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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3 July 2017
Today was an exciting day. Our 18-mo-old Border Collie/Great Pyrenees girl Macie Mae, received her prosthetic limb. This girl came to us on New Years Day 2017 from a rescue sanctuary in Willits, CA. She was on of a litter of 7 puppies, and the only one missing a right rear foot.
Sadly, on December 22nd, 2016, we suddenly lost our beautiful 8-year-old Golden Retriever to a cardiac tumor (hemangiosarcoma). It was impossible to think of getting another dog for a long time, but our daughter insisted that we at least look before she went back to college as it would leave the house very empty. We are dog people. We have always had one or two dogs at a time. She forged ahead despite my groaning, and found our girl during a web search - We drove 3 hours to Willit's on New Years Day morning and returned with two 4-month-old sister puppies, one who was adopted by another family the next day, and the other one who became our new dog! I immediately started researching prosthetics for dogs, as well as what life is like for tripods. I soon found that many other dogs out there had overcome so much more adversity than our little puppy - cancer, multiple missing limbs and more. Our situation didn't seem so challenging. I am also a registered nurse with a speciality in wound care. I work with many patients who are missing limbs and some who even have prosthetics - so the idea of caring for a dog with a missing foot was not too daunting.
I found a great article about a dog who received a prosthetic under the direction of UC Davis veterinarian Dr. Jamie Peyton. I made a phone call a few weeks later and soon we had our first appointment with Dr Peyton at UC Davis Veterinary School's rehabilitation department. The fabulous Dr. Peyton examined her and gave us a lot of good information. We all decided to wait until she was full-grown before a cast mold was made. She also recommended canine rehabilitation to get her right rear leg stronger and to address issues with stress to her joints and other limbs.
We started underwater treadmill therapy and laser therapy at The Canine Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek, CA with another fine veterinarian, Dr. Erin Troy, and her amazing rehab team. She goes in every 1-2 weeks when we are available. Macie Mae even started using her stump on soft grass and on the sand at the beach. She will continue therapy as she starts using the prosthetic and will even use it in the underwater treadmill as she gets used to wearing the device.
She has continued to visit UC Davis to monitor her growth and progress. We even had a surprise visit by a well-known veterinary orthopedic surgeon and researcher, Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little! He examined her, did measurements and took photos. Dr Marcellin-Little also gave us his recommendation for the prosthetic and a lot of advice. The device was fabricated by their prosthetist, and then Macie Mae had her first fitting recently. It went back to the prosthetist to add some more padding. It's important for them to fit very well and be comfortable, so sometimes it takes a few visits to get it right.
Today, she went in for another fitting and got the green light to bring it home! Over the next few weeks, she will start wearing it for 15 minutes, two times per day. I will update you more on her progress soon and will upload photos when I learn how, lol!
18 October 2009
I'm really excited to follow Macie Mae's story! As I said earlier we don't have a lot of dogs here who are good candidates for prosthetic- but I know the field is advancing so hopefully there will be more here in the future.
Rehab was a great idea- and I've heard very good things about Dr. Troy.
I'm sorry to hear you lost your Golden dog. Hemangiosarcoma is such a nasty beast, it so often strikes seemingly out of the blue. And right before Christmas- so heartbreaking.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls