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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Great news! My boy might get prosthesis
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Member Since:
26 May 2012
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4 June 2012 - 6:34 am
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When i first met Olaf, and than adopted him, I thought he doesnt need a prosthesis, but in time saw it makes him very tired, especialy now when its hot. It get said to look at him when he wants to play with other dogs, but cant and has to rest.

i decided to try and get him a prosthesis.
I called a vet ambulance specialized for phisical therapy in our capital (i thought: if anybody, they will know), and the said nobody in Croatia and even Europe deals with dog prosthesis.  way-confusedcrying"Only in America"

So, I used my common sense and called local orthopedic shops and asked if they can make, or know somebody who can make a prosthesis for a dog. 20 phone calls later, i found a guy who will see if he can make it, in fact, he made one already foe a labrador!!!11claplaughing
And its in my hometown, not America!


What do you think? 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 June 2012 - 7:28 am
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I love your new avatar photo Olie!

As for the prosthesis, I really admire your dedication to finding help for him!

Now, we have seen very limited success with prosthetics , but you can always try if you have the $$ are patient and willing to spend time training him how to use it. Dogs don't adapt as quickly as a human does when it comes to a prosthesis (they want to know what this weird thing attached to their body is all about!). Oftentimes it's best to involve a physical therapist who can help. Dedicated time needs to be spent teaching him how to use it.

It's not impossible, but one thing to consider is: does Olie have a long enough stump to attach the prosthesis to? Usually if an owner wants one for their Tripawd, the amputation is performed in a way that will leave enough stump and muscle for the prosthesis to attach.

You can read more about them here:

Canine Prosthetics: Pardon My Faux Paw

And here is one of our favorite rehab vets, who talks about getting one for her Rottie Tripawd:


Instead of a prosthesis, you may want to consider a doggie wheelchair . Olie is much more likely to experience success and help with one of these. Here is some info about that:

When and How a Dog Wheelchair Can Help a Tripawd

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
26 May 2012
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4 June 2012 - 11:41 am
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Hmm.. now you got me thinking. It would be a shame to spend a lots of money for something he wont get used to, or even be affraid of.

His leg is amputated at the upper third of femur, so he has a relatively small stump. So there is a piece of bone and some muscles, but i dont know if that would be enough for a prostheses.

I read somewhere that prostheses work best with 2 joints (i.e. hip and knee, or shoulder and elbow), and that`s not a thing here, and the 99% of pics on the internet are of dogs with only lower parts of legs missing (i.e. paw ora carpus and paw etc).


The cart is not really an option for us because he is a big dog, the cart should be big and impractical and probably very expensive. It would make him even more handicapped since his remaining leg is strong, same as back. He runs and walks, and often jumps up on 1m high walls (when runing with other dogs, he cant jump up from siting or standing), so  guess he is doing too well for the cart.


I only wanted to give him something to help him walk and run so he doesnt get tired so much. It bothers me that I dont know if he is just tired, or if he is in pain. The other reason I wanted to get the prosthesis is because Im affraid for the other hip and his back.


But I think I will do this: I will go and see the prosthetician (is that a word?!) to get an opinion, and then wait through the summer (since its been only 2 months since amputation, and we will go swimming, so he might get stronger) and then go from there. I will also make hip and spine X-rays and consult with vet who did the surgery (he did mention prosthesis once, but I didnt care in that time).


Thanks for the insight. Olaf would say HI, but he sound a sleep and running in his sleep 🙂

Austin, TX
Member Since:
26 August 2010
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4 June 2012 - 12:41 pm
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Hmmm.  Since it's only been 2 months since Olaf had his amputation (that's 2 weeks for the incision to heal, another 2 weeks for his body to maybe just a month of actual normalcy?) I wouldn't be too worried about the fact that he gets tired quickly.  Give him time - it's going to take awhile before he can handle the endurance.  And now that summer is coming up, that means lots of heat, which tires all of us out quicker. 🙂

Have you considered trying some of the other fitness things that they have suggested here?  The core-strengthening workouts and that sort of thing?  I think that has the links to a lot of fitness related gear & helpful tips.  Instead of going out during the summer heat to run around, you could try some of the stability & core strengthening to help him when the fall comes and it's a lot cooler.

Either way, good luck with whatever happens.  I think it's awesome you want to help your boy get along better and who knows; maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones with the prosthesis that works. 🙂

Jack - adopted with a crooked leg at 4 months old, managed for six years, and now much-happier Tripawd as of 5/24/2012!

4 June 2012 - 1:26 pm
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My tripawd was a little pug- so I can't help with the size worries.  Before amputation Maggie was able to go on 2 mile walks regularly- which is pretty far for little pug legs!  After amputation it probably took 6 months for her to be able to walk one mile.  She was able to do that pretty regularly until other health issues started to slow her down.

I only offer that so you can see that 2 months post amp is not that long.  And it seems that rear leggers take longer to build strength and endurance.  Honestly Maggie's prognosis after amputation was pretty short so I didn't spend a lot of time at first on strengthening.  I didn't do anything formal- just played games with her that made her work her muscles in different ways.

Have you checked out the rehab and exercise info here? HERE are some interesting blog posts from the Gear Blog.  And HERE are some posts on Rehab for Tripawds.


Karen and the pugapalooza

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 June 2012 - 9:20 pm
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OH yes, two months is nothing. It took Wyatt Ray , a German Shepherd, over six months to look like he was stronger. 

I would definitely hold off on any kind of assistive aid until you know for sure that he's not stronger, and in my unscientific opinion, based on what I've read, he needs at least 6 to 8 months.

Just a note: wheel chairs aren't something that dogs get dependent on, they really do help by taking the weight and extra pressure off the joints. But again, it would be something you wouldn't want to do until you know for sure that he needs one. In the US, you can get a custom wheel chair starting at around $350 USD.

It couldn't hurt to talk to the prostethecian, just to see if there is enough stump for a prosthesis to attach to. I like your plan to wait on getting one though.

Here's more info about building up strength in rear leggers:


Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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4 June 2012 - 11:53 pm
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I concur, two months is nothing!  I have heard (from a people doctor) that bones take up to 6 months to heal.  If I'm understanding his bone was cut?  If that's the case, then it may be having some throbbing action going on when he moves about.  Totally guessing... 

As one that had a tripawd for her entire life, it's very easy to think about getting a prosthesis. My Comet still had her deformed leg and there were days I thought something could be rigged up and attached to it!   I had these momentary thoughts of letting her see what it was like to have a 4th leg (she was born deformed) just to take the burden off of her.   But I never did.  I don't think she would have adapted.  

I think you've got a great plan for Olaf!  It's obvious he is so very loved by you!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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