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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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Tripawd Wrist Issues and Soft Tissue Tears
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Member Since:
27 July 2017
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26 October 2019 - 6:18 pm
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So I posted before how my girl had started to suddenly stop walking.  Well a few months later after trying rimadyl, gabapentin, adding glucosomine and hydraflex (to her other supplements), massages, physical therapy, xrays, swimming now, acupuncture and LOTS of rest from walks, it has been determined by her vet and physical therapist that she has soft tissue tears in her front wrists.    She has arthritis, but with she is acting now and holding herself  up, we are certain it is her wrists thag are the issue.  Xrays didn’t show arthritis in wrists, only normal spots of other parts of body.

I haven’t seen any difference with the Rimadyl.  We have stopped that.  Gabapentin has her moving more comfortably in the house.  She is back to tolerating the massages.  She isn’t a fan of the water, but the massuve panicking is gone anyway.

Her wrists still go forward more than is normal.  She wanted to walk the other day.  I attempted, only to wind up carrying her back (didn’t make it down the street).

I love walking my dogs and feel bad when she wants to walk, but just cannot.  I have a cart for her for when I walk my male.  Walking him and pushing the cart and walking her as far as she tolerates is a bit much for just me.  So I just don’t walk her.

We see the physical therapist again early this next  week.  I plan on talking wrist splints.  

The physical therapist says its hard to tell what has caused her wrist issues (arthritis from other parts of body, being a tripawd and how she holds herself, or age as she is 9).  More than likely it is everything.

Considering her age, should I just keep her comfy (no walks, occasional play dates, swims, meds, supplements, massage, acupuncture, etc.)?  Should I be worried of her forward wrists?  Will the soft tissue ever truly heal?  What are thoughts for splints?


Member Since:
22 August 2008
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27 October 2019 - 9:06 am
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I have not specifically seen this with tripawds but any dog can have ligament tears/sprains.  My own large dog Julian has weak ankles and the surgeon I took him to said we had two options; arthrodesis (fusing the joint with a metal plate)  or joint supports.  I have seen other dogs do well with arthrodesis but since Julian weighs about 230# there is a high chance that the implant would break or become infected.  We had custom tarsal supports made by Therapaw and these are working well.  I still take him on walks but only 1/4 to 1/3 mile.  I take the supports off after the walk.  Sometimes I leave one on his right ankle during the day since that one is weaker but they always come off at night.  If he gets worse I will probably get a more sturdy brace (I like Orthovet).

Every dog is different so see what your rehab vet/surgeon says.  Can you post photos of the front legs?


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 October 2019 - 5:34 pm
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Thank you for your feedback Dr. Pam! Greatly appreciated, as always. 

Nona, I’m sorry you and your pup are going through this. Have you considered a pet stroller in the meantime? 

Also, several years ago one of our members went through an arthrodesis surgery. It’s worth asking your vet about. See:


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