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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
9 November 2018
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9 November 2018 - 4:53 pm
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Hi my 2 yr old girl, Kenzie, had her amputation at about 6 months due to a poorly healed fracture in her left front leg.  She has done great, but being a small pittie (about 44 lbs), she is very active (ok hyper at times) and has little concept of "take it easy" and "personal space".  She's a doll!  Last spring she injured her left rear leg (stifle injury).  We have tried rest, anti-inflammitories, chiropractic... and had horrible luck with finding a stifle brace that fits.  Spent a good amt of money for braces that didn't work.  

Anyway, she had been doing better but re injured it recently.  I took her to the vet who wants to do a TPLO procedure.  I also took her to a PT and during the evaluation, the PT recommended against that procedure.  She said that she would recommend the lateral suture technique which is less invasive and would allow her to get into hydrotherapy and rehab more quickly.  She also felt that both surgeries were equally effective.  So, I called my vet back.... and she does not agree... mostly based on Kenzie's weight and the pressure on the leg from her being a tripaw.  

While financially both will be a strain (we just got pet insurance but it won't cover this), I really just want to do what's best but I also want to stay as minimally invasive as possible.  Any suggestions, opinions... advice would be appreciated.  Also if anyone knows of places to assist with funding I'd appreciate it... until our Pet insurance will pick up (180 days without symptoms).  Anyway, thank you for reading and any help you can give.    ----   Becky (Kenzie's mom)

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 November 2018 - 6:11 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Kenzie! You will find many articles and podcasts about remaining limb surgeries on Tripawds in the Tripawds News blog .

Here is an extensive list of veterinary financial aid resources. While the Tripawds ASAP grant is only for the initial amputation, if your rehab visit was recent and with a CCRT or CCRP , you should qualify for the Maggie Moo Fund for Rehab therapy

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Meanwhile, start here for help finding all the helpful Tripawds resources and assistance programs.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9 November 2018 - 10:51 pm
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Hi Becky and "wild child" Kenzie!  I'm  going to give you a link to my tripawd  "wild child" Frankie under Ask A Vet.  It's  a lot to  read through, but I think you'll find it helpful.   

Dr Pam will give you her input, but in the mea time, the thread below is chock full of information from her and from others on this topic.


There are different names for the same surgeries,  so it can be a bit confusing.  And I'm not sure if Kenzie 's injury  is the same as Frankie's "cruciate " injury,

You'll see that I went with the cruciate repair surgery...or whatever it's  called....but NOT the TPLO.  Frankie is a crazy--active -play-full--out--run-as--hard-as-he-can--do-it-my-way Hound Dawg!!!!   He's also 70 lbs, so his size, as well as his personality sort of indicated the TPLO  might be better.

HOWEVER, I opted for the other surgery.  I spoke with my recently retired Vet who knew Frankie and had done numerous  of these surgeries  in his 40 - 45 years.  He, like your PT, also said the lateral suture thing was less invasive....less costly......and, if it should fail, it's  an easier re-do than the TPLO.  He did say that 70 lbs was at the tip end of the weight for the lateral.

Knock6non wood over here....knocking hard and loudly on wood......but it will be a year since Frankie's cruciate  repair and it's holding well!  Lots of scar tissue has formed which actually helps keep everything stable.  Heat had other issues with that leg, but not related per se to the surgery.

Recovery was really, really, really rough, but once I was able  to get Rehab services for him he started improving!  It was absolutely  INVALUABLE!!!!!

BE SURE AND ASK  THE VET  ABOUT CHECKING OUT THE MENISCUS during surgery.  Your Vet can explain further 

Okay, you have a lot of reading to do!  Please stay connected and keep us in the loop. 


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!

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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10 November 2018 - 7:06 am
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Many surgeons do prefer the TPLO for larger dogs but I do think that a 44 pound pitbull would do fine with the lateral suture if it is done properly and if you do the post-op rehab (stretching, walking, etc).  My 75 pound pitbull Athena recently ruptured both of her ACLs this year and both were repaired with the lateral suture and now she runs around and jumps like normal.  The TPLO does have a more stringent rehab.


Member Since:
12 May 2018
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11 November 2018 - 12:57 pm
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perhaps a specialist will offer a better outcome?  if this is your primary vet doing the surgery, for sure you will get a better outcome with a specialist. yes, it will cost more... worth the expense? very likely.. all the best...

12 November 2018 - 6:05 pm
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Hi all.  First, to Tazziedog... a specialist would be doing the final evaluation but I have to pick the place and the place depends on the surgery.  Seconds I started a blog on this page...  I only got as far as when we got Kenzie...

As for the next update.  Kenzie seemed to be holding her own and thus I thought I had a bit of time to make a decision.  (I'm still torn)... but she hurt herself again.  We live in a split level house... and she took off running downstairs because my son came home.  Now she's really in pain and only wants to lay down... I think she hurt the hip/groin in her other leg.  Decision will need to be made tomorrow...  

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 November 2018 - 8:31 pm
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I'm so sorry to hear she hurt herself again, poor thing! Please let us know how tomorrow goes. We all have our paws crossed for good news.

P.S. Looks like you may have had some trouble logging in so you posted as a guest? Let us know if you'd like help.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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