Rear leg problems climbing

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We are 16 days post-op with Nico’s rear leg amputation. He was doing so well until he climbed up into our motorhome captain seat. Now it appears his rear leg buckles a lot. We have reverted back to using his harness to help him climb steps or simply carrying him. Any ideas?  Does it get better?

Today marks 8 1/2 weeks after Nico’s amputation and 4 weeks after his torn glute muscle.  The amputation has healed well and we have dropped the tramadol because he tolerates pain well.  On the advice of our vet, we have continued the Meloxidyl everyday.  The vet said it was good for inflamation and all dogs with cancer should take it.  The muscle tear is so unfortunate because he was running and doing so well after surgery.  Because of the tear, he can only walk 50′ before he starts bending at his rear leg (the one with the torn musc

le).  It is slowly healing with a lot of heat treatments and massages, but he still cannot walk far and is so frustrated he can run after cats.  But he is such a good dog and looks to us to find a way to heal him so he can at least get back to the post surgery condition he was adapting to.  I might say that we had just put in new wood flooring and that caused another problem for Nico.  His rear paw was slipping badly.  We tried Paw Friction, which was supposed to help, but he chewed it off and his paw became infected.  So back to the vet and more antibiotics, which he hated even when we disguised them in pill pockets of all kinds of flavors.  So here we are approaching 9 weeks and he is just slowly recovering from the torn muscle.  It helped after placing traction master throw rugs throughout the house.  We got them at Home Depot and they work terrific.  We are hoping after his appointment tomorrow the vet can also tell us why he wakes up most mornings, staggers out to the back lawn and eats grass like a cow, just to throw up this yucky white frothy vile.  After all of this, we are so thankful that we still have Nico.

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5 thoughts on “Rear leg problems climbing”

  1. I missed Nico’s first post, so just catch up. So glad everything has gone so well!

    Sixteen days is still early in recovery. It takes approximately a good two weeks plus to recover from the surgery itself, and then a solid month to adjust to the new gait. It’s very easy to tweak a muscle the first month or so as muscles are adjusting to a new way of balance, etc., especially if they’re feeling quite apunky early on. Too much too soon happens very frequently. Yes though, it does get better!

    Rear leggers generally have a harder time going UP stairs,which is basically what getting into the
    seat entailed. Maybe even a little moreso if it required Nico to push off hard with that one remaining leg. So using the harness is definitely a good idea for that sort of thing, especially early on. Many members use a harness to help with rear leggers getting in and out of a car as a safety precaution and to always protect that tear leg.
    Now, all that said, if you can get a consult with a Certified Rehabilitation Specialist they can show you ways to build core strength (tummy strength) to help Nico stay fit and strong. There are a lot of exercises you can do at home once they show you the proper technique. AND, the Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first visit!!
    Massage up and down his back, his shoulders, his neck, his spine and make note of any tension. Lots of ,as a one before he gets up and after hopping around before a nap, is beneficial too in relaxing muscles.
    Obviously, if you have any concerns about knee issues, torn ligaments, etc, anything like that, have a Vet check him out.
    Update when you can. Ig was delightful reading about this sweet boy of yours. A very loved boy indeed❤
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    1. Sally and Jerry, thank you for all the good info. It really helps to know someone has been through this with their companion. Nico is a fighter and he doesn’t want to leave us yet. We took him to the vet today; four days after he injured his remaining rear leg. He believes that Nico’s latest injury is soft tissue, most likely a muscle in the upper Femur/hip area. He suggested using a sling upon any steps, vehicle entry or extended distance for elimination. He prescribed a muscle relaxant and continued use of Mylexidyl. He did not suggest rehab, but told us to use muscle massage, heat and cold packs. He didn’t seem to think it was a major tear so we are hoping with the info you have provided and what he has prescribed, we can get Nico back to shape in 2-3 weeks. Thank you again

  2. Nico and family, I’m glad you shared what’s going on. Sorry he’s got these challenges but it makes sense: rear leg amputees have a VERY hard time going up stairs. All of a dog’s propulsion is in those two back legs and when they lose one they have half as much power to jump up. Nico may have pulled a muscle. Here’s how to help him now and avoid this situation:

    1. Please take advantage of our Tripawds Foundation Rehabilitation Therapy Reimbursement Grant. You will learn what Nico’s needs are as an amputee, and how to help him avoid injury. We will pay up to $200 for your first visit so please check it out.

    2. Use the harness. All the time. Our Wyatt Ray is 11 and we live in our fifth-wheel RV. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t wear it, because we do not want him jumping up our stairs and into the rig. He has already pulled his illiopsoas muscles once and it was very painful. We also help him out and down the steps with the harness handle, to avoid putting too much joint stress on that remaining rear leg.

    3. Get our e-book, Loving Life on Three Legs. You will find LOTS of tips about mobility and how to keep him safe from injury. The same information is in the Tripawds Gear blog and it’s free but you’ll have to dig around for it.

    Please let us know how he’s doing when you get a chance. Also considering posting in our Hopping Around Discussion Forum topic so you can get more input from the community. Hope to see you there.

    1. We just got home from a 3-day trip in our motorhome with Nico. What a PIA it was. After Nico jumped up into the captain’s chair and showed signs of lameness we babied him, but after only walking 50′ to do his duty, his rear leg would collapse. People walking by and seeing this were saying “Oh no, so sorry for him”. I thought maybe he had blown out his meniscus. I had to carry all 77 pounds of him back to the motorhome. It was crazy but then when we got home and I lifted him out of the motorhome, he ran to his yard and started barking at the neighbor’s cats, like he was so happy to be out of the MH and back home, he didn’t care about the pain and there was no leg collapse. Maybe it was just a muscle tear, we will know for sure tomorrow when the vet checks him out.

  3. Thank you Jerry and Renea for the informative webinar. We are in the 3 month post-operative stage of amputation to Nico’s left rear amputation. After 2 months we had more x-rays and that Vet told us that he saw no signs of the spread of osteosarcoma. He also told us that his muscle injury should be healed. He no longer throws up after the vet told us to eliminate the Meloxidyl. However we are now faced with a new problem. He has trouble walking on his remaining rear leg. He responds unfavorably when we touch the bone above his paw. He seems to retreat from us and sleep extraordinary amounts during the day. Our fear is the cancer has returned. We will be contacting the vet for further x-rays. Praying it has not returned.

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