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Preparing For Amputation

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One of our GH's that was recently adopted was just diagnosed with chondrosarcoma.

Jenna is looking for info from anyone that has gone through this regarding what she should do to prepare her house; supplies; etc.

Dr. Dudley, who will do the actual amputation, is away until next week. I had forwarded an article written for our newsletter a few years ago, but she would more info.


For anyone having gone through this with any dog, what did you need in the way of supplies; etc.

What did you do that you feel helped everyone involved cope with this.

What would you do differently if you had to do it again. Thanks.

Willow( Hi Tech Popandgo ) CGC #31965 Calico Salad x MayPop 8-9-93/9-24-07 Austin( Nodak Austin ) #55202 Chrisse's Twelve x Lotsa Liz 2-25-96/2-15-05 Matt( Kelsos Metaphor ) #90695 Oswald Cobblepot x Kelso's Movita 8-10-00/2-28-14 Buddy (Aljo Class Act) #78137 Action By Design x Miss Classy 12-8-98/8-29-09 Sonny (Onaim Excalibur)#97927 Flying Train x Rough Diamond 9-7-01/1-9-2016Hunter (SS Snow Roll) #35135 Craigie Whistler x Lightning Snow 10-4-2005/9-23-17 Leo (Yolo Empleo)#72060 4-13-18 Fiesta Paraguas x Mega Bien Hecho

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The dog won't be able to do stairs, so alternates need to be either built or figured out. Lots of rugs for slippery floors. A comfy bed alternative for sleeping next to the dog in two story houses - blow up bed, cot, air mattress, couch - you will definitely want to be near them for the first week or so.


If you live alone, do all your grocery shopping before the dog comes home. Also, make arrangements to either stay home or have someone with the dog, at least until the stitches/staples are removed. Have a variety of tasty food substitutes as appetite can be less, but the dog will need to eat to take all his medicines - Beneful Prepared meals, special canned food, meat baby food, lots of boiled chicken and rice/pasta.


Get a support harness. Depending on the leg being removed, some harnesses are better than others.


The first two weeks at home are the hardest. You and your surgeon should discuss how long the dog will remain in the hospital post-amp. Some people prefer to take them home right after surgery, but I would really recommend letting the dog stay there under 24/7 monitoring until the dog is recovered from anesthesia, and is up and able to potty on it's own.


Keep ahead of the pain. It's much harder to get rid of after it has taken hold than it is to keep it down (if that makes sense). Most oncologists now recommend a combination of an nsaid, tramadol, and the nerve pain drug Gabapentin. Talk with your doctor about maximum dosages and have prescriptions filled with lower mg pills so you can tailor a dosage more easily (100 mg pills versus 300mg pills, for gabapentin, for instance).


The dog will recover much faster than you think they will. Really. Two weeks, minus any complications, and s/he'll be back running around again. Greyhounds adapt to having three legs remarkably easily.


Good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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Amniocaproic acid (Amnicar) … suggest it strongly.
Be positive and upbeat, especially when around your pup. Always. Don’t cry. Ever. Easy to say, hard to do.
Explain the situation/surgery to your pup in positive terms: making the pain go away, feeling so much better. Assure your pup he or she will not feel anything during their surgery as they will be in a really deep sleep. Be honest, however, and tell the pup there will be some pain after but that it will go away day by day.
Tell your pup how much you love them and alway will, repeat frequently.
Favorite food and treats if your pup is staying overnight or longer post amp.
Favorite cuddle toy.
Visit your pup as often as the hospital will allow.

Pee pads or several waterproof washable incontinence pads for people, just in case.
Harness and sling if hospital is not providing one.
Medication chart with times and dosages … really helps keep track of meds; check off as meds given.
Alarm clock to wake you up for those middle of the night meds!
Comfy, supportive bed for your pup that is easy to maneuver into.
Comfy sleeping place for you close to your pup.

Keep your sense of humor … you will need it to get through the lack of sleep.

Supportive friends.

Let your pup decide on his or her recovery schedule. Don’t bother planning a step-by-step rehabilitation program. God and your dog will just laugh at you!


Zach did not receive amniocaproic acid and I regret that. He was released four days post amp (4 p.m. Monday) and then readmitted in a medical crisis 5:45 a.m. Wednesday). The doctors at the hospital really don't know what caused the crisis just that we almost lost Zach.


As we were leaving on our way home, less than two minutes from the hospital, we were rear-ended. No damage, very "gentle" bump, but I often wonder if that was the cause that resulted in Zach being in ICU for a week. Lesson here -- don't get in a car accident! In hindsite I wish I would have turned around and taken him back to the hospital.


Best of luck with the surgery. May both you and your pup have an uneventful recovery. It may actually take the human longer to recover than the puppy!

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Be prepared for them to think they can still do things they should really take time to re-learn. My Diamond decided to go outside without me and jumped 6 steps onto the cement patio. She had a ramp but didn't want to use it. I thought she had broken her only remaining front leg. But we escaped a tragedy. She decided she liked the ramp after that. But many times I had to go running after her because I felt she wasn't ready for what she wanted to do.


The first two weeks are the hardest. They are restless, uncomfortable and a bit lost. A lot of it is more pain meds that actual pain. Once you make it past the 2 week mark they suddenly seem to perk right up and get on with their lives. And this is when they take off forgetting they are minus a limb.

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I second everything that's already been recommended. For us, these were the high points...


Definitely make sure you give Amicar for several days pre-amp to help control the bleeding. Stock up on pain meds to include Gabapentin (nerve pain), something opiate-based like Tramadol (acute pain), and Rimadyl (NSAID). If your dog has a history of opiate sensitivity (lots of greyhounds do), let the vet know, as they may want to prescribe something like Valium to counteract any unmanageable feelings of agitation and restlessness. The amount of medication he'll be on post-surgery will be staggering. My boy was on three different pain meds, in addition to meds for anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, an antibiotic, a probiotic, etc. Do yourself a favor and buy one of those Medi-Minder containers to divide up the pills ahead of time. I also found it helpful to have two gel-type ice packs in the freezer. For the first week or so, we did cold compress every 4-6 hours and therapeutic massage to combat the swelling. Made a huge difference.


Section off a room or a space for your dog to recover that's away from any other pets and potential disturbances. We set up a makeshift "hospital room" for Henry in our living room, which included a kid's sized inflatable air mattress with bumpers. The incision did seep for the first few days, so I had a steady stream of clean linens at the ready. As the others have said, the first two weeks were the worst. I lived in the living room so I could restrict his activity and pain levels.


And lastly, try to get as mentally prepared as possible. I found it really helpful to look at photos and videos of greyhounds post-amp... It's a really a gruesome surgery. A gnarly incision, lots of fluid retention, and black and blue bruising. The dog's movements are completely different, a little strange-looking. Some will develop abscesses and infections. Even though it was very hard seeing *my dog* that way, knowing what to expect made things a little easier.


Good luck! Keep us updated!

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So sorry to hear....My Stolie just went through a front leg amp 2 weeks ago. The advice from the others in this thread is awesome and excellent tips/advice.


From my experience...it was the mental prep that was the hardest. When I dropped him off for his surgery...it was very emotional to hand him to the nurse....many tears. Afterwards it was easier. By that time, I had a chance to look at a few pictures and videos of other tripods ... So I was prepared to see him afterwards. But really - when I first went to visit him...all I saw was that his ears perked up and his eyes looked happy as I approached. Didn't really notice the amputation.


We found a harness and extra mats very helpful...Stolie appreciated the harness and it seemed to give him some confidence at first. Also, if your pup tends to have long nails, you may want to trim the nails so that your pup will slip less.


Needless to say, this will impact all(human and otherwise) in your home. So the less demands or complications the better. We elected to forego Thanksgiving dinner (Canadian dates) and a few other things in our calendar. Sleep is golden...


Best wishes to you and your pup

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest skinnerjenna

Thanks everyone. I adopted Roxy who is having the amputation next Tues. She is a feisty 3 1/2 year old with no other problems except the cancer in her leg. X-Rays did not find any other masses, and since it is a slow-moving, non-aggressive cancer, we think we have a chance.


I started researching with a set of E-Books through the Tripawds website, and your posts back up what they said. I have been training her on ramps and a harness, and to nose touch what she wants, and working on her core strength prior to the surgery. We have an x-pen set up in our living room near the door to our yard to minimize steps. I have a variety of soft foods and a supply of peanut butter for pills, towels and t-shirts to keep her clean. I will be home with her full time, and sleeping in the living room if we don't feel comfortable getting her upstairs. We have carpet everywhere except our hall and kitchen. She will be a front leg amputee, so we know she will have problems going down stairs.


We are also doing chemo but I don't know what they will be giving her until I go to that appointment. I think we are ready. -Jenna

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All the best to you and Roxy, Jenna. I'll be thinking of you as the surgery approaches.

Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Gabby the Airedale 7/1/18
Forever missing Grace (RT's Grace, 18156/23B), Fenway (not registered, def a greyhound), and Jackson (airedale terrier, honorary greyhound)

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Welcome to GT Jenna. :) Roxy is very lucky to have someone like you to get her through this hurdle. I can't offer any advice as I have not been through amputation with any of mine, but I can extend well-wishes for a problem free surgery and recovery.

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Guest skinnerjenna

Thanks so much! I will check it out. -Jenna

Roxy came through amputation surgery with no problems today. Her x-rays and blood tests show no cancer, and the upper part of her leg showed no pathology. So we think we got it. Hopefully she gets a normal lifespan and no more pain. Thanks so much for your well wishes. The drop off this morning was difficult. -Jenna

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Guest skinnerjenna

Roxy is home, and I don't know what I was so worried about. I knew she could get through this because she is so strong and healthy. Right away she was getting up and laying down on her own, and hopping around. She has not fallen once. She has refused the ramp down our three steps to the backyard preferring to use the stairs. She is eating all her food and pills. She only woke me up twice in the night, and the second time it was to fake me out that she needed to go out and then made a bee line to take over my cot on the floor. So the two of us shared for the rest of the night and it was very peaceful.


The bandage is slipping a little, I am going to try to keep it on for a couple more days. I keep checking to make sure it isn't pinching her other front leg and making sure it is warm and getting circulation. All is well. The best gift I could get for my birthday which is today!

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Happy birthday. I hope it turns out to be very special for you. Three steps should be easy for tripods. My girl decided to jump 6. That's when she thought it was a good idea to use the ramp I made for her after all.


Three is so young. I hope that they got it all and she has many many many good years with you. We have Twiggy on GT here who has been a tripod due to cancer for YEARS. She's a wonderful, energetic little girl. Her Mom can't keep up with her.

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Guest sireltonsmom

So glad to hear Roxy came thru so well, Jenna. Wishing you many happy years together.


I appreciated reading all the loving and supportive posts.

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Guest skinnerjenna

I have great news!!! The lymph nodes from Roxy's leg showed no cancer! The vet says that is our backup that we did the right thing. Roxy is doing great. She is only waking up once or twice in the night, bandage is off, swelling is being re-absorbed, she is hopping around the yard on her own and "chasing" squirrels. Which right now means standing still while watching them and drooling. LOL. Her eyes are bright and happy. We are scheduled to half some of the pain meds on Tuesday.

Still some yelps, but less and less each day. So grateful for all the help we have received. -Jenna

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