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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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Any negative stories or regrets?
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Member Since:
14 February 2016
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16 July 2016 - 3:43 am
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Also no regrets, although Otis already had fractured his leg, so my choice was amputate or put him down.  It wasn't time for the latter.  We can't go for our long morning walks anymore, and we spend a lot of time just sitting in the grass, but he can do pretty much everything else he did before.  He is a big guy, 100 pounds, with arthritis in his hips, so some days I can tell that he isn't feeling great.  But overall, he is happy.  And I am glad we have had these 5 months together, and hope for many more!

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.

Minneapolis, MN
Member Since:
23 April 2016
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16 July 2016 - 3:50 pm
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At 9 weeks post op with our 70 ish pound 11.5 year old sled dog mix (Malamute x sighthound).  Regret? Only that we didn't know sooner and do it sooner so we might have gotten clean margins in the op.  His cancer was hard to detect - a nerve sheath tumor hidden in the arm pit of front leg and I think he had it a good 9 months prior to diagnosis.

I honestly didn't hesitate on the limb removal - I viewed it as a medical necessity.  Not saying I wasn't shell shocked and I didn't grieve at all at him losing a leg.  

Pofi did, I need to be honest, have an easier and smoother recovery than some, but I was as prepared as I could be for it to be harder.  My advice, should you decide to amputate,is that pain meds are necessary - not a luxury.  My vets, regular and specialists, were all in agreement, pain is serving no purpose once cancer has been detected and post amputation.  We know what was wrong - we don't need pain as an indicator. So we managed deliberately and with premeditation.  We started off strong with pain meds pre and post op and tapered down gradually.  And with all three modalities - Tramadol for pain receptors in the brain, Rimadyl for anti-inflammation, and Gabapentin for nerve pain including the potential of phantom limb pain.  

Best thoughts!

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Norene, TN
Member Since:
21 October 2014
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18 July 2016 - 11:23 am
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My only regret was being too complacent about Harmony's "hot spot" and occasional limp. The vet (we love him) didn't think either was a reason for concern for nearly 2 years. When we did get concerned, it was too late. We don't blame the vet, as there are so many fur-babies going to the vet for spots and limps. And we try not to blame ourselves but learn (and remember) that complacency is cancer's best pal.

For us, Harmony's lesson is, "It is better to be overly cautious than to be later overwhelmed."



Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey

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