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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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Buddy needs therapy ideas..first post..long
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Member Since:
2 December 2010
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31 January 2011 - 4:40 pm
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Hello - this is Teri speaking for Buddy the Corgi Kid.  I am totally new to this "Posting and Forum" business so I hope I am doing this correctly.  Anyway, we are 5 1/2 weeks post surgery for rear leg amputation due to osteosarcoma.  Buddy is 6 years old.  He has recovered well, but has progressively been sending his good rear leg outward when walking slowly and kind of crouching/hopping to regain balance.  Walking on the inside of his good foot.  He went to his first hydrotherapy session today (he was Delighted to play fetch in the water!!).   Also, today I was loaned a book on massage.  I have started a small obstacle course after watching the video on this site which suggested that this would help him to "know where his feet are".  Buddy looked SO good when he was first out of surgery - I hate to see him go down hill.... but maybe this kind of "loose walking" setback is normal till he develops the muscles to compensate... I just don't know.  I am now hoping for any other suggestions, stretches, strength building exercises, whatever to start improving again!   Thank You

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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31 January 2011 - 5:39 pm
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mossypaws said:

I hope I am doing this correctly.

Perfect. Welcome, and thanks for joining!

All tripawds will adjust their gait and stance. And we have found that rear-leggers often require more time to rbuild their strength. Be sure to review our video interview with California Animal Rehab for lots of exercises and stretching advice. It is important to focus on building core muscle strength – walking does not help build strength, only endurance. Here are a few more posts and videos that should help...

Core Exercise Balance Disc Demo Video with Maggie

Buja Board Exercise Help Build Core Muscles

Build Dog Muscle Mass with K-9 Super Fuel

You'll find many more recovery and care tips in Jerry's Required Reading List. For immediate answers to the most common questions consider downloading the new Tripawds e-book Three Legs and A Spare.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

31 January 2011 - 6:01 pm
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Often when Isabelle starts turning her rear leg in, out or tries to center it, a chiropractic adjustment corrects her gait almost immediately. Just be sure you have a reliable practitioner. It used to happen pretty frequently for the first couple of months. & still does, occasionally when she's very active or her L-S arthritis is painful.  You might check with your rehab vet to be sure he doesn't have some back pain/strain. In that case, massage/acupressure can be very beneficial, as is acupuncture. Is Buddy walking in a treadmill, or using a pool? Sometimes. if it's easier to pick up that leg (in a pool) & swim, the strength building benefit is lost.The treadmill also conditions them to walk at a slower pace with a reliable gait.  (it's easier for them to walk fast). Which becomes important, when they have to do so on ice, snow or other unstable surfaces.  I like the FitPad for at home therapy also.

Good luck,


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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31 January 2011 - 7:35 pm
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Hey Mossypaws and Buddy, thanks for joining us here. Hope you don't mind that I moved your post to this "Hopping Around" Forum, it's where we talk about physical therapy and getting around as a Tripawd...

Anyhow, sounds like Buddy is getting good care and I don't have much more to add except be sure his therapist is a certified practitioner ("CCRP" or "CCRT" after their name) and that his therapy is done under controlled, clinical circumstances. Sometimes dogs can actually be hurt by a practitioner who isn't properly schooled, so be sure to double check on their qualifications.

Where are you guys located? Is he getting around on snow right now? If so, that could be taking a toll on his balance and strength. Also, if your floors are slippery that could be problematic too.

Tell us more about him when you can. Thanks for joining us!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

31 January 2011 - 8:03 pm
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Hi Teri and Buddy,

Welcome to Tripawds.

My pug Maggie was a rear amp- it took her quite awhile to get her gait worked out- several months before she was consistent.  Hopefully as Buddy gains strength he will get better.

Also be sure his footing and traction are OK.  If he feels like he is slipping he might be trying to compensate- just a thought.  I trimmed the fur between Mag's toes and pads, and used Musher's Secret to keep her paws supple, which helped with traction .


Looking forward to hearing more about Buddy, and we always like to see pictures!


Karen and the pugapalooza

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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31 January 2011 - 8:20 pm
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Welcome Buddy!  To the place no one wants to be a part of! wink

My Maggie is a rear amputee as well and it has taken quite a bit of time to get her built up but she's pretty good now!  She will adjust where she puts her rear foot when necessary.  I don't see her loose her balance much unless she's tired.  So maybe your pup is overdoing it possibly?  I was very surprised at how long it took my dog to build up and still, to this day, a 1/2 hr. walk is her max.

I do regular PT exercises with her on the Fitpaws balance pads and the FitPaws balance disc.  We also do cavaletti's, cone wraps and buja board work, along with some regular rally obedience moves that are really good PT moves too!

I have found a little, goes a long ways...little and frequent...trying not to over do it..... You are lucky to have hydrotherapy to do!  I wish I had that luxury for my girl...

Good luck!

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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31 January 2011 - 9:18 pm
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Welcome Mom and Buddy!

I'm so sorry you have had this happen to your Buddy.  I didn't have bone cancer with my Comet (deformed leg), but you'll get lots of help here from everyone. 

I just wanted to say hi, and welcome.  I hold a special place in my heart for Corgi's since I think my Comet was part Corgi. I just lost her suddenly a week ago so forgive me for not welcoming you in the usual Cometdog way of red party hats, confetti and balloons! wink 

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.

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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1 February 2011 - 3:30 pm
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Welcome to tripawds.  Emily was a rear leg amputee, as well.  We didn't really have any problems with her needing any therapy on her remaining back leg.  We were planning on acupuncture when she started to have problems holding her weight but before she started we found that her problem was really that the cancer had spread to her spine.  Many members have had success with acupuncture though. Please let us know how Buddy is doing 


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.

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