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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Our girl was just diagnosed this morning. We were given two options…remove the leg or put her down. We are researching but there isn’t a lot of specific info out there for us. She is 10 years old and diabetic. The vet wasn’t so concerned about her age so much as the diabetes. Is there possibly anyone here that had similar circumstances? We don’t want to put her down but we don’t want to put her through it if it’s too much for her. I just don’t know what to do.
Hi Keri, we are sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. What exactly does she have?
Overall we haven’t seen dogs not undergo amputation because of diabetes. Quite a few members have had Tripawds with diabetes as you’ll see in the link. You’ll need to sift through the search results I found, but overall, you’ll find it’s not uncommon here.
If your vet isn’t sure, then this is the time for a second or even third opinion from a specialist. If you haven’t sought one out yet, I would do that.
How is her health otherwise? Does she have any other issues? Weight concerns? Arthritis? Most dogs, even overweight or arthritic ones, can do fine on three legs.
Tell us more about your girl, including her name! We are here to help. Thanks for registering. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.
Kaya has a Liposarcoma on her rear right leg near the “knee”. It’s gotten pretty large pretty quickly. She is normal weight and we’ve been managing her diabetes well with insulin. She’s pretty blind most likely due to the diabetes, though I’ve been reading that her breed(Norwegian Elkhound mix) is prone to blindness…similar to macular degeneration in people. But that neither here nor there.
They did a biopsy so we know for sure what this is. We just don’t know what to do. I’m lost.
Hi Kaya and family! OK so whew! It’s not an aggressive cancer then, right? That’s awesome! And not overweight? Score!
We’ve had many blind dogs do well on three legs, that doesn’t seem to be an issue for members we’ve had the honor of following along with. Cora is a perfect example. She just passed away but that girl was amazing!
I think the thing to do right now is get another opinion if haven’t already. Sometimes even a third can make all the difference in how confident you feel about amputation (or not).
2 April 2013
I remember when Murphy was diagnosed, it felt like the floor had dropped out from under me. I’m sorry you’re going through this. So first, take a deep breath.
There really isn’t a lot of information out there to begin with, for anyone, let alone for a dog with diabetes. I would think that the diabetes might affect the way she heals, so you’ll need to be very diligent with her wound care. Luckily it’s a back leg, that’s better than a front – dogs carry more weight in the front.
For us, Murphy was healthy except for the pain that he was in. We were told that eventually his leg would break and that we would have to make a decision. We couldn’t see putting him down just for pain, so we went through with the surgery.
You will find so much help & support here – welcome to the club no one wanted to join!
Unfortunately we are told that her tumor is quite aggressive. We are going to do bloodwork to see what her levels are at and get an X-ray of her chest to see how her lungs are doing and then we will go from there. I need as much info about those things as I can get to get this figured out. I’m trying to keep my head together and not lose it because that isn’t going to help her at all. But I have my moments. This is tough and I am so appreciative to have these forums and people that get it❤️
19 January 2020
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I was given the same options 2 weeks ago with my 10 year old girl Ava and it’s so hard. I swung between the two choices and I think the hardest part I found was wondering what she’d be like after the amputation, I wanted a crystal ball to give me some sort of reassurance because I hated the thought of putting her through something her body couldn’t handle and then it being too late to change it. In the end I went for the amputation and she’s exceeded my expectations of how well she’d do, the other members here told me she would but I was just so worried before.
Ava’s also got an aggressive form of cancer so I don’t know how she’ll respond to treatment or how much longer I’ll get with her but even at this point it’s been worth it.
From the diabetes point of view I have no experience in dogs but some with people and they still have surgery, obviously there can be complications but if you say her diabetes is well controlled then I wouldn’t have thought it would effect the surgery. Maybe she’d just need closer monitoring and tighter control of her blood sugar levels after which is what we do in humans but as others have said getting another opinion from a specialist or 2 would be a really good idea
27 July 2014
My cat Mona got a fibrosarcoma on her leg. The vet considered it aggressive (it was growing before our eyes) and since it was on her leg it was amputated immediately before the cancer spread. Her leg had to be amputated to get wide enough margins.
I understand your concern about the lump growing so quickly. On Mona I saw the lump growing from a sudden bald patch on a Saturday to a golf ball size within days. After a lung xray her leg was amputated in less than a week.
You sound pretty confident that you can manage Kaya’s health overall. Perhaps you can have another discussion with the vet or get another opinion from another vet or surgeon who may be experienced in amputations with diabetes.
I understand the stress of this diagnosis. It all happened so quickly for me that I think I was numb. All I knew was that I wanted the cancer gone quickly but then Mona had no other health concerns at that time.
What’s important now is that Kaya’s pain is managed until such time you make your decision.
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona