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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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Torn ACL--complete
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Forum Posts: 14
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10 November 2013 - 10:29 pm
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My beautiful strong tripod went rabbit chasing this evening and completely tore her ACL (5 months post-op and 2 months post chemo for osteosarcoma). She’s been standing and running on the remaining two legs.  What should I do??? 

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 November 2013 - 7:40 am
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Hi and welcome, your future posts won’t require moderation. So sorry about your pup. Has she seen an orthopedic vet yet? And a certified rehab vet? I would seek these two opinions and compare the two to decide what to do next. Make sure she’s getting appropriate pain management in the meantime.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 November 2013 - 9:21 am
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Little Bear! You sound like an absolutey delightful dog with a whole lot of spunk!! Just two months post amp. and you are out tjere acting like a four-legged upy!! Good for you!

Weeell, except for overdoingit a rouch and getting an ACL!!! U fortnately, that does happen with tripawds sometimes. As Jerry said, .et us kow what the specialists have said. Also’ go to the “search” blocks on the forum page and type in ACL treatment for tripawds and I think you’ll find iput there to.

A Vet will see your post here and respond soon.
Hopeully, Murhy’s mom will see it too. She’ll have a lot of input! Her dog has pretty much done everything possible to his “good legs” and, after recuperation, is a “wild and crazy fuy” living life to the fullest…running, jumping, swimming and eating gteen beans out of the garden!! Yeah! His mom will show you videos of all that…green bean picking too!!

I jjst want you to know we are all thinkingof you and have all paws crossed flr a speedy recovery.

Look forward to seeing your update and hearing more about your Little Bear.

Hugs to you,

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Idaho
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11 November 2013 - 10:17 am
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As Sally said, Murphy has done remarkably well after having his amputation and a total hip replacement. He did not have cancer, but was hit by a car a year ago. As Jerry said, having your pup checked out by an orthopedic vet and a rehab specialist would be the first thing I would do, too. After that you will have a much better idea of where you are in terms of treatment. Our ortho has said that if Murphy was to ever need knee surgery, that would be doable.

One of our other members, Daisy, had knee surgery, too.

You can check out Murphy’s story under the Beyond Cancer thread.

What kind of dog is Little Bear? Do you have any pictures to post? We LOVE to see pictures here!

Kathi and Murphy

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Columbia, MO
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11 November 2013 - 2:07 pm
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I know this is in the Ask a Vet forum but I thought I would jump in here anyway.  My Daisy is a left front amp.  She ruptured her right ACL the end of May after 7 months of conservative management for a tear.  She had lateral suture stabilization surgery on her knee 2 weeks later.   I have to admit that recovery from the knee surgery was way tougher than her amp but we got thru it and if you go that route you and Little Bear will get thru it too!

My regular vet is also a certified rehab vet and I agree with Kathi and Jerry that you should see an ortho and/or rehab vet on where to go from here.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 November 2013 - 2:10 pm
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Here’s another resource, an article about conservative management (non-surgical) help for situations like this:

Conservative Management Alternative to Leg Knee and Hip Surgeries

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 November 2013 - 2:16 pm
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Thanks for the responses.  Happened last night and as a terrible reminder that I’m an adult, I’ve had this huge work project due to clients today and haven’t had time to do any research other than get her on pain meds and find people to come by and keep her spirits up.  Anyone in Colorado have a good recommendation?  Surgery sounds like a terrible idea, given that there is probably still  a big cancer bomb ticking away in the background, but right now she can’t go to the bathroom by herself.  Weirdly, she can run, but she is not supposed to, says her vet.  FYI, a dog can run on two legs–she ran up a hill on three and down it on two.  

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 November 2013 - 5:36 pm
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Where in Colorado are you? My first recommendation is Colorado State, the ortho docs there are amazing, very straightforward and will give you all of your options not just surgical ones.

Poor little pup, and you! I know this is hard, hang in there.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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12 November 2013 - 8:20 am
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If your dog is getting around okay and going to the bathroom, etc then rehab is probably an adequate option. Larger dogs may need some form of suture stabilization although I would definitely take some chest rads and run some blood tests first to check her cancer status.

PAM

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12 November 2013 - 6:47 pm
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Thanks, Tazziedog.  I do need to find out what her current status is on cancer before I make any real treatment commitments past PT, and am just not going to do surgery.  Both Quila Littlebear and my bank account have had enough of that.  I talked with the CSU teaching college during her cancer diagnosis and they were very helpful.  They are a little far to drive to make them our regular vet.  Thinking about a home vet so I don’t have to lift the dead-weight dog in and out of the car so much.  She does not like this assistance thing and is very independent.  Turns out that while the vet said she wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom by herself, she very much can.  She refuses to if I’m right next to her, but has figured out movement on two legs enough to get by.  I am thinking rehab and a brace, if cancer status is ok. Will let people here know how it goes, so that others have access to the outcome when they are trying to make these super-hard decisions.  Also, found this seemingly well-researched site http://www.tiggerpoz.com/ that has some helpful advice for those not doing surgery. Against those recommendations, I do want to do a brace if she stabilizes at all.. this dog has no time for messing around with long confinement periods.

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 November 2013 - 9:59 pm
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Pam, thank you so much for your feedback. It’s awesome to have a vet with experience like this chime in!

I’m happy to hear that rehab may be an option for Little Bear. Another useful resource: this OrthoPets interview that discusses brace options.

Thanks for sharing information here, it IS very helpful for folks now and in the future.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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13 November 2013 - 9:42 am
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Alright Bear, you sound like one determined and strong willed oup!! And good for you!clap

That’s the kind of attitude that helps you beat ALLodds!! Keepn keeping on Bear!

Thanks for sharing Bear’s journey. Very nsightful. Look forward to more updates I’ve got a feeling Bear’s gonna come through this just fine!

Hugs to Bear AND to YOU! Good job!

Saly snd Hapoy Hannah

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!

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13 November 2013 - 8:15 pm
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A useful bit of information given to me by Deanna at goodlifePT when I asked about a cheaper alternative to Orthopets braces.  Orthopets people are really knowledgeable, sweet!, and helpful, and their products look very high-quality.  They even put me in touch with another tripod owner who had had a similar injury.  That said, for what is probably going to be less than a year, $800-$1000 is a lot to spend on a one-dog-use medical device.  Ace Orthotic solutions makes braces that are mostly plastic instead of metal.  http://www.aceo…..tions.com/  Both companies seem to be staffed with great people.  Considering doing the brace even if met situation isn’t great, as being up on three feet instead of two might be worth it for most outcomes.  

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 November 2013 - 10:24 am
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Oh my gosh you know Deanna Rogers? Too funny! So do we! In fact here’s an interview with her: Where do I begin with doggie physical therapy?

and this one:

Dog Rehab Therapy Helps Tripawds Beat the Odds

I think I know about Ace Ortho, they sound familiar. The only thing is that there really isn’t any information about their background and expertise. I would want to know about their experience with the biomechanics of dogs and overall veterinary information. If you talk to them do ask and let us know. I’d love to list them as a resource for folks here.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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8 December 2013 - 7:47 pm
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Just an update, so people who may have this happen have an example doggie: 

We ordered a custom brace from Ace OrthoBrace, but due to the holidays, it’s been a long time in coming.  They don’t have a lot about their expertise online, but they were recommended by multiple physical therapists and rehab vets who have worked with both braces. None recommended against OrthoPets , but they said that both braces work, and if cost was an issue, Ace would do the job well.  We’ve been doing PT at a chain clinic through our own rehab vet who contracts with them.  She does underwater treadmill walking, and seems to enjoy that part ok, althouth it doesn’t burn up as much energy as I would like.  I take her on a lot of long rides in a kid’s jogging stroller I converted–would really recommend one that is made for dogs instead, but it works.  She’s allowed up to 5 less-than 5 minute walks a day, for which we use a Help-em-up harness.  The harness is a little bit to reduce the strain on her legs, but mostly to hold her back from running.  She gets around and goes to the bathroom on her own ok, but is extremely tired of being calm.   Will update again on her progress with it once the brace shows up.  

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