recovery.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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31 January 2009 - 1:58 pm
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That's a pretty good first night report.  Trouble did sleep a lot the first week and really didn't move around much the first 3-4 days.  Potty outings were about her extent during that period. Keep up the good work Zak, you'll be racing around before long just as you did before.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.


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31 January 2009 - 4:09 pm
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Sounds like Zak is doing well!  You might be able to decrease the dose of Gabapentin after a week or so (ask your vet).  I really think that it helped keep Tazzie comfortable and she never had any phantom pain .  She only had Tramadol for 7 days or so and she did pant a little more but it was tolerable.  The panting thing can be hard to figure out and for Tazzie heavy panting almost always meant that she had to pee.

 I am so glad that you changed your mind about the amputation. 

Pam and Tazzie

Zaks mom
4
31 January 2009 - 4:21 pm
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So far today he's doing well too. (Fingers Crossed) He stopped panting shortly after I made the post & we've had a couple potty breaks so far.

I'm a little concerned about his bowel movements.  He's 'tooting' a little & I know the anesthesia & meds make them constipated so it may take a day or so to happen but what concerns me is..  How is he going to go when I'm standing right by him all the time holding the sling under him in case he needs me? I'm kinda like right on top of him & he's a little bashful about these things.

And.. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do… keep the sling  under him whenever he's up walking for the first week or so??

The Rainbow Bridge



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31 January 2009 - 5:20 pm
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Oh yeay! Hugs! Hugs! Hugs! We are so glad everything has gone so well so far. That is absolutely a great report!

You are doing all the right things. Yes, I was a little gassy after the surgery, and although my pawrents did try to help me with going potty by holding a towel under my belly, I think I only needed it for the first couple of days. Really, I only needed it when I was still dopy frm the meds. After a day or two, I tried telling them I didn't want it, but they insisted on using it. When I did show them I could stand on my own, they were amazed.

Zak is an incredible, strong, resilient pup. We are so happy for you guys. Keep us posted OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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31 January 2009 - 5:23 pm
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You may be better with the sling than I was.  I'm not sure I wasn't a hinderance rather than a help!  The frst couple of days I used it faithfully.  By days 3-4 she was beginning to move around the house on her own and gain confidence.  At this point I thew the towel over my shoulder when I took her out because she would sometimes go to far and be tired trying to get back in so I could help her.  By the end of the first week we were finished with the sling unless I needed to get her in the car.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

The Rainbow Bridge



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31 January 2009 - 5:24 pm
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I think that is a great idea…have the towel handy just in case your Tripawd needs help getting back. Good thinking!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Zaks mom
8
31 January 2009 - 5:48 pm
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I've got a nice sling the vet gave me but thought I was supposed to keep using it for awhile?  He's gotten up on his own & walked (ok.. hopped) out to find me once in the kitchen all alone when I grabbed an iced tea. I'd thought he was out sleeping.  Scared me beause I didn't have  the sling & didn't know if he was going to fall over!

So maybe I should try to let him walk without once it is what some of you are thinking? is that what I'm understanding? But what if he falls over? He's on a lot of med's now.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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31 January 2009 - 6:18 pm
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Don't rush it.  He is still a little dopey I'm sure with this being the 1st day after surgery.  I was just trying to stress that you most likely won't need the sling long term.  I would be pretty comfortable letting him hop in the house if he chooses to, but I wouldn't go out without the sling for another day or two.  Trust your instincts, you'll know when he is ready.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Northern Indiana
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31 January 2009 - 7:58 pm
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FYI about the Gabapentin, we were able to get it at Walgreens and they have a program for pets and we got a month supply for under 10 dollars. Paris was on it pre and post op.

Gineej & Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

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31 January 2009 - 8:42 pm
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Ooooh gineej, that is a GREAT tip about the Gabapentin! Thank you for sharing that.

Yes, I agree with hugapitbull. Dont rush it, especially if you have stairs or slippery surfaces.

And, worst case, if he does fall over at some point, it will probably hurt you more than it hurts him. Just keep an eye on his suture area for any unusual bruising or swelling though, if he does fall.

Good luck!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Edmonton
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31 January 2009 - 10:24 pm
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Looks like Zak is doing very well.   Good job Zak!

Take it easy Jenna, it will only get better and better!

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1 February 2009 - 1:01 pm
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Hiya Zak..we've been thinking about ya. Glad to hear that things are going well…hope they continue in that direction. Mom only needed a sling on me for about 2 days…then I was good to go – not to say that she didn't follow close behind with it JUST IN CASE, but I didn't need it (well, except when going up and down the stairs, but since grampa was there for 10 days after my surgery, he carried me up and down them for about a week after surgery).

Panting is very normal…I actually panted the ENTIRE 2 weeks…drove mom crazy with worry…she even took me into the doctor 3 TIMES to make sure everything was OK, man you humans worry soooo much! I was just fine and once I got my stitches out and didn't need any of the meds anymore, the panting stopped.

Keep us posted as you go along and remember to tell mom that she needs her rest too! You're on your way pal Cool

Love

Zeus

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

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2 February 2009 - 9:17 am
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Hey Zak!! Way to go……you are doing great!  My Mom used the sling for the first day, then I was able to get around ok on my own. She did keep it with her just in case tho. I had a rear amp so it wasnt as difficult as a front one. I panted alot too, after my surgery and my Mom was worried, but Dr. Julia said its normal. Im one month and a week post amp and am out playing in the snow and chasing my favorite stick. Hang in there. The worst will be over before you know it!!

Good job!!

Paula and Max

Paula and Spirit Max

Zaks mom
15
2 February 2009 - 12:00 pm
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Thanks guys for encouragement & advice!  I think Zak is still doing well. (mom is having some sad moments again though with some doubts. I might start a new post for that one)

I let him try to walk out without the sling the AM & he did very well. We had a few cry outs yesterday.. Once when Mom like an idiot tried to help me get comfy & touch my amp spot. I felt so very bad. The others two were when he moved wrong & let out a cry. He's been laying on that side & it doesn't seem to bother him. Its a big surgery & I've been keeping him on his meds so he doesn't hurt or over do it. Mostly he sleeps now & I like that because I want him to heal.

I'll get the harness once I have an oppprtunity to measure him. Fingers crossed to a speedy recover & much more time with my baby boy.

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