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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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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
9 July 2019
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5 August 2019 - 1:05 pm
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Hi All!

My boyfriend and I have just adopted a 10-month old black lab named Phoenix from a pet rescue that found her injured in a rural Alabama shelter. She is a very sweet and snuggly little pup. We have a black lab already named Riley. She is very well-behaved and a great new big sister for Phoenix.

Phoenix was found with a left front left injury that resulted in muscle atrophy around the shoulder and she was dragging the leg. The vet at the rescue did an amazing amputation that has since healed beautifully. She adjusted to life on three legs very quickly and is full of puppy energy!

Phoenix also had a left eye injury when they found her. She has been on eye drops since a few days before we picked her up (~4 weeks) to help, but the vet said it is glaucoma and are recommending we have the eye removed. The pressure level in her eye was 46 and they said the normal for dogs should be 15-20, so i know my poor baby is in pain. She can still see a little bit out of the eye and the drops are helping to bring the pressure down, but it is slow progress. She absolutely hates the drops and it is a struggle every day to get them in 3 times a day. It took 4 of us to hold her down to get the eye pressure test at the vet, and she is only 36 pounds! 

Our options are eye removal or keeping her on those eye drops for the rest of her life to keep her pressure levels under control, or having the eye removed. I am hesitant to have the eye removed since she can still see a bit out of it, but those drops are a nightmare.

We had no experience with a tripawd before her and so far it is all going very well, but we also have no experience with a one-eyed dog (let alone a one-eyed, three-legged dog). Wondering if anyone has any tips/tricks/suggestions? Any issues with the amputation and eye removal potentially being on the same side?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!


The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 25731
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5 August 2019 - 2:23 pm
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Hi Katelyn, Phoenix, Riley and Dad! 

Sounds like you have a fun pack and things are otherwise going great. Yeah! When I started reading about what’s happening with Phoenix’s eye I immediately thought of Merry Myrtle. She is not a Tripawd but Sally has had very recent experience with what you are going through. See:


It’s 15 pages of discussion to go through so if you want to Private Message Sally directly (benny55) I know she would be glad to share her experience with you.

I also know we’ve had one-eyed Tripawds join us through the years, like One-Eyed Jack the Trikitty.

Animals always surprise us humans with their adaptability. I think we overthink things, and they just go on living life as always, with some minor adjustments. Try not to panic, I’ll bet Phoenix is going to blow you away with her resiliency!

Keep us posted.

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5 August 2019 - 3:30 pm
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Awww….what a lucky pack you have!!   I know Phoenix has won the Pupoy Lottery, that’s  for sure!!!

Glad Jerry gave you links to Merry Myrtle’s “glaucoma  journey” and I hope it helps.  

I can completely  ten million percent relate to not being able to get eye drops in a large dog who will not cooperate!!   No one would ever know how IMPOSSIBLE  it is unless you’ve experienced  it!!

Couple of suggestions.   First of all, have you taken Phoenix  to an actual Animal Eye Care Specialist?  I know they are somewhat of a “rare breed” and it may require  a bit of traveling  to find one.  Yoi wamt yo make sure there is no evidence that this involves the other eye also.  While my Merry Myrtle was first treated as a “scratch” in one eye, it quickly (seemingly) went to “glaucoma”.  Like you, it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to give her the drops as needed to keep the pressure down.

Anyway, she ended up being blind in both eyes due to glaucoma.   The Eye Specialist attributed  it more to predisposition pf rhe breed (Bull Mastiff).

Loke uour Phoenix, the eye pressure  resulted in pain that could not be controlled.

Do use a harness instead of a collar to avoid any extra pressure  in the head/neck area.  Murtle’s harness says :  Blind Rock Star on it😎

So do your research.  Try and get to a Specialist  if at all possible.  I opted for a procedure that stops the fluid build up.  I believe it’s  called:

    Intravitreal Gentamicin Injection 

Feel free to PM me and I’ll be glad to help in anyway I can and explain why I went that route as opposed to the other.  No right or wrong, okay?  Both procedures  stip rhe pain!!

Here’s a good link from an Eye Clinic Specialty  Clinic


Here are some  things you can do to help prepare her should she become blind in that eye, and, probably will never happen, but just in case she becomes  blind jn the other eye.  Use a clicker or hand clap as you guide her to the kitchen or to the bed, or to the outside, whatever.  As you go up and down steps with her, tap the step and say step.  Tap the water bowl and say water, etc.  You get the point.

And yes, Merry Myrtle is a four legger, but I doubt the adjustment would be any different for a three legger.  Can’t  remember the name, but I do know we had a senior tripawd who was blind and handled three just fine,  all thi gs considered 

Extra 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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