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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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Guiness - new Tripawd - A little advice greatly appreciated
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Forum Posts: 12
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17 September 2010
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17 September 2010 - 10:45 am
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Hi, firstly thank you for allowing me to post on your site i have spent hours today looking through your site and it has been of great comfort to me.

I will introduce you quickly to Guiness my handsome 8 yr old lab cross, he is my baby and is never far from my side.

Just over 3 months ago Guiness was run over, he slipped a harness and a halti collar to try and get to another dog (he hates other dogs apart from the other 1 he lives with) intially we thought he had broken his leg, but subsequent x-rays found that all his tendons around his hock area had been servered which were allowing the hock joint to move around freely. After trying to stabalise the joint with splinting and bandaging, after 10 days the vets decided the only option to stabalise the joint would be to pin it.

After the pinning of the joint things went down hill very rapidly, after 4 days the pins were infected and we spent the next 2 weeks fighting off the infection, which had by this time spread into his bone. Lots of antibiotics and iv drips later he seemed to be getting back on his paws, and 5 weeks later had the pins removed.

This was 5 weeks ago and although he was managing on it it was certainly not anything like prior to his accident.

Three days ago running to greet me on my return from work he skidded and fell and immediatly began to scream in pain, i knew in my heart this was bad, after a visit to emergency vets an anesthetic and several xrays later they told me the bone hadnt healed from the pins and had snapped in half when he fell.

The only option for him was to have his right hind leg amputated which happened yesterday. All went well in the operation and he seems to be doing ok but i on the other hand have got no idea what to do for him, other than love him, the vets were far from helpfull on any tips for what i should be doing for him to aid his recovery, so any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for the long ramble and thanks again

Guiness is my baby we have had 8 wonderful 4 legged years together.

We intend on having many, many more 3 legged ones

Guiness took on a moving car and lost.

Leg amputated 16-09-2010

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 September 2010 - 10:58 am
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Oh my gosh you're not rambling at all, we're glad you're here (but sorry you had to be). What a ruff time!

Hope you don't mind we moved your topic here, but you'll find that lots of other pups in this Thread are Tripawds for similar reasons.

Guinness sounds like such a trooper. You'll be surprised at how well he does but in the meantime, we recommend starting with our Required Reading List, which goes over things like how to Tripawd-proof your house, deal with recovery and cope with the next couple of weeks. While a lot of these questions are about dogs with cancer most of it applies to Tripawds for other reasons too.

Oh, and you can tell your vet s/he should check out the list too! 😉

You mention that Guiness is a Lab-cross. Is he overweight at all? If so, you'll  need to focus on keeping his weight down. This is critical for helping him get along in life without injuring his joints.

Speaking of physical therapy, I recommend you watch our video interviews with California Animal Rehabilitation too. They talk about lots of good things like how to cope with recovery, supplements to consider and how to exercise without overdoing it.

Your other dog should be fine when Guiness comes home, but you may want to give Guiness a safe, confined place to recuperate for at least a week. If you can cordon him off with a baby gate somewhere, to let him get his rest, that would be helpful. We understand this is hard in a multi-dog househould though.

I hope this helps. Let us know what other questions you have after checking out the Required Reading List OK? You'll find lots of great pawrents here with different ideas that can help make recovery easier.

Keep us posted.

P.S. Please consider registering as a member so that your posts don't need to be moderated and can appear right away OK?

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krun15
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17 September 2010 - 11:49 am
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Hi and welcome to Tripawds.

Not much to add to what Jerry posted above- I'll wait until you have specific questions after doing your 'Required Reading'.

When my pug Maggie had her amp (left rear) the only real guidance we got was 'dogs do fine on three legs'.  Nothing prepared me for the ups and downs of the first couple weeks of recovery.  Some  pups bounce right back- some take a bit of time.  All the meds mess with their mood, and the 'new normal' of being a tripawd can mess with their balance. 

Is Guiness an adaptable dog?  Maggie DID NOT like change- and took her time getting back to herself after surgery.  In hindsight it made sense because she hated any change in her routine.  But she was eventually walking a mile or more on her own (on short little pug legs!).  The first two weeks or so of recovery can be challenging- so don't get discouraged.  Stay positive around Guiness, you have to show him that nothing is wrong.

And ultimatley the vet was right- Maggie did do fine on three legs.

Let us know what questions you have- and we always love to see pictures.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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17 September 2010 - 12:28 pm
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Hi, and a kiss for Guinness.  I don't know what he is crossed with, but if he is anything like my lab, he will amaze you.  My 8 year old lab Ajax was diagnosed with a chondrosarcoma (locally invasive malignant sarcoma, but not likely to spread).  After much ado, the bottom line was that the tumor should come out, due to it's location the only way for it to come out was amputation, and the doctors believed the amputation would be curative (i.e., no cancer left).

Ajax had his right rear leg amputated July 19.  If you search “Ajax” you can see my posts of his progress.  He is doing great.  It was nerve wracking at first, sometimes still is a little, but he sits, runs, swims, climbs, bounces (which I am discourageing) – and he is super happy.  Random people in my building who have known him since he was a puppy have commented on how happy he seems – one even said she had thought he was getting a little crabby “in his old age” and now he seems much happier.

My advice is read all of the recommended reading, pay special attention to the tips re: (i) covering slippery floors and (2) effects of post-amp medication that might worry you but are only temporary.  Also I have found the rehab stuff helpful.

And definitely check out my Ajax posts – I think they will make you feel better and give you a little bit of a chronology of what to expect.  The great news is that Guinness isn't otherwise sick – so once he recovers from his surgery, I'd imagine he will be a happy camper.

Hang in there.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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17 September 2010 - 3:43 pm
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Welcome Guiness!

Poor, poor thing!  That must have been such a scare!    Loving him is part of the healing, too!  You've gotten some good advice already and you'll be inundated mentally.  So, I'm just going to wish you lots of pawsitive healing thoughts for now. 

Comet's mom 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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17 September 2010 - 8:05 pm
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You are lucky in the sense that you do not have to battle cancer on top of the amputation (like most people here). Chloe had a similar type of cancer to Ajax where it was just confined to the area and once the leg was gone, so was the cancer.

Like Karen said, some take to the 3 legs faster than others, but do not be discouraged! If YOU keep acting like everything is normal, Guiness will think so too! Greet him with lots of love all the time even if the sutures look icky (you will get used to it)! They feed off your energy so keep in high spirits!

We are sending our thoughts to you in hopes of a speedy and uneventful recovery!!

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

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18 September 2010 - 4:00 am
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Thank you all so much for your kind replies and advice i'm not sure how i would of made it through yesterday without everyones help.

Guiness seems much happier today, i was woken with a big kiss across my face, which was just wonderful and the last thing i expected, he is also very waggy tailed today, although the tail was waggy yesterday its now the waggiest i have seen it in a few months, which gives me a sense that a huge amount of the pain he has been in has gone.

He is however the deepest shade of purple i have ever seen around his amputation site, not sure i was entirley prepared for that, but on the other hand what else should i expect when my baby has had his leg taken off.

All in all he seems much brighter and perkier this morning and is getting up and hoping around whenever the mood takes him, he always was a bit on the bone idle side he he 

Anyway thanks agains for all your support it is appreciated more than you would know.

Toni x x  

Guiness is my baby we have had 8 wonderful 4 legged years together.

We intend on having many, many more 3 legged ones

Guiness took on a moving car and lost.

Leg amputated 16-09-2010

Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
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18 September 2010 - 4:59 am
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Great to hear he's doing better. The bruising is normal, I was a bit shocked and worried when my boy Zorion's leg turned nearly black with bruising after his amp. If you want to check out my story, I have a photo of Zorion's leg including all the bruising up there.

Our story is slightly similar, but there was about 2 months between the first operation (Femoral Head Ostectomy to 'fix' a badly dislocated hip which included pinning the femur as he had broken part of it as well) and the amputation. He was a crabby puppy between the two ops, he wasn't putting any weight on his right rear leg, just dragging it around. The difference once that leg was gone was astounding. We are now just over 4 months post amp, and he is a completely different dog.

Our recovery time was very short after the amputation, there were only a handful of days before he was running round like mad again – he was only 8 months old when he had his amputation, and he adapted very well.

Like others have said, stay positive – or pawsitive as the case may be 🙂 – the best thing you can do for Guiness is to treat him like normal. Love him lots more of course, but don't treat him like he's lost a limb.

 

Amy (Zorion's Mum)

 

PS – Labs rule! (So do Kelpies, but Labs are always number one, just don't tell Zorion :D)

Zorion – my 3-legged Kelpie. Joined the world of Tripawds on May 6th after a bad dislocation and failed FHO. Loving life as a Tripawd. Still capable of working sheep (and horses unfortunately) and loving having a sister now.
Jenny – my 4-legged Labrador. Obedience titled and loving being part of my family again, and enjoying teaching Zorion some manners.

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18 September 2010 - 10:55 am
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Hi Toni,

Sorry for everything Guiness has gone through. I'm so glad he's doing better and out of pain. What a great way to be woken up!! 

Maybe you read this on Jerry's required reading  – it really helped us to us to know that the 2 weeks after surgery are like a roller coaster ride. . .minus the part where its fun. Some here call it the 2 weeks from hell – lots of ups and downs. Honey slept a lot afterwards and slowly bounded back. The bright side of this is that Guiness doesn't have cancer. . .you don't want to fight that battle. . .and the losing a back leg is much easier to adapt to. He won't even know it's gone!

All the best to you and Guiness!

Alice

Dx Osteosarcoma  3/31/10.  Amputation 7/21/10. Honey put up a valiant fight and lost her battle 9/22/10. Missing her and treasuring 9 years with our Honeygurl.

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19 September 2010 - 2:43 pm
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MMMM not such a great day today it has been a bit like the roller coaster Honeygurl described.

He was very very agitated this morning as though his stitches were pulling, or maybe some phantom pain in his leg, either way a nice sunday dinner from his mamma's has done him the world of good.

He is however now worn out and has been aslep for the past 1 1/2 next to me, there is nothing better than snuggle time with my baby.

Guiness is my baby we have had 8 wonderful 4 legged years together.

We intend on having many, many more 3 legged ones

Guiness took on a moving car and lost.

Leg amputated 16-09-2010

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19 September 2010 - 2:49 pm
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Whenever Chloe would switch sides she was laying on post amp, I think the twisting motions tugged her staples because she would sometimes yelp.  It was also hard for her to get comfortable sometimes, circle, squat, stand, circle another direction, squat, stand etc…and repeat this until she finally gave up and just laid on the floor to sleep.  Resting is always good. 

Take it one day at a time and pretty soon that roller coaster ride will come to an end.

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

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19 September 2010 - 3:19 pm
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Thanks for that Chloes mum, i was relly worried about that he sends sometimes 20 minutes trying to sit on his amp site, he does the same as Chloe did, circle – squat lay on the other side – stand -circle – squat again.

I am hoping there will come a time when he can sit comfortable on his amp site, and i certainly cant wait for this to all be a distant memory.

Thanks again

Toni and Guiness x x

Guiness is my baby we have had 8 wonderful 4 legged years together.

We intend on having many, many more 3 legged ones

Guiness took on a moving car and lost.

Leg amputated 16-09-2010

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19 September 2010 - 3:47 pm
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Chloe finally got over it and here is a picture of her on my parent's lawn about a week after amputation! She did prefer the other side for the most part, but I always gave her extra love when she was laying on her amp site laugh 

Image Enlarger

 

She is at week 7 and lays on both sides interchangeably.  Although it seems that with her leg missing it is easy access to lick her butt and for other dogs to sniff her butt too.  Some of the little dogs look like they could be her 4th leg!!  Oh the funny joys of owning a tripawd…

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

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19 September 2010 - 4:36 pm
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Ahhh Chloe is just beautiful, she is doing so well in that pic even after a week,

Its really nice to see the progrees of other tripawds, it really really helps to stop me feeling so deflated everytime he doesnt seem to be doing so well.

All i can say is thank the lord for this site, with people such as your self and everyone else who has helped me with there kind words, i think my vet may of taken me off of his records by now with a stalking charge to go with it he he 🙂

Thank you again Chloes mum, give chloe a kiss from me and tell her what a clever brave girl she is

Toni and Guiness

Guiness is my baby we have had 8 wonderful 4 legged years together.

We intend on having many, many more 3 legged ones

Guiness took on a moving car and lost.

Leg amputated 16-09-2010

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19 September 2010 - 5:05 pm
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I will be sure to give Chloe a kiss from you guys! Just remember all dogs are different, some recover quickly, others not and that Guiness has the huge advantage of not having to deal with cancer.  Just know that Guiness's recovery will be his own (what ever it may be) and that is perfectly fine. We are not here to judge one another, only to offer prior experiences with our pets smiley

Chloe too had some deep purple/red bruising but it went away around the time her staples came out.  Hopefully Guiness's goes away sooner than that!

Chloe was on the quicker side of recovery (running and steep stairs by end of second week), but even at week 7 she is doing great! I just posted some videos of her exploring the beach! I must say the soft sand is a hard workout for a tripawd (so our visits arent longer than 20 min).

Check it out here!

-Chloe's mom

PS Thank you for your kind words, I am just glad that my experience with Chloe can help someone else since other people on this site have done the same for me when I was in your shoes.  It feels great to “pay it forward”.

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

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