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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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29 September 2010 - 6:53 am
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Pippa ourfive year old greyhound shattered her leg two weeks ago.

She had surgery involving pins and metal plates but yeserday I was told there was no chance of the leg repairing itself. I had two options amputation or putting her to sleep.

It has been the longest two weeks but we have decided to go for amputation she is far to alert and healthy to consider putting down.

She will have the surgery on Friday 9.30 british time.

If anyone has any tips for me that would be great.

Its an adventure I am not looking forward to at the moment.blush

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29 September 2010 - 8:31 am
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Welcome Pippa and Family

Sorry you found yourself in this situation, with a shattered leg, but you definitely found the right place to go for information and support – here. You can find many tips on this website about what you can do post-amputation to make it easier on you and your pup. I am whisking off to work, so I'll leave it to someone else to add more on that.

Being 3-legged is definitely no reason to 'put a dog down'. They can enjoy life just as much as a 4-legger, but probably more since they tend to be incredibly spoiled.

It is often easier to select amputation rather than a lot of messy surgeries on the leg, which might not have a good outcome.

The Rainbow Bridge

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29 September 2010 - 8:43 am
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Pippa and family, we're so sorry you had to go through this, but in a few weeks you're going to feel soooo much better. Greys get along wonderfully as Tripawds, their svelte figures and gracefullness really help them make the transition.

We always recommend starting with our Recommended Reading List. You'll find lots of tips and advice for ensuring your house is ready, how to handle recovery, and what to expect post-op. I think you'll find all of your questions answered there but if not, please know that there are lots of us here who can help.

One thing I do want to mention that you need to talk to your vet about is the tendency for greys to bleed and bruise excessively after a major surgery like this. Check our Downloads Blog for this important information.

We have a few members in the U.K. here as well as in our Tripawds Facebook page, so be sure to stop by there too OK?

Hope this info helps! Let us know what other questions you have OK? Good luck this week!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Here and Now

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29 September 2010 - 9:15 am
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wattsme said:

If anyone has any tips for me that would be great.

You will find lots of recovery tips and care advice in Jerry's Required Reading List, which includes many links to the best Tripawds blog posts and forum topics from the past few years.

Best wishes to Pippa for a quick, complete recovery. We look forward to following her progress. Thanks for joining!

Golden Girls
29 September 2010 - 9:25 am
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Welcome to our Tripawd family! We are sending lots of pawsitive thoughts & prayers your way for Pippa's surgery to go well. Please keep us posted! Make sure you get lots of rest, as the next 2 weeks are the hardest!

Cathy/Jane Spirit Skyler/Chloe

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29 September 2010 - 10:27 am
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Hi all I can do is second what everyone else said – the tips on this site are very helpful.  And it will be so much better than you are imagining right now – Ajax just had his 2 month ampuversary, and the only remaining “differences” from when he had 4 legs are visual – and all it does is get him even MORE attention!  Definitely read all the required reading before you pup comes home from surgery, and check back when you have questions – lots of useful info to be found here.  We'll be sending good thoughts your way!

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29 September 2010 - 11:25 am
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Welcome to the family, the one great thing you have going for you is your not dealing with cancer, so count that as a plus. Your first 2 weeks won't be real pretty, not much sleep. your buddy probably won't be the usual, but it is amazing that after those first 2 weeks how much better things seem to get. I wouldn't even worry about Pippa having three legs, once healed you won't believe how well they do. If you want, go to youtube and punch in 2 legged greyhound, you won't believe what you will see,  3 will seem like to many once you see that. Phantom pain might be an issue, some get it, some don't. Gabapentin is a good drug to help with that. Gus didn't get along with tramadol, he was restless, extra heavy panting, not much appetite, but once off that he did alot better. He was on Gabapentin and rimidyl. These guys adjust so well the whole thing will be actually harder on you than the dog. You found a great place here, don't be afraid to ask anything, experience gives the best answers and we have all been down this road, so someone will have dealt with something you will encounter.Good luck, Paws up, spirit Gus and Dan

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Las Vegas, Nevada
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29 September 2010 - 12:25 pm
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Welcome Pippa!


So sorry to hear about the leg!  But feel very, very blessed that your Pippa doesn't have cancer!  You have only the amputation surgery hurdle to deal with.  After that, it will be great.  Trust us, your new adventure will be way better than you think!  We promise. 

Let us know how the surgery goes!

Comet's mom

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.

Livermore CA
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29 September 2010 - 2:10 pm
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I'm so sorry to read about Pippa's leg.  But if she just had major surgery two weeks ago, you already know how recovering from surgery goes.  And that's the only bad part.  After the recovery time, life goes back to normal, or very close.  Stairs can be a problem, but not necessarily–some dogs learn to do them, some don't.  Pippa will have to build up some strength in the remaining legs and learn a new way of balancing, but that doesn't take very long– in fact, that process has probably already begun.  Then she'll be out soaking up lots of attention.  People will be amazed by her and you'll meet lots more than you would have otherwise.

I want to encourage you to think about ice cream.  That's the way we celebrate milestones around here, and after Pippa's first two weeks of recovery, you'll be celebrating a lot.

Can you post some pictures?  We'd love to put a face to the name.


Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Houston Texas
Forum Posts: 52
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29 September 2010 - 3:42 pm
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Pippa is lucky she is slim by nature. The vet told me that I have to keep Mousie on the slim side, which is going to be difficult because she loves to pig out and she gets really chubby around the holidays. I mean: as wide as she is long!


We are also new to this tripod thing too, Mousie's surgery was just yesterday. I was a little scared at first, but i visited this page http://tripawds…..ding-list/ and went through all the articles.


The one cool thing i love about tripod dogs is that, they always leave such an impression, you always remember them…. the bravery, the love for life…the tenacity. it makes them soooo endearing!

The quest for world domination continues on three legs. Comply minions!


Read about my big sister Shelli who just passed away to the lymphnode sarcoma

Northeastern PA
Forum Posts: 116
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29 September 2010 - 5:53 pm
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Hi Pippa and family!


The first few weeks will be rough, but Pippa will amaze you with how well she adapts.  And, she has probably been in a lot of pain the last two weeks with her shattered leg/surgery, so she will surprise you even more once that pain is no longer there.


Best of luck – keep us posted on how she's doing.

Zack, King of Dogs, 1996 to 2010

Zack lived a full 14 years, even to the end.

The joy and memories he provided us will last a lifetime.

Surviving him is his sister, Izzy, a 12-year-old boxer mix quadpawd.
And the latest addition, Zula, an 11-month-old pit bull mix tripawd.

14 October 2010 - 5:18 am
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Its been nearly two weeks now since the op, and Pippa is doing amazing.We are already doing short trips to the park and when she sees her friends she is over the moon.

We live in a small village here in England and she is something of a celebrity so gets lots of fuss.

The stitches came out Monday and we have one more trip to the vets in 7 days to make sure a few saw bits have healed.

Many thanks for the support I have had as it seems to have been a very long 5 weeks since she first broke her leg.

P s . It was rear leg amputation and she is already managing most things by herself.big-grin

Here and Now

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14 October 2010 - 10:17 am
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Thnaks for the update! Glad to hear pippa is doing so well. Can't wait to see some photos. FYI: From your Forum profile (see button at top) you will find a link to your User Avatar upload page.

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 October 2010 - 12:20 pm
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Yeay Pippa! Keep it up, you're an inspawration!

We can't wait to see photos!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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14 October 2010 - 5:57 pm
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well here I was going to post my usual Ruffwear Harness and no slip rugs and I see that Pippa is doing just fine….so pffffft to those suggestions!!!


Yea for her doing so well…please do post pictures and keep us posted on her recovery.

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