Tripawds Three Legged Dog Heroes

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Take the Tripawd Pawrent Experience and Satisfaction Survey

In 1999 Dutch researchers conducted one of the only Tripawd surveys examining how pet parent’s perceived their dog’s adaptation to limb loss. We think it’s time for a new Tripawd quality of life survey, don’t you?

Tripawd HopeWhether you’re the pawrent of a three-legged dog or cat, we hope you’ll take a minute to answer this fast survey.

Two surveys are posted below: one for feline Tripawds and one for canines. Felines are first, scroll down for canines.

Submissions must be received by November 30 December 15 at 12 midnight PST.

Feline Tripawd Pawrents Take the Survey Here

If you cannot load the following survey, use this link:

Canine Tripawd Pawrents Take the Survey Here

If you cannot load the following survey, use this link:


Thank you Tripawds Nation! Together we can share information and resources to make life better than ever for all three-legged animals!

Tripawd Pawrent Survey Shows How Dogs Adapt to Amputation

If you had to make the amputation decision again, would you? The following article examines at how pet parents look back on their choice to proceed with amputation for their dog. This great post was created by Tripawds Member Erica Berse, aka Jill the Cat’s Mom.

When faced with the overwhelming news that your dog or cat needs to have one of their legs amputated, it’s hard to imagine the future.

Thinking back to the day I got that news, I remember so many emotions and questions: “Is this a selfish decision?”, “Will she ever be able to walk again?”, “How could I even think about doing this to my baby?”

You can watch all the videos, look at all the pictures in the world, but it’s just so very hard to imagine our little (or big!) one thriving on three legs. But they do! There is no better proof and reassurance than asking proud pawrents of amputees themselves about how their pups adapted after amputation.

Pet Parents Pawsitive After Amputation

In a 1999 survey* conducted by Dutch Veterinarians, 44 dog owners were surveyed via telephone about their experience with their dog who had had a limb amputated. The overall results were extremely positive. 41 of the dog owners reported that their dogs adapted “very well” to using three legs. Most of the dogs adapted within a month of surgery and nine adapted within a week.

Of the three dogs that did not adapt as well as expected, one owner replied that the dog showed an acceptable level of adaptation in that although it was unable to walk as far as it had done before the amputation, it was still capable of walking for half an hour without becoming exhausted. Two owners stated that their dogs performed poorly after an amputation for neoplasia and unfortunately those dogs were euthanatized shortly after amputation due to a metastasis.

Some other interesting facts garnered from the survey include:

  • 14 dog owners reported that their dog showed some type of behavioral change after amputation. These behavioral changes varied from aggression in six, anxiety in five, a decrease in dominance in two, and in one dog a lack of interest in other dogs.
  • Twenty-two of the dog owners were initially against the advised amputation. Nineteen of them found that their objections were unfounded after the amputation had been performed.
  • There was no statistically significant association between the adaptation time and whether a fore- or hindlimb was amputated.
  • With regard to the speed of adjustment, there were no significant relationships between the age or size of the dog, the initial objections against the amputation, complications in relation to the amputation, or changes in the behavior of the dog towards other dogs.
  • The weight of the dogs had no significant association with their speed of adaptation.
  • None of the respondents regretted their decision to have the limb amputated.

Overall, the survey shows an extremely positive response to how dogs adapt to limb amputation. It’s difficult to imagine your furry friend losing a limb when you get the news, however, these survey results show that our beloved pets do adapt quite well!

*The survey is: Adaptation of dogs to the amputation of a limb and their owners’ satisfaction with the procedure; J. KIRPENSTEIJN, R. VAN DEN Bos, N. ENDENBURG. The Veterinary Record, January 30, 1999.

Stay tuned for Tripawds very first Owner Satisfaction Survey, coming soon!

If you have a topic you’d like to spotlight here at Tripawds, please contact us for details on how you can submit a guest blog post. And you don’t even have to be a “writer” to do it. Thanks so much.

Wordless Wednesday: Survey Says

Stay tuned for Jill the Cat’s Tripawd Owner Satisfaction Survey article, coming up next!

Amputation Wound Care for Post-Surgery Dogs

Caring for your dog’s amputation incision is usually as easy as ensuring that nature is taking its course and healing the site.

Most dogs like Tripawds Founder Spirit Jerry have minimal problems at the wound, but unfortunately some dogs like Tripawds Spokesdawg Wyatt Ray and Valentina the Great Dane experience surgical wound complications, such as continuous serum (blood and bodily fluids) leakage that requires extended veterinary care and longer recuperation times.

If you’re about to start your Tripawd journey, take time to be prepared for wound complications, just in case.

Here’s a quick rundown of some things to keep in mind:

Keep a Post-Amputation First Aid Kit Handy

Your vet may want you to change bandages or clean around the incision. Be prepared by stocking a pre-made pet first aid kit or making one yourself. To care for amputation wounds, your kit needs:

To Bandage or Not to Bandage?

Your dog may or may not come home with a bandage over the incision, or a drain.

Our Tripawds Amputation Survey shows that more dogs come home without a bandage and drain, but it’s up to you and the vet to determine if these things are necessary. Most times they aren’t; usually it seems that a bandage is applied to lessen the shock value when pawrents see the wound for the first time. An old t-shirt can be worn by front-leg Tripawds to keep the incision site clean and help prevent licking. Boxer shorts can be worn by rear-leggers, with the tail through the flap.

Wound Drains

We never had firsthand experience with a “Jackson Pratt” or JP drain until our Wyatt came home from surgery last week. Had we known he was getting one, we might have asked about whether or not it was necessary, since ultimately it clogged and didn’t release any of the fluid that was building up.

JP Drains

One end of the drain tube is inserted into an incision near the surgical site to help release fluid accumulation. To the other end is attached a bulb that is compressed to create negative pressure, causing suction of fluid from the wound.

As a pawrent, your only responsibility is to empty the bulb when it looks full. Your vet will supply you with large syringes to measure the fluid amount.

The JP drain’s interior needs to be kept sterile: do not use water to rinse the bulb or tube, simply replace the bulb after emptying the fluid. Be sure to squeeze  it before sealing it closed to reactivate its suction.

After JP drain removal:

Wyatt’s JP drain was removed four days after surgery. The drain’s bulb never filled up, so we and the vet assumed there was no drainage occurring. We were wrong. Almost immediately after removing the drain, Wyatt leaked copious amounts of serum in the vet’s office. Clearly, the drain had clogged somewhere and was holding back tons of fluid.

To help the area drain but prevent infection at the drain site, Wyatt’s vet sewed a series of loops around the drain site in order to hold a large stack of gauze over the hole. As an area that’s difficult to bandage, he thought that keeping the gauze in place with the loops and surgical tape would work.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take a photo of this impromptu experiment since it fell off almost immediately after leaving the hospital. The gauze was too full with the weight of the fluid to stay in place. A taped-on bandage was more effective. Using a low-tack adhesive tape is recommended, however, to avoid painful removal when changing the dressing.

Incision Healing Progress

Without complications, the amputation incision site will heal within 10-14 days. A permanent scar forms between 14-21 days.

Bruising and redness is normal after surgery, but to a point. Excessive redness and irritation can be a sign of something else going on, usually just an infection that can be cleared up with antibiotics.

This great article at, Is My Dog’s Incision Healing Normally? offers terrific insight into how a wound develops, heals and what to watch out for, such as:

  • Foul smelling discharge: Tell your vet about any discharge that isn’t clear and odorless.
  • Excessive fluid drainage: Some dogs will get a seroma, which is a combination of blood and bodily fluid buildup at the incision site. Seromas usually aren’t serious and can be drained in a vet’s office, but you need to tell your vet your dog is having one to make sure it’s not more serious. You can try to prevent a seroma by keeping your dog calm for at least a week after amputation: too much activity can ramp up the immune system and lead to excess fluid buildup.
  • Missing stitches or staples: If sutures fall out, this can indicate infection and an inability for the skin to heal. Also, if you see a wide gap (larger than ¼ inch) between the wound or tissue sticking out from the wound, call your vet immediately.

Whatever you do, DO NOT clean the wound with anything that your vet hasn’t prescribed. Do not use hydrogen peroxide on the incision, it can kill the cells trying to heal causing further complications. If the wound area gets soiled, use warm water only to clean around the incision and ask your vet what you should to do if further cleaning is necessary.

Itchy Wounds

Stitches are usually removed 10-12 days after surgery. After removal, most dogs go crazy trying to soothe the incision area as it dries and becomes more itchy. Unfortunately the cone of shame is the only surefire way to prevent your dog from damaging the wound.

In our ebook, “Three Legs and a Spare – The Tripawds Canine Amputation Handboook”, we share tips for preventing your dog from bothering the incision, such as:

  • Use a Bath Towel: Loosely secure a large rolled towel around your dog’s neck (not too loose that she can slip away). The thick towel can serve as a barrier between her neck/chin and the incision.
  • DERMACOOL  HC by Virbac (118mL)A special sock like Power Paws Traction Socks for Dogs or dog boots like Ruff Wear’s Grip Trex and Skyliner can be used to keep your dog’s paws from scratching at the site, but dogs with degenerative mobility issues should not use them.
  • Use of an anti-inflammatory spray such as DermaCool HC.
  • Over the counter medicines to relieve itching, such as Benadryl and Chlorpheniramine
  • Some vets recommend using ointment such as Neosporin. Others suggest using nothing that may prohibit natural healing of the incision.
  • Homeopathic remedies suggested in The Whole Pet Diet, include Calendula, Comfrey and Myrh which all have antiseptic and healing properties.

We hope these tips will help as you care for your three legged dog’s amputation wound. If you are having any post-op complications, please call your vet and then join in the Discussion Forums for a shoulder to lean on from Tripawds pawrents who’ve been there.

Recommended Reading:

Tripawds Gear Blog: Cone of Shame Alternatives

One Vet’s Canine Amputation Surgery and Recovery Tips

Post-Amputation Side Effects in Dogs

Amputation Surgery Suture Reaction in Dogs

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please consult your vet with any concerns. Always follow the direction of a licensed veterinarian prior to making any medical decisions about your dog’s health.

Tripawd Tips for Using Wheelchairs and Carts

Are you thinking about a wheel chair for your three legged pal?

If so, you’ll want to read this brief interview with our favorite canine rehab veterinarian Dr. Jessica Waldman, VMD, CVA, CCRT, co-founder of California Animal Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles.

We asked  Dr. Waldman when and how a wheel chair or cart can benefit a Tripawd and how it should be used. Here’s what she had to say:

Under what circumstances are carts appropriate for a Tripawd?

Carts are appropriate if the pet has severe compensatory issues or severe pain and therefore dysfunction with mobility. This should be considered after appropriate pain management, rehabilitation, and acupuncture.

Rehabilitation veterinarians or physical therapists* can aid in this decision and in measurements and fittings for the cart.

If the pet is unable to walk comfortably or without rest for more than 30 feet after these other approaches have been tried, a cart may be acceptable.

(*Qualified rehabilitation therapists have the initials CCRT: Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist or CCRP: Certified Canine Rehabilitaiton Practitioner after their name. To find one, visit the Canine Rehabilitation Institute or the University of Tennessee Animal Rehabilitation program website.

What are benefits and drawbacks of using a cart with a Tripawd?

Carts can be helpful to increase mobility, but a pet that uses a cart must use it in moderation (starting with just a minute or two at a time a few times daily.)

It is also important for owners to know that pets may do short walks (I would always limit to 15-20 minutes maximum) in carts, but that they cannot lie down in a cart and shouldn’t because it stresses their back.

Carts are really just a walking aid. Carts do not replace the need for strengthening, range of motion, or flexibility issues.

Are there steps can a human take to avoid needing a cart for their Tripawd?

LOTS!! Rehab, exercise restriction is key, acupuncture, pain management, strengthening!!!

What kinds of qualifications/experience should a human look for in a company that makes carts?

Good question. Reputation, experience. Check the Better Business Bureau. Ask: Do they make rear wheel carts only or both front and rear limb carts (meaning, the more variety they have the more understanding they have)? Do they provide carts with counterbalance?

How do you know if a cart is properly fitted?

Hard to say, we have physical therapists do this because it isn’t easy to explain. The dog needs to be in “as normal an anatomic position” as possible.

Many thanks to Dr. Waldman and California Animal Rehabilitation Center for helping us bring this valuable information to you. If you are lucky enough to live nearby, be sure to visit Dr. Waldman’s incredible facility and see how her staff can help your Tripawd dog stay strong and live hoppy!

Check out Tripawd Daisy and her Eddie’s Wheels Cart:

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For more information about rehabilitation therapy, wheel chairs and wheel carts for three legged dogs, please see our previous news stories:

Tripawds Recover and Relax at Canine Health Resort

If you think that getting care for your Tripawd at a long distance medical facility seems logistically impossible, think again: there may be a Canine Health Resort type of facility near that provider.

Canine Health Resort is a healing center for dogs who are recovering from major medical procedures at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital (and other local providers).

Founded by Connie Fredman in 2006, this specialty facility provides rest, relaxation and rehabilitation in a down-home environment for dogs who live too far away to commute back and forth for care at this world-famous institution.

Not Your Vet’s Recovery Ward

Set among 75 pastoral, fenced acres with shade trees, a pond, places to explore and a cozy farmhouse where dogs rule, Canine Health Resort is dramatically different from the sterile cages, cold floors and fluorescent lighting found in veterinary recovery wards.

Patients spend days or weeks with Fredman while recovering from conditions like paralysis or amputation surgery. Some are receiving chemotherapy treatments or getting daily rehabilitation therapy. Others have come from as far away as Alaska for the care that Fredman, a 25-year veteran in animal health care, provides.

She’s a regular Florence Nightingale for dogs, handling everything from picking up patients at the airport, to giving daily medications, to driving them to their appointments. Patients of all ages reside in her fully carpeted, handicapped-equipped home and receive all the care they need for a great recovery.

Patients are Loved, but Not Babied

While residents are given lots of TLC and 24/7 care, they are also expected to adhere to the rules of the pack, and quickly learn to fit in with the other patients. Fredman is strict about house rules, which include no free-feeding, and no chasing after the resident cats.

Fredman runs her facility like this because doesn’t believe in babying or humanizing dogs. Doing so can hinder recovery, she says.

“They don’t think the way we do, we can’t baby them,” she advises canine pawrents. “The sooner they’re up, the better they’re going to recover.”

While many pawrents want to sleep on the floor with their Tripawd after amputation surgery, Fredman advises against it.

Just as when human patients have back surgery and are made to start walking the next day, Fredman says this kind of approach is also the best way to get Tripawds to start living life on three legs.

“The dog has to become independent again,” she says. Live your life as you normally do, and if you think you need to sleep on the floor because you’re worried he will have to eliminate in the middle of the night and might need your help, sleep in your own bed but set your alarm clock and then see if he has to go.

The Secret to a Good Recovery

One of the secrets to a good recovery is to find out what motivates your dog to walk and feel good again, and use that as much as you can during recovery.

From car rides to ice cream, the things that lift your dog’s spirit will also help speed up healing, Fredman says.

She also advises Tripawd pawrents to explore rehabilitation therapy, and says that Cosequin and Dasuqin can help prevent and alleviate arthritis related to a Tripawd’s physique.

We hope that more providers like Fredman will pop up around the country, so that more dogs can have access to a higher level of veterinary care when they need it.

Until then, if you’ve ever considered having your Tripawd treated at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital but thought you lived too far away, think again; Canine Health Resort can help make that dream a reality!

How Do Canine Siblings React to New Tripawds?

If you’re part of a multi-dog pack and considering amputation for your Tripawd, you’re probably wondering how your other dog will react when the Tripawd patient returns home to recuperate.

Will your quadruped take advantage of your Tripawd? Is there a chance that your three legger can get injured?

Rest easy. Not once have we heard of a Tripawd being injured by a four legged sibling, at least on purpose. Not to say that it can’t happen, but usually the quadruped in the family senses that his Tripawd packmate needs extra loving care and some space. They usually react as Cooper did when Guinness came home, as shown in this video:

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The biggest risk for most new Tripawds when they come home is getting too tired from rough play with their pack mates.

Do your best to keep your patient in a separate area where he can see what’s going on but feel safe enough to rest.

Here’s what 35 month bone cancer survivor Dog Darcy Deerhound’s rest area looked like. Darcy’s mum, Bev, says:

“We sectioned off an area of the living room for Darcy so that everyone could see her and she could see everyone, but nobody could irritate her or accidetally step on her in those early days after surgery. . .

Nobody ever tried to ‘break in’ to Darcys bed space but they could lay beside it if they wanted to.”

When Nova came home from surgery, her sibling Emmy reacted with care. Nova’s mom Sue says:

“What was really amazing is that Emmy (the 4-legged one) almost instantly knew something was wrong with Nova (Tripawd), and “knew” that she should be treated with care. For the first week or so she just was a little stand-offish, and they did not snuggle up as usual. She could tell Nova wasn’t feeling herself, and gave her space.

Now they are back to snuggling, but Emmy is cutting Nova a lot of slack in many ways. She lets her eat first and is patient with her when she plays with her toys, even if she just stole a toy or bone! And she no longer roughhouses with her.”

Be sure to carefully observe your other dogs for signs of feeling left out. You may be so focused on the patient that you forget to notice that they aren’t getting enough time with you. They may not want to eat or revert to bad puppy behavior.

If this happens, be sure to carve out extra time with your other canine kids. Even just 15 minutes of ball playing or walks with you alone can alleviate any feelings of being left out.

If you have a multi-dog household, how did your other pups react when your new Tripawd came home?

Share your experiences here or in the Discussion Forum topic to help put nervous new Tripawds pawrent’s fears at ease.

Nobody ever tried to ‘break in’ to Darcys bed space but they could lay beside it if they wanted to.

Tripawds “Ask a Vet” Chat This Weekend: Saturday, 7/10 8pm EST, 5pm PST

Get your rehab and general canine health questions ready! Dr. Jessica Waldman from California Animal Rehabilitation Center is dropping by. Dr. Waldman can answer just about any canine health questions you have: amputation, surgery recovery, exercise, mobility, alternative medicine, diet, aging and more.

Saturday, July 10

8:00 PM Eastern / 5:00 PM Pacific

In the Tripawds Chat Room

Jessica H. Waldman, VMD, CVA, CCRT

Dr. Jessica H. Waldman

Dr. Waldman is co-founder of California Animal Rehabilitation Center, one of the few rehab centers in the country with both a doctor and a physical therapist on staff, both of whom are certified canine rehabilitation practitioners. Dr. Waldman speaks at veterinary meetings on the subject of Canine Rehabilitation and she has a special interest in neurological rehabilitation and in nutrition for all life stages. She loves to see her patients’ quality of life improve, and she counsels in nutrition utilizing a combination of Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine for the best possible outcome.

Dr. Waldman completed a certificate program from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. She is also a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist through the Chi Institute. She is one of the founding members of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians.

If you haven’t already watched our blog post series with Dr. Waldman, check them out:

Canine Rehabilitation: Exercises and Stretches with CARE

Canine Rehabilitation: Amputation Recovery Advice with CARE

Canine Rehabilitation: Pain Meds and Supplement Tips from CARE

First Tripawds Required Reading List

Anything for the stick!We love how whenever a new user joins Tripawds, community members will often point them to various places throughout this site that can help answer their questions!

But over the past few years, has grown to include a wealth of helpful information that often goes overlooked. So in our continuing efforts to provide the best advice and support for those facing amputation for their dogs, we have developed the following Tripawds Required Reading List.

This compilation of links provides answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about canine cancer and amputation for dogs.

Now, whenever a new pawrent is looking for advice, you can just point them here!

Jerry poses at Gros Ventre CampgroundBelieve it or not, this extensive list is just a small sampling of informative posts from the Tripawds Featured Blogs. Much more advice can be found by searching the discussion forums.

Bookmark this post now for easy reference! And please reply with links to other Tripawds blog posts and forum topics you have found helpful. Thank you for helping us help others.

NOTE: Posts identified with an exclamation mark may be especially helpful to new members and guests seeking answers.

Tripawds eBook, “Three Legs & A Spare: A Canine Amputation Handbook”
 Download new Tripawds e-book for fast answers to most common questions!

Tripawds News Blog

Amputation Questions: What to Expect, Top Ten Q&A
(Read Related Forum Discussion)

Amputation Questions: How to Pick a Vet for Amputation Surgery

Amputation Recovery: Post-Amputation Side Effects in Dogs

Amputation Recovery: Rehab Tips, Exercises and Stretches
(3-part video interview)

Amputation Recovery: Fur Regrowth After Amputation Surgery

Cancer Treatment: Diagnosing Bone Cancer in Dogs: What to Expect

Cancer Treatment: Should You Seek an Oncologist or Stick with Your Family Vet?

Cancer Treatment: K9 Immunity Clinical Trial Results

Cancer Treatment: Clinical Trials and What You Need to Know

Cancer Treatment: Metronomic Therapy Information Links

Mobility: Chiropractic Care Basics

Mobility: Canine Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Therapy Tips for Tripawds

Mobility: Prosthetics for Three Legged Dogs?
(Read Related Forum Discussion)

Mobility: Prosthetics – a Professional Point of View
(Read Related Forum Discussion)

Mobility: Wheelchairs for Tripawds
(Read Related Forum Discussions)

Tripawds eBook Answers Most Common Dog Amputation Questions

Tripawds Gear Blog

Best Gear: Greatest Hits From The Gear Blog, vol. 1

Harnesses: Recommended Harnesses for Helping Three Legged Dogs

Harnesses: Popular All-Purpose Webmaster Harness

Boots: Dog Boots Protect Paws and Provide Traction

Ramps: Pet Loader Folding Car Steps

Ramps: OttoStep SUV / Truck Dog Step

Raised Bowls: Elevated Feeding Stations Help Tripawd Posture

Dog Confinement: Best Pet Gates, Pens & Crates for Safe Amputation Recovery

Pain Management: Bella’s Pain Relief Pack for Post Surgery Comfort

Tripawds Nutrition Blog

Cancer Therapy: Jerry’s Canine Cancer Diet & Supplements

Cancer Therapy: Aloha Medicinals K9 Immunity & Transfer Factor

Cancer Therapy: Power Mushrooms Immune Boosting Supplement

Cancer Therapy: Learn About Apoptosis and Canine Cancer

Hip/Joint Pain: Dasuquin with MSM for Dogs Promotes Healthy Joints

Dog Diet: Links and Resources for a Healthy Dog Foods

Tripawds Downloads Blog

Cancer Treatment: Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Survial Guide E-Book

Phantom Pain: Tips for Managing Phantom Limb Pain in Dogs
(Read Related Forum Discussions)

Dog Massage: Learn Professional Dog Massage Techniques to Relieve Pet Pain

Dog Diet: Healthy Pet Diet eBook Offers 245 Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Tripawds Amazon Selections Blog

Amputation: Never regret your decision to amputate.

Hopping Around: The Water Rover, Best Dog Sport Bottle

Cancer Therapy: Help Your Dog Fight Cancer Advice Book

Emotional Recovery: Guardians of Being Teaches You to Think More Dog

Pain Management: Vet-recommended Nature Made SAM-e

The Tripawds Story

Jerry’s Story: How Tripawds Came To Be

Tripawds on TV: Watch Jerry in the PBS Documentary: NATURE “Why We Love Cats And Dogs”

Spirit Jerry: How We Coped with the Grief, and our Search for Jerry’s Acres

Spirit Jerry: Video Tribute to a Canine Cancer Hero

Tripawds Leg-a-Cy: Meet New Tripawds Spokespup Wyatt Ray Dawg

Coping With Loss

Tripawd Forums: Question Yourself to Prepare for Pet Loss

Spirit Jerry: How We Knew His Time Had Come

Emotional Health: Fear, Guilt and Anticipatory Grief

Emotional Health: Free Counseling from the Argus Institute

Emotional Health: Acknowledge There Is Nothing Left To Lose

Emotional Health: Understand The Truth and Welcome Reality

Fun Stuff

Tripawd Gifts: Show Your Tripawd Pride with Three Legged Dog Merchandise!

Tripawd Gifts: Pay Tribute with Unique Pet Memorial Jewelry

KillBarney Blog: What is the KillBarney Tour

Amputation Survey Results: Diagnoses, Breeds and Side Effects

The Tripawds crew has been working hard summarizing all of the Amputation and Cancer Care Survey submissions that pawrents have completed so far.

As far as we know, the Amputation and Cancer Care Survey is the first of it’s kind to ever address amputation and the Tripawd lifestyle.

We hope that pawrents will be able to see what others have experienced with their own Tripawds, and find the kind of  information they need to make smart decisions for their pup.

Eventually you can download the information as one spreadsheet to draw and share your own conclusions, but first here’s some basic data for your review.

Meanwhile, please keep in mind that:

  • We aren’t statisticians
  • This is a small, relatively unscientific sampling
  • Some questions were left blank within each survey

Tripawds Amputation and Cancer Care Survey Analysis Part 1:
Locations, Gender, Amputation Reasons and Surgery Side Effects

Where are All the Tripawds?

California Tripawds make up the majority of members, with 16 reponses from the Golden State. Texas and Colorado follow closely, and then the rest are thinly scattered in groups of 3 to 6 per state throughout North America. Overseas members from as far away as Portugal and New Zealand also responded but comprised less than 5 responses.

Reasons for Becoming a Tripawd

Survey responses show that the number of male Tripawds to females is evenly split. But, bone cancer has affected more female pups than males here; 43 females became Tripawds because of bone cancer, versus 33 males.

Most interesting of all, it seems that more male Tripawds are missing a leg because of accidents and abuse (10 total), versus only three females.


  • Cancer = 43
  • Accident = 3
  • Birth Defect = 1
  • Bacterial infection = 1


  • Cancer = 33
  • Accident = 9
  • Birth defect = 2
  • Bacterial infection = 2
  • Abuse = 1

Breeds Most Affected by Bone Cancer and Amputation

Most Tripawds members join the club because they’ve been diagnosed with bone cancer. According to the Veterinary Cancer Center of Santa Fe, each year over 8,000 dogs are diagnosed with bone cancer in the U.S., and most are large dogs. Our small survey sample backs this up.

Most Common Tripawd Breeds:

  • German Shepherd / German Shepherd Mixes = 10
  • Labrador / Labrador Mixes = 10
  • Golden Retriever = 8
  • Rottweiler = 7

Other Tripawd Breeds:

Alaskan Malamute = 1 (cancer)
All American=9 (4 cancer / 2 accident/injury / 1 birth defect / 1 unknown)
American Bulldog=2 (2 cancer)
Australian Kelpie Mix=1 (cancer)
Australian Shepherd=1 (accident)
Australian Shepherd Mix=1 (bacterial infection)
Belgian Sheepdog=1 (cancer)
Border Collie Cross=1 (cancer)
Boxer=1 (accident)
Boxer Husky Mix=1 (cancer)
Cane Corso=1 (cancer)
Chihuahua=1 (accident)
Deerhound=1 (cancer)
Doberman Mix=3 (3 cancer)
English Mastiff=1 (cancer)
English Shepherd=1 (cancer)
English Springer Spaniel=1 (bacterial infection)
Flat Coated Retriever=2 (2 cancer)
Flat Coated Retriever Mix w/Spaniel=1 (accident)
Great Dane=2 (cancer)
Great Pryenees Mix (Samoyed)=1 (bacterial infection)
Great Pyrenees Mix (Collie)=1 (cancer)
Greyhound=1 (cancer)
Jack Russell=1 (cancer)
Jindo=1 (accident)
Leonberger=1 (cancer)
Pitt Bull=2 (1 cancer / 1 bacterial infection)
Pitt Bull Mix=4 (cancer)
Rat Terrier=1 (accident)
Saint Bernard=1 (cancer)
Schnauzer = 1 (cancer)
Siberian Husky=4 (4 cancer)
Siberian Husky Mix w/Lab=1 (cancer)
Standard Poodle=1 (cancer)
Wheaten Terrier=1 (cancer)
Wolfdog=1 (cancer)

Common Post-Amputation Difficulties

While all dogs are different in how they respond to amputation surgery and recovery, the most common amputation surgery side effects are:

Bruising = 33
Emotional Distress=29
Appetite Loss=27
Mobility Problems=23
Seroma / Swelling=20
Respiratory Problems=3
Phantom Pain = 1*

Three dogs were lucky enough to experience no symptoms at all!


We hope this has given you some good background information on the Tripawd journey. If you would like us to present the information in a different way, have questions or would like to add your feedback, please do in the Tips and Resources Forum Discussion we started for this post.

Stay tuned for our Downloads Blog post, where you’ll be able to download the survey in its entirety.

*We’re sure there are more Tripawds who experienced Phamtom Limb Pain, but we accidentally forgot to include it in the potential answers, and their pawrents didn’t mention it in the “other” field for this question.

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Best Gear for Tripawds

Find the most helpful items for three-legged dogs by checking out Tripawds Gear product reviews and demonstration videos. Here you will find the popular Ruff Wear harness, and Bark'n Boots, or FitPAWS training equipment and much more!

Tripawds Nutrition Blog

Learn about the best dog supplements and healthy pet diets for all Tripawds, with or without cancer. Save on dog medications, healthy food, and learn about K9 Immunty, Power Mushrooms, Dasuquin, and other recommended canine supplements.

Gifts for Tripawd Lovers

Show your Tripawd Pride with three legged dog t-shirts, cards, caps, mugs, memorial gifts, and more! Follow the Gifts Blog for new item announcements, or browse the Tripawds Gift Shop directly. Get your Tripawds bandanna here. You name your price!

Get all the info you need with Dr. Dressler's Dog Cancer Kit!


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