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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Tripawd with degenerative joint disease
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Forum Posts: 13
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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17 April 2020 - 8:14 am
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Buffy has been a tripawd since she was 18 months old.  She is now 9 1/2 years old and has been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease.  Looking to see if anyone has experienced this and how has it changed your dog's life.  What can we expect going forward from here?


Forum Posts: 21285
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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17 April 2020 - 9:29 am
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Bummer.  Unfortunately  degenerate  joint disease (osteoarthritis) can become quite prevalent in long time Tripawds.  .  Of course, it's common in four leggers too, especially  as they age.

The good news is there are a lot of different modalities to work with that will enhance quality!

●Joint supplements:  Check into Dasaquin; Green Lipped Mussels;  Omega 3 fish oils

●Adequan injections 

● Cold Laser Therapy


●Anti-inflammatories NSAIDS like Rimadyl. 

pain management daily with Gabapentin 

●Weight control

●Some here use CBD and feeling has helped. 

●Some low impact water therapy may help.  Consult  with a Cert Rehabilitation  Specialist  on other options.

●Some peop ise strollers or wagons on their walks so, of their dog gets too tired, theynhopmin the stroller and are chauffeured around.  Every one says the dogs love it.

My  tripawd Frankie has been on three legs "approximately" six years (rescue).  He's had surgeries  on his remaining two back legs and has  arthritis.  

I give him the Dasaquin daily.  I give him Rimadyl and Gabapentin  but not on a daily basis..more when he's "over done" things. I wanted to give Adequan injections a try, but for a variety of reasons  was able to continue.  Nothing to do with the injection itself.

WYATT RAY will chime in and tell you his regimen.  He's eleven and is a loooong time tripawd!  They have a good system  that works for him

Keep us updated and let us know how  Buffy is doing.  You definitely have some options to keep Buffy comfy and  thoroughly enjoying   being Buffy!!


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.  Woild love to hear more about Buffy and with pictures too!  Btw, how much does Buffy weigh?  Front leg or rear leg tripawd 

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 30832
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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17 April 2020 - 11:27 am
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Hi Buffy and family, it's good to hear from you. How's life otherwise? I'm so glad your vet made that diagnosis so that you can address any DJD issues sooner rather than later. Great job asking great questions! Now I have one for you: what did your vet recommend to deal with the diagnosis?

As Sally mentioned, our Wyatt Ray has been dealing with DJD since about age 9 as well. You can read more about the early days of our experience here:

Real Life with an Older Tripawd (Part One)

Manage Tripawd Arthritis with Supplements, Exercise and Pain Management

Arthritis and the Senior Tripawd Dog: Wyatt’s Story (so far)

I know that's a lot of info for you. Basically what it comes down to for us is:

  • We check in with his rehab therapist and orthopedic vet at least twice a year.
  • Being mindful of his activity level and not letting him participate in high impact activities. We minimize his jumping as much as possible by assisting him with his Flagline harness when he needs to go up and down stairs, in and out of cars, etc.
  • He has a daily regimen of pain management medications (NSAID, Gabapentin and rotation between Amantadine and Methocarbomol, a muscle relaxer)
  • We do daily home rehab exercises.
  • And we make sure he is slim slim slim by watching his diets and making baked treats a rare occasion. He is happy with fruit and veggies instead, and we are so thankful for that! That is the #1 thing to be aware of: any extra weight will cause more hardship on those joints.

Tell us more about your situation so we can better help you OK? You may also want to check out this part of our interview with Dr. Theresa Wendland, Wyatt's ortho vet:

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 13
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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18 April 2020 - 7:46 am
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Thank you so much for responding so quickly and for all the useful information.  To answer your questions Buffy has always gone to a holistic vet and she was already getting routine cold laser treatments and acupuncture.  She is on Gabopentin, CBD chews and a whole host of Chinese herbs and supplements.  We did try water therapy.  We started out trying the underwater treadmill about 2 years ago.  It terrified her so much she tried jumping out of the tank and as a result she ended up with a bulging disc which required surgery.  That set her back for about 18 months.  She couldn't do any of her pet therapy duties.  This past winter we took her for water therapy.  The idea was she would be with a therapist in a heated pool which is exactly what she needed.  SHE HATES WATER !  She began having panic attacks in the water and for her own health and safety we had to discontinue that therapy.  Last year we bought her a wagon with the idea that when she got tired on her walks, she could finish by riding in the wagon.  Again, she's terrified of the wagon.  I do so appreciate all of your ideas.  Thanks for sharing.  I would love to attach a picture as you requested, but I don't know how.  Just as an FYI - she had a book published last year telling of all her pet therapy duties and the difference she makes.  Her book "Making a Difference With 3 Paws and a Heart" is actually listed on the Tripawds Foundation web.  Thanks again and best of luck and love to you.

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 30832
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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19 April 2020 - 11:22 am
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Hey everypawdy here is a direct link to Buffy's sweet book:

New Three Legged Dog Book Is Making a Difference

Poor Buffy has had it ruff with the bulging disc and all. I'm glad she's better. OK no more water therapy, but have you checked in with the therapist since she got the DJD diagnosis? And what did your vet recommend as far as a treatment plan? 

Judy here is a post about adding images to the Forums. If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know. It’s pretty easy: 

  1. Upload pics to a photo sharing site like or your own Tripawds blog
  2. Right click and copy the Image URL
  3. Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself if possible) in your post. It should automatically appear.

Let me know if you'd like help!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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