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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Back Leg Weakening and Exercises
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Member Since:
22 August 2011
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14 March 2012 - 8:36 am
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Hi all. Cadence is showing signs of back leg weakness. She is usually very surefooted, agile and fast, even on her three legs, but I have noticed over the past month and a half that her back leg seems to be giving out, she will loose footing when running outside (even on grass) and sometimes when she is climbing stairs she will almost go to a sitting position as she is going up as though her back leg is getting tired. When she gets up from a seated position, the back leg is sometimes shaky and it takes effort for her to get up. We have Woodrow socks on order to help with traction because I think that is part of it. Even though we have rugs, they are not the greatest and we don't have every inch of floor covered. She gets very unconfident, looks worried, and tenses her muscles when going across the tile and I think this is contributing to the tiredness. So I want to build her up a bit. I looked at the gear and there is a lot for the core strengthening, but I don't know where to begin. I want to try to be economical about it and not buy everything, but start with one or two basics and maybe add more later if I need too. Any help would be appreciated on what I should get for her. She is 42 pounds. Thanks! 


Cadence's Mom

Cadence Faye: Born 10/30/04, stepped into our hearts 12/23/2004. Rear leg tumor found 7/24/11 by mom and dad, Xray on 7/25/11, Osteosarcoma suspected 7/26/11, amputation 7/29/11, Carboplatin started 8/23. Met free so far! 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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14 March 2012 - 8:59 am
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Hi Heather! Sorry to hear she's a little weak on the rear end these days.

I would start by asking, what other than the floors might be causing the symptoms? Did they come on suddenly or gradually? Is she sitting down on walks? If so, her walks could be wearing her out and may need to be shortened a bit. It could also be arthritis getting to her now that age is creeping up. Keeping a journal of when she is showing signs might help you figure this out, plus if you decide to see a rehab person later you can have it all documented.

Doing core strengthening exercises is as simple as feeding treats! When you do a process called "weight shifting" that is a fun, easy way to get started. This blog post, Rear Leg Workouts for Lucy, has some demonstrations of this activity.

Another great way to core strengthen with materials you already have are, get her to walk back and forth on sofa cushions placed on the floor! Any unstable surface work is a fabulous way to get strong. The FitPaws Balance Pad is based on this concept.

You can also make a buja board with these free plans! This is a great way to core strengthen. 

Finally, if your budget is limited but you do want to invest in a piece of equipment, I would say that the FitPAWS Balance Disc is the best all-around tool for helping Tripawds get strong core muscles. It's super durable and will go a long way toward helping her overcome this challenge.

Good luck! Please keep us posted and if you want to document what you are doing to help her on her blog, I know others would greatly appreciate it!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
11 April 2011
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14 March 2012 - 9:27 am
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Hi Cadence's Mom,

Percy has been having similar symptoms for several months.  We've been doing acupuncture and stretches on a Fitpaws peanut.  I can't tell for sure how much they are helping.  Percy seems to have better days and worse days.

We went to see a neurologist because our doctor thought that it might be back problems and the neurologist thought that might be true as well but was not certain.  We did not do any further tests because the next steps would be an MRI and, if back problems were confirmed, the only way to fix it would be surgery, which I'd really like to avoid. 

Percy's Mom

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