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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Pre Amputation Surgery Things To Know
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Member Since:
30 January 2023
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30 January 2023 - 11:21 am
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Hi first time posting and super grateful for all of the resources offered here. We have a 9 year old male english bull terrier named Vincent Vega who was diagnosed with grade 1 myxosarcoma in April of 2021. At that time we elected to have the tumor removed unfortunately without clean margins and thus had to have radiation done following surgery. Here we are January 2023 and his tumor has come back and been confirmed that it hasn't spread anywhere else. Our only viable option at this point is front leg amputation due to the amount of radiation he previously had.

Vincent is pretty fit (beefier chest due to breed) and loves his ball and other toys. I know the ball playing will now be a thing of the past once surgery occurs and that is fine. My other questions concern going to the restroom. He is a squatter when doing both urinating and pooping. I worry that he will become off balance or not be able to properly hold himself up. Any advice on that?

Also We are fully prepared to buy whatever aids he needs to have (ie. stairs, harnesses, grippy socks) in order to make things easier on him.

Any suggestions on items to stock up on prior to surgery are also welcome. 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 January 2023 - 2:57 pm
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Hi Vincent and furmily, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I'm so sorry about the diagnosis. We've only had a handful of dogs with a myxosarcoma diagnosis. I can't recall if amputation is curative for it nor not, but it should at the very least give him pain relief and a better quality of life.

Ball playing doesn't have to totally end, but it will need to be done really carefully. Like, rolling it on the ground instead of chucking it across a field. And giving him plenty of breaks. Even a four legger shouldn't be allowed to go too crazy ball playing though. Check out this article about the downside of ball throwing for any dog. 

Also see this post we wrote;

Tripawd Health Tips to Avoid Injury to Remaining Legs

He is a squatter when doing both urinating and pooping. I worry that he will become off balance or not be able to properly hold himself up. Any advice on that?

Believe it or not, they figure it out. There might be a stumble or two during the first few weeks, but you will be amazed at how quickly Vincent will shift his front leg to help him balance more. And it's also a big plus that he already squats, because there won't be any leg-lifting and tipping over incidents that sometimes happen to male Tripawds.

Any suggestions on items to stock up on prior to surgery are also welcome. 

Our Tripawds Recovery Shopping List has everything you might want to consider 🙂

Also see our What to Expect articles to prepare you for the big day.

I hope this helps. When is his surgery happening? Ask whatever questions you'd like and keep us posted.


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 January 2023 - 7:29 pm
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Aprry you fond yourself here, but as you can see from Jerry's  reply it's  the beet place to be for support and information.   The li ks will help you tremendously. 

If you have hardwoods you'll want non slip scatter  rugs for traction .  Some use yoga mats.  You may  not need "grippy socks" (or something similar like Pawz) except on slippery Vet floors.  

Might want to ise raised water and food bowls if needed to  make it easier to drink and eat without straining.

My front tripawd Frankie is a lanky legged Coonhound and, like all dogs, has mastered the art of pee and poop with no problems.     Doesn't  do a full  "squat", more like  a "sway back" for peeing and yes, a bit more of a squat for pooping.

"Generally", not always,  harnesses aren't  used for front leggers until stitches are out due to the newness of the  incision.  You could maybe use a towel sling sort of behind  the incision  if necessary.

Regarding stairs, if at all possible try and avoid them the first two weeks.  Does Vincent have to use stairs to go potty?  If so, how many?  If you have an upstairs  bedroom and he's used to sleeping  upstairs  with you,  like most of is you may have to sleep downstairs  on a makeshift ged on the floor for awhile.  He'll be avle to handle stairs  event, but don't  want to risk it at first.  A fall could destroy his confidence,  not to mention pop some stitches, etc.  Front leggers usually go up the stairs fair easily.  Going down takes a bit more focus and is a little bit harder on that one front leg.

pain management   is a key factor to healing.  Most dogs come home with Gabapentin,  an antiinflmmatory like Rimadyl and an antibiotic.   If possible, staying for one night or two at a fully staffed 24/7 clinic is ideal. 

Anyway, you'll find these tips and more in the links Jerry gave you. Stay connected  and let is know how we can support you and of you jave any questions.   Recovery is no picnic  for the first couple of weeks, but it doesn't  last furever!


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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