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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I am thinking of adopting a tripawd golden retriever. He was recently amputated in China and is in the US with a foster. Currently, he has gained weight so does not walk much. The weight is probably the first issue to deal with but in general, down the line, what are the common health issues we should expect. Also want to know if these issues (arthritis etc.) will be covered by insurance since the actual being a tripawd will be a pre-existing condition. Is there any way to get physical therapy rehabilitation covered by insurance? Thanks
Hi there and welcome! Hope you don’t mind I moved your post but this is the best place to discuss questions like this so that everyone can chime in, including our fairy vet mother. Meanwhile here are some articles to check out:
And just so that others can learn from what we discussed over email, here are my other reading recommendations:
Financial implications really depend on where you live, the dog’s physiology/breed type, weight, and how well the pet parent oversees the dog’s activity level throughout his/her life. If you are good about monitoring activity to prevent overuse injuries and slow down the onset of arthritis, and you establish a good relationship with a rehabilitation therapist who can guide you on the best types of activities to prevent injury, you can minimize the financial impact.
Rehab therapy coverage is usually a separate rider for an insurance policy. Who do you use? We use Trupanion and rehab was covered for anything not related to his osteoarthritis coverage.
If You don’t have insurance yet, please listen to this podcast. I wish I had followed this info before we bought, then switched plans for our Tripawd, Wyatt:
We raised our Wyatt from 8 months old as a Tripawd. We did all of what I mentioned above, very proactive on injury prevention and pain management . Was he more costly than a four-legger? Maybe, especially as he got older and arthritis took a toll. Here’s an article we wrote on the subject:
Also, check out Spree’s story.
And weight loss tips:
And finally, these posts about raising a Tripawd:
Stay tuned for feedback from the community!
You basically just need to ask your insurance company if they cover rehabilitation therapy, and they will tell you if its included in the policy or if you need to pay an extra premium for the coverage. For example, Trupanion covered rehab for an extra $7 per month for Wyatt Ray .
What we were told by two insurance companies about amputation as a pre-existing coverage was this: they don’t ding you for being an amputee, but if the dog develops a situation that directly correlates with being an amputee, such as osteoarthritis in the remaining limb, then that might not be covered. In the case of our Wyatt Ray , his degenerative arthritis in his remaining rear leg was not covered, because Trupanion felt it was caused by his altered gait. This was based on his previous health history and notes left by the vets who cared for him.
Since every carrier is different, and one is not necessarily better or worse for Tripawd animals, you want to have a medical record review of the dog conducted to find out exactly what will and will not be covered. That requires purchasing the policy and then having it the company’s underwriters do it during the first month. If a company will not provide a medical record review, skip ’em and go on to the next. This is the ONLY way to find out what is and what isn’t considered a pre-existing coverage by the company. Embrace Pet Insurance is one of the most upfront about pre-existing and medical record reviews.
The podcast I linked to describes exactly what a medical record review is, and how to go about getting one.
I’m so glad you asked about this, not many people do and it’s so important to know. Please keep us posted on what you find out.