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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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Petra having TPLO on remaining back leg
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Forum Posts: 32
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23 September 2020 - 12:26 pm
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Well, our attempts at conservative management were not successful. Petra starting showing lameness in her remaining back leg a few weeks ago and did not show much improvement with rest and meds. The rehab doc came, did laser acupuncture, cold laser therapy, and a chiropractic adjustment last Thursday. Ironically, after that she went downhill fast and her knee started clicking. I don’t think the treatments caused it to worsen, I think it was just hanging on by a thread by that point.

Anyway, we had consult with bd certified ortho this morning and got confirmation that she has a complete CCL tear and meniscus tear, so we are doing TPLO tomorrow morning. Doc said she will likely be able to bear more weight on the leg immediately after surgery than she is able to currently (I’m having to use a sling to help her around), so I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be able to get through the recovery period okay. 

The GOOD news is she had her first chest X-ray since her amputation last December and her lungs are clear! The amp was required due to a cutaneous squamous cell tumor on her hock, but they found cancer cells in the lymph node on amputated leg. I decided not to pursue chemo and she has been in good health these past nine months, but it’s a relief to have that backed up with a clear X-ray.

I’ve been reading about Tripawds here who‘ve had knee surgery and that’s so helpful. This website has been a lifeline for us! I will update after surgery—please keep Petra in your thoughts tomorrow. sp_hearticon2

Virginia




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23 September 2020 - 2:51 pm
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Okay sweet Petra!  You’ve got this because  you are a tough Tripawd Warrior with a lot of spunk and determination….and a whole  lot of love and care from your devoted hoomans!!

First, YAAAAY for clear xrays!!!  You are such an inspiration  and a true example of what’s poss, in spite of what a “diagnosis” might say!!

Mu tripawd had surgery on both of his remaining  back legs a year apart, and then a third less invasive  surgery another year after that to remove the first one that was no longer holding. 

The first one was what they call a “fishing  line” surgery.  When the second surgery was needed for the other leg, I was able to do the TPLO surfery which, in my unprofessional opinion is a vetter, stronger option.  Frankie did seem to recover faster with the TPLO

If I recall, he was able to do a little toe tapping with the surgery leg at first.  But keep in mind, he still had two other legs to use.  So he was kind of a two legged dog at first…..which is what he was when he first had the complete  tear.  

Not saying it’s easy, and especially with this being Petra’s only remaining front leg.  But can say that, once it takes hold and recovery is complete,  Petra  should be as good as new!   If she is tolerant of the sling or a harness at first, , that’s  going to be a big help.  

Let us know how we can help.  TPLO is the best route and will get your sweet Petra good results!!

Extra hugs!!!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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23 September 2020 - 6:22 pm
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Petra, I’m sorry you have to get the surgery done. But we are cheering you on for a speedy recovery and with the power of the Tripawds Nation you’ve got this!

I’m so hoppy you got good x-rays back, that’s a real bright spot to celebrate!

Keep us posted on how you’re doing and whatever questions you have, fire away. We’ll be waiting for a pupdate 🙂 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 September 2020 - 8:53 am
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Petra’s surgery went well and she was released late afternoon yesterday (same day). She’s not putting much, if any, weight on the leg yet, but we’re managing to get around with a sling (she is 73 pounds, so I def feel like I’m gaining muscle!). Petra ate dinner last night and has been drinking water; we’ve been out to potty a few times, and I’m sure she’s gone, but it’s hard to know since she doesn’t want help and can only lift her bum a wee bit off the ground. We had a rough night. I think she’s experiencing some dysphoria from anesthesia so there was a lot of whimpering in between 15 minute cat naps. That continued this morning after breakfast and potty break, but she finally just conked out, hopefully for more than a few mins.

Trying to keep my eye on the prize and know that each day will get a little easier. Oh I also have a Help Em Up Harness arriving today, which, assuming I can figure it out and get it on her by myself, should help some with moving her around. But I could use some encouragement and would also love to hear from anyone who has been through this.

Virginia




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25 September 2020 - 10:21 am
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FWIW, everything sounds “normal” so far.  Shaking of the anesthesia stuff does seem to take about 24 hrs.  The whimpering, etc should subside today.

What pain meds is she on now and dose and frequency?  Did the discharge papers give any instructions on warm compresses, or cold compresses, etc?  Ge tle massages  up and down her spine and neck.  Not yet, but after about five to seven days you can do MAYBE do some MILD, VERY GENTLE  range of motion,  but only with Rehab guidance or Vet guidance.  If there is any resistance  at all, back off.

I have to say, the Help em Up harness, while is a good concept, was waaaay to complicated for me!  Or rather, I was waaay too stupid for it!  Even the Rehab Vet who talked me into it needed help getting it on and figuring  it out.  Hopefully you have better luck!  Let us know how it goes.

I actually found the regular  harness was something  I could maneuver  and give some support to the rear with lifting.  Add, there’s a “full body suit” that wraps around the body like a full sling and has straps that go over your shoulder.  You are able to walk by their side while carrying their weight standing  straight with the straps over your shoulder/neck.  You can check it out in the Gear Shop.

Wouldn’t  expect that she’s putting weight on it yet, so no worries.  Slowly but surely, she’ll do a little light toe touching at first.    Yes, you have a challenge on your hands, that’s for sure.  But you and Petra are a strong team and you WILL get pass this!  The TPLO’s are strong and hold well.  The recovery  time requires a lot of patience, especially in Petra’s case!

Now, try and get some rest!  This has been an exhausting time for you these past weeks.  Sleep is good therapy, not just for Petra, but for you💤💤

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

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25 September 2020 - 11:36 am
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Oh my gosh.  Is there really someone else out there who has a tripod whose remaining back leg just had tplo surgery.  I’m a new member and trying to figure out this new wonderful tripawds so please bear with me. Our 93 lb Cooper just had the surgery 8 days ago.  Our surgeon tells us weight bearing will happen in 6-8 weeks. I’m not optimistic since we have used both the sling and helpemup harness and can barely move around living room.  At first we got him out back for his business but that has become harder and harder to so so safely for Cooper.  Thus we have set up an area in living room where his bed space is and we have put down an old rug that we are trying to train him on.  Can’t believe I am rewarding him with treat every time he goes while in laying down position in the living room!  Cooper is so sweet and gentle and my husband and I adore him.  He’s about 12 years old and has been on phenobarbital for seizures which I am told is responsible for increased weight.  We have watched his diet so carefully.

I note that you are offline but I am hoping you get this message because I’d really like to compare notes with Petra.  They have been through way too much in their history and just want to get through this!

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 September 2020 - 11:43 am
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Oh my gosh.  Is there really someone else out there who has a tripod whose remaining back leg just had tplo surgery.  

Hi Cooper and family. Welcome. I’m in the Tripawds Chat for a bit if you want to talk or have a tour of the community (You can also Start Here if you’d like). Meanwhile please do start an all new topic in Hopping Around so we can follow along on Cooper’s journey, answer your questions and help you better OK? Thanks!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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25 September 2020 - 11:47 am
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jill409 said
Petra’s surgery went well and she was released late afternoon yesterday (same day).

YAY Petra! That’s awesome surgery is over. Since she was released from the clinic on the same day, it’s no wonder your night was ruff but it should get easier over the next week. How is she doing today? If she still seems anxious please talk to your vet about adjusting her medication OK?

I’ve never personally been through this surgery with our own pup, but what I can tell you is this: things DO get better! We saw it with Sally’s dog Frankie, and the others we spotlighted in our remaining leg surgery articles (I showed you those right?). Stay strong, keep focusing on the prize and know that Petra has it in her to make a complete recovery.

Oh, make sure her physio therapy is lined up with an appointment so that she can get into therapy asap. That is such a critical part of recovery.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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25 September 2020 - 11:55 am
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Just wanted to add the link to the gear shop that highlights some of the support slings/harnesses, etc.    https://gear.tr……com/shop/

And another link that jas a lot of links to various stories  about dogs who have had surgery on remaining  legs.  You’ll see one reference from Izzy., a front legger tripawd.  If I recall, she had surgery on one of the rear back legs and then had to have cruciate  repair on the other.  I know it’s  not the same as on the remaining  front let, but still some good insight.

https://tripawd…..-tripawds/

And hello to Cooper’s hoomans.  We’ll look for your thread on Cooper and cheer him on as he navigates  this recovery!  Many will tell you recovery  is harder than the amputation was because  of fewer legs….but doable!!  Notmovernoght…but doavle!

 Might  try puppy pee pads and put some of the soil from where she pees on them

Higs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

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25 September 2020 - 2:53 pm
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Thanks, everyone, your words buoy my soul! Also, Petra finally went down for the count around 11 a.m. today so I was able to get in a good nap and that has made a world of difference. The Help Em Up Harness arrived today and I got it on her but not adjusted yet. Even so, I think it’s going to be easier for me than the sling. And I purchased an add-on strap that you can wear over the shoulder for added leverage, sounds like the option you mentioned, Sally.

Cooper and family, wow, sounds like a tough start to TPLO recovery. When did Cooper did lose his other back leg? Petra is about 9 months out from her amputation. From everything I’ve read, the first two weeks are the hardest, so don’t despair, you are only on day 8. Please feel free to private message me if you’d like to talk more offline.

Okay, back to the grind, will update again soon. Thanks everyone, for being my shoulder to lean on during this!

Jill

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29 September 2020 - 5:31 pm
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Well we are 5 days post-op and things are going well! First, my vet prescribed trazadone so Petra and I both finally got a full night’s sleep last night! For some reason the nights have been really hard for her, I don’t think it was pain as much as anxiety or boredom (and she is very spoiled and knows I will get up if she cries). 

She had cold laser therapy this morning, which we will do a total of six times over the next few weeks. Not sure how helpful it is but it is relatively inexpensive (less than $45 per session and my vet is a house call vet and comes to us) so feels like it’s worth trying. Petra using her leg some and can finally do a proper potty squat! I’m feeling very hopeful about the results.

hope everyone and their pups are having a good day!

Virginia




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29 September 2020 - 6:34 pm
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YAY FOR SLEEP…..FOR BOTH OF YOU!  

And Petra was able to do a “proper potty squat”…….HUGE IMPROVEMENT!!!  HUGE!!

Continue with the patience and with keeping g your eye kn the prize….Petra  is doing really well.  Keep gping slow and easy though!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Forum Posts: 32
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24 October 2020 - 5:42 pm
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We are a little over 4 weeks out from the TPLO surgery and Petra is doing well but not walking/using leg much. We’ve gone to PT a few times where she does the underwater treadmill and other exercises, and I’m still hopeful she WILL regain the ability to walk but I’ve also come to the conclusion that a wheelchair would be really helpful. I’ve done a lot of reading about wheelchairs on this site and feel like Eddie’s Wheels is the way to go. I’m going to get some help measuring Petra this weekend.

My experiences with the CCRTs available in Austin has been less than stellar. The therapist Petra’s been seeing recently does recommend a cart and suggested K9 Carts but when I asked for help measuring she said not to worry it didn’t need to be exact. That seems like a red flag! The other CCRT we’ve seen here wouldn’t even help me with getting a harness properly adjusted (said she was really bad with harnesses). I’m so frustrated. I know what big believers y’all are in rehab profs helping our Tripawds so I keep expecting an experience that matches up to that, but so far no luck. There is another vet hospital here that offers PT so I may try them even though they do not have the credentials.

Would love to hear any thoughts on getting a wheelchair . Also, if anyone has experienced TPLO recovery with a tripawd, I’d love to know more about how your recovery went. I’m pretty bummed Petra is not walking yet. Thank god for the pandemic so I can be here with her working from home!

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