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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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2 years later and no longer walking
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Member Since:
27 July 2017
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3 September 2019 - 6:41 pm
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I have an American Pitbull Terrior who had a TPLO repair 3 years ago.  I do not know if it was the surgeon or just bad luck, but the plate protruded the knee and a year later the leg had to be amputated.  That same summer she had the other leg acl repair (tta this time).  Both amputation and tta was done at the university hospital.  The surgeon said she had some wicked arthritis.

During the year of recovery she had lots of physical therapy including swim therapy. 

All this included lots of car rides which she hates.  So after she healed I decided to stop the swim therapy as she was just stressing.  She was on maximum dosage of tramadol, gabapentin, and rimadyl.  We were referred to a canaine massagist who has done wonders.  We tried some holistic items and found Prescious Paws and CBD oil.  With that she was able to be weaned and taken off all the gabopentin, rimadyl, and tramadol.  That was about 16 months ago.  

She was walking one to two times almost daily anywhere from half a mile to 2 miles.  When she couldn't walk she gave sign . When she needed to end the walk she would slow down and we would go home. 

2 months ago she suddenly stopped walking during walks.  No cues either.  She would be going and then wam bam she is done.  This caused me to carry her home or back to the car.  45 pounds is not easy to carry either!  

I started the cart to just rest her.  After 2 weeks she still was just not walking.  We went to the vet and he started her on Rimadyl again.  After a week on this she was walking again, but only about 200 yards at most.

We saw the physical therapist (not the one we originally saw). He noticed her curving her spine and that her hamstring was extremely tight.  We started some heat therapy with stretches.  We have been doing this for about 2 weeks.  Her muscles are not as tight.  She still does not want to walk though.

Not sure if this has anything to do with it, the vet doesn't think so, but isn't sure.  About a month ago her lymph nodes at her neck and back leg has swelled up.  We did a culture which showed reactive lymph nodes but no signs of cancer.  She has been on an antibiotic for about a week.  They are still swollen.  If still swollen next week she will get them biopsied.

The vet and physical therapist do not think the swollen lymph nodes are cause of her not walking.

She is 8 years old and about 10 months (almost 9).

Without her walking her back leg muscles arw looking a little thin.

We had xrays done and all looks good.


Member Since:
22 August 2008
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4 September 2019 - 8:11 am
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It is rare for lymphoma to spread to the spinal cord but it is possible so I would get a second opinion on those lymph nodes.  Did they xray her spine?  Other possibilities are arthritis/spondylosis or disc disease.  I would put her back on the gabapentin and consider acupuncture.


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 September 2019 - 10:13 am
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Thanks for your generous insight Dr. Pam!

We hope your girl starts feeling better @nona.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
2 April 2013
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4 September 2019 - 4:25 pm
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What  exercises do you do to increase her core strength?  

Murphy used to just drop down like that when he was done walking, too.  They use different muscles when they are Tripawds, so I just wonder if maybe seeing a rehab doctor would help … when we took Murphy, the one we went to showed us several stretches that we could do.  They really helped with his mobility and I wished we had started sooner.  I think that helped his back pain.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs


Member Since:
27 July 2017
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4 September 2019 - 7:43 pm
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We go back to the vet Monday.  The lymph nodes are to be biopsied.

I will definitely ask for the gabapentin.  We already know she has arthritis.  I was thinking all this was more leg related.  I didn't even consider the spine.  I most certainly qm going to bring that up!  I am taking her to see the  orthopedic specialist.  He also knows the specialists around here pretty well and can lead me to who does ancupuncture.  The original physical therapist may have a new vet who does acupuncture.  I will have to look into that!  Thank you Dr. Pam!

Donna, is the rehab dr the same as a physical therapist?  Or is it more of a chiropractor?  The physical therapist released her long ago and made it seem like we were done.  I didn't realize until the vet showed me some stretches  that I should  have continued the stretches and core work.  I am considering the physical therapist again who did her rehab after her amputation and acl repair.  A friend who goes to that clinic regularly said they hired a new vet who does holistic care.  I will see if acupuncture is done now after we see her vet next week.  Thanks!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 September 2019 - 11:33 am
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nona said

Donna, is the rehab dr the same as a physical therapist?  Or is it more of a chiropractor?!


I'm not Donna but I'll jump in since we field this question a lot here.

A rehabilitation therapist is often called a physical therapist (the title used in human medicine), and can certainly do chiropractic work if they are trained in it. But a rehab therapist is trained in many types of therapy to deal with a patient's pain and rehab work. You want a therapist credentialed with the title of CCRT (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) or CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner), that way you know they are trained in the most current, safest techniques. See our article:

Learn About the Benefits of Canine Rehabilitation Therapy

If you'd like help finding one just let us know!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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