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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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Birth defect trouble
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Member Since:
9 April 2022
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9 April 2022 - 10:08 pm
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I rescued an approximate 8-11 week old kitten. She had a damaged front leg that seemed to be a defect rather than an injury because she used the leg, but the foot was bent over and she essentially walks on the elbow. She didnt seem to be in any pain so our vet didnt need to see her right away.  In the last couple of days she has begun to favor the leg and cry if it is messed with at all. I am planning to get her in for her spay in the next couple weeks and will have the leg checked. Is it possible she has been walking on a broken leg for a couple months, that it isnt a defect after all? Does it seem likely the vet will suggest amputation if it is a defect? Thanks in advance for nonjudging responses Caring for a stray, possibly special needs kitty was certainly not in my plans.

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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10 April 2022 - 8:49 am
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It is hard to say without an xray; sometimes a fracture can happen when they are very young and it heals abnormally. Sometimes the kitten does not have proper nutrition so you get a "folding fracture" from soft bones. If the xray is normal then it is probably a birth defect. Either way amputation may be needed unless the pain can be controlled medically.


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Member Since:
24 September 2009
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10 April 2022 - 2:37 pm
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Great feedback Dr. Pam, thank you so much! I've never heard of a "folding fracture." Does that happen to dogs too?

@olliesmamma keep us posted in our 3-Legged Cats Discussion Forum, we would love to follow along and support you however we can. For now you've got an honorary Tripawd kitty on your hands. Fear not though, if amputation is necessary, cats do really, really well on three legs, even better than dogs! Usually they don't need much assistance other than making some easy changes that you would anyways for a senior cat. Low sided litter box, traction , climbing trees with extra built-in platforms and ramps, and just making sure the cat is safe and indoors.

Check out our book Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats for details and of course ask any questions you'd like in the cats discussion forum topic. We are here for you!

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