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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13 November 2017
Hello! My German Shephard Stella Blue is now 11 years old (4 years post-amputation of her left front), and is having increasing mobility issues with her back legs which is causing balance problems and falls. Any ideas how to help her through this part of aging? She's on maintenance medication, I'm hoping to find an approach to try that could help her cope better. She used to be able to get up on her own, but now needs assistance (wearing the harness full time now) especially in the mornings after sleeping all night. (Yet, somehow she still manages to get herself up onto the couch - I guess it depends upon the time of day and the motivation!) Thanks so much!!!
24 September 2009
Hey there, welcome back to you and Stella! What a sweet ol' senior gal now!
So great questions, and that's something that happens when you love and live with a senior Tripawd. We dealt with that with our Wyatt Ray during his last two years, and learned so much.
First, when was the last time Stella has seen a rehabilitation therapist? It's critical to find out where her weaknesses and pain points are, so that they can develop a way to treat the pain and make her more comfortable. Being a GSD there's the inevitable rear-end weakness, add to that being a Tripawd and there's going to be extra issues. But the good news is the therapists can help make her more comfortable. Physical therapy and pain management are key right now.
Also, if she has any extra weight on her a therapist/your vet can advise you how to help her drop it. Even losing one or two pounds makes a huge difference. As Wyatt aged, it became harder to keep him slim because he was getting less exercise but we managed to do it through reduced food intake, and interactive brain games that we used to feed his daily meals.
Finally, what are your floors and home setup like? Are there slippery surfaces she has to walk on? Keep her fur on her paws clipped to make it easier and consider using Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips to help her move around better.
Is she on any supplements? Again, a therapist can advise you on the best ones for her age and health situation.
Here's a post we did about Wyatt's care as he aged:
and also, a great one with input from Clare, Meg's mom. Meg is currently taking ketamine injections and monoclonal antibody therapy to manage her arthritis pain and the results are spectacular: