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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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Full limb prosthetic
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Member Since:
6 July 2021
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8 July 2021 - 10:51 am
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We have a 7 month old Great Dane who we just rescued.  He was run over and the prior owners left his leg for 5 months with no medical care.  We were hoping to save the leg but after consulting with multiple vets it has been decided he will have a full front limb amputation next month.  The Vet says he does not like prosthetics and feels leaving a small portion of the limb would be worse for him in the long run. We have been looking at the full limb vests and I wondered if anyone here has used them and what your thoughts are on it.  The biggest concern we have is he is a giant breed dog and loosing the front leg will put a lot of stress on the back legs.   

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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8 July 2021 - 11:11 am
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Hello and welcome. I see you've been in and out of the chat. If you leave the chat, you will get logged out. If you'd like to talk, I'm in there now. Meanwhile..

Thanks for adopting this sweet pup! What a lucky pup to find his way to you. I'm SO glad you wrote!

If your vet is against prosthetics , please find a new vet who is more up-to-date with what's going on in the world of prosthetics , preferably an orthopedic specialist. The current thinking is that a prosthetic can make a HUGE difference in quality of life for a Tripawd, and leaving as much of the limb as possible gives the greatest chance of success at adapting to a prosthesis. If you are considering a prosthetic, this is the vet you want to consult with BEFORE amputation. Once that leg is amputated, if there's not enough limb left your dog's chance of adapting to a prosthesis decreases.

I believe you are referring to this type of support made by our friends at Dive Design.

prosthetic tips for TripawdsImage Enlarger

It's not a true prosthesis but it's a good product and a reasonable option for dogs who already have too much of the limb amputated to adapt to a true prosthesis. If my dog hadn't had his amputation yet, I would shoot for a true prosthesis instead, like this:

free pet prosthesis

Before you do anything, I have some information to share, here goes:

Ten Things to Know About Adopting a Tripawd (Part 1)

All Tripawds Posts about Prosthetics 

We have a two-part webinar about prosthetics , including the brace you are referring to.

Also, please consider consulting with a canine rehabilitation therapist so you can learn how to keep this pup healthy, strong and injury free. This is especially important for a young, giant breed dog. And the best part is the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit !

Check out these links and let me know if they help. Ask any questions, your future posts won't need approval so post away!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
6 July 2021
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9 July 2021 - 6:13 am
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The good news is we still have time to make the decision and we are looking into any and all possibilities.  I don't want to order something online that a mold kit is sent to us I really want to make sure whatever route we go it is custom to him because he is a giant breed.   The other piece to this puzzle is at 7 months he still has a year or more to grow which means anything we do now wont fit him down the road but we also the sooner he gets help the stronger his other three legs will be. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 July 2021 - 1:48 pm
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You guys are wonderful, I love that you are doing your homework. We totally agree that the best way to go is to work with a vet who has experience in prosthetics and can oversee the process every step of the way. 

You are right about prosthetics ; they do need to be modified as a dog grows, and even later as the dog ages. Residual limbs change shape over time so it takes monitoring to make sure the prosthesis always has a good fit. I can tell you guys will be on it! 

If you'd like help finding a great vet who wants to work with you, I'm happy to help! PM me your location if so.

Keep us posted. We love following along with stories like this! 

P.S. In our most recent webinars about prosthetics , you'll hear from ortho vets Dr. Sherman & Deborah Canapp from Maryland, who work closely with Dive Designs, the company who designed the support brace you're referring to.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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5 February 2022 - 10:48 pm
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I have been researching prosthetics for Hrafi and was wondering if there is one that would function as a back leg?

I have no idea how much of his leg will be removed, as the tumor is at his hock.

I need to know what is possible and/or really feasible before he goes to a surgeon.

*If* enough leg can be spared and not affect his life span it's something I would be interested in.

His insurance will cover 90% of a prosthetic with no limits on coverage.

Thank you!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 February 2022 - 12:52 pm
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A rear leg prosthetic is possible IF the leg has enough residual limb left after amputation surgery.

Please see this link for a two-part webinar about pet prosthetics .


Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
12 January 2022
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9 February 2022 - 8:56 am
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Thanks Jerry.

Other forums are dead set against the partial amp saying it would "throw him off balance" yet this says exactly the opposite.

Plus, it would leave him his butt to sit on squarely rather than flopping sideways when he sits down.

If a prosthetic were possible, I would prefer to have the future choice, and even if not, the balance point makes sense.

What do you think?

[I cannot see the videos, what am I doing wrong?]

[0:49:40] Why do a partial amputation for dogs with osteosarcoma?

What you’re going to see though is he is using that other leg to balance. So a lot of veterinarians or surgeons may do a full limb amputation and not consider a partial. Even if you don’t plan on placing a prosthetic on, by doing the partial, it helps them with weight balance. He uses that to sit on, to balance when he is running, when he is playing. You will see his stump actually move. He is using it just like he still has the full limb and it really does help him with coordination and function. So absolutely partial amputation whether using a prosthesis or not I would recommend.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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9 February 2022 - 10:37 am
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It wasn't that long ago when vets thought that a full amputation was best. In fact we heard that from vets when we started Tripawds in 2006 so we followed that input. But over the years as prosthetics have gotten better, the thinking among most orthopedic vets like Dr. Canapp has changed. This thinking hasn't yet trickled down to the rest of the vet community or most pet parents. But as far as I know, there are no studies that show a partial limb helps with balance. 

Again, the problem with a partial amputation is that if the surgeon isn't super careful with stitches/staples, wound healing can be more challenging. Many Tripawds required "amputation corrections" (removing the rest of the residual limb) long after the original amputation, because their stump got banged around so much it made life miserable. So IMO it's a toss up.

Here's a link to the video with Dr. Canapp:

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
13 November 2021
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8 March 2022 - 4:01 pm
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Will you please update us on what you decided to do? I am interested in prosthetics , specifically the one that could be removed!

Also, for what it's worth I think that all options should be explored & in cases like this, where the doctors aren't fully caught up on new technology/new methods, it's really worth reaching out to others for a second opinion!

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