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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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Amputation after being hit by a car
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Member Since:
27 May 2016
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27 May 2016 - 9:19 am
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Later today, my doberman will have her front right leg amputated. It is not a decision I am happy about, obviously, but it is probably the best decision for her. Last night, she was hit by a car and rolled down into a muddy ditch. Thankfully, she was not hit head on, so her only major injury is a broken leg. Unfortunately, it is an open, complex fracture and due to long recovery time due that she would have to go through (8-12 weeks, even without any complications) and the risk of infection, I made the difficult decision to go with amputating the leg. I felt that given her high energy levels, the long recover would simply be too stressful.

Obviously, I'm worried. One big worry is that she already has some trouble with my floors. There is no carpet in my house and, due to the other dog's tendency to pull smaller rugs around, any carpet runners are unlikely to stay put. I am looking at traction strips on the stairs, as they are narrow and steep (old house), though obviously, she will need to recover before we can even think about the stairs. Luckily, I have a bedroom on the first floor, so will stay there for her recovery.

I am also interested in hearing about harnesses people have had luck with for deep chested large dogs with front amputations. She was hit when she got spooked and managed to back out of her martingale(!) collar. So the harness would not only allow me to assist with her mobility, but also be more secure in terms of her safety.

Thankfully, it looks like her other limbs are sound. She was able to climb out of the steep ditch even without the use of one leg and get into a taller car. She should make a good recovery, but I want to make sure she has a great life afterwards, so any advice is much welcome.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 May 2016 - 10:24 am
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Hi Terrie, welcome. I hope you don't mind I moved your post here, it's a good place to discuss situations like yours. Sadly, many people join us for the exact same reason, you're not alone. What's your girl's name?

I'm so sorry about your Dobie, what a terrible shock. But wow, how fortunate she's doing alright otherwise. Yes, she will definitely have a great life afterwards! Here's a member's story to cheer you up, meet Nitro the Dobie!

If you haven't already check out Jerry's Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library, they'll put your mind at ease. As for harnesses for deep chested dogs, here's why we love the Webmaster (you'll see that Nitro does too!).

As for traction around your home, click on the link and you'll find lots of tips and suggestions. Yeah, it's no party trying to figure out the slippery floor situation, but even if she'd never been hit and lost that leg, you would have probably needed to deal with it anyways to help help her get around in her golden years. Now you're getting a head start!

We'll be thinking of you today, keep us posted. And stay tuned, more folks will chime in soon.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
27 May 2016
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27 May 2016 - 10:54 am
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No problem on moving the post. 🙂 Her name is Sadie. She is a sweet darling who turns even snuggling into an active, not passive, event -- hence why I decided she would never be able to cope with the prolonged recovery for a plate and waiting on the bone to heal. Plus, I just went to soak the pants I was wearing to try and get the blood out and discover a smear of "mud" from the ditch may actually be goose poo. Ew, and just increases my surety that infection was a serious risk.

Given that pretty much every surface in my house except my basement is slippery (tile, hardwood and vinyl), I'm thinking of seeing if she will tolerate booties. I would be interested in hearing from people who have had their dogs wear boots regularly in the house and how their feet handle that.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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27 May 2016 - 11:46 am
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Oh sweet Sadie!''You clearly are a very lpved girl! Sorry you find yourself in this predicament, although, even under these extreme circumstances you probably loved have the smell of goose poop on uou! Perfume ro you...stink to us!

Yeah, many, mzny times amputation is the best option in these kinds of fractures. Even when people try and save the leg, amputation is the end result for exactly the same reasons you have outlined. One surgery, about a two weekish recovery (which is no picnic), and your done! Sadie gets ro love her life to the fullest free of pain!

The links Jerry gave you are a huge help! You might want to try yoga mats for traction . Your other doggy may not mess with them. PAWZ makes a great little balloon looking bootie, but they are for short periods of use at a tme. Not sure any booties are recommended for all the rime, but you'll find more info on the link Jerry gave you.

I know all this is overwhelming right now. You are doing what needs ro be done so Sadie can get on with being Sadie!!

STAY CONNECTED! You can also call our helpline 1 844 TRIPAWDS

Deep breaths...grab some chocolate...Sadie will amaze you!

Hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

On The Road


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27 May 2016 - 11:47 am
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terrie said
I'm thinking of seeing if she will tolerate booties...  

Before investing in dog boots, please consider reviewing the various traction tips we offer in the Tripawds Gear blog .

The best thing you can do is put non-slip runners down throughout the house. Tripawds are smart and they will stick to the paths that offer better traction .

If you want to use boots, try Power Paws traction socks or PAWz booties first. They are more comfortable and much more affordable than boots. You can also use paw wax, and keep the fur between toes trimmed to help improve traction .

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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27 May 2016 - 11:52 am
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So sorry to hear about the accident, but what a miracle that she survived and was able to get out of the ditch.  We are also a fan of the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness.  There are some photos of Otis wearing it in our blog, and more info in the Gear Blue g.  Otis is a 100 lb lab/Dane mix, front leg amputee and very broad chested.  For traction , we have industrial floor mats from Home Depot.  Not beautiful, but easy to vacuum and fairly heavy.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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27 May 2016 - 6:41 pm
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The surgery went well. They will evaluate where she is at in terms of pain management and any immediate issues in the morning and decide if she comes home tomorrow or Sunday. Plan for the short term is to set up in the office off the kitchen/back entry. There is a futon in there, so I can sleep in there with her. As she previously was not allowed to sleep in my bed room, this may make it all worth it to her. 😉 

I will need to get her a bed. Currently, she has a blanket that she lugs around, but it will be too slippery for her recovery. We will see if she actually uses the bed rather than trying to climb onto the futon with me.

The back entry area/kitchen are tile, so I'm looking to pick up some of those industrial stress-relief rubber pads. Because the other dog pulls rugs around and marks like an unneutered male (and she's a spayed female!), carpet is not really an option in my house, so will probably used similar industrial style runners over the hardwood in the living room. I have similar small mats at the doors for wiping feet and you can take them outside and house them down for cleaning. I was testing the vinyl planking that's in the bed rooms and upstairs hall. It may or may not provide enough grip on it's own. Too early to tell. 

Going to need to get a waterproof mattress pad for the futon (See previous comment about stinker dog who marks). I will probably shut Sadie in the room when I need to go to the bathroom, so she doesn't try to follow me up the stairs. (Old house, no bathroom on the main floor). While the room is right next to the stairs for the basement, she has never tried to go down them, so less worry there. Upstairs was where she would run and hide if nervous/startled, so plans are to get non-skid runners on those stairs sooner rather than later.

Also seeing about getting her some raised bowls and some fun stuff like filled bones to keep her occupied when she needs to be confined. Thankfully, she's actually a bit underweight, so no worry at this time about her getting overweight. I will be ordering a harness once I can get her measurements. 

Thanks so much for the information and input here. Being able to reason thought what I need to do has gone a long way to helping me deal with this. This whole event has been overwhelming, and having a place that can help me with the practical aspects has been essential in being able to manage myself, let alone Sadie.

Orrtanna Pa.
Member Since:
25 January 2014
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27 May 2016 - 7:33 pm
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I think you made the right decision to amputate. In hindsight, it is a decision I would have made, had I to do it again. It was mentioned as a possibility when Ty was hit by a car when he was 1. I now wonder if the pins and plates that were put in are not what contributed to his bone cancer. If the leg had gone then, it would not have been there to get cancer. It seems to up their risk a bit from what I read. I also think you will find that she will adapt a lot better than you expect. I now own a send Tripawd ( he was amputated when I adopted him) and most of the time, I forget he doesn't have all 4 legs. Hang in there, it gets a lot better after the first 2 weeks. Lori, Ty and Gang

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

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28 May 2016 - 1:33 am
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We love the Big Barker beds - got the first one about three years ago when Otis was diagnosed with arthritis in his hips.  Now have 3.  Just make sure you get something orthopedic - Tripawds need support.  Squishy fluffy beds are probably not the best option.  I would baby gate your upstairs for now - Otis started doing stairs at about the three month mark.  He does really well on them now (except for two nights ago when he was running around like an idiot and almost face planted as he came down too fast).

Great at news about the surgery!   The next 10 days to two weeks will be hard, but you will be amazed at how well she does once the staples come out!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

On The Road


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28 May 2016 - 10:39 am
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Yay for a successful surgery! That's fantastic. Now you can move on with life.

I know the floors are a bummer, we had all hardwood too when Jerry lost his leg. Tripawd families have the most mismatched sets of carpet runners in their homes! There's a funny discussion about it somewhere yere.  But yep, Tripawds will stick to the best surfaces in the house (as will any dog with mobility challenges). We don't recommend wearing boots all day. They're fine for the outdoors and vet visits but dogs' feet need to breathe and wearing boots all day prohibits that, and can cause yeasty, stinky feet.

Take a deep breath, you're doing great. One thing at a time and you'll get there. For now, you can improvise with different things, like putting her bowls on a low box with a sticky surface (maybe shelf liner), so the bowls don't move around. Block off those stairs, go to Costco and get some runners (they're about $11 each last time I checked) and eventually you'll start to feel more at ease. She will amaze you, just wait!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
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28 May 2016 - 10:52 am
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Hi and welcome.

I'm sorry about the accident, but I am glad to hear that Sadie made it through surgery OK.

I adopted my second Tripawd Elly last October, she is a little pug mix.  She was hit by a car at 7 months old and lost her right rear leg as a result.  She still has some issues with traffic and she is skittish and slow to trust.  I adopted her at 10 months old and I was her fourth home, after being hit by a car and moving around no wonder she has some issues...but being a Tri-puggle is not one of them!

Traction is huge!  You might consider yoga mats- maybe your other pup will leave them alone.  I actually like them for traction a little better than rugs.  I had a quad- pug named Tani who had mobility issues all her life, as she got older and weaker traction became an issue for her.  She would still slip on some throw rugs, but the yoga mats worked great. 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Member Since:
27 May 2016
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28 May 2016 - 11:26 am
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Sadie will be coming home this afternoon, so this morning, I went on a tripawd shopping spree. The "recovery" room is set up, with the futon for me, an orthopedic bed for her (we'll see how long that lasts before she decides the futon is really HER bed and I'm just borrowing it), and for traction ,I just bought a 50' roll of industrial rubber-based carpet runner at home depot and cut it as needed for the kitchen. There are gates on the room and the kitchen, cutting her off from the rest of the house. Once she's doing better, I'll probably get another roll for the living room and some traction strips for the stairs. She never had issue with the vinyl flooring upstairs, so I'll just keep an eye on it once she's ready for going up and down stairs.

For furniture, my guest room and office/3rd bedroom have futons, so they're pretty low. Since my other dog is a toy breed (papillion), I have stairs for my bed, and the couch already. May need to see if she will need assistance with the love seat as well.

Also got her a filled bone, a kong with treats for stuffing and one of those interactive "Everlasting" chew balls to help boredom as she recovers.

If nothing else, tripawds certainly do their part for the economy! 

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28 May 2016 - 11:33 am
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But doesn't buying all that stuff make you feel better?  For the first 2 weeks, you might consider putting the futon directly on the floor.  Not so comfortable for you, but if she is used to sleeping with you, she might appreciate it.  It is important to keep her from jumping up on furniture during the recovery period.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.



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27 July 2014
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28 May 2016 - 12:25 pm
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All the preparations for your Sweet Sadie are wonderful. And you already have stairs for your bed and couch! That is a well-loved and spoiled pup, I'm sure she deserves it.

I also did some preparation for my cat Mona. Initially she did not seem to understand the purpose but came to appreciate it over time. The layers of boxes to dismount really helped her when she realized using them felt better than taking a flying leap off something high.

You are well prepared and Sadie will be fine. Make sure you take care of yourself and ask others to help when you need a break. The recovery period can be exhausting. Sally always recommends lots of chocolate (for you, not Sadie) smiley

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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28 May 2016 - 12:52 pm
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Hmmm. Futon is less than 20 inches tall, so she shouldn't need to jump at all. Unfortunately, moving the frame out of the room would be a two person job, and I don't have anyone to help with it. She doesn't actually get to sleep with me normally, but I suspect she will happily take this chance to do so.

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