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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My dog Bonz is marking 3 years this February since his diagnosis and amputation. He is 11 1/2 years old currently. In the past month he has had some episodes where he was having great difficulty getting up and down. The first episode following he and one of his dog brothers chasing a squirrel. The morning he couldn't get up had me rushing him to the vet thinking this could be the end. Before we left for the appointment I dosed with vetprofin and after a wait to be seen, he was acting totally normal. Discussing this with the vet we added rimadyl. I know keeping him on this might shorten his life, but my goal is to give him a good quality of life. I will be discussing this with his vet on our next check in. What are others feelings about this?
Hi Ilona and Bonz, welcome. That's GREAT that he's done so well after cancer. Was it osteosarcoma?
Tell us more about Bonz: what leg is he missing? What is his breed type?
Usually some rest and NSAID like Rimadyl can make a big difference and help with the problem if it's a minor muscle strain, but sometimes it requires a few different approaches like adding rehab therapy into the mix. Please don't panic about this right now. Rimadyl is well-tolerated in dogs and as long as you do regular labs every 6 months to watch for any liver issues, he should do fine. Ortho vets tell us that NSAIDs are one of the very best tools in our toolkit to help Tripawds cope with inflammation from arthritis.
Did your vet say anything about rehab? Our Tripawds Foundation REALLY encourages Tripawd parents to see a rehab vet so that the dog or cat can have an evaluation by an expert, and will even pay for your first rehab visit . Please consider taking us up on that.
And please consider joining as a member so your future posts won't need approval. Thanks!
Bonz is a male English lab. He is missing a right rear leg due to osteosarcoma. He has had amputation, chemo and was in a clinical trial for the osteosarcoma vaccine that I understand has been discontinued at this time. Our vet never mentioned anything about rehab when the amputation was initially done; however, my dogs walked every day prior to the amputation. Once Bonz acted like he wanted to participate in our walks, I started walking him short distances and gradually increasing the length of the walk until he could walk the entire 2 1/2 miles that he had walked previously. Last summer we noticed in a decline in his amount of walking as he would stop along the way lying down in the shade to rest. We walk very early during the summer generally getting out between 6 - 6:30AM to avoid the heat. Since he seemed to be having problems I ordered him a stroller that would accommodate his weight - 70LBs. We treated him to voluntarily get into the stroller. Now we have him in the stroller until we reach the starting point of the walk, let him walk out (approximately 1 - 1.25 miles) and on the return he rides in the stroller. He definitely enjoys going out with us and his two other lab brothers and would be very unhappy to be left alone.
Wow he's done amazing! That's awesome he's been so fit for so long, you've done a great job. Most general practice vets aren't yet aware of the benefits of rehab therapy, so that's why we are on a mission to change that. Fitness is about so much more than walking. Core muscle strengthening, balance and flexibility are important things to incorporate into a Tripawd's daily routine (or any dog, and human for that matter).
I'm not a vet, but it sounds like that's a pretty long walk for a 3-legged Lab at his age. Our Wyatt was also a rear legger and during his last two years, a half mile walk was plenty for him. He pulled an iliopsoas muscle once that led to a significant decline in mobility, so we treated it carefully to preserve his quality of life. We managed it with meds, rest and PT and he got a fair amount of movement back for another two years. Getting him a wheel chair helped and eventually the stroller was his main way of seeing the world during his last year. Nothing wrong with that at all, use your stroller for your walks with the other dogs, Bonz can still get out and see the world!