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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Garden City, New York
Member Since:
26 July 2012
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20 August 2012 - 10:40 am
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Hi is Odin's 7th birthday and over 3 weeks post amp already! Time flies!

He is doing really well. I am just wondering what people did as far as pushing exercise or activity. Odin is doing so well at times I forget it's only 24 days since his surgery.

Thanks in advance for all responses!!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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20 August 2012 - 11:41 am
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Hoppy birthday Odin! Let's pawty!

I know it sounds cliche here, but all dogs are different in how they  handle exercise. In general, most dogs  need at least a few weeks before they're strong enough to get back to short walks and playtimes, but again, it depends on the dog.  In my case I was 8 years old when I lost my leg, and it took me about two months before I was swimming and really enjoying physical activity again. 

Some general guidelines can be found in these blog posts:

Tripawds Interviews with California Animal Rehabilitation Center (scroll through for applicable posts)

Tripawd Talk Radio with California Animal Rehabilitation Center

The Tripawds Gear Blog (you'll need to scan the blog for posts about exercise, there's a lot!)

Hope this helps. I'm sure others will have lots of great tips too!

Pawty on Odin, you are pawesome!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

20 August 2012 - 1:49 pm
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I certainly didn't have to worry about Maggie the Tri-Pug pushing too hard after surgery- she was a slug for several weeks, then graduated to snail!!

She was a rear amp and it took her about 6 months to work up to walking a mile on her own, which was half the distance she could easily walk pre-op.  We usually did shorter walks, or used her stroller. She was doing chemo during that time so that may have slowed her progress a little.

Oh- and Happy Birthday!


Karen and the pugapalooza

Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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20 August 2012 - 9:15 pm
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Magnum was back to full energy levels by 3 to 4 weeks.  But she never did walk more than about 1km on 3 legs at any one time.  She would tire out more quickly and was happy to sit and potter around her favourite parks.  But then, we never did any physical therapy to help strengthen her legs.


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 ......

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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20 August 2012 - 10:20 pm
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Without going back and actually looking at her blog, I'd guess Abby was at full energy at about 4 weeks post amp, maybe a tiny bit more. She was quite young at the time of her amp. She never went back to her full-on walks, on-leash in our neighborhood, but she could run/walk for an hour off leash at the beach.

We never did any physical therapy either. Running in the sand was her 'therapy.' :)

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!

Austin, TX
Member Since:
26 August 2010
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21 August 2012 - 1:53 pm
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I suppose it depends on the dog.  We're past 4 months and Jack speeds around like he used to.  Our 2.5 mile hike is nothing to him, even as hot as it's been (we go hike usually half an hour before sunset in Austin...too hot otherwise).  I haven't let him go much longer than that just because I worry (too much, probably) and don't want to overdo it yet.  But I suppose we'll see.


Good luck!

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

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