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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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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
19 April 2012
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19 April 2012 - 9:50 am
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Chopper is my best friend. He turns 8 June 26, 2012. On March 30, 2012 he was hit by a car in front of my house. He broke his back leg and on April 2nd had to have surgery to put a steel plate and rod and screws to hold his leg together. On April 11th, the day before he was supposed to have the staples out he re-broke it and shatter the bones so on April 12th he had his rear leg amputated. He was getting around amazingly well and adapting and then I came home from work on April 18th to find he got his cone off and ripped all the staples out! The vet stapled it back together and taped the cone back but he seems to still be able to reach the last couple of staples!  If anyone has suggestions and tips for me I'd love to hear them! Before this I was thinking about a comfort harness because he pulls on a leash, Now he pulls worse!  Does he need a special harness or will a standard harness help ease the pulling? We look forward to your words of wisdom!  Julie and Chopper 

Here and Now

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19 April 2012 - 10:08 am
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Welcome and thanks for joining, sorry to hear about Chopper. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

What kind of dog is Chopper? Putting a harness on some dogs – Huskies in particular – can sometimes encourage their instinct to pull. For mobility assistance and support we highly recommend the Ruff Wear Web Master harness, and many members have reported successfully using it on walks to reduce pulling. It does have a strong D-ring for attaching a leash and the handle is very helpful for keeping a lunging dog at your side. 

Wyatt is the rear leg GSD Tripawds spokesdawg. His name was "Chopper" prior to being rescued when his people dumped him for euthanization because they had left him tied up and neglected.

Forum Posts: 59
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2 April 2012
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19 April 2012 - 10:30 am
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I don't have any advice as I am a newbie here but wanted to say welcome and you will find a wealth of expertise and support here. My boy is 2 weeks post surgery and by some miracle did not attempt to mess with his incision!(He chews everything else in site-destroyed a loveseat in less than 5 minutes!)

The Rainbow Bridge

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19 April 2012 - 10:40 am
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Hi Chopper, welcome! I'm sorry you lost your leg but am glad you're  doing better. We'll try to help as best we can during your recovery.

There's one thing that Tripawd pawrents learn right away, and that it's easier for Tripawds to move quickly in order to maintain momentum while walking. Going slower is more challenging. Many dogs who used to know how to "heel" on a walk suddenly just can't anymore.

The good news is that there are lots of training tricks and obedience commands you can start doing together, to create a better relationship during the walk, so that he acknowledges your requests to slow down, just a little. 

Our friends at MySmartPuppy have some terrific trainers in their discussion forums who can help you. They worked wonders with our Wyatt Ray , another rear leg Tripawd.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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19 April 2012 - 2:24 pm
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Welcome Julie and Chopper!! Not sure how to help either but I wanted to say Hi and good luck!

New Zealand
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19 April 2012 - 7:09 pm
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Hi and Welcome

What sort of dog is Chopper he sounds like one tough fella!!! good to hear it is going well and as someone else said the ruff wear harnesses are great. I remember reading somewhere about someone using a pair of boxer shorts to cover rear leg amp insicions, which may be worth trying if he is still trying to reach those staples.

Good luck and let us know how he gets on.


San Diego, CA
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20 April 2012 - 9:23 am
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Welcome Julie and Chopper. As Jerry said, Tripawds need to move a little quicker than a quadpawd, so they do tend to pull on leash. It's just easier to move when they have some momentum going. With Abby I would have to sort of jog along beside her, then we'd stop and rest, then jog some more. Fortunately we live near a huge awesome off leash beach so i would take her there a lot. It was just so much easier to exercise her off leash. She could go her own pace and I could go mine! Is there somewhere you could exercise Chopper off leash?

All the best to you and Chopper. It is an awesome thing to be a Tripawd pawrent. Welcome to the club!
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!

Forum Posts: 124
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21 April 2012 - 8:45 pm
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Hi Chopper. 

Madison, WI
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21 April 2012 - 9:04 pm
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I love the Ruff Wear harness , but have to warn that Gerry pulls way more and more efficiently with it than I just clip the leash to his collar.  But I can handle his level of pulling though, so I like the Ruff Wear harness because if either one of us pulls suddenly in an opposing direction, the weight distribution (or whatever) through the harness is less likely to put him off balance (hence he can also drag me better).  

I did try a Gentle Leader harness (not the face kind, but the body harness kind) out of curiosity a few times.  It's possible I didn't have it adjusted well enough, but I found when Gerry jerked when he had that on, it sometimes caused him to spin around real fast.  Possibly he would have just learned not to jerk, but I wasn't sure his love of chasing squirrels would allow for that.  So, I'd recommend caution, if trying that harness.

Gerry can heel a bit, if I have treats.  But training may be easier in the long run than finding a harness that prevents tripawd pulling without putting them off balance.  Just a thought from someone who admittedly hasn't had the patience to teach her own dog to really heel, haha.

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at:

Madison, WI
Forum Posts: 616
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21 April 2012 - 9:08 pm
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Oh!  And Gerry was getting around his cone too!  The only way that was fixed was we had just switched from the shelter's vet to mine and the new vet had some longer cones available.  Even then, I was shown to secure it as close to the back of his ears as I could.  Ugh, hate those cones, but need 'em sooooo much go get through the healing of the incision.  Stay strong!!

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at:

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