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.
JUMP TO FORUMS ↓
Join The Tripawds Community
Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:
Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.
Patou is almost 4 weeks post amp. He is a R rear leg amp. His remaining back leg is getting weak and started to buckle beneath him. I had the vet look at it at his first CBC post chemo. She said it is not chemo weakness,(labs were fine for chemo and no amemia) but he may have strained his ACL or something and probably some hip dysplasia. He can't take some of the popular NSAIDs due to intolerance. (violent vomiting) I have him on some ascriptin, and started small doses of tramadol again. I just got up to let him outside and he will take 3-5 really good strides then the buckling starts and sometimes he will just plop down on his butt because he can't hold his weight up. He is back up to about 120 pounds. (thin side for him) He was down to 114 at prior to first chemo which was 2 1/2 weeks ago. He was originally about 140 pounds. I have been using a sling to help him when I can but he just stops and looks at me and won't walk with my assistance. (he gives me a look like..”you have got to be kidding me!” Also I work long 12 hour shifts and can't be with him 24/7, but I am free about 3-4 days a week which helps.
He seems pretty normal other than the weak leg. He eats well, drinks ALOT, and is still interested in barking at the neighbor border collie that likes to come sneak food off the front porch. (it's a game they have played for years) He still perks his ears up at things so his interest in life is still apparent. I am beside myself because if he can't support his weight at all eventually and permanently I'm not sure if the only option is not putting him down and my conscience can't handle putting down a dog that is not sick but just broken. Usually broken can be fixed…. sick can't always be cured.
Please help with any suggestions or possibly anyone that has gone thru this with amputations with large breed dogs. I am hoping that with time he will heal whatever is going on. I think I remember reading something about Forits having the same problem. Please Fortis's Dad if you are still reading our forums please advise. Thanks for any hope you can give me. I just refuse to put down a relatively healthy dog that has an interest in living.
Janet and Patou
16 October 2010
Hopefully someone here with a similar medical experience can give you some advise. But it sounds like your exactly right. He sounds like he is enjoying life and not in pain, so the a physical remedy is possible. Sorry this recovery is requiring extra attention and grief. Keep your spirits up and bless you…
Cooper is a front leg amp and he had a lot of the same trouble with his remaining front leg buckling , it was all he could do to stand long enough to do his business, and early on after falling sometimes just did his business lying down. It is approaching 3 months and he is now much stronger and can stand for minutes at a time ( or longer but chooses not to ) if there is another dog across the street though he forgets all his woes and jumps and stomps and defends his territory as if on all 4. I think extra activity for him now is exactly that extra activity, and as long as he is happy , eating , likes to play and is pain free, I have stopped worrying too much, especially since he no longer buckles when he stands or walks. As I said, , it took the better part of the 3 months he has recovered to overcome the 3-4 step drop.He has muscles through his body now that he never ever thought about having. So as long as Patou is happy and normal in all other respects, naybe he just needs some more time. Oh as a last thought… Cooper also gave me the WTH are you doing look when I first started helping him walk with slings and harnesses and he would just drop dead weight when I did, I found that if I just lightly held the harness and walked with him, but not try to hold him up or lift at all, he seemed to get just the confidence he needed to get around with my help, but if I tried to take his weight for him , he would just drop like a bag of potatoes. I hope this is helpful! Cooper and I are pulling for Patou!
wow… thanks Coopsdad!!,
That is exactly what I needed to hear. I am SO glad I posted. It seems every detail of this whole process is SUCH an ordeal and I just panic when anything goes not as planned. My sis who had her hip replaced at a very young age said the same thing that her good leg (of course we only have 1 and a spare!!) would buckle because it had just not built up the extra strength needed to compensate for her newly operated on hip. I just get so upset about all of this and hearing others who have had the same experiences AND hearing that time does help just puts me so much at ease. I just worry that the extra stress to that only hip and knee that are getting extra abuse and if any major injury were to happen it would be just devastating. I even started looking at wheelchairs for dogs for heavens sake!! I do want to ask either Fortis' Dad or Jim to see what harnesses are best. The ruffwear harness looks quite good but seems more for a front leg amputee. I REALLY need the support for his back hip area! I even threw out my own hip trying to lift him with the sling I have. OH.. and BTW… thanks so much as for the advise on trying to lift him completely. You are right if I try to do ALL the lifting he drops like a bag of potatoes!!!! Do you think they don't trust us and think we will drop them?? Of course if I just stand there holding the sling with no tension that is when I get that.. 'what the heck do you think you are trying to do' look!!!! I will just keep praying and waiting and giving him meds that might help him. thanks again.. you don't know how much that has helped me!!!
janet and Patou
Janet and Patou
You might take a look at a harness called the walkabout harness – they have a good rear support harness – I used one for Cooper in the first 2 weeks. It was the ONLY WAY I could get him anywnhere. And I also am looking at the possibilty of a front leg wheelchair for Cooper so he can go for longer walks. I get especially wrapped up reading about Patou because his personality and looks and size make him almost like a twin to Cooper. Go to walkaboutharnesses.com
P.S – I also worried about addition stress to the rear legs with Cooper – but that part of it I am leaving in Gods hands now, because not one hour of worry can add a day to mine or Coopers life. And I am just getting up everyday and being joyous at everyday I get. No one knows what anyones or any dogs tomorrow hold, we only have the present moment as a sure thing and there is no guaranty of a next breath or next day for any creature. So we might as well enjoy the moment we are in.
thanks so much Coopsdad! I appreciate anyone reading my blogs or posts but it's really therapy for me. It helps me to reveal the love I have for my big Patou and companion. He's been my constant companion for the last six years and I owe him something that can't be repaid in money. I also thanked Fortis's Dad Brett because I remember seeing a good looking functional harness on Fortis (also a rear amp) , so I zoomed in on one of his blog pics and saw the brand name of the harness. I am seriously considering purchasing one for Patou as they look very good for large and giant breed dogs. Thanks again, as your words have been the most encouraging at a time when panic was starting to set in for me. I feel so much better now.
Janet and Patou
25 April 2007
Janet and Patou,
Try not to worry, this sounds like it can be alleviated fairly easily. First, it sounds like Patou needs a combination of weight loss and rear-leg strenthening. If you have a chance to see a rehabilitation therapist, please do. There are lots of rear-leg strenthening exercises they can help you with and ones you can do at home to help him get strong. We have some videos here at Tripawds too.
Please see Fortis' review of his harness to see what his experience was with it.
For dogs in Patou's situation, we highly recommend the Get A Grip Harness by Animal Suspension Technologies.
More to come later, stay tuned…
Thanks Jim. If I am going to invest in a good harness, I want to make sure it is going to last and not give me more headaches than I need. I do like the look and functionality of the Big Dog harness as it seems to really support that back hip area and the back handle seems very functional, but again it has to hold up to the wear and tear of a giant breed dog. I like the look of the ease of the Get a Grip Harness but wish it had a grip handle farther back on the dog. HA… and I'm afraid I won't be slinging Patou over my shoulder anytime soon as it shows in the video with the Get a Grip Harness with the German Shepherd model!!! thanks so much as all of this is very helpful as there are so many decisions and so many unknowns out there for us tripawd owners!!
Janet and Patou….
OH… and P.S….
I wish I had had that Get a Grip harness for one of my ewes a couple of years ago when she got a back hip and leg paralysis from carrying triplets. I had to hoist her up with a make shift sling everyday for about 3 weeks before she delivered them. After the triplets were delivered she was fine!!!
janet and Patou
14 April 2010
I can't help you with the harness but Haley, Denali's mom said it took a very long time for Denali to start using her remaining back leg the right way, she was the same breed as your dog. I think she had a blog, and might have some video and advice to help you, best I can offer, Gus and Dan
My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010
23 August 2010
Janet and Patou
I just wanted to tell you Daisys story: Daisy does not have OS, she was an accidental tripawd. She had a rough start for the 1st 2 months mostly due to recovering from the accident itself. She was doing well attempting to walk and she too pulled something and just couldnt or wouldnt continue trying. We opted for a wheelchair and which was less expensive than trying to diagnose the problem. With the help of the wheelchair she is not only gaining tremendous strength in her front shoulders and legs but she is using her back leg while in the chair. We only put her in the chair when going out on a walk. Progress- She actually got up in the middle of the night and walked across the room last week! (She did fall down when she got to the wall but we were very pleased that she tried)
Wishing you and Patou the best!
Daisy earned her wings on Oct 22, 2011 at 14 years old
She is now the official greeter at the rainbow bridge
Everyone is guaranteed a welcome sniff and Dalmatian smile
My rear amp tri pug was just a bit smaller than Patou- probably about the size of his head!
What I wanted to share though is that it took Maggie more than 6 months to get to a point where she could stand for extended time without her remaining rear leg wobbling, or her just sitting down. Before her amp she could walk 2 miles easily- it was probably a year before she worked back up to a mile after her amp. Then again she was an obstinate pug who had access to a stroller…
You should also check out Maggie the Agile Cow Dog's Blog (the other Maggie!). Tracy's Maggie is also a rear amp, smaller than yours, bigger than mine. Tracy does a lot of work on strengthening with her Maggie.
Of course you want to make sure that Patou does not have any problems with his remaining back leg, but 4 weeks post op is still pretty early in the strengthening and regaining balance area.
Karen and the Pugapalooza
I am so sorry you are having to go thru this. This is so tough on a dog especially with the big dogs. Our Brandy (Rottweiler) was 121 lbs before the surgury. She was a bit of a chunk to begin with. Her weight should have been around 100-105. After she lost her front left leg we got her down to 92 lbs. Still, even at that weight, she could only manage a few good hops and she would have to sit down and rest. It took her 3 months to really get her mobility. Now she can hop up like a ninja! She runs pretty fast too when she wants to. About a month and a half ago we noticed she was a little slower getting up, kind of a buckling also, turned out she had gained some weight. She was up to 97 lbs. We put her on light food and cut out the junk and got her to 91 lbs. It was night and day, just that little bit of weight put so much strain on that front leg. You will also notice after a few months your dog's leg will get the “incredible Hulk” muscles. We call Brandy's remaining front leg “Popeye” because it has gotten so large and strong. I advise weight loss for sure. Being a little underweight would not hurt and give some time for that leg to bulk up a bit. I hope this helps!