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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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Senior Tripawd Excercise
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Member Since:
3 February 2013
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3 February 2013 - 12:07 pm
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Hi all:

First, I want to start out by saying I joined Tripawds 4 years ago when my then 9 yr shepard/chow/husky mix was diagnosed with cancer in her right elbow.  At this time I don't remember the exact diagnosis, however, it was a cartilage cancer and wasn't aggressive, but, would have spread had she not had an amputation.

She had that amputation on 12/31/08.  I'm happy to say that the cancer has not returned and she is now 13.

With the help of many kind people on this forum, we got through the amputation and the recovery period and she's been active on three legs (right front amputee) for years now. 

Now that she's a senior dog, she's really slowed down and I did expect that.  My question here is exercise.  I would love the advice of other tripawd parents with dogs who are aging as mine.  My vet isn't much help.  She had a visit just last week and although her heart rate appeared a little fast at the time, her blood work was perfect and the vet feels she's healthy enough, however, she doesn't seem to want to anymore.  He was pretty vague on whether I need to exercise her or not. 

We live in the mountains of Colorado.  Nothing is flat here.  Our backyard is not fenced in but she has an area that she's free to wander around in and she's really good about not taking off, especially now. It's her yard and other neighborhood dogs visit (as well as foxes and coyotes in the evenings, we do go out with her at night).

We used to take her into the forest for exercise, however, for at least the last year those walks have gotten shorter and shorter.  I know she still loves the outdoors, however, when we take her out, she stops within a couple of hops and sniffs and sniffs.  I'll encourage her to take a couple more, and she will stop again within literally a couple of hops.

This morning I thought, ok, at least she gets to get out and sniff bushes, which I know dogs love, however, I'm also afraid that maybe she's stopping because she doesn't want to go any further.

Is there a time when you stop taking them for walks altogether?  She's basically an indoor dog, however, when the sun's out she lays on the back deck.  She also wanders around her yard when she's let out to go potty, several times a day. She's not fat, so according to the vet, we don't need to exercise her for that purpose.

I'm having a really tough time determining what's right for her.  I'm having trouble reading whether she doesn't want to go at all, or, would like to just "stop and smell the roses".

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

krun15
2
3 February 2013 - 12:41 pm
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Welcome back pudre, your future posts will not require moderation.

Congrats on 4 years post amp- that's wonderful!

There was just a forum discussion on What to Expect as a Tripawd Ages, you can read what others are doing with their senior tripawds.

My Tri-Pug made it to 11, but wasn't having senior issues.  My now oldest pug Tani, who is 12.5 years old, is having issues with arthritis in her legs and spine.  While she needs to move every day, she can not go far.  I let her set the pace to some extent, but I have to keep her from overdoing sometimes. If your girl (what's her name?) is moving around the yard several time a day, and moving fine in the house that might be enough for her.  I have a friend at the dog park who's dog is now 15.  I have watched the length of his walks shorten for the last 3 years.  His mom lets him set the pace, they rarely get more than about 40 feet from the truck anymore.  But he likes the ride in the truck, and to greet the people who pass by.

Do you think she is in pain at all? Some chiropractic or massage treatments might help her get around more, if it is available in your area.  Does she have arthritis? Is she on any meds? Tani has really benefited from chiropractic treatments.

Karen

 

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3 February 2013 - 12:55 pm
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Hi Karen:

My name is Karen also and my dog's name is Coda.

I don't know if she's in pain.  I wonder, however, her vet hasn't confirmed any of this.  I've had to assume that she must be because of her age.  She does take Rimadyl, however, I usually give it to her only when she's had some activity.  My vet's actually kinda scared me about the long term possible effects, so, I only give it to her when she seems to need it, say after a walk and I'm only guessing she's benefiting from it.  His assistant advised me last week though that it wouldn't hurt to give her half a dose twice a day for maintenance.  I'm thinking I may try that this week and then see has she does next weekend.

She had a complete blood panel last week and all results were normal (I don't know if they can/did test for Arthritis in the blood work but I will ask her doctor tomorrow). 

I will also take a look at the other forum you mentioned and check for canine chiropractors in my area.

Thanks so much for your response.  I'm so very grateful that she's still here and for the support of this forum. I have a feeling that at this point in her life, I'll be back here often for the support of others.

I'll also post a picture of Coda.  She's a beautiful girl, if I do say so myself. 

 

 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 February 2013 - 1:28 pm
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Karen & Coda, welcome back! It's always wonderful to hear from long-time members and to know that things have been going so well. Congrats on beating cancer too!

I'm glad your vet is cautious about the long-term use of NSAIDs. Keep in mind there are plenty of other things you can do for Coda that are more gentle. The post that Karen referenced a few weeks ago features ideas others are doing. We started that post because my people and I just don't have the hands-on experience with a Tripawd growing older, and we wanted to get others' perspectives on it. I hope you find it useful.

Our Amazon blog is also full of books about aging and dogs, I hope these posts help:

How to Be Good to Your Good Old Dog

The Last Walk

Where in Colorado are you? We are in Red Feather Lakes (near Fort Collins), during spring mostly, and we want to have a Tripawds pawty. It would be fun to meet up! We work on a ranch near Lake City during summer. Any chance you're near either location?

 

 

 

 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
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3 February 2013 - 2:50 pm
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Hi Jerry's Pack:

Thank you for the recommendations.  I've gone to the link Karen suggested and will be looking for a canine chiropractor or p.t. in my area. I'll also check out the books you've recommended.

I'm in Keystone.  I know where Fort Collins is, however, I'll have to look up Lake City. 

Let me know if you do plan a party.  That would be a lot of fun to meet up with other Tripawds.

 

On The Road


Member Since:
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3 February 2013 - 3:24 pm
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Let me know if you do plan a party.  That would be a lot of fun to meet up with other Tripawds.

Last year we had one at a great park in Golden, which is a lot closer to you, so maybe we'll do that too! Watch our Tripawds Parties discussion for details around April.

I'm glad the posts helped, please let us know if you have any questions about anything and keep us updated on how things are going. I realize it's not easy to go through the aging process but you definitely aren't alone in this community, everyone is here to lean on when you need it.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

krun15
7
3 February 2013 - 4:35 pm
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Hi again Karen,
Tani has been on rimadyl daily for about two years now without any problems. We do periodic blood wook of course to keep an eye on things. We have ramped up slowly battling Tani's arthritis, she was diagnosed at 6 years old. We started with supplements and diet changes, and getting her weight down. When we advanced to rimadyl regularly we saw a big improvement in her mobility. We started with a low dose, and increased as needed. We are now maxed out and have had to bring out bigger guns.
I really wasn't sure that chiropractic would do any good for arthritis, but I am a huge believer now. Tani has never been a dog that likes to be touched much, so we had to work at it. But she really is perky after each treatment. Many here have used acupuncture with success too. We haven't tried that yet with Tani, we are not sure she will sit still for it.
Looking forward to your pictures!

Karen

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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4 February 2013 - 6:47 am
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Hello,

My tripawd Maggie is also an elder...at 13.  Walks are shorter, she sleeps and lays around more...but most of this has been going on(except for more sleeping) since she started being a tripawd in 2009.  I was kicked in the butt by Dr. Waldman right here on Tripawds.com on a live chat we had once on rehab therapy for our tripawds.  I knew about and had done some core work with both my dogs as they come from doing agility for years.  But after Maggie became a tripawd I knew I HAD to be persistent and regular about doing PT work with her as she lays around so much...I want to do as much as I can for her...because as they age they loose muscle...and can loose it soooo fast by just laying around. 

Here's some blog posts about what I do with Maggie. 

http://gear.tri.....s-workout/

 

I also would suggest a supplement such as Young At Heart for our elders...

http://www.k9po.....ctors.html

 

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

Member Since:
14 June 2010
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9 February 2013 - 8:27 pm
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Hi Tracy - Ajax is 10.5 now and I am first starting to notice some "senior issues". Not much - just maybe he doesn't need his 3 hourlong walks per day that he has always had. ( I am probably going to be scolded for that, but keep in mind that he is a city apartment dog and pretty much doesn't move at all when inside while we are at work.). I'm curious to read what you are doing now with Maggie' as I have followed all your posts. We have a new Tripawd frien, Wayne, who is also a Lab with a right rear leg amputation. Wayne is only 5, but Ajax is still holding his own in the epic Tripawd tug of war!

I'd also be interested in what you do with Maggie if and when she overdoes it (besides any ,Ed's and, of course, rest)

Kathleen

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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10 February 2013 - 1:54 pm
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Hi Tracy - Ajax is 10.5 now and I am first starting to notice some "senior issues". Not much - just maybe he doesn't need his 3 hourlong walks per day that he has always had. ( I am probably going to be scolded for that, but keep in mind that he is a city apartment dog and pretty much doesn't move at all when inside while we are at work.). I'm curious to read what you are doing now with Maggie' as I have followed all your posts. We have a new Tripawd frien, Wayne, who is also a Lab with a right rear leg amputation. Wayne is only 5, but Ajax is still holding his own in the epic Tripawd tug of war!

I'd also be interested in what you do with Maggie if and when she overdoes it (besides any ,Ed's and, of course, rest)

Kathleen

==============================

 

Hi Kathleen!

Maggie doesn't move much either unless I am home and even then what exercise she gets is induced by me :)   Yep, she's a major couch potato...which is why her PT work is even more so important!  She's always been laid back dog but even more so since amputation.  She still gets her PT workouts on the balance disc and domes such as what is on her blog.  3 times per week but as we've been housed up so long due to ice outside, she's been getting PT work probably 5 times per week.  The things with PT work is think of it as being "proactive"...especially with a young tripawd such as your friend's dog.  Keeping his core strong now will go a long ways to when he's Maggie and Ajax's age. 

I try not to let Maggie get overworked...again, she is laid back, so if she gets overworked, it's my fault not hers.  I've, for example, taken her on too long a walk or walked in too loose of snow for too long.  I have added in a "Back On Track" coat for her this winter and it REALLY seems to be helping her.  She wears it nightly.  Last night, I forgot to put it on her and you might look at the blog post I just put up earlier today as to what happened.  This is the second time I've seen issues with her in the mornings and have not had her coat on her at night.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  So go read my post and you'll see how I treated her aches and pains this a.m.  I also massage her when she needs it...especially her lower back/shoulders and remaining rear leg.  Those are her "hot spots". 

Tracy

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

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3 February 2013
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14 February 2013 - 1:01 pm
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Here's a picture of Coda as promised

 

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Madison, WI
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5 December 2009
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14 February 2013 - 5:30 pm
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My boy isn't senior yet, but I have heard brain exercise is nearly as good/important.  Maybe get one of those food dispensing toys and let her eat one of her meals that way.  (If you don't already do something like this, of course).

Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.

He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.

Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com

Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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14 February 2013 - 9:57 pm
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Coda is looking good!

My four legged girl is 11yrs plus and I have her on joint supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSN) for her arthritis.  She has had one acupuncture session so far and I noticed an increase in her energy levels for about a week afterwards.  She is going for more acupuncture next week because I feel it did make a difference.

 

Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/

On The Road


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24 September 2009
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14 February 2013 - 10:05 pm
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Coda is gorgeous! Wow! Love that fluff!

I agree with Gerry's Mom; brain exercise is very important especially as dogs get older. Dogs get cognitive dysfunction as they age, just like humans. Keeping them mentally challenged with games and activities can help keep them feeling young and bouncy. Our Amazon and Gear blogs have several games with ideas for ya.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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