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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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New to tripawds, adopted puppy with partial limb; help please!
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15 August 2010
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15 August 2010 - 7:49 am
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3 weeks ago I adopted an 8 week old puppy from the shelter. She is missing half of her left hind leg due to her mom chewing off her foot a few weeks after she was born. She seems to have adjusted quite well and is otherwise in really good health. My vet expressed some concern that she has the remaining other half of her leg because she is worried it could become a problem later if she tries to use it. Does anyone have a dog with half of their leg? It is cut off right at the hock joint. I also want to know about how to exercise her safely. I know at 11 weeks she is a little young, but once she is done growing will she be alright to go on short hikes? Has anyone ever done agility with their 3 legged dog? I would love to do agility with her once she gets old enough if it is something she could handle. Of course I would not expect her to do all the jumps involved, but it terms of taking a class and doing the obstacles she is comfortable with do you think that would be alright? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Thank you everyone for your responses! She is an amazing little puppy. Her name is Daenerys, but I call her Dany for short. Her name comes from a character in the book “A Game of Thrones”. I adopted her 3 weeks ago from my local shelter and she is 11 weeks old now. I had gone into the shelter with no intention of adopting a puppy, more just to be around all the animals. However, I was just about to leave when they brought her into the puppy room and placed her in the cage. She was trembling so badly and I got her out and held her for a minute. Then I just feel in love with her and I could not put her back. Her previous owner had actually just turned her into the shelter about 30 minutes before I got there. She had turned her in due to her missing foot. I had never had any experience around 3 legged dogs before, but she does amaze me! She is an extremely fast runner and very energetic. You would not even know she is missing a leg the way she plays and runs.

……As far as posting a picture. I do not have an online blog or anything to upload from. Is there anyway to post a picture from a file on your computer?

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15 August 2010 - 1:42 pm
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I don't have any answers for you but do want to say you deserve a great big award!!!  Congratulations for seeing the possibilities.  And, I saw on Animal Planet a disc dog competition and coming in 8th place was a   tripawd!  That dog also did tons of other stuff so the opportunities are unlimited…..good luck to you and your new baby….

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15 August 2010 - 2:09 pm
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hello there 🙂

well I didnt have such experiance,my dog was complete tripawd after amputation due to osteosarcom, but at one point I was looking some ortho braces for him for remaning leg cause had a severe arthristis in its elbow and hock joint so ordered a support brace at this site – had a wonderful experiance with them,they seemed very professional and expeditious, and they all kind of prostetic as well,so maybe take a look there if can find any solution for your little girl – even though think dogs to adapt better with missing limb or part of it then prostetic but there are many cases were they get used to it with no bigger problem and it becomes a normal part of their life.

Well,guess you should discuss it with her vet,thought if could be just a suggestion.

Good luck 🙂



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15 August 2010 - 2:10 pm
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Congratulations and God Bless you for adopting such a special puppy !!  And – welcome to This is a very special place.

A friend of mine has a heeler/border cross dog who was abused as a puppy – had her front leg twisted so badly it had to be removed at the shoulder. Anyway – this dog is one of the fastest, most agile dogs I have ever seen. Her “dis”ability does not slow her down at all. She is now about 3 years old. They don't do formal agility trials or anything like that – but I would bet that Roxie (the dog) would more than hold her own in jumps and on course. She is WAY faster than my golden retriever ever was … 

I would encourage you to let her try it. OF COURSE – check with your vet about any potential issues with growing / joints and jumping putting extra strain on hip joints, etc.  

I know that they did hydrotherapy with Roxie – underwater treadmill – after her amputation – but she was older than your pup when she lost her leg. 

As far as the vet's concern about her stump – I would discuss that with her some more – maybe she  is concerned about the puppy (what's her name?) trying to use the limb and damaging it (?).   Maybe others here have some advice for you about that. 

Tripawds will amaze you with what they can do – they don't know that they are different from other dogs.

As someone very wise recently told me: 

“…you never saw me different… never hesitated or doubt …you ignored stares from those unaware… showed many what love's about…”

Tana and Spirit Sophie

Sophie (1998 – 2010)

"Going Dog" def: living every day in the moment

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."


My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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15 August 2010 - 5:47 pm
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Welcome to tripawds!  and bless your soul for not being afraid of a special needs pup.  Thank you for giving him a chance, so many folks do not.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

15 August 2010 - 6:58 pm
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Hi and welcome!  My name is Pam, I'm mom to Shelby (5 year old golden retriever) who has been a Tripawd since 7/2/10.  My email address is and if you will email me directly, I will hook you up with a friend who adopted a golden puppy with the same exact thing…..leg was chewed off and she got Spirit a prothesis.


Hope to hear from you…and again, welcome.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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15 August 2010 - 9:20 pm
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Welcome and bless you for adopting a tripawd!


Maggie did agility before and she is working on it now with her now.  She is a rear amp.


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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16 August 2010 - 8:17 am
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Welcome. What a story!

Comet, who is now nearly an old lady, was born with a non-functioning fore limb that was not amputated, so might give you some idea what it is like to have part of an appendage there, although maybe she doesn't try to use it that way your Dany will. I had the impression she thought it was more a hindrance than a help. Cometdog?

Golden Girls
16 August 2010 - 8:52 am
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Welcome, and what a big heart you have to adopt a pup tripawd! May you both have many happy & healthy years together!


Paws up!


Cathy/Jane/Spirit Skyler/Chloe

The Rainbow Bridge

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16 August 2010 - 9:58 am
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shelbysmom said:

I will hook you up with a friend who adopted a golden puppy with the same exact thing…..leg was chewed off and she got Spirit a prothesis.

We would love to hear from her too! While we often hear about dogs getting prosthestics, we never hear how they do with them in the long term. Our friend Three Legged Max has a new brother who his Mom, a prosthetician, is attempting to train him to use. It's been slow going from what I understand. Feel free to PM Meg through Facebook (she only spends time here in the Chat), I know she'd be hoppy to tell you how it's going and what to expect.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Rainbow Bridge
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16 August 2010 - 10:13 am
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Hi.  Yes, my new pup, Edward has a prosthesis I made for him (I'm a prosthetist for people).  He isn't really missing his foot so much as it is just short.  His front left foot just stopped growing, so that leg is significantly shorter than his other legs.  He still tries to use his foot, even without his prosthesis on, but my concern was for his spine–walking all lopsided isn't going to be good for him in the long term.  He has a prosthesis, but hasn't gotten to wear it much yet because he's still living at his foster home.  In about two weeks I'm going to be living there to (got laid off and I'm moving in with my friend), so he's going to be wearing it a lot more once that happens.  He did walk in the 4th of July parade, though, and was really using it when he ran.  He got tons of cheers from the crowd, too. 

As far as your pup goes, it's hard to say whether a prosthesis would work or not at that level.  There are two places I know of that do pet prostheses.  One is, which was mentioned earlier.  The other is  I don't know their pricing, but I am sure if you email them or call they can give you recommendations as to whether or not a prosthesis would be a good choice for you pup.  I'd like to get into pet prostheses, but they aren't hiring 🙁  And since I got laid off, I don't have access to the materials til I get a new job. 


Good luck to you and your new pup.  My Three Legged Max and Edward 3.5 are my little angels. 



Angel Max ***
2000-2014 ***
I miss my boy so much

The Rainbow Bridge

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16 August 2010 - 10:17 am
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daenerys said:

Does anyone have a dog with half of their leg?

I know at 11 weeks she is a little young, but once she is done growing will she be alright to go on short hikes?

……As far as posting a picture. I do not have an online blog or anything to upload from. Is there anyway to post a picture from a file on your computer?

Welcome to Tripawds! Hope you don't mind that we moved your post, but our Beyond Cancer Forum here is geared toward pups in Dany's circumstances.

Congratulations on adopting such a sweetie. I just can't believe it that someone would dump a dog just because she's missing part of his leg. So mean! But what fate that you were there, Dany will have a great life with you!

I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

Yes, we have had other Tripawds here with partial limbs, like Three Legged Max's brother, Edward. Edward doesn't have a blog yet, but talk to his Mom Meg, she'll tell you how it's going.

There is also Little Buddy, who isn't too much older and has a paw missing.

Our own Tripawds Spokesdawg, Wyatt Ray, has a good size stump on his rear leg.

I would wait and see how it goes with how she uses her leg. Don't rush into a prosthetic until you know how it will or won't cause issues. Our friend Max's Mom, the prosthetician, has written this great post about Prosthetic Limbs for Dogs here.

As for hiking, she is way young. Dogs shouldn't go more than one mile before they are a year old. Doing so can cause joint damage. And after that, take it slow and just see how she does. Most dogs who started out as Tripawds when they were puppies, have a lot more endurance than older dogs who go through amputation. But it all depends on the dogs, their weight, and their breed.

And speaking of weight, the BEST thing you can do for Dany is to keep her weight down and thinner than you think she should be. The worst thing for a Tripawd is to be overweight. It will shorten her endurance and cause joint damage.

Regarding the pictures: Check out our Tips on posting photos to the forums. Why not start Dany her very own Tripawd Blog to document her life?

Thank you so much for joining us here and giving Dany a chance at a great life. It's so exciting to bring a new pup into our lives, congratulations! Just take it slow and remember that if there's one beautiful lesson we learn from our Tripawds, is to take each day as it comes and enjoy it as if it were our last. Savor each moment and focus on the time at hand. The future is now in Tripawdland!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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16 August 2010 - 11:36 am
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 Welcome, what a great thing to adopt a special little puppy that most people would have just walked pass. She will continue to amaze you. Best of luck with Dany, enjoy her, love her, she will bring such happiness into your life. Thank you for giving her a chance at life, being a tripawd heck you or she will never miss that spare leg!  winker


Jo Ann & Tasha

Tasha 8 years old, First cancer diagnosis 6/26/09, Last cancer diagnosis 9/26/09, Amputation 10/01/09, Loving our girl moment by moment.

Tasha lost her battle and became my Angel on May 4 2011. Forever in my heart….

Wesley Chapel, FL
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16 August 2010 - 5:20 pm
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I'm so happy to hear that you adopted this special needs puppy… That is wonderful of you!!!

I agree with admins post… wait and see how she does with her deformed leg first… before worrying about fitting her with a prosthesis.

It'd be great if you started a blog about Dany… This way, you can document her life and be able to upload pictures of her too! What kind of dog is she? Small, medium or large breed? Dogs with only 3 legs can do amazingly as I'm sure you've already seen from some of our other tripawd members!

Sending you and Dany a big fat hug!!!

Angel Jake and Wolfie's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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16 August 2010 - 8:39 pm
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Sorry, I forgot to say what type dog she is. The shelter said she is some sort of mixed breed terrier. However, the vet thinks she is some type of mixed breed sheltie. They think she will probably be around 25 to 30 pounds, but no more than 40 pounds. I think the main concern the vet has about her leg is that she will cause damage to it by trying to use it like a normal leg. She is scared she is going to use it to prop herself up and to help her get up after sitting and laying down. She said we will have to watch her and make sure she does not cause damage to it by using it. If she does use it then it may be best to remove the rest of her leg at the hip.

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