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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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Rear Leg Tripawd - Second ACL Surgery?
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
4 December 2018
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2 January 2019 - 12:00 pm
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My name is Janelle Valencia, my tripawd is named Zola, she is a 2 year old American Staffordshire Terrier. It has been a long year for all of us and we receive so much support in our community but it feels lonely not connecting with anyone who has been in any similar circumstances.

Zola has been through a number of surgeries this year, the most recent being a leg amputation surgery. In early March of 2018 Zola was diagnosed with a torn acl on her right rear leg. Unfortunately, we were not able to afford the cost of the surgery out of pocket. We were 2 months short of reaching our 1 year pet insurance policy that would cover a portion of the surgery cost, so it was considered a pre existing condition that would not be covered.

We were recommended by several friends to opt for surgery in Mexico. We began our search for a vet in Mexico and through familial connections found one. Everything went well, but 2 months post op we were very concerned with Zola not being on track with her recovery. She was beginning to have lameness in her leg and heavily relying on her rear left leg for weight bearing.

We decided to consult a veterinarian here in the states that was highly recommended by several people i spoke to in regard to orthopedic surgeons. This Doctor went ahead with taking X-Rays, these had shown that she had a torn acl, and a severe infection that was eating away at her bones causing dentures only visible by the X-Rays. He decided she needed an urgent surgery for further evaluation. We were told that the implant used to repair her torn acl had shattered and there was a very high likelihood that the material was causing the infection. In addition, she also had a luxating patella. The Doctor decided to flush out her leg to completely clean it, repair the dislocated kneecap in order to repair the torn acl.

We thought Zola would finally be on the road to recovery, especially after her recovery seemed to be going great as she gained more mobility with her leg. Except, she stopped using her leg. During this time she also got open sores near her incision. After some testing, we were told her infection returned. The Doctor had previously taken a culture sample of the infection and it had reacted against 5 antibiotics. It was clear the first had failed so we continued to test the other 4. One being topical ointment, the others oral pills. During this time, she was diagnosed with a torn acl on her rear left leg due to the weight bearing. One of the antibiotics required her to stay at the pet hospital for 2 weeks, being closely monitored. This stay really helped her rest and regain mobility on her rear left leg and help her get around a bit more easily. 

None of the antibiotics worked to clear the infection. The good news was that the infection was only in her leg, and although leg amputation was never discussed, it became our only option. We were devestated, blaming ourselves for everything she has gone through. It had been hard on all of us and we thought this was finally going to get better. It did get better for a short time, she seemed happier and was walking alot better on 3 legs. We have always kept her monitored and limited her activity, however, after a short period she began to develop a joint popping sound in her rear leg, she had also started collapsing on her back leg. We were told she had a meniscus tear and was making it uncomfortable to walk but that the adequen injections she was receiving would help repair the meniscus. It definitely took care of the popping sound, but she continues to walk like this even after being told she no longer has the tear. We decided to consult a rehabilitation center. 

Going to our rehabilitation consultation was amazing. We received an overwhelming amount of information and guidance on what we should be doing for Zola. We have been sticking to the at home exercises we received which were very minimal to standing, prom, massages, and icepacks as her mobility and strength are not very good. She has high inflammation and pain, so she has started gabapentin and has been on it for a month now. Unfortunately, as hopeful as i try to be i am beginning to worry alot because i do not see her making progress.

She has been kept at home with limited activity for a year now due to everything she has gone through and continues to stay closely monitored to not overdo herself. I keep asking myself if she would have better mobility if we sought out surgery to repair her acl in her remaining rear leg and helped her recover. 

We are a young couple and have another 1 year old Staffy, our lives have changed dramatically for Zola and we are trying to do the most and the best we could for our girl. We want to be able to see her walk without struggle and not have to limit her every day. Any support, words of advice, or simply a hello would definitely be appreciated. 

Thank you,

Janelle

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 January 2019 - 12:36 pm
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Hi Janelle. I see you’re online? I am in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Back here in a sec.

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



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2 January 2019 - 12:45 pm
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Wow, I just finished reading your story. Zola, you and your other dog have been through so much, I’m so sorry for all of the complications.

Please know from the start that you have, and are, doing your best. You got pet insurance! You sought out a specialist when things got tricky! You even took her to rehab. You are doing everything right so please don’t blame yourself for all that’s happened. Don’t look back either; you cannot change the past, nor can you predict the future, so there’s no point in wasting that energy right? Zola isn’t doing that, so follow her lead and learn to Be More Dog . Focus on the future and helping her be the best dog she can be on three legs. She sounds like a love, and so patient to be putting up with so much veterinary care. What a girl!

My main question for you is, are you still in touch with the rehab therapist? Have you addressed your concerns with them? It sounds like it may be time to update her home exercises, and revisit the medications she needs. She may need more right now, and that’s OK. But do consult with her rehab team, as it can only help her get on track to where she needs to be. 

For a Tripawd who has seen such challenges, rehab therapy can be an ongoing process. Sometimes you need intervention with an expert and that is OK. 

How are her spirits otherwise? Does she seem happy? What about her interactions with your other dog? Do tell!

P.S. Please try to compose your messages in this editor, instead of pasting them from another document. The formatting gets all funky, I had to reformat your post and hope I didn’t mess anything up. Thanks!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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2 January 2019 - 1:45 pm
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jerry said
Wow, I just finished reading your story. Zola, you and your other dog have been through so much, I’m so sorry for all of the complications.

Please know from the start that you have, and are, doing your best. You got pet insurance! You sought out a specialist when things got tricky! You even took her to rehab. You are doing everything right so please don’t blame yourself for all that’s happened. Don’t look back either; you cannot change the past, nor can you predict the future, so there’s no point in wasting that energy right? Zola isn’t doing that, so follow her lead and learn to Be More Dog . Focus on the future and helping her be the best dog she can be on three legs. She sounds like a love, and so patient to be putting up with so much veterinary care. What a girl!

My main question for you is, are you still in touch with the rehab therapist? Have you addressed your concerns with them? It sounds like it may be time to update her home exercises, and revisit the medications she needs. She may need more right now, and that’s OK. But do consult with her rehab team, as it can only help her get on track to where she needs to be. 

For a Tripawd who has seen such challenges, rehab therapy can be an ongoing process. Sometimes you need intervention with an expert and that is OK. 

How are her spirits otherwise? Does she seem happy? What about her interactions with your other dog? Do tell!

P.S. Please try to compose your messages in this editor, instead of pasting them from another document. The formatting gets all funky, I had to reformat your post and hope I didn’t mess anything up. Thanks!

  

I happen to be doing some reasearch on dog rehabiliation and that is how i found Tripawds.com. It was seriously the answer to what i had been looking for. I had seen they offer reimbursement for consultation visits and since money was always a factor in not having gone, we were able to make it. We agreed we would continue on her treatment plan for a package of 10 classes. However, due to the drive we have to opt to find something closer to us. 

Thank you for attaching the “Be More Dog ” keynote, we will be listening to it later. (: Zola has been through so much and she still remains to be the happiest dog. I try to remind myself to take it easy as it has gotten better as long as we stick to our routine. 

We had our consultation appointment right before Christmas, and due to the holidays have not been able to return to another session. They made sure to leave us with enough information to help her for 2-3 weeks. They had also suggested purchasing a ‘Help Me Up’ harness to help her walk a bit better and have been using that. We will be speaking to them this week to set up an appointment while we find another location closer to us. 

I think we are lucky to have our other dog Sega who entertains her every night. Zola has learned to stay low to the ground when she plays so its alot of rolling around on her back and toy playing, makeout sessions here and there. We have noticed that she uses her nub as a leg to crawl around on the ground when shes playing. She always wants to be out which makes it a little difficult because she will cry when she cant be outside with Sega. I am trying to work on remember to tell myself that Sega isnt also a dog with disabilities so i try to let her out on the yard as often as i could and have tried taking her out more without feeling bad about leaving Zola behind. WE are thinking of purchasing a wheelchair to get her out more but think we will have to consult her rehab center first.

Thank you so much for your support and kind words (:

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 January 2019 - 10:35 am
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Aww you are such a great parent to Zola and Sega! Sure sounds like you are doing everything right for her! 

You are so smart to wait to talk to the rehab center about a wheel chair . We don’t recommend using one until a professional can evaluate the dog, so good job there.

Meanwhle have you thought about a doggie stroller ? They are not inexpensive (but you may be able to find one used somewhere) and are sooo pawesome for taking a Tripawd on longer walks while still being able to walk your four-legger. We just took our Wyatt Ray on his first stroller run by borrowing a friend’s, and he LOVED it!

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

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