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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So Buddy, my 10-year-old, 80 lb. chocolate lab, seems to be recovering well. Due to an cancerous tumor, his right rear leg was amputated 10 days ago, but he is becoming more himself with every passing day. That’s great! AND that’s a problem. In his four-legged life, he was a lunatic: active, jumping, running full-tilt, crazy guy. And as he feels better, he is having flashes of his old self.
Unfortunately, that means that he is prone to slipping on the hardwood floors in my house because he has gotten up too fast or is being too excited. I have laid out non-slip paths everywhere in my house, but all it takes is for him to get too excited on a 12 x 12 inch piece of hardwood for him to end up on his belly. Tonight, while I was trying to prepare his dinner, he got excited and somehow fell on his stomach. Of course, I immediately hauled him up by the handle on his harness, but I am worried that he is going to hurt himself.
Part of my concern is that his remaining rear leg has had the TPLO surgery (the same as the one that was amputated). I am worried he is going to blow out that knee. I have a million questions, but I will start with a few: (1) How long does it take for them to realize that leg is not there anymore? (2) Besides carpeting my entire house, is there anything else I can do to help him not slip on the hardwood and linoleum floors? (3) Are there exercises or something that he and I should be doing to strength his remaining rear leg?
I have made an appointment to take him to warm water hydrotherapy and a massage as soon as his staples come out on Monday the 13th, but are there other therapies that I should be considering?
Thanks for sharing your experience….
Hi and welcome! That’s GREAT Buddy is doing so well! I have a ton of thoughts for you and Buddy but I’m on my phone and not a great typist here. This link will get you started:
I’ll be back tomorrow and I’m sure others will chime in so stay tuned!
22 February 2013
Buddy sounds like a spitfire of energy! It’s really good to hear how well he is doing so soon after surgery!!
You might check into traction socks or booties. PAWZ botties are inexpensive and many who jave tried them like the. They’re basically “balloon type” socks that fit over their paws. You can’t leave them on very long at a time though. They’re airtight and have a pretty tight fit at the top to keep them on. Check out our Gear blog and you’ll see some products that may work for you.
Keep us updated on Buddy! And hey, Buddy! You should still be taking it easy for a bit longer!! No crazy jumping around!!
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!
12 March 2013
How great that Buddy is beginning to feel like his old self!
Our Murphy was a Lab/Chessie cross about the same size as Buddy. He lost one rear leg to a passing pickup truck and had a total hip replacement on the other side after multiple dislocations. We found that seeing a certified rehab vet was the best thing that we ever could have done for him. Once Buddy is ready for it, rehab sounds like it would be great for him, too. We posted a lot of Murph’s rehab videos on his YouTube channel, Murphy the Three Legged Dog. Your own specialist may have other exercises to benefit Buddy, since his other leg had knee problems rather than hips.
Check thr Tripawds Foundation forum to see if Buddy qualifies for reimbursement on the initial visit.
Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork
Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!
UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!
Whew! Finally made it back here. To answer your questions:
I am worried he is going to blow out that knee. I have a million questions, but I will start with a few: (1) How long does it take for them to realize that leg is not there anymore? (2) Besides carpeting my entire house, is there anything else I can do to help him not slip on the hardwood and linoleum floors? (3) Are there exercises or something that he and I should be doing to strength his remaining rear leg?
Good thinking! That’s awesome you’re so conscientious. Cruciate tears are one of the most common injuries we see around here. The good news is you can do a TON of things to help him.
OK as for the carpet runners you’ve placed inside. Are they placed along Buddy’s favorite paths through your home? Most dogs will gravitate toward the carpet runners if they’re in strategic places, say between the food bowls and the dog bed. Also, is there a way you can gate off rooms where runners aren’t an option? Keeping the fur between his paws trimmed is helpful, and there’s a product called Dr. Buzby’s Toe Grips which many rave about (but they do have ongoing maintenance associated with them). Booties are great for outdoors and short-term situations but we don’t recommend them for long-term indoor use.
As for exercises, ohhh yeah! Have you seen our Tripawds e-book Loving Life On Three Legs ? We have tons of ideas there, and in the Tripawds Gear blog too. Also, as Kathi referenced, the Tripawds Foundation will pay for your first consult with a certified canine rehab therapist. See: