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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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8 week old great dane born with three legs
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
22 March 2011
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22 March 2011 - 11:55 am
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I am contemplating adopting a three legged great dane. She was born with 3 legs and has rickets in the other three as per the shelter she is currently in. I have a few concerns:-

  1. have 4 dogs – 3 pugs (the youngest is 6 months) and a boxer female. am worried about the youngest one – she is very feisty. am concerned about her bothering the G dane a lot. 
  2. is rickets curable? or manageable with medication? 
  3. What extra care do such puppies require?
  4. what all do i need to know. 

I really want to adopt her. But want to be absolutely sure about what all is required.




The Rainbow Bridge

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22 March 2011 - 12:27 pm
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Hi Tanu, thanks for joining us here, and for considering adopting the Dane pup.

Has your boxer and the Dane met? That's the first place to start. From my reading, I know that it's much easier to bring a dog of the opposite sex into an existing pack, especially a big one like yours. Two dogs of the same sex can be a challenge. I would seriously think about whether it would be a good idea to adopt this pup, unless you have a lot of time and energy to make proper introductions and do some thorough training with all of them.

Has the Dane been evaluated by a vet? If so, what have the doctors said? Honestly I couldn't find much online about Rickets, except for this discussion forum topic. Our Tripawds volunteer vet, Tazziedog, may have some feedback if you post your question in our “Ask a Vet” forum.

As for what kind of care a Tripawd Dane needs…usually not much that's different from a four-legged one (see “Nova” our three-legged blind Tripawd superstar!). But with the addition of rickets, this dog may need a lot of extra care. I'm honestly not sure because I don't know much about it.

I'm sorry I wish I could be more help. Just curious what country are you in? I don't hear a lot about dogs with rickets in the U.S. I could be wrong, but…

Anyhow, thanks again for finding us. Please let us know what you decide to do.


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Forum Posts: 6
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22 March 2011 - 12:35 pm
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I am in India. Didnt consider the gender angle… have female boxer who shares mutual hatred with my female pug and the youngest one is also a female..

22 March 2011 - 12:45 pm
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That can be a difficult pack to manage.There are already some strong personalities in your mix. The dynamic will change and probably not positively by bringing another dog of any gender in, but another female, with some special needs is the last thing I would consider. I know you want to help this dog, but it may set everyone up for failure. You would have to do some thorough introductions and I would never, ever leave them together, unsupervised.

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22 March 2011 - 12:52 pm
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🙁 somewhere i knew it all along. just didnt want to do it out of emotions….i guess will just hope that she finds a good home soon then…. thanks for your help!

Kirkland, WA
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22 March 2011 - 8:47 pm
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I know how hard it is to find a dog you love so much and want to take it home!  Rickets is a vitamin D deficiency and can cause bone deformaties which may be a problem especially in a growing puppy, and especially ESPECIALLY in a puppy that will grow very large.  It is a very real possibility that this puppy will have problems as she gets older and her 3 legs may not be able to support her weight – you will have to consider what to do in the case that she cannot walk or is in pain from mis-shapen bones.  One good thing is that she was born with 3 legs and does not know life with 4 legs, so learning to be a tripawd will not be an issue for her…its all she's ever known.  If you feel that you have the time and energy to put into this puppy that may need lots of help getting around (helping a 120lb dog walk…yikes!), is it possible to take her home for a day to see how she gets along with the rest of your pack?  It may be easier to allow her to be adopted by someone else if you see first-hand that it will not work, OR you may see that she gets along great with your other dogs and you decide you're up for the challenge!  I hope this situation works out the way everyone wants it to 🙂


<3 Laura and Invisible Jack

Las Vegas, Nevada
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22 March 2011 - 10:42 pm
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I'm sorry to hear.  It's too bad.  I know you want to help.  Maybe helping the dog find a good home is better.  It would be very difficult.  As one that did bring in a handicapped three-legged dog to a family of 3 other female dogs.  It was a disaster.  It didn't work. 

Hopefully it will find a home more suitable.  But it's nice that your heart is in the right place!

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.

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23 March 2011 - 12:14 pm
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Hi Tanu

Welcome. I admire you for wanting to adopt this pup – to see past her disability.

I think people might be coming too negatively on the issue of the dogs possibly not getting along. I don't think any of us can say that unless they were introduced. Sometimes a large calm-tempered gentle giant of a god can be a calming influence on the rest of the pack. Certainly that was the case with my last dog, Tazzie, even though he was only half a giant (about 36 kg). His presence seemed to curb aggression of other dogs, especially other males, not only to him but aggression among the other dogs. People who ran doggy daycares, boarding kennels, dog training places and just people we'd meet at the park would often comment on that. I can easily picture a great dane filling that role. Don't Danes tend to get along well with other dogs?

In any case, I would not have the social issue hold be back from at least letting her meet the other dogs.

As for not needing much extra care, certainly our Queen Nova demands a lot of attention, but not necessarily because she only has three legs.

The health issues are something to think seriously about. I know nothing about rickets but it does sound like a challenge. A consultation with a vet could be really helpful. Certainly this dog needs someone to look after her, if she is to have a life outside the shelter.

Good luck with this decision.




23 March 2011 - 12:36 pm
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I too admire your desire to help this dog, but the male dynamic is much different than the female. The Dane's personality isn't my concern. The boxer & pug, both stong personalities, both female, already have an issue. I would be very concerned about the Dane's (and everyone else's) safety.

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23 March 2011 - 1:16 pm
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i think first thing i'll do tomorrow is talk to the shelter vet and find out how bad the rickets is…..coz rightly pointed out – big dog with severe skeletal problem could be difficult (specially with my bad back..) If the vet says its something whcih would be more or less managebale with proper diet and supplements then I'll ask the shelter people if i can have her over to see how she does with other dogs…My boxer Jenny is still better than the pug in that sense. Kiara (the pug) can not stand another dog or human ( she is barely managing to tolerate the other three) Mirchi (youngest pug) is more playful than vengeful and Dobby (male pug) doesnt care if i brought in an entire pack – the more the merrier seems to be his motto. So lets see what the vet says…. I have never ever felt so strongly about any of the rescues at the shelter earlier… 🙁 

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