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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 in all cases?
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Member Since:
1 June 2022
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1
1 June 2022 - 8:46 am
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Hello,

I'm adopting a 9 month old tripawd.  She was born with a malformed front leg.  It is not causing her pain or discomfort.  I'm not new to special needs pups, but I am new to tripawd care.  From everything I have read and seen, amputation is in the future for all animals with limb impairments.  Is this the case?  Are there pups that keep their limb that is congenitally impacted?  I'm not looking for vet advice, I'm just concerned a bit.

Thank you!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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1 June 2022 - 11:52 am
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Hello and welcome! Your future posts won't need approval so post away!

I'm so glad you asked this important question! Great thinking!

In our experience, too many people rush to amputation before having the dog evaluated for two things 1) the possibility of leaving enough limb for successful adaptation of a prosthetic, and 2) an evaluation by an animal rehabilitation therapist to ensure the non-functioning limb cannot be rehabbed or is not causing pain.

Many dogs get the full limb amputation when it wasn't really necessary. In order for the best chances at a prosthetic to function properly, the leg down to the elbow or knee should be left in place if at all possible. The problem is that in most rescue cases, the amputation must happen quickly. Also, it's hard to predict what pet parents are willing to invest the time and money into a device. I can't blame rescues at all for just getting rid of the bad leg, but if there's any chance an adoptive parent is willing to look into prosthetics , as much leg as possible should be left.

So to answer your question, no, not all dogs get the non-functioning limb amputated. In many cases where a pet parent wants to invest in a prosthetic, leaving that leg alone until the dog is evaluated by an orthopedic vet and rehab therapist is the way to go. 

Before you adopt please check out our Things to Know About Adopting a Tripawd articles OK? 

Who's the pup? We would love see her!

Member Since:
1 June 2022
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1 June 2022 - 1:13 pm
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Thank you very much.  This is very helpful.  I'm very glad to be a new member of your community and I am sure to have plenty of questions along the way. I'm glad to hear the amputation isn't automatic.  Susie Pie will be with me in August.  I thought I'd find all the resources that I can, given I have some time until she's with me.  I'm sure my vet will advise me, and thanks again for explaining so much up front! 

Oh, I tried to post her pic but couldn't =(

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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1 June 2022 - 5:25 pm
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You are so very welcome! I'm so excited that Susie Pie is going to have you for a hooman. She won the doggie lotto!

Yes, and when you adopt her, don't forget the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit 🙂

Sorry your picture didn't show up. This is how adding images to the Forums works.

  • Upload pics to a photo sharing site like imgur.com or your own Tripawds blog. Pictures and video have to be hosted (live) somewhere other than in the forums.
  • Once the photo is uploaded somewhere, right click and copy the Image URL or just copy the image if you’re on a phone
  • Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself) in your post. It should automatically appear. 

If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know. Can't wait to see her!

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