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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Hi everyone –
It’s been a really long time since I posted here. I’m so grateful for this resource!
My 14 year old pitbull tripawd, Rusty had been doing great (especially for a dog who had CCL surgery a couple years back on that one back leg!), until recently. Recently (over the last 6 months or so) I’ve seen a big decline in his mobility. His energy levels are still amazing, but his back leg just isn’t supporting that energy due to major arthritis. Here’s what I’m hoping for some advice on:
-Carprofen twice a day (50mg)
-Gabapentin twice a day (400mg)
-Cosequin once a day
-adaquan injections (just had the fourth shot – no noticeable changes)
-cold laser therapy
I know that at 14 there may not be much to do, but of course I’m going to try! We see a vet regularly (way regularly), but I’m open to hearing other professional advice.
Thanks so much! Here’s a picture of this sweet boy.
Awww it’s so good to see you Rusty! Thanks for the update Jeannette. I’m looking forward to hearing Dr. Pam’s thoughts but in the meantime, have you consulted with a rehab therapist about his change in mobility?
A therapist can work with your vet to help figure out a new pain management protocol that will work for Rusty. He’s no spring chicken but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a comfortable, pain-free life on three. Managing pain is a multi-modal process and therapists can help figure out the ones to try for the most benefit.
Our Wyatt has a lot in common with Rusty. He has tendonitis in his tarsal joint, which you can read about here. Similar situation. His pain management is a bit different than Rusty’s, and we’ve needed to adjust it every six months or so by working with his vet, but so far, so good.
Thanks, Jerry. It’s always good to hear that other folks have similar issues and are working through it. I haven’t consulted a “therapist” per se, but Rusty has a regular vet. I don’t think there are any specialists in town who specialize in orthopedics, etc. but we have been considering taking him up to Indianapolis again (where he got his CCL about 5 years ago). We have had great veterinarian help here in town though and have been always struggling to find a good med balance (we recently switched him from tramadol to gabapentin). I am also curious to hear what Dr. Pam has to say. Thanks for the kind words and support. All the best to you and Wyatt!
I’m in a similar boat with my Mastiff Julian, although he has 4 legs. He has severe arthritis in his hocks (ankles) in both rear legs and he has weakened a tendon in the right one so his leg bows out. I have had good luck with a Therapaw brace which might help your dog if he has ankle issues. I also use CBD oil and an Assissi Loop. You might try Dasuquin instead of Cosequin since it also has avocado oil as well as turmeric and some other holistic things. Hang in there with the Adequan if you just started it since it can take a while to kick in….Julian gets that every 2 weeks.
Dr. Pam thank you for your feedback! I will try to remember that about Dasuquin vs. Cosequin, it will make a good blog post!
Jeannette, if your vet can’t find any and you’d like help locating any therapists let us know, just PM me your zip code and I’ll do a search for ya. We can usually find them for folks who don’t think there are any around.
We hope Rusty starts feeling better soon. He’s lucky to have such a thoughtful mama!
18 October 2009
I LOVE the picture of Rusty!
I had a quad-Pug named Tani who had terrible arthritis in all four legs and her back, she was initially diagnosed at 6 years old. We started her on adequan injections when she was around 12 I think- she was pretty maxed out on all the other meds and supplements and I was thinking that a quality of life decision was near. I don’t remember how long it took the injections to kick in, I think we did the 4 loading doses then once a month, but it was amazing for Tani. She passed at almost 15 because of strokes. The last year or so we were doing injections every two weeks. So give the adequan a chance to kick in- hopefully it will help.
Tani was on everything you listed except we used Dasuquin. CBD oil wasn’t widely available back then or I would have tired it.
We couldn’t do acupuncture with Tani but chiropractic really helped her. I was doubtful it would help for arthritis but getting her aligned made her noticeably more comfortable.
Can he get around well enough to do food puzzles or hunt for hidden treats? Low impact ways to help with mental stimulation and burn some energy.
Rusty has been amazing! I went back and looked at your story- he’s had a long life on 3!!! I hope you can find something to make him more comfortable.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Jerry, we live in 47403 (Bloomington, Indiana) and if you find a rehab specialist in our area, I’d be happy to contact them.
I also should have mentioned we recently did switch to Dasuquin, but he was on Cosequin for so long that i still usually call it Cosequin by habit. I honestly haven’t noticed any difference since the switch, but you know – nothing but the best for my guy 🙂
I am leaning towards trying cold laser therapy and we’ve been giving him CBD treats from time to time, but want to try switching to the oil soon, and more regularly. Does anyone have any brand and dosage recommendations on the CBD oil?
Can anyone speak to how many Adaquan injections it should take before we see a difference? He’s had four already (two/week, for two weeks) with no improvement and I don’t want to waste money that could be spent on more effective treatments. Of course, we’ll keep doing it if it’s possible that it could just take longer to work.
Thanks to everyone for your support and kind words. As you all know, having a dog you love who is pain is heartbreaking and we would just do anything to relieve it for him. I wish I could take it on myself for him.
Anyway, here’s a couple more photos!
10 September 2018
Rusty is just so smoochable adorable!! I have such a soft spot for pibble nibbles as my sister and call them. 💕💕
Disclaimer- I’m not a vet. Our dog did have pretty bad pain the last month of her life that numerous meds barely helped. We found that treatment with a Class 4 Laser made a huge difference for her. We had tried a class 2 laser for months (that’s all the clinic near us had and I didn’t know there were different strength lasers to be honest) and it did nothing for her. The class 4 truly did.
We also tried acupuncture and HempRx. I think both helped to some degree but the laser was we we saw a much more significant effect.
Sure thing Jeannette, I will research some PTs for you but in the meantime would you mind starting a new topic in Hopping Around, our Mobility Forum, since I believe Dr. Pam answered your main questions? Thanks! Oh and I LOVE the photos of Rusty! He’s such a sweetie.
Thanks for your feedback Heather! We need to do a blog post about the differences in laser classes, thanks for that reminder.
18 October 2018