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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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12 yr old Yorkie - Soon to be front Leg amputee, Concerns when jumping off bed or couch
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Member Since:
16 June 2022
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5 July 2022 - 11:42 am
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Hello, any suggestions on how to manage a 12.5 year old Yorkie that always sleeps with us in our high bed? He’s getting his front leg amputated on 7/7/22. After recovery I’m worried he’ll jump off the bed and injure his remaining front leg. He always uses stairs we got for him to get on the bed but never to get down, even after trying to train him to do so before hand we had no luck. We’ve had 50/50 success with him jumping down on an ottoman to reduce the distance/impact of the full landing, but not sure if he’ll keep that up. Also, considering our rooms layout, a ramp would not work. Having him no longer sleep with us seems unrealistic and cruel so not sure if that’s an option so any suggestions are immensely appreciated.

Also, if there is anything else you think I should know please advise. 

PS: Leg getting removed due to a large soft tissue sarcoma. Wish there was away around it! 🙁

Thank you.

Mike

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
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5 July 2022 - 12:42 pm
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Mike I'm so happy you posted here, thank you! 

As I mentioned before, it sounds like the best option right now is to 1) put your bed on the floor or 2) add a thick, soft mattress / dog bed in the area where your pup always jumps (assuming there is one area he likes to fly off of). I'm hoping others can chime in with some innovative ideas because this is a huge issue for many people.

Do check out the Tripawds Recovery Shopping List and our What to Expect articles for more ideas!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 July 2022 - 2:16 pm
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Absolutely  understand that ten thousand percent!!! Not only would it be cruel to your adorable Yorkie (cute avatar), of you're  like me, it would be torture  for you too!!

You've come up with some good ideas, as well as Jerry.  ,any of is have slept on our ,mattress on the floor during recovery.  

Kind of far fetched,  the only other suggestion I can offer is to maybe put a  short leash   on his harness (assuming  he's used to wearing one),  keep it on your wrist. The purpose would be he would have to tug on it to try and get off the bed

Hopefully others will chime in.  The ottoman sou d like a good option if you could configure  some way that (or the stairs) would be the only way to exit.

What's your pup's name?  Reason for amp?

Keep is posted on recovery  and know thst we are here to sport you

Hugs 

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!

Member Since:
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5 July 2022 - 2:44 pm
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Thank you for your response and kind words.  My babies name is Charlie, he's 12.5 old, weight about 12 lbs, hes pretty fit and active, but loves to cuddle. YES, not having him sleep with us would 110% be torture for me, his nickname is Charlie Teddy bear, hate going to bed without him!  He's getting front leg removed due to a large soft tissue sarcoma, that's reoccurred after originally been removed in 2019. Well it came back more aggressive in the same location and debunking again is not an option 🙁 and I been devastated about this! 

I actually thought of the leash, but on the wrist wouldn't work, O move around to much. maybe I can figure a way to secure to the headboard, which is $ and solid, so def need to think out well to avoid damage.

Again, thanks fir the advice, please keep it coming.  Also concerned about overall long term issues, he's on the old side, overusage of the remaining legs to balance an unnatural posture concerns, etc. Basically an major do's and don'ts are welcome please. 🙏 

Thank you!

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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5 July 2022 - 3:18 pm
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One thing arpu d here we've all learned, age is just a number.  Size and age ,really rarely, rarely factor I to any decision  about the amputation.   Charlie Teddy Bear Cuddle Yorkie aounds like he's a good candidate  amd fit and spry.  

Check out the e-books for some additional information. 

Basically though, it's a solid two weeks of rest, rest, rest, short leashed potty breaks and more rest.  NO jumping, no stairs, no running, etc. I have a feeling Charlie might be hard to contain once he starts feeling better during recovery.   Shhhh.....don't  tell the bigger dawgs, but the little guys usually  recover  quicker and get their sea legs quickly too.

Is he spending the night at a 24/7 fully staffed clinic?  He'll meed to stay overnight and sometimes  a dog may stay a bit longer.

Usually, certainly  not always so don't  make comparisons,  but usually  a dog is mobile (hopping) within 24 to 48 hours.  No biggie of longer.

She'll probably  come home with Gabapentin,  an antiinflmmatory  (perhaps Rimadyl) and an antibiotic.   Some come home with a morphine patch too.

When you go to pick Charlie up  at the clinic,  don't  even bother  to draw attention  to the incision.   Just look into his drug filled eyes and tell him what a good boy he is and he's going home!!  Be upbeat and happy!

He may be off food a few days and mah not poop right away.  Drinking  and peeing are important  though. 

If you jave hardwoods or you'll want nonslip  scatter rugs for traction .

It usually  takes, about two weeks to act recover  from the surgery itself and about thirty days to get the gait fluid and balanced.   A few face plants at first are normal for a front legger tripawd.  Give him lots of gentle  massages  up and down his spine and neck and shoulder  area (away from incision  of course) to help relax muscles  that he's using differently  now.

Once he recovers  uou can consult  with a Rehabilitation  Specialist  and the Tripawds Foundation   will pah for first visit.  They can give you some good tips on how to keep hos core strong and his gait "normal".

Jist remember,  recovery  doesn't  last furever and we are all here to help you navigate  thru it and onto seeing Charlie Teddy Bear be a Tripawd RockStar!!!

Hugs 

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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5 July 2022 - 5:57 pm
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I can't lie I'm struggling badly with this and have an immense amount of anxiety as the day approaches. I've been hearing nothing but positive feedback about tripods doing well (all around, with my vet and other sources), however,  I'm afraid I'm not hearing the honest ugly truth, meaning long term effects.  I'm worried no matter how cautious I am/people are, I'd bet the vast majority (2 of 3) tripods sustain some major injury at some point due to the missing limb. I'm sure there are real horror stories I'm not hearing about...  Regardless, I guess its what it is and you gotta pick cancer or leg, but if his quality life is poor after losing the limb why put him through it...  I fear I will regret this no matter what..  I'm normally a positive and optimistic person but somehow I'm having a hard time coping with this!  I dealt with the loss of my 10 day old human baby boy due to complications in 2013, worked past it and now have 2 beautiful children, & 2 dogs...  But my dog Charlie is beyond super special and precious to me (I'm soft for him more than anything)and I am just so heartbroken looking at him right now thinking about this happening soon, 😢  I'm sick over it... He's such a loving submissive easy going kind of dog, the best! 

I don't like surprises I'm a straight shooter and if what I need to hear is the ugly truth please let me know what I should expect, Honesty to a fault is most appreciated,  I feel like I'd be better prepared that way.  Sorry so long 😢

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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5 July 2022 - 7:01 pm
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So sorry your baby could not have been on this earth longer with you.  I do know those ten days he was here with you he got to know  what love felt like💖  I know Charlie has ma very spec Guardian  Angel watching  over all of you.

FWIW, two of the main reasons we do amputation is to fet rid of the pain AND Aro give them a chance at an extended quality  time for more loving and spoiling.  Additionally,  one never knows which dog (or cat) will blow statistics out of the water and thrive for years after amputation  with no recurrence  of the crap.

My Happy Hannah thrived forever a year after her amputation  with no issues inbetween at all.....well....she was a bit of a Chunky gal because  I couldn't  help but spoil her with treats.

Unless this piece of crap disease has already plotted a course undetected and unless there are surgery complications (risk with any surgery, major or minor), life after recovery should be fairly normal and yes, with some safeguards.

And no, I would not say that 2 out of 3 tripawds sustain  "major injuries" at all!!!  That's  not to say that there are cruciate  injuries somrtimes or not to say that arthritis becomes more prevalent in dogs the longer they are tripawds.  All can be dealt with, some easier than others.

For example, dogs who were used to walking miles need to take shorter and more frequent walks.  Everything is in moderation.  Good joint supplements,  good consults with Rehab Specialists are all th9ngs that can be done to help keep joints and muscles healthy. 

I have a four legger dog who has had cruciate  knee repair.  She also was just diagnosed with bad arthritis  in her front leg.  She also went blind fairly quickly  a couple of years ago.  My point being, any dog, whether three legs or four can have unexpected issues.

My tripawd Frankie (front legger) did indeed have a cruciate  issue....twice...one back leg....then the other.  Don't  know how long he was a tripawd  before I got him.  He was at the shelter at least a year and I have had him here with me now for almost seven years.  I can definitely  say that, regardless  of ,those "issues", nothing holds this dog back!!

Not sure I've addressed  ao e of your concerns and not trying to say that every life after amputation  is perfect, but for the most part everyone surveyed  said they have no regrets.  Jerry can be more specific,  but I think it's well over 90% who have no regrets.  

For me, one of my main reasons for amputating  Happy Hannah's leg (-osteo) was I felt like I HAD to try.  I HAD to give her a chance. To not try and be faced with the "what ifs",...nope, didnt  want to have that second guessing  kind of regret.  

I know this is a scary "-forced choice" dec6 and you are racked with uncertainty  and doubt  right now. We all sure do understand that.   I even cancelled my Happy Hanna's first surger appt because of fear.  Also I had not found this community yet. 

Others will chime in, but just wan to give you some feedback  from what I've seen from being kn this site and from my own experience. 

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS...One thing to remember,  you are doing this FOR Charlie Teddy Bear...not to him

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!

Livermore, CA




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5 July 2022 - 9:33 pm
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Hi and welcome.

What the vets don't tell you is that the recovery period can be bumpy.  The humans get tired and stressed and things can look bleak.  But for the most part the dogs do well!  The can be loopy from the meds and tired from their new gait.  But really- they are amazing considering they just lost a leg!

When my Pug Maggie lost a back leg to mast cell cancer all the vets said 'dogs do fine on three' but that was the extent of my preparation (Tripawds wasn't here yet).  Mag spent 6 weeks in her bed and I was sure I had the only dog that wasn't going to adapt.  No pain issues, no medical complications, just a stubborn Pug who hated any changes to her routine.  Once she got used to her new normal she hopped happily through life for almost 4 years. 

What we see here is most pups are back to themselves in 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes the more 'mature' pups take a week or so longer.

As far as injuries- you do have to make some modifications but I don't think 'most' tripawds have a major injury.  Maggie was injury free for 4 years and my current Tripawd Elly has not had any injuries.  She lost her leg at 7 months old to a car accident, next month it will be 7 years on three for her.  I do work hard with her to keep her fit and strong- and I try, try, try to keep her from jumping on/off furniture.  Elly is a 14 pound Pug mix missing a back leg.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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7 July 2022 - 7:19 am
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Thank you all for the feedback, it's very much appreciated during this difficult time.  

Well, today's the big day, we dropped off our little man this morning, poor guy had no idea what he's in for, it was so sad 😞 😥. He's been in no pain at all, was upbeat this morning too, he loves hanging out the car window lol, hes like Im king of the world!. Gotta say, I miss him already 😪 but it's what it is!  Better to take the chance and do something rather than nothing.  Please keep us in your 🙏 and wish him luck. 

Words I'm trying to live by: "Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be"! That's really all we can do unfortunately 😕 

Here and Now


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7 July 2022 - 2:23 pm
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Mike said
Words I'm trying to live by: "Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be"! 

In other words, Be More Dog . And that's not just some silly saying... sp_hearticon2

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