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My puppy is having a front leg amputated...any suggestions for after care?

August 20th, 2008, 12:29 PM
I am new to this forum but I thought I would ask all of you pet lovers if you had any suggestions about after care for my baby girl that is having her front right leg amputated tomorrow.

Little background:
I adopted Ruby from a small town shelter in TX a few months ago. When I adopted her they said she had been burned and the burn was healing. When I took her to the vet the next day to have her checked out the "burn" was infected and had abscessed, so we took care of it. As she started to grow we noticed that her leg with the "burn" was growing at a strange angle. I again took her to the vet and he did some xrays and it turns out she had been shot with a pellet gun and the pellet was stuck in the growth plate. We had the pellet removed with the hope that this would straighten out her leg but knowing it probably wouldnt help. Well we were right and it didn't help. The damage had been done to the growthplate and only one of the two bones in her lower leg has grown so her leg is now almost twisting backward as it grows. We have seen a specialist and have chosen to amputate her leg to take the pain away and help her have a more normal life. She is just about 10 months old so the vet thinks she will be just fine. He laughs and tells me that dogs are born with 3 legs and a spare and she will be quicker than before. (I was hoping it would slow her down a bit but oh well! HAHA)

Ok so back to my question... any suggestions from anyone about after care and helping her get back to her normal routine with her "brother"? An hour doesn't go by without them wrestling and I am worried about her being too active. Also I have to return to work on Monday, should I find a puppy sitter, or should she be ok in her kennel during the day while I am at work??

Thank you so much!!!!!!!

August 20th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Sorry to hear about your little Ruby. One of our members bendyfoot has a dog called Jaida who went through a front leg amputation last year. Here is the link to Jaida's story, you should be able to find some useful information therein

Bendyfoot was on earlier today, hopefully she will be back later and can help you further.

Good Luck to your Ruby.:pray:

August 20th, 2008, 12:52 PM
I havent any advice to give you, BUt i would just like to say good luck to your little puppy! I hope she recovers quickly !!!:fingerscr:goodvibes: Please give up updates on how shes doing after her surgery, it would be very appreciated! :thumbs up Welcome to the board!

August 20th, 2008, 02:43 PM
I just noticed bendyfoot is logged on and replying to your thread, so hang in there she will give you a load of info.

August 20th, 2008, 02:44 PM
I'm here and always happy to help a fellow tripod-family (or soon-to-be tripod family!!!)

Like you, I had a little time to plan for (i.e. fret over:laughing:) my pup's upcoming amputation...unlike the unfortunate ones whose pups have an accident or sudden cancer diagnosis:eek: Jaida had a club foot that was really just a pain in the butt for her (right front leg). She had it amputated when she was about 7 months old.

My vet uses the "three legs and a spare" line too, and it's true! Your girl will do just fine. What kind of dog is she? How big/how much does she weigh?

If you read my old thread, you'll see that we had some, er, issues. I've spoken with dozens of tripod-moms and dads and NOT ONE had the same problems we did. Jaida is the living embodiment of Murphy's Law, if it can go wrong it will:rolleyes:

So, for 99.9% of amputees, here's what you can expect:

Pup will stay overnight. This is good...pup will be happily stoned/druged up and monitored and kept calm and quiet in a smaller cage.

When you pick up pup, pup will not want help to the car and will probably run down the hall to see you and try to get in car herself. You will be amazed.

You will also probably be a little shocked. No matter how you prepare yourself it looks weird to see your dog minus a leg. Check out our blog (link in my signature or to see some pictures of dogs after their surgeries. It helped me. If you're REALLY freaked out by it, try not to let your dog see it. Say hello, then calmly go to the loo and bawl your eyes out, but do it away from the dog. Be upbeat and happy and light or else your dog may think something is wrong. Here's the weird thing: Your dog WON'T KNOW SOMETHING IS WRONG. Just different. So be cool.

Pup will probably be bandaged. You may or may not need a cone or other device to keep her away from the bandage, or the stitches until they're removed. My favourite device was an old kid's t-shirt. Slip in on and tie up the excess material at the waist with an elastic band. Comfy, easy to throw in the wash if the incision site is a little oozy.

Pup will still be feeling the anaesthetic and will also be on painkillers. This will make pup feel weird and possibly wingy/panty/moany/howly, especially at night. If pup is making sad-sounding noises the first night or two, this is NORMAL and not necessarily pain, probably mainly anaesthetic hangover.

Put some comfy beds in pup's favourite rooms/lie down spots, and maybe consider a carpet runner or two if you have a lot of slippery floors. This won't be permanent but will be helpful for the first month or two.

Pup is a puppy and will want to play with her doggie sibling. Unfortunately, this is NOT ok for a few weeks, until the stitches come out at least. Pup should be in a crate when you're not at home to supervise. When you ARE home, I suggest keeping pup in crate or else on a leash, so you can grab her quickly when she gets the idea to do zoomies the day after her surgery:rolleyes:

Pup will quickly adapt to stairs, and slippery floors, etc. BUT...pup WILL fall. This is just a fact of life tripod life. Right on her face. Hard. Perhaps often if she's a spaz. It will look and sound terrible and your heart willl lurch. But pup will just get up and carry on like nothing happened, so try to relax, leave her alone and let her figure it out on her own.

Let's see what else...keep pup on the lean side, NEVER allow to get overweight. I recommend a grain-free food or raw diet. Consider supplements like chondroitin/glucosamine for good joint health. Lots of exercise is good, but try to avoid significant high-impact stuff like major jumping, especially from heights. Try to walk her on soft surfaces like grass or gravel as much as possible and avoid concrete when you can. That's all I can think of for now.

I'm sure everything will go smoothly!

August 20th, 2008, 04:17 PM
Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!! I have been trying to prepare myself for this day but I know I will turn into a puddle as soon as I see her on Friday when she comes home :fingerscr. I will try to make it home and in the other room before I completely melt down!

I am really worried about how my neice (that is 5) will react. She has already called today to wish Ruby luck and make plans to come see her this weekend. We have talked to her about what is going to happen and she says she understands and that Ruby will be better without her "flipper". Do you think it is better that we wait until later in the week to let her come over??

Oh yeah Ruby is about 10 months old (we are guessing) The vet thinks she was born around Halloween (part of the reason she is so rotten!) We are not sure what breed or mix of breeds she is. When I adopted her they told me she was black lab/cattle dog but as she has grown I don't think she is that mix. I am thinking she is boxer/pitt bull. Not that it matters because she is my baby. We have had huge thunderstorms today and she has spent most of the day in my lap, all 50+ pounds of her!

Here are a couple of pictures of Ruby and her brother Mick. These are from several months ago and her "flipper" isn't very bad. This is when we first found the pellet in the bone. I will try to add some newer ones soon. (Sorry they are so big!!)

August 20th, 2008, 05:06 PM
She's adorable, does look like she's got some pit very pretty. How lucky she landed with you.

August 20th, 2008, 11:04 PM
She's adorable! :flirt:

I've got no advice, but wanted to send some :goodvibes: for a quick recovery!

August 21st, 2008, 01:01 AM
Hi, I don't have my own pets at the moment but I volunteer at my local SPCA. There are tripods that come through and or dogs that need amputations.

I totally agree with everything that Bendyfoot has said, it is all gold. Only thing that I want to add is that until your girl is used to having only three legs. When you take her out for walks, try to keep them shorter then normal and build up the lengths as her front leg will get tired quicker until she builds her strength up. If you don't monitor the time, often time they will run themselves into the ground and that is not good. Once they have learn to balance minus one leg and gain some muscle in the remaining leg, you will be surprised at how they act. Which is totally normal, like nothing had happened at all.

Nice dog as well, does looks like she has some bully in her. :lovestruck:

August 21st, 2008, 08:04 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about your neice. It has been my experience that children readily accept the change or "difference" in my little tripod. For young children, when they ask what happened, I usually say "Jaida had a leg that was very sick and was hurting her, so the doctor helped make her feel better by taking the sick leg away. But she's fine now, and still likes to run and play." Most kids accept that without question, and then go around telling anyone who will listen "Jaida has only THREE legs!!!" I say talk about it freely and answer their questions. They will take their cue from you...if it's no big deal for you, it won't be a big deal for them either.

Now, while I wouldn't hesitate to have a little one say hello to your pup after the surgery, I would do it only if the little one can be calm and quiet and gentle, and also if the incision is covered up with a bandage or tshirt. The incision can be shocking, even for adults (it's a BIG boo-boo!).

By the way, she's a cutie-patootie!!:lovestruck:

She's about the same size Jaida was when she had her amputation. We did carry Jaida up and down stairs for the first little while, because that is what worked for her and what she wanted. Other dogs refuse the help. If she's wobbly or you're feeling anxious, try supporting her belly with a towel wrapped under her.

Oh, one other thing...when you pick her up after the surgery, if you have a hatch back car or van, it might be easier to lift her in and out of the vehicle. Lifting a biggish dog gently into the back seat of a sedan is a bit tricky in my experience.

August 21st, 2008, 08:26 AM
Thank you all for all the advise and good vibes! We can't get enough! I just dropped her off at the vet for her surgery and they should call me when the surgery is over. Thanks again and I will post some pictures when she comes home and is recovering.

August 21st, 2008, 08:48 AM
Let us know how everything goes when you get a chance. Looking forward to those pics!

August 21st, 2008, 01:33 PM
She's adorable! Sending good vibes and all that...let us know how things go.


August 21st, 2008, 03:11 PM
Thank goodness the Vet just called!!! He said she did very well and is awake! He said every time they go to check on her in the kennel she is wagging her tail and happy to see people!

Thanks for all your good thoughts today!! I will get to see my little one tomorrow afternoon!

August 21st, 2008, 05:17 PM
Im soooo Glad to hear she is doing good!!! :thumbs up:D when will you be able to take her home?

August 21st, 2008, 05:32 PM
I am so happy that she is doing well! Your girl is adorable, and very lucky to have someone to care for her like you. All the best for a speedy recovery for your special girl! :goodvibes:

August 21st, 2008, 06:13 PM
I have nothing to add. Just wanted to say welcome, I am so glad surgery went well, and lots of :goodvibes::fingerscr for a speedy, healthy recovery!!

August 21st, 2008, 06:24 PM
I have nothing to add either but glad the surgery went well and it's great to hear that Ruby is wagging her tail already. :thumbs up

Also, I just wanted to send lots of good wishes for a speedy and trouble free recovery. :fingerscr :goodvibes: :fingerscr :goodvibes:

Ruby is absolutely adorable :cloud9: and Mick is one handsome boy. :lovestruck:

August 21st, 2008, 07:06 PM
I have just brought home a little dog that had to have his right back leg amputated. He had it done only last week and he is fine, fine, fine! Besides the stitches and the shocking look of a missing leg, he runs around after my other dogs and plays. I would never guess how fast he has recuperated! Don't worry, your doggie will be fine!
Best of luck! Just make sure he doesn't lick his stitches!

August 21st, 2008, 09:53 PM
My cat had to have his back left leg amputated. He and his sister were born with half a back leg. The umbilical chord wrapped around her right left and his left leg inside the womb and yanked the rest of their legs off.
After he got his stitches out ^

It's been 3+ months since he had the surgery and he is doing much better. His fur has mostly come back and has healed very well otherwise.

That is what he used to have.

Hope that helps :D Glad to hear the surgery went well. My little Tripod had to stay overnight because he was completely whacked out and they had to lock him in a cage.

August 22nd, 2008, 08:00 AM
:DYay! She's over the first hurdle and it sounds like she's doing great! We'll want to see pictures and hear how she does once she gets home today. You must feel better now knowing that the surgery went well, huh?:D

August 22nd, 2008, 08:08 AM
aww, Ruby is a little cutie, reminds me of my Molly- similar face :lovestruck:
what is the latest today? Home time yet?? wishing you all a speedy recovery and strong nerves for when you pick her up! By the sounds of it she's a little champ! :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

August 22nd, 2008, 08:14 AM
Doc called about 6 last night and said that I should be able to bring Ruby home this afternoon after 3! I am so excited and worried at the same time. I know she is going to be fine i just want to make her as comfortable as possible.
I want to make sure she stays hydrated so I was thinking about picking up a water bottle that you can attach to the kennel. Does anyone use one of those? I know she is supposed to stay as still as possible for a couple days so I don't want her out wandering the house or wrestiling with her brother.

One more question... Those of you with tripods.... did your other pets react to the missing leg? Just curious, poor Mick has been wandering the house looking for Ruby all day yesterday and last night, I didn't even think how he was going to react.

Thanks again!! I will get pics up as soon as I can!

August 22nd, 2008, 10:25 AM
Gracie sniffed Jaida's boo-boo, and that was about it. She seemed to know that Jaida needed some quiet time and was really low-key and respectful and didn't initiate play for the first little while, it was pretty cool. Once Jaida was feeling better they were back to their usual antics like nothing ever happened. I've never seen ANY dog react oddly to Jaida's missing leg, other than to take advantage of it while play-wrestling (Gracie likes to chew on Jaida's right cheek/neck...Jaida has no right leg to pry her off's sooooo cheating, but what can you do?:rolleyes:)

The bottle's not a bad idea, but if she's never used one before, she may not catch on to it (I'm assuming you mean the kind with the little roller ball?). If you have a big enough crate you could put a regular (stable) water dish in there with her, that's what we did.

Glad to hear she's coming home soon!

August 22nd, 2008, 01:05 PM
Glad to hear she is coming home this afternoon. :thumbs up

I hope everything goes well and more :goodvibes: :goodvibes: :goodvibes: for a speedy recovery. :fingerscr

August 22nd, 2008, 04:02 PM
SHE'S HOME!! :party: SHE'S HOME!! :crazy:
Ruby pretty much met me at the front door at the Vets office just a bit ago!! She is hopping along like nothing ever happened!!! Doc said she was out running around and loving on people before he got the kennel door all the way open this morning! :cloud9:

I didn't think she would be doing this well for a couple weeks much less the next day! Now I am scared to see her in a couple weeks! I was hoping to slow her down for a couple days but she is quicker than before!

Bendyfoot: I am such a big baby I shed a few tears in the car but I did wait until I got her home and in her kennel before I bawled like a baby! :cry:

Thank you all for the :goodvibes: and :fingerscr!!
Of course my bf took my camera with him this morning when he left for his guys weekend so I will try to post pictures as soon as I can!

Thank you all again so much and I will send an update later!!!!!

August 22nd, 2008, 04:16 PM
One more question... Those of you with tripods.... did your other pets react to the missing leg? Just curious, poor Mick has been wandering the house looking for Ruby all day yesterday and last night, I didn't even think how he was going to react.

Nope. It will be fine. Animals don't care. My cats missed Tripod when he was gone for the night though. Otherwise it's fine.

August 22nd, 2008, 04:21 PM
Wow,just read all the posts,I am soo proud of my fellow members,especially Bendyfoot who's been through this,you girls all rock!!!

Apainta,I am sure your adorable little girl will do just great and we'll hold you to your promise of pics,so don't forget;)
:pray:for a quick healing-process for Ruby:pray:

August 23rd, 2008, 01:40 AM
WOW....that was a speedy recovery. :D I hope she continues to do well. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

And, of course, looking forward to the new pics. :thumbs up

August 23rd, 2008, 05:15 AM
So glad to hear ruby is doing so well. That pesky foot isn't in her way now to inhibit maximum zoomies. You can get a waterbowl that hooks right onto the bars of her crate, it's just a metal hoop for the bowl to sit in, with two flat plates one for each side of the bars, then just tighten the screws, that way you can adjust the height.

August 23rd, 2008, 12:25 PM
Apainta - so happy things have gone well for Ruby. Don't forget though she does need to rest. Maybe you would be interested in reading this, it is about a dog called Faith who only had two back legs I read the book a few years ago and enjoyed it. :)

August 23rd, 2008, 05:03 PM
I am happy to hear that Ruby is doing so well! I have never owned a tripod, but a neighbour in our area walks his with his four legger and you would never know one dog was less a leg. I have heard that they do marvelously, as Bendyfoot can attribute to that. I cannot wait for the pictures of your wonderful girl. :lovestruck:

August 24th, 2008, 11:34 AM
I am getting a little worried about Ruby! Today I had to bribe her out of her kennel to eat breakfast. Usually she is busting down the door by 6am and today I had to bribe her out at 9am. I am wondering if the muscle soreness has gotten to her or if something is wrong?!?! I called the vet on his cell and left a message but haven't heard back yet.

Bendyfoot: I know you guys had a problem with fluids draining and settling where it shouldn', were there any outward signs of this? Ruby is still bandaged up so I can't tell if there is lots of draining or bleeding but she has a "pooch" right past the bandage that I can't tell is fluid or just normal stuff that has been squished out of the bandages. I wish I had a camera so I could post a picture.

I'm sure I am just over thinking everything and she is just tired and sore but I just want to make sure.

Sorry just had to vent! Thanks for listening!

August 24th, 2008, 12:58 PM
Apainta, I don't have any experience with this type of surgery but I think it was a good idea to give your vet a call. I hope he returns your call soon and hope that Ruby is okay. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

August 24th, 2008, 01:02 PM
I don't know if you've already read this but here is the thread about Jaida .....

I'm sure bendyfoot will be able to help you out more when she logs on. Perhaps you should send her a pm in case she doesn't notice this thread right away as she hasn't logged on since the 22nd.

Good luck. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

August 24th, 2008, 01:59 PM
Whew... The vet called me back and said that it is probably just fluid gathering and not to worry. He told me to bring her in first thing in the morning and we are at the top of the list and Ruby might stay there while I am at work. He said there wasn't a lot of drainage right after surgery so that was a reason he wrapped her up so tight and it is catching up now. He said she is probably sore today so that is why she is moving slower. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful vet!! Not to mention he is right across the road from us!! (We live on the outskirts of the country and he works with any animal you can think of, he has goats that live in the yard at the office!) Man all this stressing out and watching over Ruby is wearing me out, I think I will go take a nap with her. Thank you again everyone for your good thoughts!!

August 24th, 2008, 02:03 PM
Glad your vet returned the call quickly and has eased your mind. :thumbs up

Good luck tomorrow and keep us posted. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

August 25th, 2008, 08:41 AM
So we have been to the vet and Ruby is at home! Turns out it was just tissue that had over absorbed fluids and it will all be gone in a couple days! It wasn't a drainable pocket! Doc took her bandages off and she looks amazing!! He is very pleased with everything so that makes me super happy!! Oh well I have to go to my first day at a new job. Thanks again for thinking of us!!!!

August 25th, 2008, 08:48 AM
Yay!!! I'm so glad that everything is going well so far. It's pretty normal to be concerned about pooches and not wanting to eat and's hard to know what is "normal" for a dog that just had such a huge surgery! I'm glad your vet is working through all this with you.

Hey, when do we get those pics???

August 25th, 2008, 03:42 PM
That's great:thumbs up,we are still waiting for those pics though;)

August 25th, 2008, 08:33 PM
Sorry I just walked in from the first day at a new job. I am working on pictures, I promise! :sorry: I just have to figure out if I can sync 2 iPhones to 1 computer. :wall: Man was I so wrong that losing a leg would slow Ruby down for a couple of days!!! She was wide awake at 4:30AM and ran from me in the backyard, she thought we were playing tag! :evil: She is such a punk but we love her tons!!

August 30th, 2008, 02:07 PM
I have pictures! Sorry it took me so long! :sorry:] You can see the scar from the pellet removal and the "flipper" growth. Ruby standing (the day before surgery) Ruby the day after surgery, first day home. 5 days post op scar. How I found Ruby yesterday when I got out of shower. 1 week post op.

I am looking forward to her getting back to her old self. She has been kinda slow the last couple days and I am thinking it is just the meds that have her loopy.
Bendyfoot- did your girl's eating habits change? Ruby isn't hardly eating unles Mick comes close and she eats more.

Thanks again for all your :goodvibes::fingerscr !!

August 30th, 2008, 02:54 PM
Oh that last picture, gimme some loving (I'm sure she gets it)!

August 30th, 2008, 04:04 PM
OMG,she looks so forlorn in the last pic,I hope she jumps back quickly,reading your other post,I guess she already did:thumbs up
She is such a sweet-heart:lovestruck:

August 30th, 2008, 08:07 PM
what a cutey she is, Apainta!

:goodvibes: for a continued good recovery! :thumbs up

September 2nd, 2008, 08:18 AM
That incision's looking great! Yeah, Jaida kinda went off her food a bit in the first little while, she was feeling a bit off. We gave her some nasty-smelly mushy canned food and cooked chicken and stuff to encourage her to eat (needed to in order to take her meds). As long as she's still eating and drinking, even if it's slow, I'd just let her do her thing. Remember she's not as active right now so won't need as much food as usual until she's recovered fully:grouphug:

September 7th, 2008, 08:18 AM
Ruby had her stiches removed yesterday and of course was an angel!! She is doing so well it is crazy! We walked into the vet yesterday and they all at the same time squeeled her name so she ran around and greeted everyone and gave them loving!! She was so calm while they took the stiches out you would have thought she was sedated but when they finished she jumped up and was off and running again!
She is eating normally again and starting to play with her toys. She nearly knocked me down the other day to get to her basket to get a toy!
Now in the hunt for a Halloween costume, it is her birthday after all (or at least it is now!!) My neice thinks Ruby should be a pirate! I will post pictures!!

Thank you all again for the great advice and positive thoughts!!!

September 7th, 2008, 03:40 PM
Apainta,that's great news:thumbs up
Lots of hugs for your brave little girl,animals are just amazing in adapting:grouphug:

September 8th, 2008, 10:49 AM

It's really amazing, isn't it, how quickly they put it all behind them?:lovestruck: