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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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TPLO for front leg tripawd?
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Member Since:
21 December 2011
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10 August 2012 - 4:04 am
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Call me crazy, but the thought crossed my mind that maybe we should fix at least one of Bongo's back legs.  Bongo is an 8 year old Anatolian/Pyr livestock guardian dog.  When we got him at 3 years old he apparently had already blown out his knees but we did not know it as they had "healed."  All we noticed was a slight over extension on one hock.  Anyway fast forward 5 years - front leg amp due to osteosarcoma.  Other than dealing with pressure sores he is doing beautifully - but the back legs are causing huge issues with mobility.  So - I started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, we should not consider fixing one knee - the worst one and restoring some mobility.  

We have been through 4 tplo's with other dogs so we now the routine.  Keeping Bongo quiet will not be a problem - he does not move around much these days.  I think we could even put him back out in the pasture a week after surgery as he simply likes to lay around with the animals now - and only walks a little.  Might even consider fixing the other one if the first was successful.

Anyone else done this?  Thanks.


Sharon Kinsey

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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10 August 2012 - 8:03 am
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Hi Sharon.  Our dog (Angel Merlin) had two ACL surgeries (one traditional and one TPLO), but he had all four legs, so I am not much help in that regard.  However, Cometdog on this site was a front tripawd who had both back knees done.  I think she has been having problems logging onto the site lately, but you might be able to search her prior forum posts and her blog to see if there is some info there.


Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...

Member Since:
9 July 2012
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10 August 2012 - 8:14 am
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Well that's an interesting thought.  My Caesar presented in quite the opposite way.  My 110 lb actor-Rottweiler blew one knee at 18 months and the second at 3 years, which, even with TPLO's, put a pretty good crimp in his acting career.  As he aged, I occasionally wondered about what would happen if he god osteosarcoma, since cancer is probably the primary cause of Rottweiler deaths.  My vet told me that, because of Caesar's massive chest, and true of most large-breed dogs, he balanced the majority of his weight on the front legs and, if he ever did have cancer in a front leg, he would not be a candidate for amputation because his hind legs couldn't pick up the slack.  Sadly, at age 8-1/2 we did find osteosarcoma in a front leg and had no options for giving him any quality of life for the future.


If you did a TPLO, once Bongo started to become mobile, basically he would only have 2 legs to balance on, quite a challenge, especially at his size.  What does your vet think?  Have you considered getting him a cart?  This way he could have mobility without the pain and continue to care for his herd as every Pyr lives to do.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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10 August 2012 - 8:41 am
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I would start by  having him evaluated by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and canine rehabilitation specialist. These two professionals can give you a good idea if he is a candidate for this surgery. Yes, it's major stuff, especially for a Tripawd, but it's not unheard of. If you search for "TPLO" here in the forums, or "FHO" you will find quite a few Tripawds who have been through it. 

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