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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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Member Since:
30 March 2022
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30 March 2022 - 12:46 pm
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I have a 6 yr old lab, Dixie, who had her right rear leg amputated after a boating accident. She is coming home today, and I am so excited nervous anxious. How much help will she need? I am freaking out right now

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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30 March 2022 - 1:33 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm sorry to hear about Dixie's accident but I'm glad you found us.

Don't worry- amputation surgery and recovery is usually harder on us than on our pups or kitties!

Many pups don't need any help getting around but if Dixie does need help you can use a harness (since she is a rear amp it shouldn't hit the incision) or make a DIY sling.

There is lots of good information  with our  What to Expect articles, as well as in the Reading List.

You want to have good traction for her so keep her in a room with carpet or put down throw rugs or yoga mats.  Our surgeon said that only short, leashed potty breaks are allowed for the first two weeks, Dixie needs to rest and heal.

Be calm and confident when you are around her- she will look to you to be sure everything is OK. 

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:
22 February 2013
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30 March 2022 - 2:36 pm
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Bummer you have to be here, but as you can see from Karen's informative  feedback, you are in the right place for support and "all things tripawd".  It is scary for you, but we promise  you, she'll adapt  and you'll soon mirror her confidence and resilience.   That's  not saying reco is a picn9c at first, but it doesn't  last furever!!

Has Dixie already spent the night at the clinic, or is she coming  home same day as surgery.   If same day, that br be a bit unsettling  as you see her shake off the anes and still on strong hospital meds.  Some sleep or off and some are a bit restless and vocal.  Just depends  on the dog.

How old is Dixie and how much does she weigh?  Good pain management   is cruc to healing.  Most dogs come home with Gabapentin. Rimadyl (or so e other anti inflammatory) and an antibiotic. Some have a Fentynal  pain patch for a few days, some don't.

Some dogs are mobile enoigh to hop a vit when they come home, some dogs need a few days before they get their sea legs.  So no worries, she'll work ot out st her own pace.

Stay conn and let us know how the homecoming  is going and how we can help, okay?

Oh, and she mat not feel like eating mich at first and she may not poop for a few days.  Drinking and pee are import though.

You've got this.....and so does Dixie!!👍


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

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 March 2022 - 5:14 pm
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Dixie & Mom, thanks for posting! It was nice chatting with you today in the Tripawds Chat . How did your reunion go? Is she home yet?

Try not to panic. Check out our Tripawds Start here page for a tour of all the ways we can help you.

I didn't get a chance to ask if you have slippery floors. Traction is super important for 3-legged animals. You'll want to make sure she has a safe place to walk to her food/water bowls and to get outside to potty. Carpet runners are the best way to make that happen. Our Tripawds Recovery Shopping List has tons of great ideas too.

Let us know how we can help OK? You are not alone!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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