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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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Life after amputation for VERY active dog...
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Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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6 November 2012 - 6:34 pm
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Lean is good for a Tripawd. She is gorgeous. Hope the recovery goes well and you can keep her quiet!


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 ......

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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7 November 2012 - 11:13 am
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Aww I'm glad we got to see her and happy to hear things are going well. Yep, she's a skinny girl but lucky for dogs we can easily gain (and lose) weight. You might want to try adding some additional protein to her diet like meats, as long as she can tolerate it.

Hope she's having a great week. Keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
28 October 2012
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15 November 2012 - 3:52 am
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Well it's been 2 weeks since Lacey's surgery & she's done really good.. She's getting along great, eating great, she hates being on a leash but she's dealing with it for now! How long after surgery did everyone wait to let their dogs loose? I know Lacey should probably wait a bit longer than the norm because she's "reckless" as our vet calls her, and I know the second she knows she's free she's going to be nuts! The only issue we've had so far is her itching her stitches... She ripped a stitch while she was still at the vets office and occasionally irritates that spot.. Any suggestions on keeping her from scratching??

Member Since:
30 October 2012
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15 November 2012 - 4:54 am
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Well talking about thin Tripawds all my animals always lean the other side of the weight scale !!! Though I do tell the vets that they all wear VERY HEAVY collars !!winker


But to be honest it was Fizzly's weight not fat just huge Rottie ( 160lbs) that led to her problem to her opposing front leg but even with that she coped with style and like Lacy she hadn't used the amputated leg properly 

She astounded us at every stage and like Lacy was a true survivor and in the end the good guy's always win in the end !!


      Lacy once home will soon gain weight when she is happier at home and then without this Dead Leg she will be chasing cows before you can catch your breath clap


    Take care and keep us updated 

        love zena and Fizzly in Spirit xoxox

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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15 November 2012 - 6:26 am
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Yay for Lacey! And congratulations to you, the first two weeks of recovery are over! That's a huge step, since that's the worst time for both dog and human.

Hmmm...well as far as going off leash. I think that by two weeks she should be able to do some free-play, but just monitor her carefully. Rehab vets tell us that a Tripawd should have no more than 15 minutes of free-play and walking at a time. It's better to do more frequent, shorter play and walk sessions than one longer one. So if you can break it up a few times a day you should be able to help her get her energy out!

Itching and scratching is a tough one. Other than the cone of shame and a t-shirt, you can try putting pure aloe vera around the area (not on the stitches), but talk to your vet first. Here is another blog post with some recommendations to stop itching and scratching: 

Post-Amputation Abscess Care Tips for Tripawds

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
28 October 2012
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15 November 2012 - 11:20 am
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Thanks for the replies. I put a t shirt on her this morning, I think she'd be able to reach this spot even with a cone on... So well see how this goes! She is dying to run around without us holding her back but.. She has about 0 self control so I know she's going to be a maniac!

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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16 November 2012 - 2:57 pm
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I forget exactly when we let Abby really cut loose. I know she had a play date with her friend not toooo long after - maybe at about the 3 week mark. If your pup has zero self control, try to keep the first wild 'n crazy session to just a few minutes, maybe, so you can see how she recovers from it. Some pups overdo it their first time out and then pay for it the next couple of days.

Keep us posted on how she's doing!

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:
9 March 2010
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21 November 2012 - 2:08 pm
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Dante was only 8 weeks when he had his amputation, and was already 12 weeks when we adopted him, so we missed recovery time. The day of his surgery one of the vet techs took him home for the night. She brought him back and left him the next night...because he was up terrorizing her household all night laughing

And he has done nothing but the same to our house ever since!!


He is VERY active, and although he has slowed down some now as he's gotten older and a little less puppy energy...he's still a very hyper, driven dog. We do watch him and try not to let him do too much or do more than we think he's capable of...but he's never noticed he only has 3 legs. He's more daring than his 4 legged sisters!

We've taken Dante's personality into consideration. We probably allow him to do a little more than we maybe should...but he's happy when he gets to run amok and jump and play. He does not do well confined or slowed down. He'll get bored, chew things, mope, etc. I'd rather we have to cut his life a little short (hopefully not a lot short!) due to mobility issues, or buy him a fancy wheelie cart later, than hold him back just so he'll live a bit longer. Much more important he have a happy, fulfilling life to us, than the length.

He's not a dog who's too concerned with learning commands or rules, pretty sure he thinks training just takes away from his play time. So we've learned even if we WANTED to keep him from doing things, it wouldn't work. Unless he's crated or on a leash, this boy is going to what he wants! 

I am hopeful as he ages a bit more (he'll be 3 next month) he'll slow down even more, and maybe find some joy in just lounging around soaking up the sun. But until then we try what we can to keep him from doing dangerous things, or things that may lead to injury...and we close our eyes anytime he gets going and hope this time isn't the time he breaks that other front leg! So far so good. 

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