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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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Back surgery for front leg amputee
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Forum Posts: 5
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2 January 2021
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28 June 2021 - 2:10 pm
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Hello all, our new rescue in January was full of pep and deemed to be a healthy active dog without amputation complications.  Our vet recommended establishing with a canine chiropractor/acupuncturist which we did.  Jack had four initial visits and then was dismissed until July because he was doing so well.  During the past six months he has been to day care at his original rescue organization a few times for afternoons or one to two days only.  Each time he comes home he has been stiff and needed to rest a day or so to get back to normal.  June 12th he overnighted at the daycare and on return home was stiff and somewhat sore as usual but this time it didn't improve.  We went back to the chiropractor last week but he really declined the day after his treatment. He is unable to walk without stumbling and lies down to urinate and poop.  He just collapses on his side instead of lying down like usual so the chiropractor referred us to a new vet who did xrays of his back and now recommends changes in his medication, diet and wants him to get an MRI based on changes in his spine on xray.  However, he wants us to take him to a BluePearl clinic two hours away for the MRI and potential surgery.  Of course the impending expense is making us question this plan given the long term outcome.  Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to share please? 

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 June 2021 - 2:39 pm
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Hi and welcome! Your future posts won't need approval so post away. I have a ton of questions, hope I don't overwhelm you.

It's awesome that your vet recommended the therapist. Did they happen to give you any instruction about exercise and injury prevention? Or exercises to keep doing at home? What kind of therapy did he get besides chiro? 

Based on what you're describing, and keep in mind we are not rehab therapists but it sounds like Jack is getting too much activity at the day care center. It's a huge issue with Tripawds being left in the care of others. Unless the day care is super good about making sure they monitor how much activity he gets each time he visits, who he plays with, and makes sure he's not playing on hard surfaces all day, day care can really exhaust a Tripawd to the point of injury. I'm so sorry he's not feeling well.

Is he on any pain management right now? What instructions did the new vet give to help him recover? And what were the changes on the x-rays that makes the vet want to do an MRI? Did they mention any possible conditions that would warrant surgery, and on where? Usually that test is a level of diagnostics that's reserved after a good range of rehab modalities are done without success. Does the new vet offer any in-house rehab? 

If you can fill us in a bit more we can help with more concrete suggestions. Oh and how old/young is Jack and what leg is he missing? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 July 2021 - 10:08 am
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Hello and thanks for your response.  Jack is a 4.5 yr old terrier mix and we took him to Blue Pearl Emergency and Specialty Veterinary in Overland Park, KS where they did the MRI  and found a bulging disc impairing 70% of his spine in addition to an enlarged nerve root. They did surgery immediately (hemilaminectomy). We were able to bring him home the next day and now he is recuperating quietly.  He is on multiple meds including Gabapentin, Carprofen and Amantadine so he is sleeping a lot.  He is doing well, gait still isn't quite straight but coming along.  He seems to be feeling a lot better overall.  Our big challenge now is finding a lightweight, soft boot that will stay on inside and outdoors.  Thanks for your support! smiley4 

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 July 2021 - 11:52 am
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Hi, welcome back! I'm so glad you filled us in, thank you. OK so the bulging disc explains a lot. Poor guy! I'm so glad he is doing well! His pain control sounds excellent. WHEW! Did they mention when he may be able to start rehab therapy?

Tell me more about the boot situation. Traction is so necessary for Tripawds but boots usually aren't the answer. Mostly because 1) they don't let a dog's paws breathe, and 2) because they can't feel the floor while wearing them. Instead you may want to consider something like Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips if hardwood floors are a problem, and don't forget to add rubber-backed carpet runners and throw rugs to your home for extra safety.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 July 2021 - 10:05 am
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Hi Jerry!  Jack is doing better every day now.  We have been doing light rehab activities for the past four days such as down, sit, stands and gentle side to side leaning.  His first acupuncture treatment since surgery will be next Wed.  Right now short walks four times a day has been prescribed gradually increasing time and distance.  I would love to find a place to start aqua therapy after his stitches heal but I haven't come up with a resource for that yet...  Suggestions/ideas that we could do at home would be appreciated. 

As for Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips I saw a video clip about them earlier but would like to know if they affect the circulation in the nail beds??  They would sure beat the constant on/off of boots all day especially as Jack becomes more active.  We have taken precautions with rugs and yoga mats everywhere possible but there are just some area's we can't cover completely.  Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions and support.  We were pretty freaked out for a while there! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 July 2021 - 11:27 am
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WOOOHOOO! I'm loving that report, that is wonderful! The acupuncture will help, it's awesome you are taking him. Hopefully it will work quickly but sometimes it can take 4-6 sessions to show real improvement so try to be patient, I know that will be hard.

Rehab therapy comes in a lot of different "flavors," including water therapy. What you really want is a practice that offers multiple modalities to assist him in getting stronger, such as acupuncture, massage, exercise, laser therapy, etc. If you want to PM me your address I can find a good practice near you. You can also feel free to check out the at-home Tripawds Rehab Program designed by our friend Dr. Waterhouse. However, I would make sure to discuss something like this with your acupuncturist, who is likely also a credentialed rehab therapist (they usually are). Since Jack had a spinal issue, I would run any exercises or programs by a professional first.

As for Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips , no they do not affect circulation in the nail beds because they do not come up to the edge of the nail bed (where the "cuticle" if you will, meets the paw). Dr. B has assured us of this in our interview with her. We've seen some "DIY" approaches people have done that will do that kind of damage, so Dr. Buzby's are the only ones we recommend. I know what you mean about not being able to cover every inch with carpet runners, it's a tricky situation! Most dogs do learn how to gravitate toward the easiest places to walk.

I'm so glad we could be here to help. I would be freaked out too! But now look at you guys, you are over the worst part and on your way to a great life on 3!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 July 2021 - 11:57 am
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Hey Jerry thank you for your quick response.  I just reviewed Dr. Buzby's site and ordered the ToeGrips for Jack.  I'm excited to see how the work for him.  We actually have three great veterinarians working with us now as the acupuncturist/chiropractor/rehab is a vet too and she is highly recommended in this part of our state.  She travels to several practices weekly in NE KS.  Our primary vet is in a new clinic in Manhattan, KS we know her from our equestrian background and finally BluePearl in Overland Park was fantastic and they are who did Jacks surgery.  However none of them have aqua therapy yet.  I will check out the Tripawds Rehab Program too! 

Our two Rat Terriers passed last year and we said no more dogs... and then came Jack!  He was a rescue from the Amarillo, TX area and was used as a bait dog for dog fighting.  He must have been a well loved pet at some point as he has excellent manners but he is very shy with strangers and in crowds so we are working on socialization etc. too.  He has provided a new purpose in our lives so thank you so much for your support and guidance down this new path.     

Virginia




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8 July 2021 - 2:26 pm
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Just  catching up on Jack and am over the Mom happy he has come j to your life....and you have come into his!!   You were clearly  meant to be together!

So sorry your two RatTerriers had to head to The Rainbow Bridge .  I know your heart waa broken.  HOWEVER, it appears thse two may have orchestrated bringing  Jack into your loving home.  He needed your love.  You needed .love back in your heart again💖💖💖

So glad Jack has made such good progress and his issues have been identified and treated.  Just continue to take it slow and easy.   You have a lot of good therapies planned, but it doesn't  mean you have to do them all at once, okay?    😉    Jack is early in recovery  from the disc issue and, as Jerry said, you want to run ever by the Surgeon.  Also, by doing one or two at a time, then you can isolate  what seems to be the most beneficial...or the least.  Make sense??

It just warms my heart to know you have "new  purpose" thru Jack....and that Jack can now  be the dog he was born to be💖💖

Hugs 

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

PS.Woild love to see pics when you get a chance.....and your two Angel Terriers too.  Here a link to help.  adding images .

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 July 2021 - 3:39 pm
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Aww you are so very welcome! Jack clearly found his way to you, sent especially by your other angel dogs. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Let us know how the Grips turn out. Be sure to watch the instruction videos before tackling the job. For Tripawds, they will stay on better if you use a dab of superglue on each Grip (wear rubber gloves, ask me how I know!). Not too much glue, but doing so will help. Tripawds have such an odd gait that it's the only way they won't pop off. Dr. B says it's safe to use the glue. Keep us posted.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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12 July 2021 - 12:51 pm
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Hello Sally, Hannah, Myrtle and Frankie!

Thank you so much for your kind support and advice.  So sorry to hear of Hannah's passing perhaps she and Midge and Maddie are acquainted and enjoying each other now.  Jack is doing very well, he has about three days of progress such as rolling over, sitting up, gradually longer walks etc. followed by a day of rest and recuperation.  We will have our first visit to remove the staples and get acupuncture tomorrow morning.  I'm excited to hear what his vet's have to say about his progress.  He certainly is a much happier dog and hasn't complained of pain since the surgery.  We are actually gradually weaning him off of some of it.  I did get Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips and just put them on. To say they are messy is an understatement but I like how quiet it makes him sound now.  The real test will come this afternoon on his walk.  My husband took him out in the dog stroller yesterday to visit his favorite "haunts" and said he did very well.  Thank you for your caring response I'll try to keep you updated on his progress! 

Hugs to all, Jack and Becajoicon_razz

Virginia




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12 July 2021 - 2:38 pm
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Things are definitely  improving....and, all things considered,  seem to be improving  rather quickly!  You and hubby are doing  a terrific job of monitoring  Jack and identifying the ways he is show progress....Jack style!😉😎

Keep these great updates coming!

Hugs 

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

PS. Thank you for kindly acknowledging  my Happy Hannah.  I have no doubt she and Maddie and Midge are enjoying  their time at the Bridge.  Happy Hannah (a 125 lb  Bull Mastiff) loves smaller dogs💖

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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