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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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Just had surgery ??
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Member Since:
22 October 2008
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22 October 2008 - 3:31 pm
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I'm a foster volunteer for a local shelter and will be picking up a dog tomorrow that just had a front leg amputation.  He does not have cancer but lost the leg due to neglect and mistreatment, and otherwise is a healthy young (we think about 1 yr) male mix breed dog.

Never having cared for a dog like this I'm nervous about being able to meet his needs.   There's lots of info on this site -- thanks for that -- but I'd really appreciate any advice I could get or insight about what I should expect for his recovery. 

Help!

 

Member Since:
25 April 2008
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22 October 2008 - 4:20 pm
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Hi Barney,

     I would like to say ,"how wonderful it is that you volunteer". My Buster is a front leg amputee also...  If he is a medium sized dog and your unable to literally pick him up I would recommend picking him up in a car. A SUV may be hard to get into... they usually recommend using a towel under his chest/belly area to support him. He will be in pain so follow the vets  pain med schedule(hide in cream cheese). He may not want to eat .. you may have to coax him. I cooked chicken and broth and hand feed for awhile. Make sure he drinks water also. Please assist him in going out to potty because at first he'll have to learn how to balance however he has youth on his side... there is plenty of info on here.... and last but not least a whole lot of love always helps during recovery. I was told not to let him lick but check with the vet and you can put a shirt on him to keep the area clean.  Also watch for temperature spike ...Best wishes..

Ps careful on steps!!! Avoid if possible or use the towel please

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

Member Since:
28 May 2008
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22 October 2008 - 4:56 pm
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Thank God for people like you!!!! Kim is obviously right on...a few additional items may be to put down rugs if you have hardwood floors so he doesn't slip and can gain better traction as he learns to adjust to 3 legs. Stay upbeat and pawsitive around him...make sure he rests. He's a lot younger than my guy (10 1/2 years) so it may be difficult to keep him low key, but it's really important for them to rest for the 2 weeks after surgery and not run, jump and play a lot until the stitches are out and you have the doctor's OK.

What a lucky guy he is to have found you...please keep us posted on his recovery and send a picture if you can!

Zeus and Heather

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Member Since:
11 September 2008
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22 October 2008 - 5:12 pm
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You are a very kind person. All of the pawrents here were daunted by the prospect of caring for a much loved pet post amputation, but all have managed and are sure you will too.

I'm still a baby, 19 months when my right front leg was amputated due to osteo sarcoma. For the first week I was very withdrawn and extremely subdued. I sometimes panted, presumably due to pain. I was able to get about fine from the start and my appetite has remained unsaitiable (that's labradors for you). By week two I was improving and continued to do so, but really it took until the fourth week until I was properly back to my puppish self.

It's now nearly five weeks and I'm hopping around like I've always had three paws. I love to run and play whenever I get the chance and yes, my appetite is still wonderful!!! My family take care to make me rest when we're out and about. They've found places to get me out of the SUV where there is a raised area. At other times they lift me out, which don't like (nor do I like the car ramp they bought), but they are trying to save the strain on my remaining paw.

My advice is take it one day at a time, stay positive and keep in touch here on Tripawds. The advice and support here is beyond compare.

Good luck to you both. Please keep us posted.

Alfie x

 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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22 October 2008 - 6:09 pm
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You should expect him to do just fine on three legs. We're working on a "top ten" post to address your concerns, but haven't published it yet. Stay tuned...

For now, search the forums for specific issues you're worried about. Hardwood floors can get slippery, so carpet runers help with that.

A harness will help with stairs and vehicles, but we suggest waiting until the stitches are out and healed. Until then, if additional support is needed, use a soft towel slung under the belly.

Raise food and water bowls up off the floor for better ergonomics too.

If the wound seeps fluid, this is normal. Your vet can easily drain it. And if your dog howls, paces, or otherwise acts funny ... it may just be a reaction to pain medication. What he will need most, is lots of rest and relaxation.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
22 October 2008
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22 October 2008 - 8:14 pm
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Thanks for all your good advice.  I will definitely use all the tips and get the special harness too.

I know better days are ahead for Barney 🙂

 

 

Member Since:
28 July 2008
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23 October 2008 - 11:04 pm
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Barney is so lucky to have such great foster pawrents! I love that you are doing that! How is Barney doing?

Titan and Heidi

Member Since:
22 October 2008
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24 October 2008 - 1:43 pm
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Barney update Laughing

72 hours post surgey and there is no keeping this guy down!  He's doing amazingly well -- walking, climbing stairs, playing, eating like a horse and generally giving my 9 yr old, 4-legged dog a run for his money.  And he's really well behaved -- not typical of the strays I've fostered in the past.

So for now I'm trying to keep him as quiet as possible and give him all the TLC he can take.  The shelter agreed to purchase the special harness too so we're looking forward to using that with future rehab.

Thanks for all the encouragement!

mary (barney's foster mom)

Member Since:
25 April 2008
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24 October 2008 - 2:17 pm
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Hi Mary,

    That is wonderful news... so glad you posted an update. Yes being a young pup helps also. Tell Barney to take it easy... Welcome to the tripawd club Barney boy! Mabe you can make a video or some recent pics to post to help him find his forever home...Smile

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France


Member Since:
23 October 2008
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24 October 2008 - 4:50 pm
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I just brought Sam home today. Wow!! I could not believe it when I saw him stand up on one hind leg and hop out the the kennel at the hospital.  I sat  down on the floor and he almost pushed me over trying to sit in my lap.  Mind you he is a Golden Retriever, and with the "lamp shade" on too.  Everyone there is wonderfull.  They all said how great he did and what a sweet heart he is. But I know that.  They help me hoist him up into the back of my suv, but when I got home he really amazed me!  I had just sat him down on the garage floor (I had opened to door to the house already) and reached up to close the tailgate and he took off into the kitchen to get a drink of water! I was blown away!!  We go back in ten days to remove the stitches and do blood work and a physical.  I'm just concerned about the swelling and the bruising.  My vet said it is normal.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 October 2008 - 7:24 pm
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Hey Sam, congratulations on once again showing humans what we tripawds are made of! We are so glad you joined us here at Tripawds, and thank you for sharing your amazing story.

Your examples of courage and strength will do wonders for those who are about to undergo amputation surgery. If you'd like, feel free to start a new thread and tell us a little more about yourself in the Share Your Story thread. 

Thanks again! Good luck!

 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
22 October 2008
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28 October 2008 - 11:44 am
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Postsurgery Pain Mgmt Question on Barney>

Its been 6 days since surgery and all is well Barney.  But, I called the shelter vet because the pain meds given (Tramadol & Rimadyl) will run out today and was told he no longer needs any pain medication.  I'm a bit shocked that losing a limb doesn't require more long term pain management .  He doesn't even have the stitches out yet?

I sometimes worry with charity cases like his that they skimp to save money.  Any thoughts???   Am I just worrying too much?

mary

Member Since:
25 April 2008
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28 October 2008 - 12:11 pm
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It's not unusual to stop the pain med. If you like you can wean him off your self... you can cut them in half and see how he reacts. I know what you mean ... if  he really needs it I doubt they wouldn't refill the rx. I stopped the Rimadyl right away its an anti- inflammatory and can have side effects. The tramadol is inexpensive... so that's not a issue.. See how it goes, you can also use a warm compresses on the site area to help the nerve endings heal.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
–Anatole France

Member Since:
22 October 2008
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28 October 2008 - 12:39 pm
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Thanks for the quick response!  I did cut the pills this morning so I could ween him off rather than go cold turkey.  He's been a real trooper so hopefully this will be a minor hurdle too.

Its really helpful to have the support and advice of those who've been thru this and are obviously devoted to their pets.  I see so much of the opposite behavior with these shelter animals.  If Barney's owner would have had a small fraction of the caring that the you and the folks at this site have, he would still have his leg.  Seems to me Buster is a lucky guy!

mary

On The Road


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28 October 2008 - 1:57 pm
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Barney said:

Postsurgery Pain Mgmt Question on Barney>

I’m a bit shocked that losing a limb doesn’t require more long term pain management .


You may quickly discover that dogs can often handle the pain better than the side effects of medication. Don't confuse withdrawal symptoms like pacing or howling for pain and put him back on the pain meds roller coaster. Follow doctors orders and give it a couple days. Call them if you're concerned. You may be pleasantly surprised ...

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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