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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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Depression after amputation
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22 February 2019 - 7:02 pm
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Hey y’all, I’m here because I’m lost. Our two year old pup was ran over by a truck there weeks ago. His rear leg was broken in 7 places, near his hip. We chose to first try to do surgery, this was done 4 days after the accident. Seven days later the plates failed and we had to immediately amputate because of the pain Steel was in. 

Today is day 9 after the amputation and I’m worried he is becoming depressed. In the accident his spleen was damaged and it may need to be removed so because of the potential issue Steel hasn’t been alone for a single minute, he’s even going to my office with me daily. He has however had to be separated from our other dog who is two years older than Steel and until the accident they had never been separated. 

I know that Steel is still not completely healed and he lost over 30 pounds in the first two weeks folofollo the accident so he is still regaining energy and strength all while having to take 18 pills a day, antibiotics, pain pills and sleeping pills. 

Has anyone had a situation similar to ours? If so, how do you know if they are depressed? We love Steel with all our hearts and have all been 100% positive with him since the accident.

The Rainbow Bridge

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22 February 2019 - 8:22 pm
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Hi STeel and family, we are so glad you found us, but so sorry you had to join this community. Steel has been such a trooper through this ordeal!

Nine days after amputation is not a long time. Remember, his body took a real beating when he was hit. Most dogs in his situation wouldn’t bounce back as quickly as one who lost a leg for other reasons. Not only that, but his separation from his sibling is probably really hard on him too. His body needs time to recover, most likely that is all that’s going on.

Tell us more about what kind of pain medication he’s on. Don’t forget that pain pills can alter a dog’s energy and motivation. And antibiotics can also make a dog feel lousy. But remember that is only temporary. Give him the time and space to recover and he can get there! I promise, many others (in fact almost everyone) sees this kind of side effect in their new Tripawd, and the good news is it’s temporary. 

He sounds like a strong, active doggie who has every chance in the world of bouncing back. Have you talked to your vet about your concerns yet? If not, please do, as they might be able to spot something in his medication schedule that can be adjusted.

We look forward to learning more about Steel. Please consider registering as a member so that your future posts won’t need approval. We are here to help.

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Livermore, CA

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22 February 2019 - 9:59 pm
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Hi and welcome.

I’m sorry to hear about the accident. 

As Jerry said, the meds are probably a huge influence on him.  My Tri Elly recently had dental surgery and was on Tramadol for pain, it definitely had a sedating effect on her.  You said sleeping pills- what are they?  Sedatives or tranquilizers could make him appear depressed for sure.

Elly is a little Pug mix who was hit by a car at 7 months old and lost her right rear leg as a result.  I adopted her after she was healed, but I did go through recovery with my first Tripawd Maggie, a Pug who lost a back leg to cancer.

I don’t know that dogs get depressed in the way we understand it in humans, but I do think some pups are much more sensitive to changes in their routines.  Maggie was a slug for 6 weeks after her amp surgery, there were no complications and I think we manged her pain well.  But she was a stubborn Pug who hated any changes to her routine, in hindsight it made sense that she took so long to get used to her new normal, but at the time I was sure I had made a mistake choosing surgery.  She hopped happily through life for almost 4 years.

Is there any safe way for Steel and your other pup to have short, supervised visits?  Creating as much normal routine as you can may help him.

Do talk to the vet about what you are seeing, he’s on lots of meds and with other injuries to be concerned about you want to be communicating any concerns.

By the way- Elly is now 4 years old and can do pretty much anything a dog her size and age can do. 

Keep us posted on how Steel is doing.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls 

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo


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23 February 2019 - 12:09 pm
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So sorry your Steel has had to endure so much.  As Jerry and Karen said, he has been through a lot and will need time to heal… s.l.o.w.l.y.

And amput bu itself is MAJOR surgery.  Add everything Steel has been through on top of that, and it makes things even that much harder.   Plus, on top of all that, he’s trying to adjust to three legs.

All his muscles have to be so tight and tense, his surgery site is still painful and, as already noted, he’s in a lot of meds!!!   So yes, please let us know what he’s  taking.  Guessing his pain meds consist  of Tramadol,  Gabapentin and maybe Rimadyl.  The”sleeping pill” you mentioned.   What is that?  

 Make sure his pain is managed, even if it makes him lethargic. What may look like “depression ” could be pain.  He needs only potty breaks and then complete rest.  Obviously no stairs, jumping, no long walks, etc.

How is he doing as far as eating  and drink and potty?  Did I read that right?  He’s lost thirty  poinds in two weeks?  What has the Vet suggested  to help him regain  weight?  Any special  nutrient  supplements,  special foods, etc?

I know it ja4d ro ve patient and this whole ordeal has been soooo stressful.  Hang jn there.  Steel will get past this!  Stay connected and update when uou can.


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

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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