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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
27 August 2016
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28 August 2016 - 5:15 pm
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Lisa thank you so much for sharing that. He looks great! He got up so quickly and you can tell he gets down much quicker when not distracted by more exciting things. 

This was really good to see. Thank you!

Minneapolis, MN
Member Since:
23 April 2016
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28 August 2016 - 5:21 pm
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Schlomo's Mom, you are correct - he can actually run up or down the stairs at a pretty good clip when he is motivated (like when Dad brought out some power tools to work on something in the yard recently - he was down from that deck in about 10 seconds).

We just got back from a two hour trip to the dog park and stopped at a pet food store to walk the aisles an get some treats and food.  He will never be the graceful or fast on the scale he once was, but he is able and fit.  And he is happy.

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

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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28 August 2016 - 5:23 pm
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My Otis can also do stairs, although only 1 flight in our house.  He is also a bigger dog, front leg amp., and started doing the stairs just after the 2 month mark.  Some dogs are much, and some do not do stairs.  We are also big fans of the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness.  We didn't need it for stairs, but with three flights, it could be really helpful for Schlomo.

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.

Member Since:
27 August 2016
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28 August 2016 - 5:44 pm
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Pofi likes power tools? I love that. That makes me laugh. Him being happy is all that matters!

That's a great call about the harness. That's how he/we could learn to do the stairs. Thank you!

Mascha & Schlomo

Member Since:
16 March 2016
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28 August 2016 - 6:46 pm
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Everyone is giving you great advise! This community is great and I'm glad you found it. Radiation was a possibility for my dog but I opted out because of the cost and the large amount of treatments in short time span ( plus circumstances changed and it became no longer an option). If you do the amputation maybe they can just take the paw instead of the whole leg. There is a dog in my neighborhood with a missing paw and does great/ you could barely even tell at first look he's missing the paw. Do what you feel most comfortable with. You know your dog better than the vets do! Also my dog Bentley runs up and down the stairs faster than when he had 4 legs, especially if I tell him he gets a cookie inside (we live on the fourth floor). 

Best wishes and kisses!

Member Since:
21 May 2016
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28 August 2016 - 7:10 pm
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Thank you for bringing up the prosthetic! I have thought about that recently when I watched The Bionic Vet and never asked them! I will definitely ask that on Wednesday.

Hey thereheart

Is this bionic vet Noel Fitzpatrick?

Eurydice is being treated at his hospital but sadly she couldn't have an implant done because she is too big and apparently it doesn't work for dogs her size.

I suppose more research is needed and I hope one day this will be possible. 

As for stairs, she can't do it (front leg amputee) and I don't think she ever will but that is because she is huge.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of dogs are able to handle stairs in due course and some, like Poffi and Tank, are real athletes.

We also have a ruff wear harness and like all others, swear by it. 

Sending you a big hug and cuddles heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 August 2016 - 8:38 pm
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Hi Mascha and Schlomo!

How on earth I missed this I don't know! The advice you have already gotten is great and I have nothing to add.

Well, maybe ine tnought..........

Regarding whether we are transferring our feelings to the dogs, just want to suggest it may be the other way around! I think that, when it comes to our dogs and cats, when we have that "gut" feeling, the "inner voice" thing going on, it's really oir dogs transferring their feelings to us! Just a thought!

Lots of love!

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!

London, UK

Member Since:
15 December 2015
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28 August 2016 - 11:43 pm
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Hi Mascha and Schlomo,

I'm so sorry that you find yourselves in this situation, but I love the fact that you are being so thorough and exploring every option and I know you will find the best solution for you and Schlomo. Definitely worth exploring prosthetics . This wasn't an option for Meg as they need to have two working joints and she needed to have her leg removed above the elbow, but for Schlomo, it sounds as though it might be possible.

You've had loads of great advice, so just wanted to add my own experience on the stairs thing. Meg is a little bit smaller than Schlomo (around 35 pounds), but in the same ballpark. They're all different of course, but she runs up and down stairs, no problem at all, and has done so from very soon after her op. I put pieces of carpet on to add traction , but I'm guessing if these are apartment block stairs then the traction may be pretty good anyway? Mine were polished wood, which was much too slippery, but the carpet was a huge help. Here she is lying on said stairs, catching the afternoon sun...

All best,

Meg and Clare xx

FUBUCKET-1-of-1-6.jpgImage Enlarger

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 August 2016 - 7:30 am
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Clare it's so good to hear from you. Meg looks soooo pretty in that photo! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
15 July 2016
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29 August 2016 - 9:05 am
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I also did some searching on prosthetics .  Like many others here, it wasn't an option for us because it requires two joints and Milo's tumor was in his radius -- there goes the elbow -- no prosthetic for Milo.

In the research, it appears there is some interesting work being done in the field due to the advancements in 3-D printing.  Heck -- we see in the news regularly about "so-and-so used a 3D printer to make a hand for this child."  It makes sense that dogs are also benefiting.

For stairs -- Lisa's video of Pofi was huge in easing our minds before the amputation.  We should consider doing one, too, given how much her video meant to us.  Milo snuck upstairs on his own on Day 4.  I went upstairs to shower and when I came out, there he was.  It's amazing what a little motivation can do.  Downstairs is harder for him -- actually, downstairs has always been harder for him.  He's a klutz.  We put a nightlight at the bottom of the stairs 8 years ago because he'd fall down them if he went down at night, and that was with 4 legs.  Therefore, we try to put his harness on him for going downstairs.  It gives us a bit of control if he gets going too fast or loses control.  Needless to say, his first trip down the stairs was also on Day 4 to counter his surprise trip up. 

So harness on the way down through one month for us, harness on the way up for the first few weeks, but our klutz has been doing stairs almost since the beginning. 


-Jenifer & Milo

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 August 2016 - 1:34 pm
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goodmilo said
In the research, it appears there is some interesting work being done in the field due to the advancements in 3-D printing.  Heck -- we see in the news regularly about "so-and-so used a 3D printer to make a hand for this child."  It makes sense that dogs are also benefiting.

We too were curious about 3D printed pet prosthetics so we interviewed OrthoPets and here's what they said:

Facts About 3-D Printing for Pet Prosthetics

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
6 August 2016
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29 August 2016 - 8:26 pm
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I did not do any searches on prosthetics .... but,  Meg is gorgeous...:)

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