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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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Adopting a Tripod
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Forum Posts: 10
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24 April 2010
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24 April 2010 - 4:57 pm
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Hi. I’m new to this site and have been combing the web the last few days for advice on caring for a tripod. We recently decided to add another dog to our family (making it 3), we found one that we both adore. He has 3 legs. I don’t know what from, and neither does the staff. He was picked up as a stray, even though I’m assuming it’s a car accident. This will be my first dog ever with a missing limb and want to know all that I can about making his life easy and the best ways to not strain his muscles (without straining my wallet lol).
Such as good bed choices, food, exercise. Things like that.

I don’t know what kind of dog he is. He’s a younger dog as well. So I’m hoping that’s better for him, but I don’t know how old the injury even is. We visited him today and he ran a little bit. He’s a bigger dog, but not a monstrous size either lol. Maybe about 60-70lbs?

Madison, WI
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24 April 2010 - 5:43 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds!  You rock!!!  What a lucky dawg.  Gerry still has his paws crossed (and I my fingers crossed) for a three-legged choc lab in our neck of the woods that is looking for a home. frown  I wish I could take her, but fortunately she does have a good foster home and isn’t stuck in a kennel until she finds a permanent home.

My Gerry, who is about two and had his amputation due to an injury, takes a glucosamine supplement called Dasuquin that helps protects his joints.  It generally gets recommended when dogs get older and start having trouble, but for tripawds its generally considered a good idea as a preventative measure, since there’s going to be some extra stress on the remaining limbs.  Gerry loves his Dasuquin.  It’s chewable and tastes like liver.  There are a lot of treats out these days that advertise they have glucosamine for joint health.  Pam the vet though, as I recall, commented that the glucosamine in those treats isn’t necessarily usable or good quality – something to that effect.  So they’re probably not even worthwhile for that purpose and it’s better to ask your vet about a supplement, if it works for your budget.

Smooth floors can be an issue.  My first tripawd (front-leg amputee) Yoda very rarely slipped on my wood floors (or any other smooth floors for that matter.  But some dogs persisently have troubles and Gerry (rear-leg amputee) definitely slips more often, but only when he gets over-excited and forgets about his balance.  Somehow he didn’t have the same problem on the ice this winter!  I was the first one to go down.  Rugs or floor runners are often recommended on this site. 

Do others have tips about beds?  I was wondering about that myself the other day.  Gerry sleeps on the couch about 75% of the time.

No doubt others will chime in with more tips – if they haven’t already!  But most of this info exists in the forums somewhere.  Try giving the search engine a try too.  You might find answers to questions you wouldn’t have thought to ask along the way.

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

Forum Posts: 524
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24 April 2010 - 9:12 pm
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You might want to try a Ruff harness…..it is an invaluable tool for helping your furkid!  And I got non-skid runners and small rugs for all the lino and laminate floors….Magic prefers to lay on the carpet or the runners rather than    the zillion foam pads I had in place all over the house prior to his homecoming; and in his case he never has wanted up on the bed…the couple of times I coaxed him up, he was just not comfortable so that wasn’t an issue when he became a tripawd…

Forum Posts: 398
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24 April 2010 - 10:42 pm
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Raise the food dishes (esp. if a front tripawd), as it’s harder to put their head down & balance with only the 3 legs.

As for beds, I like Harley to use his baby crib mattress … I feel it just gives more support/comfort for him and his size (but this is my thinking, he doesn’t seem to care if he’s on the hard floor, his regular wal-mart type dog bed, the couch, the bed, the crib mattress, etc …).  One thing I love about the crib mattress is it is easy change the sheet when it gets dirty.

http://www.dogf…..r.com/ is a website that was posted on the forums a few months ago that rates dog food.

Best of luck to you!!

Amputation on 11/10/09, due to Histiocytic Sarcoma in left elbow. Angel Harley earned his wings on 06/24/10.

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25 April 2010 - 8:37 am
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Let me welcome you to this connuity. You will find that it is filled with wonderful people who will share their collective experience base, provide great suggestions, and be there for support. We, as so many of this community, were fighing a very vicious bone cancer, which necessitated the amputation. The adjustment to becoming a TriPawd was extremely small compared to the battle with the cancer. As I would have expected, you have recieved excellent advice above regarding the usual things. Miss Cherry used the exact smae bed after becomming a TriPawd as before. However, there were times (after the initial surgery, during the chemothapy, and other times) when the two of us slept in the guest bed. This would allow me to monitor her through the night more carefully, but was only tempory. One evening about a month after the surgery, she ran into her old bed and made it clear that she would again return to this new “normal.”

Weight and balance is probably the biggest issues. Often Miss Cherry would get too excited and totaly loose her footing. As long as she was sufficiently careful with the footing, she did fine. Running accross the grass or the driveway with the good footing was fine, but going up or down the step into the garage took more concentration. They will quickly get the hang of it.

We wish you well and look forward to photos.

Spirit Cherry’s Dad

 

Las Vegas, Nevada
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25 April 2010 - 12:43 pm
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Bless you for adopting!  What’s your little one’s name?  Is it a front or rear leg that is missing?

 

Comet has a left front leg that is deformed and doesn’t function.  She is about 11 1/2 years old and I’ve had her since she was 4-5 months old.   She looks like a lab in a corgi body and weighs 38lbs.

We have a topic section regarding dogs that are missing legs from birth or accidents here: http://tripawds…..nd-cancer/

For sure you have to make sure your floors aren’t slippery.  They fall and can crack their teeth (done it several times!).  Plus, they can blow out their back knees.  (done it twice!)  Keep in mind, I was the only one on earth that had a 3-legged dog so I didn’t know any better and winged the first 10+ years of her life before finding this site! (or so I thought!)

 I have throw rugs and runners with the rubber backing were there is tile.  I found that Walmart had the same color and style in various sizes so that is what I have placed around.  It doesn’t look so patch-worked since they all match. 

We have lots and lots of comfy beds in which she loves. And I am fanatical about keeping Comet’s toenails short, too. 

Cheap therapy is swimming.  Comet has her own pool.  Walking too far is really a strain on them.    This model is around $100.

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 You can buy one here: Intex Pool Info/Order Page

And doing muscle massages yourself will help the soreness they have from getting tense and sore. 

When Comet was younger she did everything any dog could do.  She’d jump on the bed, couch and in the car.  She still goes up/down the stairs in our house. 

I hope that helps!  Take a look around the site to get some good ideas on life with a tripawd.  It will help you a lot!

Best wishes,

Comet’s mom

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.

Forum Posts: 10
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25 April 2010 - 8:54 pm
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Thanks for all the advice. =)
His name is Viggo and he is a rear leg amputee. All the paperwork went through so he should be joining our family on Wednesday or sooner. (Hopefully sooner)
All the floors in our house is either wood or a laminate so I don’t know what to do about rugs. I think we really only need a runner in the kitchen since that seems to be where our other dogs like to run through to get outside. I don’t think our yard outside is really suitable for a pool though, but for exercise we’re working on a plan to give him 3-4 walks per day, but maybe only about 10-15 minutes starting out. Then gradually build up after time.

Also, me and my boyfriend work a long 15 hour shift. I work them 2 nights a week, him 5 times a week. Should we be worried anymore than usual leaving him alone like that? Our current dogs seem to do fine (also our living situation allows us to be able to take them out at least once at night since our work is generally across the street from where we live).

As for the nails, that shouldn’t be a problem as I also work at a groomers and can get them whatever grooming they need (for free!!). lol It’s always a bonus.

Here and Now


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26 April 2010 - 9:32 am
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dinorock21 said:

All the floors in our house is either wood or a laminate so I don’t know what to do about rugs.

You might find Jerry’s recent News Blog post helpful…

No-Slip Floor Ideas for Your Tripawd

Thanks for joining, we look forward to hearing more about Viggo!

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26 April 2010 - 11:58 am
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Congrats on getting a new dog!  I also adopted a tripawd, and this is what I found – the tile floors in the house didn’t slow her down a bit.  My 4-legged dogs slip more than she does and I have throw rugs everywhere.  I think she knew she was unstable on the tile and she slowed down.  She didn’t like soft fluffy beds (to unstable), but likes the firmer egg-crate style beds.  She runs, plays and does everything perfectly normal – she certainly doesn’t know she’s missing anything.  However, I do notice that she becomes fatigued VERY quickly on walks and when she’s been playing hard in the yard.  That being said, I wouldn’t expect your new one to do well on long walks.  I think the frequent short walks you’re planning is perfect.  The only other thing I can suggest that hasn’t been mentioned is watching his weight.  Just like with humans, too much extra weight will aggravate his joints.  

Good luck!

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26 April 2010 - 1:35 pm
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We’ve hit a bit of a bump in the road with adopting Viggo. Turns out he’s either got kennel cough or possibly heartworms. =(
We wont know for sure until he goes to the vet tomorrow. The shelter did say if he had heartworms they’d help pay for his recovery so that’s good. Also, he has what looks like old scar-tissue built up in his ear. My co-worker said it’s from chronic ear infections, which I think she’s right. It was all black and goopy inside. Me and my boyfriend attempted to clean them out a little today when we visited him. We’re now on a wait-and-see basis. However, I did get pictures today.

 

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Here and Now


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26 April 2010 - 2:09 pm
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Thanks for sharing the photos! Viggo is one cool lookin’ dog.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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26 April 2010 - 3:08 pm
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Hope the setback is temporary.  Heartworms is not good, but most time are treatable. I admire folks who will give a tripawd adoptee a chance.  You are special in my book!

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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26 April 2010 - 7:53 pm
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You guys are GREAT.  And isn’t he a happy looking guy, new problem or not.  Can someone elaborate for me on the rear leg amps?  For Magic with the front leg amp, they took shoulder and all…do they leave more of a stump on the rear leg?  It looks like Viggo has sort of a stump and someone else mentioned that on another thread.

Now that he has a forever home waiting, he will hopefully sail right through this little bump in the road and soon be home with his new family.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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27 April 2010 - 11:11 am
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Well what a handsome guy!  He almost looks like he has some Bernese Mtn dog mixed with Happy dog! 

Good luck on the health problems.  We’ll keep our paws crossed there are no snafus! 

Go upload that handsome face so you will have a profile pic on him (we call it an avatar)

Here’s how:

Click the “Profile” button on the top right of the forum page.  On the next page, you’ll see this in small print:

—————- 

NOTE: Upload your member avatar picture by visiting your Tripawds User Dashboard. If you have a blog, click the Users -> Your Avatar tab. 

—————- 

Click the “your Tripawds User Dashboard” link.  The next page click the “Your Avatar” and follow the directions. 

 

Please note: the ‘alternative upload’ button seems to  work better for some users, including myself.  Do not to upload a gigantic picture either, it doesn’t like that either.

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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27 April 2010 - 11:11 am
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hello, this is the OP’s boyfriend. to answer your question Krispi, they Vets have to take the whole leg regardless of front or back, if they leave a stump then the dog will try to use it still and create more problems.

however Viggo does have a little stump which leaves me to believe it was severed by an impact of some kind, and not an operation.

the Shelter staff said he was picked up as a stray so i guess its possible it happened while he was homeless so there was no care provided for him 🙁

 

also i wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments, im hoping with all my heart that he doesnt have Heartworms and even if he does we are gonna do all we can to save him, regardless of costs

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