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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Penny is having TPLO on remaining back leg
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Boston, MA
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23 February 2021
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23 February 2021 - 8:02 pm
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Penny, our 5.5 year old boxer has been on three legs (back-right amputated) since she was 6 months old when we adopted her. She's always gotten around amazingly well and people are always surprised when they realize she only has 3 legs!

A few months ago she hurt her remaining back leg and since then has had trouble getting up stairs and has been generally more sluggish moving around. We had her examined at a hospital in Boston and they confirmed through X-rays that she has a partial ACL tear. We've made the decision to do TPLO since she is otherwise generally healthy and very happy. Her surgery is scheduled for March 10th.

One of our biggest concerns is around supporting her backend on walks during recovery. We've been told recovery is 8-10 weeks and she should have zero to little weight on the recovering leg. We know it's going to be hard. We're also expecting a baby May 21st so figured it would be better to do the surgery before the baby arrives!

We started looking at wheelchairs and spoke to Eddie's Wheels who seemed great. After speaking with the surgeon who's doing the surgery, she didn't recommend starting in a wheelchair because some dogs don't take to them and suggested starting with a harness. We've ordered the Walkabout Amputee Harness (which we found through Eddie's Wheels) and it should arrive in the next couple of days so we can try it out.

We'll be doing water therapy at some point during recovery but we still need to coordinate.

I recently read Petra's post about her TPLO journey and found it was very helpful so I'll post updates for Penny too, which hopefully people in this position will find useful!

Here she is all comfy on our bed smiley4

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Virginia




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24 February 2021 - 8:51 am
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CUTENESS ALERT!!  Penny is adorable!!  OMD!  She's  just precious!!!

Geez, bummer about the leg.  We have had dogs go through surgery on a remaining  leg for one reason or another.  Has you have already seen thru Petra's post, it is NOT easy, but it IS doable!!

Patience, patience, patience, slow and easy, and all with confidence  and focusing on the goal.

Another example is Izzy (mom Amy) a tripawd who had aurgery on a remaining  leg.  Cant remember  all the details, but Iif you read thru the link  figure it out.  

https://tripawd.....ile/11329/

While certainly  not the same, my tripawd Frankie (a front legger)had cruc surgery on o e rea leg, then a year (or maybe ot was two) later the other.  The first surgery  was the less expensive  route they call a fishing  line technique.  That has given out completely. The other surgery on the other leg was the more expensive  TPLO and, knocking on wood, it is hold up well.  So he basically  uses the "failed) leg for balance, and uses his TPLO leg and front leg (which is not in good shape) full force for mobility.

I KNOW you and yoir hisba d have the "grit" and determination  to get through this.  And clearly sweet Penny wants the chance to get on with livi g life on three again! 

And congrats on your baby coming  soon!! 

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 February 2021 - 11:52 am
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Awww what a sweetie pie! She's lucky to have you guys, and a new sibling on the way? Fun times! 

I'm sorry you are facing this surgery. Recovery is not easy but with a good rehab team in place you guys should do fine. Is she lined up for rehab care after surgery? That is a critical component for a good recovery. And we agree with your vet, wheelchairs are not right for every situation so it's best to wait until she is evaluated by a therapist. 

Here's a few posts about surgery on remaining limbs:

https://tripawd.....g-surgery/

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Boston, MA
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24 February 2021 - 8:14 pm
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benny55 said
CUTENESS ALERT!!  Penny is adorable!!  OMD!  She's  just precious!!!

Geez, bummer about the leg.  We have had dogs go through surgery on a remaining  leg for one reason or another.  Has you have already seen thru Petra's post, it is NOT easy, but it IS doable!!

Patience, patience, patience, slow and easy, and all with confidence  and focusing on the goal.

Another example is Izzy (mom Amy) a tripawd who had aurgery on a remaining  leg.  Cant remember  all the details, but Iif you read thru the link  figure it out.  

https://tripawd.....ile/11329/

While certainly  not the same, my tripawd Frankie (a front legger)had cruc surgery on o e rea leg, then a year (or maybe ot was two) later the other.  The first surgery  was the less expensive  route they call a fishing  line technique.  That has given out completely. The other surgery on the other leg was the more expensive  TPLO and, knocking on wood, it is hold up well.  So he basically  uses the "failed) leg for balance, and uses his TPLO leg and front leg (which is not in good shape) full force for mobility.

I KNOW you and yoir hisba d have the "grit" and determination  to get through this.  And clearly sweet Penny wants the chance to get on with livi g life on three again! 

And congrats on your baby coming  soon!! 

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too and Frankie too!

  

Thanks so much Sally! I'll read through the post about Izzy tonight. Sorry to hear Frankie's one surgery didn't work as well but glad to hear that his other knee is doing great!

Boston, MA
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24 February 2021 - 8:17 pm
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jerry said
Awww what a sweetie pie! She's lucky to have you guys, and a new sibling on the way? Fun times! 

I'm sorry you are facing this surgery. Recovery is not easy but with a good rehab team in place you guys should do fine. Is she lined up for rehab care after surgery? That is a critical component for a good recovery. And we agree with your vet, wheelchairs are not right for every situation so it's best to wait until she is evaluated by a therapist. 

Here's a few posts about surgery on remaining limbs:

https://tripawd.....g-surgery/

  

Thanks Jerry! Yes, she's very sweet. We are definitely planning on pursuing rehab and physical therapy for her. Probably some under water work to help out.

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 February 2021 - 10:49 pm
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Awesome, you are on the right track! Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Boston, MA
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28 February 2021 - 6:41 pm
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Penny's Walkabout Amputee Harness just arrived and it doesn't really fit her that well, so we're looking into other options before she has the surgery. We think the harness will fall down too easily and that she won't be able to go to the bathroom with where it sits. She has a bit of a tricky body to fit for a harness so the Walkabout might fit other dogs nicely, but not her.

We're now going to try a Help Em Up and if that doesn't work we'll likely go with an ATS Support Suit.

Here's a body pic-- she has a very skinny waist and big chest which makes it hard to find harnesses (and jackets) that fit.

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The Rainbow Bridge



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1 March 2021 - 4:28 pm
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What a bummer the Walkabout didn't work. I'm so sorry. I hate to say it if you've already ordered the Help em Up, but you may be just as disappointed with the fit. Since Penny is a rear leg amputee, that harness leg loops will likely not stay on very well. We still haven't found a good one that will work with rear leg amputee dogs, which is why we don't carry it in the Tripawds Gear Store

For Penny, and all hard to fit dogs, we recommend the Custom Pet Support Suit for longer recuperations like this, and the senior years. It's an investment, but also an exceptional harness that will fit any dog like a glove since it's made to their measurements. 

{P.S. That is a great photo but I have to be nosey (forgive me!) and ask: do you have traction on the rest of your floors? I see a Tripawd standing on hardwood and it makes me nervous, slick floors are a Tripawd's worst enemy, especially one recuperating from a remaining leg surgery).

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

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Boston, MA
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1 March 2021 - 8:43 pm
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jerry said
What a bummer the Walkabout didn't work. I'm so sorry. I hate to say it if you've already ordered the Help em Up, but you may be just as disappointed with the fit. Since Penny is a rear leg amputee, that harness leg loops will likely not stay on very well. We still haven't found a good one that will work with rear leg amputee dogs, which is why we don't carry it in the Tripawds Gear Store

For Penny, and all hard to fit dogs, we recommend the Custom Pet Support Suit for longer recuperations like this, and the senior years. It's an investment, but also an exceptional harness that will fit any dog like a glove since it's made to their measurements. 

{P.S. That is a great photo but I have to be nosey (forgive me!) and ask: do you have traction on the rest of your floors? I see a Tripawd standing on hardwood and it makes me nervous, slick floors are a Tripawd's worst enemy, especially one recuperating from a remaining leg surgery).

  

Hi Jerry-- we have been looking at the Pet Support Suit tonight. Does it allow us to lift up and support her back end well enough? It seems like the handles are positioned in the middle of the body so we're wondering if it'll lift her rear enough so that there's minimal weight on her back leg. How does it compare to a more standard, basic padded sling?

Most of the other floors have traction for Penny and the stairs are carpeted. During recovery she'll definitely be off of the wood floors 🙂 

Virginia




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1 March 2021 - 9:11 pm
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I had the body suite for Frankie  front legger Frankie.  While his situation wasdiffere t, it was stil. Imperative that I give him as much support as possible..

What I liked about is was the over ther shoilder strap that allowed me to help support his weight, co trol his gait and walk "beside" him as opposed to "bending doow. " over" him.

I'm gpoi g to find a link to a video of me walking down his ramp with him.  I REALLY hesitate to do it. as it  is the WORSE example of a good product!!  I'm no spring chicken, bad knees. bad back.had on sa deals in the video, two bathrobes as it was raining (couldn't find  my jacket for this quick improntovideo)  and the ramp was very slippery.

Cannot stress enough for proper measurement.   Frankie. Because he's wild and crazy and wiggly and hardheaded made it almost impossible  for me to get proper measurement.  .It is DEFINATELY a two person job. Measure over and over and over.  

The other hurdle.because of the type of strong willed determined dog Frankie  is, was getting the suite on him by myself.  Any type of "harness" type thing triggered him and unleashed uncontrollable excitement , jumping around and wriggling.   To him  it meant he was was going for a carride.

I cant remember all.the  configurations of the straps and handles.  It they were very adaptable for lifting or turning at the harness level and theshoilder strap for easy support and guiding

And I realized Frankie's situation is not nearly as rough as your sweet Penny's, but hopefully you can game some tips and see the pictures of Frankie's swollen leg and know what's normal and what's not Etc. 

I have a feeling your girl will be much more compliant and willing to let you help her, which makes things a lot easier! Remember, it is doable and you can get through this! We are all cheering for you

I always mess up trying to do links,,,  here goes. https://tripawd.....other-leg/

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 30563
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1 March 2021 - 10:42 pm
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Oh whew, glad she will have lots of carpeted areas to walk. You might also want to consider having the vets put Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips on her to assist with walking on slick surfaces if she happens to wander over there.

Hi Jerry– we have been looking at the Pet Support Suit tonight. Does it allow us to lift up and support her back end well enough? It seems like the handles are positioned in the middle of the body so we’re wondering if it’ll lift her rear enough so that there’s minimal weight on her back leg. How does it compare to a more standard, basic padded sling?

The handles on the Suit are attached at the very front and the very rear of the sling that wraps around the torso. We've found it's the closest you can get to the rear end without having to try leg loops (which usually don't work on rear-leg amputee dogs). Yes, you will find that there is minimal weight on her rear leg as long as you adjust the handles and shoulder strap accordingly. The Suit worked well on our Wyatt, who couldn't put much weight on his remaining rear leg as his arthritis got worse.

Not sure what you mean by a more basic padded sling? Is there a brand you're thinking of?

Here is the link with the videos that Sally was looking for:

https://tripawd.....8/#p218083

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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