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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It’s been a while since we’ve been on here, so first a quick recap!
About 1.5 years ago, Jericho (formerly known as Trucker) and I were united. Since then, he has blossomed in ways that I never imagined: chasing ducks, running up the stairs, playing fetch, etc! He is truly a gift and I am so lucky to have him as a part of my life.
Now for the new stuff:
Recently, Jericho has been moving his ‘paralyzed’ leg. Before it would occasionally twitch, but now I am noticing frequent, substantial movement. He doesn’t respond much to pain stimuli, but he has never really responded in his other limbs (one of those sweet guys that lets a vet put in an IV without even flinching). The pulse in that leg has also developed a marked change; whereas before it was barely palpable, it is now strong. So now I am in a predicament…
My question is if I should try rehabilitation of that leg. We would begin by extending the leg (it’s now atrophied) to further improve blood flow, etc. and eventually try to regain muscle mass. My concern, however, is that if he did not learn to reuse the leg, he could potentially drag it and we would have to put him through a traumatic amputation.
Here's a picture for an idea of where he's at now.
He deserves the best life I could give him, so I’m trying to weigh out the benefit/risks.
Joanna & Jericho
27 January 2012
Joanna, I am new to the site and I don't know Jericho's history so I'm hesitant to comment. How long has his leg been paralyzed? Have you talked with your vet about the change in Jericho's leg? Does the vet feel there's a chance Jericho can regain use of the leg?
My wife was checking canine rehabilitation sites and saw some braces for dogs legs that keep the limb in position so the foot doesn't drag and get injured. I don't know if these are any good or would be of any help but it may be an option you can discuss with your vet.
I hope this change is a good thing for you and Jericho.
11 February 2011
I think Purdue has ongoing clinical trials in their Paralysis research center
and North Carolin has a stem cell therapy trial for paralysis
Ive found that even if dogs dont qualify, the clinical trial folks are pretty good about steering you in the right direction.
Spirit Samson was Spirit Tripawd Daisys four legged "brother" and ruled as the self proclaimed head of the Monkeybutt Federations East Coast Division. Lady Chunky Monkey stayed from Oct 2011 and left for the bridge in Apr 2012. Miss Perdy is left and has some big pawprints to fill.
Do you have what it takes to be a Monkeybutt? Find out more at the Monkeybutt Federation
Joanna & Jericho, welcome back! It's great to see him looking so happy!
How neat that his leg is showing some signs that it's improving! That's got to be exciting.
I would definitely consult with a certified rehab vet before attempting any kind of therapy on him. Have him evaluated to determine what your options are, before trying anything new. Here's a good place to start learning about rehab centers. This book, "My Dog has Fallen and Can't Get Up" is also a great read about bringing a dog back from paralysis with home and in-office rehab care, you can learn so much from it. The author keeps a Facebook page and YouTube channel and I know she would be happy to offer you her perspective as well.
Good luck. Please let us know what you decide to do.
Thanks for the responses everyone:
Jericho has not had use of his limb since he was approximately 6 months old, so about 4 years now. I suspect radial nerve paralysis, which is common in dogs who have sustained trauma to their front leg (I was told he was hit by a car.) We are lucky enough to live next to a Veterinary School which has a small animal rehabilitation facillity, and I am in the process of getting him seen by a specialist.
Has anyone heard of such a thing as regaining use after so long? What sparks my interest is his ability to move the leg. I am actually applying to said veterinary school this year, and when I was speaking to a well-respected orthopedic specialist she thought it was unlikely that he would have motor function if it were truely paralyzed.
I haven't personally heard of that, but as we've learned here, anything is possible. Let us know what the specialist at school says.
Sounds like you have an awesome team on your side. Congrats for getting ready to go to vet school! Keep us posted on that too.
7 November 2010
I am so interested in what is happening with Jericho and wish you the miracle that all of us wish for!
Beth and Spirit Smilin' Sammy
Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.
We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.