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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Crystal suddenly has weakness in her hind legs
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Member Since:
8 January 2012
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8 February 2012 - 7:09 pm
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I am panicking.  Last night, Crystal was panting excessively and incredibly restless.  After half an hour of this, I gave her some tramadol and she fell asleep and seemed much better this morning.  But when I took her on her walk during the day, her back left leg was really weak.  When she was standing up, her back left leg would slowly start bending and she would soon almost be sitting down.  I thought maybe this was due to her arthritis so I gave her some Previcox, which she has been on for years now.  I left for a few hours and when I came home, she again seemed fine.  However, about half an hour ago, she was going out her doggy door and took the worst fall I've ever seen or even imagine.  She couldn't get her back leg through the door and she fell onto her side onto a ramp on the other side of the door.  She then slid down the ramp on her side and ended up falling off the side of the ramp onto the brick patio.  I ran out immediately to help her and get her up.  I thought the worst was over but she fell again on the hardwood floor just now (which she hasn't done in what seems like forever).  Now she seems incredibly unstable and I don't know whats going on.  Does anyone have any ideas?  I'm worried that she is developing degenerative myelopathy since she is a German Shepherd and they are prone to that.  Does DM have such a sudden onset?  Thanks for any info you can provide.


Background info:  Crystal had her right front leg amputated on Jan 11th.  Her first two weeks of recovery were incredibly easy and she was doing great in terms of balance and was making improvements every day until yesterday/today.

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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8 February 2012 - 7:39 pm
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we don't know anything about GSDs, but if it was gayle, i'd be taking her to the vet to be checked out...  it could be many things, so don't get ahead of yourself.  if there's no 24/7 vet nearby, i'd schedule with the regular vet in the AM.  sending our best wishes for crystal's quick recovery.


charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


Member Since:
8 January 2012
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8 February 2012 - 8:04 pm
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Thanks Charon and Spirit Gayle.  My plan is to see how she is tomorrow morning and take her to the vet if there is no improvement.  I'm hoping that it's just her arthritis.  I haven't given her Previcox in a while because she started taking glucosamine supplements and she seemed fine with just the supplements.  In retrospect, I should have just continued giving the Previcox though.  I should also add that she had her first round of chemo on Jan 26.

New Jersey
Member Since:
4 June 2011
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8 February 2012 - 8:35 pm
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I'm hoping for encouraging news at the vet tomorrow. Something simple like a twist or a sprain. All paws crossed at our house tonight!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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8 February 2012 - 8:48 pm
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OH NO!  I hate hearing this!

I'm with Charon on this one.  It sounds like a vet visit should be made promptly.  It can be so many things.  It could be something like a muscle strain, the arthritis, a blown disc or a ACL tear.  I wouldn't worry about the worst case scenerio like, spinal mets or degenerative myelopathy just yet.  But it's better to know than to worry yourself sick.

I would for sure keep her on an NSAID regardless.  If she has arthritis, it's always better to keep the flare-ups down.

Let's us know what you find out!

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:
18 January 2012
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8 February 2012 - 9:15 pm
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Here's hoping she rests well tonight and you get a simple answer at the vets tomorrow. 

Best of luck,

Judy and Baby

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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8 February 2012 - 9:57 pm
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Fingers and paws crossed here for some good news in the a.m.

All the best,
Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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8 February 2012 - 10:08 pm
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Fingers and paws crossed here too

Hope fully it a simply temporry injure or sprain.

Goold luck

Sarah, Kayla and Sarge

Peoria, IL
Member Since:
8 November 2010
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8 February 2012 - 10:15 pm
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Sending positive thoughts your way for a great diagnosis and resolution. Putting extra weight and stress on the remaining three legs may have strained the back leg or aggravated Crystal's arthritis. I know how scared you must have been when she fell. Good luck and keep us posted!

Beth And Spirit Smilin' Sammy

Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.

We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.

Sebastopol, CA
Member Since:
11 June 2011
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8 February 2012 - 10:35 pm
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Oh Crystal - so sorry you are going through this! I hope you get resolution very quickly and it's just a small bump in the road

Sending lots of positive thoughts!

Joanne & lylee

Member Since:
1 February 2011
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9 February 2012 - 12:55 am
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Hope you figure out what's going on with your girl. Sending you some Tripawd mojo from us here...

Rio's momma

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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9 February 2012 - 7:09 am
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Oh no, poor Crystal.  I know from experience, this is terrifying, but as our doc said, don't put the cart before the horse.  Could be anything-- here's hoping for a minor twist or sprain (my personal fave is tick bite paralysis-- remove the tick and voila, instant recovery!) .  Personally, with no medical training, mind you,  DM (too lazy to spell it out!) is highly unlikely, if not impossible-- as it develops over time and it would be too darn unlucky to have that immediately following a cancer diagnosis. 

Hang in there and we're looking forward to a happy update later this morning.  Sending many positive thoughts your way!

Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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9 February 2012 - 7:45 am
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Daisy (amp was Dec. 9th) did really well the first few weeks.  So much so that I took all the runners up because she wasn't slipping.  The past couple of weeks she has seemed to be having more difficulty getting around, slipping on the floors and slipping while standing at her food dish eating.  I had to put the runners back down.  We've started taking longer walks and I think her issues are more to do with her muscles being tired, maybe a little sore.  Maybe that's all it is?

Paws and fingers crossed that it is something minor!

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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9 February 2012 - 10:02 am
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I'm with Scout's mom here. We had a beautiful white shepherd mix (looked like Crystal) who did have DM and it was so slow to develop or worsen. However, she did have tick paralysis once and we had even scheduled her euthanasia before finding the tick. My radar is on high now about that, so the first thing I'd do is dig deep into that fur however I could and look for a tick. Folks here have been posting that they're already finding them. 

I'm sure the fall scared the crap out of both of you so I'm going to hope with all I've got that Crystal has an unwanted tick guest.


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 February 2012 - 11:56 am
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Oh poor Crystal! I hope she's feeling better today but I would definitely have her checked out, it could be a ton of different things. Please keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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