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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I recently adopted a Golden retriever who was born without his right front paw. He is currently 14 weeks old and doing great on three legs. The vet thinks he may be able to keep his leg but is concerned about protecting his stump. I have looked all over the web for some sort of protective boot but all of them are designed to fit over a paw, not a stump. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I might find something like that?
Hi and welcome! Congratulations on the new pup. What a little guy! What's his name?
You ask a great question. First though, is the vet wanting to keep the dog's leg so that he can get a prosthetic later on? If so, you'll want to make sure that your vet is experienced in amputating with that goal in mind.
One of the big issues we see with longer residual stumps on dogs, especially young ones, is wound healing. Prosthetics experts tell us that if the vet is not well versed in this area, and not used to leaving enough "cushion" at the end of the stump during the amputation, the site tends to get banged around a lot and doesn't heal well. Many people are forced to undergo a second amputation, if the dog is not eligible for a prosthetic, or that's not what they want to do.
To answer your question about a stump protector, no, we haven't come across anything that actually works for the long term. Various people have taken a DIY approach but even that isn't really the ideal solution.
Since your dog is so young, if you haven't already, please have him evaluated by a canine rehab therapist before you amputate. Younger dogs less than 6 months old who lose a leg, tend to have mobility challenges that older dogs do not. This is because they haven't developed the motor skills necessary to get around on 4, much less 3. A therapist can tell you when you might want to consider amputating, and what to expect at this age if you decide to do it now.
I hope this helps! Please keep us posted.
Thanks for such a quick response! His name is Hitch & he was born this way. The vet (& us) are hoping that we can protect his stump so that the entire leg doesn't need to be amputated later due to damage or infection to the end of his stump. Hope that makes sense. I am searching for any ideas for some protection that doesn't easily slide off his stump.
He gets around great, mostly because he doesn't know any different & we've put a carpal support on his good leg every morning. He's a great guy!
You are so welcome!
Hitch is such a cute name 🙂
So I'm not totally clear about the reason for not amputating, but if you and your vet have come up with a plan that works for you and the dog that's great.
I'm still going to advocate for a rehab therapist though 😉 This is so you can know the best ways to help him stay strong. Over time, being limb different adds to joint stress and puts a dog more prone to arthritis. So even though he's getting around great now, there are many things you can do to help him stay that way for as long as possible. OK off my soapbox, thanks for listening and joining. We look forward to following along with your adventures!