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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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Fracture to remaining rear leg!
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Forum Posts: 4
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30 May 2020
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4 September 2020 - 6:12 pm
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Our little Lulu has had quite year!  About 6 months ago she underwent a rear leg amputation after a bad accident outside.  She had an excellent recovery and quickly adjusted to life as a tripawd. 

Then... two days ago Lu mysteriously fractured her remaining rear leg.  It's so weird, the only thing I can think is that she attempted to jump on a little bookshelf and missed, or was on it and fell off?!  She was literally within eye site, no more than 5 feet away from my husband and maybe 10 feet from me.  Neither one of us heard a fall or anything!  After realizing something was up with that leg we promptly brought her to the hospital that did her earlier surgery. 

After doing scans, they determined she fractured her femur and let us know she'd have to have a plate and pins implanted.  When they went in they saw the fracture was much worse than the scans showed.  Now Lu has to have the plates and an external fixator!  The recovery will be much longer pretty intensive.  Especially with her other back leg gone, she basically has half a back leg at this point.  Never thought I'd say this... but luckily because of COVID... my husband and I are both working from home so we can give her all the attention she needs. 

Has anyone gone though this situation?  Maybe experience with an external fixator?  Or just experience with your tripawd injuring the remaining limb?  

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 September 2020 - 8:30 pm
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Woah, poor Lu! And you too, I'm so sorry you guys are dealing with every Tripawd parent's worst nightmare. It's so weird how her leg broke! I've heard how cats can definitely break legs when falling from short distances.

Are the vets positively certain that the fracture is "only" a fracture and not something like osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that's rare in cats, but does happen. I don't want to scare you, but thought I'd bring it up because one newmember named Strummer recently broke his fourth leg and the vets tried to save it with pins, without realizing that the cause was osteosarcoma. It was a long ordeal for him and they ended up amputating. I know that's not an option for Lu, but just want to mention it to be sure something like this isn't missed by the vets.

When it comes to recuperating with an external fixator, or any remaining limb injury, comprehensive rehabilitation therapy is a must for a good recovery. Does your vet have a plan for helping Lu heal? Have you met with any therapists yet?

I know you have so much to think about. For the life of me I can't recall another member with a cat who went through the same or similar experience, but I do know that dogs with remaining limb surgeries tend to bounce back when recovery instructions are followed to the T.  

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 September 2020 - 9:24 pm
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I'm so sorry Little Lulu damaged her leg. 

I agree with Jerry that it's worth checking out the cause of this break, particularly after we heard about Strummer's experience. It may be worth getting a second opinion from another surgeon. 

If the surgery doesn't look promising there may be other options such as a prosthetic or even a full or partial amputation (depending on Lulu's age and overall health). We've had a couple of cats here who only had 2 working legs. One was a cat named Feta who had a rear leg amputation and the remaining rear leg stuck straight out and she kind of scooted around on her butt. I can't get her blog to launch for me but here is a blog on her physiotherapy. You can see how she moves when playing with the food toy. https://tripawd.....b-therapy/

Then there is Three Paw Melek who went from 3 legs to 2 legs and lives in Istanbul. Here is her forum page: https://tripawd.....out-there/ She's got a front leg, a rear leg and now has a boyfriend!

I provided you with these examples to show that cats are resilient and there may be other options if you are concerned about the extensive surgery trying to repair the leg.

Hugs,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Virginia




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4 September 2020 - 10:03 pm
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Geez, what an ordeal.  Sorry you are faced with this challenge,

I really don't have any input of value to add to what Jerry and Kerren  have already provided.  Wasn't  quite clear in my feeble brain,  has she had the surgery?   Or is she home while you decide  how to proceed?  On pain meds, right?

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 September 2020 - 1:17 pm
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Kerren those are great pointers, thank you!

I have fixed Feta's blog, just a little tech gremlin messing with it. Here's the URL:

https://cheesec.....ipawds.com

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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5 September 2020 - 1:29 pm
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Thank you for fixing Feta's blog Jerry. He's one amazing cat. I love how having less than 3 legs didn't stop him from getting into a little bit of trouble. icon_lol He's an inspiration for fun!

Kerren

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5 September 2020 - 1:45 pm
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Thank you all for your kind words and advice!  Lu had her surgery on Thursday (the fall happened on Wednesday and we brought her to the hospital then) and came home today and is doing SO WELL!  When we picked her up the vet said she was impressed with how she was already trying to stand up and how she tired to escape.  I asked about the fracture being due to something other than trauma to the leg and she said she really didn't think so.  She said the bone looked really healthy and was strong, it was just a really unlucky break.  We're fortunate to only live an hour and a half from Cornell Animal Hospital and we have a really awesome pet rehab center a few towns over.  I don't want to have a situation like poor Strummer so I want to rule out the possibility Lulu has something more serious.  My husband and I have been wanting to bring our dog to therapy to strengthen his back legs and now with Lu, might as well make it a family outing!

As soon as we got home I put her down in her pen turned around to closed the door and she had already scooted herself over to her litter box. We'll definitely need to help her in that department until she get used to her situation.  She ate a ton of food and then we took a nap.  She seems like she's in good spirits, I'd say much perkier than the day she came home from her last surgery. 

We're taking her recovery one day at a time.  We have to clean around the pins of her exterior skeletal fixator twice daily for the first 2 weeks and then it tapers off from there.  And she'll have to go in once a week for 8 weeks to have the bandage on her ESF changed.  At 8 weeks they'll determine if they can remove the ESF or if it will need to stay on longer.  She's on Gabapentin and Robenacoxib tabs and then Buprenorphine syringes so she should be veryy comfortably.  And nothing I've seen so far would make me think she isn't.  My main worry is about litter box time.  We have motion sensor cameras on her so if I'm out of the room and she gets up I'll get alerted and can go help, but I don't know... I don't her to be worrying about having to go!  I hope she's not!

I'll have to check out Three Paw Melek tonight!!  Animals just make it work, it's really amazing!  Well... while of course I'm not happy Lu has to be in this situation, we'd both be more than happy to help if anyone else finds themselves heresmiley4

Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts!

Lea and Lulu

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 September 2020 - 3:01 pm
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Lulu is one amazing kitty, that's terrific she is doing so well already. smiley_clap

Her pain medications sound spot-on and she should be feeling relatively pain-free with those.

As for the litter box this article may help:

https://tripawd.....ipawd-cats

Oh and since you're planning on going to rehab therapy, remember that the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit for Lu! 

3-paws up for continued success during recovery!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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5 September 2020 - 9:19 pm
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OMC!!!   I am in compete awe of your devotion and dedication  to this little Kitty Warrior!  Equally  impressed with Lulu's strong will and determination  to navigate through this "hurdle".

You are giving Lulu such incredible  care.   You certainly  have left no stone unturned in making things as easy as possible for Lulu.

Not any help on the litter stuff.  But our kitty experts can chime in on that.

Update when uou can catch your breath.  We are all cheering for this special  kitty

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!



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5 September 2020 - 9:50 pm
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I hope little Lulu's new surgery will heal quickly. I'm not sure how he stands in a litter box but I thought Feta's "Bathroom Jail" might work for the short-term - have a look partway down this page on Feta's blog: https://cheesec.....pawds.com/

I believe Feta uses a puppy pad in one litter box to pee and the other litter box has Yesterday's News pellets, probably better than small particle litter. The box she suggests uses is quite large at 20x24 inches and has a low entrance. I think the large box would be easier move around in. Maybe just one box would work.

There is also an all-in-one litter box where the urine drains to a padded tray below with the pellets above. It's called "Purina Tidy Cats BREEZE". It looks good and has good reviews but the box is only 16x21 inches.

Let us know what works for Lulu.

Kerren

p.s. I just noticed that Feta went from 3 legs to 2 legs and still gets around well and is still a very happy kitty. Thankfully Lulu is able to keep her third leg.

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25 June 2021 - 10:52 pm
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Hi all!

So sorry to just now be updating but Lulu has made a full recovery after her fracture! She scooted around for a while which 1 me, but the doctor assured me it was normal and she'd eventually get back up on all 3 legs. And she did! It took a while but she did it, and now, a little under a year, she's back to her new normal... running around the house, bossing the dog around etc.

It ended up being about a 3 month recovery after the surgery. That was the hardest part, she DOES NOT like having restrictions. The recovery itself was a lot like the initial surgery, except we had to clean around the pins on her leg but no biggie 

She amazes me every day!

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25 June 2021 - 10:56 pm
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Hi all!

So sorry to just now be updating but Lulu has made a full recovery after her fracture! She scooted around for a while which 1 me, but the doctor assured me it was normal and she'd eventually get back up on all 3 legs. And she did! It took a while but she did it, and now, a little under a year, she's back to her new normal... running around the house, bossing the dog around etc.

It ended up being about a 3 month recovery after the surgery. That was the hardest part, she DOES NOT like having restrictions. The recovery itself was a lot like the initial surgery, except we had to clean around the pins on her leg but no biggie 

She amazes me every day!

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 June 2021 - 12:00 pm
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WOW! That is such fantastic news, thank you for letting us know. Like I think I told you, I can't recall any of our members here who have been through the same situation. It took so much attention and dedication from you guys to help her get through that long recovery, and you DID IT! Congrats to ALL of you, this is a great success story!!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




Forum Posts: 21152
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26 June 2021 - 9:18 pm
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YAAAAAAAY. FOR. LULU!!!  AND  YAAAAAY. FOR HER DEVO HOOMANS!!!   This is spectacular news!!   Your dedication and determination  really paid off.  Herculean  efforts from you AND Lulu!  Outstanding  job!

  

Screenshot_2018-01-17-12-11-45-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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