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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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Fine, happy and energetic all day, but extremely heavy panting at night?
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
13 January 2020
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13 January 2020 - 9:54 pm
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About two weeks ago, on Christmas Day, I adopted a happy and hoppy little tripawd whom I named Björn. Björn is about 6-7 months old shepherd mix, he was a stray when he had gotten hit by a car sometime in September. Unfortunately the rescue did not have a complete medical record on him, because was previously at a different shelter. My best guess, is that they amputated his front left leg some time mid October. When I took him home he was no longer on any medications. 
My worry is that he pants, extremely heavily, at night or during rest times. Being still a pup, he’s pretty energetic, and we go on multiple short walks a day, he loves fetch, and will often ZOOM around the house. But at night/ at rest, he pants almost uncontrollably, to the point where it almost sounds like wheezing. It’s not warm, though jus to be safe I’ve tried cool him off with cool towels, his paws and ears don’t feel excessively warm, and his gums are pink. He doesn’t whine, or whimper, in fact he seems happy as can be! But just panting so hard!

is there something I am missing? Is this serious? What more can I be doing for him? 

The Rainbow Bridge

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13 January 2020 - 10:24 pm
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Hi and thanks for joining. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away! 

Thanks for giving this pup a great home. I moved your post here because it’s something we see a lot at Tripawds. Let me explain…

We aren’t vets but based on what you are describing it sounds like Bjorn is getting too much activity. Panting is a common pain signal, and my guess is that he is probably quite exhausted at the end of the day. Even though he is energetic and ready to live life on three, his body still needs time to adapt and get strong. It takes a lot of work for any dog to hop around on three and just because they can keep going and going and going, that doesn’t mean they should. The fetching, multiple walks, it’s all a lot for a three-legged dog to take on at any point in life so curbing things back will help. Of course I know it’s hard to keep a puppy regulated like that, so we’re here to help.

As a new Tripawd parent it’s up to you to moderate his activity and allow for lots of breaks and R&R. How do you do that? Well, it’s a learning experience but for starters…

Have him evaluated by a canine rehabilitation therapist. These folks know exactly how much activity he should be getting, and the best ways for you to help him get strong and avoid injury. The best part is that the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit ! Click the link to learn more and check out Eileen the Rottie Puppy’s rehab story, you’ll see why it’s so helpful to get him into a rehab program.

You’ll also want to focus on fun interactive mind games that tire his brain before his body. Things like obedience lessons and fun activities like nose work are just as exhausting for a dog but in a good way.

Meanwhile, do check out our e-book, Loving Life On Three Legs , and the Tripawds Gear blog for articles about fitness and exercise. We have lots of tips that can help.

Stay tuned for more feedback from the community! 

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