If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
My grandmother passed away last week and I had to go out of state to her funeral. My boyfriend was leaving a few days after me, because of work. Anyway BoBo, our dog, opened the screen door while my boyfriend was asleep on the couch and let himself out. Our other two dogs remained asleep. When he woke at 6 in the morning BoBo had left, sometime between 12 - 6. He looked all day and couldnt find him. After leaving a picture at the shelter, fliers put up, and an ad in the paper, we felt discouraged. Two days later, the morning of the funeral, we get a call from the shelter saying that have found him and he had been hit by a car. Our dog sitter picked him up and took him straight to the vet. After x rays, it was determined his humerus bone was broken at an angle into his elbow. We decided to go ahead and attempt screws and pins, even though it was going to be difficult for the vet to get it perfect.
The x rays were taken directly after surgery to see if everything "came together just right". The vet had said everything felt solid, but ther was no way to know until the x rays came out. To our saddness and dismay, the humerus was not able to be reattached at the top and there was too much space to have healthy healing. He said he would be in pain because of the amount of scar tissue that would develop and never use that leg anyway. So that would just be putting an extra 15 pounds of weight unnecessarily on his front left leg. Our only other option was amputation.
The surgery is scheduled in 2 hours and they are supposed to call me when it is over. I am going to see him after work, they have already told be he would be on alot of pain medication. We are supposed to be able to pick him up from the vet tomorrow to come home. There are so many questions that I forget in front of the vet and thought maybe I could ask them on here and someone may have the answers. Just as a little background BoBo is a border collie/ black lab mix who weighs, or weighed, 75 pounds. He is the most friendly, happy go lucky, dog I have every know. And up until the surgery has been walking around on 3 legs for the past week without much trouble. He is already going to be on gluclosamine for the rest of his life.
Do I need to get a special bed that sits off the floor?
Do I need to get raised food bowls?
Do I need to by a harness, like the website tripawds.com shows?
How long can our walks be?
What precautions do I need to take with the 2 other dogs?
And any other information anyone believes may be helpful, since I have never been in this situation before.
I'll go ahead and say thank you to anyone who responds. I truely appreciate every piece of advice.
Last edited by LoveMyDogs on Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother and the accident your BoBo had. Please take care of yourself too during this stressful time.
I'm a 'cat person' who has cared for mobility challenged cats for over 20 years. I can't answer all your questions that you asked, but someone will be along shortly who will be able to. I did, however, want to give you some positive feedback about the amazing resilience and adaptability of dogs and cats when it comes to missing a limb. Currently, I have a cat, Rabbit Rabbit, who is has a front leg amputated at the shoulder and her other front leg missing just below the elbow due to an accident. She runs and jumps. Remington has two good front legs and one rear leg - he runs, jumps and climbs. NoFeeties has two shortened rear legs and no rear feet. She can run, jump and climb. Kieffer has no rear legs or rear feet. He too runs, jumps and climbs and when he is in a hurry he just does a hand stand and runs on two front legs.
There are many dogs who only have three legs. Car accidents often result in the loss of a limb. Once they find their center of balance, they are able to run and jump. They swim and chase frisbies. Cats and dogs don't see the loss of a limb as humans do - they almost immediately set about the task of figuring out how to do the things they've always done. Your dog is young and healthy so he has that on his side. I have no doubt that he will soon be back to doing all the things he used to do with his sister.
You of course will want to watch him and keep him from hurting himself when he first starts out. If you have stairs, be there with him to see that he is able to navigate them. Keep his walks short until he rebuilds his stamina. Watch him eating and if it seems difficult for him to eat from his bowls at ground level try putting them higher up on a couple of phone books. If this seems easier for him then you can buy elevated food dishes. I imagine he will probably want to sleep with his sister if he did that before. You'll want to make sure if you have drafty floors in the winter that their bed is in a warm draft free area. You won't want him to get chilled. If you notice that he has difficulty getting down on the floor then possibly a bed that he can 'step into' might work better for him. During the first few weeks I would supervise his interactions with the other two dogs. His body will be healing and he won't be as strong so you wouldn't want him injured. But as he regains his strength I suspect that he will resume his usual doggie friend rough housing.
Just keep an eye on him so he doesn't get hurt. He'll stumble and fall a few times until he gets his center of balance, but he will soon be fine. Just love him as you always have and don't treat him any different and he'll be your BoBo again in no time. /mari
Spiritcat and the Mooseheart Mumpkees of southeastern Texas
Mari - Thank you for your encouragement and success stories!
I went and saw him yesterday and he was pitiful and no matter how many pictures I saw and how much I read, I was completely unprepared to see him in that state. He had just had his surgery a few hours before so he was still in the drugged, hurt, kind of freaking out stage. But I was able to calm him a bit and he slept while I pet him. He did stand up for me, which the vet said was very good, because he hadn't since before surgery. Today they called and said he is much better standing and walking. My boyfriend went by this morning and took him for a walk, he said he saw the car and took off like it was time to go home. I will get to go see him this afternoon.
I spoke with the vet about the bed and she said it was a great idea. With his size it would need to be about 10 inches off the floor so he could step off instead of lifting all his weight off the floor. For anyone who read this, there is a website where you can buy these beds for $50 - $100. My friend said that was ridiculous and found a way to build them and bought the materials for $10!!! So BoBo will have his bed.
Also, I learned that there are two different types of front leg amputation. One - They take it off with the shoulder blade. Which, once healed, will make for a smooth side and it is more cosemetic. ( Which sometimes if the bone is damaged in that area, it is neccessary.) Two - Is they take it half way up the humerus which leaves protection to their heart and lungs and also helps with balance. Anyway, I just wanted to share what I learned.
Like I said before any tips or helpful information is appreciated! I want to be as prepared as possible for BoBo.
I would love to bring him home today, but we have to leave early in the morning to go to DC for a wedding. Since my boyfriend is in the wedding, he had to go. I thought I may stay home to be with BoBo and then got nervous being there alone. I was scared if something happened I wouldn't be able to pick him up and get him to the car because of his size. So we decided it would be better to have the vet watch him until Sunday afternoon. Which I absolutley love our vet! The girls said we could leave him there as long as we like because they love baby-ing him. I also didn't want to leave him with our house sitter. I know the next 4 weeks are going to be healing time and want to develop a schedule and get him used to his temp. area until he can go up stairs to his room. (BoBo has his own room) I am looking forward to Sunday!
How did your girl become a tripod?
Tripod is a pussycat, and her L arm was taken off by a fanbelt when she was 2 months old.
It sounds like y'all have thought this out thoroughly. I bet you'll be shocked at how quickly he bounces back!!!
i'm very sorry to hear about bobo. i know the pain of this decision well.
i also know that after it is all said and done...the decision is really a no-brainer. what else can be done?
to answer some of your questions:
Do I need to get a special bed that sits off the floor? no. bobo will figure it all out
Do I need to get raised food bowls? no. bobo will eat as per normal.
Do I need to by a harness, like the website tripawds.com shows? no. time will reveal what your needs are. many time...there are no needs.
How long can our walks be? short. but not yet.
What precautions do I need to take with the 2 other dogs? all care must be taken that the remaining legs do not become injured. playing is out until well after the stitches are. after that...it is by trial and error. err on the side of caution *always*
please visit my dog xena's blog.
she has been through amputation and also chemo.
you can see what to expect from the blog.
i'll attach the link below.
i wish you peace of mind throughout this journey.
the journey will be shorter than you think. a new normal will emerge in just a few short weeks.
I did read Xena's blog and it is so comforting to know things will be "normal" again. We picked up BoBo yesterday as soon as we got off the interstate and he was so happy to come home. In fact before we had enough time to pick him up and put him in the car he jumped in and hit his numb. He cried and I felt awful for him, thankfully it will be the last car ride until the check up and we will be better prepared next time. He is still his sweet self and other than his hat, which is what we call his cone, is having no problems at all.
I have noticed his hop... Which I am sure he will always hop, but will it get better with time? Will he quit hopping as high?
His sisters have been great also, just trying to hang out by him because they missed him. He is still taking his antibiotic and pain meds until tomorrow and then they run out. But as far as I can tell he is still our sweet, loving BoBo.
The hop will be par for the course from now on, but you'll probably notice that it's not as pronounced when he's running...it's usually a more fluid motion then. Poor little guy bumping his nub Jaida got a major ouchie first time getting in the car after her surgery too, it was heartbreaking. Hang in there, the first few days are the hardest, but soon you'll all have figured this out.
My biggest concern about the hop is that, isn't it putting more strain on the joints of his remaining front leg? This morning he had a reddish discharge coming from his stitches, but it's not swollen or irritated looking. Also I have been trying to think of something we could get him to make him happy. He hasn't been to interested in anything lately, which is understandable, we just want to perk him up a bit.
Although there will be a bit of extra strain, yes, it's pretty much unavoidable. Imagine if you lost one of your legs. How would you get around? In the absence of crutches, you'd hop...there's really no other gait possible to use. You will notice over time, after he's recovered from the surgery, that the muscles of the chest and arm will develop...it'll become his "Popeye arm"...the body will adapt, readjust and reconfigure a bit to work with the new posture and gait. The only thing you can do is keep him lean, feed quality food that supports healthy muscle and joint development, monitor his exercise (keep walks of a reasonable length, walk on softer surfaces like grass/dirt trails whenever possible, and avoid activities that require jumping as ,much as possible), and possibly consider a supplement like glucosamine/chondroitin.
The discharge is probably normal. Some fluid is likely to develop under there (we know aaaaallllll about fluid here, sigh) and it will weep out the incision. Watch for swelling, odor or pus, however-any of those would mean scampering to the vet.
It's ok that he's feeling low key right now. He's feeling weird/dopey/off because of the anaesthetic and pain meds, he's probably a tad sore/stretchy-feeling from the stitches, and he really just needs to take it easy and heal for a little while. You could consider a nice new chewy or frozen-peanut-butter-filled Kong as a quiet form of entertainment. Or you can just hang out and cuddle in front of the tv with him.
your job at this time is to keep him from injuring his other front leg.
keep him quiet and let him build those muscles in his other arm *slowly*.
in no time...he will have that popeye arm (minus the tatoo) and the hopping will smooth out just a tad. i'm not sure if it smooths out because HE gets better at it...or YOU start to not notice.
honestly...i was watching a friend's dogs run the other day...and i noticed there was something just 'not quite right' with them.
poor baby knocking his nub.
this bit will be behind you in a few short months.
get ready for regular life again!
Well so far everything is moving at a slow pace. Which is fine with me as long as we continue to go forward. We did take his "hat" off him yesterday under our supervision and he loved every minute of it. I hadn't seen him that happy since before all of this started. One more week and then he can have it off for good. I can tell it is going to take some time for him to build up his strength. He will walk around for a little then have to lie down right where he is at to rest. He is also into fans right now, anywhere there is a fan, is where he wants to be. He is looking forward to getting some strength back also, you can tell he get frustrated that he can go like he used to. He was always the hyper trouble maker, now his little sister has taken that title. I am so thankful for all the help everyone has been. Especially since me, or anyone I know, had any experience in this area. I will have to post a pic when he gets his hat off.... I don't think he would appreciate me taking one now, seeing as he hates that thing.
Ha. Cones can turn the happiest-go-lucky dogs into moping, droopy sad sacks Poor guy.
Yeah, the strength thing will come. Put it in perspective...imagine hopping instead of walking everywhere...it's a lot of work! Gradually increasing the amount of activity over a period of weeks and months is the trick...you don't want to do too much too fast or else you might get muscle soreness/strain in the good arm. Just be patient, and try to follow his lead as much as possible (within reason if he's a crazy fool who will try to run a marathon at the first sign of freedom ). Give him breaks/rests when he needs them. Expect, though, in the long run, to see a decrease in his endurance. Even after he's an old pro at being tripod-ed, it's still more work to hop than walk.
Here's a video of my Jaida three or four weeks after her surgery. Now, she ALWAYS walked on three legs (she had a deformity) so her strength was already pretty good...but still, I was impressed with her!
http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid= ... 1681&hl=en
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