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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Rear amputee sudden loss of use of remaining back leg - possible stroke
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Member Since:
8 July 2018
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11 December 2020 - 8:03 pm
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Hi there,

Sophie is a little over 13yrs old, amputation in August 2018 due to angry myxsosarcoma in her rear left leg - not a candidate for radiation or chemo. TPLO in both knees a few years prior. 

Today we were lucky enough to get in to see Sophie’s amazing surgeon (he fit us in during his lunch break since I couldn’t get in anywhere over the past week). ❤️ Last Thursday Sophie went out to potty before going to her swim appt and wobbled a bit while going potty (not a big deal as this sometimes happens to us due to weather and yard terrain changes.). Went to her swimming appt where she usually is ready to go after the binky but this time she just sort of Superman-d and wanted to float. We had chiro and acupuncture on that following Saturday and walked to/from the car (with harness and sling help which we do when it gets slick regardless). Monday we had a 90min massage & stretch session where she seemed more alert, happy, and hungry after. The things got weird to Wednesday night she stopped putting weight on her remaining back leg. I had been trying to get her into our vet and didn’t want to do ER only because in our area ERs are backed up and she was still eating/drinking and going potty ok (with help) and I didn’t want her to have to wait in a kennel until she could be seen after more critical patients.

Blood work today looked great.

Chest X-rays show cardio myopathy issue which we’ve known about for a year and a half but there isn’t a magic pill for her to correct that - she is not on or has been on grain free food, just an odd thing. Nothing visible as far as a smoking gun on spinal or chest X-rays to show us what’s happening or why. There are only two places that do MRIs in our area however getting Appts right now is like a weird game of chess so we did everything we could outside of the MRI since we do not have access to this at this time.

Due to all of this happening so quickly & what info we know, we are thinking possible stroke / blood clot in the spine as Sophie will not put any weight on her hind leg. We will stop our Galliprant and start a 30 day prednisone routine with varying doses on Sunday while continuing with our other pain meds regiment (arthritis).

We have another massage scheduled for Monday to help keep her stretching and circulation happy. We are also scheduled for a laser appt on Tuesday. We help her outside while going potty and have her Eddie’s wheels to also help if needed. We have figured out ways to prop her up while eating and she has a few orthopedic bolster beds that help keep her comfortable so she can recuperate and relax.

Are there any things I should be doing more of for her during this time while we wait out if this truly is a stroke issue and if there is going to be a turn around from it? 

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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12 December 2020 - 7:51 am
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Most likely if she is not painful she may have had an FCE (fibrocartilaginous emboli). This is more common in large breed dogs and can only be diagnosed with an MRI. It is not a true "stroke" but the effects are the same. Some dogs will improve with time (a few weeks) and prednisone is a reasonable option in case there is swelling on the spinal cord.


Member Since:
8 July 2018
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12 December 2020 - 10:58 am
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Thank you for the reassurance Pam! ❤️
I made Soph promise me after her amputation in 2018 that she owed me two years. 😀  Yesterday I let her know that the first year didn’t count, she gave me a big wet sloppy kiss on the cheek so I consider it a binding contract. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 December 2020 - 1:48 pm
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Ohhhhh Sophie, I hope you start to get your mobility back soon. We agree with your human, the first year was just a warm-up! 

You guys are doing such awesome things for her, she is so lucky to have you looking out for her physical needs after amputation. It's so great that you've been taking her to therapy already, so now you have a team set up, people who know Sophie's history and personality, to help her through this situation, whatever it is. 

OK I hope you aren't but IF you are dealing with an FCE, here's a couple of stories you may find interesting:

My Dog Has Fallen and He Can’t Get Up!

Tripawd Charlie Shows There’s Life After FCE Paralysis and Amputation

Please keep us posted OK? We are sending lots of love to your pack and Sophie!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
8 July 2018
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20 December 2020 - 6:43 pm
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I am so sad to share that Sophie chose her time on Thursday morning.  

I miss her more than I have words. She truly was the most amazing kid I could have ever asked for. She gave me 13yrs and I would give everything I have to be able to have her for another good day together. Soph also gave me two years and almost 6 months after her amputation surgery.

Logan our newly adopted TriPaw is handling the loss ok at the moment, he was with us when we were driving to the ER. Soph passed in our vehicle with my husband holding her, Logan at her side and my talking to her while driving. Soph loved the car & was surrounded by those who loved her. I think she chose her time because she knew I would continue to fight for her no matter what. 

I cannot believe she is gone. It feels surreal. We said goodbye to her golden retriever brother Jerry just shy of 6 months ago.

I hate 2020.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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21 December 2020 - 10:01 am
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Oh nooooo! I'm so sorry, my heart aches for you. You fought so hard to do everything you could for her, and she knew it. Sophie was surrounded by love and those who mattered most to her when she took her last breath. No dog could ask for more. She was so blessed to have all of you. I know that doesn't make saying goodbye any easier though. You have my deepest condolences.

She had a remarkable run but it's never long enough. I hope you'll consider sharing more of her life with us in Coping with Loss? And of course Logan, we would love to support you and him now as you cope with such great sorrow. Tell us more about Logan, share Sophies memories and lean on us, you are not alone. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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27 December 2020 - 11:16 am
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I just wanted to tell you I am so very sorry sweet Sophie had to head to The Rainbow  Bridge. As Jerry said. It's  never enough time, but Sophie sure did kick butt and show everyone  mature dogs can enjoy life on three.

It is clear how very loved Sophie is and how you left no stone unturned  in her care.  I agree that she chose to make her transition  in the car, surrounded  by all who loved her and ahe loved back.  She k ew her earth body no longer served her and she was ready  to be free.  As hard as it is,  I hope in some small way you d comfort in that.

And yes, when you can, we would love to know more about Sophie.   She is  definitely an inspiration  to anyone new starting this journey.    


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!

Stephanie G
28 December 2020 - 7:01 pm
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I’m so sorry for your loss. There is so much similarity between your story and what I’ve recently experienced. I just wanted to share my boy’s story in case others find this post and are having a similar experience with their pup. 

My boy, DJ, is a 13.5 year old lab. He had rear limb amputation and had been recovering really well. Then, this month he abruptly stopped using his remaining rear limb and refused to bear any weight on it. He also started having difficulty urinating and had a constant urge to go. We took him to the specialist hospital for evaluation. I was concerned about a CCL tear or something orthopedic, but there wasn’t any noticeable swelling. I asked that they take an X-ray of the hip/limb, but the orthopedic surgeon that evaluated DJ insisted that it was not an orthopedic issue and had to be neurological. They didn’t provide any explanations.

I took DJ to his acupuncture vet that week and she said she was concerned about a potential FCE based upon the orthopedic surgeons assessment, but said only an MRI can diagnose that and wouldn’t impact the treatment plan. A couple weeks went by and we had him checked by two additional vets but no improvement to his mobility.

Finally, I brought him in for a third evaluation at the specialist hospital and insisted that they do an ultrasound of the bladder area and an X-ray of the rear leg/hip. The ultrasound was unremarkable, but the X-ray showed a completely displaced ilium fracture that was consistent with the timing and symptoms he was experiencing. 

DJ ended up having pelvic fracture repair surgery last week and they placed two plates to give extra stabilization. After doing a TON of research, I ended up finding that the type of hemipelvectomy surgery DJ had caused an incredible amount of stress to be localized on the ilium in a way that the bone is not designed to bear. This combined with his age was likely what caused the fracture.

Maybe he is a complete anomaly, but if anyone is experiencing abrupt loss of function in the remaining rear limb of a tripawd, especially a senior large breed dog, it is worth taking a pelvic X-ray to rule out a fracture.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 December 2020 - 11:46 am
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Stephanie G said
I’m so sorry for your loss. There is so much similarity between your story and what I’ve recently experienced. I just wanted to share my boy’s story in case others find this post and are having a similar experience with their pup. 


Stephanie, thank you so much for taking time to share DJ's story. You are an excellent advocate for him and his story will definitely help others.

Please consider registering as a member and starting a new topic in the Forums so that we can follow along with your journey, we would love to hear how he's doing. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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