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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As you know, Tripawds usually get along fine on three legs. We can run, jump and play like other dogs, and we honestly don’t care that we are missing one of our spare limbs. We here at Tripawds are dedicated to showing humans this is true.
I know that prosthetic tests being done on dogs may eventually help humans and other animals that can’t function with missing limbs, and that’s a good thing. But if these prosthetics become a mainstream thing in veterinary medicine, how will that affect Tripawd acceptance in the eyes of humans?
Most importantly, how do you all feel about prosthetics
? Would you get one if you could?
26 January 2008
I’ve never really seen a Tripawd with a prosthesis. I stopped counting how many people asked me why I didn’t get one for Lalla at the time but I live in a country at war (Israel) so as you can imagine, army vets with prostheses are a common sight – unfortunately – so once can understand why I was asked The Prosthesis question so often. I’m sure that prostheses aren’t recommended for every Tripawd – for example, in the case of degenerative bone disease, its instinctively-layman safe to assume they wouldn’t be of much help. Alameda East Veterinary hospital did come up with a revolutionary prothesis (http://www.wfsb…..etail.html) which sparked some interest, but this is obviously an extremely expensive solution. I think that the main thing to do, and considering how much research is underway and under consideration, is to focus on finding a cure for canine osteosarcoma (and subsequently, human osteosarcoma) which is the prevalent cause for Tripawd-ness. Aniamls in nature survive without a limb as resourcefully and naturally as if they had four; trapped foxes will often chew their leg off to get – and go free. They lick their own wounds and are off after the badgers before you know it. Looking back, that’s exactly what Lalla did too. A prosthesis would have made things even more difficult and uncomfortable for her and knowing my girl, she would have probably chewed it off.
26 April 2008
Tasha is not ever comfortable with something new, and anything that makes noise is not to be trusted. She has adapted so well to being tripawd that I would not ever consider making her try and get used to a prosthetic. I was in the medical field for 18 years. I know that wearing a prosthetic limb brings with it a whole set of problems different from the amputation. I would not put Tasha through that along with coping with chemo, etc. Even after that is through, I can’t think of one thing she can’t do now that she could do better with an artificial limb. For us, it is a definite NO.
Mary Beth, Tasha’s mom
2 February 2008
Some of my other dogs have been known to be rendered usless and unable to walk if they have so much as a bandage on their paw so I don’t think they would take well to a plastic leg.
In general terms, I can’t imagine most dogs taking to a prosthetic limb easily. It won’t move normally and would be heavy to carry around and what is the benefit of it? It’s never going to look like a real doggie leg so it’s only going to draw even more attention to the dogs ‘disability’.
Legs don’t make a dog. If their fur drops out and they look a bit silly (after chemo) that doesn’t matter either. What makes a dog is its spirit and it takes a lot more than a loss of leg or temporary loss of fur to quash that.
And if humans don’t like the look of MY beautiful dog, they need only look the other way. (Their loss).
So no, prosthetic dog legs are not for us.
Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.
***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***
All so well said! I agree with all of your thoughts on this topic.
So if we are all thinking that this is not such a great idea for dogs, why on earth is the veterinary industry putting so much money into this research?
Any vets out there care to comment?
I have a sheltie by the name of Mike. He was born with a missing left foot. The vet said that the cord probably wrapped around it during development.Mike gets around very well; usually as well as his mother and father, which we also have. The problem and main concern that I have is that Mike is a giant; he is huge ;twice the size of his parents. he weighs almost 90 lbs! he is 5 yrs old and tires out easily when going for walks. He is also taller than most shelties that Ihave seen. Mikes is on a controlled diet and he does have a great apetite. I am always wondering if Mikes life would improve with an attempt to have him evaluated for a prostetic device. More walking and running = less weight. Any thoughts?
I am always wondering if Mikes life would improve with an attempt to have him evaluated for a prostetic device.
I see how a prosthetic foot would help, if only the paw is missing. I hear they make them out similar material used to make Croc shoes. Hopping along on an otherwise healthy leg can’t be healthy for the spine, or very comfortable. Not to mention a bummer.
Try to find a specialist or veterinary teaching hospital and let us know what they think!
Another news story just came out this week, about a tripawd named Cassidy who has the first dog leg implant of its kind. Check it out:
This is my first time here. I have a tripawd named Max (http://threeleg…..pawds.com/) and this post called my name! If you think you often get asked why you don't have a prosthesis for your dog, imagine the number of times I get asked that question–I work as a prosthetist! I make human arms and legs for a living, yet Max does not have a prosthesis.
Dogs for the most part get along fine on three legs. Max has a bit of a stump, but it's too short to provide any leverage to move a prosthesis and it would be difficult to suspend. Dogs whose amputations are at the shoulder or hip are much better off without a prosthesis. I would, however, consider a prosthesis for a dog missing only a foot.
I've noticed on some tripods with lower level amputation that the residual limb tends to get in the way and the dog isn't exactly sure what to do with it–lift it? try to stand on it? I think in some cases, a prosthesis wouldn't be a bad idea, but only if the owner is committed to checking for skin breakdown. I haven't made a leg for a dog yet, but I'm sure my day will come. I know many other prosthestists who have. A prosthesis for a dog would most likely be made from carbon/acrylic laminate or from polyethylene/polypropylene (plastic). Of course, since several of our patients come in with their chewed up braces, you'd have to watch out to make sure your dog doesn't eat it!
Osseointegration (the implanted type) is the next frontier of human lower limb prosthetics . It's not used here in the US yet because of risk of infection. I understand that people are testing the technology out on dogs, but it's really not going to be practical for your typical pet.
Those are my thoughts on the matter!
25 April 2007
Those are my thoughts on the matter!
Thanks for the professional opinion! My brother is a dentist who fitted his Golden Retriever with a gold implant for a fang he broke years ago. With the help of his vet, of course.
Max is a beauty. We're happy to have you join us.
18 May 2009