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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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broken hind left leg on tibula/fibula. considering amp due to surgerical costs.
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Forum Posts: 5
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13 May 2012
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13 May 2012 - 6:09 pm
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Was told the dog would need surgery in order to repair the damage. Im not sure if I can just let it heal and she becomes a gimp. Otherwise its amputation because I can't afford such a high bill. I have to wait until tomorrow before I can start calling around places and getting price quotes but from what I understood its usually always half up front and half after. And I can't do that.
Currently on a furlough from my work so yeah no money.

Sorry if this is only for cancer related posts but im new to the site and the navigation is awkward.

I can post the xrays if necessary. Dog is a heeler mix assuminwith rottweiler because of her color pattern. Mid sized dog.

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13 May 2012 - 7:21 pm
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I suppose the reason I am posting this is because im feeling pretty overwhelmed. She isn't even a year old and she is already facing this and I have no idea how to rehab a dog with three legs 🙁

knoxville, tn
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13 May 2012 - 9:06 pm
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welcome, your future posts won't require moderation.  this site is for all pups - birth defects, cancer, accidents, anything - so you definitely belong here and are asking some very valid questions.

your vet is the best  professional source.  but, having seen a zillion pups come through this site, it seems when there is a severe break, often the 'limb sparing' surgery is tricky at best.  many times we've seen it tried, but it doesn't take, and the leg is amputated anyway.  so, amputation is not a bad consideration.  dogs get along remarkably well on three legs.  the first two weeks of recovery from the surgery can be rough, but after that, most are back to their old selfs rather quickly. 

how did the leg break??  was it an accident, or is there a tumor that has degraded the bone??  oh, and what's your pup's name???  what part of the world are you in??

as for cost, it varies from region to region.  there are programs to help - do a forum search on Care Credit, that will get you started.  i'm sure other folks will chime in with suggestions and thoughts. 

charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends

http://etgayle

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13 May 2012 - 9:24 pm
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It was my fault. She wasn't being watched and she jumped out of my window of my car while in motion.
Her name is Holly. Im in west valley city Utah.

San Diego, CA
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13 May 2012 - 10:24 pm
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Welcome to you and Holly. Sorry you find yourself in this situation. As Charon said, we've seen dogs end up here on Tripawds because surgery didn't work and ultimately they had to go ahead with the amp. Since Holly is young, she would probably adapt very well to being on 3 legs. Our dog was only 15 months and she did great. Unfortunately, she had cancer, so we lost her in the end, but while she was still well, she was insanely spunky and fast on 3 legs.

Try to not beat yourself up about the accident being "your fault". I'm sure Holly isn't holding it against you. She just wants to be feeling better and get on with the businesss of being a dog. Amp surgery has about a 2 week recovery period, so that is also something to recover versus how long would the recovery be for the surgery? We could have tried a limb-spare surgery with Abby, but the recovery would have meant 2 months of being crated. There was no way we could even consider crating a 15 month old super high energy pup for 2 solid months. She would have gone nuts.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted on what the vet says/what you decide.
Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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14 May 2012 - 12:21 am
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I'm sorry you find yourself here.  What a terrible accident.  It sounds like you are trying your best and that's all our pups could ever want.

This is a site for 3 legged dogs or the anticipation of being 3 legged, so you are at the right place.  Have you asked your vet is you could make payments?  Or have you tried 'Care Credit' credit card?  It's for medical bills and most vets take the card. 

I know Holly will do well on 3 legs and she'll heal fast since she is so young.  It's just a lot of absorb right now.

 

Sending you good wishes.  Please update us on what you find out.

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Leicester, NY
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14 May 2012 - 4:07 am
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Welcome to Holly ! I watched as our senior Dalmatian Daisy ran out in the road and get hit...talk about guilt! My best advice to you is to TRY to put those feelings aside and deal with the present situation. Dogs normally do just fine on 3 legs (Cornell University actually told us 95% do just fine) Hindsight being 20/20 I wish I would have done the amp 1st, I tried to save the leg but the 1st surgery didnt take and we ended up putting her through an additional operation 2 weeks later. Double the cost and lengthening the recovery time . Each dog and situation is different. Ask your vets about financing (I used care credit-it was int free for 24 months) Does Utah State have a vet schools? I found it helpful to be right up front with the vets about what you can and cannot afford because unfortunately cost is usually an important factor, they understand that too and may have some options for you.

Keep us posted and we are thinking of you and Holly!!

Spirit Samson was Spirit Tripawd Daisys four legged "brother" and ruled as the self proclaimed head of the Monkeybutt Federations East Coast Division. Lady Chunky Monkey stayed from Oct 2011 and left for the bridge in Apr 2012. Miss Perdy is left and has some big pawprints to fill.
Do you have what it takes to be a Monkeybutt? Find out more at the Monkeybutt Federation

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 May 2012 - 10:01 am
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Welcome. You're in the right place, we are all about anyone facing amputation for their dog, cancer related or not. We just want to see how we can help you get through this. Please don't beat yourself up too much about the accident, it's behind you and all the guilt in the world won't make this situation easier, so focus on the decision.

etGayle is correct, we have seen a lot of dogs here who had expensive repair surgeries that didn't take. I personally have met very few dogs who had bad breaks that healed after pins and plates were put in place. I'm not saying it never works or that it couldnt for your pup, but if you can't afford to take that kind of gamble, then amputation might be best. Your pup is young and small, and if she loses the back leg, that's a major plus for a Tripawd. As long as you keep her weight down she should be fine. What does your vet say about her candidacy for amputation surgery?

When it comes to saving money on surgery, we hope you'll take some of these points into consideration: see this article "Considerations when price shopping for veterinary care."

Finally, here is a financial resources directory PDF that lists some places where you can apply for help.

Good luck this week. Keep us posted. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 May 2012 - 11:50 am
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My Cheeto had a deformity in his limb when I rescued him off a highway. I also was out of work with no money. If you are on facebook and have paypal you can do a chipin. That is how I raised the money for Cheeto.

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15 May 2012 - 9:12 pm
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Thank you all for the support and advice. I do have an appointment on friday and we will go from there. What sort of things should I be aware of? Like will I need to assist with using the bathroom at first and what sort of exercises should I do with her?

Las Vegas, Nevada
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15 May 2012 - 10:05 pm
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It sounds like you were able to work something out to get the amputation!  That's great!

 

As young as your Holly is, I wouldn't be surprised if she is bouncing around on her own after a few days of recovery.  Usually it's the pain meds that make them weird, not the surgery.  They figure out really fast how to hop around.  I wouldn't worry too much about recovery.  Plus, we are here if you need immediate info that you don't get from your vet.  And keep in mind, Holly is three legged now.

Angel Abby's mom can help you better since she had a young one (unfortunately with cancer crying).

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

San Diego, CA
Forum Posts: 2503
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15 May 2012 - 10:14 pm
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Glad to hear you have the surgery scheduled. Rest up before then, because the recovery can be tiring. Even if she doesn't need you in the night, you'll be listening for every sound after she comes home.

The young ones do recover pretty quickly, but don't be surprised if she is really not herself for 10 days or so. She should start to get back to normal once the pain meds are done and the stitches are out. Then once you build her stamina back up, you'll be amazed. She'll probably be doing everything she was before (running, jumping, playing, digging, etc.) within 3 - 4 weeks.

And yes, you might need a sling to help her go out and potty or up/down stairs (if you have them). I took an old towel and folded it over and sewed handles on to it, but you can also just cut the sides out of one of those reusable canvas grocery bags and line it with a towel.

Keep us posted, and we're here for you if you have questions during the recovery!
Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

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18 May 2012 - 4:37 pm
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Ok big update: I took her to the vet early this morning and they have done surgery to save the leg. Vet also advised me that if amputation becomes needed still then he would do that for free. The surgery itself is a lot less then what everybody else quoted me too. Im so relieved right now. Ill be picking her up tomorrow.

Rock Hill, SC
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18 May 2012 - 7:00 pm
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What a wonderful update!  Sometimes things just work out.  Try and get some rest before Holly comes home because the next few days can really be exhausting.  Good luck!

Lisa

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...
http://zeuspod......pawds.com/

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 May 2012 - 8:41 pm
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Glad to hear you've found a direction to take. Sounds like you have great communication with your vet, that's a plus, and we hope the amputation isn't necessary. Good luck with the recovery and remember we're here if you need anything. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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