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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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Value of hydrotherapy for left front leg amputation of my 12 yr. old pitbull boxer mix, Gracie.
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16 August 2021
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27 August 2021 - 12:36 pm
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Gracie is 3 weeks out from the removal of her left front leg, and considering hydrotherapy with a local PT.  The Vet. surgeon was neutral on the value of hydrotherapy for her.  I will spend the money if there is some clear benefit or her.  The answer I have been given is improve the strength of her legs.  Would value people's experience in this area.

Thanks,  Max

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27 August 2021 - 1:55 pm
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Hi Max! It was great chatting with you today, I'm so glad you posted.

It always surprises me when vets aren't aware of the benefits of rehab therapy. I suppose because it's still relatively new in vet medicine that most don't know how much it can help a new Tripawd. One of our favorite vet surgeons, Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, lectures to surgeons all the time about the benefits of therapy and he has a lot to say about it. I'll include links below. As I mentioned, the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so you've got nothing to lose! 

The benefits of therapy are many, including:

  • building strength and stamina
  • teaching better body awareness 
  • improved balance 
  • and most importantly, educating the pet parent on what is or is not good exercise and activity for their particular dog. We learn so much and best of all we learn how to help our pets avoid common injuries like cruciate tears and muscle strains.

Also keep in mind that rehab is more than a water treadmill or swim sessions. That is just one small part of it. A good therapy center will have multiple modalities, such as massage, acupuncture, stretching, and fun exercise equipment for their patients.

We personally found it invaluable for our Wyatt Ray , especially as he grew older. We certainly noticed a difference between his strength and stamina as an older dog, versus our Jerry. He was the same breed type and approximate weight, but we didn't do regular rehab with him because we just didn't know any better at the time. As a consequence, he suffered some avoidable injuries and pain. With Wyatt, he had rehab and at-home exercises from day one and it really benefitted him as he aged.

The thing about rehab is that it isn't something your girl will have to go to forever. If you tell the team that your goal is to learn the exercises so she can do them at home, a good team will work with you to accomplish that. Then, an occasional check-in with them a few times a year is all it really takes to keep her on track and injury free.

Here are some links to check out while you wait for others to chime in:

All About Rehab Therapy for Tripawds

What Rehabilitation Therapy Can Do for Your Tripawd (and how to start for free!)

Tripawds Member Experiences with Rehab Therapy

Tripawds Gear Blog posts about rehab therapy

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27 August 2021 - 11:44 pm
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Can only share my experience and it wont ge of much value.  I only tried the water treadmill  one time with my front legger Frankie a Coonhound.   It did not like it amd just woildot "cooperate".    He just would adapt to the way he was supposed to walk on the treadmill.  He would take one hop then want to get off the back.

Hopefully  others will chime min with better examples 👍  As Jerry said, a Rehabilitation  Consult covers a lot of different  ways to build strength  and help with balance, etc.  I found that very beneficial .

Look forward  to hea more about  your sweet pup.


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

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!

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