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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This is my first post. My GSD/Malamute mix lost his rear leg to cancer three weeks ago. He starts chemo Wednesday. We are having trouble with him relearning stairs. He can go down them fine. Up is another story. He won’t go up even two stairs without help. He has occasionally done them on his own, so he’s capable. He also 12 years old. We believe it’s more confidence over physical ability. We’ll be checking with the Onco about it as well. Any tips would be great. I just bought the Ruffwear Web Master , but it won’t be in for a week.
Hello and welcome. I’m sorry to hear about your pup’s cancer diagnosis, but we’re so glad you found us so we can help make your dog’s life on three easier (and yours!).
When it comes to stairs, a rear-legged Tripawd dog will always have more difficulty going up stairs than down. That is because a dog has all of their propulsion power in the rear legs. When they lose one, they lose 50% of the ability to propel themselves forward or up, as in your case. Our Tripawd Wyatt Ray took a long time to re-learn stairs, and he was only 8 months old at the time he lost his leg.
Three weeks is not a long time at all, so be patient. Maybe your dog was able to do the stairs a few times because he was feeling good on that particular day, while other times he was not and was painful.
I’m so glad you purchased a Ruffwear Webmaster , that will help you help him so much! Meanwhile are the stairs necessary for him to use every day? Just wondering. If so, you can try helping him by creating a DIY dog sling with a reusable grocery bag.
And use lots of tasty treats to reassure him that the stairs are his friend. You want to make it a positive experience or he will associate stairs with pain.
What’s his name? I’ll bet he’s a good lookin’ pup!
By the way, don’t forget that if you take your dog to a credentialed canine rehabilitation therapist, the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit . We highly recommend going to see one, as they are so helpful to all Tripawds but especially older ones. And it’s a learning experience for humans too.
Thank you very much for the help. His name is Riot, and he’s still a beauty, even at 12 and missing a leg. I’ll post a picture later when I get home. He does have to do stairs every day. At least two for potty breaks, but the main living and sleeping area are up a flight of stairs, and he’s a velcro dog. Unfortunately, he’s never been a treat or toy motivated dog. We have a sling we used in the first days of getting him moving, so once he’s stronger we’ll use it more. For now, a bit of support with a towel sling gets him up the two stairs. I’m hoping the Webmaster helps him and us. His first chemo appointment is tomorrow, so I’m going to be talking with his DR about rehab. He HATES the car, so we have to limit his trips.
I’m glad to hear that 3 weeks in, that this is normal.
Riot is such a great name! I can’t wait for a photo. Let me know if you need help adding images OK?
I hope today goes well. Talk to your vet about his rehab, maybe you can get a mobile therapist to come visit so Riot won’t have to go to a clinic.
Yes the Webmaster should help tremendously. Our Wyatt (who we nickname ‘Riot’ when he gets loud!) wears his every day, I don’t know how we would get him in and out of our home without it.
P.S. If treats don’t do it for Riot, what about using his favorite toys as a lure up the steps?
Riot isn’t easily motivated. He’s never much cared for treats or toys. A lot of the problem is confidence. He was getting nervous around stairs before the amputation. What triggered all this was he slipped down stairs, and fractured his leg. That’s when we found the cancer. It had eaten the bone. He lost the leg the next day. So now he has a bit of a phobia. We’re hoping as the other leg gets stronger, he’ll be more willing to try. We’re very much hoping the Webmaster will be a good tool for all of us.
22 February 2013
My Happy Hannah, a rear legger, never really did ,after going UP. Amd like your Riot, the first time or two she tried it (I have very steep and narrow stairs inside to bedroom), she got “stuck” and got scared. At the time I didn’t have a harness and tried to use a towel sling to help her get unstucked and that freaked her out more.
If you can go anywhereoutside of your home that has a few stairs, you can maybe start over with a harness at a place she is excited to be. Maube a friend, family, etc. And wide deck stairs are less scary than regular inhouse stairs.
Here’s my Happy Hannah 💖 going up the wide deck stairs at the eight month mark on her own. I was cooking chicken and veggies for her inside. She smelled the aroma and made it up almost all the way before I heard her barking and yell7nfor me to come help her!!! Putting th pan pf chicken on the deck was sll rhe “help” she needed!! I was crying happy tears.
Maybe this will motivate Riot😎
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!
Thank you all for the replies. We had his consult with the Onco today. He’s having his first infusion now. He was a good candidate, more like 8 or 10 than 12 years old. His tumor was on his hock, so a “good” location, that hopefully kept spread down. I couldn’t get a picture up. I’ll start a blog to get a few on there. His Webmaster should be here tomorrow.
25 April 2007
I couldn’t get a picture up. I’ll start a blog to get a few on there…
Review the default first post for help setting up the blog, or post in the Tech Support forum if you need assistance.
I figured I’d give an update on Riot. He went through the chemo fine. He was exhausted after. He’s still very tired. It’s been over 48 since chemo, and almost 72 hours since a meal. He’s still drinking some. His main problem now is his refusal to eat. Believe me, we’ve tried it all. As of now, no food suggestions are needed. I’m waiting for a call back from his oncologist.
Awww poor guy. Please keep us posted n what the onco says (and if they haven’t prescribed him an appetite stimulant like Entyce I would definitely make sure they do). We’re sending lots of love.
Here’s my Happy Hannah 💖 going up the wide deck stairs at the eight month mark on her own.
Sally that is the BEST stair training tip! I loved seeing Hannah again, what a great way to start my Friday!
1 October 2017
Omd loved seeing Hannah! And Sally had the patience of a saint which is what you’re going to need now, patience.
Please breathe and little by little it will all fall into place. You’re trying to fix everything all at once and I know it’s stressful. Don’t forget, Riot can also sense that stress and fear.
Mitchell, my old dog, is like Riot and not very food motivated. I have to keep a bottle of mirtazapine handy for his hunger strikes.
Keep him drinkingand fingers crossed they can give your something to help ❤
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry