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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 (front leg) dog with arthritis (hips) and torn knee ligament
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Member Since:
29 December 2018
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30 December 2018 - 6:49 am
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Hi everyone,

first of all, I'm so happy to have found this forum. Don't see so many 3 legged dogs around my neighbourhood. That's in Holland, by the way.

So this is my dog Spike's long story short:

We had his front leg amputated about 10 years ago and had almost no trouble at all hopping around, until about 3 years ago when he started limping and was diagnosed with arthritis on his hips. He's an ex-Brazilian street dog, so normally he wants to go for really long walks. About an hour each, 3 times a day, and I always have to pull him back for not having the time.

So since April 2016, I've been treating him for arthritis with Flexadin Advanced and hydrotherapy and he's been doing mostly ok. He's had a couple of relapses during this period but nothing that extra painkillers wouldn't help. 

About a month ago though, he had a major set back and didn't want to use his left hind left at all. So I took him to the vet, they felt his knee quite swollen, took X-rays and they reckon he's torn his ligaments and suggested an operation, with screws and everything, to help him recover faster. This TTA surgery, to be more specific.

So I thought I'd look for alternatives, as again with just the painkillers, he's almost back to his full self again. Here's a video of him walking just a couple of days ago:

Not sure how to add a video, so here's a link to youtube.

I was wondering if I could get any tips from anyone here on his situation. Would a wheelchair work for him? With him having only 1 front leg and all. He's almost 12, so what are the risks with the TTA surgery? Would his bone recover?

Thanks in advance and enjoy your Sundays!


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 December 2018 - 11:47 am
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Hello Henrique, welcome to you and Spike. He sure is a go-getter, I loved watching him run.


You have taken great care of him, it's nice to see that he's done so well all these years. My first question to you is, have you gotten another opinion from an orthopedic specialist? That's what I would do next, to weigh the pros and cons of this surgery on a senior dog (Frankie, Sally's dog that you saw earlier, is much younger). 

Also, do you have physiotherapists in your area who can weigh in on the opinion? I would also talk to them about the feasibility of the surgery and more importantly, how recovery might go with a dog like Spike. And speaking of dogs, do you have any others? If so, that could make recovery extra challenging.

Meanwhile do check out this article for some insight:

What to Know About Remaining Limb Surgery on a Tripawd

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
29 December 2018
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3 January 2019 - 4:14 am
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Hi there Jerry,

Super thanks for your reply and the links. I've got a second opinion, and the vet says if it were his dog he'd keep him on painkillers only because Spike is so old and also because he has arthritis on his knees as well as the ruptured ligament, so he wonders if the surgery would help that much.

Not sure why people tell me to consider his age though. If it's because it makes recovery harder or what... 

I love Trey's wheelchair , by the way. I think I might just be able to get them in the Netherlands as well!

Happy new year, by the way!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 January 2019 - 10:26 am
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Hoppy New Year to you also!

How pawesome that you went out to get another opinion, you are such a great parent to Spike. It's a tough call when it comes to senior Tripawd dogs and surgery on a remaining limb. Age can sometimes factor into recovery and slow down an older dog's progress in healing, when other issues are involved like bad arthritis. You know Spike better than anyone else though, so if it helps maybe even a third opinion would be helpful? 

Yeah, a wheelchair for Spike may be totally appropriate. Do you have canine rehabilitation / physio therapists where you live? We don't recommend using a wheelchair with a Tripawd until the dog is evaluated by a therapist. But if they give the go-ahead for Spike, it can be tremendously helpful. Also, a doggie stroller is another way to keep him out and about in the world, he may enjoy it!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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