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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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Life after amputation for VERY active dog...
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Member Since:
28 October 2012
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30 October 2012 - 1:16 pm
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I'm new here, my dog Lacey was hit by a car last December when she was 8 months old, we weren't sure if she'd even make it at first and then thought she injured BOTH front legs, but thanks to our fabulous vet she made it through but with a paralyzed left front leg. Our vet thought at first there was a small chance her leg could come back but it never has. She adjusted to using 3 legs almost too good our vet says, because she doesn't realize she has this handicap. We had no intention of amputating at first but the past few months she's had a sore that just won't go away and for the last few weeks she has really been bothering it. Our vet didn't want to amputate at first because he said us seeing her "bad leg" was a reminder (for us) that shes handicapped. But everytime she comes off antibiotics her leg gets infected again (even with us keeping it wrapped with medicine) so now our vet is suggesting we amputate. So that will be done tomorrow morning. I have a few questions about what to expect... Since she has no feeling up to her shoulder will she be in pain after? Also, since she has been 3 legged for the past 11 months will this be something she will need to adjust to (I know that sounds kind of crazy but I just mean balance wise I guess since the weight of that leg will be gone)? My last question is how to you calm a very active dog... Our vet calls her the "kamakozy" because all she wants to do is go. She is 1/2 catahoula leopard 1/2 plott hound and was a cow dog (her job was to find loose cattle an do whatever it takes to hold them) before she was hit and has even gone a few times since being hit when we knew it wouldnt be a long day... So... Any advice?

On The Road


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30 October 2012 - 1:36 pm
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Hi Lacey and family,

I'm so sorry to hear about your accident, it sure sounds like your pack has been through a lot of ruff times. Sounds like you've given things a good amount of time to see if she'll get to use her front leg again. I'm so sorry that didn't improve.  I hope we can help make things easier for you as you decide what to do.

First, start by reading our Required Reading List, and if you'd like, our ebook, "Three Legs & a Spare." In these two things you'll find lots of tips and insight into coping with the idea of living life on three legs. I can add a few things that can help:

Since Lacey has already been living life on three legs, she shouldn't have a difficult time adjusting to balance and movement. Many dogs start the same way and they end up doing fine. She will probably feel pain after surgery, however, since this is such a major operation, but as long as your vet has good pain management protocols in place, this should be manageable. Be sure to ask about what type of pain medication she will get before, during and after surgery. Good pain meds can make all the difference between a ruff recovery and an easier one.

Being that she's part Catahoula, I can see how you might be concerned that she'll overdo things, especially since she spends so much time outdoors. So yes, it's entirely possible that she will try to do too much, too soon, and that's the biggest challenge; keeping her confined to a safe place so she can recover without injury, and monitoring her behavior so that she doesn't overdo things and risk a muscle strain injury, or worse. You won't always  have to be so extremely vigilant, just for the first month or so after her surgery. After that you'll still need to monitor her activities but you can ease up a little. 

You'll find lots of dogs here who began their lives as extremely active and athletic, and most continue to be that way. From hunting dogs to agility champions, many dogs can continue doing what they love, although on a smaller scale. Search our forums and blogs for "hunting" and "agility" and you'll find lots of great stories to give you hope.

As a front leg Tripawd, she will have reduced stamina, especially the first few months until she builds up strength (see our Gear Blog for more about that). Although all dogs are different in how much they can do on three legs, most will find that they will need to take it easy. Some dogs are better at stopping to rest, while others aren't. That's where you come in, to ensure that she doesn't overdo things. We can talk about that in detail later. For now, focus on helping here get through recovery. I'm going to bet that she will do just fine.

Thanks so much for joining. Your future posts won't require moderation.

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

San Diego, CA
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1 November 2012 - 1:41 pm
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Welcome to you and Lacey. She should do well as a Tripawd since she's used to not using that leg - of course she'll need to get used to it, but I bet it won't take her long. Our pup was also active and young (15 months) at the time of her amp. She adjusted quickly. We had about 2 weeks of rough recovery and then she had to build her stamina back up, but after that she was pretty much back to her old whirl-wind self.

One thing we found with Abby was that she did much better on off-leash walks/runs than on-leash. On-leash she could only go for about 20 min. But luckily we have a great, huge dog beach area near us. Off leash there, she could easily walk/run for an hour. She needed to go her own pace (which can be a fast hop for a front leg amp) so it was just much easier for both of us when she was off leash.

Hope your pup breezes through her recovery! Keep us posted. We're here if you have questions,

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!

Member Since:
28 October 2012
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1 November 2012 - 9:05 pm
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Thanks for the replies. The surgery is done, i guess she lost a lot of blood during the surgery but he gave her a blood transfusion so she's ok. He said she started eating as soon as he offered her food which is a good sign. She's already up, a little off balance but doing better every minute he said. Were going to see her tomorrow... I wish I knew how to post pics and post some of her

Somewhere over the rainbow... probably swimming in a lake
Member Since:
18 August 2012
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1 November 2012 - 10:55 pm
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What great news!!! That she is already up and eating is a really good sign.

Give her ears a scratch from us tomorrow. We look forward to hearing about her recovery.

Hugs,
Samdog's mom

Samdog was a 10 yr old Golden and retired SAR dog. We found a bone mass on 8/17/12, needle biopsy showed sarcoma 8/22/12, amputation on 8/23/12, post-amp biopsy confirmed osteosarcoma on 8/28/12. Sadly, we found lung mets on 11/27/12 and my Spirit Sam earned his wings on 12/2/12.

We didn't know where we were headed and we don't regret a single step along our path. It all happened too fast, but he left a legacy of love that we will always cherish. Good bye my heart.
You can find our story at http://samdog.t.....ipawds.com

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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2 November 2012 - 7:07 am
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So glad to hear she came through surgery! How did your vet visit go?

We would love to see photos! Here is a forum topic about adding images to your post.

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

krun15
7
2 November 2012 - 3:54 pm
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Welcome, I'm glad to hear she made it though surgery OK.

Like others have said I bet she will adapt very quickly, being young and a virtual tripawd for awhile will help her.

Looking forward to pictures.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

Member Since:
28 October 2012
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2 November 2012 - 9:24 pm
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Well we saw her tonight and she is GREAT!!! we had her outside on a leash and she is already trying to chase cats.. So she's back to her old self!! She looks pretty terrible though, she lost a LOT of weight. She's been at the gets office for 2 weeks and he said with the infection she had and she was anemic she wasn't eating very good... But since she's been out of surgery she's been eating great so hopefully she fattens back up. She's always been a slender dog anyway but She's skinny now. Thanks for all the replies oh and I still can't figure out how to post pics!

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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2 November 2012 - 9:50 pm
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Aww glad to hear she's doing well! She will probably put on some weight now that she feels better. Keep in mind though that the slimmer the dog, the easier it is when they're living on 3 legs, so keep her lean.

No problem with the pics. Send us 1 or 2 and we'll post them for you.

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

Member Since:
28 October 2012
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3 November 2012 - 11:06 am
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Where should I send them?

On The Road


Member Since:
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4 November 2012 - 7:41 pm
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abblin0501 said
Where should I send them?

Please feel free to send us your photo here if these instructions aren't any clearer.

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

On The Road


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6 November 2012 - 10:43 am
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Lacey looks great!

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

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6 November 2012 - 12:39 pm
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The 1st pic is after she got hit last december, the 2nd is from Friday... She's pretty thin now but we can tell already she feels better so hopefully she starts gaining!

San Diego, CA
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6 November 2012 - 1:10 pm
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What a cutie! Hope her recovery is easy-peasy!

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!

krun15
15
6 November 2012 - 2:13 pm
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Well, she has the tripawd lean down big-grin.

 

She does look good, her tendancy to be thin will be a blessing as a tripawd.  I hope the rest of her recovery goes well.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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