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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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Frankie's cruciate repair!!
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16 December 2017 - 12:46 pm
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I was just thinking the same thing Holly, maybe try a warm face cloth for now. His leg is not going to freeze that way! 😜 warm might help you lead to a little ROM but I suspect his tolerance for pain is low. Hee may really enjoy the warm, it might help his muscles relax


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

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16 December 2017 - 12:54 pm
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If it is any consolation at all most dogs I saw have this surgery got better all by themselves. Their pawrents kept them quiet and they were weight bearing at their own pace. Younger ones seemed a bit quicker sometimes but that doesn't surprise me. I know that especially with all the amps here rehab therapy is huge which is totally understandable, but I think a little time is going to be his best friend. I also agree if its possible at all to try keeping him on long lead. This is so tough because he only has 2 good legs so I understand him gaining speed to hop on two but it scares me to think he can trot off and trip and hurt himself with you having to chase after him by YOUR self, does that make any sense?


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

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16 December 2017 - 12:58 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost brain is thinking, can you smell something burning?laughingclown maybe you can try the range of motion when the pain meds are at their strongest in him?? Time it like an hour after pills when he is good and dopey?


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

The Rainbow Bridge

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16 December 2017 - 1:08 pm
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Sallllllllyyyyyy.... I see lots of little victories here, really! He scooted to the bed, he peed on his own, little by little he is getting there. And he looks so comfy on his bed, that can really do wonders for his spirit.

You know about poop, don't worry about that too much right now. As long as you can see him peeing that's good. 

As for the passive range of motion . . .what does he do when you try?

When it comes to ice packs, Wyatt Ray never allows us to do it to him. He does respond better to warm things so maybe the warm compress can help. Now that you are 72 hours post-op you can try it. See this blog post and watch the video below:

Heat and Ice Therapy Tips for Tripawd Cats and Dogs

I hope today goes well. Please keep us posted, we are sending lots of cheers to you and Frankie. You guys can do this!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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16 December 2017 - 2:33 pm
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you know I love you, but here’s a quick kick in the butt. You didn’t do anything TO him. You didn’t have a choice and you’re trying to make things better for him. You sound like you’re blaming yourself for something and you need to stop doing that. 

I know how horrifying a screaming dog is (we had that for 6 months and I couldn’t bear it). I understand. But never forget you’re trying to help him and you did not have an option. Did. Not. 

And he‘s got to do his bit in this, too. 

And now try and remember all the sound advice you’ve given ALL OF US HERE in the past and use it on yourself before you keel over. 

Oh and you know what Manni’s first ever vet always said? She said „Frau Schröder, we‘re talking about a guy here. They whine and suffer a lot more. They’re guys...!“

Love, hugs and even more strength 


Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

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16 December 2017 - 2:51 pm
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You have the bestest ways with words Tina..   Sally, what SHE said! You are forgetting to you need a chocolate delivery? I would say ice cream but by the time it got to you it would be messy 🍧 

Biggest of hugs, much love to all of you, got this. And please try to get some rest. 

Jackie and Huckleberry ❤❤


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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16 December 2017 - 3:03 pm
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Sally, sweetie pie 🌷☀️

I am sorry I haven't been here lately ... 

Thing is my daughter had very complicated knee surgery to both knees recently and that is taking all my time, brains and heart.

I do think about you and Frankie daily, just don't seem to find any time (or brain cells) left at the end of each day.

What I can say by seeing how my daughter is (and given the fact she can speak, unlike Frankie) is pain management is of upmost importance !

Also, I'll add there is NOTHING which can completely get rid of pain involving bone fiddling ( we all knew this but now I see it loud and clear) 

She is on Gabapentin plus an array of pain medication and also morphine, several injections per day but it doesn't fully take the pain away.

I wouldn't mention my daughter's situation was it not for the fact it brings totally into light you must allow time for Frankie to recover and, as you are doing, manage his pain the best you can.

I do apologise for not being able to help more right now and not being able to check on you regularly but of course am SO glad to see our tripawdian family is (as always) by your side, honey bee 💗

You are in my thoughts, sweetie 💗

Sending you all my love and lots of cuddles to the cuties, keeping fingers and toes crossed for Frankie's recovery 😘😘😘😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹 

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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16 December 2017 - 3:06 pm
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Such good news Sally! Baby steps right! 

So glad you found that lovely bed! Both Frankie and Myrtle look very comfortable. Like Holly and Jerry says, try the heat and see if that’s more comfy than the ice. Hoping all gets better as the days progress! 

Frankie, you got such a lovely leg sweetheart! Do take care and keep Mum happy okay?

love to you all!

Petra and Stu heartheart

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

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16 December 2017 - 4:21 pm
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you got this.  I agree with Tina (men always whine more 😉 ) now Frankie is doing things in his time.  He will get that leg down.  Besides if you want my opinion he knows when he talks that you run to see if he is ok 😉  You are doing great my friend.  Need to breathe.  You aren't going to break him and he knows how to get up up because he is sitting.  Maybe not completely up yet but that is a major step in itself.  

If you find yourself getting stressed.   Take a minutes  walk away and breathe and come back  then you got it.  Everyone is giving you great advice my friend.  He will be back up on 3 before we know it 



Michelle & Angel Sassy


Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Livermore, CA

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16 December 2017 - 7:51 pm
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OK- here is a victory missed...

That picture of Frankie on the couch- if I'm not mistaken that is his repaired leg bent- right?  His ROM is most likely fine at this point! Obie would do that too- I couldn't believe how he could bend is leg so far so soon after surgery and without discomfort.  Maybe it has to do with the way a dog's knee is built but from my experience with my own knee surgeries bending is much harder than straightening.

I dug out Obie's surgery records, at least from the first one, I can't find the second one.  From that and my other experiences I agree that you should do warm compresses now- our instructions were to switch to warm compresses at 72 hours post discharge.  I also looked at the ROM instructions:

"Please start gentle manipulation- bending and stretching- as soon as Obie's comfort permits it- this is generally the first or second post operative day...Do Not force the joint to bend or exceed Obie's tolerance. This is meant to foster healing and maintain joint motion and should not be an ordeal for either of you."

I remember them telling me not to force it with him, I was lucky that he was so tolerant.  Of course the steady stream of treats helped!

Maybe another reason Frankie isn't putting that foot down is that he has to go so fast to keep his balance.  One of our instructions was to be sure that I kept him at a slow walk on our potty breaks as that encourages him to put his foot down. Since that is pretty much impossible for Frankie at this point it makes more sense that he is taking longer to put that foot down.

Hang in there!


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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16 December 2017 - 8:48 pm
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Maybe we are lucky here and Sally has finally found some sleep. Sending big hugs like a warm fluffy blanket surrounding you to get good rest.



Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

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17 December 2017 - 6:28 am
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Sally and Frankie,

It sounds perfectly normal to me. Miss Izzy wouldn't put her foot down for quite a while after surgery. I even went back into my emails to the vets, and I specifically mentioned that she didn't want to walk on that leg at all. Like you mentioned, she went very fast to avoid needing the leg, which had become her custom prior to the knee surgery.

She didn't want me to do much with the range of motion, but I believe she let me bend her knee a little (but was more tolerant of the ice and warm routine, which really seemed to help). I'm sure that you are wrapping the compresses so it's not "too cold" but some pups I'm more stubborn than others. Izzy was very stoic so didn't yelp a lot after the first few days but definitely whined and panted and it was mostly at night. She was also a very compliant dog, for the most part, but was really good about being cooperative for bandages, ointment application, and all kinds of medically related indignities.

I will say that her pain was far more difficult to manage then I expected and I certainly had many, many, many moments of "what have I done to her?!" But as you saw firsthand, Izzy did extremely well once she got over the hump. I will never forget being at the party in Virginia and folks commenting on how strong Izzy was. I had several moments where somebody held her leash for me and were surprised at just how hard that old lady could pull! Frankie will get there. I suspect that in the end, he will do so much better than Izzy did because of his age. Doesn't make it any easier for you to hang in at this point, I know, but you did the right thing and this will soon be behind you both!

I so wish I could be there to help. I have walked this mile, trying to wrangle a big powerful dog, so I know you've got to be struggling. But as my dear, wise friend once told me, BREATHE (and take lots of chocolate, meducinally, of course).

I'll ask Izzy to whisper in Frankie's ear to assure him and encourage him. Maybe you'll hear her,  too heart


Amy & that big, beautiful bulldog in the sky, Izzy 

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.


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17 December 2017 - 5:42 pm
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The rime anccare that each of you are extending to Feanmie and to me gives me watery eyes and a lump in mh throat.

EACH of you have given such GREAT  tips and your reassurances have meant the world to me!!.....I just cannot tell you what a TRUE gift you are ro me and to this e tire community!

Amy and Karen, while I wish you never had to deal with similar circumstances,  ut  your input from first hand  experience is invaluable!  Thank you voth for taing the time tomlook into your records and your "memory" for such good I information.

Karen, Imq really going make an effort to hold tightly knto that harness and MAKE him go slow.  If I can balance him without either of us tumbling maybe that will give him the stability he needs for PAW ON THE GROUND!!  

Teresa, the reminder that fiddli g with the bones IS painful adds some clarity to whats going with him pain wise.  I'm just sooooo sorry Your daughter is goie through such a rotten time. PLEASE let her we kno we are holdr her in our thoughts ad hoping for better days soon!

Rene, when I try and move his leg at all in any form thst remotely resembles a PRM movement in the teeniest, ri iest vit, it doesn't move and he screams.  When he's "relaxed" and drugged and I put a warm towel on it I can lightly "pet it",sort of stroke it and I gently while stroking is leg try and stretch it down...he IMMEDIATELY reacts in pain.

Jackie and Holly, and Kerren too, all the tips for heat"'or "icing etc....good stuff! 

Thewie, you are always a smile maker no matter what.

I do hsvr a VICTORY!  He lets me lay a warm towel on his leg! 🙂

Michelle, I did try and ignore some of his whines last night and not immediately try to comfort him!  He would just try and sit up and scoot over to me pulling hard with his front leg but completely unavle to stand on his own.  Needless to say, I caved and won't do that anymore! 🙂 🙂

I think that's whats so sad.  FRANKIE IS TRYING SOOOO HARD!!!  HE REALLY, REALLY IS!!  HE'S SOOOO DETRRMINEDAND SO COURAGEOUS!!!!   But his two remaining legs....well.....its taking a toll.   Walking on TWO LEGS since Tuesday (actually since Wednesday.  Surgery is a week ago Truesday)   Tonight, for the first time, I got him up with the harness, headed him in the right direction down the ramp, and he toolk a few steps with those TWO sacred legs of his, and had to site because his "good" rear leg

I KNOW WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL, DEEP WITHIN MY GUT , IF FRANKIE COULD USE THAT LEG, HE WOULD!!!!  I MNOW HE WOULD!!   This is not the way he wants to be!   He doesn't know how to be this way!  He wants to be wild and crazy Frankie! 🙂


I'll call the Vet tomorrow and see what we can do.  I even wondered if lightly sedating him and move his leg under sedation woild help.  The only thing though, he woukd be soooooo sore when he woke up, it would do more harm thsn

Tina.heart  Spot on. Are you physic?

Love to all

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

PS.  Amy,...shhh....I think I can hear Izzy

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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17 December 2017 - 10:28 pm
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Well now, what have we here?  Apparently THE PUGS and THE IZZY have.been whispering in da Cool Hound Dawg's ears:-)  As a result,  we believe we have a VICTORY to report!

"The" leg dropped some while he took a pee! 🙂 🙂  I'd say his paw was about three inches off the ground! 🙂 🙂  HUGE VICTORY!! 🙂

WAIT!  There's more! 🙂   While on The Big Barker Bed , I saw him eyeing the couch.  Laser focused on that couch for about fifteen seconds.  GOT UPfrom a sitting position somewhat clumsily and only got a couple of steps but he got close enough  so he could lunge for that couch and plop his head on the cushion! Wagging proudly waiting   for me to hoist him up! 🙂

Merry Myrtle's on the Big Barker , Frankiq's on the couch and Sally's on the floor.way-cool

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!

Green Bay, WI

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17 December 2017 - 10:36 pm
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Oh Sally! I'm so happy to hear this! You must be so relieved. All the angels surely had their paws in this victory! Have some chocolate to celebrate and breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro (and Kodi and Tiny Devil)

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

"Be good, mama loves you" free my beautiful Warrior

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