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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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Deciding to Amputate
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Forum Posts: 3
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18 August 2021 - 2:24 pm
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Hello, everybody. I hope I'm posting in the right spot. My dog Addy was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma by first X-ray and then confirmed with a biopsy. She is a 12-year-old black lab/pit bull mix. She is a healthy weight and still very active. The affected limb is her left front leg near the shoulder joint.  I am wondering if anyone has amputated their dog's leg at this age and if they would recommend it? I would love to hear any success stories and I also wouldn't mind hearing from people who maybe regretted their decision after amputation? I am so scared to take her leg. Mostly I'm afraid of complications. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing and would love to hear any advice any of you have to offer.  She is my best friend and I just want to do right by her. Thank you again!

Here and Now


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18 August 2021 - 3:07 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Addy! You will find many success stories bout senior Tripawds in the Size and Age Matters forum. Every dog is different, but if Addy is otherwise fit and strong, she should recover quickly and adapt well to life on three legs. By searching, you will also find many forum topics discussing regrets about amputation – and the lack thereof.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Virginia




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18 August 2021 - 9:08 pm
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You are not alone, okay??  We are eight by your side !

You have come to the right place for support, information  and understanding.   And we sure do under all the fear and uncertainty  when trying to make the "right" decision.   Lots of sleepless nights, crying and upset tummy.yeah, we understand it all!!.

We know it's scary,  but amputation  gets rid of a painful leg that will only get worse, and possibly even fracture.   It gives the dog a chance at a quality  painfree life full of loving  and spoil and treats and tummy rubs.

Age really is just a number around here.  And we certainly have seen dogs proceed with amputation  older than your sweet Addy. Your Addy is fit and still loving life.  It appears the Surgeon  thinks she is a good candidate  for surgery, so that's  a big plus.

Not sure what type of "complications" you are concerned  about.  Every surgery, no matter how mjnormjow how major always has a risk, whether humans or dogs. Preliminary  workmups are done to uncover any possible  hurdles in surfery and precautions  are taken to avoid them.  

The 24/7 clinic would keep Addy overnight  and carefully monitor her and manage her pain, etc.  Sometimes  dogs stay an additional night or two.  Just depends  on the individual  dog.

She would be given an ant for around seven to ten days to make sure no infection  pops up.  Sometimes  infections to take hold and extra attention has to be given to make sure it clears up.  Sometimes  a drain may even be used, just depends  on the situation.   It's something  that is manageable  and fixable!

Mobility  varies dog to dog, but most dogs, not all, walk out of the clinic, some with assistance,  some without.  Some dogs, especially  the more mature ones, may take several days to get their sea legs. .

Recovery is no picnic for the first two weeks. It MAJOR surgery and rest is important. M short leashed potty breaks and back in for more rest. Generally, it takes about two weeks to recover  from the surgery and about thirty days to sull adjust to their new three-legged gait.

Conti to do your research.  Talk with your Vets.  And yes, talk with Addy.  Know there are no guarantees,  would Addy want to move forward and go for a chance at a pain free life?

Imkmow there have been surveys done thru the years  about whether anyone  regrets their decision.   It's  a very, very small perc that have regretted it. We just lost kne of our tripawd family members  after two months and they said they did not regret their decision.   They quality  extended time to make treasured memories. 

No dog has a timefr stamped  on theirs butts.  Statistics  don6 mean much around here.  So e dogs get one, two, three and even more years extended time.  So e get far less.

What matters is what we do with the time we have.  Do we make every day count?  Do we focus in the here and now and live in the present just like our dogs do?  Do we refuse  to allow this piece of crap disease to interfere with our time together? 

Just know that any dec you are making is one out of love and that is always the right decision.   We are here to support  you whatever path you take, okay?

Extra hugs

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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23 August 2021 - 8:26 am
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Thank you so much for your responses and all the wonderful information. I’m so grateful to have found this site. It is so unbelievably helpful and everyone is so nice. Addy will have her amputation surgery on Wednesday (8/25/21). I’m so scared but am ready for her to not be in pain anymore. I’m sure I will have lots of questions and am very comforted knowing I have a community of people who have been through the same thing to turn to. Thank you all again! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 August 2021 - 9:25 am
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Aww you are so welcome! Please ask any questions that pop up, and lean on us, we are here for you and Addy! Be brave, and she will too. Keep us posted!

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




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23 August 2021 - 4:14 pm
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Alrighty, we'll be sending extra  pawsitive energy  out to Miss Addy Wednesday.   During reco sometimes  we think we are doing this TO them, but as recovery  fades in the rear view  mirror, you will be so glad you did this FOR Addy👍

Update when surgery is all done, okay?

Extra hugs

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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28 August 2021 - 8:57 am
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Happy Saturday! Just wanted to post a little update. Surgery was Wednesday and she came home Thursday. Picking her up at the vet went better than I was expecting. When she saw me she did this little happy cry she always does when she greets me so that instantly eased my mind. She walked out of the vet and peed when she got outside...had a little bit of a face plant but she recovered. Overall I'm amazed at how well she's doing so far. She's very sleepy and I can tell that one little leg in the front is very tired, but her pain seems to be under control and she's eating and drinking just fine. How long did it take your dogs to build up strength in the one remaining leg in the front or back? Also, was your dog able to lay on the incision side? She keeps trying to but immediately she's uncomfortable and switches back to the side with the remaining leg.

It's Saturday and she just came in from her first Tripawd poop!! I don't think I've ever been so excited for someone to poop haha!! She was a little wobbly and I had to support her a little but she did it!  Now next big step is removing the pressure bandage this afternoon. I'm a little scared to do that. I feel like the incision looks so secure and safe and I'm afraid to expose it to the world. I wasn't given very good instructions for caring for the incision. They told me to let it scab up and that I could put Neosporin on it if I wanted and that was it? If you guys have any helpful hints or things you did that worked with caring for the incision and making sure it stays clean I would really appreciate it. I did buy some little shirts for her to wear and I guess I'll force myself to put the cone of shame on her at night and when I'm at work but I feel bad because I know she hates it.  Thanks again for the well wishes and the support, it means the world! sp_hearticon2

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28 August 2021 - 9:30 am
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Hi, I am very familiar with the face plants. Lol 

Brownie my lab, was three weeks before his 12 birthday at time of amputation of front left leg. Just wanted you to know he lived life to the fullest for over a year, and yes I would do it again.

Like you, I wasn't sure at first because of his age, but he surprised me everyday! Due to Brownie's age it did take about three weeks to get his personality back. Brownie was a big dog but a light weight when it came to pain medicine.

I am so happy everything is going well for you girl. Great attitude you have!

By the way I have a lab/Pitt mix a little over a year old. What a handful! She is spoiled rotten and I just don't understand how she got that way. Lol

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Virginia




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28 August 2021 - 10:51 am
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YAAAAY FOR SUCCESS SURFERY!!   AND YAAAAY FOR POOPING AND PEEING !   We love to celebrate  poopiconpoopicon !!!

Try not to fet avout the jncision. It may ooze a little bit, or not.  Just leave it alone unless there is a lot of bloody, smelly discharge,  then let your Vet know.  And yes the cone is necessary  when he is unattended.   The incision  can be itching  or a bit sore and some dogs want to get at it.  It only takes seconds for them to start ripping the stitches out. You can check into the donut soft cones.  Tjey are a vit more comfortable.

Being "tired" is a good thing right now.  She needs lots and lots of rest right now to heal.  Just short leashed potty breaks and then more rest.  The pain meds seem to be working, right?

When she gets thru recovery,  you can check jnto gstring a consult  with a Rehabilitation  Specialist.   They are a treasure trove of things to do to help build core strength, maintain proper balance, protect joints, etc.  And the TRIPAWDS  FOUNDATION  will play for the first consult!

Stay co and let us know how things are going.  Sloooow and easy for now though.

Hugs

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!

Virginia




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28 August 2021 - 11:17 am
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Oh, just wanted to add that laying on the incision  aide varies dog to dog.  My Happy Hannah took several weeks before would lay on it, some dogs a lot sooner.  When they do lay on it, it's generally a good indication that it is no longer sore from the surgery. 

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 August 2021 - 12:41 pm
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WOW! Cheers to a great homecoming and recovery! smiley_clap You are handling this so well, your pawsitivity shines through and I know that Addy is feeling it!

That is PAWESOME that she pooped ! poopiconKeep her rested and relaxed, try not to ask her to do more than go outside to potty on her usual schedule. In time she will build strength but right now her body needs all the energy it can get to heal. As Sally mentioned, the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit , which we highly recommend. That way you'll know what kind of exercise is good and not good for her. She'll do less face plants over time and the therapist can show you how to help strengthen her core muscles so she doesn't. So start looking for a therapist now (we can help you find one if you'd like), since most like to see new Tripawds within 10 days of surgery.

Her incision should do just fine without any interference or Neosporin. We rarely get folks needing to do anything more than gently placing a warm washcloth around the incision to soak up some of the drainage. Most dogs don't wear a bandage, and the incision air dries beautifully. If there's extra drainage it could be a seroma . Nothing to panic about, it's pretty normal. Don't worry about that now though. Focus on couch time with Addy and enjoy knowing that she made it through and you're on the road to recovery!!!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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21 September 2021 - 4:07 pm
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This is such a positive post, well done Addy! 

Can I ask if the tumour was actually in Addy's shoulder joint? Can they amputate if the cancer is right in there?

I'd all but ruled out amputation for Sam but this has made me more open minded. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 September 2021 - 4:12 pm
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sunnybunny said
Can I ask if the tumour was actually in Addy's shoulder joint? Can they amputate if the cancer is right in there?  

Do you mean the scapula? If so, yes, they can amputate in that situation. Our Jerry's osteosarcoma tumor was in his scapula.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Read my story here.

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