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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11 May 2020
I’m adopting a male puppy on June 5th. He was born with an underdeveloped front leg. He’s seen a vet and so far they believe he won’t necessarily need amputation. But. I want to be as prepared as possible for this. Have there been cases where the dog keeps their underdeveloped limb and lives happily?
25 April 2007
Hello and welcome! You are asking great questions, this puppy is so lucky to find his way to you. What breed type is he?
Yes, dogs born with a slight limb difference really can get along fine even without amputation. In many cases, if the parent is willing to invest time and money in a prosthetics , that residual limb is actually the key to successfully using artificial limbs. I just talked about it here with a new member whose Golden just had a puppy born with a limb difference. Here’s the clip I shared:
If you think prosthetics are in your dog’s future, don’t amputate until you speak with an orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate the puppy and give you the pros and cons of artificial limbs. If this isn’t a possibility, then yes, sometimes amputation is best later on down the road if the residual limb is getting banged up and causing all sorts of problems.
Meanwhile, something to keep in mind as she grows … when it comes to learning to walk, a young Tripawd will have some coordination issues at first, because he didn’t get to develop normal motor skills that four-legged dogs do. So the best thing you can do is get to a rehabilitation therapist, who can show you how to help him get strong and stay injury free. You want to get him started on the right track by showing him the proper way to walk and run and sit, so that he doesn’t get into habits that put dangerous loads on his joints, especially that front leg. Rehab therapy is so beneficial, that our Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit ! Just click on the link for more information.
I hope this helps. Please check out our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , which has lots of advice about raising a young Tripawd dog. Stay tuned for feedback from others!