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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Hind limb support for front leg amputee
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Member Since:
21 December 2011
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6 February 2012 - 4:46 am
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Bongo is about to have his front leg amputated (unless NC State refuses in which case I find another clinic).  He is an anatolian shepherd/great pyr mix who,along with a partner, guards sheep, goats and a couple of stupid cows.  He was diagnosed with OS about 6 weeks ago and we initially decided amputation was not a good idea since he has bilateral cruciate disease in hind legs.  We got him when he was 3 and apparently these problems existed well before we got him.  He has compensated and up until the cancer struck he was running the pastures, wrestling with his pasture mate and jumping barn doors.  Yes, jumping barn doors.  We have dutch style barn doors and whenever Bongo heard or sensed something he did not like, he jumped the door and went to investigate.  Does a dog in pain jump doors???  No.  Anyway - I wonder if there is anything I can do to help support or stabilize his hind legs after amputation of the front?

Bailey had his hind leg amputated about 5 weeks ago and is doing beautifully.  He is a house dog so no special needs for him - just love.  Here is a picture of Bongo first (black and white) and Bailey.  

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Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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6 February 2012 - 2:50 pm
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I'm not sure what bilateral cruciate disease is so I can't speak to that specifically.  Is that something that is degenerative and gets worse over time?  I would think if he's able to run around pastures and jumping barn doors I don't know why he wouldn't do ok on three legs.  He might have to give up the barn doors though.  That'll be hard on his remaining limbs!

My Daisy has arthritis (why she lost her front leg) in her hips and spine and I was concerned how she would handle being on 3 legs due to the stress on tripawds spines but my vet thought she would do ok. So far so good.  She's not out there running around like a nut or anything but she never could do that before.  She was diagnosed with arthritis at age 5.

Best of luck with your decision!

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 February 2012 - 7:40 pm
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Hi Skinsey, welcome!

So wow, you have two Tripawds in the house now (or will)? How did Bailey lose his leg?

I'm assuming that by having bilateral cruciate disease, you mean the type of condition that a dog has when he blows knees out and generally requires TPLO surgery? That's pretty amazing that Bongo hasn't gotten to that point yet. Dogs are so good at hiding their pain though, what does the orthopedic vet say about his condition?

I'm not a vet or a surgeon, but what we've seen is generally a brace is not enough to support a dog with this type of condition, rehab therapy is typically advised, especially after amputation.

Check out this blog post and video of Max, a large Rottie who had bilateral hip replacements (kinda similar) before his amputation. He never wore a brace because rehab therapy did wonders for him!


Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Sebastopol, CA
Member Since:
11 June 2011
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7 February 2012 - 12:09 am
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Oh - hi Bongo and Bailey! I've seen the very cool blog of your idyllic home. So happy to see you here albeit under the truism of "The Club no one wants to join but if you have to this is the Best Place to hang out" (or it goes something like that ;))

I don't have any real info on weak knees except one of my own (ACL) and know if I can keep the muscles strong it really supports the joint.

The video from Jerry is great and a excellent way to go, strength and balance training at it's best.

Sending lots of good thoughts for a uneventful surgery and a speedy recovery

Hugs & wags

Joanne & Lylee

(Love the photos!)

Member Since:
21 December 2011
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7 February 2012 - 4:36 am
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Jerry et al,

Bailey lost his leg to bone cancer as well - synovial cell sarcoma of the histiocytic type (please do not ask me to explain this!!!).  His is a rear leg amp.  

Bongo came to us at age 3 - apparently he blew out his knees early on and they sort of repaired themselves - although he has arthritis that is visible in rads.  He has amazed the vets at his abilities given the condition of his hind legs.  

I spoke to the hospital last night.  They operated yesterday afternoon and the doctor said he came through it "like a rock star."  I guess that means it was good 🙂  Will see him this afternoon.

NCSU now has a rehab unit (just opened within last couple of months) - only available currently to in house patients.  This is wonderful news.  We had a newfie with lots of mobility issues and after he had a stroke to his spinal cord, NC sent us to a private rehab facility where he spent a couple of weeks getting water therapy, etc.  

The rehab team will start work with Bongo tomorrow (as long as he is up to it) and come up with a plan.  I told them they could keep Bongo for as long as they feel it is necessary since I want him to get a good head start on adapting before we comes home.  The good news is that my pet insurance pays for rehab services as well as orthopedic devices if needed.  I will know what the plan is a little better when I talk to the doctor this afternoon.

I doubt Bongo will go back to full guard duties - I will leave it up to him.  His partner Golda does okay although she needs him to keep her under control!  I also just put my 8 month old jennie (female donkey for those of you unitiated to farm life) into the pasture with Golda and so far she is adapting beautifully.  The goats adore her and the sheep are warming up to her.  She does not seem to have a problem with Golda (donkeys generally hate canines).  So I think that having Pearl in the pasture will take the pressure off Bongo to be on 24/7.  Golda has always handled perimeter duties anyway.  Dogs are smart and know their limits usually (unlike people) - so I am optimistic he will find his own level of comfort.  

Sharon Kinsey

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