Did you ever do something for your Tripawd that you ended up regretting? We did. You see when Jerry came home from amputation surgery, we wanted him to just enjoy life and have fun again. Even his vet told us to let him get back normal. Jerry did and life was great again! Unfortunately we didn’t know about these Tripawd health tips to avoid injury. Here’s what happened.
Tripawd Health Tips to Avoid Injury
Nothing was better than watching Jerry run after a ball, go on longer walks or play his favorite game, basketball. Today we cringe when we watch this video (we are embarrassed to show it to you). At the time we thought we were being safe by only letting him play on grass.
We slightly modified our play times by throwing balls and Frisbees a bit lower. Our hikes were shorter too. We thought we were being smart. But our enthusiasm to let him get back to “normal” was silently harming him. Here he is playing on the banks of the Rio Grande River in New Mexico.
See how all of his legs are off the ground? Not good. Eventually one of Jerry’s rear legs gave out during a Frisbee session. Carrying him home was terrifying.
We never want anyone to go through what we did during that time. Thankfully someone told us about how acupuncture helps pets. After Jerry recovered we vowed to avoid the same mistakes (and keep others from doing the same).
What You Need to Know About “Getting Back to Normal”
Deciding on the right type and length of activity for any Tripawd is a balancing act. You’ll constantly learn from your mistakes, but here’s how you can minimize the impact. After our many talks with orthopedic surgeons and veterinary rehab therapist visits we know understand that:
Recovery doesn’t end when stitches come out.
A new amputee needs more time than you think to get their spark back. When stitches come out, it’s time to celebrate but also begin safe exercises for Tripawds. Restart any activity slowly and with caution. Better yet, take your Tripawd to a licensed veterinary rehabilitation therapist (the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit!).
All recoveries are different. Don’t compare your pet’s progress to another’s.
Healing doesn’t happen on a pre-determined timeline. Go slow with activity and watch your dog or cat carefully for signs of fatigue. Never allow your new amputee to run freely without requiring breaks and rest. And remember, if your animal lays or sits down in the middle of a walk or play session, you’ve allowed them to do too much too soon.
Repeated stumbles and face plants are not normal.
All new Tripawds will have an occasional stumble, face plant or fall immediately post-op. But if these things continue, that’s your clue to slow things down. Ask yourself: are you throwing a ball too far? Letting your Tripawd play too long?
Jerry had more than one stumble during his first few weeks as a Tripawd. We figured that was normal. But his face plants were our fault. We let him do too much too soon, without building up his core muscles. Today we know that good core strength helps Tripawds avoid falls.
Happy YouTube Tripawd videos are fun to watch, but they don’t tell the whole story. You don’t know if that Tripawd paid a high price for all that fun. Here’s another video of happy Jerry playing Frisbee before his leg gave out. We can’t believe we allowed this to happen. Yes, it was fun but he paid the price and to this day we feel bad that we didn’t know any better.
Whether you have a new Tripawd or a pet who’s been on three-legs for many years, please check out these helpful Tripawd health tips to avoid injury on remaining legs.
Loving Life on Three Legs: Canine Fitness and Conditioning for Happy, Healthy Tripawds
DIY Core Strengthening Exercises for Cats
Learn Rehab and Fitness Tips for Tripawd Cats and Dogs, Part 1
Fun Tricks and Tips for Bonding with Cats and Dogs
Learn How to Manage Your Dog’s Pain with Dr. Petty’s New Guide