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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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Vancouver, BC
Member Since:
22 January 2011
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14 February 2013 - 2:43 pm
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Hi everyone

I am hoping someone can help me. I am absolutely scared out of my mind right now. Daisy had her back leg amputated about 2 years ago and has been great. Climbing n and off the couch, clomping stairs now the last few days she is struggling? Is this normal? Is she hurt? She is turning 5 this year and. Beautiful golden retriever. I am hoping someone can help me since I am scared and you all are always helpful

Thanks in advance

Courteney

Member Since:
16 May 2009
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14 February 2013 - 5:17 pm
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It's impossible to diagnose anything over the internet.  No, it's not normal, as such, but don't panic. 

 

Dogs do hurt themselves from time to time.  Dogs with three legs may struggle more with minor injuries than their four legged buddies.  It could be anything from a pulled muscle to arthritis, infection, rheumatism, cancer, back pain, kidney disease, or nothing much at all.   Has she put on much weight?  If so, that's another possibility; she may just have reached that 'tipping point' where they go from being able to cope with the extra weight plus being a tripod, to NOT being able to cope.  Sid gets very stiff if he puts on a pound or two extra.

 

Bottom line - if she's struggling, I'd take her along to the vet for a checkup.  He - or she - will be able to give you an idea what's wrong and offer some treatment options. 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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14 February 2013 - 5:20 pm
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Hi Courteney and Daisy, welcome back! It's been so long. I'm glad the last two years have gone great for you! Since you didn't lose your leg to cancer, I'm going to bet that you might have some muscle strain going on.

To answer your question....her behavior doesn't sound normal. It could be any number of things so my first suggestion is to see your vet. S/he will probably prescribe some R&R and maybe a NSAID pain reliever, then take a wait and see approach. If her symptoms persist, a visit to a specialist is in order. I would start with a certified veterinary rehab vet, who can do a full analysis and find out why she suddenly started limping.

In the meantime what you can do is start to document when her symptoms appear. Is it first thing in the morning? After a walk? End of day? What do her symptoms look like? How long do they last? Detail as much as you can so that your vet can make a quicker diagnosis.

Finally, make an assessment on her weight. If she is at all overweight, even 1 pound, that can have a tremendous effect on her mobility and cause pain and stress in her joints. If you suspect this is the case, our Tripawds Nutrition Blog has tons of diet and weight loss ideas.

Hopefully this is just a matter of regulating her exercise and playtime more closely so that she avoids hurting herself in the future. Please keep us posted OK?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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14 February 2013 - 6:18 pm
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As the others said, it's best to take her in to the vet. I was terrified to take our Abby in when she was suddenly lame on her lone front leg. I was afraid to go for fear he'd tell me the cancer had spread. But it was a sprained toe. Had myself all worked up for a hurt toe. (Granted - a hurt toe is a big deal when you've only got one front leg though.)

Hopefully it's nothing serious that a few days of rest won't take care of. Even if it is something more serious - it's always best to know because then you can come up with a plan.

Hang in there.

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!

Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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14 February 2013 - 6:28 pm
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I agree with all of the above.  There are so many things it could be, many of which are nothing to panic about.  I'd be getting her to your vet for a thorough check up.  Crossing everything it is nothing serious.

 

Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
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14 February 2013 - 7:08 pm
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Oooooh, please report back when you have some news - better, worse, a reason, a vet visit?  This is worrisome for sure, but without more time and a vet visit, who knows?  I'm relieved to hear she didn't have cancer before, as that would be my initial freak-out.  I hope you've got some NSAIDs for her or some other way to keep her comfy until there's a diagnosis.  Keep us posted!

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Vancouver, BC
Member Since:
22 January 2011
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14 February 2013 - 7:11 pm
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Thanks guys. I will. I took and her she is on some pain killers and seeing how she is. She doesn't appear to be overweight but you guys are right, one pound is a lot. If he isn't back mostly to her old self by Monday we're gong back.

I think a lot of it is that I have been a bad Tripawd mom. I forget she needs to take it easy and let her jump on and off couches in and out if the car and play too hard. I need to remember she is special.

I will keep you posted and thank you all for being so helpful. It really means the world to me.

Thanks everyone

Courteney and a very special Daisy.

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
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14 February 2013 - 7:18 pm
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One more thing: for acute injuries, use cold/cool compresses!  Frozen peas, anyone?  Until you know more, I wouldn't use heat to address her pain.

There was 1 night many years ago Jackson was in a lot of pain and couldn't move, step up, or walk.  We took him in and nothing was found, but NSAIDs were given.  We all decided he had some really bad bowel cramps from gas.  I hope it's that simple for your girl!

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

Member Since:
22 January 2013
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9
14 February 2013 - 8:00 pm
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I am glad you took her in and hope she starts feeling better soon.

Fort Wayne, IN
Member Since:
25 January 2013
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14 February 2013 - 8:16 pm
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I hope she feels better soon.  

As far as the cold compresses, here's a tip I learned.  Take a household sponge and wet it.  Put it in a ziploc bag and put in freezer.  It makes a nice compress that doesn't make a mess when it thaws.  Good luck.

Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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14 February 2013 - 10:10 pm
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Don't blame yourself, everyone lives and learns about how to care for their Tripawd. You are a good mom just for trying to figure this out, so give yourself more credit OK?

great tip about the frozen sponge Amy!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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