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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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First Days after Brachial Plexus injury
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Member Since:
4 December 2012
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5 December 2012 - 9:34 am
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My pup Teo, 3 1/2 y/o black lab, is 36 hours post injury.  He's 85lbs and has elbow dysplasia before the accident.  Now I'm cradling his front end with a sheet to get him outside.  The big guy is fiercely independent and hates the helping hand so I'm trying to balance getting him to use the restroom and making him figure out how to get around.


Ideas, thoughts and help needed.


I want him to start strengthening his good leg but also don't want to push it.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 December 2012 - 9:48 am
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Welcome, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Best wishes for Teo's speedy recovery, what type of injury did he have?

It is far to early to start strengthening, focus on healing and one the stitches are out and he is off all his pain meds then you can start core strengthening and balance exercises. Check out all our tripawd rehab video interviews for professional advice. Search the Tripawds Gear blog and Downloads for more tips on unstable surface work, core strengthening, and balance work. When it does come time to start working out, remember: walks do not build strength, only stamina so keep them short at first!

You can use a canvas shopping bag cut down the sides to create a sling with handles if assistance is needed in the meantime, but many users find the Ruff Wear harness very useful for providing support.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
4 December 2012
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5 December 2012 - 10:55 am
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He got hit by a car and spun around on the ice and that tore the brachial plexus in his left front leg.  We are in the long and agonizing first week to see if he will regain any sensation and/or function in limb but everything points toward an upcoming amputation.  Better to hop on 3 then limp on 4 is a quote from the vet (she pointed me to this site).


The hardest part is that we want to go play in the snow but can't seem to stop falling on the bad leg, so I'm limiting it to short sessions.


Thanks for the links.

5 December 2012 - 11:42 am
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Welcome to Tripawds, sorry to hear about your pup's accident.

This sounds odd but I hope the bad elbow was in the leg he hurt?

Admin guy gave you some good links- how is he getting around inside? Traction is important for tripawds (and virtual tripawds).  You can use throw rugs or even yoga mats on tile and wood floor areas.  You could also raise his food and water bowls.

I hope he gets feeling back in his leg, but either way we are here to help however we can.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Orange County, CA

Member Since:
14 August 2012
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5 December 2012 - 11:58 am
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It's not a great sign if he does not have any sensation at all, but I still give at least 6 weeks to see if there is some sign of improvement. 

It sounds like he loves the snow, but that is not the best idea right now! You don't want him falling and injuring something else, or making his brachial plexus injury any worse.

Hoping Teo makes a complete recovery. Please keep us posted.

Right hind limb amputated 7/3/12 for OSA, started on alternating cycles of Carboplatin and Doxorubicin and oral Palladia. Single lung met 9/1. Met in the neck muscle removed 9/30. Large mass in sublumbar lymph node 10/2. Rescue chemo with ifosfamide 10/6. Mets to the rib and axillary lymph node 10/21. Started Leukeran and Pred 10/25. Wookie left this Earth for a far better place on 12/4/12. I miss you, Boo, you were my heart.

Member Since:
4 December 2012
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5 December 2012 - 2:01 pm
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Thanks for the comments.  Traction for wood floors..... the irony is that we just replaced 1800 sq/ft of crappy carpet with beautiful fir floors.  He seems to be getting around the house ok, I'll work on the traction runway to his food.


He's pretty sedated on pain meds and steroids and no digestive issues yet. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 December 2012 - 2:27 pm
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teomoon said
Traction for wood floors.....  

Best Traction Tips for Tripawds

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
4 December 2012
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12 December 2012 - 9:41 pm
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All that worrying and wondering.... how do I help my guy out and be the best pawrent possible.  Well, lets just say that in my case all I needed to do was medicate him well for a few days and let the magic happen. 


Almost 10 days post injury and the only way my stud knows it's time to stop is because I make him.  He wants to chase the ball, play in the snow and be himself more than ever.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

I'll get some more photos up but, like I said, all the worries are gone.  K9's inspire me to be tougher than I am sometimes!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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13 December 2012 - 8:13 am
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Hmmm, your photo didn't show up. See this post for tips about adding images.

So glad to hear the pain drugs are working for him. It's so  hard for humans to get into the habit of regulating their dog's activity. But whether we're talking about a three or four legged dog, regulating physical exertion is the best way to avoid injuries. 

Sounds like he's getting around pretty good considering what he's been through. And you're right, dogs are waaaay more resilient than humans!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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13 December 2012 - 12:05 pm
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Hi and welcome (belatedly). Sounds like you pup is doing great. They are amazing, aren't they?

Hope you can figure out the photo thing - we want to see your pup!

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!

Member Since:
9 October 2012
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14 December 2012 - 9:01 am
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Hi, thought i might share our experience with you as its very similar, Frankie my black lab 32kg was knocked dog and had the same problem as yourselfs, i tried everything i could to save the leg and have now given it 12 weeks far longer than rcommended but my daughter just couldnt let go. I had him in a Magatherepy box, high protein, T Touch massage but the nerver didnt come back and his foot started to get hurt dragging it about.. "bought 6 shoes".

Anyway he has his amputation 2 days ago and is doing great, already trying to chase a ball, which is a no no just now. His tail is wagging and his sisters are cuddling into him, hes still happy frankie and we hopefully have lots of good adventuers to come..

Good luck on your jorney were all here for you.. smiley

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