An increasing number of veterinarians and dog owners are realizing that dogs who lose a limb to diseases such as cancer, birth defects, or to a serious injury can survive and even live long, happy and fulfilled lives… even on three (or less) legs. What’s more, dogs who have suffered the loss of a limb often show resilience and determination that’s admirable.
If you’re currently facing the heart-breaking decision of having to amputate your dog’s leg, or are considering adopting an amputee dog, here are some factors to keep in mind when it comes to giving them the best possible care and a shot at a great life.
If Your Dog Needs an Amputation…
First of all, it’s important to keep your pet’s best interests in mind if your veterinarian has suggested an amputation for your dog. Bear in mind that a dog who’s been injured or is suffering from a deadly disease such as cancer just wants to feel better and, in many cases, amputation can be the answer to this. According to veterinarians, once the painful limb has been removed, dogs will typically feel much more comfortable and settled. And owners report that after an amputation, most dogs will return to normal life within just a few months.
In fact, according to experts, dogs can be just as happy on three legs. They tend to be much more adaptable than us humans would be if we were faced with the same kind of physical challenge.
Helping Your Dog Recover…
Initially it is important to be prepared to give some extra care to your dog for the first few days after an amputation when the healing process is occurring. Your dog may need some help getting up, down and around for the first few days, and they’ll probably need to wear a veterinary cone to prevent them from licking or biting at their stitches and causing an infection.
If your dog is crate trained, this is the best place for them to be during the initial healing process, as it will ensure that they are safe and it makes it easier for you to supervise them.
When it comes to helping them get around, a towel can be used under your dog’s belly to lift them up and provide some extra support as they adjust to life without their limb and come to grips with moving around and taking trips to the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to help your dog’s road to recovery with carpets or other non-slip surfaces in your home.
In severe cases or in a case where more than one limb has been removed, you may want to consider prosthetics or other alternatives to help your dog move around. Custom wheelchairs for your pets are a great idea as they’ll give your dog the same range of mobility they are used to and make exercising easier.
Prioritize Healthy Exercise…
After the procedure, making sure that your dog remains fit and healthy, and stays at a healthy weight is crucial. Additional weight can put extra pressure and strain on their remaining limbs, so exercise that will keep their core strong is key. You can help your dog with strengthening his abdominal muscles through games that involve balance disks or wobble boards.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s essential that you don’t overdo things. Any exercise should be added gradually and carefully, just as you would do yourself if you were in recovery from major surgery. It’s important that you continuously monitor your dog for any signs of fatigue, such as sitting down on walks – this usually means that they’ve done too much.
It’s a good idea to establish a relationship with a veterinarian for rehabilitation therapy, so they can work with you to protect and strengthen your dog’s remaining limbs with a custom exercise and physiotherapy plan.
If You’re Considering Adopting an Amputee Dog…
It’s important to think about your daily routine and how your newly adopted dog is going to fit into it. If you already have other dogs at home, you may need to consider walking them separately since your four-legged dogs will likely have more endurance and will be able to go farther and longer when walking, which may wear out your new friend.
Many injured and amputee dogs are overlooked at shelters, but you can keep them healthy, happy, and fit with very little effort, particularly if your dog has long recovered from the amputation and has adapted to life minus a limb.
What to Do if You Find an Injured Dog…
If you come across a dog who has a potentially injured or broken limb, you will understandably want to help them. However, experts say that you should always consider your own safety first and approach with caution, as even the most docile and loving of dogs can snap if they are in pain, particularly if you are a stranger to them.
Once you have assessed the situation, you should place a blanket under the dog’s affected limb for support, and lift her carefully. Make sure that you are able to keep the dog restrained until they get to a veterinary clinic or hospital. If you do not feel comfortable moving the dog yourself, the best thing to do is get in touch with a local emergency veterinary clinic who can offer advice and potentially send somebody out to you.
If you’re in a situation where you’re being faced with the decision of whether or not to amputate your dog’s limb, it’s crucial to keep your feelings and emotions in check. Most dogs will be much happier and healthier afterward and can adapt to the change easier than you might think. And if you stay positive, your dog will pick up on this and be assured that everything is OK. Most dogs respond well to amputation and go on to lead a healthy and happy life. If your vet advises that your dog isn’t a good candidate and recommends euthanasia, it’s a wise idea to get a second opinion.
After the procedure, make sure that you proof your home to make it safe during the recovery process, and then gradually introduce exercise into your dog’s routine that will help them maintain a healthy weight and fitness level.
Buddha is living her best dog life after being rescued from a ruff hoarding situation. She is learning how to be Zen in all different types of new environments. Her favorite activity is hiking and smelling every flower she finds. She is considered to be a mix between and a long hair Chihuahua, American Bulldog, and a few other breeds that give her a unique look. Submitted by Amber H.
Breathing difficulties in dogs may be a sign of a bigger health problem, therefore it is important to conduct some diagnosis to be sure of the main underlying cause of such problems. Heart diseases, infections such as viruses, or parasitic and heartworm disease can be the main cause of breathing problems in dogs.
Other underlying conditions such as cancer, a collapsing trachea, trauma, Pleural effusion, chronic bronchitis and obstructions by foreign materials in the airway can also cause breathing difficulties. Here are some tips and ideas that can help you treat problems in your dog:
Perform a Medical Diagnosis on the Dog
Just before you go for any surgical or medication treatments, you need to take your dog to the veterinary doctor for proper diagnosis, this will ensure that you do not administer the wrong treatment on him. You need to ask the veterinary doctor some questions. For instance, you must be aware of the possibility of the breathing problem being transferred to other dogs or humans. (You can learn more about diagnosis breathing difficulties in dogs at Frenchiestore.)
Diagnoses in dogs are performed through several means. These include; taking blood counts, Serological tests to confirm infectious diseases, and Chest X-ray imaging to check internal airway and other breathing components.
Other diagnoses that may be carried out include: Echo-cardiography, which is an ultrasound check for the heart, the use of Electrocardiogram (ECG), and examination of fluid samples taken from the air passageway of the dog. The appropriate treatment administered will depend on the test results.
Always Perform Follow-up Tests
Many dog owners often ignore the need to perform follow-up tests once the conditions of their dogs have improved. Regardless of whether surgical treatments or medications were performed, it is important to perform follow-up tests to ensure that the breathing problem does not relapse.
In most cases, the same diagnostic tests carried out before treatment will be repeated to evaluate the response of the dog to treatment. In case the dog is not responding favorably, then some other tests will be conducted to confirm the real underlying cause of the breathing problem. Follow-up tests are as important as diagnostic tests, hence they must not be skipped.
A follow-up test is not just a procedure for measuring the response of your dog to treatment. It may be an ideal way to detect any other underlying medical problem that may get more complicated in the future.
Help Your Dog to Lose Some Weight
Certain breathing problems are associated with obesity. Extra body fat can put pressure on the air passageway, thus putting extra pressure on breathing. It is important to work out with your dog outdoors or make use of a special treadmill designed for dogs so she can burn some extra fat. This may take a while to show results but it will help. In general it’s wise to help your dog shed some weight even if its breathing difficulty is not associated with obesity.
Change Diets that Can Trigger Inflammation
Some breathing problems, including Chronic Bronchitis are caused by inflammation of the air passageway. While medications are mostly used for dealing with these problems, you may want to reduce chronic inflammation in the digestive system of dogs by ensuring that your dog doesn’t eat some foods that are only meant for humans. Buy specially formulated anti-inflammation dog food her.
Keep the Dog Indoor in Extreme Winter Conditions
Extreme winter conditions may worsen breathing problems in dogs. It is important that you keep your dog active indoors during such winter conditions, but that does not mean that he must remain indoors 24 hours per day. Certain breeds such as Border Collies are an outdoor type of dogs, but make sure they are well protected when outdoors in extreme cold.
Make Sure Your Dog Completed its Entire Course of Treatment
Some breathing problems may relapse when she does not complete its course of treatment. This is particularly prominent when dogs are placed on medications, like antibiotics for breathing problems caused by bacteria. Dogs must complete the entire treatment course even when it seems all the symptoms are gone and breathing has returned to normal. When problems relapse, it means the dog will have to start taking the medication all over again, which can cost you extra in the long run.
Improve Hygiene Around Your Home
If diagnostic results show that your dog’s breathing problem is triggered by allergic reactions, then you should consider a complete cleaning of your home and of the dog’s personal items. First of all, you need to identify the allergens triggering the breathing problems, and it would help to get a HEPA Vacuum filter that can be used to clean the surfaces of carpets and all furniture.
Make sure every part of the home that your dog visits is thoroughly vacuumed to reduce the risks of allergic attacks. Try as much as possible to improve ventilation in your home, to make it safer and cleaner for you and your dog.
It is important to pay attention to the symptoms of breathing problems in your dog. Rapid, labored breathing is perhaps one of the most severe symptoms you should pay attention to. Sometimes the belly of the dog may move more than normal, with the nostrils flaring up during breathing. In some cases, the dog may begin to breathe with its mouth opened, and in some cases, the elbows of the dog may stick out of its body during difficult breathing.
Noisy breathing is another symptom you should pay attention to. This is particularly the case when the dog’s breathing is shallower than normal. Heavy panting may not necessarily mean the dog is having breathing difficulties, as it is normal to cool off after a difficult exercise session.
Labored breathing in a dog may be a sign of Dyspnea, while rapid breathing may be a sign of Tachypnea. If the mouth is partially opened during breathing only occasionally, the dog may not have a breathing problem, but when it becomes more regular, then you must consider a medical checkup.