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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.

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6 week post front leg amputee
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
15 July 2019
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15 July 2019 - 2:45 pm
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Hi, I’ve been reading a lot of posts and trying to get as much info as possible to try and help my little baby through her transition.  Mollie is 12yrs old, and was diagnosed with a bone tumour on her front left paw.  The vet basically gave us 2 choices, monitor her and manage her pain until we would have to let her go, probably 2 or 3 months, or go for amputation and possibly give her a year or two at most.  After much deliberation we decided we didn’t really have any choice and booked her amputation.  This was carried out 6 weeks ago, tomorrow.  What can I say, it’s been the hardest time ever, so heart wrenching, many time thinking we shouldn’t have done this to her.  The first 4 weeks were awful, thinking she was never going to come through this, it seemed she had totally given up and was just lying there waiting to go.  Then all of a sudden, she seemed to perk up a tiny bit, there was a little bit of life there.  Then as the days went by, she improved little by little.  She seems to have adjusted, in the most part, to being on 3 limbs, managing most things.  She can go up and down the stairs, jumps on the sofa and bed, she even jumped or climbed on top of a 6 foot fence, while I wasnt watching for 5 mins!!!  I can’t get her to use pet steps of any sort, tried the hard ones, the foam ones, she just launches herself over them, and puts more stress on her remaining front leg, as a result, which is worrying.  She seems to be having a ‘down’ couple of days, she is a bit lethargic and not really wanting to be cuddled or touched.  Just like to say thank you for the info that I’ve gained on the site, it’s helped to read some of the other posts. [Image Can Not Be Found]

Forum Posts: 8
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7 April 2018
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16 July 2019 - 8:16 am
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Hi Barbra and Mollie

Our Seamus had his front, left leg removed about 18 months ago; he was 14+ at the time so I can totally relate to your experience with Mollie.  

Mollie’s running and jumping after six weeks is encouraging. She will only move in a way that suits her, when it suits her.  Seamus surpised us by navigating the stairs after only a few days (think Long John Silver, thump, thump, thump…)! (The photo is him standing on a 2 metre high fence about 6 months post-surgery.) However, she IS still in the early phase of recovery and adjustment. 

You might notice her habits change.  With Seamus, for the first few months, he was reluctant to venture outdoors; even inspecting the garden seemed daunting, and he needed an indoor litter tray. He’s still using the indoor tray but is happy to roam around the garden. You’ll also see her remaining leg and shoulder developing more muscle as she adapts to being a tripawd, and if she’s anything like Seamus, she’ll use her tail like a rudder. 

Allow both Mollie  and yourselves time and rest to recover; this is a huge adjustment for the whole family, and six months on hopefully you too can wonder why you were sooo worried about your furball joining the tripawd club.

Long story, short, his lordship is now 16+, roaming the garden and the immediate area around the house, healthy, happy and seriously spoiled.  I can but wish the same for Mollie.

Best wishes

Deborah & Seamus

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17 July 2019 - 4:10 am
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So awesome to hear that Seamus is still doing pawsome on three!! Wonderful to hear from you and thank you for the positive input smiley4

6 weeks post op is still early as a tripawd and she is definitely going to need time to adjust to her new way of life. As Deborah said, Mollie is getting used to using different muscle groups for balance and mobility. Maybe she overdid it a bit? What you describe sounds like something might be hurting her. She may have pulled something or tweaked something. If she continues this way you might want to have her doc check her out and make sure she hasn’t injured something. 

Hopefully this is something minor and she will be back to hopping around soon.


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17 July 2019 - 8:50 am
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 Then all of a sudden, she seemed to perk up a tiny bit, there was a little bit of life there.  Then as the days went by, she improved little by little.  She seems to have adjusted, in the most part, to being on 3 limbs, managing most things.  

I am soooo happy to read this! She sounds like she is figuring things out. I’m going to bet that in time she will also figure out it’s easier and less scary to use the pet steps too. Good for you for Tripawd-proofing your home!

I noticed you tried to add a photo. Here is a link about adding images to forum posts. If you’d like help, let me know. We cant wait to see her!

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