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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Tripod Pitty puppy tripod with strange gait- looking for information on how to improve quality of life..
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Member Since:
3 December 2011
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23 July 2012 - 3:07 pm
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Hi local tripawds!

I adopted a 6 month old tripod pitty puppy from a rescue group in December 2011. She (Lola) was pulled from Animal Rescue in the city with all four legs intact and eventually made her way to a Vet in October 2011 who took xrays and determined her humerus (shoulder) was shattered and beyond repair. She had her surgery in October and seemed to be healing extremely well. When I adopted her, her gait was off (dipping of body and head bob) so I took her to a clinic that incorporates water therapy, massage, chiropractoric care. The vets who evaluated her said they had never seen a dog walk like this. Fast forward 7 months and Lola is having more difficulty walking and running (she constantly dives onto grass,pavements, etc.) as her body is not able to keep up with her energy level. Her shoulders and legs run very hot to the touch and you can tell it is exhausting for her to just get up and move around (she is also in pain). Would love to get some names of orthopedists so we can come up with a game plan for her as she is so young and energetic.... Ideally it would be great if she could get fit for a prosthetic but from what I have researched- there isn't anything on the market that would adhere to her shoulder stump. Also looking into a cart so she could walk more than 10 minutes without falling or having to take a break.

Since this is a local group- I'd be interested in anyone who has a story similar to ours and referrals/recommendations to help her manage this long term condition.  


Thanks much for your time-

Judy and Ms. Lola 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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23 July 2012 - 9:44 pm
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Judy and Ms Lola, thanks for joining us here. I moved your post from Tripawds Parties to here, because that forum is really only about planning Tripawds get-togethers. Since this forum discusses things like mobility, you can find more directed help here.

My big question is, has Lola been evaluated by a certified canine rehab vet? Not a practitioner, which is a good step, but a DVM with a specialty in canine rehab? This is where I would begin. Many practitioners who utilize things like massage are highly qualified to do so, but unless they are working in collaboration with a vet who has studied canine rehab (they will have "CCRT" or "CCRP" after their name), you aren't getting a complete picture of what's going on. Please read these rehab interviews and blog posts to learn how to find a practitioner in your area, as well as what to expect should you choose to pursue a wheelchair (which we don't recommend without working directly with a rehab vet). These posts also discuss things like how to monitor her activity so she doesn't overdo things and risk injuring herself further. 

One of the hardest parts about having a young Tripawd pup, is that you're right, their bodies can't keep up with their energy level. That's why it's so important to make sure they don't overdo physical activity, and focus on things like brain games and balance activities which can mentally wear her out. A tired brain is even more fulfilling than a tired body for a dog, especially a Tripawd, and will go a long way toward preventing injury. This blog post, "Where Do I Begin with Doggie Physical Therapy?" discusses this topic.

I hope this helps. Let us know how things are going. And thanks for being there for your pup, she sounds like a lot of fun!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 July 2012
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23 July 2012 - 9:57 pm
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A prothsetic may be possible the company who are building Ellies cast to support her left rear leg whilst the right is recovering and before suregery on the left as well is, you may want to look into them. They are apparently very very good , at least they would be able to tell you what is possible.


I hope everything improves for your puppy!

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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23 July 2012 - 11:33 pm
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We had a few problem with Kayla with regards to strange walk. She would dip way down with each step in the front almost like she was trying to limp on her remaining front leg, her head used to just about touch the ground with every step and she couldn't walk very far at all before she would fall over. Does that sound similar to what Lola is doing. Kinda hard to explain.

Turned out she was growing too fast for her muscles to keep up with her body size (shes a Mastiff x) we started doing a few excercises to help her out and over time she improved and now that she has pretty much reached her full hight its isn't really a problem. 

Hope that makes sense


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