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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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HELP!! Back leg injury after amputation.
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Member Since:
9 July 2012
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30 September 2013 - 3:08 pm
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I'm hoping someone out there can help me with some feedback. Yesterday my 1 yr old Pomeranian Maggie (Left Leg Amputated a year ago) was out strolling in the yard.. I called and she came running back to the house. She went to jump up on the one stair she has to get on to get to the house. I looked down and she started yelping and crying looking like she was hanging from a cliff. I quickly picked her up and she continued to wimper a few more moments and then stop. She layed on my lap and was content with me holding and petting her. After a few minutes she picked up her head and seemed to be ok. So I put her down and she instantly sat down. So I sat with her for a few minutes to see if she was hurt, or just scared from the incident. She wouldn't move. I brought her into the house and put her on her bed ... she laid for about 20 minutes and rested. After a bit she tried to get up and walk and then I knew something was wrong. She would walk a few steps and then sit. I watched as she walked and could tell something was wrong with the back leg. After having my husband look at her we decided she needed to be seen by the emergency vet. I took her there where they examed her and was told she had some kind of tear. They gave me some options and medications and we came back home. I called her vet this morning and he looked everything over and said because she is still getting around fairly well he wants to wait a few days to see if the medication will help. I fully trust him and his opinion, so I'm content there. I am just looking for feedback on anyone else who has gone through this. It scares me because if surgery is the route that must be taken then we will start again as new parents... pretty much infant puppy... getting  up to take her potty.. holding her while she goes.. blah blah blah. If anyone can shine some light on the unknown, please do. Maggie and I would greatly appreciate it.

30 September 2013 - 5:08 pm
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Sounds like the vet is worried about an ACL tear, actually called a CCL in dogs, is that what they said?  It is one of the main knee ligaments.  Hopefully it is just a strain and meds and rest will take care of it.  If she isn't getting better it might be worth it to see a surgeon and maybe a rehab specialist to cover all your options if she does have a tear.

While it is not easy to have a tripawd go through another leg surgery it can be done.  Earlier this year Murphy had a full hip replacement in his remaining back leg.  And I know others have gone through knee surgeries with tripawds.  One that comes to mind is Daisy- she is a front amp but recently had knee surgery.

My quad-pug Obie had knee surgery in February for a torn ACL and a luxating patella.  I won't lie- it was a much longer recovery and rehab than Tri-pug Maggie went through after her amputation.  I think it might be a little easier with little dogs like ours, but I found it really challenging to keep Obie from jumping for 8 weeks.  If it does turn out to be a tear that needs surgery I can share my experiences with you.





Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 September 2013 - 5:38 pm
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Geeeez, sorry you are going throughthis but you are definitelyin the right place! We'll all keepour paws crossed for "just" a sprain but, as Karen said, should it be otherwise these are lots of people who have experienced this. Searchmthrough the forum and yojill find advice and i formatin on all optins.

Maggie, you look absolutelh adorable! Glad you are doing so ver well after yor amp. and havig a ball living it up and getting lots of loving!

As Karen mentined, both Daisy and Murphy had similar issues and doing great......after the challenges of recovey. It seems that Murhy even did something else while he was recovering from the hip surgery.....Kathi will fill you in. Vut it willbe a lot easier with a little girl like Maggie than a big Lab like Murh.

PLEASE keep us posted! Take it dah by day. For now, since nw ine knows any different, let's all put out positive energy for a sprain, okay?

We'll be thinkingof you and, again, please keepus posted. Just curious, what was the reasn for her amp. in the first place?

Paws crossed over here for you and cutie pie Maggie!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 September 2013 - 6:12 pm
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I'm so sorry to hear about Maggie!

Lots of Tripawds have had this happen and in almost every case R&R is what was needed to heal the injury. You can check out this article about soft-tissue injuries just in case it doesn't help, but for now, give it a week or so and then take it from there.

One last thing; if you aren't happy with the way things are going with your current vet, you may want to see a board-certified orthopedic surgeon for an exam if symptoms don't disappear. Your vet should be happy to give you a referral.

Good luck to you both, keep us psoted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
12 March 2013
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30 September 2013 - 7:57 pm
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That is so sad that little Maggie is gimping along after all she has been through. I would also suggest that you check with a rehab vet, too, even if the ortho finds that surgery is not needed. Actually, rehab is one of the reasons that Murphy came along so well following his hip replacement. Maggie is young and small, so her recovery would probably be easier than for an older, larger dog.

Please keep us posted. We are here whenever you need help.

Kathi and Murphy

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

Member Since:
9 July 2012
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30 September 2013 - 8:32 pm
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WOW, thanks for all the input. I have read them, but have decided to reply with more details tomorrow when my head isn't spinning and can think straight. :) Thanks again Tripawd family, YOU ROCK!!!!!!

Member Since:
10 February 2011
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1 October 2013 - 9:40 pm
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Bud has had a couple of tumble and over done it before.

I have taken him to the vet and had him xrayed and examined.

Both times we were lucky to have it not be a ACL but just strain.

A few days on an anti inflammatory and confinement helped him heal.

Hoping for the best! Healing wishes!

Member Since:
19 September 2013
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2 October 2013 - 11:25 am
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If it is a cruciate tear be sure to investigate all of your surgical options, there are a number of different procedures out there to repair it and recovery times vary widely.  A former co-worker of mine has a dog that went through cruciate surgery on one leg but it didn't heal well because his knees were very oddly shaped and he ended up having a lot of pain issues with that leg and had torn his cruciate in his other knee as well.  She ended up taking him to a specialist 200 miles away (we lived in a very, very rural area) and they amputated the leg that hadn't healed well from surgery and repaired the cruciate in the other leg - all in one surgery!!!!  The way they do the cruciate repair allows dogs to be mobile immediately.  They are still restricted on activity level, stairs, jumping, playing, etc but he was up and moving right away.  The procedure they used at the clinic at the sanctuary where we both worked required dogs to have their leg in a huge cast for about 5 days and then be on very strict restrictions for 8-12 weeks.

If surgery is not an option for her, you might look into a custom brace for her.  Boomer wore a splint for many months before his amputation and he adjusted to it very quickly.  His was more of a standardized rigid split but there are several companies that make custom splints and braces depending on the injury and needs of the animal.  My vet had suggested OrthoPets .com as a possible option for a replacement brace for Boomer - their products are expensive but they look pretty amazing - and I also talked some with the folks from, they were incredibly nice.  However, I did not end up getting anything from either one because shortly before I placed the order I got the call from my vet that the recommendation from the specialist had changed and that we should go forward with amputation.

Good luck!!

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