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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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In Need of Some Positivity and Advice
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Member Since:
28 February 2024
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28 February 2024 - 1:44 pm
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Hey All, 

First time here so bear with me and apologies in advance.

We found out yesterday that my Lab mix has a form of bone cancer and were given some extremely scary options. We met with our Vet earlier this morning and came to terms with amputation being the best course of action. Our 9yr old girl still has lots of life to live and this news took me quite aback, im nervous thinking about the after. The Doctor this morning calmed the nerves a little bit, but I can’t lie, I am freaking out. 

I don’t want her to suffer, I don’t want to her to change the dog everyone loves, and want her to live the longest happiest life possible. I know this is usual the best route to go, but im in need of some positive reinforcement. 

The doctor had mentioned that this was moreso difficult for owners, and that dogs (especially with a hind leg) tend to adjust pretty easily and are happy they are pain free but I cant help let my mind wander to the worst.

For anyone whos experienced the same thing, or currently going through it, I would love to hear about your pups and what it meant for you. 

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
18 October 2009
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28 February 2024 - 2:17 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Is her name Jessie or is that you?

I take from your post that she is losing a back leg?

What you're feeling is completely normal.  When I was told my Pug Maggie needed a rear leg amputation for mast cell cancer I was devastated.  She had a bump in her knee.... how could amputation be the solution to that problem?  I don't think I had ever seen a 3 legged dog before- how would she cope?

One important thing to remember is that those are our feelings, not our dog's feelings.  If she has bone cancer then her leg is painful- is she on any meds?  The first couple weeks post surgery can be bumpy as our pups deal with surgery, meds and learning a new gait.  For most pups here they are back to themselves in 2 or 3 weeks.

Here are some links to get you started:

Jerry's Reading List

What to Expect

 

Pug Maggie was stubborn and set in her ways, she spent about 6 weeks post op laying in her bed.  She could hop the day of surgery and we had no medical complications.  I was sure I had the only dog that wasn't going to adapt and be happy- all the vets had told me was that dogs do fine on three.  Mag did finally accept her new normal (after taking several years off my life with worry!) and she hopped happily through life for almost 4 more years.  Remember most pups are back to themselves faster, but every pup here recovers and adapts on their own timeline.

I now have a Pug Mix rear amp dog, Elly was hit by a car when she was 7 months old. I adopted her when she was 10 months old and she is now over 9 years old.  Elly lives life a little different than my other quad Pug Mix, but its still a good life.  For example- we went on a 3 mile hike yesterday at a local lake.  i went 3 miles, Callie went about 3.5 or 4 miles with her exploring, and Elly rode much of the trip in her stroller with lots of 'breaks' to hop around and explore.

Do you have specific questions or worries we can help with?

 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 February 2024 - 5:46 pm
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As you can see from Karen's reply,  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  She has given you great support and  information. 

We understand how scary just first part of the journey can be. You are scared, panic uncertain and quickly mentally and physically exhausted. We get it like no others can. We also get the bond you have with your pup and how committed you are to doing whatever it takes to give him a good quality, pain free life. And yes, amputation is the best path forward to achieve that. 

Heck, I was so scared to move forward that, 2hen I finally  scheduled the sirgery, I canceled it!    This was before I found this site.  Needless to say, I rescheduled  and 2as so glad I did!!!   Not  ssying recovery  was easy and for the first couple of weeks I doubted  my decision . What's your recovery was over though I was so glad I did it. My happy Hannah got extended pain-free quality time for more loving, spoiling, treats, way too many treats, ice cream, way too much ice cream and steak and chicken and on and on.

Is the surgery being done by an orthopedic surgeon? Do they have a 24/7 staff Clinic where he can spend the first night or so? It sounds like your vet team thinks your pup is a good candidate and will Master life on three just fine.

Good pain management   helps recovery  go smoother.  so sometimes some tweaking based on your specific dog food take care of eliminating any pain.

If you have hardwood or vinyl floors you'll want to put down some non-slip scatter rugs for traction . Raised food bowls will help also.

So yeah, let us know any questions you might have or any concerns or if you have freak out moments. We're here with you the whole way and will help you get through recovery so you can celebrate all the great Milestones you will experience with your pup and yes, your pup will be the same dog just pain-free.

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!

Member Since:
22 December 2022
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28 February 2024 - 5:51 pm
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Oh Jesse. I'm so sorry that you and your pup have gotten this news. This was me a year ago. My lab mix, Eli (my soulmate! my best friend! my companion) got a diagnosis out of the blue and we had to amputate. I was devastated. For the same reasons you are--so worried about his pain, if this was the right course, if he could adjust. 

I'm not going to lie. The weeks after the surgery were really hard. It's really hard to see your dog with a different body, shaved, in pain. It was a brutal few weeks. 

BUT. But. This was a year ago. Today, my pup Eli does it all. He runs, jumps, wrestles, chases and fetches, swims. He's exactly the same as he was before. I wouldn't have thought this was possible, but after going through it, I feel way more bonded to him than I did before. I just know what he's been through. What a strong pup he is. The love I have for him has only grown. 

But those weeks before surgery, and those few weeks after--those were crushing. I'm so glad you're posting here. It took me too long to do it. This community, I'm not kidding, felt like a lifeline to me in the first weeks after his surgery. My dog ended up having complications and pain problems post surgery. In a moment of desperation, crying, I called the Tripawd hotline and talked to someone (an angel, I swear) who was able to give mer really helpful questions about medication options to discuss with my vet, and in my mind, because of her help, she solved my dog's pain problem. After that, he recovered very well, and it's been smooth sailing ever since. 

I feel like you're where I was a year ago. A year ago, I never thought my dog would be as happy and whole as he is now. I have such faith that you and your pup will be okay. But I know it's hard. 

-Lilly 

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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28 February 2024 - 11:45 pm
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We totally get it and are here for you! Your vet is right, it's always scarier for the people. We have so many emotions tied to this but our animal just wants to feel better so they can get on with life.

Seeing how our Jerry coped with amputation taught us so much about resilience and being pawsitive in the middle of adversity, and not looking back. This is a crappy situation but it really does get you to see life in a whole new way when you see how well your dog or cat copes.

Recovery isn't always smooth and there will be hiccups but you can get through this and be so much more in love with your dog than before.

Member Since:
28 February 2024
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29 February 2024 - 2:24 pm
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WOW WOW WOW WOW. I am absolutely speechless. I sit here tearing up reading your message and all I can say is Thank You.

Karen, Sally, Lily, and Jerry - the words that you have put together mean more than the world to me and I cannot thank you enough. You have put my mind at ease and I can confidently say this is the best choice. As I laid in bed last night playing over every single scenario I could not help but let my wander. I told my mom I had reached out to a communtiy and was eagerly awaiting a response, let alone 4. You all did more for me in your quick posts than I can even begin to describe. Although the nerves wont be leaving anytime soon, I feel a sense of relief in knowing I am 1000% not alone in this and have an extremely helpful support system in all of this. 

We are officially scheduled for Monday Morning so keep us in your thoughts this weekend. I really wish I had the words to describe my feelings but really all I can muster is Thank You. Each one of you truly show that there is still good in a world of bad. I am trying to add in a picture of Pogo (yes, i know, we will have plenty of jokes once the inital shock has worn off) but can’t figure it out haha. I will absolutely keep you all updated and check in over the next few weeks as we go through this as a team.

Seriously, I cannot thank all of you enough for what you have done for me and my girl.

Sincerely,

A mind at ease!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 February 2024 - 7:37 pm
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Oh gosh Jesse, you have expressed your gratitude  for this community beautifully.♥️ Knowing our words of support and sharing our experiences gave you some reassurance and "relief " is exactly why Jerry's hoomans created this site. We've all been where you are and we've all relied on each other to share as much   first hand knowledge as possible. 

We aren't  going to tell you not to worry because we know better!! What we will remind you is that sweet Pogo is blissfully unaware of any kind of diagnosis, upcoming surgery, recovery etc etc. Pogo lives in the present, in the NOW.  We call that Be More Dog . Now you can be  more Pogo.

When you go to pick Pogo up, don't even bother to look at his incision or draw attention to it.  All Pogo wants to know is he's going home and he sees your smiling face telling him he's a good boy!!  

Some dogs need a few days to get their sea legs, so no worries if that's the case for Pogo.

Because dogs are so resilient, it's important to remember that this is major surgery, they'll be adjusting to three all while on some solid pain meds.   Slow and easy is the name of the game. Short, leashed potty breaks and back in for more rest.  

STAY CONNECTED!!   We are sending pawsitive  energy and look forward to cheering Pogo on as he proudly wags and smiles  at all the "name jokes".

You've got this!!!

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.....Ever heard of the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly?

 

PS.  I'm going to PM (Private message) you my email.   You can send me some pics to post of  your  precious Pogo.  It would be my honor.  Cannot wait to see him!!

Also, Here's a link for adding a photo

Or....  adding images

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!

Member Since:
28 February 2024
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1 March 2024 - 5:32 am
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I'm going through the same. My dog is having her hind leg removed today. I liked that your vet said this is harder on the owners than the dogs. I am a mess right now but trying to bear up for my dog. This is a great group and place to talk and get feedback. We are here for you.

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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1 March 2024 - 10:38 am
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To Joyce and Hannah....

Just want to add a couple more links that you may find helpful. Enjoys, if you haven't already done so, you might want to start your own thread so we can stay focused on your specific recovery.

 

Tripawds Recovery Shopping List

Tripawds  What to Expect

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!

Member Since:
28 February 2024
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4 March 2024 - 7:23 am
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Hey All,

Today is the day I have been dreading. It’s funny how smart dogs are and know that something is happened. Pogo jumped out of bed and ran into my sisters room this morning once we got up, almost as if she knew she wouldnt be home for a few days. We have dropped her off and are anxiously awaiting to hear back from the doctor. I’ll pop in later on today to update my crew!

Keep us in your thoughts today!!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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5 March 2024 - 1:23 pm
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Jessee! How is she doing? Looking forward to an update in Treatment and Recovery!

Member Since:
28 February 2024
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6 March 2024 - 9:29 am
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Hey All,

I am happy to report the surgery went extremely well without any hiccups. Doctor said she was resting for most of Monday, however, they did get her out to go to the bathroom a few times. She was even able to stand on her own for a little bit! Yesterday, was a bit more of the same. Doctors said she was a bit more lively and feeling well. She ate yesterday, went out, stood and even walked down a couple stairs on her own!

It is absolutely mind blowing to me that something so invasive can happen and they take it as almost no difference. The fact that she was standing up on her own hours after surgery is nothing short of a miracle to me. 

It looks like we are going to be picking up the patient on Friday and will beging the road to recovery back at home. Although I am a little nervous, I know seeing her with a smile on her face will be exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Quick question for you all, my family also has a 2 year old mix pup that is quite the energetic fella. The doctor thought it would be good for him to be around the next week so he could get used to pogo and vice versa (even though she will primarily be in the crate). I am curious for those of you who have a few furry friends, what the first couple days were like and if there were tips or tricks you could recommend.

All of you have been my saving grace in this and am so happy to have found a support system as strong as this!!

Talk Soon!

Jesse & Pogo

Livermore, CA




Member Since:
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6 March 2024 - 2:11 pm
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Hi Jesse,

Good to hear that surgery went well and Pogo is on the mend!

I am curious for those of you who have a few furry friends, what the first couple days were like and if there were tips or tricks you could recommend.

When Maggie had her surgery my Dad kept my other Pug Tani for a few days so I could focus on Mag.  Tani was miserable after a day or two so we decided to bring Tani home.  The minute Tani's leash was off she made a bee-line for Maggie and attacked her!  I was so surprised that I just stood there for a minute...in that time Mag put Tani on her back and that was the end of it, I was lucky there was no damage done.  The girls had been together and inseparable for about 6 years and were actually sisters from different litters.  However they did tussle once in a while- I should have been more careful.

I do think that making things as normal as possible helps everyone get through recovery but I would have leashed re-introductions and only supervised visits until you see how they are interacting.  Sometimes when dogs are sick or hurt they are snappy to protect themselves.  Although Pogo can stand a bit already she will be weak and on meds when she comes home and will be susceptible to being knocked over.  

Little sister Tani could be pretty energetic- years after amp surgery Mag was sitting on the top step at my parent's house and Tani went running by and knocked Mag over and down the stairs!

 

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 March 2024 - 7:23 pm
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Mist went to add when to go pick up Pogo, pit forth  a strong and upbeat pawsitive energy. Don't even bother to look at his incision a draw attention to it. He just wants to see your happy smile and face telling him what a good boy he is and he's going home!

 

Now. drum roll please.🥁🥁🥁    Introducing  a very lovely POGO!!!  Look at that sweet face soaking up all the love of her hooman BFF and  family.  I absolutely  love the "Family portrait ".  So much love💖   Pogo  front and center proudly showing off her pack  And precious Mango is as cute as can be.  

 

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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



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 March 2024 - 7:56 pm
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Ohhhh! There is so much love and joy there! Thanks for sharing Jesse and Sally. I'm so happy she made it through surgery and will be home tomorrow.

As for other siblings in the house, I don't have much experience there but I can tell that most times the sibs give the patient a lot of space. They don't like that vet smell, but generally they are incredibly understanding and patient. Here's an old post on siblings and new Tripawds that may give you some insight.

Let us know how it goes with you guys and how we can support you.

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