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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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Right hind leg lameness
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Forum Posts: 11
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18 July 2020
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20 August 2020 - 4:45 pm
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OK so I have been having lots of problems with Theo being super lazy and not doing much. He’s a right forelimb amp post op day 13. When I went to take my female lab to potty he wanted to come so me and my husband took him with her so I could watch him more closely. He was so excited to come out with her so we were trying to be positive about it.  Up until this point we haven’t been taking them out together.  I definitely noticed him not doing well on his right hind leg. He hasn’t done anything that he could tear anything (as far as I know) and he hasn’t really moved around much at all. He’s been quite quiet since Saturday. He is bearing weight but you can tell it looks stiff. Not sure what’s the best course of action – he’s already on carprofen. Should we ice it? Here I am thinking it’s the amp and now I realize it’s one of his remaining legs. Im feeling a little defeated right now! 

ETA: this is a short video of him “walking” very slowly – you can tell his right hind leg looks stiff. 

Teddy

New York, NY
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20 August 2020 - 7:55 pm
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Hi Jenn!  Griffin is a 10-year old goldendoodle who is also a right forelimb amputee, and I remember how anxious I felt about his mobility and progress.  Day 13 is still very, very early in the recovery process and Teddy shouldn’t be doing much activity at all.  Teddy is a big guy and it will take him some time to figure out how to move on 3 legs.  His back leg is likely stiff from using his muscles in new ways as he figures out balance and a new center of gravity as a tripawd.  In the video, I noticed Teddy walking on hardwood floors, but it seems that there is also carpeting in your house.  Hardwood floors are really slippery and hard for tripawds to navigate, so if he needs to walk on hardwoods, that could be difficult for him.  If you aren’t already doing massage and passive range of motion (PROM) exercises with him daily, I’d recommend starting there to keep his joints and muscles limber.  Have you considered bringing Teddy to a rehab therapist for an evaluation and exercise routine?  Griffin went to rehab and I posted about the exercises he was given for both strengthening and flexibility, but check with your vet before starting any of the exercises (PROM would be ok).

Here’s a link to strengthening exercises, including PROM:  https://griffin…..l-20-2020/

Here is a link to flexibility exercises:  https://tripawd…..e/#p231837

Good luck! ~ Stacy (Griffin’s Journey)

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 August 2020 - 11:16 pm
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I x2 what Stacy says about rehab. These folks can really pinpoint why he’s so stiff (yep, I see it in the video, thanks for sharing). But the biggest thing that calls out to me here is the slippery floors. I know they might not seem slippery to you, but that shine on them tells me that they are causing Theo to put out a lot of effort to walk on without slipping. Have you tried carpet runners to give him better traction

Stay strong, this is still early and while it seems like Theo is taking longer than other dogs, trust me, he’s not the only one who is on his own timeline. He’ll get there! Just keep asking good questions and work with a vet team to help him build up strength, endurance and confidence. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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21 August 2020 - 11:54 am
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Theodore  is such a handsome boy.  Love the tail wagging.

Only thing I can add is lots of ,massage  in the meantime.  His muscles are tight and sore as he adjusts to his new gait.  Massage sevrral times a day up and down his spine, around his neck area, etc.  You can even lay a warm towel from the dryer over Theo to help muscles relax.

It took me three weeks before I could finally say with confidence  I did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her.

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!

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21 August 2020 - 12:49 pm
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Hi everyone! So we have all carpet in our condo but this is the only bit of hardwood to get to the elevator to get outside.  I don’t think I’m able to add carpets there as it’s not really part of my condo lol. 

we do have an appt with PT but the first available is 9/8 for a consult. It’s the only one I could find in the state and I have a friend who used them after tplo surgery and really liked them. They also explained their cleaning practices and that there is never really two dogs together which was one of the criteria for him to go Bc if his chemo. Plus we have to also time it around the chemo. 

I have been massaging and icing as much as he lets me – it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. I work 12 hour shifts 4 days a week so I can really only control the time I am home. My husband works from home and I don’t know if he is as thorough as me with the upkeep. He does relax most of the day and barely gets up as it is. I have been massaging him all over but especially his legs and incision. I also ice his right leg. Should I be using heat instead? 

also for passive range of motion – I haven’t been doing any particular exercises but I have been trying to move his legs in and out (if that makes sense) but he’s usually not letting me fully extend either leg he pulls back. I just looked at Stacy’s blog for PROM with Griffin. I’m going to attempt some of those things this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 August 2020 - 1:26 pm
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OK got it on the flooring situation. Dr. Buzby’s Toe Grips will be super helpful, I would get those for him then you’re covering your basis for traction . They make a huge difference.

Glad you found the PT. 9/8 isn’t that far away really but I know if feels like forever. Let me know if you’d like me to help try to find another practitioner to check out, just in case there is one (I’ve got a good tracking record for finding therapists for people when they think there aren’t any). Message me your city and state and I’m happy to look.

Here is a post on heat and ice therapy that explains when to use which. Generally, at this point during recovery a rotation of each is helpful. 

When he pulls back while you try to extend either leg, that’s a possible pain signal. I would hold off on any movement until the PT sees him, but the heat and ice and gentle massage can benefit in the meantime.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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21 August 2020 - 9:03 pm
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Yeah, just wanted to ditto what Jerry said about holding off on the ROM. I have a tripawd who has had TPLO sutgery on both rear legs and a four legger withaTPLO on one of her legs.  In both cases, I was instructed NOTto do any of the Rehab (outlined on their discharge instructions) if there was ANY resistance whatsoever.   Just not supporting the leg properly in the exact right way can cause pain as well as the therapy itself.

Again keep massaging the neck and spine, even more on than the leg.

Having gone thru cruciate injuries/ligament injuries,  I would definitely  get BOTH rear legs checked out.  I actually thought his leg on the same side as his front leg maybe  showed some “instability “…maybe.  it’s  hard to tell because  it’s so early and the gait can be a bit off until the dog has adjusted to three legs.   It takes about two weeks to sort of recover  from the major sirgerynitself, and about one month to really get the tripawd gait nailed down.

Hang in there.  It’s still early in rec and your sweet pup just doesn’t  feel like running a marathon yet!  He’ll get there!  

Extra 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!

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