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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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Pup needs MPL surgery on his only back leg - recovery help, please!
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25 January 2016
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25 January 2016 - 1:19 pm
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We just adopted a little pug who was hit by a car and left to die a few months ago.  They tried to save both his back legs, but one had to be fully amputated.  He has adapted to that just fine,  but his other back leg has a Grade IV luxating patella and he won’t be able to get around at all if we don’t have it surgically repaired very soon.  I have been through 2 TPLO surgeries with my GSD so I know what recovery will be like and I just don’t know how on earth we are going to manage getting him around for the couple of weeks until he can gingerly put weight on that back leg.  He isn’t “calm” by any means, so just keeping him still for 2 weeks is going to be hard enough.  ANY suggestions at all would be much appreciated.  I don’t want to schedule the surgery until I know we have what he needs at home in place for a successful recovery.

The surgeon wasn’t very helpful.  They said to just use a towel which I know isn’t going to cut it.  He is going to resist pretty much anything so it will need to be a secure harness that is easy enough to put on a tripod and allows him to still do his business.

Freeway thanks you all in advance for any suggestions!

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25 January 2016 - 6:58 pm
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Hi Sarah and Freeway, welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

That’s awesome that you adopted him! And if you’ve been through TPLO surgeries, this shouldn’t be too hard for you. We’ve had quite a few Tripawds who have had surgeries on their remaining rear limbs, here are a few examples and they all talk about how they managed so you should find some good pointers here:





To help him get around the Ruffwear Webmaster harness would probably do the trick.

Have you been crate training him? If not, now is the time. A good x-pen would also be helpful.

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25 January 2016 - 7:28 pm
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FREEWAY???? REALLY?! Love it!!

I can only offer support and welcome you and Freeway to the family!

As Jerry said, there are many here with surgery on their remaining legs. The links shoukd give you insight and solutions for some of the hurdles you will face.

It sounds like you nave quite a feisty pup..and soooo ADORABLE!! OMD! SO CUTE!!!

Look forward to following Freeway’s progress! It’s going to be so much fun following this little guy on his adventures!

Karen, who is a “Pug magnet” and expert here, will hopefully see this and offer some insight also.

Murphy is another dog who dealt with surgery on his remaining legs just six weeks (I think) after his amputation.

Looki g forward to seeing those cute pictures! Thank yiu for giving him such a loving home!

Hugs to all!

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!

Livermore, CA

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25 January 2016 - 7:42 pm
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Hi and welcome.


OK, it’s wonderful that you adopted that little man!  My first tripawd was a black pug named Maggie who lost her left back leg to a mast cell tumor, she lived almost 4 years after her amp.  I recently adopted a little puggle (supposedly) who was hit by a car and lost her right rear leg.

I also have been through two luxating patella repairs with my quad pug Obie. The procedure used was similar to the Tightrope procedure so no plates and screws.  They did have to deepen the patella grove in both surgeries so the patella would ride correctly.  In neither case was the CCL ruptured but it was heading that way as the patella was more frequently out than in, especially in the second knee as Obie was a virtual tripawd until we could get the surgery done.

With all my pugs and now puggle I have used the Ruff Wear Webmaster harness . It worked very well for Obie’s 2 knee surgeries- I could hook his leash to the back loop and give him the support he needed until he could weight the operated leg.  I think it would work for your boy, but with no other back leg the back buckle my become uncomfortable for him.  I also used a GingerLead sling for my old pug girl Tani who had congenital mobility problems complicated by arthritis and strokes.   Here is the GingerLead on amazon.

Very important note on the Ruff Wear Harness : I have yet to get one that fits any of my pug(gle)s without modification.  I think they both have xxs right now.  The xs has the right girth but the harness itself is way too long for their bodies.  Depending on Freeway’s girth and length you might have the same problem.  MAKING ALTERATIONS TO THE HARNESS VOIDS THE WARRANTY! So consider that when making your decision. How big is Freeway?

I have a gentle lead you can have and maybe a harness that you can borrow if you want to see how they work.  Please send me a PM if you want to discuss any of this further.  I actually got the male version of the GentleLead because the size fit my girl Tani better.

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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26 January 2016 - 11:08 am
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Thank you all for the advice!  I will definitely check out the stories Jerry posted.

I have ordered a couple of different harnesses to try out – the Gingerlead is one and should be here in a couple of days.  He is a big guy – 17 lbs but almost all the weight is in his front half.  He has been somewhat crate trained but isn’t a fan of it for sure.  He was hospitalized for 3 months total when he was found – 2 months before they determined they had to amputate, and one month for healing and finding a foster home so I think he is probably just sick of it.  We have been working hard on that since he will need to be confined for his own best interests and we have other pets who might want to try to play with him.

I think we have decided that even though he really needs the surgery asap, it would be best to find a mobility support and get him used to it before we schedule the operation.  Even though the vet isn’t concerned, having been through this before we know what it will take, we know our house, our yard and this tenacious little dude’s personality.  He isn’t going to sit still for this and we are going to need all the help we can get to keep that knee safe for those first few weeks.

I will PM you Karen to find out more about your experiences.

Freeway (named by the rescue sadly because he was found dragging himself across a freeway by his front legs), says THANK YOU all so much for the support!  We can’t wait to show you what an awesome little tripawd mascot he will be when he is all fixed up!

Much appreciated all!



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26 January 2016 - 2:17 pm
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Freeway sure did hit the Puppy Lottery with you! Clearly you are very “in tune” to his every nuance. This helps so much as he recovers “Freeway’s style”!

You’ll jave a blast getting to know all the “nuances” of all of Karen’s Pug family! They’re a hoot!


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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