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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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Member Since:
9 June 2013
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4 October 2021 - 8:03 am
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I feel like I'm going to have to make a very tough decision soon, but maybe you all have some tips for me. 

My 6ish year old rescue lab is missing her right rear leg. Her remaining left rear foot was damaged due to injury that was did not heal correctly at all ( she's a rescue and her story is unknown). Well her out toe nail has started to grow sideways, and it had been manageable. Until recently her toe pad has become separated from the nail, it looks like there's an underlying problem. She's in pain walking on it, my vet can only refer me to a specialist, to possibly do surgery.

I have a wheelchair however she is terrified of it, so if surgery is needed then she has no mobility outlet except me carrying her. She won't walk with a sling underneath her either. Stubborn and scared of everything. 

In a conundrum with right decisions and options. Any advice. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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4 October 2021 - 8:56 am
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First of all, thank you for rescuing  this sweet tripawd.   What's  her name?

I know this has to be frustrating for you and for her. When you have a strong-willed dog who refuses to let you help them with a sling, that even makes it more of a challenge.

I do think getting a consult with a surgeon, or at least a second opinion from another veterinarian, would help you with a path forward for a solution for your sweet girl. It may be that there are other options to help correct the situation or, at the very least, a surgery that would be minimal and with a quick recovery. Until you can get another appointment, ask your vet to provide you with some pain meds for her. Maybe even an anti-inflammatory would help at this point. Just throwing that out there.

We know how scary it is when a tripod hurts the remaining leg on the tripod side. But we also know that there are things that are doable and, even if it means some confinement in the short-term, or a special medicated wrap,  etc. There are solutions out there. Just have to get proper guidance  from a specialist  who has dealt with these situations.  It could be a different  underlying cause other than that original  injury. 

We will all be hoping you get some more insight if you can get that second opinion.

Others will chime in in offer their support and advice to. Please keep us posted and know that we are here to help you in any way.


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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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4 October 2021 - 9:56 am
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Hi and welcome back! So I was looking back at your previous posts, you've been a member for such a long time! I'm guessing that you are talking about Ruby now? Sorry if I'm confused. Your old photos are gone from the interwebs so I'm not sure.

Have you taken her to a rehab therapist? This sounds like it's related to her gait, and could possibly be alleviated through strengthening her core and back muscles. Our rear legger Wyatt Ray had his remaining back foot turn wonky at times (with oddly-worn nails too) and it was usually when he was tired or weak. So we preach the gospel of rehab quite a bit here, but it's often a good step to take before a major surgery is involved. Therapists have a different way of seeing problems than non-therapists, and often present ways of tackling a problem that might end up costing just the same as a surgery in the long run, but have better long-term results because the dog is stronger and the human knows how to prevent the issue from happening again.

Also, perhaps with the help of a therapist her fear of the wheels could disappear. Not sure if you worked with a therapist to introduce it to her, but that would also be a great reason to see one.

I hope this helps!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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