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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9 December 2015
Hello! This is my first posting here. I found this forum when my beloved 11-year-old tripawd recently tore his ACL on his only rear leg, and I’m so grateful for all I’ve learned from you guys so far.
Sylvan is an 11-year-old 45-pound Queensland red heeler/border collie mix. He lost his right rear leg at 4 months when he was hit by a car. I adopted him at 11 months and he’s been an active and robust buddy ever since. In the last couple of years he has finally slowed down a little. But a few days ago he jumped out of the (parked) car, landed wrong on his leg and let out a terrible yelp. Two trips to the vet and a set of X-rays and sedation revealed that he has almost certainly partially torn his only ACL.
Here’s my question: until his January TPLO surgery, how permissive should I be in terms of his getting up from a seated or lying down position? I’m diligent about his avoiding all stairs, and leashing him for bathroom breaks, and I lift him on and off the bed and couch when he wants to be up (or down). But it seems impossible to be there to assist him every time he wants to simply stand up. Should I be?
(I’m considering the AST pet support suit–maybe custom?–for lifting now and for post-surgery when he might need more assistance. Any feedback on that would also be very welcome.)
25 April 2007
Hi Sylvan and Mom, welcome. Your future posts won’t require approval.
Sorry about the upcoming surgery, that’s a tough one. I know you’ll learn a lot from other Tripawd parents here who have been through surgeries that, like Murphy’s Mom, so I’ll let them chime in, and hopefully our fairy vet mother Dr. Wiltzius will see this too. In the meantime, that is a great question for your surgeon too so give them a call tomorrow and let us know what they say.
We are big fans of the Get-a-Grip and Custom Pet Support suits. If Sylvan has an odd-sized body (extra long, short or wide), the Custom is a great idea, and it’s also awesome to leave on all day too. Since it’s custom to a dog’s measurements, you can’t get a better fitting harness. For surgeries like this either harness is a no-brainer, we love ’em.
Thanks for posting, we look forward to following along with Sylvan’s progress after surgery. What a tough little dude!
12 March 2013
I’m sorry to hear that your Sylvan is hurting.
Our Murphy was also hit by a car and lost a rear leg. He had shallow hip joints and the hip that was dislocated in his accident kept dislocating. When it happened for the fourth time, he had a total hip replacement done. We were in a bit of a different position, since Murphy wasn’t able to use the leg when his hip was out of the socket. We helped him with a sling. At that time, we hadn’t yet found this site and didn’t know about all the harnesses, etc that were available. After the THR we came home with a Ruffwear Webmaster harness . It was invaluable.
When Murphy came home after his surgeries, he just about lived in a little exercise pen set up in our living room. I doubled over a queen sized eggcrate mattress pad and covered it with some sweatshirt material I had on hand. He only came out of the pen for potty breaks and to eat. He hadn’t been allowed on the living room furniture prior to his accident, so that wasn’t a problem to keep him off of it. In total, from the time of his accident until he was cleared after the hip replacement healed, he was never outside without being on a leash for seven months.
The link that Jerry gave you to his YouTube channel is broken, but you can go to YouTube and search for his Murphy the Three Legged Dog channel to see the videos. Somehow the original channel disappeared, and I have just recently been trying to reconstruct it. The recovery and rehab videos are back up.
Speaking of rehab, if you have a certified rehab vet available to you, I would highly recommend a visit to her/him once Sylvan is cleared to start exercise again. Ours made a world of difference for Murphy.
You can also search this,site for Daisy’s story. She was also a rear amp who had cruciate surgery.
Please keep us posted.
Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork
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!
22 August 2008