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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Our tripawd Duke is a wonderful, exuberant, smart, funny, engaged doggie. But I have to say I’m a little discouraged today after his third physical therapy appointment. First he’s entirely too excited, barky, wiggly and physically uncontrollable to settle down and go through a lot of the therapy exercises. I mean getting him to sit still for laser ultrasound on his joint is nearly impossible. And, though he loves to swim, he refuses to walk on the water treadmill for more than a minute before becoming rebelling, and when they add more water to the tank for him to swim he panics and thrashes around instead of swimming. It’s been like this for a three appointments so far and I’m discouraged that he’s not getting positive results.
At home I can get him to do most PT exercises without all the drama, but I feel that his exercises at PT appointments would be more beneficial if he would just settle down. Does anyone have any advice?
22 February 2013
Just so you’ll not, the treadmill/water therapy is NOT for every dog, so dont feel discouraged. BTW, my Frankie is a prime example! My unprofessional opinion, of Duke hasn taken to it after three sessions, I would drop that from the plan. If I recall, the Rehab place I took Frankie to for the water treadmill said it takes a couple of times sometimes, and sometimes they can tell from the first session. I didn’t have the funds to keep “trying” hoping he would adapt later. The therapist kinda agreed Frankie was jist going to be one of those dogs who wouldn’t benefit.
For the most part I was fortunate enough to have a mobile Rehab Vet (with extra “certifications” in massage therapy) come to the house. He’s a very wiggle butt, enthusiastic happy boy who doesn’t like to hold still either. The first thing she did each time was spend a large amount of time massaging him….to the point he would almost go to sleep sometimes!!! She had an assistant who would continue to massage him when she did the laser. Same thing when she did range of motion stuff, lots of lots of massaging inbetween and massaging bu assistant during the process.
His therapy was for his two back legs (a front legger tripawd) for cruciate/TPLO surgery at two different times a year apart on each leg. She did suggest that he have pain meds ahead of each session. So maybe a dose of pain meds, or even a med to “relax” him. Of course, only with your Bet’s advice.
Maybe others can give you advice on continuing with water therapy of you want to stay on that plan. I know I was told one minute was something she would try and work him towards. So I don’t know if that’s a lot of time for the third session or not. Clearly Duke thinks it is!
Have uou gotten input on things you can do at home? Sit/stand repetitions for instance?
Since he likes swimming, Do you have j a place you can take him out for a short swim?
Clearly Duke is a happy boy and is doing realky well doing thi gs Duke’s way.
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!
Thank you so much for the reply! We do have exercises for home, including massage, range of motion movements and core stuff like balancing front legs on a level above his rear leg etc.. He’s much better at home because he’s much calmer. I’m beginning to think that we may need to do more at home and take him to PT less often. I wish we had a mobile PT vet to come to the house.
I’m really disappointed that the water treadmill isn’t his thing because it’s supposed to be hugely beneficial in building core strength. We are looking for a place to take him swimming.
18 October 2009
You might be able to take a little of the edge off by playing some brain games before you go, maybe food puzzles or a search for treats game. It really is amazing how tiring it is for them to spend time sniffing out treats or engaging their minds to figure out a puzzle.
If Duke isn’t going to be a water treadmill dog then maybe just periodic visits to rehab for checkups with an exercise program you do at home?
I have the opposite problem with my little rear amp Tripawd. Elly shuts down around strangers and does not like it at all when they try to touch her. Then her anxiety kicks in and getting her in the truck is a struggle. So we do an exercise program at home. Elly had never been to a rehab vet but I am hoping to make that happen someday. She is much better now that she was when I got her, but even a short re-check type appointment with the vet leads to a couple weeks of anxiety in the truck.
Something else you might look into are essential oils or a natural calming treat like from Ewegurt, I think some people use CBD oil as well. I haven’t tried any of them although I have all three . I originally was trying to calm her anxiety around our Nose Work classes and Trials so I didn’t want to introduce another odor. And honestly I though we had made enough progress to not need them but we had a bit of a setback this past winter.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
25 April 2007
You’ve gotten such great insight here! To that I’ll just add…don’t be discouraged. Many dogs need more time and the right kind of practitioner personality to adjust to being handled. Our Wyatt Ray is a prime example. He is a total spaz at the vet clinic, but last week the awesome PTs at CSU were able to get him to lie still for different types of therapies. That blew my mind! I couldn’t imagine him sitting still for shockwave therapy or ultrasound, but the PTs totally understand his game.
Meanwhile, what did the rehab team say about helping him to stay calm? Did they offer up ideas like anti-anxiety supplements or brain games beforehand (I love that idea Karen!). Can they put him with another practitioner who might have a better connection?
One more thing: regarding swimming. At this point you really don’t want to take him in an open-water pool unless it’s with a rehab practitioner. I was just talking to one about open water swimming for new Tripawds, and was told that free swimming results in a thrashing motion that can do more harm than good when a dog isn’t conditioned to it. I’ll have more in a future blog post.