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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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Tripawd athletics?
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Forum Posts: 42
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20 January 2009
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28 January 2009 - 5:39 pm
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Thanks so much for the advice you all have given already. Its incredibly valuable. My next questions relate to what activities we can expect our dog to be able to continue with after losing her front leg. Right now, she runs a few miles with my husband at least a couple times a week, she plays with other dogs in the park or chases frisbees every day. She goes up and down our stairs by herself. She is 12 yrs old. She goes on short hikes (1-3 miles, relatively easy terrain as hubby and I  both carry a child in a backpack these days…) Polly is a very active and athletic dogs. she loves these things and we dont want to take them away from herCry. Which of these activities can we help her continue with and which are unlikely?? What can we do (equipment, tips) to help her recover as much as possible? We meet with her surgeon saturday. This could happen as early as monday..

Here and Now


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28 January 2009 - 8:02 pm
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Polly will remain very active, but only she can let you know what she will still excel at. In fact, she may compensate for her “weakness” by running and playing even harder. We just heard of a three-legged fox hound who still runs on all day hikes.

But she will tire easier. Just take lots of breaks and watch her carefully. Always have lots of water on walks, and stop to rest with her when necessary. Give her ample time to recuperate and build up strength in her remaining legs. The last thing you want to do is overdo it too soon.

One thing is certain … you will need to keep up with Polly now because it really is easier for them to hop along on three legs.

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28 January 2009 - 8:17 pm
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thanks for the encouragement. I need it today. in looking at harnesses and figuring out the logistics its starting to hit home that this is really probably going tohappen. and probably sooner than we expected. its just such a tough decision and not a pleasant one. i have highhopes that she will do well, but if we go through with it its goingto be awfully hard to kiss her goodbye that mornign for surgery, not able to explain to her…

Here and Now


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28 January 2009 - 8:29 pm
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We know what difficult decisions you face, but the sooner the better really.

That’s why we maintain this site, to help during this difficult time. There was nothing like it out there when we went through with Jerry’s amputation.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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28 January 2009 - 9:03 pm
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admin said:

One thing is certain … you will need to keep up with Polly now because it really is easier for them to hop along on three legs.


This is so true.  When Trouble gets moving you better be ready to move too!  She scoots around much faster now than before the surgery.  My hubby has COPD, and has a tough time trying to walk her.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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29 January 2009 - 10:40 pm
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Really! Ember has one speed now – dead ahead! Then she has to stop and rest. I think it easier for her to run (rear leg amp). We have taken some short hikes and she did fine with extra rest breaks. I don't think long hikes are in the picture, but she has always been active and so we are increasing her activity gradually and will see what the future will bring!

Jane and Ember

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30 January 2009 - 11:48 am
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What do you consider a “short hike”? We hike w/2 little humans these days, so we are limited to 1-3miles on relatively easy terrain. Im hoping with one of the harnesses advertised here (the webmaster?) she will still be able to hike with us. (we saw our holistic vet last night and we are hoping with some meds we can put off her amputation for about a month – but we see the surgeon tomorrow and his input is of course very important.) Her cancer is not expected to met to other organs (30% chance it could – we are praying for quality fo life and that it WONT met so we can give her another 4 leggedmonth…)

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