Has your pet had a recent amputation? How you and your tripawd can adjust.

Has your pet had a recent amputation?  How you and your tripawd can adjust.

If your pet has had a recent amputation or is scheduled for surgery there are many things you can do to prepare yourself and your home to make you and your tripawd comfortable.  

At Home

Remember your pet may be more prone to secondary injuries.  It is important to create a safe environment for your pet.  It will take some time for your pet to adjust to being a tripawd so everything you do to make your home an accident free zone will help in the recovery process.

  • The flooring around the food and water area should be cushioned and provide traction for your pet.  You can use a yoga mat to help them avoid slipping and to improve their stance while they are eating and drinking
  • Raise the food and water bowls to chest level to alleviate stress to the spine, joints and supportive limbs
  • Your floors need to be slip free so your pet can be comfortably mobile within their home environment.  Wood and tile floors are potentials hazards.  Cover with a non-slip floor covering to reduce the risk of injury
  • Put up baby gates to restrict your pet from trying to go up or down stairs without your supervision.  Use a support harness to help your pet navigate stairways or carry them up and down to avoid problems

Support the Supportive Limbs

Be aware!  Watch your pet’s body language and understand it.  The supportive limbs can become weak over time and they require constant maintenance. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight by feeding canned, raw or home cooked foods – avoid dry foods (kibble) which can lead to inflammation
  • Don’t feel sorry for your pet and resort to giving them more treats.  They are probably adjusting better than you are!
  • Weight gain will put stress on the supportive limbs so the proper levels of activity and foods are imperative for their quality of life and overall well-being
  • Clip their nails – It’s important to take care of their paws, paw pads and nails.  Moisturize their elbows and paw pads, coconut oil is a great topical moisturizer that will benefit them if ingested.  Keep their nails trimmed so walking and gripping is easy and comfortable.  Trim any long hairs/fur around and between the paw pads to reduce slippage. 
  • Listen to your pet - they will tell you how far they want to walk, when they are in pain, and when they are ready to run like the wind 
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Therapies

There are various therapeutic options that may suit you and your pets needs including:

  • The Assissi Loop – This is a targeted pulse electromagnetic therapy that can be used on the effected limb to manage inflammation and can be used on the supporting limbs to manage inflammation and pain
  • Chiropractic Sessions - A monthly chiropractic sessions can help with muscular skeletal conditions that may arise from the loss of a limb.  These sessions provide manual manipulation of the spine to address disturbances called vertebral subluxations.  This therapy brings the spine into proper alignment to maintain the proper healthy relationship between the spine and the nervous system.  To find practitioners in your area (http://animalchiropractic.org)
  • Hydro Therapy  -  Increase blood flow to all the limbs, improve range of motion and overall mobility and allow your pet to be active without stressing the joints
  • Cold Laser Therapy – A treatment that benefits chronic and acute conditions in your pet.  It is a non-invasive and non-pharmacologic pain relieving option for treatment of post-surgical inflammation and pain for the supportive limbs and the amputated area.

Supporting Tools

Some pets need additional support after an amputation.  There are harnesses, support slings and wheelchairs available to help you support your pet during their transition to a tripawd or for the long term.

  • The Walkin’ Lift Harnesses and Slings provide front or back support 
  • Walkin' Wheels are customized wheelchairs for your pet that are easy to put on and adjust to fit your pet properly

 

There is a great deal you can do to make your pet comfortable after an amputation.  Remember to prepare yourself as well – 

  • Reduce your anxiety around the situation – an anxious parent makes an anxious pet!
  • Your vet is part of your support system – keep them in the loop on any behavioral, emotional or physical changes 
  • Follow their lead - your pet is resilient and adjusts quickly to physical and environmental changes.  Don’t hold them back because of your fears!