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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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7 years tripawd injured back / leg
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Forum Posts: 5
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7 March 2019
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7 March 2019 - 9:26 am
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Hi. Firstly, I’ve found this forum really useful for the last few years since we’ve owned Derek – a now 8 year old tripawd Whippet. He lost his front right leg due to injury when he was less than one year old. We adopted him when he was 5 and other than the odd pulled muscle he copes really well on three legs and every vet he’s seen always comments on how healthy he is.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed Derek was a bit apprehensive of jumping into the car and up onto the sofa – so we rested him for 4 days and that seemed to do the trick and he had a week or so back to normal. It then came back a little worse so we gave him some Metacam for a few days and again kept him in and rested him but he didn’t really improve.

This Monday just gone (4th) we took him to our Vet. He is petrified of the vets so she came out to him but he had really tensed up by then and she prescribed Metacam and a weeks rest and to return. Unfortunately, on our return from the vets he refused to put his back right leg down at all – and for a tripawd this obviously makes things difficult! 

By Wednesday (6th) he was too bad and so we took him back to the vets where he had an X-Ray and under sedation the vet was able to examine him better that she had been able to on Monday. She concluded that the X-Ray didn’t show anything untoward and the examination seemed to show the the ACL was OK as we had thought this could be an ACL injury at first. She referred us to a specialist orthopaedic vet who we saw last night.

He gave Derek a thorough examination and concluded that there was a SLIGHT shadow on his knee which could be an ACL injury – but he did not think it would be severe enough for surgery and it felt very stable. He got a small reaction from Derek when manipulating one of his vertibrae which then led him to think he could have a trapped nerve (maybe siatic) or some other injury to a disk. 

He has said all we can now do is have an MRI if he does not improve over the next 3-5 days. Our vets only have the MRI visit once a month but we can take him elsewhere if we need to in the meantime.

Being a Whippet, Derek can be very dramatic too!

Looking for some ideas or anyone who has been in a similar position? 

Here and Now


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7 March 2019 - 9:38 am
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Welcome and best wishes for Derek! Hold off on the MRI until you consult with a certified canine rehab therapist. Visit a CCRT or CCRP and the Tripawds Foundation can even pay for your first consult from the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab.

All that jumping can certainly do damage over time. But there are many exercises, treatments, and braces that can help.

Please keep us posted, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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7 March 2019 - 10:10 am
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Thank you! I will look into that for sure. We had already decided we would take him for some physio therapy once he had recovered, but maybe it is what he actually needs to recover now!

The only worry I have, the vet mentioned that if he gets worse then it could be a ruptured disk or something – and I worry that if that is the case manipulating him too much might make him worse at this stage?

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 March 2019 - 12:44 pm
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Oh good, please do take him to a physio therapy practice now. I’m sorry the specialist didn’t refer you to one (lots still aren’t familiar with physio’s benefits, so I’m not entirely surprised). A good physio therapist can gently work with him to help him recover faster but safely, if it is indeed something they can remedy. A qualified therapist won’t do anything to make his situation worse, but rather perform a number of techniques that will alleviate his pain and help him get stronger, such as acupuncture, light massage, range of motion exercises and maybe even cold laser therapy.

If they aren’t able to help with his immediate needs, then they can work with you and any other veterinary surgeon post-surger if something more serious is going on. But don’t go there in your mind just yet OK? Be pawsitive, Derek will benefit greatly from it.

And do keep us posted. I’m so glad you decided to share his story after all these years!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 March 2019 - 1:33 pm
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Thank you Jerry. I’m definitely going to look at taking him ASAP. We did speak to our vet about physio and they did say they would refer us happily, but we just wanted to get over this immediate issue to a point where he can at least stand before arranging the physio. I will probably give the physio I was going to use a call and see if they can give me any advice prior to taking him.

Here is a photo of him and his big brother, Defer (Dog). 

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The Rainbow Bridge



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7 March 2019 - 7:45 pm
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Oh. My. DOG! What cuties! Defer and Derek are so adorable!

Thanks for the backstory on your vet’s thoughts about physio, that makes total sense. Let us know how your call to the center goes, we hope they can get him in soon. Until then don’t forget there are things you can do to help him feel better. We have lots of posts about animal massage therapy that may help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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8 March 2019 - 9:26 pm
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Such great looking pups!!  Two RockStars!   Love both their names too!

Yeah, as Jerry said, a Rehab Specialist  will take things slowly and gently They don’t push things too fast.

Wondering if a Radiologist  could look at the xray and help clarify  what’s going on.  They seem to be a notch above when it comes to reading  xrays

Give that handsome Derek a big smooch for us, and Defer too!  And congratulations  on keeping Derek so fit and strong all these years as a tripawd!😎

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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18 March 2019 - 5:52 am
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Update on Derek!

After a week he started standing up to eat his dinner, and would very wobbly be able to go outside to the loo, sometimes he needed carrying back in and sometimes he was OK. Since then he’s just continued to get better and although he still holds the leg up occasionally, is not crying out and most of the time is trying to get into his usual mischief.

He hasn’t been out for a walk now for almost 3 weeks and every time we take Defer out he is desperate to go with him! 

I’m just waiting to hear back from the vet on whether we can take him to Physio – here in the UK it seems the physio needs permission from your vet to treat your dog. I think this will be OK though and so hopefully we will get him there soon and we can help make sure he gets back to his normal self!

Thank you for all the messages you sent, it was really helpful. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 March 2019 - 9:50 am
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YEAAAH! clapWhat great news, thank you for letting us know. We always hope that a bit of R&R will be what it takes, your patience paid off for sure. Take things slow and easy, like 1/8th of what his walks were before, and if he starts to slow down, sit down or look creaky, scale back. He’ll get to a good place again.

Hope the vet approves the physio. Let us know what you find out. 

I’m so happy for the news!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Read my story here.

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Virginia




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18 March 2019 - 7:20 pm
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Always love seeing  the avatar photo of Derek and Defer.  Such good looking pups!

It’s  wonderful  to hear Derek is “getting into mischief ” and getting  more and more comfortable  with his little outings to the loo😎  Continue to celebrate all these victories😊

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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8 April 2019 - 6:08 am
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Just got back from Derek’s first physio appointment!

Physio can see the Derek has adapted to putting most of his weight through to his front leg, and uses his back legs very little when he walks. We’ve always noticed how Derek’s back legs move very little, and take very small steps. Whereas our other Whippet, Defer, has much larger strides – but we always put this down to the way he walked due to his amputation (which it is, but not in a good way). 

Over time this has led to his ham strings becoming very tight and actually lost a lot of muscle around that area. As soon as he point out the difference it all makes sense, and comparing him to Defer too you can really tell there is a lack of muscle. He’s also always had huge muscle in his front leg and whilst this obviously makes sense with him being a tri-whip; we never thought that his back legs were small in comparison.

Good news is we can now try and build those muscles back up and get him used to using his rear legs properly again. At first we’re doing some massages and cold compresses; and then we’re back next week to get doing some exercises to build the muscles back up.

Here’s me in my protective goggles, and Derek getting some laser therapy to loosen the muscles in his rear legs!

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The Rainbow Bridge



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8 April 2019 - 11:32 am
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Wheeee! YAY for physio! YAY for advocating for Derek! You are a ROCK STAR superstarclap

His situation is identical to our Wyatt Ray ‘s. We were told that he also has tight hamstrings and all the weight goes to his front end. He can practically do a handstand! Of course he needs to stretch (well, we need to stretch him, but he hates it!), and the physio therapist also prescribed different exercises to help him. 

Did Derek come home with any exercises? Wyatt was prescribed a thera-band to wear when we walk him, as well as different workouts using balance equipment. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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8 April 2019 - 12:59 pm
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YIPPPPEEEEEE!! 😃  So glad to hear Deter us making progress! 😁

By you sharing  Deter’s experience, he has already helped enlighten others facing some of the same challenges.    

The insight you shared from the therapy  session was quite interesting.   Certainly  makes sense. My front leg tripawd Frankie had surgery on one rear leg in December a year ago, and then the other this December.  Cruciate stuff.  Your feedback helped in assessing  where he is.  He DEFINITELY  relies on that front a lot!  A LOT!!  Too much.   Of course, adding  hip issues and arthritis  jnto rhe equation keeps  it “interesting “too.    I hadn’t  necessarily  thought of muscle wasting as also being part of the issue.

Be real interested  in hearing how the physio  goes.  Will you be doing hydro therapy?  Update when uou can.

BTW…sweet picture pf uour handsome boy😎

Hugs 

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

PS.  WUATT RAY, we’ll be waiting for the video  of you doing your handstand!!

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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