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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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Update on Riley
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Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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1 March 2009 - 8:10 pm
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Riley became tripawd on Dec. 29th. He is a 10 month old Golden Retriever and he had severe hip dysplasia, hip surgery, nerve damage, and amputation.  He got along OK and did love to swim, but mainly laid around all the time.  My daughter's Golden came and stayed for 3 weeks and WOW  what a change.  He was up and running and happy with life again.  My other daughter has a 4 month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever and he and Riley wrestle and tumble.  When the other Golden left, we knew we had to get a friend for Riley so we adopted Charlie – 1 1/2 – from the Golden Retriever Rescue yesterday.  He and Riley are best buds already and playing and tumbling.  They went swimming together today.  It's something Charlie has never done and it was great to see Riley be the best at some dog thing.  Of course when they got out, Charlie ran three blazing laps around the yard.  Riley sat and watched.  These things break my heart.

Will Riley be able to get up the stairs?  It just kills me that he can't sleep up there anymore.  The thought of him falling worries me to death.  I have the harness, but haven't used it since he gets around great on the first floor.  He can get out of the pool on the steps.  He doesn't seem to have too much stamina though.  I think his left back leg still seems so wobbly.  Maybe because of his age and the fact that he's still growing.  What about supplements?  Are any OK for the long term since he is still so young?

Forum Posts: 729
Member Since:
28 May 2008
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1 March 2009 - 8:32 pm
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Hi Riley's mom…thank you for the update – I think it's wonderful that you got Riley a brother! I did the same for Zeus years ago (for other reasons) and we rescued Buddy who was 1 1/2 at the time. Buddy has been the comedian and the one that always got Zeus to play. I believe that Zeus is so young at heart because of Buddy.

Your beautiful pup has been through sooo much at such a young age. I can only imagine how your heart breaks. I give Zeus 6,000 mg of fish oil a day and it is supposed to help with the cancer, his arthritis and his coat. I started giving it to Buddy too who also has severe hip dysplasia. I have no idea about supplements in such a young dog…I'm sure Pam can chime in or talk to your Vet.

As for the stairs, Zeus handles them just fine and he is going to be 11 years old next week! He is a bit hesitant going down and I am lucky that I now live in a home where the master bedroom is on the main level and he doesn't have to do any stairs except a couple to get outside…but I don't see why Riley couldn't manage the stairs. Have you let him try them? But then again, Zeus didn't have all the other issues that Riley has faced. Gosh, I wish I could tell you something that would help. Have you used the harness to help him navigate the stairs?

It's so hard when we see that they can't do things they used to…that is when we have to focus on the fact that they are here with us…pain free and happy and as long as their quality of life is good, that is all that matters. Try not to compare Riley to Charlie, though having 2 of my own, I know the feeling…but each one is different and special and brings something wonderful to the family. Riley brings compassion and courage right now and Charlie will help you all laugh a little during a stressful and difficult time. I know Buddy does that for me…if he were human, he would be the class clown. Zeus is my hero. Both very different…both of them have my heart wrapped around their paws.

If it were me, I would probably just call my Vet and run this by him/her for peace of mind. I think the fish oil will help him if it's OK for him to take it.

Keep us posted, we're thinking of you guys.

Much love,

Heather and Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12341
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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2 March 2009 - 12:33 pm
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We always left Jerry's harness on, for those times he needed it, like going downstairs. A baby gate can help, if you're concerned about him hitting the stairs without you around. But Jerry eventually learned how to manage the stairs without help. As much as we would always try to be there for him, he would often use the wall as support and slide/hop down.

Jerry's blog post about his canine cancer diet details the supplements he took after his amputation. Glad to hear Riley is already swimming again!Big Grin

Forum Posts: 14
Member Since:
22 February 2009
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2 March 2009 - 7:44 pm
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Willy's amputation surgery was only a month ago, but we still help him down the stairs. We keep a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs when he is downstairs and at the top when he is upstairs, so that he never uses the stairs except with supervision. There is really nothing we need to do to help him go up, but he always has either his “Jerry harness” on or the split canvas bag sling when he comes down. So far, we've never needed to help him coming down, but it sometimes feels like a controlled fall! I just walk next to him with my hands on the handles, ready to support him if needed. Have you tried the split canvas bag sling? It is slightly less trouble to put on and off than the harness. (The harness is great for getting in and out of the car!)

I'm so glad that you got Riley a brother. We are going to get Willy a sister this summer. (How is that for positive thinking!)

Willy--diagnosed with osteosarcoma January 5, 2009 (amputation January 27, 2009) left us just after his 11th birthday on December 2, 2009 to join all the other brave tripawds. We'll always love you!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28326
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25 April 2007
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2 March 2009 - 9:10 pm
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“Jerry harness”….awww, thanks!

We found that leaving the harness on all day and just taking it off at night is the way to go. Just when you think you won’t need it, you probably will!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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2 March 2009 - 9:21 pm
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Thank you all so much.  We will work on the harness this weekend.  We have a gate at the bottom, but will now put one at the top so he can be with us.

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