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The Tripawds Library
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16 July 2017
Radar, my 5 year old bouncing black lab, came in from a bathroom trip outside with his hind leg limping. After 3 consultations, it was determined that the tendon attached to the hock bone had a tear. $4,000.00 in surgery and 12 weeks kenneled up was not an option, as it would have broken my happy lab. Amputation was the only answer other than putting him down. On July 11, 2017, he went to an orthopedic vet who had a lot of experience with amputation. This vet wasn't our regular vet, she is great with my dogs, but she had never done a rear leg amputation, and I just wanted to go to the best surgeon. Well amputation went good, they kept Radar overnight and I picked him up. We have a tough living situation as there are 2 short flights of stairs to get to our apartment. The stairs were the biggest hurdle, but after I applied no slip stair stickies, and took his cone of shame off (it was harder on him than the surgery), stairs were mastered! The first few days were rough, but Radar is a great patient and he was so good that the cone could stay off after just a few days! About the 5th day, Radar seemed to going backwards, he was very weak on his remaining leg and had no energy. Then the cough started....he had picked up kennel cough at the vet's office. I was devastated. The kennel cough was worse for him than the amputation! The surgeon vet was like no big deal, kennel cough happens. I was so upset, but another 60.00 in office call & meds & we are back home. I have a 10 year old miniature rat terrier with collapsing trachea, and a 9 year old black lab - of course they both caught the cough. I was in dog hell for 10 days. Our regular vet called in meds for my other dogs, and the little guy (Buttons the rat terrier) caught the brunt of the bug.
We are now 27 days post surgery. I am looking for advice on excercise for Radar.
25 April 2007
Hi Radar, Buttons and Family, welcome. We are so sorry you've been through a heckuva time! Glad to hear things are getting better though and everyone is on the mend. You ask a great question about exercising, I'm happy to help.
First, I encourage you to get Radar to a rehabilitation therapist for a consult. The Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first rehab visit, that's how much we believe that all 3-leggers can benefit from at the very least an assessment on what is needed to regain and keep strength, and prevent injury.
Since Radar already had one cruciate tear, the odds of the other one tearing are exponentially high. And although a cruciate repair surgery recovery is tough on a Tripawd, it's doable but not something I would want anyone to experience. Your ortho vet probably told you about these risks so forgive me if you already know this stuff. BUT, the good news is that you can minimize the risk of another tear by
1) Keeping Radar thinner than most dogs of his breed type
2) Doing the right kind of exercise
3) Remaining vigilant about both throughout his life.
If you haven't already, do check out the Tripawds Gear blog. We have lots of great tips there about exercise and fitness, like:
Also, consider getting a copy of our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs, which also has tons of information that can help Radar stay strong. Again though, the best thing you can do is get him to a certified rehab therapist for a custom evaluation that can help him get strong and stay that way.
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