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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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Adopting A Tripawd
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Corvallis, OR
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
9 February 2010
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11 February 2010 - 1:28 am
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Hey there,

I have recently been looking at adopting a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppy, but then I came across Trucker, a 3 yr old mix-breed rescue in Florida looking for a new home. A year ago he was hit by a truck leaving him with nerve damage in his left front leg. His vets decided that operation wasn’t necessary, as his leg naturally tucks under his body and causes him no pain (so I guess he’s a tripawd-and-a-half!)

However, I have no idea what to expect out of him if the adoption goes through! He’s a big boy, around 80lbs, and his breed is prone to hip dysplasia. So as you can imagine I have a lot of questions.

1) What kind of exercise will he need? Is walking him daily alright?

2) How different is the lifestyle with a tripawd opposed to a four-legged pup?

3) Is the life expectancy the same? How different are medical costs?

Any help is greatly appreciated. I just fell in love with this dog, and want to make sure that if we become family I can give him the best home possible.

Thanks so much!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4344
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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11 February 2010 - 10:30 am
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That is so wonderful that you are “thinking” about it! 

Full disclosure:  I'm going to try to convince you to adopt him!!

I have one that has a deformed front leg, too.  Saw her as a puppy in the shelter.  I just wanted to get her leg fixed, nothing more.  The shelter people said, “but she is only $10, once you adopt her you can get her leg fixed.”  I went home, told my husband about her.  I couldn't stop thinking about her and the horrible life she might have if I didn't step in.   So, I went back bringing my husband.  This particular shelter person seemed to want to talk me out it.  She said the puppy is snippy.  She did however explain that she came from a hoarder home in which 22 dogs were taken in by animal control and most were put down.

Well, she was snippy when the shelter worker was getting her out of the cage.   Without any reservations, I reach down and picked her up.  She let me and kissed me on the face!   We stood there with me holding her.  I sure thought I could walk away and I did.  But I tossed and turned all night and rushed to get her the next morning.  I paid my $10 and she was mine!  The leg couldn't be fixed so that was that.

Here we are 11 years later… 

She's the most special dog I ever loved.  She's my world.  My husband and I couldn't imagine our life without her.  

I know I haven't addressed your concerns about the lifestyle they lead.  Comet's physical problems have never been the glaring problem with her.  Hers was emotional problems from being unable to trust strangers from her very early life.

I never saw her physical problems after about a day of being around her.  It's just who she is.   She has lead a normal doggie life, IMO.  She can go up and down our stairs.  She loves walks but tires after a bit.  She used to could jump on the bed.  And even now as a senior she can still jump on the couch.     

She may not have been the easiest dog to raise because of her emotional problems but the physical ones really were just bumps in the road.  If I were granted a wish and could fix one problem in her by waving a magic wand, I would choose fixing her being afraid of strangers.

So……..  You fell in love with him!   He's yours! 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Forum Posts: 398
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22 December 2009
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11 February 2010 - 11:34 am
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I think Comet’s Mommy would be the one able to give you the best advice for your situation, obviously. But my two cents are to make sure you would put him a good joint supplement. We’ve had Harley (also a breed subject to hip problems & 85lbs) on Dasuquin for years, starting him before there was any sign of joint problems, and now at 9, his joints are great and I think it helped his recovery tremendously when he became a tripawd.

Best of luck, no matter which way you decide to go!

Amputation on 11/10/09, due to Histiocytic Sarcoma in left elbow. Angel Harley earned his wings on 06/24/10.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28741
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11 February 2010 - 12:04 pm
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Hey welcome to Tripawds! Bless you for being so kind and considering adopting a Tripawd from across the country. Ok, so we'll try to give you our perspective.

First, check out our “What to Expect” posts (you can skip the parts about cancer, thank Dog):

What to Expect Part 1:
http://tinyurl……tToExpect1

What to Expect Part 2:
http://tinyurl……tToExpect2

And our Health Tips Page too. Go to the section about Exercise for some advice about walking.

To answer your questions…

1) What kind of exercise will he need? Is walking him daily alright?

Tripawds get around like other dogs mostly. They love to do doggie things like run, play at the dog park, go on walks, dig, you name it. Even Tripawds with cancer still do cool things like head to the beach and run amok. The most impawtant thing about a Tripawd and looking after her/his health is to just make sure they don't overdo it. Actually, really the same applies to all dogs. Keep in mind that a Tripawd shouldn't go on long multi-mile hikes or walks. Though they may try it's not the best thing for them. Monitoring their activity is necessary but you don't have to be overbearing. Stay tuned for a series of blog posts we're doing about exercise and massage therapy for Tripawds.

2) How different is the lifestyle with a tripawd opposed to a four-legged pup?

 As for activity, see above. Other things to consider are; be aware of where you will be going and ensure that they aren't able to hurt themselves their. Slippery floors can really freak out a Tripawd if they fall. If you know you're going somewhere with slick floors, use a harness or what you can to help them not fall or become fearful of the surface.

The biggest change you'll see when you're with a Tripawd out there in the world is, everyone wants to know their story! You can't go anywhere without people stopping to ask you questions. Your dog will be a SUPERSTAR and an ambassador for Tripawds everywhere!!! SuperstarSuperstarSuperstar

If you check out our Wyatt Ray's blog, you'll see that he lives a pretty good life for a Tripawd (he doesn't have cancer).

3) Is the life expectancy the same? How different are medical costs?

Good question. Our introduction to Tripawds was through cancer, but as you've seen, dogs like Comet kick butt and have normal lifespans for dogs. As for medical costs, I would say that with the exception of amputation and cancer costs, the expenses would be the same as any other dog with four legs. Some people are afraid that their Tripawd might break their remaining leg, but we've never seen that happen here since we started the site. We've seen some dogs need physical therapy but that's usually due to pre-existing or degenerative health issues unrelated to Tripawdism, like arthritis.  

Overall I'd say that if you just follow the good advice people give you for taking care of a bigger dog, you'll do fine.

Keep us posted, we'd love to see this boy! And if you choose not to adopt him let us know who he is and we'll put him in our Rescue Forums.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4344
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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11 February 2010 - 1:39 pm
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And if you choose not to adopt him let us know who he is and we'll put him in our Rescue Forums.

I'm gonna bet you won't be having to do that!  Methinks Trucker has him a new home!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Forum Posts: 1216
Member Since:
20 May 2009
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11 February 2010 - 4:31 pm
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I hope so!  Trucker would be a blessing to you as you would be to him.  Comet's Mom said it all.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Corvallis, OR
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
9 February 2010
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2 March 2010 - 10:39 pm
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Hey everybody,

Thanks for your advice. I just thought I'd offer an update.

After very little consideration and debate I have decided to adopt Trucker! I just fell in love with him, and now I just can't wait until he comes home. Unfortunately because of the distance this is going to take a bit of coordination, but I think it will be well worth the wait.

Oh, and here he is;

Besides, how could I have said no to that face?

Thanks again!

-Trucker's New Mom

Winnipeg
Forum Posts: 1349
Member Since:
13 July 2009
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3 March 2010 - 8:28 am
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Awww. He is Beautiful! Congratulations to you and Trucker! Big Grin 

Forum Posts: 1216
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3 March 2010 - 10:30 am
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You won't be sorry!  Congratulations.

Debra

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4344
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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10
4 March 2010 - 2:23 pm
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YIPPY SKIPPY!

He's a looker, for sure!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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