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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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HELP, need advice about amputation for overweight dog
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Member Since:
26 June 2010
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26 June 2010 - 1:24 am
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Hi, I just found this forum trying to get some info for friends.  They have a wonderful standard poodle "BJ" who recently suffered a bad break after a car hit him.  He had surgery and pins, but the pins have broken and the vet is saying that it is unclear if it can be re operated on and fixed...he is currently sedated in caged so he does not move.  He also has infection.  My freinds are considering putting him down because they think he is overweight and as a standard poodle he has skinny legs and a big body.  I don't want them to do this...Is his weight a deal breaker for amputation???????




Las Vegas, Nevada
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14 August 2009
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26 June 2010 - 11:51 am
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Hello Sharyn,

I so sorry for your friends dog, BJ.  No, the weight is not a deal breaker for an amputation but it is much easier to be a tripawd without weight.  However, this can be dealt with after the amputation through diet and exercise.  Some dogs will drop weight from the surgery and the lack of hunger with the recovery.  They also lose weight because it requires more movement to hop than walk.

However, the infection the dog has would be a reason to postpone a surgery.  It would have to be cleared up first. 


But keep in mind, we are not doctors or vets so they need to consult their vet on the decision.   But you can try to convince them that their dog doesn't need to be put down just because of a weight issue.

Good luck!


P.S. Our friend, Pam (tazziedog) here is a vet.  I'm sure when she gets a chance she will respond.  So, please take my advice based on experience and not as a professional opinion.

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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28 November 2008
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26 June 2010 - 12:39 pm
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Trouble, too, was a bad candidate for amputation because of her weight.  Between the day she was operated on and the last chemo (which obviously BJ won't need) she lost 14#.  She has gained enough back (19 months later) that we have her on a reducing diet.  They will do much better if they are on the thin side.  It takes the extra stress and strain off the three remaining legs.

This was our only chance at giving Trouble any quality of life, so we took the chance knowing the weight was against her.  For us it worked out.

Wishing your friends lots of support as they struggle to make this decision.  It is not an easy one.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Livermore CA
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24 January 2009
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26 June 2010 - 1:14 pm
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Hi Sharyn

BJ's legs are already supporting his weight--just the distribution of it will change.  And, like you've already heard, after surgery, they normally lose some weight anyway from not eating much for a few days.  Of course, being trim is better, but your friends will have a chance to take some weight off him while he's recuperating from the surgery.  The situation doesn't sound hopeless to me.

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

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Member Since:
22 August 2008
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26 June 2010 - 3:29 pm
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Most overweight dogs do fine as tripawds as long as their other joints are relatively stable.  If the dog's white cell count is okay and he doesn't have a fever then I would take the leg off ASAP before the infection spreads to the bloodstream.  Your dog's vet can give him IV antibiotics before and after surgery to deal with the infection.


Member Since:
26 June 2010
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26 June 2010 - 10:08 pm
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Thanks so very much for that guys, I am visiting today.  I really really appreciate your time, I will print this out and give it to them.

Warm wishes, Sharyn


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 June 2010 - 1:48 pm
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Keeping tripawds fit and trim is indeed imperative for maximizing their quality of life, but is it a deal breaker? No. Weight can always come off. Depends on how determined your freinds are to help their pup. There are three legged success stories about many (very) large breed dogs in these forums.

They may find some inspiration from the story of Cherry, a well known three legged standard poodle around here who led a wonderful life on three legs. We also recently published a helpful post full of information about dog leg amputation recovery and fitness.

Thanks for asking, please send our best wishes.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

29 June 2010 - 2:01 pm
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Don't worry too much about the weight before amputation.  Like everyone stated above, there will be a bit of weight loss after the surgery and recovery.  Our Rotti Brandy weighed in at 121 lbs before amputation.  She was a bit of a Chunk!  Unfortunantly they removed one of her front legs which carries most of her weight.  She also has a huge barrel chest and we were not sure how she would balance.  The vet told us we really had to get her down in weight after the amputation so she would have an easier time with 3 legs.  Brandy just went in today for her 2nd round of Chemo and her weight came in at 96.4 lbs!!  Her amputation was May 18th.  She has 6 more pounds to lose to hit her "Cancer Fighting Weight" of 90 lbs!

Please send our best wishes,


Brandy and Family


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