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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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Albuquerque, NM
Member Since:
13 January 2019
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13 December 2019 - 3:57 pm
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It's been almost a year since Ziva had her back leg amputated. The surgery and recovery were both rough, yet smoother than expected. It didn't take long for her to adapt to life on three legs. We moved out of our third floor apartment (finally!) and are now renting a house. She hates the tile floors, but we've gotten around that for the most part by buying rugs and rubber flooring for her. She's even found her favorite spot in the yard that she refuses to leave most of the time. The last 11 months have been wonderful.

About a month and a half ago, we noticed a bump growing on Ziva's belly. We scheduled an appointment to have it looked at, but before the appointment date, we noticed some pus dripping from it. We rushed her into the vet that same morning, hoping for the best news. They confirmed our worst fears - it was another tumor. We had a long talk with the vet and weighed our options. We could have the tumor removed, making it her third surgery in a couple of years, but due to the recurrence rate and the history of cancer, there would be no guarantee she wouldn't develop another one. Even with the surgery, the vet estimated another 6-8 months due to her age. It has been the hardest decision of our lives, but we decided that with the odds against her and with her age, it's time to start to say goodbye. We brought Ziva home with some medication to keep her comfortable and will let her live out the rest of her days as amazing as we can make them. 

It's been about 3 weeks since we brought her home. At first, the at home care was simple. Keep the tumor clean and give her some meds. Easy peasy. It didn't seem to bother her much. Just like the last two, this tumor has grown in size very rapidly. It's started to abcess and bleed more. The last couple of nights have been rough. Ziva has kept us up late with her heavy panting and restlessness. At this point, we're afraid it's down to days, a week or two tops. We want to make sure we can keep Ziva comfortable at home, without having her suffer at all. We want to do what's best for her - even if we aren't ready. 

I've never personally had to put a dog down. I've been lucky enough that my previous pups have passed away in their sleep when they were ready. This is a really difficult decision we've had to make and I don't wish the pain on anyone. The Tripawds community has always been amazing. 

Thank you to everyone who has been there for us since day one. We couldn't have survived this without you! 

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On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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13 December 2019 - 10:44 pm
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Oh Ziva! I was just thinking about you! I’m so sad about this. I know you are the same spunky sweetheart though, and living life to the max as usual. You won’t let cancer get the best of you.

I’m sure you guys are spoiling her rotten and making the most of every day. What kind of bucket list activities are you working on? Can we come along too?!

Stay strong and know that your sweet girl is a warrior. Cancer will never take that away. We love you Ziva!

PS: we published this blog post that may help you guys right now:

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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14 December 2019 - 12:26 pm
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Awwww, such a sweet picture of a sweet Soul.💖

You love for Ziva is so strong, as her ,ove fot uou.  You have alway done what is best for Ziva, and you always will.  She knows that.

Not sure about the panting.   Keep your Vet in the loop.  Could be just a matter  of tweaking  the pain meds, or just an "off" day.

I just want you to know the gift of release  (whenever  that ti e comes), is the ultimate in selfless love.   Your .ove is strong and that is what will carry you through each moment.  

Continue  to stay in the moment, in the present, in the now,  That's  exactly what Ziva is doing.   She has no fear, no worries, she's just enj sll uoir loving  and spoiling .  And ,its pf extrz tumny treats... like ice cream, cheetos, any junk food she wants!

You mentioned  you haven't  been with a pup during "transition ".  And that's  what it is, they transition  out of their failing earth clothes and reclaim  their vibrant, pain free energy as they head to The Rainbow Bridge .

You  ight ask uour Vet about a home visi qhen rhe rime comes, or check into Lap of Love for home visits.  I hope that to e is a long time from now, but when it does happen you want to make it a celebration of a life so well loved and so well lived!  As hard as it it, and it's  hard, let Ziva see you smiling, not crying, and telling  hrr what a good girl she is.  Give her lots of forbidden food...even a piece of chocolate.    She needs to know she's  free to go and that ypu will br okay.   

Know thst we are here to support you, to send you strength  and  love snd to send you peace and clarity.


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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