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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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Planning for a Tripawd
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Forum Posts: 3
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3 July 2020
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3 July 2020 - 8:03 pm
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Hi. I’m new here and not even sure I’m in the right sub-forum. Like many, I’m here because amputation is suddenly the word of the week. I have about nine million questions spinning in my head but only one to ask for tonight – what can I do in advance to help prepare my dog for life with three legs?

My 11 year old mini Aussie has a large and slowly growing mass on his right front leg that was biopsied on Wednesday. Based on a previous aspiration, we are probably looking at a soft tissue sarcoma and if it is a sarcoma, probable amputation. Her chest x-rays are completely clean. We aren’t there yet and I’m not giving up hope that this thing will be benign but I’m trying to use this time of to prepare for every eventuality. I’d been reading about procedures and costs and physical therapy and supplies and medications for hours when my sweetie woke up from her nap and offered me her paw – a sure fire way to get treats out of Mama is to start tossing out the tricks.  Today it made me cry for an hour but she did get her treats. 

It also made me wonder – are there things we should be teaching her now (commands, behaviors, etc.) that would help her in recovery and afterwards?  At minimum, we have a month or two to prepare and she is a very quick study. She ran agility and obedience for years and although she is now retired, she still loves to train. She is already fine with ramps and has a solid wait/stay that we already use to stop the jumping as much as possible. 

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions of things she could learn that might help. Plus it would give us something to do while we wait. 

I also wanted to say how amazing this website is. I’ve taken pages of notes and have many questions more serious than this one that will probably spill out over the next few weeks. But after all my reading about these amazing dogs – I’m a lot more hopeful than I was a day ago. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 July 2020 - 9:09 am
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Hi Minnie and family, welcome. You’ve come to the right place and we are so glad we could help you see there is hope for a hoppy life on 3.

You aske great questions and and they are such an important part of the recovery journey. Minnie sounds so fit and active that the physical part of recovery should be pretty easy, so it’s the mental part you will probably need to focus on to keep her from getting bored. An Aussie needs a job as you know and she can do that even during recovery, but in a different way.:.

Do you work on any interactive brain games with her right now? Like nose work or food puzzles? Joes the time to introduce them if not. 

Here are some posts about brain games, including a post we did about Elly, who had become quite the nosework champ:

https://gear.tr…..teractive/

I will be back with more ideas, stay tuned for feedback from others. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




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4 July 2020 - 1:47 pm
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Hi and welcome.

Here’s hoping that the tumor is B9!!!

But if you do have to join our club then is sounds like you are doing all the prep you need to give your girl a safe recovery and many more years on three.

What’s her name?  How big is she?

I’m Elly’s mom- the one Jerry referenced above, she is a little Pug mix I adopted almost 5 years ago.  Elly was hit by a car when she was 7 months old and lost a rear leg as a result.  I was her 4th home at 10 months old and she came with some baggage the worst of which is severe separation anxiety, I actually didn’t know how bad it was until about a year and a half after I got her- the worst revolves around being left in a car.

Anyway- trying to solve her issues led me to lots of classes and eventually Nose Work.  It has done wonders for her confidence and is great at challenging her mind without being tough on her body. We also spend lots of time on trick and obedience training, balance exercises as well as food games and puzzles. When my first TriPug Maggie lost her back leg to cancer our surgeon told us she was only allowed short, leashed potty breaks for 2 weeks post op. 

Based on what you said about her is sounds like she is very smart, driven and trainable!  I think the only thing I would train for a new Tripawd specifically is no jumping.  For your girl not jumping down would be most important to protect the one front leg (and shoulder, and neck…).  And as our dogs are aging protecting the joints is important no matter if they are on 3 or 4. I’ve had small dogs for years and I have steps or stools near all the furniture the dogs are allowed on.  Elly is pretty good about using them but quad Pug boy Obie still jumps down sometimes- he’s almost 14 and I really wish I had spent time training him when he was younger.  When I adopted Elly I spent a lot of time teaching her to use the stairs or stools- she is strong enough on the one back leg to jump up on a bed or couch but that really isn’t good for her long term.  You might buy or build some steps for your girl around the house (depending on what access she has or needs) so she can learn to use them now.  I also taught Elly to wait in the truck (backseat) until I have a hold of her harness and tell her it’s OK to get out and I help her down to the ground.

Here is a video I put together of Elly playing just a few of her games.  You have to adapt a little bit for a front legger but you should get some ideas and maybe some games to play before her surgery.

Still hoping you get good news on the mass- when will you know?  Keep us posted and we would love to see some pictures!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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4 July 2020 - 8:18 pm
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Thank you Jerry and Karen for the welcome and encouragement.  I’m Maggie and my pup is Minnie.  No pictures handy because of an iPhone disaster but I’ll work on getting some out of backup storage. 

She is about 23 pounds and yes – very smart, very active, and very driven.  She had too much energy for her first people and we’ve had her since she was three. She is absolute sweetheart who wants nothing more than to please but it takes a lot to tire her out. I never thought we’d be dog sport people but she needed the enrichment – we’ve played fly ball, competed in agility, and still do advanced obedience classes. 

And yes, she needs constant jobs and makes them up if we don’t find them for her. Today she figured out that the kids are much easier to herd if she uses her post-biopsy cone as a battering ram. Fortunately, the kids are pretty compliant substitute sheep. 

I love the brain game ideas. The video of Elly is just wonderful. We do have a few dog puzzles and will order some more. I think it would be good for the kids too. We tried nose training in the past and it was a complete disaster. This might be a good time to try again though. 

The no jumping down training is also a good idea that we need to get much more serious about. She has arthritis in both front legs (much worse on the tumor side) so we’ve been trying to limit the jumping but she doesn’t make it easy. She’s finally accepted that she is not allowed to jump off the bed but we’ve got some work to do with couch and car. 

We are staying positive here And are certain that we will come out of this with a happy, nutty dog, whether with three legs or four. The vet said biopsy results could take as long as two weeks because of pandemic related backups. So we are trying to research, line up all of our questions, and of course just love the little monster. 

Virginia




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4 July 2020 - 8:51 pm
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I’m already in love with your Minnie!  She sounds like such a delightful and fun and smart dog😎   Clearly she is adored and you are leaving no stone unturned. 

Good job of doing your homework  and getting  things set up should you proceed with amputation.  If you have hardwood floors you’ll want non-slip scatter rugs for ,traction

No jumping, running, etc the first two weeks of recovery.   Ypu can maybe use a harness to help her j. andmojtmof the car.  Tweaking  the pain meds in a way that keeps the pain at bay can be a little tricky at first.   Pooping may be off a few days, as well as appetite.   Drinking  and peeing are jmportant  though.

 Don’t you worry at all about Minnie still being able to beg and ask you for a treat!  She’ll figure  out a way.

Stay connected and let us know how we can help.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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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5 July 2020 - 12:54 pm
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Awww, your little monster is so lucky to have you! Sounds like you will have the brain games ready to go and know what to do to keep her feeling like she’s still employed. Keep us posted OK?

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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10 July 2020 - 8:29 pm
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An update on Minnie. We got the most promising cancer diagnosis we could have imagined tonight. While not benign, we are looking at a grade one soft tissue sarcoma. Based on the pathology report and the CT, they are going to take it out without worrying about margin. Some follow-up radiation may be in order (to be determined) but they plan to take it out without touching the bone. 

We are beyond relieved that it hasn’t spread and that we are now facing little more than a few weeks of incision care and the ordinary travails of an energetic but aging arthritic dog. That said, my heart has grown about three sizes in the past two weeks from love of the Tripawds of this board and their amazing human companions. I’ve spent a lot of time here reading, researching, and preparing. While still terrified, my whole family was ready to take the next steps with our beloved Minnie and we were able to get there thanks to the stories here.  Both good and bad, we felt like we knew what to expect and how to be prepared. 

Minnie is already enjoying her new brain game and puzzles and sends her love to Elly for sharing all of the suggestions. Her arthritis is fairly severe in one wrist and she’s enjoying playing games almost as much as she loves jumping. We’ve learned a lot of things from this website that will help her continue to age as gracefully as possible. 

Finally, as the vet bills continue to mount from just the diagnostic side of the house, we are realizing just how expensive specialty care is and how lucky we are to be able to mostly cringe, shuffle some things around, and pay the bills. My kids want to help another dog and I’m so thankful the Tripawd Foundation exists so that they can do that. 

It was really wonderful not to be alone in all of this. Thank you. ❤️

Virginia




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10 July 2020 - 10:36 pm
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So thrilled and relieved  to know Minnie is continuing  to show the world she’s  not gonna let anything dampen her spirits!!

Kudos to you and your loving family for doing whatever it takes to give Minnie  the best life evvver!!  You all clearly adore her and make no mistake a put ot sheadores you!  After all,she picked you!😎

Yes this site has been a refuge for all of us at some point. DawgJerry sure knew ,what he was doing whien he guided his hoomans to start this invaluable community!

Thank you and Minnie for being part of the story of hope here💖

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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11 July 2020 - 4:26 pm
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Woah that news is as good as a cancer diagnosis gets, I’m so happy for you all and especially Minnie! So this means no amputation? If so, WOW! PAWESOME! smiley_clapsmiley16

Being here to help you make Minnie’s life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible is such an honor. How cool that you found new games for her to enjoy, things that don’t put stress on her arthritic joints. She is so very, very fortunate to have you for her humans! 

Thank you for the kind words about the Tripawds community, you really made our day. Give Minnie and your kids big hugs from all of us, and we’re sending more to you too! (((HUGS))))

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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