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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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I adopted a newly made tripod
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Forum Posts: 14
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18 March 2019 - 9:02 pm
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 Hi, I adopted Jake, a newly made a tripod,  from our local animal shelter on Saturday. He had his left rear leg removed on Thursday. I love animals and have rescued other it dogs. I fell in love with this little guy. He’s some kind of a Chihuahua Dachshund mix and he just turned two years old. He lost his back leg because his previous owners had not taken care of a broken leg with a hip dislocation. The bone in the leg had remodeled and he wasn’t able to walk well and didn’t like putting weight on it if he was standing. His muscles had atrophied on his leg and hip. The veterinarian thought that having the leg amputated would be the best thing to enhance the quality of his life once the staff decided he was worth saving. Just as in many places my area has more animals at the shelter than there is room. My biggest concern for Jacob right now is pain. They sent me home with a type of NSAIDl and antibiotics. I am concerned about pain control. I had my shoulder replaced in January and though I’m no longer on pain medication I can tell that it hurts. I can only imagine the amount of pain he is in. At least I got good control with opioids for the first ten days. He is only prescribed pain medication until Thursday. As of right now, I’m positive his pain is breaking through the medication they sent me home with.  I’m attempting to get him into my veterinarian earlier than Wednesday. When I talked to the folks at the Animal Shelter the veterinarians comment was, “Well when I saw him last he didn’t seem to be in much pain.”  She only saw him in her clinic and is not with him day and night.   Having scored as much as I can from the Internet and having owned dogs for the last 40 years, I am positive that his pain is not under control. He doesn’t always whine but periodically he’ll scream if he moves just wrong and he just doesn’t seem right. Of course I don’t have the benefit of knowing him prior to surgery.  He is doing really well as far as being able to walk in go to the restroom. From what I understand from the shelter staff he didn’t use the back leg much though he would put weight on it when he walked. When he stood he would take all of his weight off of his leg. After reading some of the information in the blogs posted by many of you, I feel fortunate that the reason he lost his leg was not due to cancer. However, it infuriates me that his owners didn’t get him the medical attention he needed when the dislocation and breaks happened. We have programs in my area that could have helped with cost. I could really use some advice on understanding the level of pain from an amputation. Maybe I’m wrong and he doesn’t need the medication. I normally read everything I can about something as serious as an amputation before the deed but I didn’t know I would have this little guy in my life prior to Saturday. His having three legs doesn’t bother me but I do want to make his journey as easy as possible as he starts this new part if his life. So of course I really could use the advice from you all!

Thanks ahead of time for your help,

glo

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 March 2019 - 9:49 pm
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What a lucky boy to find his way to you. Thank you for giving him a greaf life!

im on my phone now so sorry to be brief but I’m a poor typist on it. I agree that is not enough pain medication. Nothing gets us more riled up here than a dog who comes home without proper pain control. Good move to call your vet and not waste time with the other one who doesn’t seem to be up on moder pain management protocols. 

We have lots of info about pain control like here

https://tripawd…..-and-cats/

Let us know what your vet says. I hope your boy can get some relief soon.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




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18 March 2019 - 10:17 pm
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Hello and welcome, and congrats on your new addition!

First- you are right, Jake needs real pain meds.  Most here now come home with Tramadol, Gabapentin as well as a NSAID, sometimes a pain patch and most are taking some type of pain meds for at least two weeks.  My Tripawd Elly had a dental surgery last month and was on pain meds for 2 weeks (it was a very invasive surgery). 

I adopted Elly when she was 10 months old, she had been hit by a car at 7 months old and lost her right rear leg as a result.  She is just over 4 years old now and can do pretty much anything a dog her size and age can do, she is a Pug mix. Since she will be on three for most of her life I do try and limit some activities to protect the one back leg.  We also do lots of core strength and balance exercises.  I use exercises, trick and obedience training, and food puzzles and games, everything is fun for her so it’s not like work. 

I hope you get into your vet sooner than later, once you get the pain controlled I’m sure Jake will be fine.

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

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19 March 2019 - 11:18 am
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Unfortunately when I called my veterinarian to make an appointment I cannot get him in until Thursday afternoon. I’m bummed by this but I’m working to keep Jake as comfortable as I can. I have the option to take him back to the Shelter veterinarian but with her attitude I don’t think this would be very helpful for him. She seems to have a totally poor understanding of pain in dogs. I know he did receive a narcotic pain medication for his first day after surgery. I’m just frustrated by the attitude that dogs don’t process pain the way humans do so they don’t need the pain management

I have another question for you all. In reading some of the information it seems that some dogs get physical therapy of sorts as they heal. I’m still receiving PT myself for my shoulder.  I have been so busy looking up all I can for pain management I haven’t had time to look up PT. Is there a place I can go to find some basic PT for a new tripod?

Livermore, CA




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19 March 2019 - 11:58 am
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Do you have an ER vet you can go to sooner than Thursday?  I know it’s expensive but maybe a backup plan if Jake gets really uncomfortable.  You probably know from your surgery experience that getting pain back under control is much harder than controlling it from the beginning.

As far as PT goes- where are you located? Here is a list of certified PT’s you can search, scroll down until you get to Find Certified Veterinary Rehab Vets and Techs

There are lots of exercise ideas on our site, I searched the Blogs on Exercise and got these posts.  I also searched on Rehab and got these results.  There is some duplication in those two search results, many of the posts have links to other information.

You want to wait until Jake’s sutures are out and the vet clears him for activity, for my first Tripawd that was at the two week mark post surgery.  Then start slowly to build up strength. 

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 March 2019 - 9:53 am
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I hope today’s visit went well. And I agree, don’t waste time with the shelter vet, go to your own now.

We are HUGE advocates for pain management here. Many vets who graduated prior to the 2000s have not kept up on the advances over the last 10 years. Those who have furthered their veterinary pain management education are GOLDEN.

I was reading an article about pain management last night in the AAHA magazine “Trends,” in which vets describe the poor pain management education that they received prior to the early 2000s. It was tragic, and these vets acknowledge that it was the dark ages back then, they didn’t understand how animals processed pain. Basically they were taught to control all of the side effects of pain (vocalization, movement), without controlling the pain itself, in order to prevent the animal from “undoing” the procedure. Tools of the trade in those days were Acepromazine, Trazadone, etc., to quiet the dog with sedatives so they wouldn’t move or vocalize. Sadly they could still feel the pain, as vets understand now.  

Sending a dog home with just a NSAID is equivalent to giving a human ibuprophen after an amputation surgery. It’s not humane, or good medicine. Good for you for advocating for Jake!

Let us know how today goes. 

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




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21 March 2019 - 10:49 am
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Just want to add my welcome to Jacob and his wonderful  hooman!  You are soing a great job of advocating gor him.

Can’t  wait to see some pics of this cutie pie!  Looking  forward to following  him as he thrives k. Three in such a loving home😎❤

Let us know about the pain meds when you can.  Jerry’s input about Vets regretting  not having  adequate  training in pain management   is really sad.  To think that pain management   is still “new” to some  Vets…..grrrr.

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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21 March 2019 - 3:46 pm
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Jake had a good Veterinarian appointment today. He is now on Tramadol and Gabapentin and he gave me Vetprofen, an anti inflammatory as well because the shelter vet only gave him enough to last until this evening. The little guy runs out of the shelter anti inflammatory today. I like my veterinarian. At least he listens. He probed the incision and Jake handle that well. He thinks part of the pain issue is caused by the pulling of the stitches when Jake moves in certain ways. All I know is it causes so much pain he yells. 

Overall, other than pain, which is a big deal, Jacob is doing quite well it seems. He gets around well, no problems with going to the restroom and the pain with medication on board, he is more interested in his environment as well as being more playful.

I am learning so much on this site and I thank the site administrators and the various folks who keep  blogs for all this information. I’m looking forward to reading the books I purchased as well. Normally I research things before they happen but as I’ve mentioned I didn’t know until Saturday that I would have this special little guy in my life. What a great addition to my household. He was quick to figure out how to fit in with my menagerie of cats and dogs. He has two cats now in his life that I kept out of my litter of four who were rescued when their mother didn’t return when they were just a week old as well as the Border Collie and my “God only knows” big girl who are both rescued and my 15 year old Miniature Poodle (the only non rescue in the home). Periodically I dog sit for several friends so my menagerie is used to animals coming in who aren’t mine but the crew seems to understand that Jacob is here to stay.   Aren’t critters amazing!!! Once I figure out how to upload a photo I’ll do so. 

glo

Livermore, CA




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21 March 2019 - 4:07 pm
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Sounds great! I think it is really important to have a good relationship with your vet.

And your pack sounds very cool too!

Now that Jake is feeling better your challenge will be to keep him quiet while he finishes healing.  I bet he feels so much better with out that painful leg and the youngsters tend to feel like nothing happened, especially now that the pain meds are on board.

Photos have to be hosted on line somewhere, Here are Instructions for Adding Photos to Posts.

Can’t wait to see pics of Jake and the rest of the crew.  My Elly is around 20% Chi, my first experience with that breed.

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

Virginia




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22 March 2019 - 9:19 am
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Thank you for giving  so much love and care to all your pups and cats.  They are so lucky  to have you as their hooman!

So glad you got some good pain meds fot Jake now.  And we, like your Bet too!!   If he is having any phantom  limb pain, the Gaba should take care of it.

Sounds  like Jake is doing realky well for a pup who just had MAJOR surgery  and is adjust to a new mobility,  as well as a new furever home!  As Karen said, he still needs to take it slow and easy during recovery. 

Can’t  wait for the pics!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 March 2019 - 10:12 am
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Yay for the awesome vet you have on your side! Doesn’t it make such a difference? 

How is Jacob and the menagerie doing today? I hope he’s doing well and they’re all getting along great.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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31 March 2019 - 12:08 pm
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Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!  I lost this post for a while but I’m learning how to figure out how to get through this site and find my way around. I posted a introduction for him as well elsewhere. He got his staples out but it was a traumatic day for him as he stayed at the shelter waiting for six hours. I’m kicking myself for that. I thought the original surgeon (vet) should see him and check out the incision. But he was clearly traumatized. He came out shaking and trembling. I know he thought I left him there forever. But it didn’t take long for him to bounce back. By the time I got him to the car he settled down. When he got home he rushed to the backyard and peed a bucketful. I guess no one took him outside. And he doesn’t like peeing if he’s in a cage the shelter folks had told me when I got him. He was really happy to be home with the menagerie. Looking back over the last two weeks I would have done things very differently. He would have gone to my veterinarian immediately after adoption and I would also have had Dr. Wolf (it’s really the name of my veterinarian) take out the staples. Poor Jake. But now I’m set to doing things right for the little guy. He’s supposed to go for a short walk down by the river today but the weather is looking sketchy. I’m hoping the walk lets him know that going for a car ride can be fun. The river happens to be near the shelter so I know some of the smells will kick in the memory of his six weeks at the shelter. I want him to know that they can be fun in that area. 

Now that the staples are out he is doing so much better. He moves better and sure plays a lot more. I’m easing up a bit on the pain meds to see how he does. I know the scar is a bit tender for him but in time that will go away. He’s a great little guy. I missed him like crazy when he was at the shelter waiting for staple removal. I’m really glad my menagerie accepted him so well! I periodically care for my friends dogs when they are out of town so they are used to having dogs in and out of the house. However they seem to know Jake is one of them and won’t be leaving any time soon. He fills a void caused by the loss of my 13 year old Minature Poodle, Hannah in November 2018.  I still have her brother,Jeremiah who is now 14, who had to give the okay for Jake to come home with me. 

I picked up a no pull harness for Jake’s walks but I was wondering about some of the harnesses I see for sale for Tripods on this site. Do any of you use one?  I have trained my other animals via a choke collar or a prong collar. However, when Jake is put on a lead I noticed he freaks a little. He also has a very hoarse bark and chokes a bit after drinking. I’m not certain but I think he has been dragged while waking at some point and time. I know this can’t cause problems with a dog’s trachea. So I thought the no pull harness would be good for him for walks. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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31 March 2019 - 2:59 pm
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I’m so happy you found your way back here! You can always message us anytime or stop by the Tripawds Chat and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, that’s good news Jake is back with the pack and adjusting with everyone. I’ll bet your sweet Hannah is just thrilled from above that Jeremiah has a new sibling. And whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up too much for the learning curve. We’ve all been through some kind of similar experience with our animals, and as long as we learn from it and modify how we do things in the future, that’s all that matters. 

I picked up a no pull harness for Jake’s walks but I was wondering about some of the harnesses I see for sale for Tripods on this site. Do any of you use one?

We don’t recommend a no-pull harness for a Tripawd, based on what rehab therapists have told us. The harness alters the gait, and on a Tripawd that already has a modified gait to compensate for the missing limb, it can really mess with mobility and movement. The harnesses we recommend on the Tripawds Gear Shop have been tested by all sizes and types of Tripawds, and work best for three-leggers. You’ll find lots of reviews in the blog and also in our “Hopping Around” forum topic. 

For Jake, I would recommend the Ruffwear Webmaster . It’s the “houdini-proof” harness and since you are just getting to know him, will keep him safe if he turns out to be an escape artist.

The harnesses we carry also have a d-ring on back, so you can attach a leash and get pressure off Jake’s neck. It does sound like he was mishandled in his past, poor guy. The coughing symptoms are something your vet should know about, just in case there’s another issue going on. Probably not, but it would be good to know.

Cheers to you and Jake and the pack! Hope things just get better from here. Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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31 March 2019 - 3:03 pm
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glosmenagerie said
Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!  I lost this post for a while but I’m learning how to figure out how to get through this site and find my way around. I posted a introduction for him as well elsewhere.

Found it in Share Your Story.

Here’s the link, I’ve included the link to this post there too.

https://tripawd…..akes-story

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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31 March 2019 - 7:17 pm
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Jerry, thanks for the info on the harness. I’ll pick up a better harness for him now that I know what’s up. He did really great on his walk today but getting him settled in the car was a battle that surprised me with his extreme reaction.  

I was expecting a problem and knew he would need to be comfortated a bit since his last four car rides led to nothing good. First, at the end of his car ride his previous owners signed him over to the Animal shelter where he spent six weeks.  Second, I picked him up and shows him from the shelter two days after his amputation and took him to a place that he had never been with animals he had never met before. (Of course that ended up being a good car ride in retrospect for him but I know his doggy brain really didn’t see it that way.) Third I took him to see my vet   who poked and prodded the incision. (Though he didn’t know it then that one was good as he got pain meds he needed.)Forth, I took him back to the shelter where he stayed for six hours while he got his staples out. (Getting the staples out was really good because as my veterinarian told me they were poking him in different ways whenever he moved.)  so today I put him in the car and he starts yelling and whining and really going bonkers. He crawled over my shoulder and down my back and tried to do anything he could to make sure that I wouldn’t leave him there or take him someplace else where he didn’t know anything. No that means that he likes being with me and doesn’t want to leave that’s a good thing.

But he had never had a car ride with me that’s far where something fun happened. This time he did. He had a lovely walk, shorter than my norm by his necessity. He did something I didn’t expect again, rather than pulling me he walked behind me most of the way. I’m not certain what that was all about but I have a guess. I think he wanted to keep me in his site. It could be from his previous owners as well.

Getting to know a new rescued dog, I’ve learned that there’s a steep learning curve for me as well as the dog. Jake’s personality shows he likes people and I do believe he was loved by his previous owners but they did something’s wrong.

First and foremost was not getting his leg checked out when the breaks and dislocation happened. I understand being on a tight budget, as I’m on one as well but I know that there is an animal organization in town that will help with costs at times. He also has a possible collapsed trachea which I found when I was looking up that subject for my Poodle’s (theirs was caused by a genetic problem) is common in toy or smaller breeds as people who don’t learn how to walk their dogs on a loose lead and use the pulling back or dragging their dogs around method.

I’ve no doubt that as this little guy learns that I’m not planning on going anywhere in his life.

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