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When a Tripawd Needs Another Leg Surgery

It’s a tripawd pawrent’s worst nightmare; being told that your tripawd needs another major leg surgery. What do you do? Can your Tripawd handle another confinement and recuperation? Will he ever be the same?

Chuy is one pup from Arizona who says: “Yes, indeed! Just look at me!

Chuy is a Tripawd friend who was diagnosed with Legg-Calve Perthes Disease, which is a fracture in the ball of the femur. In May 2009, he underwent Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO) surgery on his rear leg, the same side in which he’s already missing a leg.

This “simple” surgery involves the head of the femur or the attachment to the hip. A new joint is formed by just the muscles of the hind legs, similar to how the shoulder blade is normally attached to the dogs body, by muscle alone.

If you have a Tripawd that needs to undergo another major leg surgery,  try not to worry. Check out Chuy’s Mom’s diary she sent to us, to help comfort other pawrents in this situation:

“Research is the key. Research the type of surgery your dog is going to have, the medications your dog will be on, the side effects and withdrawals symptoms. Research the actions you may need to take for your dogs recovery i.e. physical therapy, nursing, home preparation. Make sure you trust your vet, but remember, your vet doesn’t know everything, you need to talk to others that have been through similar experiences.”

Here are more details that Chuy’s Mom shared with us about his recovery:

Week 1: Chuy pulled thru fine, he’s spending the night at the vet, we can pick him up tomorrow after 1. Have water tank delivered from the farm supply for Chuy to do swim therapy in when he gets his stitches out. Get him from the vets, settle him in at home. He sleeps peacefully about an hour. Up all night, no sleep for mom. The Fetanyl patch is making him restless. He cannot pace as he only has two good legs, thank goodness for that!

He won’t eat, won’t poop, peed all over the crate, the carpet and himself. This happened a couple of times. The hazards of a tripawd having surgery on his good leg. Mom is worried that he’s not eating his kibble. Try boiled burger and rice, yay! Nom! Nom! Getting the sling under his belly is another thing. He doesn’t want Dad to do it, Dad is showing some slight fear of hurting him, he can sense that. He’s hallucinating from the Fentanyl patch. He’s on 100 mg. Tramadol 3 times a day and Metacam dose for 58 lb. dog. The whining is driving us nuts, he hasn’t pooped yet!chuymalone

Call the vet, he hasn’t pooped, still in pain, can I take the patch off? Yes! He tries to bite Dad, grazes his hand. Chuy snaps at Mom, growls at her and Dad, growls and snaps a Rory and the cats. I’d try to bite too if I hadn’t pooped in 4 days. Mom starts to freak and goes to Tripawds for advice. Our little junkie is going through withdrawal. Thank goodness it’s just the withdrawal, just needs his space. Get out the muzzle.

How much longer does this last? It takes a couple of days to get through the withdrawal.

He Pooped! Cut the Tramadol to 50 mg. every 8 hrs., give him 50 mg. Benadryl ½ hr before his PT, he cooperates much better. Stay on the Metacam as directed.

He’s sleeping better, doesn’t want the burger and rice. Try canned dog food with water. Warm it in the microwave. Picky, puppy, spoiled brat, he deserves it, been through so much, at least he’s eating.

All is well. Things are settling down as we go into the 2nd week of recovery. His stitches come out next week, we can start swim therapy. Dad built a ramp for him. He’ll have a blast, we hope….”

Seven weeks later, things were looking up for Chuy. His Mom wrote and told us:

“Chuy has been putting his foot down on the floor today! He’s not putting alot of weight on it, but it’s on the floor!  I get so excited over the little steps, it’s ridiculous.  We make him wear his harness all day and when he wants to go out, we use a 2 ft. leash, then he has no choice but to walk himself.  If he starts to fall, we can pull up with the leash so he doesn’t hit the floor, but he’s doing great and really starting to trust his leg.  This afternoon when I brought him in from the backyard, he actually sat down in a normal sit for a couple of minutes before he laid down.

I don’t know if he’s tired of lying down or learning to trust his leg again.  Whatever it is, he’s doing better!  Wahooey!  I’m dancing again!  Tears of happiness for a change! “

To read more about Chuy,  check out his YouTube videos.

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21 thoughts on “When a Tripawd Needs Another Leg Surgery”

  1. This may not be monitored anymore but I wanted to say Chuy’s story soothed me a bit tonight. Our 5.5 year old mixed breed has been through so much. We adopted him five years ago the day after his right front leg was amputated – the shelter that picked him up assumed he’d been hit by a car. About a year later he needed an FHO on his right rear hip. It was a tough recovery but he did great. Three weeks ago he tore his ACL and yesterday he had a TPLO surgery on his left rear leg. I’m so afraid that we are putting him through too much. I have cried all day since we picked him up today. He’s a tough little guy and we want him to have a good life.

  2. If is incredible to see Chuy’s recovery and gives us a bit more hope…

    We have Penny the tripawd since 2017, We rescued her a year after her surgery. Penny has been found on the streets with damaged back left leg, that had to be amputated. Now She is strong, fit and full of life Border Collie cross. Unfortunately her remaining back leg has been injured 3 weeks ago and we were told She will have to go throw either FHO surgery or a total hip replacement. We struggling to make a decision. Our surgen told us that Penny’s size and bone structure can be an obsticle in her recovery from THR, on the other hand FHO can lead to some mobility limitation. I’m wondering if anybody has been facing similar decision? What helped to make a final call? What was your experience with your tripawd recovering from those procedures?

    Thank you for all the help,

    • Anna, Chuy did really well and lived a normal life after his surgeries. His story is throughout our Forums and blogs. Post and I can connect you with his mama. Plus, you can talk to others who have been through it in the Forums too.

      From your other comment:
      Anna I’m sorry to hear about Penny. Yes, many others have dealt with this situation and survived, with a dog who ended up doing well. It all starts with the surgical team and ends with great rehab care. Please check out our latest posts about remaining leg surgeries, and visit the Hopping Around Discussion Forum Topic for support from the community.

  3. I’m so happy to hear your story! My dog, Squish, just had patella luxation surgery yesterday on his remaining rear leg. His other rear leg was amputated a little over three years ago, due to injury from abuse. We adopted him and brought him home a few days after his amputation. He’s done great until about a month ago when his knee on the remaining rear leg started popping out of place. We just picked him up from his surgery this afternoon and I can already tell that going out to potty is going to be a big issue. He won’t put any weight on his leg yet. The vet said this is to be expected. We were sent home with a sling, but I’ve taken him out a few times now and he refuses to move. I’m hopeful that he’ll improve each day, but just freaking out a little bit I guess. Glad to hear that others have been through this.

  4. My dog ringo is getting ready to have this same surgery in a couple months. he got hit by a car and had to lose his front leg and has to have the fho surgery on his back leg on the same side as well. thank you for sharing the story so i can kinda know what to expect with this next surgery because there’s really no info on a 3 leg dog that has to have another leg surgery.

  5. Which legs are they? There are carts that work for dogs missing or unable to use both front or both back legs. Having both legs out of commission on one side might be harder but with your robotics experience you might be able to make it work. Check out Eddies Wheels at and for lots of ideas about how to help your pup get around post-amp. I understand that Eddies Wheels also takes back used carts and then donates them to dogs that need them.

    Best of luck and please keep us posted!
    Codie Rae

    • He front legs are the ones that are wounded. It is not the device we need, it is the facility to do the double amputation that we cannot find. We have been to Ohio State University, it is against their policy to do double amputations. They seem to have a double standard, as we’ve found at every other vet we’ve been to. They will all try to save his legs, with no guarantee of use of the limbs, at $10K+, which we cannot afford, but nobody will do the double amputation, which ends up being the exact same result, except the limbs will be gone instead of just hanging there, but at a much lower cost. That is why we were looking into a double amputation, we my be able to afford that. I will contact the schools, universities and the site recommended by Codie, to see if anyone can help, thank you. Thanks again to everyone that is able to help or point us in the right direction. Bless you Chuy, keep on going and never give up!!!

      • First of all I would like to thank all of you for your help and concerns, however the regretful decision was made to have Rocky put to sleep. He is, at this very moment, on his way to a better place. The extremely painful experience of loosing him has taught me a valuable lesson. I have found that it is not enough to teach them, feed them, walk them, play with them, love them and all of the other thems that a pack leader should do, but we also need to be aware that we also need to pay for them. We need to be aware that we are not qualified to do all of the things that may arise throughout the life of a loved one and that it may be necessary to pay someone else to do something for them that we cannot do. In taking on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, we also need to be financially responsible. I was not financially responsible, and I now believe that Rocky has paid the ultimate price due to my ignorance and inadequacies. For this I can never forgive myself, I can only hope that I can teach others to be as responsible as I was not. Even though we have already spent over $3K just having Rocky stabilized and evaluated, it was not near enough. The need for pet insurance, in my opinion, is a wise purchase if there is no way bank $20K or so for emergencies. I never thought I would be in this situation and did not know that payments for pet treatments must be made in advance and not by payments over time. I have learned many lessons, but again the one I stress at this time is financial responsibility. Take the time to evaluate your financial situation, before you become a pet owner. Otherwise you may find yourself feeling the same way that I do now, and let me tell you, it isn’t good. Thanks again for all of your help and concerns. I may continue to develop the “Ball,” but that is another story. Thanks again Darrell the More Responsible Dog Lover.

      • Darrell, our hearts ache for you, we are so, so sorry to hear this.

        Please don’t be so hard on yourself, Rocky doesn’t want you to be. You gave him an incredible life, and did the best you could. He knows that you did all you could for him. Someday you will be reunited, and remember, he will always live on in your hearts.

        If you want to talk to someone, please call the wonderful, compassionate grief counselors at Colorado State University’s Argus Institute.

        We are thinking of you and sending love and healing thoughts your way. Our deepest condolences.

        Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray and Spirit Jerry

  6. Does anyone know of a facility that will perform a double limb amputation? Our dog was struck by a vehicle. All of the doctors we have visited will only try to save the limbs, at a cost of $10K+, which we cannot afford. They will not do double amputations due to “poor quality-of-life.” They are all willing to try to save them, for $10K+, but will not guarantee that the limbs can be saved, thus placing him with “poor quality-of-life” anyway, which is to be acceptable to them. Are all facilities just in it for the money and not willing to take the cheaper course of action with the same complications and potential outcome? We cannot afford $10K, but may be able to afford a double amputation at around $5K. Is there anyone who can help us? He does not have long before he will not recover, if he’s able to now. We just want to save our dog. Thanks for any and all assistance. P.S. I am a retired robotics specialist and think I will be able to increase his quality-of-life with shocks and platforms with a DYSON type “Ball” for movement around the house and yard.

    Thanks, Darrell the Dog Lover.

    • We are so sorry to hear about your pup. I’d recommend looking into your nearest veterinary teaching hospital. We took Jerry to UC Davis in California, and Colorado State University is another state of the art facility. Please keep us posted, we’d love to hear about your robotics solution. Best wishes, and thanks for asking!

  7. Your story is giving me such hope. I felt so alone prior to finding this web site. Our “Boomer” is a cancer survivor of 4 years and now has to have TPLO (knee surgery) on his only good back leg. He is 86lbs and the surgeon said he “should” be ok but has not operated on such a large 3 legged dog. We have bought our third sling in the last 2 days because he is having such a hard time going to the bathroom. But….you give us hope.
    Michele, Mike and Boomer


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