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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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surgery on another leg
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7 April 2014 - 9:05 pm
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So Biz is missing his right front.

He has hip dysplasia in his right rear, along with arthritis on the bone.

He's a pretty big guy, and from what i read, the best option will be to go for the total hip replacement, and if the vet isn't able to accomplish this for some reason, they'll do the other one (can't remember the name) where they cut the head off the femur, and let the ligaments form the ball for the socket.


I'm more worried about how I'm going to support him.  I have a Ruff Wear Harness already, but it doesn't provide total front AND rear support.  Is there another type of harness out there that will provide what i need?

I'm a single guy, and am able to lift him (75lbs)

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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7 April 2014 - 9:18 pm
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Hello and welcome, we're glad you came here. Please consider registering so your future posts won't require approval. I hope you don't mind but I moved your post here because this is where a lot of stories like yours have been shared, here are some that will give you hope:

Murphy's Miraculous Milestone

Tripawd Max Does Swimmingly Well, Even After Hip Replacements

When a Tripawd Needs Another Leg Surgery

ACL/CCL Surgery for Ajax ... tips from Tripawds who have had ACL surgery welcome

Daisy Update

As for harnesses, here's a post that will help: Best Harnesses for Three Legged Dogs

Stay tuned, I know our great community members will chime in shortly.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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8 April 2014 - 6:10 pm
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Hi Biz's dad.  Sorry to hear about your big guys hip problems.  My Daisy is a front left amp (with bad hips, too) who blew a knee almost a year ago.  She had lateral suture stabilization surgery on her right knee in June 2013.  My biggest fear at the time was not the surgery itself but how I was going to get her around.  I'm a single girl with an 80 lb. dog so I knew there was no way I could lift her up the two steps into the house every time she had to go in and out to potty.  I didn't think she would be able to use her back leg at all.  My vet kept Daisy hospitalized a few extra days since she is a tripawd.

I was almost in panic mode the morning I was to pick her up (ok I was actually in panic almost about it).  I was so relieved when the techs brought her out to me -- she was able to bear weight on that knee with the help of a sling.

The recovery was not easy and much more difficult than the amputation recovery.  She was on strict bed rest for 8 weeks.  Only got to move around to go potty and eat her meals.  It was about 12 weeks before I was able to quit using the sling.

Knee surgery is a little different obviously than a hip replacement so you should check out Murphy's story.  He was a rear amp that had a total hip replacement.  Jerry provided you a link above.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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8 April 2014 - 8:04 pm
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Marla thank you so much for your very valuable feedback, please update on how Daisy is doing, we think of her all the time!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
12 March 2013
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9 April 2014 - 9:35 am
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Hello from Murphy.

Murphy was hit by a car just before his third birthday and had his rear leg amputated almost a month later. We went through the surgery to a second leg shortly after Murphy's amp...just over two months later. Our vet told us that the most important thing was to keep him quiet so that he didn't take the risk of fracturing the femur while the bone was growing around the implant. For the first two months after the THR, Murphy literally lived in a little exercise pen in our living room. He could go outside on a leash and harness to use the bathroom and gradually worked up to short walks down the block, but nothing more for the first two months. He even ate in the pen. After the second month we took him to a rehab vet in Boise, twice a week for eight weeks. They worked on strengthening his core muscles, building up his rear leg and helping him regain his balance, etc. He loved going to therapy since it meant swimming! They had a tank with an underwater treadmill. He was a bit apprehensive the first time he felt the water coming in, but soon learned that after he did the walking, the water would get deeper and he could swim. He was cleared to go out without the leash at the four month mark following the THR.

This past few weeks we have had him back in rehab to strengthen his leg again. Turned out he was cheating and using his front legs way more than was good for him. Being a rear amp would of course make his situation somewhat different than Biz, but the need to keep the other legs strong is still there. We are now aware of the problems that were caused by his cheating and know what to look for. He also has a whole new set of exercises that we do at home, including pulling a sled!

There are videos on his different threads that might be of interest to you. He also has a YouTube channel called Murphy the Three Legged Dog where I've posted things as we have gone along. Only one of those videos is from right after his surgery, as I didn't figure out the YouTube thing right away. If you think of anything I might help you with, please don't hesitate to ask.

Kathi and Murphy

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

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