Resources for Tripod Dog
May 27, 2015 2:50 PM   Subscribe

We got an emergency foster on Friday, a young Boxer who had just had a hind leg amputated. I am fully aware that she will be fine, but I can't seem to find information on what to expect through recovery.

I know her future will be great (she's young, she's very healthy, and she's extremely petite for a Boxer so she's an ideal amputee in dog terms) but as we are in charge of nursing her through recovery, I am more interested in timelines and pain management and mobility milestones and the things that will form our immediate future with her. I can't seem to find much detail online (everything is all "your dog will do great on three legs!") and would be grateful if anyone could point me to resources or tell me about their own dog's recovery timeline and how their mobility progressed. Winnie says thank you!

(Obligatory photo)
posted by DarlingBri to Pets & Animals (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Aw, what a cutie.

My late pup had a foreleg and shoulder blade amputated to deal with the pain. He was moving well within a couple of days and was able to run at his new top speed around as soon as we backed him off the painkillers. The drugs and e-collar were harder on his movement and happiness than the leg. In his case at least, the prescribed drugs were there not just for pain, but to keep him inactive so he didn't injure himself. So while we monitored him for pain, it really wasn't an issue with the amputation (though he was in terrible pain before, so our experience there may not be hers).

He had the usual phenomenon where the bruising appeared worse over the first few days - that was to be expected. Your pooch may have trouble squatting or sitting; you'll probably have to support her at some point while she defecates/urinates.

Do you have the vet's instructions right from the horse's mouth? If not, it will probably be good to call them to get those as well as the followup schedule.

Strangers will be delighted with her. Everyone loves a three-legged dog.
posted by The Gaffer at 3:03 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

but to keep him inactive so he didn't injure himself

Absolutely this. Several folks I've known have had dogs that needed amputations, and the dogs have all been ready to get up and active well before they were healed up enough to do so. I think the most difficult thing in terms of recovery is going to be keeping the little squirt calm and relatively immobile so her body has time to physically heal and recuperate.

Dog burritos are a pretty good method if she's wanting to fidget and be active when she shouldn't. Swaddle her in a blanket (not really the right time of year, unfortunately...maybe opt for a sheet?) and get her all cozy. The handful of times I've needed to burrito my dog so he won't reinjure himself I've hand-fed him treats so he isn't tempted to squirm around and he knows the burrito is a safe and happy place.
posted by phunniemee at 3:24 PM on May 27, 2015

Thanks guys! We are actually not having either of those issues. So far, she is not over active; she sleeps on the couch or in a chair all day, with the occasional potter out back for a wee or food/drink. She has no lampshade but clearly doesn't need one as she isn't bothering her stitches at all. We get her to go for a walk because she's keen to follow our other two Boxers but it's a bit of a struggle to get her out the door at first.

Indoors, we have the opposite issue, which is that she basically hates them. The initial report we got on her was that she is good with other dogs, so I am ascribing this to pain, transition and a new environment. They are now not over keen on her either. (I guess this will pass, or it won't, but we had planned for her to move to a long-term foster after three weeks regardless.)

It took several days but we have pee and pooping down now. Her gait is still very hoppy, which is exhausting for her, and I don't know how long that takes to smooth out.

We provide 24/7 care in this foster home as we are both here all day. I guess I just don't know 1) how long it will take for her to be recovered enough to move her to a less intensive foster, 2) or for her to then be "fully recovered" for adoption, 3) for her to stop feeling shitty and crabby 4) for her gait to smooth and be less hard work for her.

Do you have the vet's instructions right from the horse's mouth? If not, it will probably be good to call them to get those as well as the followup schedule.

No, I don't, and I won't because rescue is often messy and just... let's not go there. I have a vet appointment with my own rescue's vets on Monday!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:06 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

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