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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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When should I expect my tripod to start to resume his normal life? or adjust?
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
3 August 2020
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3 August 2020 - 9:30 pm
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My sweet Apollo (2 year old lab mix) was hit by a car while at the vet. We tried to save the leg and it didn’t work. We basically had no choice but to amputate. The surgery went great and it is now week two. His staples came out last Thursday. He will jump off the bed and go down the stairs. But, he won’t go up the stairs and won’t jump up onto the couch. Should I be worried? He seems less playful and kind of sad. He has lost interest in playing with toys and other dogs. How long does it take for other dogs to adjust? Am I worrying too much? What can i do?

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27769
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3 August 2020 - 10:21 pm
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Hi Claire and Apollo, welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

We are so sorry about the accident. Yikes! Sounds like he lost a rear leg? I ask because rear leg Tripawds have a harder time jumping up to go up stairs and things. Dogs have their propulsion power in the rear and when they lose 50% of it, upward motion is tough. Plus, being that it’s just two weeks past surgery, this is also no surprise that he’s having mobility challenges. Even young dogs need time to heal and get strong.

You also mention that he seems sad and has lost interest in things he enjoys. I’m not there with you so I can only guess, but it sounds to me like he is 1) still healing and needs more rest time and 2) may be getting too much activity that is wearing him out. Dogs are masters at hiding pain signals , and he could be telling you he is hurting by not being engaged or excited about life. Jumping off the bed, even a low one, can cause severe joint stress if not now then over time. The same holds true for jumping out of cars and other high places. For now, please consider putting your mattress on the floor or making / purchasing pet stairs and training him how to use them. 

My best advice to you is to make an appointment with a canine rehabilitation therapist. All Tripawds can use the extra help at getting into shape for life on three legs and these experts are best at showing us how. You’ll learn what is and is not appropriate activity for him, and how to keep him strong and injury free. The best part is that the Tripawds Foundation may pay for your first rehab visit so please take advantage of the program OK?

We are so glad you joined! Thanks so much, it’s nice to meet you both.

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Forum Posts: 45
Member Since:
16 July 2020
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4 August 2020 - 9:53 am
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Hi Claire.  Our 4 month old puppy lost his hind leg 3 weeks ago.  Just in the last few days has he been willing to hop up to put his front paws on my chair so I can lift him up to my lap.  Once he was ready he has never stopped!  He is running around our back yard, playing tug (only on carpet or grass) and short distance fetch.  So, keep the faith.  It took almost 3 weeks for us to feel our energetic puppy had returned. Even now we try to calm him down after a rambunctious period…we know he is still healing and learning his new normal


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4 August 2020 - 1:55 pm
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Can only ditto the other replies.  Its still early.  He just had MAJOR surgery, all while trying to adjust to life on three.  

How much does Apollo weigh and what pain meds is he on?  Sounds like in addition to continuing  to take thi gs slow and easy, he may be showing. pain signals .  Veing “sad” and not engaged can definitely  be  signs of pain.

We’ll look for your update, okay?  Rec is no picnic for a couple of weeks, but it doesn’t  last furever!


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

PS. Give lost of good massages, especially if he’s overdone it a bit.  His muscles are probably  pretty tight and he may still be sore from the accident.

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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