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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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The vet left part of his shoulder in...
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Member Since:
26 October 2021
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26 October 2021 - 3:47 am
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Hello! I'm very new here, and definitely struggling with the fact that my one year old greyhound mix had to have a front leg amputation after being hit by a car. The vet said they needed to amputate the whole limb, so we looked at pictures in the days waiting to take him home, and then when we got him we were so shocked! The vet left part of his shoulder in!  It's a boney part, and it moves sometimes, and it's horrible to look at.  Why on earth would they do that, instead of taking everything out? 

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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26 October 2021 - 9:39 am
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Hi @milosmommy, welcome. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away! Are you in the UK? Just curious, because of the time you posted (way early here!).

Generally, how much of the leg that gets taken is a matter of the vet's preference, and also the health condition/diagnosis. Some vets will do a partial amputation because it's what they learned in school and it's easier for them. Some believe leaving more leg helps with balance. And if a pet has a limb cancer, the tumor location can also determine how much or little of the leg is taken.

Either way, partial amputations have pros and cons.

The cons: a partial amputation can present some wound healing issues, because the skin is so thin around the bony area. I hope you won't need to go there though! How is the area healing? 

The pros: Many vets believe more stump helps with balance and adds cushion. Also, if a client has a prosthesis in mind for their dog, it's imperative to leave as much of the leg as possible. But it sounds like this wasn't something you talked to your vet about? If not, you may want to have your dog evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon to see if he's a good candidate for a prosthetic leg. That would be a real bonus if you are able to invest in the time and cost of prosthetic training. 

If it's any comfort, you aren't the only one whose dog has gone through a partial amputation. See this article for examples:

Partial vs. Full Leg Amputation for Dogs and Cats, What’s Better?

Oh, what's your dog's name? 

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