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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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my tripod ruptured CCL-vet recommends surgery
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Forum Posts: 18
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2 November 2008
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2 November 2008 - 11:00 am
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Hi ther–does anyone have experience with tripod rupturing CCL, what recovery looks like?  Our beloved Ivan was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and has his front left leg amputated October 2.  He started chemo a week and half ago.  This amazing dog has recovered well from the amputation and has had no side effects from his first chemo tratment.  Then, two days ago as he was hopping along at a fast clip on one of our short walks, he ruptured his CCL in his left hind leg, rendering him lame.  So he can put no weight on his left side.  He went from a great energetic tripod to having great difficulty moving.  The vet wants to do a TPLO or TTA surgery this Tuesday, to fit in with his next scheduled chemo, and the recovery period involves 8 weeks of severely restricted activity.  His prognosis from the oncology is 9-12 months. 

 I knew that the amputation and chemo was the right choice for Ivan, and his resilience in recovery showed that was a right decision.  I am struggling whether this next surgery is only going to inflict more pain, and not give Ivan the quality of life we were committed to giving him.  Alll the recovery literature on CCl surgery deals with the impact on four legged dogs, with a very high percentage of restored mobility provided the exercise limitations are strictly followed.  Does anyone have experience with CCL surgery on a tripod undergoing chemo?    

Ivan and Ivan's mom

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2 November 2008 - 12:17 pm
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hi there ivan and mom,

that all sounds so difficult – i wish you both well. before anyone can give you their best possible answer, can you check the acronyms you had in your post to see if i got it right? thanks

 

CCL – crucial/cruciate ligament injury?

TPLO – tibial plateau leveling osteotomy?

TTA –  tibial tuberosity advancement?

 

Thanks. Hey Ivan, can we see a pic? 

 

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2 November 2008 - 1:22 pm
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Yes, the acronyms are right, thanks.  Will post a pic soon.  Thanks for the encouragement.

Ivan and Ivan's mom

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 November 2008 - 2:26 pm
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Wow, what a trooper Ivan is! I only developed a "partial ACL tear" after my amputation so no additional surgeries. My people would just take it easy with me, swim for exercise, and use a hot/cold pain relief pack to ease my aches.

Thanks for joining the discussion! Hopefully others can share similar experiences with you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 18
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2 November 2008 - 3:28 pm
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Thanks, Jerry.  I hope others have experience to share too.  And thanks for such an awesome website that supports all of us walking through this challenging time. 

Ivan and Ivan's mom

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2 November 2008 - 4:47 pm
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Hello Ivan & Mom,

     Wow ,what an ordeal poor baby. My Buster had a acl repair to his hind leg about 2 years prior to the amputation. Without the repair his hind leg was basically useless. They did mention it could happen to the other leg, however that never happened. Some questions to ask the orthopedic surgeon is how he plans to repair it? Some use a thread like substance others use pins. Perhaps Pam could shed some light as to the pros and cons of either one. As a result Buster occasionally has some stiffness in his hind leg area.
    Recovery time is not as long as amputation surgery. However the first day he was in pain and did wear a patch. My concern would be all the pain meds and the residual effects. Also with the repair will they take into consideration the extra weight Ivan carrys due to having three legs? With Buster his remaining front limb is also hyper flexed… that wound be my concern with Ivan since the front legs carry a majority of the weight…
    Will the chemo somehow affect recovery? Otherwise I don’t see without surgery how else he would ambulate. I remember Jerry did not require surgery… Yes during recovery it is crucial that he is confined so the scar tissue to form & aid in recovery. Afterwards, we began to walk and if possible swimming is great physical therapy. How is his weight? That is an important factor… just make sure enough testing is done before surgery …I once asked Dr Pitcairn about cruciate repairs and he believes its all auto immune related.. I hope Ivan well during recovery so he can bounce back to being a tripawd soon.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

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

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2 November 2008 - 8:49 pm
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Thanks Kim and Buster,  Good questions to ask.  I will talk to Ivan’s oncologist and ortho surgeon tomorrow.  I did read on one of the CCL sites that a possible complication of recovery from TPLO or TTA surgery is chemotherapy.  Ivan did so well in his amputation recovery, I think he has a strong constitution, and he has a wonderful disposition, happy happy happy.  Ivan’s weight is okay, we feel his ribs, but they don’t show, and though not as lean as he could be, we’re getting there. If anyone else has experience or suggestions, let us know.  We’ll keep checking in.

Ivan and Ivan's mom


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2 November 2008 - 9:03 pm
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Hello Ivan!

What bred of dog are you?  How much do you weigh? Are you overweight?  These are all questions to ask before doing another surgery.  TTA is the newest technique in fixing ruptured ACLs so I do not have any experience with that.  TPLO involves putting a metal implant in the knee and re-adjusting the angle of the joint so that the dog can bear weight better.  Both of these procedures invlove close monitoring post-op and strict confinement so that the implants don’t fail or bend.  Tazzie had both of her knees fixed the "old-fashioned" way; by tightening the joint with surgical suture.  I chose this method because it is less invasive than the others and less side effects.  Big dogs still have to be kept quiet for 2 weeks so that the sutures won’t rupture but then can have gradual return to full use of the limb (still takes 8 weeks until they should run).  Some orthopedic surgeons really don’t like the old way and say that big dogs don’t do well but Tazzie weighs 175 # and had both of her knees done this way and gets along great.  She can still stand up on her hind legs even now if you spray a hose at her.  FYI she has 9 sutures in her left knee and 7 in her right so that the risk of rupture is reduced.  I expect that your surgeon will not recommend the old way but I have seen all sizes of dogs do just fine!

Tazzie had rehab on an underwater treadmill after both of her surgeries but walking shoulder deep in a lake/ocean also works (has to be 2 weeks post-op).  I am not sure how a tripawd would handle this but if the dog was doing well before the knee ruptured then it should be okay.

I think that surgery would help your dog heal faster, and as long as the white cell count is okay post-chemo then Ivan should be okay.  I would probably give him antibiotics after the surgery just to be safe.

Good luck!

Pam and Tazzie

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3 November 2008 - 2:22 pm
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Thanks, Pam & Tazzie.  I am a mixed breed, maybe a little lab, body like a lab and a Rhodesian Ridge Back, shepherd snout, and I have ice blue eyes, so maybe I’m cousin to a husky or Australian Shephed?  I now weigh 83.8 lbs., and my mom is making sure I eat the right things, and not too much, so I get leaner and even more handsome.  They say my white cell count was good when they checked after my first chemo, and I felt fine–no vomiting, no diarrhea, I wasn’t even very tired.

I see the ortho surgeon tomorrow and we will ask al the questions you suggested.  I love my doctor and everyone at Berkeley Dog and Cat Hospital, they took such good care of me through my last stay, I get lots of hugs, rubs and kisses.   

 My mom will keep you all posted, she visits this website often for support and ideas. 

Ivan and Ivan's mom

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7 November 2008 - 8:20 pm
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An update from Ivan.  I had my surgery Tuesday November 4, a TPLO.  I am now at home with my mom, I am doing well.  I am now having to use the harness, until my leg gets a little stronger, but I am so glad to be home.  My doctor says I need to start physical therapy soon to heal stronger, my mom will tell me more about that later.  My next chemo is November 17, I’ll get lots more attention then, too, lots of pets and kisses. 

 Note from Ivan’s mom:  Another step forward, I am glad we chose this treatment, it willl be a joy to see Ivan get stronger everyday.  But he will have to be patient–no running, jumping, big guy! 

Ivan and Ivan's mom

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 November 2008 - 8:25 pm
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Hi Ivan, so glad to hear you’re home! That is so cool that you are getting physical therapy. We’d love to hear more about it, as not too many dogs here have mentioned it. What a lucky guy you are to have that kind of care close to home!

Keep calm, take it easy and build up your strength. We’re rootin’ for ya!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 November 2008 - 11:35 pm
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Hey Ivan,

  Hope you have a speedy recovery. Just wait for the A-Ok to get started on the pt.. your a lucky dog. Maybe you’ll get to go for a swim… take some pics! Thinking of you.Smile

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

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

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17 November 2008 - 3:16 pm
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Just wanted to report in on Ivan’s TPLO surgery recovery–he’s doing well, can support weight on that back leg now, so he’s back hopping around!  We are stilll on restricted activity, which is challenge for such an active dog as Ivan, but a must for proper healing!  I keep reminding him of the days to come! 

 One wrinkle in the chemo schedule–he was due for his second chemo treatment today, but we postponed it for a week because one area of his most TPLO incision has not yet healed, not unusual for a dog on chemo, our oncologist says.  She is also recommending acupuncture when we go in next for his chemo, to help strengthen his back legs.  I’ll get more information on that next week. 

Ivan goes this week for a physical therapy evaluation and plan.  We’ll report back when we learn what we will be doing. 

Ivan continues to be a happy, fun-loving tripawd.

Ivan and Ivan's mom

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19 November 2008 - 11:18 pm
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Hello Ivan,

     Happy to hear your back to your tripod self!! That is wonderful news! The acupuncture will help out too , let us know what kind of  physical therapy is set up for you. I am very curious…  Have a Happy ThanksgivingSmile check back soon.

Kim&Buster

Kim & Angel Buster

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 November 2008 - 11:34 am
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So happy to hear Ivan is recovering well. Thanks for the update! So, how are you keeping him on restricted activity? Just curious. My pawrents kept a baby gate up for me during my recuperation, and I couldn’t leave the dog den unless they said so! It was for the best though.

Also, we would love to hear more about his physical therapy plan. When you get a chance, do tell!

Keep on keepin on Ivan!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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