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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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Fostering a tripawd and have some questions.
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The Rainbow Bridge



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5 January 2016 - 10:35 am
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Awww what a sweetie! Those photos are priceless.

I'm so glad to hear you've worked with that vet before and they were willing to try rehab first with Kona (many surgeons will jump right to surgery). Yay! Who is the vet? Be sure if you  have a minute to list them in our Veterinary Specialists Referrals topic.

We've had many members Tripawds' go through surgeries on remaining limbs and hips too. It's not easy but it's not impossible. You might want to check out Murphy's story for some inspawration. We've had many others, just search the forums for "surgery on remaining limb" or something similar. Sorry wish I could remember more dogs as examples right now but I haven't had my coffee yet, headed that way now.

I'm sorry Patchy feels so terrible, I can only imagine, poor guy. Hugs to you both. You are an awesome foster pawrent!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 January 2016 - 12:07 am
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Patchy is doing much better right now!  Called the vet this am and was able to pick up some pain meds to supplement his anti inflammatory meds.  About 40 minutes after taking them, he fell asleep and is finally looking comfortable.  That makes me so happy!  So hard to see your fur face baby in pain.

The surgeon is Dr. Kelci McKeirnan with Animal Emergency & Specialty (AES) in Kirkland, WA.  We, unfortunately, have been there several times for emergency visits, mostly with my senior pup who we lost a year ago Feb.  The entire staff has been great.  They were so kind and supportive when we had to make the decision to put our senior girl Sadie down.  We didn't meet Dr. McKeirnan until Kona injured her shoulder last year.  Was really happy with her and their rehab specialist Sarah.  I'll make sure to add them to the list of providers after I see them on Thursday.

I spent a bunch of time reading through the forums last night and am kicking myself because I'm sure I allowed Patchy to do too much and I feel awful.  When he first came home with us, I took him to our regular vet and specifically asked about activity because he was a fairly recent tripawd and was told to just let him dictate his activity level.  Patchy's idea of the appropriate activity level is to go full bore everywhere he goes, wrestle and play with my two dogs, run up and down the stairs and treat life like it is one big party.  I wish I'd found this forum earlier and had taken the time to really search out information on appropriate activity levels for him.  *sigh*

I read Murphy's story last night as well as a few others who have had injuries to one of their three remaining legs.  What I haven't found is anything regarding an injury to a leg on the opposite end from the amputation, especially for a larger dog.  I'll try the search and see if I can dig up more info.  Thanks so much!

Thanks again for all the help and support!  

Just received a text that Patchy's owner is going to be out of contact starting sometime tomorrow (Weds) for an unknown amount of time.  He couldn't give me any idea at all of how long he'll be unavailable.  Hubby has been called away on business and is leaving in a few hours.  Looks like I'll be on my own with making decisions for now.  Ugh!!  Patchy's daddy couldn't tell me if we were talking days, weeks or months.  I realize he has no control over this so not much I can do other than tell him to stay safe and promise to take good care of his baby.  Poor guy is so stressed about this.  What horrible timing to become unavailable!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 January 2016 - 11:25 am
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You are in an awesome area for care! That's terrific!

Please don't feel bad. Your vet gave you the kind of advice vets always have, but thankfully that has changed over the last several years. Most general practice vets who've been around a while are still so unaware of what types of activities a Tripawd should and shouldn't have after surgery. The field of canine rehab is so new and teaching us so much about appropriate and inappropriate activity, that it's going to be a while before vets stop saying things like that, but hey that's why Tripawds is here, to get the word out.  In fact we were told the same thing, and had a ACL (really a CCL in dogs) rupture scare with Jerry, see this post for details. We hope that Patches can heal just as well.

Please tune into Tripawd Talk Radio this Sunday, you'll learn so much about Tripawd pain management from Dr. Petty. See:

Recognize and Treat Pain in Pets, this Sunday on Tripawd Talk Radio

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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6 January 2016 - 10:00 pm
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WOW! Just catching up in this whole heartwarming story! And the pictures...OMD! Melting my heart over here!!

Thank goD Patches is with you! What a special Soul you are!

Yeah, don't waste one second of your energy on guilt! As Jerry said, that's the advice far too many vets are giving still! But you know what? Unfortunately, these "injuries" happen even when all sorts of precautions are taken.

We are right here by your side every step of the way, okay? You are not alone! You stay connected to us, okay? Let us be here for you like you are being there for Patches and his Dad.

Really glad Patches is feeling more comfortable now. You make sure you get some rest too!

Sending lots of 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!

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26 February 2016 - 5:43 am
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poohpup said
Hi all!  I'm Linda and I'm fostering the sweetest pit mix for his daddy through Dogs On Deployment.  This sweet pup is named Patchy and he lost his right front leg after being hit by a car.  I'm caring for Patchy while his daddy is deployed in the Middle East and expect to have him for 8-9 months. 

Hi Stitchmom! Thanks for joining and registering. Looks like you wanted to post something after Linda's post? Try again, you'll get it!

Idaho
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26 February 2016 - 8:04 pm
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Here is a link to Daisy's story. She was a front legger who needed CCL surgery in the rear.
Daisy having knee surgery

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel...and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Idaho
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26 February 2016 - 9:39 pm
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Well...that didn't work. Jerry, can you find Daisy's story?

Kathi

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

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27 February 2016 - 12:16 am
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I am so sad to hear about Patchy. I'm in your area and AES is the best. I would recommend them to anyone and I've had a couple different special needs dogs go through their doors. You will definitely be in good hands. 

Let me tell you a bit about Cora. She experienced damage either in the womb or at birth. It's not clear what, because Mamma was a stray. What is known is basically since birth Cora had significant brain damage and deformed and useless front leg. The brain damage caused her to be blind and it also causes weakness on her left side. It is her right front leg that was deformed and amputated. While it's not an injury, I do think it demonstrates that dogs can cope even problems with the opposite limb. Her back left leg often slides out from under her if she's on slick floors or tired but she's found a way to get around even with the added challenge of being blind. So keep hope for Patchy.

I don't know if it matters at this point, but I had huge troubles with Cora in the car. A kennel didn't really help, she just tried to stand in the kennel and I felt like she was getting banged around in there. Cora is 3 and I feel like I've really only come up with a solution that works. I have a subaru, so she goes in the way back and jam one of those huge Costco beds in the back. It doesn't even fully fit so it doesn't lay flat. For one thing, this discourages Cora from even trying to stand. And if she is standing and she falls, it's a soft fall.

One last though. I don't know how it works, but Patchy's situation is tugging at my heart strings in a big way. If there's issues with the vet bills, I could help talk you and/or Patchy's dad through how to setup a Go Fund Me page. And I would spread the word and I know plenty of animal lovers and plenty of people who want to support the troops so it would get good, local attention. 

Idaho
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27 February 2016 - 9:13 am
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Trying this again....http://tripawds.....e-surgery/

Kathi

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Here and Now


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27 February 2016 - 10:01 am
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murphsmom said
Jerry, can you find Daisy's story?

Looks like you beat us to it. Post above has been editid to include the correct link:

Daisy having knee surgery

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27 March 2016 - 4:52 am
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Let's see if I can get this to work.  Sorry that I disappeared after all your helpful advice.  I tried coming here several times and posted long replies only to have them disappear.   Grrrr.  Let's see if this one works.

I appreciate all of your support!  I have a big update on Patchy.  We tried doing rehab with him but it became pretty obvious that rehab wasn't going to work and he really needed surgery.  I let Patchy's owner know this and he called the vet and was able to speak to the surgeon.  The whole office knew about Patchy's story and the financial difficulties his owner was facing.  One of the employees there happened to text the story to her mom and next thing she knew, her mom had started a fund raising campaign and in less than a week was able to raise the money for Patchy's surgery!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I sent a message to Patchy's daddy to please call me as soon as he got a chance.  He called me, still groggy from sleep and I gave him the news.  There was stunned silence and then disbelief!  He was so stunned, as was I.  So I'm on the phone with him bawling because I'm so happy.  He was so touched and so grateful that complete strangers stepped up to help.  I could feel the stress being reduced over the phone line.  What an incredible thing!  This kind of thing goes far beyond just touching this one member of the military.  His co-workers hear this and it lifts them up to know that people care enough to help out and support one of their own.  It just means the world to them.
So Patchy had his surgery on March 18th and it went really well.  But there was some bad news too.  While taking x-rays before surgery, they decided to x-ray his other knee too.  It turns out that Patchy has a partial tear in his other leg and he is going to need surgery on that leg too.  The amazing thing is that this kind woman who stepped up and started fund raising for Patchy is continuing and we're hopeful that enough money will be raised that he'll be able to have his second surgery as soon as he's ready!  I have shed a whole lot of happy tears over this.  Patchy is just the sweetest boy and his owner is such a nice person and he loves his fur baby so much.  I'm beyond grateful to be able to be a part of this.  No matter what, Patchy is going to get this second surgery done and when his daddy comes home later this year, he will be happy and healthy.  
Patchy is doing great.  His swelling has gone down, he is bearing weight on his leg, getting around great for his potty breaks, eating well, and is tolerating his forced rest well.  Thankfully several of the meds he's on make him sleepy so he is calm and relaxed most of the time.  He was having a hard time in his crate because he kept bumping his cone on the top and sides every time he tried to shift around to get comfortable.  I put out a plea to borrow a child fence on my community facebook page and within a couple of hours I had a baby fence in my family room with Patchy happily sleeping on his favorite bed and no longer hitting his cone when he moves around.  It has meant so much to me that people have been so willing to help.  
The vet wants to wait until Patchy hits the six week mark before doing the second surgery.  Because he is a tripawd, she wants to make sure that his leg is really ready to take the extra burden when he has his next surgery.  That would put surgery around May 1st.  Recovery definitely hasn't been easy, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I so grateful for all the help that has made that light possible.
I have a couple of pictures to share.  One of Patchy in his new roomier quarters.  He likes his Comfy Cone much better than the hard plastic one.  The second photo is of my daughter doing her homework with Patchy so he has a chance to get out of his cone.  He loves it when he gets to take his cone off but he needs constant supervision because he really, really wants to chew on those stitches!
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The Rainbow Bridge



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27 March 2016 - 10:52 am
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Oh wow what news! Really happy to hear everything is going well overall. Bummer about the other leg, but now that you've been through it once you can do it again no problem. He's such a lucky dawg to have you and such kindhearted, wonderful folks looking out for him!

Keep on sharing pics, we'd love to follow along with his progress. Thank you for being such an amazing foster momma to him.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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27 March 2016 - 6:19 pm
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Just got caught up on this story! You are so wonderful for taking such amazing care of Patchy!! I'm so glad he's recovering well and amazed at the kindness of the strangers that helped raise the money for his surgeries! Hopefully the second surgery goes smoothly for him and his recovery goes well. 

Cassie and Domino

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Domino had his left front leg amputate on May 13th 2014 after being hit by a car. He's now living a happy healthy life on three legs :)

Virginia




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27 March 2016 - 8:21 pm
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Soooooo wonderful to hear from you AND see these adorable pictures!! The picture of your daughter sitti g with Patchy...toooo cute!!

Your generosity of Spirit, the generosity of Spirit of everyone involved in helping this courageous dog shows the best of humanity!!

You've gotten some good links to help you navigate through this challenge.

Can't remember if you've checked I to doggy strollers or not. Go to the Gear blog here. That may help him at least be able ro go outside and have a change of scenery. There are also all sorts of "interactive tous" you can get ro help him from being so bored.

Patch could not have better care. You are his Guardian A gel, that's for sure.

Looking forward to following Patch and celebrating all his upcoming vitories!

Take care kf yourself too, okay?

Much love

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!

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27 March 2016 - 10:10 pm
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Thanks for the kind words and suggestions.  I don't think a stroller would work for Patchy because he is so strong and gets so excited when he goes outside.  I seriously doubt he would stay still or quiet in a stroller.  I'd be terrified of him trying to jump out and injure himself.  I'm using a sling when I walk him and it is working great as a brake when he gets too excited outside.  

I have a lot of different things to keep boredom at bay while he's confined.  I have some puzzle toys as well as horns and antlers to chew.  The only problem right now is that he can't really do much while he has the cone.  He has to have someone sitting right next to him anytime his cone is off.  He is desperate to chew on those stitches!  I'm hopeful that he'll be able to get rid of the cone after he gets his stitches out on Thursday.  

I started a facebook page for Patchy so that people who are interested can follow his progress.  So many people have donated and I've no idea who they are.  I really wanted to have some way that they could see the sweet pup they've helped.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to post a reunion video when his daddy comes home later this year.  You can find his FB page here: Patchy the Tripawd

While I appreciate all the kind words, I'm hardly any saint.  I can't imagine there isn't a single one of you who wouldn't do everything they could for this sweet boy if you were in my position.  When I took him in, I promised his daddy that I'd love and care for him as if he was my own.  That has been a very easy promise to keep.

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