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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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14y/o Lab Up and About After Surgery but not fully extending leg
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Member Since:
14 September 2022
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21 September 2022 - 10:21 am
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Hi! I am new here, my 14 year old lab Jedi just had his back right leg amputation 3 weeks ago due to an aggressive and painful bone cancer. In general he is doing well, he gets up on his own frequently and is able to stand up and hop, but he seems to get tired and then kind of bends his remaining leg and hops very low to the ground. This can't be great for his hips etc.

Any tips on how to help him get the hang of it properly? I know it is early but I want him to be able to get around easily as soon as possible, and he has a crazy amount of energy for an old guy and wants to be moving like NOW lol.

There is a rehabilitation center next to my oncologist that offers water treadmill therapy and I am considering it, any experience with that?

Thanks in advance!

-Krystyn & Jedi

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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21 September 2022 - 10:37 am
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Hi Krystyn! Welcome to you and Jedi! I'm in the Tripawds Chat right now if you'd like to talk. Back in a sec with some feedback.

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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21 September 2022 - 10:43 am
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I'm so glad you asked this important question! Yes, take advantage of that rehabilitation therapy center. All new Tripawds can benefit from therapy, not just water therapy either. There are many modalities that a good therapy center will have for patients, like passive range of motion exercises, gentle stretching, massage, balance games (see the Tripawds Gear blog for examples). We are such strong believers in it and see such a difference in dogs who get it, that Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit !

Check out some of the examples of rehab success stories!

What's the name of the rehab clinic? I'm nosy!

So yes, it is early in recovery, three weeks for a senior dog is not a long time. How long are his walks right now, minutes wise? A fit, younger Tripawd should only walk 15-20 minutes tops, and multiple very short walks a day are more beneficial than one or two longer ones. Also when it comes to a hind leg amputee, a dog loses 50% of their propulsion capacity. So that's why you are seeing the low profile and buckling when he walks. Rehab therapy can show you how to help him build core strength, which will keep his body strong enough to support his weight and move him forward. 

As for keeping him happy while you both learn how to make him stronger, interactive brain games are the way to go! Remember, there is so much more you can do with dogs than just walking or throwing a ball around. This experience is not what any of us want, but it actually brings us closer to our dogs as we learn more about each other.

I hope this helps! Thanks for registering as a member, your future posts won't need approval so post away!

Member Since:
14 September 2022
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21 September 2022 - 11:11 am
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Thank you for all this info!

His walks are only like 2-5 minutes as that is what the surgery center recommended, he does bop around the house quite a lot and moves faster than I can keep up with when he is feeling energized lol. For awhile I actually had to sedate him so he would actually rest, he is healed now so I don't do that anymore which is why the sudden increase in activity I am guessing.

The therapy place is attached to the center where we got his surgery:

They have a really great reputation and I had a great experience with every step of this whole thing, they even train all the staff on grief counseling for the harder cases.


The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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21 September 2022 - 1:27 pm
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Oooooh GREAT clinic! Yes go there, book now! You're so lucky to be working with LVVSC! We have a great interview with one of their onco vets, Dr. Vaughan:


Sounds like you are being very cautious with his activity, YAY! Yes, start slowly and carefully and focus on those interactive brain games until you can meet with a therapist. There's probably a wait involved so call soon!

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