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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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Ranger became a Tripod today.
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Maine
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
2 April 2009
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2 April 2009 - 10:00 pm
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Ranger is a 9 mo old, American Staffordshire pup, and although he is very loving and smart, watching his mother nose open the entry door to enjoy the Spring weather was just too much for him.  He followed his mother as she ran to enjoy the spring day and they later found themselves on our too nearby turnpike.  I was beside myself with worry and looking everywhere for them. Later I received a call that someone had found them, and that Ranger had been struck by a car. 

He suffered 3 broken legs, both front femurs, and the left hind spiral fracture.  The Ortho vet pinned the hind leg and put splints on the front legs thinking that they would be fine and a little over a week later Ranger came home for several days.  We took him back to have his splints changed, only to find that the trauma had caused sloughing of the skin and necrosis of the muscle in the left front leg..the vet was intending to treat this surgically and expected Ranger to be there for at least a month.  Today it was discovered that the left leg had also experienced Brachial Plexus Avulsion and was not repairable..and the decision was made by the vet to amputate the limb. 

I've been doing research all afternoon, trying to learn as much as I can about how to help my puppy heal and lead a happy, healthy life as a tripod.  I am heartbroken that this little guy has had to endure so much and will be so changed and want to make the transition as easy for him as possible.  He still has a fracture in his other front leg, the vet does not intend to re-splint it, as he feels that good healing has taken place and doesn't want to limit his ability to function by splinting it.  I'm not sure about this decision..but I guess he knows more than I in this case.  Any help or suggestions for dealing with a puppy that is recuperating from two broken legs and an amputation would be very helpful to me.

Ranger also lives with his 4 year old mother, Bella (Am Staff) and 14 year old, Lady (Pit Bull Mix).  I don't anticipate that they will be rough with him, as I can keep him segregated from them.  I've learned some things already about how the first week he will want to rest and that I should cover my hard wood floors with carpeting or runners.  I also plan to purchase an elevated food and water tray for him. 

Thanks for your help.  Cry

Forum Posts: 132
Member Since:
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3 April 2009 - 9:39 am
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Oh my, poor little dude! He's lucky to have such good humans.

My dog had his left front leg amputated (he's an older Rottweiler, due to bone cancer) and is doing reallly well. However, when I was at MSU and got the diagnosis, I chatted with someone with Great Dane rescue who had a pup abouts six months old with a very badly damaged left front leg. We've stayed in touch…I guess it was amputated, the pup is doing great and just started training to be a therapy dog. He's about the same age as Ranger now, I guess.

No practical advice, except that since he's at an age where socialization and leadership is so important in his life, I'd still try to get him out and about when possible, and keep up with training and boundaries….can he walk much at all yet?

I did find that Cooper was walking and capable of what I thought astonishing activity within a few days of the amp….of course he didn't have another broken leg, just a little arthritis. He has a harness, which I didn't use after the amp. I tried helping him out with a sling at first but he was quite offended by the idea.

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 11867
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3 April 2009 - 10:31 am
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Bless you for taking such good care of Ranger and thank you for joining the discussion. Sounds like what Ranger needs most right now is lots of rest and time by himself to recuperate. As a pup, once he regains his strength, he should adapt well. Keep ups posted!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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3 April 2009 - 7:47 pm
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Well, I need not tell you how adaptable a staffie or pittie can be.  I am sure Ranger will be good as new in just a short time.  As a pup, I bet he barely notices the change.   We picked up Trouble two days after her surgery, and she hasn't missed a beat yet.  Within 48 hours she was following me around the house, and now 4 months later, she's faster hopping than she was walking.

Putting something on the floors is a must.  We have slick tile and she did/does have a tough time with her footing if she gets off her runners.

Welcome to the group.  Keep us posted on the progress of that sweet pup.

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.

Maine
Forum Posts: 5
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5 April 2009 - 6:07 am
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Thanks to you all for sharing your stories with me.  Please believe me when I say that it does help me to feel much better about his prospects for the future.  I will always be very grateful to you all for the support and kindness of the people here.

My Orthopedic Vet, Dr. Gauger, told me on Friday that he was in good spirits, eating and drinking well, and that he does not seem to be in any pain and it is doubtful in his opinion that Ranger felt much of anything from the surgery, other than relief that the limb is no longer in his way.  He's not walking about much at the moment because of the other fractured femur.  But Dr.Gauger said that he is standing on it and they allow him to take a few steps when he's taken outside for his bathroom privileges.  The Dr. did not want to put another splint on his remaining front leg, as he felt that it would impede his mobility and that it's calcified to the point that with crate rest it should be fine…but it sure does make me nervous…  I asked Dr. Gauger about giving him a daily dose of Glucosamine and Chondroiten and he felt it was a good idea.  He also agreed with my making/purchasing a memory foam bed for him.  He was unaware that sites, such as this wonderful site existed..so I sure hope that I've passed on some information that will help someone else in the future.

So yesterday I went shopping and purchased runners, even though it will be awhile before he'll actually need to use them.  I also purchased some memory foam and plan on making him a couple of beds to lie down on, and the Glucosamine supplements. 

Ranger had been in a companion dog class at the time of this accident, and I had begun Agility training with Bella, which I plan to continue.  I think with Ranger's personality he might just make a wonderful Therapy dog and may look into that after he's healed well and able to be mobile. 

And Yes, Huga…I am ever in awe of the love, loyalty and all around braininess of these dogs..I never planned to have Pits, but my children were the instigators in saving the life of the first one…after that my fate was sealed.  And I'm delighted with them, each and every one. 

I'm sure that I'll continue to have questions, and will keep you up to date and add pics as we progress.

Many thanks! Denise

Northern CA
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
23 December 2008
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5 April 2009 - 8:03 am
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Denise,

We wish you and Ranger all the best. Our Wrigley had her front left leg amputated in Dec due to cancer, and she did very well as a tripawd. There really wasn't anything she couldn't do- she also used to play rough with our other Shepherd and after the amputation there seemed to be a mutual understanding between them that some rules had changed. I never had to worry about him hurting her.

I wish you all the best in your recovery-Ranger is lucky to have a  wonderful mom.

Seanne

Seanne and Angel Wrigley

Here and Now


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5 April 2009 - 8:28 am
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Rangersmom said:

Thanks to you all for sharing your stories with me. 


And thank you for sharing yours! Together we can help prove to the world that its better to hop on three legs than to limp on four. Thanks for the update!

Maine
Forum Posts: 5
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2 April 2009
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8 April 2009 - 5:01 pm
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Ranger is finally back home.  The Ortho vet did a very nice job on the amputation, it doesn't look bad at all, just a zipper of sutures and lots of shaved areas.  He's spending lots of time in his crate..due to the other broken leg.  They didn't want him standing on it much.  He can sit up in his crate and I've made him one mighty fine mattress out of “Memory foam”.  He seems to like it alot…as well as my older dog Lady, I imagine her arthritis feels much better on the extra pad I have now.

We have two more weeks of being crated and then sutures are removed.  I hope to find out that he can begin walking on his own at that point.  Soon also he'll be having the screw removed from the hind leg.  Poor puppy, not out of the woods yet.

I found out through a friend at work, that one of her Golden's had a leg removed due to Cancer.  I never knew.  It's amazing what I'm learning as the word gets out about Rangers accident.  She is giving me a harness/seatbelt and miles of indoor outdoor carpeting for him to use.  She's been a wonderful asset as well as a wonderful friend.

Just wanted to give everyone an update.  He's just as sweet as ever. 

Denise[Image Can Not Be Found]

Maine
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8 April 2009 - 5:48 pm
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My Rangeman home at last!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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8 April 2009 - 6:10 pm
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What a beautiful boy.  Keep on truckin, Ranger.

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.

Here and Now


Forum Posts: 11867
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8 April 2009 - 7:15 pm
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Thanks for the update. Welcome home Ranger! You look great. Big Grin

Forum Posts: 132
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9 April 2009 - 5:04 am
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What a sweet looking pup. I'm secretary for a small rescue and seems we often get pibbles 🙂 ….I have fostered a few, they are lovely dogs.

Speedy healing to Ranger!

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