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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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Full or partial amputation
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Member Since:
22 June 2018
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22 June 2018 - 10:00 pm
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Hello. After trying to save her Goldendoodle’s rear leg for the last ten months because of an accident caused by a negligent caregiver, my sister and her vet have decided Sunny’s leg will have to be amputated this coming Tuesday. After severe degloving on both rear legs, it has all come down to a partially amputated paw that just won’t heal because of a sore the size of a dime. Sunny isn’t even two years old yet. We’re researching the pros and cons of partial versus full amputation of the limb. He has been through so many procedures and such an ordeal that this MUST be the last. It seems as though all kinds of complications can occur from leaving a stump (there are some real horror stories) but some say it helps with balance and mobility plus other benefits. I don’t think a prosthetic is in Sunny’s future. We’re all reading your posted forum info on this topic (great info — thank you) but what’s the best way for my sister to make this decision? Any help or insight you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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23 June 2018 - 7:31 am
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Unless there is actual damage to the hip I think most dogs do best with a partial amputation of the rear leg.  Most surgeons will only leave about 1/3 to 1/4 of the femur behind.  I have never had a problem with this approach since it leaves some muscle behind to cushion the site.  I suppose if you left too much femur behind there could be problems.


Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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23 June 2018 - 12:03 pm
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I’m not a vet but I’ve had two rear amp Tripawd’s.  My first was a Pug named Maggie who lost her leg to a mast cell tumor.  She had a ‘mid-femoral’ amputation where a little piece of femur was left wrapped in muscle as Dr. Pam described.  My current Pug-mix Elly was hit by a car when she was 7 months old and lost her leg as a result.  Elly’s entire femur was removed.

In my experience (when there is a choice) a mid-femoral or partial amputation when done right is a much better option.  Maggie had a good base to sit on and her gait was smoother.  Elly is uncomfortable sitting on hard surfaces and her gait is not nearly as smooth as Maggie’s was.  Maggie’s back end was much more balanced when she was hopping. 

If too much bone is left I could see where there might be a problem.  In Maggie’s case you couldn’t see the stump, but you could feel it and she the muscles move when she moved the stump. Maggie hopped along for almost 4 years after her amp and she never had any issue related to the surgery.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Member Since:
1 October 2017
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24 June 2018 - 12:28 pm
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I agree, if it helps at all. Huck is a kitty. Right rear amputation. He was a feral kitty and came back after disappearing for a month with what i thought was a dislocated leg. Turned out to be a broken femur. He has a tiny little stump, they only took what was broken. It was a clean break:

IMG951200.jpgImage Enlarger

He has no balance issues at all. Hope this helps. 

Good luck to you!


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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