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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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How to help brand new tripawd learn to walk
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24 January 2009 - 7:51 pm
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Our dog Riley became a hind leg tripawd on Wednesday.  He's having a hard time balancing.  I'm suspecting some of the pain meds are affecting his balance.  Also, because he's a really tall Old English Sheepdog, I think his long legs have something to do with it.  And he resents a towel sling.  Any other thoughts on how to help him learn to balance a bit better?



My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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24 January 2009 - 8:46 pm
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Trouble did not have a lot of balance issues, but she didn't do real well with the sling either.  She had always worn a harness, so her second day home I went out and bought her a collar to use with her short leash.  This seemed to do the trick for her.  She knew I was close by, and the short leash gave her just a minimal amount of support.  Within 10 days we traded the short leash for a long one when she was walking to fast for me to keep up.

Good luck to both of you as you work through the adjustment period.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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25 January 2009 - 1:08 am
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You might be right about the pain meds.  Our tall Mastiff Tazzie only needed 2 or 3 Tramadol twice daily for pain relief for about 7 or 10 days.  She was also on gabapentin to prevent phantom pain and had a pain patch (Fentanyl) but that was off when we took her home.  My dog had her right front leg removed so balance was a little different than for your dog but she HATED the sling and that only made things worse so we just let her figure it out on her own and avoided stairs.  She fell once trying to drink from her raised dish and even now she prefers to eat and drink laying down but she will go to her bowl at times. She was able to go to the bathroom on her own right away but didn't hop around much more than was necessary for a week or two.  Now she can run and play like she used to but she needs lots of rest breaks.

We still use the Ruffwear harness (available on this site) when she goes in the van or walks on slippery surfaces (such as the vet office).

I'll bet with a little time your OES should be fine!

Pam and Tazzie

Here and Now

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25 January 2009 - 11:45 am
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Practice, practice practice. Right now he needs lots of rest. Once Riley is off the pain meds, he’ll get it down. Some dogs just take a bit longer to adapt.

25 January 2009 - 4:37 pm
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Thanks for all the responses.  We really are learning as we go, so it's nice to hear from experience.  Did anyone's dog seem to have a sore leg from all the extra work/weight?  I'm wondering if that might not be some of the trouble, too.  We ordered the harness, so hopefully that will help out, too.  The vet just changed him to gabapentin today, so maybe that will help?  Also, did anyone have a dog who didn't want to get up to move around?  Did you force it or let him be?  I know he needs his rest, but I also don't want him to get in the habit of not trying if that's what we need to be doing right now.

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8 February 2009 - 11:38 pm
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I see your post is from a couple weeks ago, actually the day before Cemil had his surgery, but we’re having the same trouble. Cemil (140# Anatolian Shepherd) is either too fatigued or likes the babying, and prefers to lie down and stay there. Now it’s 2 weeks post-amp and I’m getting a little tougher on him because I don’t want his muscles to atrophy; I’m forcing him to get up and walk around at least a little bit every day. Today, we went out for the first time, to the end of the neighbor’s yard and back (about 100 ft round-trip). Then he took a 4-hour nap. He also hates the sling. That’s what I use to get him up (put it under him, and he stands up on his own). They took him off the tramadol yesterday, and the fentanyl patch came off last Thursday, so he’s just on Carprofen, which seems to be okay. How’s Riley doing now? I’m hoping to hear that a little bit of time makes things better.

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

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