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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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Good things never last it seems
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30 January 2012 - 7:12 am
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Well Valentina recently had her 7 month ampuversary and she was doing pretty good. But now all of a sudden something is very wrong with her. On Friday I started to notice that she was stumbling a little more than usual and her right back leg looked as though it was shaking. She looked like she was having some trouble squatting to go pee and she was slower getting up and down from her bed. On Saturday she became worse and was having a very hard time getting down the steps to go outside and she did not want to go pee. She did go some around noon on Sat. but she had a difficult time squatting and then a very hard time getting back up the steps to get inside. I was getting very worried now. When I tried to take her out to go potty in the evening she went to squat and collapsed. I cried and helped her back inside. I dont think she was able to pee at all. I barely got her back in the house. Before bed my husband and I tried to get her to pee again but she only collapsed again while trying. At this point I knew something was very wrong. This morning we tried to take her out again and the same thing happened. After we got her back in she was stumbling all over the place and looked like she had no control over her legs. Her back feet kept folding over on her and her legs were just giving out. She was trembling all over. She did however manage to eat her breakfast. She was swaying this way and that while eating and I stood next to her to catch her if she fell. By the time she was done eating she was about to fall over. I tried to help her to her bed and she ended up just falling onto the bed and landed in a very strange position. I could tell she was uncomfortable but I didnt know how to help. She eventually got back into a comfortable position. But now she has not peed since yesterday at 12. I went by the vet and told them the story and the doctors were not in yet so I am sitting here waiting for them to call me and tell me what I should do. I am so worried. She was doing so well and now all of a sudden I'm afraid I am going to have to put her to sleep. I will accept whatever I have to do and the most important thing is that Valentina does not suffer. I am not ready for this. But I never will be. No amount of time is enough. I am however so extremely thankful for the time that I have had with Valentina. She is my dream Dog and she sure has made my dreams come true. I could have never wished for a better Dog. This is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am somehow hoping that something turns around and I dont have to put her to sleep yet. But somehow I have a bad feeling about this. Whatever the outcome please pray for Valentina. Thank You.

knoxville, tn
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30 January 2012 - 7:35 am
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how terribly scary for you guys and poor valentina must just feel awful.  we're sending our best ET juju to you guys, hoping it's something 'fixable' like a uti or such…  so scary when they go downhill so quickly.  please let us know what you find out!!  hugs.


charon  &  spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


Edmond, Oklahoma
Forum Posts: 333
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7 January 2011
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30 January 2012 - 7:46 am
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We are certainly praying for you and Valentina.

I also wanted to let you know that we have been in your shoes– we experienced EXACTLY the same scenario with our Scout.  If I can help you out in any way, please PM me.

Sending our biggest hugs and prayers your way.


Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

San Diego, CA
Forum Posts: 2503
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29 October 2010
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30 January 2012 - 8:34 am
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Oh, Angel, I’m so sorry you are going through this with Valentina. I know how scary it is.

Sending our best pawsitive thoughts your way. We know you will be strong for your girl!!
Hugs and healing angel Abby kisses,
Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Rock Hill, SC
Forum Posts: 875
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28 November 2011
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30 January 2012 - 8:41 am
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Angel, I am so sorry to hear this.  I will say a prayer for your baby and your family.  Please keep us posted.


Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...

Plainfield, Illinois
Forum Posts: 465
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30 January 2012 - 8:57 am
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Angel, so sorry to hear this.  Praying for both of you!


Jenna & Spirit Chili DAwg

Diagnosed with OSA: 5/2/2011 Ampuversary: 5/11/2011 OSA returned in hip: 8/26/2011
Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8/30/2011 & is now pain free. He was my heart dog, and I miss him every day.

New Jersey
Forum Posts: 270
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4 June 2011
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30 January 2012 - 11:22 am
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Sorry that your Valentina is having these troubles. Hoping for good news from your vet today. Paws crossed!

Peoria, IL
Forum Posts: 297
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30 January 2012 - 11:53 am
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We will all be thinking of you today and praying that your vets give you good news. Please let us know — we are all here for you.

— Beth and Spirit Smilin' Sammy

Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.

We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.

Leicester, NY
Forum Posts: 422
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11 February 2011
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30 January 2012 - 11:59 am
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We are praying for you and sending you our best thoughts. Please keep us posted.


Spirit Samson was Spirit Tripawd Daisys four legged "brother" and ruled as the self proclaimed head of the Monkeybutt Federations East Coast Division. Lady Chunky Monkey stayed from Oct 2011 and left for the bridge in Apr 2012. Miss Perdy is left and has some big pawprints to fill.
Do you have what it takes to be a Monkeybutt? Find out more at the Monkeybutt Federation

New Zealand
Forum Posts: 315
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6 November 2011
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30 January 2012 - 12:00 pm
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fingers and paws crossed for you both.

hope it goes well at the vets.

There is a phrase we use here its “Kia Kaha” said key-a car-ha, its moari and means be strong, it has become somewhat of a motto to any situation. So Kia Kaha Valentina!!!!

Sarah and Kayla

Linden, MI
Forum Posts: 458
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11 November 2008
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30 January 2012 - 12:26 pm
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I’ve been praying for sweet Valentina all day. Hoping to hear something good soon. Please hug your girl for me and update us when you can.

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

Sebastopol, CA
Forum Posts: 421
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11 June 2011
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30 January 2012 - 1:24 pm
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Angel, I'm so sorry this is happening to your precious girl. We are sending our love and positive energy for Valentina

Huge hugs & wags

Joanne & Lylee

30 January 2012 - 2:14 pm
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Valentina had some xrays done and the vet said that she has some severe inflammation in her spine. He used a bunch of medical terms that I can't remember but he said that she has some form of arthritis in her spine that caused her to grow some kind of pointed bony projections off of her spine. That can cause inflammation, pain and compression of some nerves. He also believes that she has a slipped disc. Upon examining her back and legs he said that her reflexes were not normal. The only option he said was to give her high doses of steroids to try to heal the nerves quickly and reduce the inflammation. He also said that she should stay at the hospital for 3 days because the steroids will cause tremendous diarrhea and it would be best if they dealt with that there. Sounds kind of strange to me though. He said that since she was on Rimadyl they needed to give her iv fluids to flush her system because you are not supposed to use the steroids with Rimadyl. So thats another reason he said she should stay there. He also told me I could take her home if I wanted and give her the steroids at home but I would have to deal with the major diarrhea. I'm kind of confused. Now I think I made the wrong decision by leaving her there. Should I have brought her home? I can still go get her if I want but is that the best thing for her? He said it would be best if she stayed there because of the iv fluids and the diarrhea and there are many people to help her go to the bathroom. She can hardly stand up so its very hard for her to go potty and it takes 2 people to help hold her up and my husband is always at work. They put her in a very confined cage and I dont like that at all. She is a Dog that needs to stretch out to be comfortable. Or maybe I could just keep her there overnight so she can get the fluids and then bring her home 2morrow afternoon. I dont know. I hate this kind of stuff. It's so hard to make the right decision. I feel so bad for leaving her there. Anyway the vet said that it is possible that the steroids could significantly help her and she could get back to the way she was. I have a hard time believing this but I hope that is true because he said that if the steroids don't work then her quality of life won't be good and we would have to put her to sleep. So I'm just praying that the steroids work. Poor Valentina. She is such a sweet Dog. She does not deserve this. sad  This is awful! 

The Rainbow Bridge

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30 January 2012 - 2:26 pm
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Oh Angel, our hearts go out to you, this is such a tough situation. I know you're both hurting so much right now, I wish we could help somehow.

You are doing the best you can do right now. Please trust your instinct, be confident and know that she is in good, capable hands with people looking after her. Have you asked the vet about visiting her this week? This could help both of you cope and get through this.

I'm so, so sorry, I hope the treatment plan works. We are thinking of you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 January 2012 - 2:32 pm
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Thank you so much everyone for your concern and caring. I will certainly visit Valentina if I decide to keep her there. That is hard too though because when I come there she thinks she is going home with me. This is another waiting game. I don't like this game at all. I know no one does though. 

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