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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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Brachial Plexus Avulsion
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Member Since:
7 January 2009
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19 January 2009 - 9:19 pm
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My boyfriend and I adopted Mr. Bean two weeks ago tomorrow, and initially we were told that he had suffered an injury to his left front leg, which had resulted in an infection and thereafter severe nerve damage to that leg.  His leg would have to be amputated as a result.

We took him to see our vet, and she said that it was her opinion that he had instead suffered a brachial plexus avulsion (or a radial nerve avulsion, as it is also known), judging by the way he carries his leg.  His nerve response was nil, and she said that recovery at this stage is unlikely. 

We had planned to go ahead with surgery, and had asked our vet to speak with the vet who was to do Bean's surgery.  The other vet suggested that he would amputate the leg, but leave the scapula.  My vet was concerned with this method, and said that it would be unwise to leave the scapula.

We are in the process of getting other quotes from other veterinarians.  Bean is a 50 lb fully grown german shepherd/rotti crossed with something smaller, which we're not sure of.

Is it alright to leave the scapula in place?  Should we insist that it be removed? 

What is the average price for an amputation in the United States?  We live in Canada, near the border, and we were considering going to the States for the surgery.

Thank you in advance for any response we get!

- Erin and Bean

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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19 January 2009 - 10:02 pm
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I would agree that it is best to take the scapula in a big dog.  If you leave it there the muscle will atrophy aroud it and many dogs will develop pressure sores.

I live near Seattle, and that surgery would probably cost $1500 if a specialist did it and anywhere from $500 to $1000 if it was done elsewhere.  With brachial plexus injuries the other muscles typically atrophy quicky which makes the surgery easier.

Good luck with your dog!


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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19 January 2009 - 10:27 pm
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Erin, we are very sorry to hear about Bean, but glad that you found us. You are saints for adopting him. We hope we can help make your journey easier.

My scapula was removed along with my leg, at the recommendation of my surgeon. At first my pawrents thought that I would look really weird without it. But you know, they could hardly tell it was gone. And I didn't give two hoots that I no longer had one. The important thing was that I was out of pain, and living life to the fullest again.

Good luck with everything. Please keep us posted and let us know how it goes. We're rootin' for ya!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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