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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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Irish Wolfhound - Advice/experience with amputation in a Giant Breed
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Forum Posts: 22
Member Since:
11 January 2014
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11 January 2014 - 12:18 pm
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Hello,

 

I had a little trouble navigating this website, so I hope I am posting this in the correct area.  Last Sunday, Mara, my 140# Irish Wolfhound who will be 6 years old in March was holding up her left front leg after dinner.  I am a vet tech, so the next day I brought her into work where x-rays were pretty suspicious for osteosarcoma.  By this time, she was no longer limping on the leg.  I decided to go ahead with a biopsy despite being warned she would be more painful afterward. Well she wasn’t at all, and the biopsy confirmed bone cancer. 

 

My vet talked to the oncologist at the local University, plus I talked to my canine massage lady and she in turn talked to a canine sports medicine/rehab vet she works with, and all are for amputation for the pain aspect.  This is what I decided on (amputation and then chemo) and actually have it scheduled for next Thursday at my work, where I can be with her the whole time.  I feel it is not fair to her to keep that leg on for the pain, and the thought of having to keep her quiet and not letting her run on it on our daily walks to prevent a fracture is simply unfair to her.  She is a lure coursing champion and extremely athletic.  Walks are the highlight of her day.

 

Right now I am just looking for some advice/experiences others have had with giant breed dogs losing a front leg.  I feel bad, because she is not limping at all right now and running on it with only a slight hitch.  So I wonder if she is going to wonder what I did to her, because it seems her leg isn’t hurting that bad yet.  I have a Help ’em Up harness that I use for her mother (that I also have after she retired from breeding/showing; at 9 1/2 she is still healthy).  I was also going to order one of those Ruffwear harnesses today to help me help her up.

 

Thank you and any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Beth & Mara 

Livermore, CA




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11 January 2014 - 1:30 pm
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Hi Beth and Mara, welcome to Tripawds. Your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I moved your post here, it’s where we usually start. Don’t worry, you will get the hang of this site soon.

I’m sorry cancer has brought you here, but this is the best place to be for info and support. My Tripawd was a 17 pound pug so I can’t directly address your concerns! But my local pal Cemil is a 150 pound Anatolian Shepard front amp due to OSA and is 5 years past his surgery! We have lots of large and giant breed dogs here, I’m sure you will hear from them soon.

I have to run right now, but I wanted to get your post approved.

Karen and Spirit Maggie

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

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 January 2014 - 3:45 pm
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Hi Beth, welcome. Sorry about the cancer diagnosis, I know it’s a heartbreaker.

Have you scanned our “Size and Age Matters” Discussion Forum topic? Lots of great stories about giant breed dogs on three legs in there. Also, one of the first Tripawds we ever met happened to be a sweet Wolfie named Finnegan. You can see his story here in our News Blog and here too.

We have seen dogs as heavy as 185 pounds do fine on three legs. As long as your vet feels that Mara is a good candidate in all other respects, that’s great news and she’ll probably do just fine. Be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library for more reassurance, as well as stay tuned for other members who will gladly chime in.

Hang in there. We’ll be here to help and support you no matter what you decide.

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 January 2014 - 7:12 pm
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Hi Beth and Mara,

First off…Mara is a beautiful girl!

Though not a giant breed, my 102 pound lab, Tucker, had his right front leg amputated 3.5 months ago because of an invasive sarcoma.  Tucker is nine years old and, while he loves long walks, he is more of a “slow and steady” guy.

Tuck has adapted extremely well to being a tripawd.  His walks are no longer as long as they were before but he still loves to get out and stroll in the neighbourhood – sniffing at his favourite trees – and visiting his friends in the neighbourhood.

Tuck has been on a diet and has lost weight since his surgery – about 5 pounds off his post amp weight of 94 pounds – and this is important to his overall health too.

Good Luck with Mara’s surgery on Thursday – I’m sure she will do very well.

 

Linda and Tucker

 



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11 January 2014 - 7:33 pm
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Hi Beth & Mara,

Welcome to the club that no one wants to join.  Sassy was a rottie 138 pounds at time of amputation of her right rear.  She did awesome as a Tripawd the 1st day (day of surgery) she walked around peed & wanted to keep on walking right out the parking lot to home.  I know our experience is a rear amputee but they adjust really well. 

sounds like you are on the right track with the harness. The only other suggestion I have is if you have slick floors put down some rugs/runners or yoga mats so she has some traction .  Oh and front amputees will have a harder time going down than up steps

 

 

Hugs

Michelle & Angel Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Virginia




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12 January 2014 - 5:21 pm
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Hi Beth and Mara! Yeah, welcome..AND sorry you have to be here!

You are a wonderful advocate for Mara and have clearly done yor research.

Just remind yourself that you are doing this FOR Mara to have a pain free quality life…not TO her. She will just kow that, after tje surgery “something” has caused her to learn a new way of walking and balancing herself. You will be amazed at how quickly she adapts- And, as you know, dogs hide their pain very well and are very stoic. The fact that she has a little “hitch” in her walk/run means she feels some pain.

She will be able to go on wlks, just with a lot of “rest stops” and rollingover for tummy rubs while she’s resting! This will not take away her zest for life……it will enhance it.

Recovery is no picnic and sometimes…not always…larger dogs take a little longer to recover. But when the sparkle comes back and you see Mara wagging her tail jist because you said her name, you will be estaticclap

My Happh Hannah is a “well muscled” (aka fat and chunky) Bull Mastiff who, at the time of surgeey was 123 lbs….so not as larger as your pup, but still fairly large! Her ability to walk within the first 24 hrs. astounded me. She just celebrated her ten month ampversary and is moving forard (knocking on wood)! We have had the most fun, loving, blissful, happy time together! Every single day is a sacred gift! She loves her life!!

We are here withyou on this mourney, okay? Let us know how we can help.

N
Amd PLEASE pst more pictures of Mara, and her mom too! We love photos around here!

Hugs t all!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Forum Posts: 22
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12 January 2014 - 6:58 pm
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Thank you so much everybody for all your replies!  I have only one friend who has been supportive with my decision, and it is finally wonderful to hear support and your stories.  I will check out the links you recommended, Jerry.  And thank you, Sally for reminding me I am doing this for her…not to her.

 

I will also post some more pictures as soon as I can figure out how!

 

Beth and Mara


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12 January 2014 - 7:18 pm
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My Tazzie was 185 pounds and also 6 years old at the time of diagnosis.  She lost her RF leg to OSA.  She did quite well after amputation and chemo and lived 14 months.  I did not let her do steep flights of stairs and she was not as active post-op although like Hannah she was a heavily muscled dog (an English Mastiff).

We have had other sighthounds on this website who continued lure coursing. One was a dog named Radar (I think he was a Borzoi) who lived over 3 years post-op and many other breeds remain very active.  It is hard to predict which dog will return to pre-op form but all of them are pain free!

Pam

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18 January 2014 - 5:27 pm
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Mara had her amputation on Thursday.  I’m a veterinary technician, so I was able to be with her the whole time and take her home that night on IV pain medication.  Not something for the faint of heart, but I think she was more comfortable at home.

 

I am happy to say – she is doing absolutely amazing!!!  She walked on her own already the next morning, and as the day went on, she needed less and less help from me.  She learned how to stand to pee on the 3rd try the day after surgery, and she ate like a total pig the morning after surgery.  This totally has me blown away. 

 

I posted 2 videos on You Tube:

 

 

big-grin

Beth & Mara

The Rainbow Bridge



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19 January 2014 - 12:08 pm
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Ohhhh yay! I’m so glad she’s doing well. And you’re a vet tech? WOW! Very cool, she’s lucky to have you.

She looks GREAT! Thank you for the update. Also if you’d like to continue her recovery updates in “Size and Age Matters” I know it will help out other giant breed pawrents tremendously.

By the way if you’d ever like to get more involved and become an official Vet Expert here to provide insight in the forums from your perspective as a vet tech, we’d love to have you on board.

 

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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20 January 2014 - 10:01 am
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INCREDIBLE!! Absolutely INCREDIBLE!

Mara, you are showing big dogs everywhere exactly how it’s done!! And’ how to look pretty doing it!clap

And in the snow too? WOW!

It’s so hard, at first, to realize we are doinf this FOR then and not TO them…until you see a video like this!

Now, you take it real easy big girl, this recovery stuff is no picnic and you don’t want to overdo. Oh yeah, but milk it for all it’s worth as far as getting extra treats and all the delicious home cooked chicken you can “wolf” down!!winker

Looking forward to wonderful updates and photos!

Hugs and ice cream for eeryone!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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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