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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We have been in 3months of misery following our 6yr old American Bulldogs 2nd TPLO. The first leg about 3 yrs ago went well. This one has been one problem after another.MRSA required removal of plate but she still is unable to beat infection. We’ve had to do injections at home, readmitted to vet hospital twice and are now told best option is to as amputate. Having a really hard time thinking of putting her through another surgery and recovery and wondering if we should just put our girl down. This is the hardest decision ever and we wish we’d never done the surgery!
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Oh my gosh what an awful ordeal I’m so sorry!
I don’t blame you for wondering if it’s the right choice. I think in these situations it’s always smart to get a few opinions from board-certified surgeons, especially if she’s currently fighting MRSA now. Who is in on her case? Who will be doing the surgery? And what is their plan for her care in such a fragile state of health? Consulting with a veterinary teaching hospital is also a good idea.
Tell us more about her. Was she otherwise healthy before alll of this? Is she overweight at all? Existing state of health has a lot to do with how well they recover after surgery. What does your vet think about her as candidacy as a Tripawd? She’s still very young.
The good thing about amputation recovery is that it is MUCH easier than TPLO recovery. What would most concern me is her susceptibility to MRSA infection again. I would definitely want an expert to do the amputation, someone who does them all the time, not just a few times a year, and someone who understands MRSA treatment protocols. Have you talked to your vet about their own background with it?
18 October 2009
Hi and welcome.
I’m sorry you are faced with this decision, we have a few members who have battled MRSA .
Obviously the infection has to be controlled before another surgery-
As far as recovering from surgery, if your girl is a good candidate for amputation then the recovery period is shorter than for a TPLO or other knee surgery. My quad-pug Obie has had both knees surgically repaired for luxating patellas and his recovery in both cases was way longer than when Maggie lost her back leg to cancer.
She has been through a lot but if you think she still has some living to do they I would consider amputation.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
14 February 2016
I agree with Karen on the recovery times – we went through the tightrope procedure with Tess over the summer, two months of keeping her quiet. With Otis’ amputation, once the staples came out on day 10, he was clearly on the mend.
Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016. Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016. Lung mets August 25, 2016. Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016. Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.
Wherever they are, they are together.
I know amputation sounds so scary. It.did to all of us at first. In every case, we did it to get extended quality time…pain free!
And yes, we’ve had Bulldogs here do very well on three legs with amputation!
Jerry has given you great insight and asked you some great questions to consider. Get as.much expert opinion as you can.
Looking forward to hearing an update when you can. Deep breaths. Once you can get a plan and move forward, you’ll feel some relief. Moving ahead and getting.all these past few months behind you will.make everybody happy!
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!
16 March 2016
So sorry to hear! I don’t have any experience with MRSA but my Bentley had TPLO surgery a year ago and just had the same leg removed a few weeks ago. Going through another surgery recovery I don’t remember the TPLO recovery as much but amputation wasn’t bad like I thought it would be. He was limping for over a year and now no more limp and no more pain. Obviously cure the infection, but amputation isn’t a bad idea because it will help with the pain your poor baby is in. Good luck! Whichever decision you make it will be the right one!
28 March 2015
I can only add that we were also advised that recovery from amputation would be easier than from a TPLO. The roughest part of our amputation recovery was Ellie’s nausea. But physically (getting up and about) she was motoring on her own w/in a few days, even up and down the 6 steps to the backyard.
Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.
Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise
Thank you all so much for the words of wisdom and encouragement! I must admit that thinking of amputation isn’t as frightening now as it was when we first discussed it with our vet. Jerry- Tess is about 100 lbs and should probably lose a few. She’s definitely not fat, but the girl likes her food(and sleep) :). Our vet has been telling us for the last year or so to watch her diet to make sure thatnshendoesnt gain too much. Other than her first TPLO she has been very healthy. The Dr thinks she will do well as a tri. We are waiting lab results before we figure out what to do, and thinking that we should try another month on antibiotics with a brace to see if the bone will heal. Due to the infection it hasn’t yet healed, so she’s been in a soft cast since they removed the implant a month ago. Haven’t discussed that option with Dr, so not sure about it yet. My feeling is that if we can give her a little more time and I can find some supplements to help her,maybe just maybe we can save her leg although she will definitely have an awkward gait. As long as she isn’t in pain and we can keep her here with us, that is what matters most. I have previously researched BARF diet, but it’s a little scary if you dont know what you’re doing! We feed her Blue Buffalo and supplement with salmon and chicken cooked at home, and some canned sardines (her fav!). I will let you know how things go and appreciate any suggestions regarding supplements, etc!
I’m so glad we could ease your worries. And that’s great news that your vet thinks she’s do well as a Tripawd.
If you think she could lose some weight, then she does. Not only will it help her if she gets to keep her leg (we hope so!) but if she loses it, being slim is mandatory for a happy, long and pain-free life. As a bonus, slimmer dogs actually live longer than overweight ones, so bonus time there!
It’s good you’re exploring your options and figuring out what’s best. If you want t research diet, weight loss etc., hop on over to our Tripawds Nutrition blog for lots of tips.
Keep us posted.
22 August 2008
25 January 2014
What an ordeal! Have they cultured for the correct antibiotic? Ty had wound debridement, a drain and Amikacin injections. The drawback to those is the twice weekly urine tests. I would ask if they do amputate, ( sounds like it may be the best solution) if a drain would be feasible. We were able to get rid of a lot of junk through that drain. Is the infection under control or spreading? Ty’s grew like crazy. His was skin and muscle, not bone. We did, however finally beat it. Seems like cutting it off or out helps. I know there is another member who beat MRSA . Bud did not have to go to such drastic measures if I remember correctly. I would be happy to answer any questions if you have any. I am by no means an expert, just have been down the same road. Lori, Ty and Gang
TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater.